Nevada County Republican Central Committee Dinner
Thank you for your invitation to speak today and thank you for everything you have done and that you are doing to save our country.
A lot of Republicans tell me that they’re so disgusted with the direction of the country under Obama-- and with the Republicans’ spineless response – that they’re ready to give up.
Abraham Lincoln confronted the same frustration when he reminded the Illinois Republican convention in 1858 that “from strange, discordant and even hostile elements we gathered from the four winds and formed and fought the battle through, under the constant hot fire of a disciplined, proud and pampered enemy.” Sound familiar? And then he asked them, “Did we brave all THEN to falter NOW – now, when that same enemy is wavering and disheveled and belligerent?”
Isn’t that where we are today?
Think about the progress we’ve made. In the last six years, Republicans have won a NET gain of 67 U.S. House seats, 13 U.S. Senate seats, 11 U.S. governors and 913 state legislative seats. Today we have bigger majorities in both houses of Congress than at any time since 1928 and more legislatures and governors than at any time since 1920!
Think about it this way: the closer we get to the people, the better we do. Today Republicans hold 54 percent of the Senate, 58 percent of the House, 64 percent of the governors and 70 percent of the state legislatures.
The same is true even in California. Democrats might be strong at the top, but Republicans now outnumber Democrats 46.5 percent to 42 percent on city councils and 60 percent California’s county supervisors are now Republicans.
Does this sound like the time to give up and drop out?
I know, I know: events in Washington have been disappointing. It looks like Republicans have backed off from key fights over fiscal policy, illegal immigration, government abuses and international affairs while Obama issues illegal executive orders with apparent impunity. And yes, I wish our leaders were more articulate and showed more backbone. I always have and probably always will.
But look around! The reason Obama has turned to illegal executive orders is because the American people have stopped his legislative agenda dead in its tracks by electing overwhelming Republican majorities in Congress. What’s more, the courts are now stepping in to block him – and the next President can rescind every one of his decrees on the afternoon of inauguration day.
Meanwhile, the key groups that supported Obama are now turning away from him: likely “millennial” voters now prefer Republicans, while Asian, African-American and Hispanic voters are leaving the Democrats after so many years of broken promises. We’ve seen this before – in the months leading up to the Reagan landslide of 1980. And remember, those changes were dramatic and long-lasting.
So I ask again: “Did we brave all THEN to falter NOW?”
I believe we are now at the threshold of a major political realignment. Arthur Laffer has often pointed out that four years of Jimmy Carter produced eight years of Ronald Reagan, which means that eight years of Barack Obama should get us the second coming of Christ!
Clearly, this nation is going through an industrial-sized case of buyer’s remorse. As Lincoln said, “The voters are everything. If the voters get their backsides too close to the fire, they’ll just have to sit on the blisters a while.” It is a painful experience, but it is a learning experience, and they emerge from that experience sadder, wiser, and in time for the next election.
The Left consoles themselves in saying that the 2014 election was just an anomaly driven by low voter turnout, and that the presidential turnout in 2016 will wipe out those gains.
Maybe. But maybe not. Sean Trende, the chief political analyst for Real Clear Politics wrote a very revealing piece just after the election. He pulled apart the vote from every group and sub-group in the electorate. He noted that the difference between the 2012 and 2014 elections was a 6.5 point shift toward the Republicans. And yes, about two points of that 6.5 point shift was due to differences in voter turnout. But that leaves 4.5 points of shift that could reflect something much more profound. America is awakening.
Indeed, Trende estimated that if each demographic group had voted in 2012 as they voted in 2014 – which adjusted for turnout differences – Obama would not have been re-elected. The shift is that big.
With this realignment and our historic gains in the House and Senate also comes great frustration that things aren’t changing faster.
But they ARE changing – and in some very significant ways.
The United States Senate is once again deliberating. During the last session under Harry Reid, the House sent the Senate some 382 job-creating bills that the Senate simply sat on. They didn’t pass them; didn’t defeat them and send us their own ideas; they didn’t amend them. They just ignored them.
Our system cannot operate like that. The first and most significant effect of the new Republican majority is that the Senate is again functioning as the Founders intended. The first fruit of this change is the Keystone Pipeline, promising 42,000 construction jobs, $8 billion of private investment, and when completed, a half-million barrels of Canadian crude oil entering the American economy.
But we have to remember, the Senate is…well, the Senate is different. As Jefferson said, the Senate is the saucer in which the hot tea of the House is left to cool. And that’s frustrating – but it is designed to work like that for some very good reasons.
What it took the House one day to pass took the Senate two months. More amendments were considered to it on the Senate floor than Harry Reid had allowed during the prior year on ALL bills combined.
And remember, for almost any bill to be considered, it requires 60 votes – meaning that six Democrats have to cross party lines and vote with Republicans.
But even with all these institutional constraints, we put the Keystone bill on the President’s desk. Yes, he vetoed it – but in so doing he further alienated and isolated American workers from the Democratic Party. And I expect we will see more of that in the days and months ahead.
The next advance our victory brought was the prospect of adopting a balanced budget for the first time since 1997. For four years, the House has passed balanced budgets – but when they reached Harry Reid’s Senate, once again, he just sat on them. Now, the budget process is functioning again.
Before the Easter recess, both the House and the Senate passed budget resolutions that balance within ten years and I think the prospects are very good that before the end of the month, both Houses will reconcile differences and finalize this fiscal blueprint.
Remember, the budget doesn’t require the President’s signature and doesn’t need 60 votes in the Senate – only a simple majority. And once it is in place, ALL appropriations bills must conform to that budget. Any changes in statute to bring spending back in line can be placed in a reconciliation bill that requires only a simple majority in the Senate to place that on the President’s desk.
And over the next two years, investigations in both the House and the Senate continue to purse investigations involving widespread corruption and incompetence that the American Left will have to answer for in the next election.
Meanwhile, the House will continue to challenge the President’s unconstitutional amnesty orders. And although there are practical limitations to what the Congress can do to stop him with the power of the purse -- as we recently saw with the DHS funding bill -- this is not the end of our efforts by a long shot. A Gallup poll in January showed the American people oppose those orders by a whopping 56 to 41 percent. The Courts have so far agreed with us, and I am told the chances are very good the injunction against the President will hold. And every day, Democrats will have to explain to struggling American workers why they want to reward five million illegal aliens for breaking the law with the right to compete for scarce jobs while consuming thousands of dollars of taxpayer-paid benefits.
People often ask me, “What can I do?” The answer is, you are doing it every time you talk to a neighbor, comment on a blog, send an article to a friend, call in to a talk show or write a letter to the editor. Suppose every Republican Central committee member wrote just ONE letter to the editor or blog every month. Suppose EVERY Republican Committee member agreed to post just one comment on the internet every day?
The Left does that. Now, as Lincoln said, they are waivering and disheveled and belligerent. Now is the time to double down.
On election night in 2012, I said that the American people were about to get a four-year, graduate level course in Obamanomics and at the end of that course they would be a lot sadder and a lot wiser. It looks like they have already graduated, summa cum laude, two years sooner. They have gotten a bitter taste of democratic socialism. They’ve watched their economy languish, their children plundered by debt, their fundamental rights under the bill of rights trampled; they’ve watched our nation’s strength sapped away while the world has grown much more dangerous; they’ve watched their health care system decimated; and they’ve had enough.
All that we have to do as Republicans is to be true to our principles and true to the voters who put their trust back in us, and all will be well. We will have another tremendous fight in 2016, but the American public is indeed sadder and wiser. Just as importantly, they’re ready to take back their freedom, their prosperity, their heritage, their Constitution and their future.
They are ready to join us if we will just raise our banner, as Reagan said, of bold colors.
On that day in 1858, when Lincoln asked his fellow Republicans if, having put the Democrats on the run, they were now going to falter.
Here’s his answer: “The end is not doubtful: we shall not fail. IF WE STAND FIRM, WE SHALL NOT FAIL.”
THAT generation of Republicans stood firm, and so will this generation of Republicans. And a few years from now, its going to be morning again in America.