Senator Ted Cruz was in Iowa for the Ronald Reagan Dinner and delivered a slam dunk speech. I was going to highlight a point or two, but the whole speech is so spot-on I’ll just give you the video and the entire transcript. (Note, it’s a rush transcript so there may be an error or two.)
Update: Also take note that the good Senator doesn’t use a Teleprompter.
It is great to be with so many friends in Iowa. Thank you for that very kind introduction, thank you. And David for inviting me here today. Thank you for your gracious hospitality. Thank you, to Chuck Grassley for welcoming me into your home state with so many dear friends of yours, and thanks to each of you for coming out tonight.
I promise you I will do everything humanly possible to speak for less than 21 hours. You know I’m nearing the end when I begin to read “the cat and the hat.” 21 hours is a long time. That is almost as long as it takes to sign up on the Obamacare website.
Everyone of us is grounded and we have kept to we are by our families. I am proud to have the opportunity to introduce to each of you, my wife. She is beautiful and brilliant and the mother to my two baby girls, and she is the love of my life. Thank you for being here. Talking about family keeping one grounded, we have a tendency in the midst of heated battle to think that battle is of great importance.
But that cannot always perceive that to be quite the same. Last Sunday we were in Washington with our two girls, we were driving to mount Vernon that afternoon to spend some time with the girls. The five year-old asked her little sister, what do you want to do when you grow up? She said I want to work with daddy in the U.S. Senate. Caroline said that this is boring, I want to be in a rock band. She said, he will be dead by then. This is a true story. I was driving the car. I wondered if she had been talking with Republican leadership. If she knew something I didn’t.
I am here tonight, more than anything else, with words of encouragement, with the words of hope and optimism. What want to talk to you about tonight is that we are facing extraordinary times, the answer to what we’re facing his — only the people can turn us around. But 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 the nation, with an administration that seems bent on violating every constitutional protection that we have in the Bill of Rights. I don’t know that they have violated the Third Amendment, but they may start soon ordering soldiers in people’s Houses.
If you look at the First Amendment, and the complete disregard of religious liberty, telling servicemen and servicewoman 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 — this is against who we are as a people.
We saw just a few months ago an Air Force chaplain in Alaska, reprimanded, because he posted a simple statement that there are no atheists in foxholes. Apparently, chaplains are not supposed to be talking about God. The phrase he was quoting, was President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Who had some passing familiarity with the military.
We have seen the assault on the Second Amendment. No administration in history has tried to come after the Second Amendment like this administration. Vice President Joe Biden, the nice thing, you don’t need to punch line. You just say his name and people laugh. But Vice President Joe Biden said, if anyone is attacking your home, the nice just go outside and fire both barrels of a double barreled shotgun into the air. Which is very good and advise if you are being attacked by a flock of geese.
We have seen the assault on the Fourth and Fifth amendment, as this administration has invaded our privacy, seizing phone records and e-mail, of law- abiding citizens as the target of their efforts.
By the way, for anyone who has yourself on here, please leave them on. I want to make sure President Obama here’s everything that we say tonight.
We have seen the assault on the Tenth Amendment as power has extended beyond it limits.
Then if you look at the fiscal and economic state, we’re facing an enormous crisis. For the last four years, our economy has grown 0.9% per year. There is only one other four-year time since World War II with less than 1 percent growth. 1979 — 1982.
Coming out of the Jimmy Carter administration, the same failed economic policies and out of control spending and regulation. This 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 we had the opportunity to speak at the National Republican convention and I talked about the national debt and our two little girls. That night we went back to the hotel room, and I began to look at twitter. Paula Poundstone, the comedian watched the convention, and she sent a tweet. She said, “Ted Cruz just said, the national debt is 16 trillion dollars. What did she do?”
We laughed so hard we almost fell out of bed. 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 now working to meet the challenges of the future or their priority, but working to pay off the debt of their parents and grandparents. Our parents didn’t do that to us and our parents did not — their parents did not do that to them.
We are here because we’re not willing to do that to the next generation.
That leads to my second point. Growth is that answer. Growth, if there is one word that every Republican should have tattooed on his hand, this is growth.
The book of Ecclesiastes says there is nothing new under the sun. I would say the challenges we face right now are very similar to the late 1970’s. This President is fond of saying he has inherited the worst economy since the history of the universe.
He does not seem to have a great memory. Do you remember double digit unemployment, 22% interest rates, gas lines across the block. Do you remember our hostages in Iran as the President wrung his hands?
The answer we saw in 1980 was a grass-roots revolution, the Reagan revolution, millions of Americans, many Americans in this room who got involved and said, we will get back to the principles that made this nation great.
President Ronald Reagan came into office in 1981, elected the same year that Chuck Grassley was elected to the U.S. Senate. He implemented policies the exact opposite of those that President Obama has made. Instead of raising taxes to cut taxes and simplify the tax code. Instead of exploding spending here restrained the growth of federal spending. Instead of unleashing regulators, like locusts, to destroy a small businesses, Ronald Reagan restrained federal regulation.
The result was among the most incredible economic growth that the nation has ever seen. By the fourth year of Reagan’s presidency, does anyone recall the rate of growth at 7.2%. What does this mean in practical terms? Inheriting the same lousy economy — implemented the same policy. And if those policies had produced the same economic growth, we would have 7 million new jobs. The equivalent of every single person that is unemployed in 46 of the 50 states and having a new job for every one of them. Every other challenge we have, unemployment and the national debt and maintaining the strongest military and the world, if we have growth we can do all of this.
If we don’t have growth we can’t achieve anything. This is an interesting statistic. Do you know that 1 percent of economic growth produces a decade of 2.8 trillion dollars in tax revenue, and 3.1 trillion in debt and deficit reduction in echo this is one percent. This is what the Republican Party needs to be about. We need to be about economic growth all the time, every day. This is how we turned the country around.
So how do we get this done? Othe people can turn us around. I’m convinced we’re facing a new paradigm in politics. This is a paradigm that is the rise of the grassroots. This has official Washington absolutely terrified.
But this new paradigm has been beta tested. Unlike the Obamacare web site this was been 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 seen, over and over again the power of grassroots. I participated in standing side-by-side with Rand Paul in his epic filibuster against drones.
When that started, most of his colleagues did not understand and they thought that this was curious and did not make any sense. We started to see people all over the country going on line, speaking out and saying, defend our liberty and our constitutional rights.
As a result of your leadership, and the grassroots rising up, the next day, President Obama was forced to do what he had refused to do for three consecutive weeks. To admit in writing that the Constitution limits his authority to target U.S. citizens.
We saw the new paradigm the second time, on the battle over guns. Following the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. President Obama did not come out as he should have, targeting violent criminals. I think violent criminals, we should come down on them like a ton of bricks.
But instead of that he chose to target the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. I have to tell you that conventional wisdom was that this was unstoppable. Early on in the first few weeks, we said if this had happened early, this would not have been pretty. And once again the same thing happened. Millions of Americans began to speak up at town halls when the Senators came home, going on Facebook and Twitter, speaking out. The lead alternative to the Second Amendment infringing bills, the law enforcement alternative, was a bill that was entitled to the grassroots — that I was very proud to write, side by side. I was sorry proud to write this with Chuck Grassley.
It received 52 votes, the most bipartisan votes of any comprehensive bill concerning guns. Nine Democrats voted for this. But the filibuster prevented this from passing into law. Even though Washington was convinced that nothing could stop the anti-gun agenda of the President, when it came time for a vote, every single proposal of the President that would have undermined the Second Amendment was voted down on the Senate floor.
This was the power of the grassroots. The third time that we saw immigration where the President and Senate Democrats made a push to grant amnesty to those here illegally, and they push this through the Senate. But the American people rose up an overwhelming numbers and said, we don’t support granting amnesty without securing the borders and solving the problem. As a result, that bill into the House of Representatives. And it has stopped because of the speaking at your elected Representatives.
The fourth example is 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 supporting this. In Washington, this was a done deal and there was no stopping it. But then, what happened is the same thing. The American people spoke up louder and louder, and the calls were coming against it 100 to 1. And as a result of your leadership, it was stopped dead in its tracks.
And then the fifth and final example, is the battle that we just went through over Obamacare. If you read the New York times that is your first problem. They will tell you that this battle accomplished nothing. I think collectively we accomplished a great deal.
One of the things that we accomplished is that we elevated the national debate, over what a disaster and what a train wreck, how much this is hurting millions of Americans across this country. This is called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It does not provide protection and is not affordable, and it denies care to millions.
The one word in the title that is true, is patience, because you have to be very patient. Collectively, millions of Americans made the case that this is not working, this is the number oen job killer in the country. This is causing millions of Americans to lose their jobs. Young people are not finding jobs right now. Single moms across this country are being forced to work part time, trying to feed their kids on 29 hours a week. Hard-working families who are struggling to provide for their children.
They’re getting skyrocketing health insurance premiums because of this. People all over this country right now, many people find their health insurance is being canceled because of Obamacare.
As a measure of how far we have elevated those arguments, how many of the use of the season premiere of Saturday Night Live? The opening was a three minute skit on the disaster of Obamacare. Kathleen Sebelius went on the Jon Stewart Show. He ripped her apart. Jon asked her, the President has given an exemption to big business for a year, why not give this to hard-working Americans? This is a liberal comedian on television making that argument. And by the way, making it to a lot of viewers who would pretty much never listen to Republican politicians.
This is a sign of what we accomplished in elevating the debate. We energized the grassroots. In the course of just a few weeks, 2 million people signed a national petition at DontFundIt.com. The hashtag #MakeDCListen has gone out over 1 million times in the last 30 days.
And for everyone who talks about wanting to win election in 2014, they say that nothing matters more than an energized an active and vocal grassroots America. We made Democrats take a lot of stupid votes. Let me highlight one in particular. The polling on that, over 90 percent of Americans disapprove of that, and 70 percent of Democrats say they would vote against the Senator who voted to keep a special exemption for themselves. When the House of Representatives funded the government and repealed that exemption, Harry Reid marched all 54 Democrats off that cliff.
The same rules as the exchanges of those who are obstructing this are facing, it would not surprise anyone in that room is that language is known as Grassley bill. In October and November of 2014, we’re going to see television commercials all over this country. There will be members of the Senate to experience the joy of the private health care system.
The fourth benefit is that we demonstrated the power, of what the people and what the grassroots do. Every once scoffed at the idea that the grassroots would rise up. And 1.2 million people signed — and then the vote to defund Obamacare. Exercising a profile in courage, House Republicans stood strong and listened to the American people and led.
We did not accomplish our ultimate policy goal. A number of Senate Republicans chose not to stand side-by-side with House Republicans. Had we stood together I am sure the outcome of this fight would be very different. But 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 task.
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, the power of the grass roots, four of the five have been complete victory. This is batting .800. Double Ty Cobb.
The fifth one that we saw, we saw the House of Representatives listen. I confident over time the U.S. Senate would listen as well.
Tell the stories of the people who are hurting. I would encourage each of you — upload your story. Upload your stories in how Obamacare is impacting you. How was this impacting you and your job.
One of the things that we can do in the Senate, is help to tell a story. Make it real, how people are hurting. I am working 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 phone on you? I would like you to text growth to 33733. The word growth. We’re working to try to build a grassroots army across this country, because the way that we will stop Obamacare, and get back to economic growth, is not going to come from Washington.
It is not going to come from elected officials. I want to mobilize and get this information to our friends and neighbors. This is how it worked in 1980 and this is 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 is in the path to victory in the media — a false dichotomy. They love talking about a Republican civil war. How the Republican Party should defend itself, this is like taking medical advice from Dr. Kevorkian. But not want the same outcome that you are desirable.
We need to unify and let me tell you, growth and freedom are principles and ideals that should unify the entire Republican caucus. 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 you look at the last four elections, three of the four were disastrous for Republicans. We got clobbered. In all three of those, the prevailing wisdom in Washington — if you took everything — every Washington strategist and dump them in the ocean, you would call it a good start.
The Washington strategist said keep your head down, don’t rock the boat, the economy is not going great for President Obama so keep your head down and we will win. Shock of all shocks, we got our butts cleaned. There was one election that was different in 2010. It was a positive, optimistic campaign. It was a grassroots campaign saying we stand for growth and freedom. We stand on ambiguously — unambiguously against Obamacare. In 2010, Republicans won a tidal wave victory, taking control of the House, taking up seats in the Senate. What did all the strategists say in 2014? Let’s go back to the model of 2006, 2008, 2012.
Just keep your head down and we will win races. That is not how you win races. By the way it is driven I the old — by an old Nixonian adage — What complete poppycock. That is based on the oh so clever idea that if your opponent is here, that you want to be just to the right so you could capture every marginal voter. The problem is if you do that, you destroy every single reason anyone has to come 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 if he ever stood and said, “I am almost exactly like Jimmy Carter? Except a little more conservative.” No. Ronald Reagan stood up with a smile and drew a line and he said President Carter and I have a different visions of this country and our future. If you believe in freedom, in standing on your own feet, if you believe if government is not the solution, government is the problem, and stand with me and that is how we saw an epic transformation.
The second reason — 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 and 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.
Under President Obama, the top one percent are earning a higher share of our national income since 1928. That shouldn’t worry us because nothing bad happened after 1928. Who has been hurt by the Obama economy? Who have been the losers under the Obama economy that of the most vulnerable among us? They are younger people, Hispanics, African-Americans, single moms. Those are the ones pushed into part-time work, losing their health care. As Republicans, a we should be championing opportunities for people who are struggling.
What is the fight over Obamacare about? Let me share with you a couple of stories. Shannon from Toledo, Ohio, — wrote that both her husband and her are machinists. Our insurance premiums have doubled already in our due to go up dramatically for 2014 . Our hours have been reduced. My son has a part-time job as a server. In the past, he was able to work up to 35 hours a week. 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 due to Obama and his fancy laws.
Please continue to fight.
Here is another story from Texas. My name is Rigo. I am a single father. I have health care coverage through my employer and I pay for myself and my daughter. I am worried and concerned that my premium will go up if Obamacare goes into effect. I live paycheck to paycheck and I cannot afford my premium to rise. Please help me.
One more story from sherry from West Virginia. I have been forced to part-time employment because of Obamacare. I now may lose my home because we may no longer be able to afford to make our mortgage. I have medical issues and I am losing my insurance and him being forced to obtain other insurance. I was happy with my insurance and my job 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. 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, African- American community, that the greatest engine of prosperity 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 is real in our lives but while you talk about coming as an immigrant, it is real in your life because you have seen of the freedom this country is. 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 and beaten almost to death.
Today, my dad is a pastor in Dallas. His front teeth are not his own good as they were kicked out of his mouth in the Cuban jail as a teenager. When my father came to Texas in 1957, he was 18, he cannot speak English. All he had was $100. I do not advise carrying money in your underwear. For the young people who are here today, imagine being 18 and a strange land where you do not know anybody, you do not speak English, and you have nothing. He got a job washing dishes. He worked seven days a week, paid his way through the University of Texas. He graduated and got a job and went on to create a small business. When I was a kid my dad used to tell — say to me, when we face depression in Cuba, I had a place to sleep. 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 observed, freedom is not passed down from one generation to another. Every generation has to stand up and defend freedom so that one day we do not 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 where free market principles in our constitutional principles. We can’t restore — we can restore that shining city on the hill that is the United States of America. Thank you and God bless you.