Friday, December 4, 2009

Mr. Reagan on Big Tents

Exerpts from a Speech at

Conservative Political Action Conference

Washington, DC

Governor Ronald Reagan (R-CA)

March 1, 1975

Americans are hungry to feel once again a sense of mission and greatness.

I don ‘t know about you, but I am impatient with those Republicans who after the last election rushed into print saying, “We must broaden the base of our party”—when what they meant was to fuzz up and blur - even more - the differences between ourselves and our opponents.

When have we ever advocated a closed-door policy? Who has ever been barred from participating in this Republican Party?

Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?

Let us show that we stand for fiscal integrity and sound money and above all for an end to deficit spending, with ultimate retirement of the national debt.

Let us also include a permanent limit on the percentage of the people’s earnings government can take without their consent.

Let our banner proclaim a genuine tax reform that will begin by simplifying the income tax so that workers can compute their obligation without having to employ legal help.

Let our banner proclaim our belief in a free market as the greatest provider for the people.

Let us also call for an end to the nit-picking, the harassment and over-regulation of business and industry which restricts expansion and our ability to compete in world markets.

Let us explore ways to ward off socialism, not by increasing government’s coercive power, but by increasing participation by the people in the ownership of our economic machine.

Our banner must recognize the responsibility of government to protect the law-abiding, holding all those who commit misdeeds personally accountable. Laws already on the books should be enforced!

And we must make it plain to international adventurers that our love of peace stops short of “peace at any price.”

We will maintain whatever level of strength is necessary to preserve our free way of life.

A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency, or simply to swell its numbers.

I do not believe I have proposed anything that is contrary to what has been considered Republican principles. It is at the same time the very basis of conservatism. It is time to reassert our principles and raise them to full view. And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their own way.