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Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 - Continued

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CRUZ. Madam President, I rise to honor the memory of Margaret Thatcher. When she passed, the United States lost a great ally and the world lost one of the greatest champions of liberty who has ever lived. I commend our colleague Senator Mitch McConnell for today offering a resolution that was approved by unanimous consent praising Thatcher's leadership. I commend all 100 Senators for consenting to and adopting that resolution.

I would like to spend a brief amount of time talking about the incredible import of Margaret Thatcher's legacy. Margaret Thatcher became familiar to so many of us in the United States after she started winning elections. We think of her as the scourge of the Socialist policies that threatened to ruin Britain, as the resolute victor of the Falklands War, and, of course, as the ideological soulmate of President Ronald Reagan, who battled the Soviets.

I have always been fond of her admonition that conservatives need to first ``win the argument,'' then we will win the vote; in other words, that we need to effectively communicate our ideas in order to prevail in elections, and elections will naturally follow as the consequence of doing so.

I would like to talk about her days winning the argument, in particular, her seminal speech on January 19, 1976, entitled ``Britain Awake.'' At the time, it seemed to many that the conservative movement had failed. As James Callaghan succeeded Harold Wilson as the Labor Prime Minister, the Tories were in apparent disarray.

Thatcher had wrested control of the party from former Prime Minister Edward Heath. Few gave her a chance at broader electoral success. Indeed, she said at the time she did not anticipate a female Prime Minister in her lifetime. I would be remiss if I did not note Margaret Thatcher was Britain's first and, to date, only female Prime Minister.

Thatcher was a trailblazer, and her ascension wasn't simply a matter of breaking the glass ceiling as much as it was refusing to acknowledge its existence.

Thatcher made the argument in that 1976 speech. She began by observing:

The first duty of any Government is to safeguard its people against external aggression. To guarantee the survival of our way of life.

She then addressed the Soviet menace, noting: ``They put guns before butter, while we put just about everything before guns.'' She bluntly and truthfully said the Soviets were ``a failure in human and economic terms.''

She went on to tell the nation: ``The advance of Communist power threatens our whole way of life.''

However, she stated:

That advance is not irreversible, providing that we take the necessary measures now. But the longer that we go on running down our means of survival, the harder it will be to catch up.

These comments strikingly were echoed not long after by President Ronald Reagan, when he spoke so clearly and addressed the Soviet Union as an evil empire. He went on to observe that Marxism would end up discarded on the ash heap of history.

At the time Margaret Thatcher's comments and Ronald Reagan's comments were derided by much of the intelligentsia, the media, the academy, and by many observers who knew far better than these seemingly naive souls. They were derided when President Reagan was asked: What is your philosophy of the Cold War? He responded: It is very simple. ``We win, they lose.'' This was seen as a simple Manichean view of the world and not realistic. Yet I would suggest their vision ushered in a far safer day for humanity.

Margaret Thatcher laid out the stark decision before the nation.

There are moments in our history when we have to make a fundamental choice. This is one such moment--a moment where our choice will determine the life or death of our kind of society--and the future of our children. Let's ensure that our children will have cause to rejoice that we did not forsake their freedom.

Margaret Thatcher won the argument. She took office during Britain's ``winter of discontent'' when Britain had double-digit inflation, a top income tax rate of 83 percent, and rising unemployment. She revolutionized the economy with free market ideas in her 10 years of service which ushered in a new decade of prosperity.

When she took office, the top income tax rate was 83 percent. It was cut to 60 percent and then to 40 percent. The middle tax rate was cut to 30 percent, and the lowest tax rate was eliminated altogether.

When she took office, the top corporate tax rate was 53 percent. She cut it to 35 percent. The top capital gains tax rate was a stifling 75 percent. Thatcher cut it to 30 percent. As a result of progrowth policies, unemployment fell from a high of 12 percent early in her tenure to 7.5 percent near the end. Public spending as a percentage of GDP fell from 45.1 percent of GDP to 39.4 percent of GDP. Inflation fell from almost 22 percent in 1979 to a low rate of 2.4 percent in 1986.

Perhaps the most telling tribute to Margaret Thatcher's leadership is 3 days after she gave her ``Britain Awake'' speech, the heroic fearless speech, she was dubbed ``The Iron Lady'' in the Communist news outlet, the Red Star.

When your military enemies are describing you as formidable as ``The Iron Lady,'' it indicates you are winning the argument, that your message is being heard.

Margaret Thatcher wasn't great just because she gave a good speech. She became great because she explained what was at stake. She articulated the meaning of economic freedom, freedom which allowed someone such as she, a shopkeeper's daughter, to rise to prosperity and leadership.

She articulated the value of national pride and convinced the public of the virtue of standing for freedom and against tyranny and oppression.

As Baroness Margaret Thatcher lays down the tortured freedom she spoke of in 1976, we can pay no higher tribute to her than to heed her arguments which are as valid today as they were then.

It is unfortunate news accounts have indicated the U.S. Government will not be sending a member of the current administration to her funeral tomorrow. I hope those news accounts are mistaken.

I hope President Obama, Vice President Biden or senior Members of the Cabinet make the decision to travel to Britain and to honor the incredible legacy of Baroness Margaret Thatcher. It was truly a providential blessing Margaret Thatcher served alongside President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II. Together, the three of them did something which previously had been unimaginable.

So many had opined the Cold War was unwinnable. We had to accept detente. We had to accept a condition in which the United States would constantly be in military conflict with the Soviet Union and our children would constantly be in fear of potential catastrophic nuclear war.

Yet when Reagan, Thatcher, and Pope John Paul all ascended to leadership together, they had the vision to do something very few imagined was possible, to win the Cold War without firing a shot.

Had that been suggested in the 1970s, this would have been diminished as crazy talk. Yet this is precisely what they did. Indeed, I would suggest in modern times there are few, if any, more deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize than those three leaders whose vision, courage, and collective leadership transformed the global debate and ended the Cold War which jeopardized the very fate of humanity. There have been no other leaders in modern time more deserving of recognition of a prize such as the Nobel Peace Prize than the three leaders who avoided war without firing a shot.

Today, many of us are the children of the generation which fought and won the Cold War. We can gratefully rejoice that Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II did not forsake our freedom.

As the children of those great leaders, it is now incumbent upon us, the next generation, to ensure freedom remains every bit as vital and real, not just for this generation but for our children and their children's children.

Baroness Margaret Thatcher was an extraordinary leader and courageous leader, a woman of vision, a woman of principle, and a hero--a hero to the United States and to the world. All of us, in my judgment, are in her debt.

I suggest the absence of a quorum.


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