George Bush photo

Remarks to the Polish-American Community in Chicago, Illinois

September 06, 1992

The President. Thank you, Mitch. Thank you all for that great welcome.

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. Thank you so much for the wonderful introduction. And may I pay my respects to the Governor, Jim Edgar, doing a superb job for the people of this great State. Jim, we're grateful to you. Let me also single out Rich Williamson. We need him in the United States Senate. We've got to change the Congress. We've got to clean the House. We've got to elect Rich Williamson to the Senate. Another old friend, Wally Dudycz, glad to see him and Jack O'Malley and Lou Kasper. The Polish consul general came to greet me, Mr. Jankowski. Ed Moskal, of course, our old, dear friend. And again, I'd like to salute Secretary Ed Derwinski, known so well to everybody here, an outstanding American that has served his country with such distinction.

This past Independence Day, some of you were with us, I traveled to the heartland of Poland to bury a treasure. In the crypt of an ancient cathedral, I stood with President Lech Walesa as the remains of the great patriot Ignacy Paderewski was finally laid to rest in the rich and free Polish soil that conceived and sustained him. And it struck me, this was the fulfillment of Poland's dreams.

Think of what we have seen together in the last few years. We watched a Gdansk electrician, a humble man, stand up for freedom, electrify the world with the charge that all people should be free and be heard. We watched the nation of Poland reform, brimming with a new and different fluid of life, inspired by the passion for freedom. And we watched a Pope named John Paul II, a proud Pole. And as we gather today at this festival, a good time to count our blessings, I can say something no President ever could say before: The cold war is over, and freedom finished first. And Poland is free.

You know, my opponents say -- --

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. We've got a lot of work to do for 4 more, I'll tell you.

These critics, the Clinton-Gore ticket, say that I spend too much time on foreign policy. Well, let me tell you this: American schoolchildren used to hide under their desks in drills to prepare for nuclear war. We saw the chance to cut down the threat of nuclear war, and we did it. And does that matter? You bet it matters to the young people that are here right here today. You know, over the past -- and everybody in this crowd understands this, Democrat, Republican, liberal, it doesn't matter, you understand this point: Over the past 4 years, more people have breathed the fresh air of freedom than in all of human history. We saw a chance to help, and I did it. And do you say, does that matter? Of course, it does. You bet it does.

Now our challenges are straightforward. This Labor Day weekend we must dedicate ourselves to the challenge: economic security for the working men and working women of America. That is the big challenge, jobs for the American people. You know, in this 21st century America must not only be a military superpower, we've got to be an export superpower, and we've got to be an economic superpower.

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. My vision is to look forward, to open new markets, to prepare our people to compete, to save and to invest, to strengthen the American family so that we can win.

You know, I've spent half my life in public service, half in the private sector. I built a business, and I met a payroll. And I believe that is a good qualification for being President of the United States, to know what it is to hold a job in the private sector. And Governor Clinton has spent all but a handful of years of his adult life in government. Now he says he respects the small businessman, he loves the private sector. Well, maybe it's a good chance now to give him a chance to experience what it's like to be in the private sector. Because he isn't going to be President of the United States.

I agree with you, Government has got to help people. But Government is too big, and it taxes too much, and it spends too much of your money. And we've got to get it under control. And so I put a freeze on domestic discretionary spending, plus a plan to control mandatory Federal spending except Social Security. I said at the beginning, don't mess with Social Security. And we are not going to let them touch Social Security. My plan, and it is up before the Congress now, would save nearly $300 billion in over 5 years. And I want to say Do widzenia to more than 4,000 wasteful Federal projects, like a national research program, and get into this one, the mating habits of the mink. We do not need to spend your taxpayers' money on that kind of program.

So the gridlocked Congress has balked at my ideas. So now I have a new idea: Give you all a say on it. I want to give you, the taxpayer, the option of taking 10 percent of your income tax and using it for one purpose alone, to reduce the national deficit. Get the mortgage off the back of these young people. Check off 10 percent to get the deficit down. If Congress won't cut spending, let you, the people, do it. And I'll be at your side.

But while we cut Federal spending, we can still set priorities to help people in need to get back on their feet. So this week I took money that had already been appropriated and used it to help farmers whose crops were destroyed. And I said I'd help the private sector rebuild devastated Florida and Louisiana. And let me thank the people of Illinois who reached out to help their fellow man down in the south. You have been magnificent. But anyway, when I did all this to try to help these people, Governor Clinton, of all people, accused me of pandering. This from the man that Paul Tsongas, you remember the little bear, this from the man that Paul Tsongas called the "Pander Bear," the same Paul Tsongas who said on April 7th, the American people are just hearing how cynical and unprincipled Bill Clinton is. That's not from a Republican, that was from a Democrat, Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts. And he's right. He is right.

But here are the facts. Governor Clinton proposes at least $220 billion in new spending, just to start. Newsweek magazine called the Clinton approach, and I quote, "economic fantasy." And Newsweek went on to say that the real cost of the Clinton program is "arguably at least 3 times higher" than he's admitted. And he has mentioned program after program after program that he wants to increase spending for. So while we're eating a little kielbasa, he's offering pie in the sky. Who does he think he's kidding? Not the American people.

You know, I've been one of these guys who is accused of thinking every day is the Fourth of July. Well, I like the way a cartoon summed it up. My opponent thinks that every day is April 15th. You know what happens then. They have this cartoon; it featured a guy at the kitchen table. He said to his wife, "Honey, I figure we can afford all those taxes Clinton and Gore want to raise if I can get two of those jobs they say they'll create." Well, raising taxes doesn't create jobs, it destroys them. You know that. So with the savings that I have proposed, we can cut taxes and get this economy moving again. The difference is tax and spend versus less taxes and less spending.

Now, one other thing. More than 2 percent of our gross domestic product is spent not in the factory, not in the classroom, not in the laboratory but in and around the courtroom. I've never heard of a nation that sued its way to greatness. So I have a plan for the gridlocked Congress to cut down on all these crazy lawsuits that are choking our economy. Too many lawsuits. And as a nation we ought to sue each other less and care for each other just a little bit more. That's my philosophy. That's the way Barbara looks at it.

Another thing, you look around and see these great kids, and you think we've got to do better in education. Three years ago this month, we started a revolution in American education, one called America 2000. Today for the first time, every eligible 4-year-old whose parents choose to participate can get a Head Start on kindergarten. That is progress. That is the way to help the young people in this country. Today for the first time, half our students in college have a Federal loan or grant. Grants and loans are at an all-time high under our administration for these college kids. And we have a new "GI bill" for kids. We want to give every one of you the freedom to pick where your children will learn, any program, any school. I favor school choice. Let the parents decide whether it's public, private, or religious schools.

We've got to do better in education. We've got to do better in law enforcement, backing up the law enforcement people. It's cheaper to send a kid to Yale than to send a kid to jail. Penn State is cheaper than the State pen. But for those who refuse to pitch in and help build up America and instead tear us down, we need to show them what law and order is all about. It's about supporting our police forces and judicial system. God bless the police that stand up against these outrageous criminals.

And it's time we take back the streets of America and support the American family. It is time we let those family values come to the fore. And that means let's reform our welfare system so that families stay together and these fathers that owe the money will stick around and pay what they owe to these mothers that are trying to bring up these kids.

And while we're at it, I've got a plan for health care, and that plan says this: We don't need the Government taking over health care. It doesn't work. We've got the best quality health care. What we need is to pool insurance. What we need are designed -- not respect for Government policies but respect for the American family. We've made progress, great progress, and now I ask for your help for a health care reform that will bring insurance to every single family that wants it. That's our proposal. His is to turn it over to the Government.

Now this is the last point. This is the last point, except I want to say a word to this guy over here who feels very strongly about something. He's talking about AIDS. Under my administration the spending for this deadly disease is up from $4.3 billion to a request for $4.9 billion. We care. We are working. And disruptions don't help. What helps is what you feel in your heart. And we will keep on this research until we whip that deadly disease.

So we made a lot of progress. But in others we've got a ways to go. And you ask me why, and I would say three words: the gridlocked Congress. And I know you get tired of people blaming each other, but let me explain something. There are certain numbers that mean something: number 40, Gale Sayers; number 8, Carl Yastrzemski; number 23, a certain basketball player in baggy shorts. Here's one you may not know, number 38. That's how long the same party, the same crowd has been running the United States House of Representatives, 38 years. Ask Millie, our dog, and she'll tell you that's 266 years in a dog life. Change the Congress. Change the Congress. Clean the House. Elect Rich Williamson to the Senate. And while we're at it, elect Elias Zenkich to the House. And while we're at it, let's limit the terms of Congressmen. Let's get some limits out there so things will change.

Let me tell you this. If you detect a little optimism about our country, you're absolutely right. The other side is saying that we're somewhere between Germany and Sri Lanka. They ought to go abroad. Let them go to Poland. Let them look into the eyes of the Polish people who thank America every single day for their freedom. Let Governor Clinton take a look. Let him see what this world is like with freedom and democracy on the march.

We have done it. And we can do it right here at home with your help. God bless our country. Don't let them tear it down. God bless the United States of America. And thank you for this wonderful turnout. Thank you all.

Note: The President spoke at 2:45 p.m. at the Copernicus Center during the Taste of Polonia Festival. In his remarks, he referred to Mitchell P. Kobelinski, president, Copernicus Foundation; Walter Dudycz, Illinois State senator; Jack O'Malley, Cook County State's attorney; Lou Kasper, City of Chicago Republican Party chairman; and Edward J. Moskal, president, Polish National Alliance. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

George Bush, Remarks to the Polish-American Community in Chicago, Illinois Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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