January 27, 1996
Web posted at: 11 p.m. EST
SEN. JUDD GREGG, R-New Hampshire: Most Americans are thinking more about tomorrow's Super Bowl than about what folks in Washington are debating, but the debate is critical and deserves our attention.
Like you, I've been listening to this president for three years, and I don't know where he's coming from, to say nothing about where he's going. It's like watching a bumper car.
So I'm not going to spend time trying to respond; rather, I want to talk a bit about you, your family, and mine and this special place we live in called America, which we can make even better.
When I was a kid, I used to love to watch the Green Bay Packers and Vince Lombardi. He'd pace up and down the sidelines -- intensity personified. He was a winner.
They had something called the Green Bay sweep, where Forrest Gregg -- unfortunately no relation of mine -- and a couple of other big guys would pull out of the line, sweep around the end, knocking down everything in sight, while Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor would follow behind, piling up five, six, seven, 10 yards.
Everyone knew the play was coming. The opposing linebackers knew it. The opposing coaches knew it. The press knew it. Even a 10- year-old kid like myself knew it, but it couldn't be stopped. It was Vince Lombardi's belief that you come from your strengths, and you did, and it worked.
And, you know, that's what America should do now -- come from our strengths, and we have so many to choose from. Right at the top of the list is you -- our people. No other nation in the vast history of man has brought together so many people of different races, religions, and cultures and called them one and produced so much.
The unique ingredient that has made this work is the freedom we have -- the freedom to excel if you can, to dream and then do it. And government's role must be to generate that opportunity for all. A free government is not there to insulate people from risk or from failure. It is there to be a springboard for opportunity, an arbiter of fairness, a force that encourages rather than defines creativity.
And our Republican agenda has set this as our goal to give opportunity to the dreams of Americans. Another great strength is our children -- the next generation.
America has always offered the next generation more than the preceding generation. This is our tradition. Thus, it is wrong -- immoral, really -- to be borrowing against our children's future. The national debt is $5 trillion. A child born today will have to pay $187,000 just in interest on the national debt.
And what for? To pay off the costs of borrowing which we have done to benefit our time at the expense of their time. But America is resilient. We can end this unofficial -- this unethical action.
The Republicans have offered a plan to do just that. While the president has had trouble picking a year to balance the budget in, we simply put forth a plan to balance the budget. Is it challenging? Yes.
Is it real? Yes. Is it going to involve less spending on popular programs? Yes. Will it give our children back their financial future? Absolutely yes.
If the president would join us, we could have done this last year. But unfortunately, he talked elections while we talked substance. The president's speeches, such as his State of the Union, are good. But what he says today is not what he said yesterday or will probably say tomorrow.
It is hard to know what he really means, what direction he really is going in. While Republicans in Congress have actually delivered on the promises we made to America and while we always welcome the president's support, his sincerity about working together to fulfill our goals is too often fleeting, with no real action to back up his words.
This inconsistency we cannot afford. We must pass on to our children the opportunity for prosperity. To do that, we must pass a true balanced budget. This is something Republicans are unalterably committed to.
There are so many other strengths it is not within my time restraint to catalog them, but at their core is community spirit, our families, and our basic commitment to a sense of right and wrong -- a belief in fairness.
These are not abstract, undefined strengths. They are quantifiable and noticeable. You see them at the local little league game, at the churches, at the synagogues, at the community clean-up days, or at the Fourth of July parades -- in a million different ways every day, everywhere across America.
Are they government created? Not often. Are they government dominated? Rarely. Are they government led? Only occasionally.
Rather the strength of community, of family, the understanding of fairness comes from individuals acting together freely. The government role is not to be the coach or even the pulling guard or the running back. It is not to dominate, command, or design.
The government's role is to set the rules, to umpire the event, to ensure fairness, opportunity, and hope of success, to protect basic rights.
As Republicans we understand this, and unlike our liberal colleagues led by our present president, who for 40 years have tried to control the whole event, to dominate all aspects of the American way from Washington, Republicans understand that such excesses of government only suffocate and pervert America's unique energy.
When you get right down to it, Republicans are committed to one very simple principle -- let the American spirit soar, for it will carry all of us to a better future.
Accomplishing this is what this debate is all about and why it is so important to you, your families, and our country.
Thank you very much
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