Ted Cruz’ speech in Iowa at the Ronald Reagan dinner focuses on the key conservative principle of “growth,” and “growth” being the path forward. He praises grassroots efforts and details the movement’s successes. All emphasis below is mine.
If we get back to our core principles, that’s how you reassemble and keep strong Ronald
Reagan’s three-legged stool. Let me note, if you look at the last four congressional elections, ’06, ’08, ’10 and ’12, three of the four were disastrous for Republicans – ’06, ’08 and ’12 we got clobbered. In all three of those, the prevailing wisdom in Washington — if you took every Washington strategist and dumped them in the ocean, you know what you’d call it? A good start.
It is great to be with so many friends here in Iowa. Thank you Joe Paul [?] for that very kind introduction. Thank you A.J. and David for inviting me here today.
Thank you Governor Brandstad, Lt. Governor Reynolds for the gracious hospitality. Thank you my friend Chuck Grassley for welcoming me into your home state with so many dear friends of yours, and thank you to each of you for coming out tonight.
I promise you I will do everything humanly possible to speak for less than 21 hours. But you’ll know I’m nearing the end when I bring out and begin to read “The Cat and the Hat.” You know, I’ve go to tell you, twenty-one hours is a long time. That is almost as long as it takes to sign up on the Obamacare website.
You know, everyone of us is grounded, is kept to who we are by our families. I am particularly proud to have the opportunity to introduce to each of you, my wife Heidi Cruz. Heidi is beautiful, she is brilliant. She is an incredible mother to my our two baby girls. She is my best friend in the world and she is the love of my life. I love you sweetheart. Thank you for being here.
And you know, talking about family keeping one grounded, we have a tendency when in the midst of heated battle to think that battle is of great importance, but somehow our kids don’t always perceive it to be quite the same. Last Sunday Heidi and I were up in D.C. with our two girls. Caroline is five, Catherine is two. We were driving to Mount Vernon that afternoon to spend a little bit of time with the girls. Caroline, he five year-old asked her little sister, she said, Catherine, what do you want to do when you grow up? And Catherine said I want to work in the U.S. Senate. I want to work with daddy. And Caroline goes, that’s boring. We’re going to be in a rock band and then she threw in the zinger. She said, besides, daddy will be dead by then. That’s a true story. I’m sitting there driving the car. She said that. I wondered if Caroline had been talking with Republican leadership. If she knew something maybe I didn’t.
I am here tonight, more than anything else, with a word of encouragement, with a word of hope and with a word of optimism. What I want to talk to you about tonight is that we are facing extraordinary times. the answer to what we’re facing growth. Only the people can turn us around. And the fight is worth it.
Let’s start with the extraordinary times. This is not a typical moment in the political process. We are facing extraordinary threats to our nation. We are seeing an administration that seems bent on violating every constitutional protection we have in the Bill of Rights. I don’t know that they have yet violated the Third Amendment, but soon they may start quartering soldiers in people’s houses.
If you look at the First Amendment, at the complete disregard the administration has treated religious liberty, whether it is telling servicemen and servicewoman that they cannot share their faith with others or risk discipline, the idea that the men and women who risked everything to defend our liberty check their constitutional rights at the door, is anathema to who we are as a people.
We saw just a few months ago an Air Force chaplain in Alaska, reprimanded because he posted on his blog a simple statement ‘there are no atheists in foxholes.’ He was ordered to take it down.Apparently, chaplains are not supposed to be talking about that God-stuff.
Now this particular Chaplain, that phrase he was quoting, was Dwight D. Eisenhower who I would note had some passing familiarity with the military.
We’ve seen the assault on our Second Amendment. No administration in history has tried to come after the Second Amendment like this administration.
Now Vice President Joe Biden – you know the nice thing, you don’t need to punch line. You just say his name, people laugh. But Vice President Joe Biden shared the following counsel, he said, if anyone is attacking your home, just go outside and fire with a double-barrel shotgun and fire both barrels in the air. Which is very, very good and advise if it so happens you are being attacked by a flock of geese.
We have seen the assault on the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, as this administration has been invading our privacy with the NSA seizing phone records and e-mail, and viewing law- abiding citizens as the target of their efforts.
By the way, for anyone who has your cell phones here, please leave them on. I want to make sure President Obama hears everything that we say tonight.
And we’ve seen the assault on the Tenth Amendment as the federal government’s power has extended beyond, and beyond and beyond the limits, and no extension is more egregious than that power grab that is ObamaCare.
And then if you look at our fiscal and economic state, we’re facing an enormous crisis. For the last four years, our economy has grown 0.9% a year. 0.9% a year. You know, there is only one other four-year period since World War II of four consequent years with less than 1 percent growth? That was 1979 to 1982. That was coming out of the Jimmy Carter administration. It was the same failed economic policies, out of control spending, taxes and regulation, and it produced the exact same economic stagnation.
People are hurting all across this country. We’re at the edge of a fiscal and economic cliff.
I’m reminded of last fall when I had the opportunity to speak at the National Republican Convention in Tampa and I talked about the national debt. I talked about our two little girls, Caroline and Catherine. That night Heidi and I went back to the hotel room, about 1:30 in the morning and I pulled out my iPhone began looking at Twitter. Paula Poundstone, the comedian, so happens she watched the convention that night, I guess she didn’t have anything better to do, and she sent a Tweet. She said, “Ted Cruz just said when his daughter was born the National Debt was 10 trillion dollars. Now it’s $16 trillion. What the heck did she do?”
Heidi and I laughed so hard we almost fell out of bed, but you know what, Caroline is five. In her short life our National Debt has grown over 60 percent. What we are doing right now is fundamentally immoral.
If we keep going down this path, our kids and our grandkids will spend their whole lives not working to meet the challenges of the future, working to meet their priorities, but working to pay off the debts of their parents and grandparents. Our parents didn’t do that to us. Their parents didn’t do that to them, and you know what, we’re all here tonight because we’re not willing to do that to the next generation.
So that leads to my second point, growth is the answer. Growth, if there is one word that every Republican should have tattooed on his hand, it is growth.
The book of Ecclesiastes says there is nothing new under the sun. I’m going to suggest the challenges we’re face right now are very, very similar to the late 1970′s.
This President is fond of saying he has inherited the worst economy in the history of the universe. He doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of historical memories. How many of you all remember the late 1970′s? You remember double-digit unemployment, 22% interest rates, gas lines going around the block? Stagflation? Do you remember our hostages languishing in Iran for 444 days while the President wrung his hands, unsure of what to do?
The answer we saw in 1980 was a grass-roots revolution. It was the Reagan Revolution. It was millions of Americans, many of the men and women in this room who got involved and said, we’re gonna get back to the principles that made this Nation great.
President Ronald Reagan came into office in 1981, elected in the very same year Chuck Grassley was elected to the U.S. Senate. He implemented policies the exact opposite of those President Obama implemented. Instead of jacking-up taxes by $1.7 trillion, he to taxes and simplified the tax code. Instead of exploding spending and the National Debt he restrained the growth of federal spending. Instead of unleashing regulators, like locusts, to destroy a small businesses, Reagan restrained federal regulation and turned it back.
The result was some of the most incredible economic growth that the nation has ever seen. By the fourth year of Reagan’s presidency, 1984, does anyone recall what the rate of growth the GDP was? 7.2 percent.
What does that mean. What does that mean in practical terms? Well, if President Obama coming into office, Inheriting the same lousy economy that Ronald Reagan inherited, had implemented the same policies, and if those policies had produced the same economic growth, by today we would have an additional seven million new jobs in this country.
That is the equivalent of taking every single person who is unemployed in 46 of the 50 states and having a new job for each and every one of them.
And growth is foundational to everything else. Every other challenge we have, whether it’s unemployment, whether it’s the national debt, whether it’s maintaining the strongest military in the world, if we have growth we can do all of this. And if we don’t have growth we can’t achieve any of it.
Here’s an interesting statistic. Do you that an additonal know one percent economic growth produces a over a decade an additional $2.8 trillion dollars in tax revenues, and $3.1 trillion in debt and deficit reduction? One stinking percent. That’s a technical term, a ‘stinking percent.’
That’s what the Republican Party needs to be about. We need to be about economic growth all the time, every day. That’s how we turn the country around.
So how do we get it done? That’s my third point. Only the people can turn us around. I’m convinced we’re facing a new paradigm in politics. It is a paradigm that is the rise of the grassroots. It gotta tell you, it has official Washington absolutely terrified.
But this new paradigm has been beta tested – unlike the Obamacare web site. It was beta tested in 1980 with the Reagan revolution, and we pulled this country back from the brink. And if you look at this past year, we have been seeing over and over and over again the power of grassroots. One of the very first things I was proud to participate in, in the U.S. Senate this Spring, was standing side-by-side with my friend, Senator Rand Paul in his epic filibuster against drones.
When that started, most of his colleagues in the U.S. Senate didn’t understand what Rand was doing. They though it curious, exotic, it didn’t make any sense, and something incredible happened. We started to see people all over the the country going on line, going on Facebook, going on Twitter, speaking out and saying, defend our liberty, defend our constitutional rights.
And as a result of your leadership, as a result of the grassroots rising up, the next day, President Obama was forced to do what he had refused to do for three consecutive weeks, which was admit in writing that the Constitution limits his authority to target U.S. citizens with drones.
We saw the new paradigm the second time, on the battle over guns. Following the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, President Obama didn’t come out as he should have, targeting violent criminals. Listen, I think violent criminals, we should come down on them like a ton of bricks.
But instead he chose to target the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. I gotta tell you that conventional wisdom was that this was unstoppable. Early on in those first few weeks, Chuck and I both sat in those lunches, and if that vote had happened early, it would not have been pretty.
And once again the same thing happened. Millions of Americans across this country began to speak up, began showing up at town halls when their Senators came home, began lighting up the phones, began going on Facebook, began going on Twitter, began speaking out.
The lead alternative to President Obama’s Second Amendment infringing bills, the law enforcement alternative, was a bill that was entitled the Grassley-Cruz bill that I was very proud to write, side by side, with your Senator Chuck Grassley in his office.
It received 52 votes, the most bipartisan votes of any comprehensive bill concerning guns. Nine Democrats voted for Grassley-Cruz, but Harry Reid and the Democrats filibustered it and prevented it passing into law. But let me tell you something, even though Washington was convinced after Newtown that nothing could stop the President’s anti-gun agenda, when it came time for a vote, every single proposal of the President’s that would have undermined the Second Amendment was voted down on the Senate floor.
That was the power of the grassroots.
A third thing we saw concerned immigration where the President, along with Senate Democrats, made a push to grant amnesty to those here illegally and not secure the borders, and they pushed it through the Senate. They had the votes to push it through, but the American people rose up an overwhelming numbers and said ‘no,’ we don’t support granting amnesty without securing the borders and solving the problem.
As a result, that bill went to the House of Representatives and has stopped because of the grassroots, because of you speaking out to your elected Representatives.
A fourth example, Syria. The President announced to the world that he intended to launch unilateral military attacks against Syria, and leaders from both Houses of Congress came out publicly supporting it. In Washington, it was a done deal, this was happening, there was no stopping it. And then what happened is the same thing. The American people began speaking up, over and over and over again, louder and louder and louder. I’ll tell you, in our offices the calls were coming literally 100 to 1. And the answer that the grassroots said, we don’t want to put America in the middle of a sectarian civil war between Sunni and Shiaite where the U.S. national security interest is not present and real. As a result of ya’lls leadership, what was a fait accompli was stopped dead in its tracks.
And then the fifth and final example, is the battle we just went through over Obamacare. If you read the New York Times, well, that’s your first problem. But if you read the New York Times, they will tell you that this battle accomplished nothing. I think collectively we accomplished a great deal.
One of the things we accomplished in the fight over ObamaCare is that we elevated the national debate, over what a disaster, what a train wreck, how much ObamaCare is hurting millions of Americans all across this country. This bill is called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but it doesn’t provide protection. It’s not affordable, and it’s denying care to millions.
The one word in the title that is true, is ‘patient,’ because to go onto the web site, you have to be very patient. Collectively, millions of Americans have made the case that ObamaCare is simply not working, that it’s the number one job killer in this country. That it is causing millions of Americans to lose their jobs. Young coming out of school are not finding jobs right now because of ObamaCare. Single moms all across this country are being forced to work part time, trying to feed their kids on 29 hours a week because of ObamaCare. Hard-working families who are struggling to provide for their children are getting skyrocketing health insurance premiums because of ObamaCare. People all over this country right now are getting notifications in the mail that their health insurance is being canceled because of Obamacare.
As a measure of just how far we have collectively elevated those arguments, how many you saw the season premiere of Saturday Night Live? The opening skit was a three minute skit on what a disaster ObamaCare is. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius went on Jon Stewart Comedy Show. If you haven’t seen it, go Google it. He ripped her apart. Jon Stewart asked her, the President has given an exemption to big business for a year, why not give a delay to hard-working Americans? That’s a liberal comedian on television making that argument. And by the way, making it to a whole bunch of viewers who would pretty much never listen to Republican politicians talking.
That’s a sign of what we accomplished elevating the debate. Secondly, what did we do? We energized the grassroots. In the course of just a few weeks, over 2.1 Americans signed the national petition at DontFundIt.com. The hashtag #MakeDCListen has been Tweeted over 1 million times in the last 30 days.
For everyone who talks about wanting to win election in 2014, [inaudible] in a non-presidential year, they say nothing, nothing, nothing matters more than an energized an active and vocal grassroots America. That’s how you win elections.
But third, we made Democrats take a lot of stupid votes. Let me highlight one in particular. Every single Democrat in the U.S. Senate voted against eliminating the Congressional exemption from ObamaCare. The polling on that, over 90 percent of Americans disapprove of that exemption, and over 70 percent of Democrats say they would vote against a Senator who voted to keep a special exemption for themselves that wasn’t given to the American people. Yet, when the House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution funding the government and repealing that exemption, Harry Reid marched all 54 Democrats off that cliff.
By the way, the language in ObamaCare that subjects members of Congress to the same rules on the exchanges, it won’t surprise anyone in this room that that language is known as the Grassley amendment.
I promise you, come October and November of 2014, we’re going to see television commercials all over this country of Democrats who voted to give themselves exemption from ObamaCare that constituents don’t get. There will be members of the Congress, the Senate who are experiencing the joys of the private health care system.
The fourth benefit is we demonstrated the power of what the people, what the grassroots could do. Just a few months ago all of official Washington scoffed that the grassroots would rise up, then we saw 2.1 million people signing the petition at dontfundit.com. Official Washington scoffed that the House of Representatives would vote to fund the federal government and defund ObamaCare, and then the House of Representatives exercising a profile in courage, stood strong and listened to the American people and led the fight.
We didn’t accomplish our ultimate policy goal in this battle and didn’t, because unfortunately, a significant number of Senate Republicans chose not to unite and stand side-by-side with House Republicans. Had we stood together, I’m convinced the outcome of this fight would be very, very different.
But listen, none of us thought that taking on the Washington establishment was going to be easy. None of us thought that this was going to be a simple path.
We all understood it was going to be an ongoing effort and right now, I am more encouraged than ever. If you look at the five instances I talked about and the power of the grassroots, four of the five have been complete victories. In baseball terms for those of you following the World Series, that’s batting 800. That’s double Ty Cobb.
The fifth one we saw the American people rise up. We saw the House of Representatives listen and I am confident in time the U.S. Senate will listen as well to the American people.
Going forward, how do we keep fighting? I’ll tell you what I’m spending my time trying to do, is two things. Numbe one, tell the stories. Tell the stories of the people who are hurting. We’ve launched a national website, MakeDCListen.org I would encourage each of you to go home, to go to MakeDCListen.org and — upload your stories. Upload your stories – how is ObamaCare is impacting you? How has it impacted your family, your jobs?
One of the things that we can do in the Senate, is help tell a story. Help make it real, how people are hurting.
The second thing I’m trying to do is to continue to energize and mobilize the grassroots to help all of us. The only way we win this is to win it together.
How many of you have cell phones with you? I would like you to text the word ‘growth’ to 33733, the word growth. We’re working to try to build a grassroots army across this country, because the way the way we’re going to stop Obamacare, the way to get back to economic growth, it’s not going to come from Washington.
It is not going to come from elected officials. It’s going to come from the American people. What I am trying to do is mobilize and help the American people be mobilized, energized and carry that message to our friends and neighbors. That’s how it worked in 1980 and that’s how it will work now.
This leads to my fourth and final point. This fight is worth it. This fight is worth it, because for one thing it is in the path to victory. You know, the media loves a false dichotomy. They love talking about Republican civil war. It’s interesting. You have well-meaning folks, like the New York Times, giving advice on how the Republican Party should save itself. That’s a little bit like taking health care advice from Dr. Kevorkian. They are not desiring the same end-outcome that you are desiring.
We need to unify and come together, and let me tell you, growth and freedom are principles and ideals that unify the entire Republican Party. They are principles and ideals that unify the evangelical community with the liberty movement, with the business community. Growth and freedom are principles that bring together Main Street, and the Tea Party.
If we get back to our core principles, that’s how you reassemble and keep strong Ronald Reagan’s three-legged stool. Let me note, if you look at the last four congressional elections, ’06, ’08, ’10 and ’12, three of the four were disastrous for Republicans – ’06, ’08 and ’12 we got clobbered. In all three of those, the prevailing wisdom in Washington — if you took every Washington strategist and dumped them in the ocean, you know what you’d call it? A good start.
But ’06, ’08 and ’12, the Washington strategist said Republicans keep your head down, don’t rock the boat, don’t stand for much of anything. The economy is not going great for President Obama so just keep your head down and we will win as being the least battle alternative to whoever the other guys are.
Shock of all shocks, we got our clocks cleaned in ’06, ’08. and ’12. There was one election that was different in 2010. It was different in the way we campaigned. 2010 was a positive, optimistic campaign. It was a grassroots campaign across this country saying we stand for growth and freedom. We stand on unambiguously against Obamacare because it is hurting millions of Americans. What happened in 2010, Republicans won a tidal wave victory, taking control of the House, picking up seats in the Senate. What did all the strategists say in 2014? Let’s go back to the model of 2006, 2008, 2012.
You guys pushing for a stand on ObamaCare, that’s risky, no, no, no, no. Just keep your head down and we’ll win races. That is not how you win races. By the way it is driven, by the old Nixonian adage — that in the primary you run to the right and in the general you run to the left. What complete poppycock!
That’s based on the oh, so clever idea that if your opponent is here on the specter, that you want to be infinitesimally just to the right so you could capture every marginal voter right up to where they are.
The problem is if you do that, you destroy every single reason anyone has to show up and vote.
The model I turn to over and over again is the model of Ronald Reagan. Does anyone remember in 1980 Ronald Reagan saying “I am almost exactly like Jimmy Carter, except imperceptively a tiny more conservative?” Ronald Reagan stood up with a smile and drew a line in the sand, and he said President Carter and I have a fundamentally different visions of this country and our future. If you believe in freedom, if you believe in standing on your own feet, if you believe that government is not the solution, government is the problem, then stand with me and that is how we saw an epic transformation.
The second reason why this fight is worth it, is that growth is fundamental to opportunity. For years I have advocated what I call ‘opportunity conservativism.’ Which is that every single policy we think about, we talk about should focus like a laser on opportunity. On easing the means of ascent up the economic ladder. The biggest lie in all of politics is that Republicans are the party of the rich.
The top one percent, those evil millionaires and billionaires the president demagogues against all the time – you know, under President Obama are the top one percent, are earning a higher share of our national income than anytime since 1928. That shouldn’t worry us because nothing bad happened after 1928.
Who has been hurt by the Obama economy? Who are the people hurt the worst? Who are the losers under the Obama economy that are the most vulnerable among us? They are young people, they’re Hispanics, African-Americans, they’re single moms. Those are the ones losing their jobs, those are the ones pushed into part-time work. Those are the ones losing their health care. As Republicans, we should be championing opportunity for people who are struggling.
What is the fight over Obamacare about? Let me share with you a couple of stories from MakeDCListen.org. Shannon from Toledo, Ohio wrote quote:
My name is Shannon. Both my husband and I are machinists. Since ObamaCare has been enacted, our workplace stopped giving raises or bonuses. Our insurance premiums have doubled already and are due to go up dramatically for 2014. On top of that, our hours have been reduced. My 19-year-old son who is attending college part-time has a part-time job at Bob Evans as a server. In the past, he was able to work up to 35 hours a week. About a month ago, he was told he could only work up to 25 hours a week as a direct result of Obamacare. In our family, 100% of the working people are seeing a negative outcome on our wages due to Obama and his fancy laws.
Please continue to fight.
Here is another story from Rigo from Humble, Texas:
My name is Rigo. I am a single father. I have health care coverage through my employer and I currently pay $120 per month for myself and my daughter. I am extremely worried and concerned that my premium is going to go up if Obamacare goes into effect. I live paycheck to paycheck and I cannot afford my premium to rise. Please help.
One more story from Sherry from Fairmont, West Virginia.
I have been forced to part-time employment because of Obamacare. I now may lose my home because we will no longer be able to afford to make our mortgage. I have major medical issues and I am losing my insurance and am being forced to obtain other insurance. I was happy with my insurance and my job, but because of Obamacare, my life is in shambles. I was happy as a worker who is self-sufficient. Obama and his policies have driven me to a state of shame and embarrassment replacing the pride and satisfaction I once felt as a result of my own self-reliance. God is not happy.
These are real people feeling real pain because the Obama economic agenda does not work. We need to make the case to every young person in the Hispanic committee, in the African-American community, single parents struggling to provide for their kids, that the greatest engine of prosperity and opportunity that the world has ever seen is the free market system of the United States of America.
The final point I want to make, is like each of you, freedom for me is not some abstract concept you read about in a book. It’s real in our lives but while you’ve talk about coming as an immigrant, it is real in your life because you’ve seen it, you’ve seen the freedom this country gives.
For me, my dad fled Cuba 55 years ago. As a teenager he fought in the Cuban revolution, he hadn’t thrown in prison, and tortured by Batistas and beaten almost to death.
Today, my dad is a pastor in Dallas. His front teeth are not his own cause they were kicked out of his mouth in a Cuban jail when he was a teenager. When my father came to Texas in 1957, he was 18, he couldn’t speak English. All he had was $100.00 sewn into his underwear. I don’t actually advise carrying money in your underwear. But for the young people who are here today, imagine being 18, in a strange land where you do not know anybody, you don’t speak English, and you have nothing. He got a job washing dishes making 50 cents an hour. He worked seven days a week, paid his way through the University of Texas. He graduated, got a job and went on to build a small business to work towards the American dream. When I was a kid my dad used to say to me, over and over again, when we face depression in Cuba, I had a place to fleet. If we lose our freedom here, where do we go?
That is why every one of us is here tonight. That is why we are fighting because as Ronald Reagan famously observed, freedom is not passed down from one generation to the next in the blood stream. Every generation has to stand up and defend freedom so that one day we don’t find ourselves answering our children and our children’s children – what was it like when America was free? That is a question and a single person in this room wants to answer and that is why we are fighting because together I am convinced together, standing together, we can get back to our free market principles, to our constitutional principles. We can restore that shining city on the hill that is the United States of America.
Thank you and God bless you.
End speech transcript
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