Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)
Republican Party of Iowa
Abraham Lincoln Unity Dinner
Des Moines, Iowa
April 14, 2007
...We're not used to that this time of year, but we'll take it.  It's great that you're doing this; I appreciate the platform that you're giving all of us as presidential candidates and I appreciate the idea that you're looking at all the ideas and all the people and I think that's a wonderful thing to do.

As I get started I want to show you two things, one that picks us up and another that holds us down, as I get started.  One's a piece of carpet I got from the Iowa Corn Growers Association.  It's regular looking carpet; it's made out of corn, based out of corn.  Now I don't think you can pasture it; I don't think you can eat it, but I know you can use it for carpet.  It substitutes for oil products, and these are things we need to do more of in the future to lift us up and to make us more dependent on the Mid-West instead of the Middle East.  We need to do things like that.  [applause].

And a second thing I want to show you is to my left here.  It's April 14th today.  Tomorrow is April 15th.  This is the Internal Revenue Code, with interpretive regulations but not with court opinions that interpret it.  This should be taken behind a barn and killed with a dull ax.  [cheers, applause].

And I don't say that pejoratively, although those words sound that.  I say it because it's a system that's holding us down.  We can grow better with a different system.  And it's on big ideas like this that our party wins. And I want to propel those big ideas and those sort of issues forward.

As I was introduced you noted and heard that I'm the son of a Kansas farmer, and I believe anybody can still grow up to be president of the United States, and I'm going?willing to prove that.  And ours is a party that as I run, and as I run as the son of a farmer, I run on that party's principles that I grew up around.  The party's principles that I didn't really hear talked about so much at the dinner table, the farm, but I saw practiced, and I saw practiced every day.  Issues like faith, family and freedom.  I didn't know those were particular Republican principles; I just thought that's the way people live.  And they are the way people live, and they are our principles and they are the path forward for us as a country.  And we should celebrate them, not walk away from them.

Faith is a good thing.  It's a powerful thing, and it should be encouraged and not run out of the public square.  We should be able to say one nation under God in our flag salute and not worry about a lawsuit.  [applause].

The most impressive person I've ever met was a little woman, who at the time was very frail.  She was less than five feet tall.  She cared for millions of people throughout the world.  Her name was Mother Theresa.  I met her towards the end of life, and she was a lady of faith.  As I, we hosted her on Capitol Hill to give her the Congressional Gold Medal and she received it--wasn't interested in the medal.  They actually asked about melting it down and selling the gold to get the money for giving to the poor, but we suggested they auction the medal rather than melting it down; they'd get more for it.  But she wasn't interested in anything but really helping others.  She was powered by faith, though.

And as I put her in the car when she left from Capitol Hill, she told me, really about her faith in three words, and she told me what powered her, and she told me what had given her such zest and vitality and allowed her to serve millions. She said three words four times.  She said, "All for Jesus.  It's all for Jesus."  It was faith that powered her and faith is a good thing.  It's not a bad thing; it's not something we should run out of the public square.

Family is essential, and should be encouraged, not taxed, penalized or redefined out of existence.  And freedom is for everyone and everywhere and we will fight for it.

We're in a time of trial and peril.  We are fighting a war against Islamic fascists who seek our demise and that of Israel and that of progressive Muslim states in the region.  For the sake of our children and our grandchildren, I beseech you that we not lose the will to fight and win this war.  Please. [applause].  We can't do that.  [applause cont.]  We will win if we don't lose the will to fight.  If we lose the will to fight our children and grandchildren will pay the price and more.  We will abandon the hope of freedom in the Middle East to fanatic fascists, a thought our forefathers could not bear.

And we must reclaim our culture here at home if we're to be able to engage in such a long term struggle.  Institutions like marriage are between a man and woman and they must survive and reverse its decline.  In the setting of family is the healthy culture passed from one generation to the next.

And let's get rid of some of the coarseness in this culture and return to just a few manners.  Nothing onerous, just a few manners and courtesies, like not calling people names.  What Don Imus said is wrong.  I'll let others determine whether the punishment and the crime fit, but for goodness sake let's stop having billion dollar record companies target market the same language to teenagers through music.  [applause].  Is that right?  I think we need to shine a light on some of the entertainment industry and the music industry in particular that profit from celebrating and glorifying the degradation of women.  I call on music industry companies EMI Capitol Records and Sony BMG and Sony Urban Music to pull all their music that uses the same words that Don Imus was fired for.  [applause].

If we did it in one place, it should be done in another.  And maybe some of the corporate executives of these companies should have some of their bonuses cut for using such demeaning vulgarities to make profits while hurting kids.  [applause].

Being a father of five children, I guess I'm a bit sensitive about what the environment is for my kids to be raised in.  The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once noted about conservatism that the central conservative truth is that it is culture and not politics that determines the success of a society.  It's culture, not politics.  We need a culture that does not corrode and does not corrupt, but one that uplifts and affirms in order to encourage goodness, so that we might continue our greatness.

Let's commit to rebuilding our families and renewing our culture with less crudeness and more dignity.  Human dignity to me is a big thing, and should be to all of us.  Around it respect for each other springs.  I believe all human life at all stages in all places is beautiful, is unique, is sacred, is a child of a loving God, period, and it deserves our respect and our protection.  [applause].

Let us as a party never lose our respect or willingness to fight for the least of these.  It's a central principle around which we've built this party.  It was one of those ideas that I grew up with, and it's a good idea and it's one we need to continue.  We are a party based on principles, not personalities.  And that's why I run.  I run to carry these principles forward.

And join me in this effort, and let us press forward to pick up the flag and carry it forward even in tough times.  For these principles are worth fighting for and this country is worth fighting for, and these principles will help carry this country forward.  Join me in this effort.  Thank you.  God bless this country, and thanks for letting us speak here.  [applause].  Thank you.

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Time:  missing a little bit at the beginning...this is 9:06