Thank you so much for having me tonight. It's truly an honor to be offered this opportunity to speak to you all. I sure appreciate John Boehner's leadership, as well as Eric Cantor, Pete Sessions, and the whole crew. There is a camaraderie and unity of purpose that is developing among your ranks that has excited conservatives and Republicans around the country. On behalf of rank and file conservative Americans everywhere, I'd like to thank you all for standing on principle.
Many of you have asked that I reprise my State of the Union Response Speech.....(long pause).....that was a joke by the way....it's ok to laugh about it....
I have just learned that because of President Obama's opposition to torture, it is now illegal to show my speech to prisoners at Guantanamo.
Anyway, you will be happy to learn that I will not be speaking from a teleprompter tonight.
This AIG debacle is starting to spread. I just learned that the Detroit Lions players now want an AIG clause inserted into their contracts for next year. The more they lose, the more they get paid.
OK. enough already. the customary opening jokes part of the program is now over...
I do want to speak very seriously tonight about the place we find ourselves in the public debate right now.
Let me start with this assertion - for much of the past 5 years, the lines between the political parties in America have been significantly blurred.
It had been unclear to many voters if there was really much of a difference between the two political parties. Many folks had begun to believe that both parties were bent on increasing the size of government. Many folks had begun to believe that both parties were bent on over spending and driving our country into debt of historic proportions. Many folks had begun to believe that there was not much of a difference between the two political parties on taxes.
The public has felt that there was not a clear choice in recent elections...and we saw the results. Voters were very clear in the 2006 and 2008 elections - if there is not a real difference between the parties...if both parties are going to expand and grow government...it's just easier to go with the Democrats...because at least the voters know that the Democrats are good at it.
Expanding government, increasing spending, growing the national debt, and generally wasting money are things that we will never be able to do as well as the Democrats. This is in their wheel house, and we just can't compete with them on this.
But here is the good news...The Republican Party is beginning to find its way, beginning to find its voice, and has decided to stop trying to compete with the Democrats on run-away spending. Thanks primarily to the Republicans in the house of representatives...the Republican Party has once again decided to be the conservative party in this country.
Let's agree on this tonight -- The time for talking about the past is now over. It has been healthy for Republicans to look in the mirror. It has been healthy for us to realize and admit the mistakes of the past. We have done that quite a bit. I personally have done that quite a bit since the election last fall. It's now been close to five months since the last election.
It's time to declare our time of introspection and navel gazing officially over. It's time to get on with the business of charting America's future. So as of now, be it hereby resolved, that we will focus on America's future, and on standing up for fiscal sanity... before it is too late.
Today the two political parties are offering the American people dramatically different visions...let's explore these two paths.
I want like to stipulate right up front that the differences between the two party's visions are genuine and legitimate differences. They are not differences born simply of political opportunism. No, these differences are essentially based on opposing world views, opposing notions of what America's future should look like.
On the Democrat's side we now see the greatest expansion of government in our lifetime. In fact, if you go by the numbers, we now see the greatest expansion of government in anyone's life time, in our country's history.
Consider these facts for a moment.
The spending spree the Obama Administration and Speaker Pelosi have undertaken is costing the taxpayers more than the Iraq war, more than the Vietnam War, and near and dear to my heart, even more than the Louisiana Purchase.
In the two months of this new Administration, our country has been spending 36 Billion dollars a day, 1.5 Billion dollars an hour, and 25 Million dollars a minute. From the time I started speaking to the time I stop, the government will have spent roughly 375 Million dollars. For those of you who are eager for this speech to be over, that will give you a clue on how much longer I plan to go.
Let me be clear again...it is wrong to suggest that this new Administration has anything other than good intentions. This is not a difference born of anything other than a fundamental and honest disagreement about the right direction for America to go.
Too often in the heat of battle in politics we slip into a situation where we talk about the other party as if they are sinister people, as if they have some master plan to hurt America. Some on our side say that the Democrats are trying to destroy the free enterprise system and bankrupt America, and some on their side say that we don't care about the plight of working people.
Let's be clear, neither of these assessments is true, and neither are reasoned political discourse.
It's really this simple - The Democrats believe that the historic spending and expansion of government is the way to get us out of our current economic problems. They honestly believe that.
Conversely, we honestly believe that they are completely wrong, and that their path will have dire consequences for not only this time, but also for the future of America.
So what do Republicans want to do? What do we believe?
That is really very simple as well - we believe that small business, American ingenuity, hard work, and the relentless and tireless pursuit of the American Dream by individuals are the keys to our success as a nation both in the past...and in the future.
We believe that there has never been a challenge that the American people, with as little interference as possible by the federal government, cannot handle. We believe that rugged individualism and freedom are the timeless virtues which have made America the greatest country in the history the world.
We believe that America is never stuck.
We believe that an endless series of government expansions, bailouts, stimulus packages, and bloated budgets will take our country down the very path that European socialism has already stumbled. And we believe that is a dangerous path that would harm the very promise of America.
We believe in freedom, and we must articulate that philosophy boldly every single day.
But there is more that we must do.
As Republicans, we must do more than argue a philosophy. We must offer solutions, and we must demand both competence and excellence in government.
On health care, we must fight the inertia of miring down into an argument on whether health care is a right or a privilege. We as a party are better than that. Instead, we should focus our energy on improving the health care every single American gets.
And let's be clear...our Republican Party ought to be the home of meaningful health care reform.
We have the best health care system in the world because it rewards and stimulates ingenuity. Let's make it better by putting in place more incentives for new innovations in health care technology.
We as Republicans believe in the power of the individual, let's lead a modernization of the entire delivery system - putting the individual patient at the center of every policy. That can mean insisting on digital medical records. It can mean making every individual a smarter consumer of insurance. It can mean rewarding wellness and fitness. And it has to mean insisting on the elimination of the inefficient bureaucracy - public and private - that makes health care too expensive.
On education, we must summon the moral courage to confront the unjust system that the Democrats desperately cling to and therefore perpetuate. The left has not had an original idea on education since the invention of the chalk board. Our party believes in education reform. We have nurtured a sincere education reform movement. We know the current system is broken for too many kids. We all believe it.
Everyone knows the dirty little secret of education in America - the idea that all kids, regardless of class, geography, income, or any other factor, the idea that all kids deserve and have a right to equal opportunity in education....that idea is NOT a reality in America today. And that is a shame. Now we must have the fortitude to win the political battles it will take to make fundamental changes in our schools, to allow for new ideas, to allow parents to have more choices, to break from the old model and move to a new model which demands equal opportunity in education.
On energy, we must be the party of YES, the party of bottom line answers while the Democrats lurch more and more toward being a party of dogma. As Republicans, we must embrace the clean energy options of the future. Clean, green, sustainable energy is not a partisan issue - it's an American issue. It will make us more independent and more responsible and we should seek that outcome.
But unlike the Democrats, we should not be willing to wait on clean energy alone...we should insist on making maximum use of EVERY American energy source. That means a commitment to exploration and research on fossil fuels and nuclear energy -- doing everything in our power to make America as strong and independent as we can. It's simple, when it comes to looking for more solutions to our energy needs, our answer needs to be yes to all of the above. The Democrats want to pursue half the options and limit the rest. Let them have that terrain, we are the party of YES, the party that wants to explore every option.
And on ethics....every national Republican victory in my lifetime has been inextricably wed to a reform movement in our party. 1980. 1984. 1994. 2000. 2004. When we are the party the voters judge to be most committed to cleaning up Washington and restoring honesty and integrity to government.....we win. When the voters are confused about which party will bring reform and change, we lose. We must vow to each other that we will never again tolerate poor ethics in the highest levels of our government or the highest levels of American business.
We know the difference between right and wrong. We have to be strong enough to stand up and say so.
Now...in the short time I have left, let me comment directly on the latest gotcha game that I have noticed occurring in Washington today, and it is a game that the left has been playing and that some in the media have gone along with.
I've noticed that some of the Democrats in Congress have begun badgering Republican leaders with this question - They simply respond to any criticism of the President by asking - "so, do you want the President to fail? Do you? Do you? Yes or no?"
I'm going to give you a very direct answer to that question in just a minute. I will not disappoint. I will be very direct.
But first, let's take a look at the question, the motive behind it, and what is really afoot here.
The suggestion behind the "do you want the President to fail question" is this - If you don't answer their question with a loud "NO" immediately, if you don't express instant obedience to the question, then you are not really a patriot, and you are essentially trying to undermine America.
Make no mistake, anything other than an immediate and compliant - "why no sir, I don't want the President to fail" is treated as some sort of act of treason, civil disobedience, or political obstructionism.
This is political correctness run amok.
And let's be clear, the very Democrat leaders who are now asking this phony question, are the ones who for so long wanted to see the last President fail, regardless of the issue, and regardless of whether he was right or wrong.
There is a very important role in our Republic for the loyal opposition. And we must be both. We are loyal to this country, and to the Republic on which it stands, one nation under God. And we will always be so. And we are loyal to the President of the United States, whether he is a Democrat or a Republican.
But make no mistake, loyalty does not mean we have to agree with his policies.
And we are also at present the opposition party. We are the party out of power. And it is altogether right and proper, and healthy for our Democracy, for us to speak up when we do not agree with the policies that this President pushes and proposes.
I will not be brow beaten on this, and I will not kow-tow to their political correctness. We will be the loyal opposition.
So...my answer to the question is very simple -
"Do you want the President to fail?"
It depends on what he is trying to do.
There is something far more important to us than whether the President or ANY politician fails.
Far more importantly, we don't want America to fail.
When and if the President wants to cut taxes on job providers, reduce our national debt, stop the massive explosion of government spending, make good on his promise to seek earmark reforms, govern in a way that is fiscally responsible consistent with his rhetoric in his campaign, and act in a truly bi-partisan fashion, then I want him to succeed and I wish him God speed.
Let me repeat in case anyone misses the point, when and if the President pursues those policies, I do NOT want him to fail, I want him to succeed.
When the President wants to spend our country into interminable debt, putting not only this generation but future generations into a position where the only way out will be massive tax increases...we oppose that policy, not because we want the President to fail, but because we want America to succeed.
When the President wants to increase taxes on small biz owners, the very people who create 70% of the jobs in the country...we oppose that policy, because we want America to succeed.
When the President wants to change the law so that taxpayer's money is used for abortions...we say no, because we want all Americans, born and unborn to succeed.
When the President wants to use the stimulus bill as an opportunity to radically grow the size of government ...we oppose him because we want America to succeed.
When the President wants to change the rules so that union elections are no longer conducted by private ballot, the way all American elections are conducted ...we will not go along, because we want America to have the freedom to succeed.
When the President considers attempts to squelch media outlets that are not favorable to him by pursing the unfair "fairness doctrine" ...we will not support that policy, because liberty is a key ingredient of American success.
When the President talks about striking the very word "enemy combatant" from our vocabulary ...we disagree because we want Americans to succeed in every corner of the world.
When the President pursues polices that spend too much, tax too much, and borrow too much ... we will not go along, because we are committed to making sure that America succeeds both now and in the future.
And when the President pursues polices that are akin to those of European socialism ... policies that taken too far could cause America to fail, we will oppose, and we will stand up and be counted, and we will do so proudly, not because we want the President to fail, but because we want America to succeed.
And by the way...I make no apologies for any of these positions, and neither should any of you.