Newt CPAC 2011 Speech Transcript
Well, thank you all. Thank you very much. I am delighted to be here I want to thank Dave Bossie. Callista and I have a great working relationship with Dave and we have made a number of movies that we’re very proud of and the new Reagan book that we’re proud of and all that he did at Citizens United both in the lawsuit last year and in the hard work he’s done to help elect conservatives across the country is really, truly remarkable so I’m glad to be back with you. I also want to thank David Keane who, while he has retired from that job, held together both the ACU and CPAC since 1983 and he deserves a big round of applause.
Now, as all of you know who have been here when I have been at CPAC over the years I almost always start by going back to the very 2nd CPAC, 1975, at a time when the republican and conservative prospects seemed at their very bottom, when the country seemed to have lost its way and when Governor Ronald Reagan, recently out of office, came here and said that we have to have bold colors, not pale pastels. And he laid out a policy which, in a very short time, defeated the soviet empire, re-launched the American economy and rebuilt American civic pride and American exceptionalism. 20 years after that, I came to CPAC as the first republican speaker in 40 years and I outlined a series of very bold ideas: welfare reform so people would go to work and school instead of being dependent on the government, a balanced budget, tax cuts for the first time in 16 years to stimulate economic growth, strengthening our intelligence capacity against terrorism… now I’m back.
Here we are 16 years later and what’s happened? Well, just two stories from yesterday: the Germans are buying the New York Stock Exchange, and in fact the German exchange is bigger than the New York Stock Exchange so they will have 60% control of the exchange. This marks a major decline of New York as a center of world finance; it is a fundamental blow to our capacity to lead the world and to create jobs and in fact what’s truly astonishing is that the German government, that Germany as a country, pays 50% more for manufacturing than we do. You earn more money in Germany and they have the lowest unemployment rate since 1992. So it’s not always cheap labor- sometimes it’s just terribly bad government. Let’s look at the case: the German government is pro jobs, the German government is pro manufacturing, the German government is pro worker training, the German government is pro exports. And now let’s look at the Obama government.
Why are we falling behind? Why is the New York Stock Exchange taken over by Frankfurt? Why are we in a mess? Why do we have over 9% unemployment? Well, the Obama administration is anti-jobs, anti-small business, anti-manufacturing, pro-trial lawyer, pro-bureaucrat, pro-deficit spending and pro-high taxes…What do you think is going to happen? My favorite political governing slogan for the next 20 years is 2+2=4. Simple, basic, honest facts. if you want to kill jobs you can and Democrats prove it all the time.
Now let’s look at the second big story from yesterday. Yesterday, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano said we have the most heighted threat since 9/11, that after 10 years there are more terrorists in the United States who are indigenous terrorists, recruited through the internet, than at any time in the last decade. And yet this is the administration- we did a movie, Callista and I did with David called “America at Risk: The War with No Name”- this is an administration which doesn’t even have the courage to tell truth about who wants to kill us.
I know that I would get attacked for telling the truth, so when somebody whose nickname is Jihad Jane confesses in court to being a terrorist, it would be inappropriate to suggest to you what patterns might have lead her to that. When you have a Nigerian who trains in Yemen, who arrives over Detroit on a Christmas day seeking to blow up an airplane over the neighborhood to get collateral damage; when you have a Pakistani who lied, who says to the judge, when the judge says “How could you have sworn an oath to the US” he said “You’re my enemies. I lied.” The judge was suitably shocked. When you have a man jump up at Fort Hood, with a card in his wallet that says “Warrior of Allah”, yells Allah-hu-Akbar, kills 13 Americans and wounds 33 and the President of the United States and the chief of staff of the army urge people not to jump to conclusions. Do not generalize. When you have mayor Bloomberg after they pick up a car bomb from the Pakistani in Times Square, whose first comment on television was “Let’s not rush to judgment: it could have been someone who’s opposed to Obama care.” Now do you know how willfully, deliberately you have to hide from reality to assume that after thousands of radical Islamist terrorist suicide bombers that your first thought is it’s somebody who’s oppose to healthcare? I mean this would be a psychological problem if it were not a public official. The Obama administration is wrong on terrorism, wrong on Iran, wrong on the Muslim Brotherhood, wrong on Hezbollah, and being wrong on that many national security items is an enormously dangerous thing.
But, the president’s popularity remains relatively high because the media loves him. As one liberal analyst said, “My leg shakes thinking of him”. Time Magazine just did a cover on Reagan’s 100th birthday: “Why Obama Loves Reagan”. Now I want you to know first of all my leg doesn’t shake. And I want the elite media to know something: I knew Ronald Reagan. I began working with Ronald Reagan in 1974 when I first ran for Congress. And I hate to tell this to our friends at MSNBC and elsewhere: Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan. However, the media wants us to be responsible. The media wants us to be bipartisan. The media wants us to bring a new, positive tone to Washington.
So I’m going to risk shocking you. In the tradition of Ronald Reagan’s 1975 Bold Colors proposal, I want to suggest that CPAC do something very bold. And let me say, by the way, for those liberals who think 2010 was the peak, the fact that we have 2000 more registrants this year ought to tell them “Oh no. 2010 was the appetizer, 2012 is the entre.” So what I’m going to say is so bold, I just want to ask you to hear me out before you react. I want us to offer President Obama the opportunity to be the keynote speaker at CPAC in 2012, if he earns it. Now let me explain. Many people write about moving to the center. Many people cite Bill Clinton as moving to the center. Just as with Reagan, I was actually there. Clinton signed welfare reform and 2 out of 3 people either went to work or went to school. Clinton signed the first tax cut in 16 years and, as Art Laffer pointed out in the Wall Street Journal this morning, it included the largest capital gains tax cut in history designed to create jobs and unemployment went down from 5.4 to 4.0 % and that was the largest single step towards a balanced budget. We kept spending down to 2.9% a year for 4 years: the smallest increase since Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s. Bob Livingston, as chairman of appropriations, had a huge spending cut bill, the first since 1981. John Kasich, as chairman of the budget, authored a series of changes leading to the first 4 balanced budgets in a row in 2 generations.
The House GOP moved fast. In fiscal 1995, the Democrat’s deficit was $164 billion. We brought it down a little bit the first year, but the second year, we had it down to $22 billion, from 164. The following year we had a $69 billion surplus in our third budget that we were in charge of. Over a four year period, we paid off $559 in federal debt, by controlling spending, cutting taxes, and increasing economic growth.
The number one job today is to create jobs. America only works when American’s are working. And nothing would do more to balance the budget than to go from 9.2 percent back down to 4 percent unemployment, taking 5 percent of people off of unemployment, off of food stamps, off of Medicaid, put them back with a job, paying taxes, giving their family a future.
And let me emphasize something that Republicans all too often, and conservatives all to often fail to be honest and direct to talk about. At a time when we have forty-five percent black teenage unemployment in January, that is not acceptable to anyone in America, and we should be the people to drive for the policy changes so every young American can get a job, no matter what the ideological bias of this President.
And I’ll be candid. We did not need a deficit commission. We needed a jobs commission who talked with people who only create jobs. I am sick and tired of Congressional hearings, where people who have never created a job show up to explain what their theory is of doing something they have never done.
I am going to outline two large strategies that will move us towards job creation: an American Energy Plan and an Environmental Solutions Agency to replace the Environmental Protection Agency.
But first, let me discuss how President Obama could move to the center, and could be bipartisan, and could be invited to keynote CPAC. There are seven steps…there are seven steps, we have just convinced every liberal of what they have always feared, I think there are seven steps to the center for Obama. First, sign the repeal of Obamacare.
Now let me make a point to my news media friends, 58 percent of the American people, in the most recent poll, favor repeal of Obamacare. Now, 58 percent ought to be the center. I mean, where is the center if it is not with the majority of Americans? I know, for some people, the center is the faculty club at Harvard, or it is the New York Times editorial board, but that is just not factually correct. So if the President would like to truly be a part of the American middle, sign the repeal.
Two, sign Tort reform for doctors. He said the other night he would like to do it, let’s let him do it. The Congress should pass him, based on Texas and other reforms, the strongest possible tort reform bill, and let him become President and know, by explaining that he didn’t actually mean what he said, because if he said what he said, he wouldn’t have actually meant it, because he couldn’t actually mean it, cause that’s why he needs the trial lawyers, so we should have understood that he actually meant something else he forgot to say, cause the teleprompter wasn’t working at that moment, and it is not his fault.
Three, sign the permanent repeal of the death tax. 78 percent of the American people favor the repeal of the death tax. That has been consistently a large majority for the past thirty years, and I would say to the New York Times, and to CBS news, and even daringly to our friends at MSNBC, if 78 percent isn’t the center of this country, where are you going to find it, and what are you doing when you get there?
Fourth, sign a new Hyde Amendment, so no tax payer money funds abortion in the United States.
Fifth, sign a new Paul Ryan drafted Conservative Budget Act, to control spending and move to a balanced budget.
Sixth: Sign a law to decisively control the border now. Seventh: Sign a tenth amendment implementation act returning power from Washington to the states and to the people thereof. This is not about shipping it from Washington to Atlanta or Washington to Sacramento. Remember, the amendment actually says “and the people thereof,” so the power ought to go back to local people, local communities and then they can decide what they want to give to state government. And that act should include – to prove how real it is – block-granting Medicaid so that states can control the cost and improve the quality without interference from Washington bureaucrats. Now, I hope you’d agree with me that a President Obama that did those seven things would have come to the center and would deserve the invitation to be the keynote speaker next year. I would not bet a lot on that ticket.
But now, think about my two major policy proposals and the context for that centrist program. First, we need an American energy policy. At American solutions, we’ve discovered over the last few years that 79% of the American people think that we need an American energy policy to create jobs in the United States. 79% of the American people believe that we need an American energy policy to keep the money here rather than in China. 79% of the American people believe we need an American energy policy for national security reasons. No matter how you ask the question, it consistently comes out better than four to one. So wouldn’t the center of American politics, the base of bipartisanship, be doing what the American people actually want and having an American energy policy. Now by contrast what you have from the Obama Administration is a war against American energy. They just can’t help themselves. Even in the State of the Union, at a time when we’re facing rising oil prices, what does the president want to do? He wants to raise taxes on oil and gas – in America, not in Saudi Arabia, not in Iran, not in Venezuela.
So, Callista and I were at the Reagan hundredth Anniversary, which was a wonderful event at the Reagan Library, which by the way just had a brand new wing opened that is marvelous. If you get a chance to visit Simi Valley, it’s remarkable. We have lunch with Secretary of State George Schultz, and I was asking him about what’s happening in Egypt and does how he thinks Reagan would approach it, and he finally said to me, if you go all the way back to 1973 and the very first oil shock, done deliberately by the Arab countries and you look at Reagan’s State of the State address in 1974, where he called for American energy policy, Schultz looked at us and he said, “It makes us wonder how many times you need to get hit over the head with a two-by-four to figure out this is serious.”
Cliff May of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy wrote me the other day and he said, “Lenin in the Communist era said, ‘Capitalists will sell us the rope to hang them. ‘” He said, “But it never occurred to Lenin that we would give them the money to buy the rope with.” And that for thirty years, we’ve followed an energy policy which makes the Saudis richer, the Iranians richer, the Venezuelans richer, which allowed them to subsidize madrassas across the planet teaching hate, which allows them to subsidize people that want to come and kill us, and for the last thirty years we’ve had the worst possible national security policy in energy and it’s time we’ve stopped it, and it’s times we’ve an passed aggressively pro-American jobs, aggressively pro-American energy.
In 2008 when gasoline was at four dollars a gallon, American solutions launched a petition drive: Drill here, Drill now, Pay less, which frankly, up until the collapse of Wall Street was actually working and the week before Wall Street collapsed, John McCain was ahead by 3 points and the Republicans were ahead by 5 in the generic ballot, because the Left couldn’t survive in a world where we had the courage to say, “Why don’t we find American oil and why don’t we find American gas, and why don’t we have the next building boom in the United States, not in Dubai. And why don’t we make sure that the terrorists run out of money?” And that ought to be our approach to this, so let’s do it now.
First of all: Reopen off of Louisiana which by the way, this administration, with utter total hypocrisy, said they were going to lift the quarantine, but then said, “Oh but by the way there’s a new regulatory policy and we don’t issue any of the new regulations.” So they have effectively stopped everything they promised us last fall everything they would allow to happen again. Governor Jindal wants it to happen. The people of Louisiana want it to happen. They understand that 80,000 dollar a year jobs aren’t all that available in the United States and they understand that shipping the rigs to Egypt and the Congo because they’re more politically stable than the United States is not a good sign for our future. So let’s reopen the areas off only those states that want to reopen them, but if a state wants to go and find oil and gas and wants to create more jobs in that state, and therefore wants to help the American balance of payments and keep the money here, let’s let them do it now.
We should end the Environmental Protection Agency’s war against American oil and gas. For example, Shell won in 2006, five years ago, a lease to allow them to explore in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas off Alaska. Three billion dollars later, the EPA has refused to allow them to move forward and they announced last week they’re stopping it. Now, this wasn’t the Alaskan wilderness area. This was an area that was totally, legally open for exploration in which the environmentalists inside the government and the environmentalists outside the government deliberately conspired to stop a company from creating American oil and American gas in the United States in a way which can only be helpful to the Saudis and the Iranians. And I for one am tired of being told that we ought to cripple our companies in our country on behalf of people overseas, and you don’t see any lawsuits over there because they don’t frankly allow it. And so you have a situation where every time you stop Americans, we strengthen our enemies and we weaken our own economy and this is a perfect case study
We should also stop the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to cripple the development of gas found in shale. We now have technology that let's us go down as far as eight thousand feet, reach out as far as four miles horizontally. We can now produce commercially available natural gas from shale. We have an 11 hundred year supply. And the answer is, "But you don't know what's happening 8,000 feet down." And therefore your EPA is going to protect you from the possibility that 378 years from now something bad will happen. Well let me tell you something bad is happening this morning with all the people who can't find a job because the government is killing their industry keeping the cost of energy high.
We need to develop effective clean coal pilot projects that prove the concept we can use coal because we have more energy in coal than Saudi Arabia has energy in oil and it is utterly, totally foolish to say to say that the United States is not going to aggressively develop clean coal. The Department of Energy promised in 2003 they would have a plan done by 2008. They then studied it to death. They now hope to have one done by 2016. At the current direction, the Chinese will have built, patented, and licensed new technologies worldwide faster than our bureaucracy in Washington can figure out how to issue the permit to even try. That is fundamentally wrong and we should cut through the red tape and we should maximize the ability of our own electricity industry and our own coal industry to develop new plants in the most rapidly possible way. And for example the Obama administration just a few weeks ago reversed a permit that had been given for a coal mine in West Virginia because the new EPA bureaucrats decided the old EPA bureaucrats were wrong.
How do you invest? How do you create jobs? How do you have any sense of energy production when you know that the next left wing, ideologically-committed, anti-business bureaucrat could in fact take away every single thing you've ever done. And so they ought to reverse that decision. They ought to go back to keeping their word. They ought to allow West Virginians to have a job and create energy for the rest of us. They should also streamline the nuclear regulatory process to enable us to build nuclear power plants. There is something fundamentally wrong.
I always say to my environmental friends, "If you really wanted to get carbon out of the atmosphere and if we produced as much electricity from nuclear power as France, you would take 2 billion tons of Carbon Dioxide a year out of the atmosphere." And they'd say "Well, that's not the right solution." Because there's never a right solution if it’s a solution because then our economy would grow, free enterprise would work, and that would be wrong. So what they always want is a technology that doesn't exist but could exist someday if only you were patient long enough. And in the meantime, why don't you ride a bicycle to prove you're a patriot because they're not going to permit you to do anything else.
There are two things about Nuclear power. One, we should dramatically go through and streamline the regulatory process for the big plants, but two, there’s a whole new generation of very small nuclear power plants, that are very, very safe, that should not come under the certain kind of regulatory design for a huge, giant multi-million dollar plant. And we could go to a much more effective nuclear power, very fast and have a very big job creation technology.
We should also insist on flex-fuel cars and blender pumps, and hear I just want to say a word, because some of my friends I think are confused about this issue, frankly. The person who first got my attention on this is former Director of the CIA, Jim Wilson, who said, “This should be seen as a National Security Issue.” Brazil went to a flex-fuel car model years ago, the very companies, by the way, that will come and testify here that they don’t know how to do it, are building the cars in Brazil. Cause the Brazilians said, “Either you are going to build them, or you are not going to be here.” They said, “Ok we will learn how to do it.” That cost less than putting in a seatbelt. And the fact is, it allows the consumer to choose. It is not a question of dictating what you want to do, it’s about giving you a range of choices about what you want to do. Brazil today is totally energy independent, by a combination of offshore discoveries, flex-fueled cars, and the use of sugar-based ethanol. And they don’t pay a penny to Saudi Arabia. They don’t pay a penny to Iran or Iraq or Venezuela.
Now, I just think we ought to be clear about this, let the consumers have the opportunity to choose what they want to do, and most of them are going to be economically rational, and it is a step toward us getting away from relying on foreign fuels.
Finally, I do think, cause I used to…I’m a futurist, I believe in the future like Ronald Reagan and I think you ain’t seen nothing yet. I believe in investing in and developing new technologies, if the investments are made largely by the private sector, without the government picking winning and losers. And, I am happy to say to many of my friends, look hydrogen matters, bio-fuel matters, solar matters, wind matters, but the truth is, in the next twenty years, what is going to matter the most is oil, gas, coal, and nuclear, cause they’re simply and statistically going to remain the bulk of the supply. So we need to move forward on every front, not stop the biggest, most successful fronts, while we wait around someday for a better future that may or may not come fast enough for any of us to be either employed or safe.
Now in order to have an American Energy policy, we need to replace the Environmental Protection Agency with a new fundamentally different Environmental Solutions Agency. For my friends in the media, I would like to emphasize replace. This is not about tear down, destroy, eliminate, walk away, let the environment be destroyed, sell out to corporate interest, and all that bologna. This is a different question. And Terry Maple and I wrote a book called “A Contract with the Earth” which outlining the model of a green conservative. The question is could you in fact develop a better solution than a Washington based, command in control, top down, bureaucratic, regulatory, litigation model?
Now I believe, and by the way about 75 percent of the American people believe that relying on science, technology, markets, and incentives, is a better future, with better solutions, than relying on bureaucrats, trial lawyers, litigation, and regulation. This is a very fundamental question about can we do it better? I want to replace, not reform EPA, because the EPA is made up of self selected bureaucrats, who are anti-American jobs, anti-American business, anti-state government, anti-local control, and I don’t think you can reeducate them. I think you should allow them to go home, get a college job, write their memoirs “What I did before the Revolution”, and just go on with what we are doing.
I don’t think the EPA bureaucrats, who are dedicated to a Washington centered, top down, bureaucratic control by litigation and regulation, are going learn a new dance, a new approach, and a new model. What we need is, and by the way this is double true because Obama wants to use EPA to control carbon, so he can control all of the non-health economy to match his control of the health economy through Obamacare. And it is the two of them together that is such a fundamental threat to freedom in this country, by centralizing power in Washington, DC.
Now a new Environmental Solutions Agency, I believe, would do a better job of both protecting the environment and the economy. The principles are straightforward, localism when possible. I believe local people who actually live there, may have a higher value for their environment than a Washington bureaucrat who has never visited their town, and may never have even been in their state.
I believe that state governments can be very reliable partners, in that there ought to be a cooperative attitude from Washington, seeking to work with the states, not a dictatorial attitude, seeking to tell the states the limits of some bureaucrat here, based on paperwork.
I believe that incentives, innovators, and entrepreneurs will solve environmental problems, and improve the environment better than the bureaucrats, regulators and litigators.
I believe the new Environmental Solutions Agency should see communities, states, and industries as partners, not adversaries in solving problems when one approaches.
The Environmental Solutions Agency should look for new science, new technologies, and new approaches to get more energy, more jobs, and a better environment simultaneously. As an American, I reject the idea that you have to choose one or the other. We have never done that in our history. We have always believed that you can create a better future, and in my mind, a better future as a healthy environment and a healthy economy, and healthy local control, within a Constitutional system of a limited federal government, and we Americans should be able to do that.
I taught in the second Earth Day forty years ago. I was director of an interdisciplinary program at West Georgia College on the environment. Terry Maple and I, as I said, wrote, “Contract with the Earth” to outline a green conservatism. I believe you can love nature and be a conservative. You can love the environment and also love American energy and American jobs.
So I want to close by asking you to do this, call your Congressman and your Senators. Ask them to introduce a genuine American energy plan to cut through all the red tape, and all the litigation, and get us to energy and jobs this year, for American national security, for the American economy, and for a better future. And urge them to introduce and pass American Solutions, I’m sorry, Environmental Solutions Agency this year. And then let’s give the President a choice, does he really want to be president and know? Does he really want to veto every good idea that comes up from Capital Hill? Or does he want to work with us, in a cooperative, bipartisan, common sense, centrist majority absolutely supported by the American people, doing the kind of conservative, sound things that the American people want even if the Washington elites hate them. Let’s let him choose. I don’t actually personally believe he’ll make it here next year, but still, it’s a goal. We are all having a good time, why shouldn’t he get to come and have a good time too?
Thank you all very, very much.
Photo courtesy Eric Appleman, Democracy In Action, www.p2012.org