Texas Governor Rick Perry's Remarks to the California Republican Convention- Transcript

By:  Rick Perry
Date: Sept. 7, 2007
Location: Unknown

Thank you, Ron (Nehring. CA GOP Chairman)

As I look out upon this gathering of my fellow Republicans, I consider it a great honor to address you as a fellow champion of the values and virtues that made America great.

You might ask yourself why a Texan would travel more than 1,200 miles to stand before you today. Quite simply, because Texas stands with you in your efforts to restore Republicans to their rightful place of leadership at all levels of government in the Golden State. I am here today to proclaim that what Ronald Reagan built we will not allow Nancy Pelosi to tear down.

Our nation is not great because of the size of our government, but because of the vision and values of our people. And we will not relinquish our nation's moral authority to please the leftist elites that occupy ivory tower institutions.

Back home, I often talk about how Texas enjoys competing with California - both on the football field and for jobs and economic growth. And, I might add, I am proud that we have had our fair share of success at both. But I also tell my friends back in Texas that it is vital to the health of our nation that California be successful.

California is too important to the future health of our country and our national economy to allow a bankrupt, liberal political philosophy to dominate the direction of this state.

The three states that you have heard from tonight, California, Florida and Texas represent 26% of the GDP of this country. If these three states were their own country, they would be the 3rd largest economy in the world -- larger than Germany and China. I say this to underscore the importance of having Republican leadership at all levels of government in these large important states -- the engines that drive our national economy.

It was not too long ago -- less than a decade in fact -- that Texas finally emerged from more than a century of complete Democrat control. This was achieved not by the politics of personal destruction so often practiced by the other side, but rather by standing on principle and winning the hearts and minds of our fellow citizens. This, I believe is how California and our country must combat the scourge of liberalism that we face today.

And this fight must be against more than just the classic tax and spend agenda that the Left has always championed. Our fight runs deeper than that. Our opponents believe in big government because they have little faith in self-governance. Their philosophy says that government should do what a man can't -- or won't - do for himself.

At its heart, liberalism doesn't flow from compassion but from cynicism…the belief that Americans are not smart enough to govern their own lives, compassionate enough to help neighbors in need, or wise enough to elect a Democrat in seven of the last nine presidential elections.

It's an agenda of arrogance. When they lose at the ballot box, they complain that they failed to get their message out. I think they have the opposite problem…they are not getting the message from the American People.

Take for instance the recent religious awakening that seems to have captured the fancy of some of the Lefts presidential candidates. Now, after 25 years, they have finally figured out that people of faith have felt belittled by their party's leaders and allies. So today they offer shallow appeals, and syrupy rhetoric to tickle itching ears. But I learned a long time ago that I would rather watch someone live out a sermon than merely preach one.

And while they talk a good game, their friends on the ninth circuit in San Francisco have been doing their dirty work, striking down the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, and trying to sanitize our public discourse of not only reverence for, but mere mention of the Almighty.

Here again we see how little faith the Left has in the people. It's as if the mere mention of God is so compelling that it might influence their atheist friends to start believing in something besides themselves. But whatever happened to reasoned discourse…to children in schools being exposed to different cultures and different faith traditions?

If they are so proud of their secular humanist worldview, why won't they allow the simple-minded views of the uneducated masses to be lined up next to their philosophy of self…and all its wisdom…and just let the people decide?
And since when did the field of science become the sole purview of left-wing politicians? I don't know about you, but I've heard Al Gore talk about man-made global warming so much that I'm starting to think that his mouth is the leading source of all that supposedly deadly carbon dioxide.

Virtually every day another scientist leaves the global warming bandwagon…but you won't read about that in the press because they have already invested in one side of the story. I'm not saying we shouldn't be good stewards of our environment. We should. I am just saying when politics hijack science, it quells true scientific debate and can have dire consequences for our future.

In today's political climate, Democrats aren't the only threat. The reason we lost our majority in Congress is not because our ideas lost their luster, but our leaders lost their way. When Republicans morph into big-spending, favor-trading politicians, voters will just go back to voting for the party that wrote the book on such behavior: the Democrats.

It's a sad, sad state of affairs when liberals campaign like Republicans to get elected, and Republicans govern like liberals to be loved. We need to hold the line on what it means to be a Republican which is, of course: being conservative. If you see a candidate who wants to tax like a Democrat, regulate like a Democrat, and educate like a Democrat, they should not have the honor of being called a Republican.

Nor should they be elected by Republicans.

If the Republican Party wants to regain its rightful place, we must get back to our fiscally conservative roots. Not just in Washington DC, but in Austin, Texas, Sacramento, California, and every other state capitol in our nation. At every level, we need true conservatives that will fight for deeper tax cuts, greater spending restraint, and increased educational opportunity.

This may be the California convention, but the battle you face is one we all have joined. 2008 is our opportunity to beat back the tide of liberal advances and restore order. If you need only one challenge to get you out of bed every morning for the next year, make it this one. Let's make sure the Nancy Pelosi speakership is just an asterisk in the history of our country.

If you need another motivation to keep up the fight over the next fourteen months, hang your hat on this one. We must move heaven and earth to make sure we never see another Clinton in the White House.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I realize that that the war on terror is not popular in some quarters of this country. But I believe that it is right and just. And I believe that thoughtful people will agree with my concern about the impact another Clinton administration would have on the men and women who today stand between us and the terrorists who would destroy America.

Every day that passes without an attack on America by the people that hate us is a credit to the men and women of the armed forces, the intelligence community and the people who guard our borders.

The terrorist element in the Middle East hates our way of life. And even with the battle raging in Iraq and Afghanistan, we cannot turn a blind eye to the regime in Iran that would obliterate the only democracy in the Middle East if they had a chance. And it's no big secret that Iranian arms and know-how are finding their way across the border into Iraq, threatening the lives of our allies and, more importantly, our own fighting men and women.

In Texas, we are looking at ways to send a message to the dangerous leaders of Iran who are racing at full speed toward nuclear capability. If Texas were its own country (and we once were by-the-way) our economy would be the tenth largest in the world. We do not set our own foreign policy, but we can determine how we will invest billions of dollars in state pension funds.

Like California, we recently said we will not invest in any company that profits from the genocidal regime in Sudan. I believe we must make a similar stand against Iran. While we in Texas will look for ways to send a message legislatively in our next session, I want to be crystal clear in my message today:

I believe that any company that is doing business directly or indirectly with Iran might as well be selling arms to those terrorists trying to kill our solders in Iraq. For these companies, there are no half measures here. There is no room to parse. Either you do business with our enemies, those that seek to do harm to our solders, or you don't. Pick a side.

A nuclear bomb in the hands of one Middle East maniac could be the destruction of millions of people living in Israel. So, we will stand with our friends in Israel. That's what friends do: they stand up for one another. Israel has stood with us for decades in the face of tyranny and we must stand with them today by pressuring Iran and the other agents of destruction in the Middle East.

That sort of noble behavior is what the Republican Party has been about. It is a party that believes in freedom. It is a party that believes in life. It is a party that believes in fiscal responsibility. It is a party that believes in moral values.

Despite what you read in the news, I assure you that we are still the party of family values, not the party of scandal. The integrity of our party matters more than any one person's hold on an office. So I'll say this, if you aspire to lead but cannot live out the values we hold dear, then you should step aside.

We must reconnect to the values that made our party and our country great. And we must restore conservative principles as the basis of our approach to governing. We know that our conservative philosophy is the right way to govern and the best way to lead. And if anyone needs proof of the effectiveness of conservative governing principles, you need look no further than the Lone Star State.

Just a few years ago, we overcame a daunting $10 billion budget shortfall, prioritizing education and health care, and making ends meet without a tax hike. Republican leadership in Texas reduced general revenue spending for the first time since World War II.

We took on the personal injury trial lawyers to reform our medical malpractice tort system. With medical liability reforms in place, Texas has suddenly become the destination of choice for doctors from across the country. We now have a backlog of applications from doctors who want to practice in Texas without the constant fear of frivolous lawsuits.

We protected the sanctity of a sacred institution, the institution of marriage by passing the Defense of Marriage Act. In fact, I would argue that under Republican leadership, Texas is the most pro-life, pro-family state in the nation. We passed a law that protects a parent's right to be involved in their minor daughters major decisions by requiring parental consent before an abortion can be performed. In Texas we prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars to support abortion clinics and we spend millions each year to help women seek alternatives to abortion.

Our economy is one of the fastest growing in the country. We have added over 800,000 net new jobs across the state over the past four years and been consistently ranked as the best place to do business in America. And, sorry to have to tell you this, but Texas has surpassed California to become the nation's top exporter.

I say all this things not to simply brag on my home state…though I am prone to do that from time to time. I tell you this because it is proof that conservative Republican principles can work and do work. What we have done in Texas did not happen by accident. They happened because the people elected Republican governors and, a few short years ago, the first Republican Legislature since Reconstruction.

These reforms happened because Republicans did not redefine, abandon, or waver on our philosophy. We did not listen to the sky-is-falling screams from the liberals or the over-the-top criticism from the media. We simply did what we said we would do. The results speak for themselves.

As the Governor of Texas, I make no apologies for being an optimistic conservative who is pro-jobs, pro-growth, pro-family and pro-life. And neither should anyone in this room. And, as a Republican, I must confess I long for the days when Ronald Reagan reminded us of the goodness of the human spirit.

As Republicans, we must ensure government does not discourage work by punishing success. We must make sure that the price of government does not grow faster than our wages. And government should not loom larger in our lives than our freedom.

My belief is in the person who invests their savings and their time in a new business, the truck driver who is on the road all night, the wheat farmer who puts food on our tables, the small business owner who meets a payroll. They are the quiet engine of progress. The men and women who pay taxes and build communities, they make the American Dream possible.

Their status as an American may stretch back many generations or to a recent citizenship ceremony, but either way, the American Dream should be entrusted to their hands and not a government program.

Our party stands for freedom to take risks and enjoy the rewards. Our party stands for the right to mention the name of God in a public setting without fear of reprisal. Our party stands for the right to life for the most vulnerable among us, the unborn child.

The Left says: "Trust government because the people don't know better". Republicans say, "Trust the people, and the government will work better."

In 2008, while the other side launches slash and burn campaigns against our candidates, we must take our message to the people. We need to talk about the bedrock Republican principles: cutting taxes, reducing spending, and reforming government. While those on the Left demagogue and divide, Republicans will unite behind our candidates with a positive message of hope, freedom, responsibility, and opportunity.

I may not be on the ballot...but I will campaign next year like I am, in Texas, in California, and anywhere else I can spread the word. I encourage you to do the same, giving everything you've got to the Republican campaign effort because the very future of your state, the future of our nation hangs in the balance.

Thank you and may God bless you and may God bless the party of Ronald Reagan.