By Patrick J. Buchanan
Delivered at the California Center for the Arts
August 11, 1996
Why can’t Dan Rather give us that kind of objective coverage?
Connie, Bay, my thanks for bringing together this wonderful crowd in the hall tonight. I’ll take credit for the crowd outside.
Thank you, Dick Mountjoy and the committee, Phyllis, first lady of American conservatism, Rabbi Spero, Duncan Hunter, Cliff Steams, Kelly Cash — and my old friend from White House days, Ollie North.
But I want to pay special tribute to one who traveled with me tens of thousands of miles in the cars, vans, buses, and those tiny planes she loves so much, all the way from the Cook Inlet of Alaska to the Florida Keys: First Lady of my heart: Miss Shelley Buchanan. I still think she’d make a great replacement for Hillary Clinton.
But we’re not going to criticize Bill Clinton tonight. You really ought not criticize someone while he’s on active duty in the service of the United States.
But I do want tonight to talk about a “miracle campaign.” This campaign came out of nowhere to set the agenda for the nation in 1996, to change the shape and direction and shape of the Republican Party, and to alter the course of American history.
I want to speak tonight about who we are, where we came from, where we are going.
When we declared, 18 months ago, our campaign was a subject of bemusement to the Beltway elites. No one gave us a chance.
So, everyone was sweet to us — at first.
But, I will say, they sure made up for that later.
But, from the very beginning we had a dream. We had a plan. And we had a vision, a vision of a new conservatism of the heart rooted in old and unchanging principles and values learned long ago in homes, schools and churches — and grounded in the patriotism, the love of country, and the enduring ideas of our Founding Fathers.
We entered the Primaries of 1996, to give voice to the voiceless: To the defenseless unborn — to the Forgotten Americans, left out and left behind in the raucous stampede toward a global economy — and a voice for those middle-class families, like the one I was raised in, for whom the American Dream has begun to vanish.
We were taught to believe life is a gift of God. No man can take it away. This right to life is inalienable, Jefferson said.
When we began, some called this issue of life a losing issue. If you want to win this nomination, they said, back off a bit, Pat.
But it is not an issue on which you can compromise, or split the difference. Because it is not simply a matter of “personal conscience.” It is a matter of morality, of right and wrong. It is the defining issue of an age where the Culture of Life is locked in mortal struggle for the soul of America with a Culture of Death.
We simply must protect innocent human life, anywhere and everywhere, whether the unborn, the mentally disabled, or the terminally ill.
That is God’s commandment.
So, we spoke up, and stood up, and good people came and stood by us. And, because we stayed in this race, right up through platform week, because we refused to fold our tents, Bay and Phyllis and Terry and Mary Summa and Sandy and Colleen were in San Diego — to fight on the ice.
Because the Buchanan Brigades would not compromise, and because we would not quit, the Republican Party remains tonight a pro-life party.
And our opponents’ views have been placed in the appendix, which is where they belong.
Friends, we believe in tolerance of those with whom we disagree. But, I must tell the members of my party in all sincerity: The day my party walks away from the innocent unborn, that day it ceases to be my party.
“What doth it profit a man,” the Bible asks, “if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his soul.” What is true of a man, is true of a party, and is true of a country.
We have forgotten that, as a nation and a people, we are under God’s judgment. We are under God’s law. We have forgotten that America is more than her Gross National Product. She is more than the world’s largest economy. She is more than the sum of all we buy and sell. She is our country, our home.
We are not just “consumers.” We Americans are citizens of a Republic, sons and daughters of a great nation, brothers and sisters; and we have obligations and duties to one another.
In this campaign I have been critical of the conduct of these transnational corporations that show no loyalty to their workers, nor allegiance to any country.
I do so, because, no matter how rich and powerful they are, they do not represent what is right about American enterprise.
Let me tell you a story.
In the hours before the Revolutionary War Thomas Nelson of Virginia stood in the House of Burgesses and declared, quote,
“I am a merchant of Yorktown, but I am a Virginian first…Let my trade perish. I call to God to witness that if any British are landed in the County of York, of which I am Lieutenant, I will walt no orders, but will … drive the invaders into the sea.”
Seven years later the oath of Thomas Nelson was tested. He was Governor of Virginia, with Washington’s army, at Yorktown. As his soldiers shelled the British army inside the town, Nelson asked his men why they were not firing at all — on one sector of the city.
“Out of respect to you, sir,” a soldier said.
Nelson’s men did not want to fire on his home — in Yorktown. So, Thomas Nelson stepped up to the cannons, ordered the artillery turned around, and gave the signal to fire at his own home.
His home was destroyed. And Thomas Nelson died in poverty, trying to pay off his debts.
That is character; and that is patriotism, and that is what we need. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” a young President said, 36 years ago.
Today, isn’t it time we replaced a corporate ethie of avarice and egotism, with that grand old ethic of patriotism, self-sacrifice, and spirit of community and country of Americans like Thomas Nelson?
Friends, what are we doing to our own people?
In the tiny town of Raine, Louisiana, I stood outside a Fruit of the Loom sewing plant, built in 1992. The women who worked there said nothing — as I spoke. After just three years in operation their plant was suddenly shutting down.
The company was opening a new plant, just like it, in Mexico.
In Washington, the think-tank academics respond: So what, these are “dead end jobs;” these are “sunset industries.” Let ’em go!
But, to the women of Raine, these are the best jobs they ever had. Those six-dollar-an-hour jobs were how they were raising their kids. When they lose these jobs, they’re not going to be making computers. They’ll be on unemployment; and they’ll be on welfare.
Across America, company towns are becoming ghost towns. Families are being uprooted, forced to move out, to find new work. Young women who want to stay home with preschool children are being forced into the labor market to maintain the family standard of living.
If not families, neighborhoods and communities, what is it we conservatives are trying to conserve?
Friends, either we Americans go forward together, or we’re not going forward at all.
We must become one nation, and one people again.
Four years ago, I was up in Hayfork, high in the Trinity Alps of northern, California. Loggers who had worked in that forest for generations had been cast onto the slag heap of society. A federal judge in Oregon had declared 9 million acres off limits to logging.
I spoke from the back of a flatbed truck. When I finished, three shy little girls came up, about thirteen or fourteen, and politely asked for my autograph. As I was signing one whispered, “Mr. Buchanan, we all wish we were 18 years old, so we could vote for you — ’cause all our daddies are losing their jobs.”
What are we doing to our own people?
The economic security of our people is today being sacrificed, and America’s national sovereignty is being surrendered.
Regularly, we read in the press that the IMF or World Bank has just made another multi-million dollar loan, backed by the full faith and credit of Americans, to a Chinese regime that killed our men in Korea or a Hanoi regime that killed our boys in Vietnarn.
Soldier-patriots like Michael New are coun-martialed for refusing to take orders of UN officers. A World Trade Organization that did not exist two years ago, tells the United States to change its laws. European nations — that we defend — tell us we may not sanction Col. Khadafis regime that murdered our schoolkids on Pan Am 103. A UN Secretary-General roams the world, at our expense, campaigning to keep his job — in defiance of the nation that created the UN — and created his job.
Our servants are becoming our masters.
You have my word: As long as there is life in me, I will spend the rest of my days fighting to restore the lost sovereignty of the United States, and to rescue the Republic I love from the grip of their godless New World Order.
Who will look out for America, if her own leaders will not?
Under NAFTA and GATT, the U.S. merchandise trade deficit has exploded to almost 200 billion dollars a year. That’s four million lost jobs for America’s working men and women — this year alone!
America is losing her industrial dynamism. She is becoming a dependent nation: Dependent on OPEC for oil, dependent on Japan to buy our debt. So dependent, that when a corrupt Mexican regime threatened not to pay its debts, we had to send it tens of billions of dollars, lest default by Mexico — bring America down.
Who did this to our country? We need not look far.
Public officials who look on high office, not as a public trust, but a back door to personal wealth. Lobbyists who hire out to foreign interests, and buy and sell their own country. Politicians who cannot see beyond their next fundraiser. Diplomats who see themselves as “Citizens of the World,” rather than citizens of the United States.
Friends, the American people are crying for deliverance.
Let us join forces with men and women of all parties to clean up our politics. Let us put an end to all corporate contributions to political parties — and all PAC payoffs that have put America the Beautiful on an auction block — and corrupted the democratic politics of the greatest republic on earth.
Friends, I do not exaggerate. The issue of the new century will be whether America survives, as an independent republic, with her own defined borders, a common language, and a common culture.
A few miles south of here is a great country, with a great and good people, the Mexican people. But, robbed repeatedly by venal governments, the Mexican people are, by the millions, seeking their future in the United States. Desperate for work, they violate our borders and immigration laws to get here.
Our hearts go out to them.
But this land is our land. And this country is our country. And we have a duty to look out for America and Americans first.
Yet, our government seems paralyzed in enforcing its own laws, and protecting our own national frontiers. Friends, if we can send an army halfway around the world – to defend the borders of Bosnia and the borders of Saudi Arabia — why can’t we defend the borders of the United States of America?
As I said, my friends, we had a dream, and we had a plan:
Our dream was to capture this nomination, in a lightning series of upsets in the first primaries, before the Establishment woke up, to spend spring and summer unifying our party, and gathering the lost sheep of the Reform Party and the U.S. Taxpayers Party, then, leading a mighty populist and conservative coalition against President Clinton, and Prince Albert.
Our dream was to create a new Republican Party of Main Street, not K Street, of the Union Hall, as well as the Legion Hall, of the bleachers, as well as the sky boxes.
It was not so wild a dream.
Had Lamar run second, instead of a narrow third, in New Hampshire, we now know, Senator Dole would have quit the race.
Had I worn a white hat, instead of that black hat, in Arizona, and hoisted fewer guns, friends say, we might have won Arizona — and the nomination. But, it was not to be.
But those were marvelous days. Shelley and I will cherish them all our lives.
There was Pioneer Day in Sholow, Arizona, out beyond the Apache Reservation. As we rumbled through the streets on a buckboard, behind high school bands and rodeo riders, a fellow on the side of the road, peered at me, hoisted a long-necked bottle of beer, and called out, “Hey, Pat, welcome to the United States of America!”
There was that night in central Louisiana, at an evangelical church, when I was to speak after the Christmas Play. As I sat waiting 45 minutes, I began to wonder: How long does this little play go on?
But when I entered the church I was astounded. Half of this huge congregation was on stage, dressed in authentic costumes. Cecil B. DeMille could not have put on a more magnificent scene. I was in Bethlehem, 2000 years ago. Joseph, Mary and the Baby Jesus were at center stage, surrounded by shepherds, wise men and angels. I was so moved, I cut loose with a sermon Billy Sunday could not have matched.
When I finished, all Bethlehem was standing and cheering. Even King Herod was on his feet, fist in the air, shouting, “Go, Pat, Go!”
Now, this miracle campaign is coming to an end.
Tonight, we are headed down to San Diego, to my eighth Republican national convention, and Shelley’s 10th. Folks may not know it, but that pretty blonde receptionist, outside Richard Nixon’s campaign suite in Chicago, in 1960, was Shelley Buchanan.
Yet, still, some friends ask: Why even go, Pat, why even stay in a party some of whose leaders call us names, and who will not even let you speak at your own convention?
But, friends, this party is not just their party, it is our party, too.
Out in the heartland of America, it is a great party, full of spirit and soul. Out there, it remains Ronald Reagan’s party: “Hopeful, big-hearted, idealistic — daring, decent and fair.”
And, friends, if we walk, look who we leave behind.
We walk away from the wonderful people who came out that freezing night in January, to stand in the cold for hours, at polling places in Kenai and Ketchikan, Anchorage and Fairbanks, to give us our first great victory of 1996.
As long as I live, I will never forget being awakened at four in the morning in a hotel room in some tiny Iowa town, to hear Bay’s voice on the phone — with a backdrop of all this raucous yelling and partying back on Elm Street in McLean, and hear Bay say,
“Hey, Big Brother, you just won Alaska — by 170 votes.”
One hundred seventy votes! King of the Klondike!
We can’t walk away from these people.
We can’t walk away from the men and women in those mills, factories and plants who look to us for leadership and hope. We can’t walk away from those folks who came out in the thousands, long after we had lost the nomination — in Wisconsin, Michigan, California.
In late June of this year, friends, at that enormous Texas state convention, 15,000 people, no one got a warmer, wilder welcome.
These are our people. We can’t walk away from them.
And we can’t walk away from Peggy Glenny.
Days after she had her fourth baby, Peggy Glenny got into her car every morning at 5 a.m. and drove through the snow, from farm to farm across western New York state, to get signatures to get me on the ballot in New York — while the party bosses there did everything to keep us off’.
Friends, if we walk away faom Peggy Glenny, who does she turn to?’ No, they stood by us; now we must stand by them.
America does not need a third party. America needs a fighting second party, a party that means what it says, and says what it means, that not only preaches, but practices, a conservatism of the heart — that looks out for all our people, but especially for those who have no one else to look out for them, and no one else to speak for them.
Friends, we are making the Republican Party that kind of party again.
When no one else dared, back in 1991, we walked off a little TV show — and challenged a President of the United States. Yes, we lost. But the ideas we advanced were embraced in the platform of 1992; and those ideas gave us the great victory of 1994.
Read our party platform of 1996.
Whole sections — the stand for fife, protecting our borders, immigration reform, economic patriotism, fair trade, equal justice under law, restoring our lost sovereignty, Putting America First, they are right out of the speeches we have been giving for 18 months.
Friends, there is so much of our’s in that platform, that we’ve decided to ask Haley Barbour for royalties.
Our rivals may be waving from the podium, but it is our ideas that now reflect the grass roots of this party, our ideas that are fixed firmly within the Republican Platform.
Before our eyes, this party is becoming a Buchanan Party.
The old era is over; the old order is passing away. It may bristle, and it may resist, but, within this party, a new party is being born. God willing we will be there at its birth, and one day, the stone the builders rejected, may yet become the cornerstone.
The other night, something came to me from the history books of my childhood.
In the Middle Ages, there was a time they called the Truce of God. During Lent, the warring nobles and knights suspended their battles with one another. No fighting during Lent.
Today, this disputatious party of ours needs such a truce, a Truce of San Diego. Let us — at least for the next ten weeks – nobles and knights – and, yes, even the peasants with pitchforks suspend our battles with one another — and join together in common cause to defeat Bill Clinton and Prince Albert, and dispossess them of all their holdings east of the Potomac River.
It is time for a party truce, in the name of a Republican victory.
Let me say now a word to the young of the Buchanan Brigades.
I know how you feel. We fought it fair. We almost had it won.
Sure, it hurts. But life is like that for people who believe in ideas, causes, and one another. No triumph comes without tears.
My first cause was Barry Goldwater. Talk about a beating.
But, just one year later, I joined Richard Nixon and we began one of the great comebacks in history. We won the White House. Four years later, we won a 49-state victory unlike any the nation had ever seen.
Then, Watergate struck.
I was at Mr. Nixon’s side, as his Presidency was destroyed. I said to myself.’ “Now, it is over. All we worked for, is gone.”
But, two years later, Ronald Reagan rode out of the West, and we rode with him. Four years later, we had the White House; four years after that, another 49-state landslide.
And, under Ronald Reagan, America won the Cold War.
The cause of my lifetime — triumphed.
So, now, you’ve had your first defeat. It’s painful.
But I know in my heart this cause is going to prevail. This cause is going to triumph, because it is the cause of America.
And, even if I don’t reach that promised land, you will be there. And, through my remaining days, it will be the proudest honor of my life to have led the Buchanan Brigades.