Gov. George Pataki (R-NY)
NH Republican Party Christmas Party
Upham Walker House
Concord, NH
December 14, 2005

DEMOCRACY IN ACTION rough transcript

Thank you Warren and thank you for being chairman of this great New Hampshire Republican Party and thank you for the invitation to speak to you this evening.  Let me first say Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy New Year, happy holidays to everyone here this evening.  This is a great time of the year and I know you're here for a party and a festive night, but I do want to say a few serious words before you get back to the festivities.

Because Warren touched on the war on terror--he talked about how they're going to have the symbolic marking of the finger with purple ink--and the war on terror is certainly one of a number of major challenges that our country faces as we look to the upcoming year and we look to the next century as well.  We also have a changing world where we're involved in not just competition among states or regional areas, we have a global economy that is challenging us in way s that we haven't ever been challenged in before.  But I'll tell you one thing very simply.  I have enormous confidence in this country.  I have enormous confidence in its future because our party has the philosophy, has the vision, has the ideas that are going to make America just a better place for our kids and for their kids.

Let me just talk a little bit about what I think are the differences between Republicans and Democrats and why, not just because we're part of the Republican Party, it's important that we win elections here in New Hampshire and across America.

When you think of our party, we have always been a party that has stood for and advocated freedom from our earliest days.  Our first president, Abraham Lincoln, understood that a country couldn't exist in a house divided where too many were denied the opportunities to freedom.  We had a great president at the end of that century and the beginning of the next century by the name of Teddy Roosevelt who understood that freedom meant not the opportunity to create monopolies and exploit people or unfairly limit competition, but for everyone to have the chance to build the American Dream for themselves and their family.  We're the party of Ronald Reagan, who understood that just as we couldn't have a country that lived part free and part slave, we couldn't have a world that lived part free and part under the yoke of communism.  And so we had Ronald Reagan with the moral courage and the political strength to stand up and say Mr. Gorbachev tear down that wall.  And today millions of people, hundreds of millions of people who lived in oppression now live in the freedom and opportunity that we have here in America.

And of course we're the party of President George W. Bush.  Let me tell you on September 11th I cannot tell you the number of times I said thank God President Bush is the leader of our country.  [applause'.  We were attacked on that day.  I'll never forget the heroes we lost or the strength that we showed as we responded to horrible evil with strength and compassion.

That morning I was in New York City and after the towers came down and we had organized the response of the National Guard and our emergency health responders and taken steps to secure the bridges and the safety of New York, I went down to Lower Manhattan and I just decided it was important to be there, not just as the governor, but physically present to walk the streets.  And I walked through the streets to reassure the people that despite the tragic loss and despite the uncertainty, we were going to be okay.  And I would shake hands with people and see them and instead of me reassuring them, they reassured me, because New Yorkers weren't rushing to leave the city.  Thousands of ordinary New Yorkers, our police officers, our firefighters, ordinary citizens, were rushing to the city in the hopes that they could help.

And I'll never forget a scene where I turned a corner just a couple of blocks from Ground Zero and I saw a line of people stretching more than a block long.  I went to shake their hands just to say hello and see how they were doing.  They weren't waiting in line to take a bus or a subway or get out of Lower Manhattan; they were waiting in line to give blood in the hopes that they could save someone else's life.  Thank God on September 11th President Bush understood that this was not just an isolated criminal act, but we were in a war, a war against those who would engage in terror again.

And I'll never forget again when I was in Lower Manhattan, coming up to someone and that person saying, you know America has got to stop doing things wrong.  I thought for a second and said we weren't attacked because of what we do wrong, we were attacked because of what we do right, because of our belief in freedom -- freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to choose our own leaders and of course freedom to worship as we see fit.

We are proud and too often take those freedoms for granted.  On September 11th we learned there are those who detest those freedoms and will do everything in their power to take them from us.  So as we look to the future, we have to make sure that this president, who understands that we are in a war, a war we must win, has the support from us and from the American people to make sure there are no sanctuaries, no training places, no areas where they can plan and prepare another attack.  When I think of what America does right, I also think of the fact that in addition to our freedom, we're a unique country in that we truly are a government of the people.  Think about the earliest creation of our country.  When we created a constitution it was we the people of the United States to form a more perfect union, not 13 states, but we the people.  And when we declared our independence, it wasn't as 13 colonies, or 13 political entities, it was when in the course of human events a people are going to dissolve the bonds that have held them to another entity.

Ronald Reagan said it best.  We are a people who have a government, and not the other way around.

Our belief in freedom, our belief in people are what make this great country what it is and the Republican Party is the party whose principles are ideals empower people with opportunity.  When you think of Republicans and Democrats, we believe that people have to be empowered to live the American Dream.  Democrats too often believe that government has to be expanded and create new programs to provide for people who can't care for themselves.  We had an experiment in Democratic rule, big government Democratic rule in New York.  It lasted 20 years.  We had every government program you could think of, we had every expansion of government into people's lives you could ever imagine.

And when I took office after that 20 year experiment, New York had taken the wrong track and was headed in the wrong direction.  We had the highest tax burden in America.  And because of that we were dead last in jobs, and by the way we had the lowest credit rating of any state in America.  We were tied with Louisiana.  We understood or they understood what they called the root causes of crime and they had every program to rehabilitate criminals or prevent them from going astray, and as a result of those policies, we were number one in violent crime in America.  We had the most dangerous state in the United States.  And they had compassion for the poor so we had every single government program aimed a helping people who needed to be dependent on government.  And when I took office after 20 years of that experiment in liberal Democratic governance, one in 11 of every New Yorker was on welfare.  Not one in 11 of the poor, not one in 11 of the disadvantaged or the handicapped, one in 11 of every resident of New York states from the tip of Long Island to the peaks of the Adirondacks was on welfare.  Because liberal Democratic government had failed them, and had failed our state.

Now we're in the eleventh year of policies we believe in: empowering the people and limited government.  And let me tell you our policies work.  We took a look at those criminal justice systems and we said we understand the root causes of violent crime as well.  So we started arresting the root causes of violent crime [laughter], convicting the root causes of violent crime, and our streets are the safest they've been in over a generation, and instead of being the most dangerous state in America we are the safest large state in America and the sixth safest of any state in America.

We took a look at that tax burden that created an economic opportunity for other states, but not for New Yorker entrepreneurs, and despite a $5 billion deficit, when I took office, I said we're going to cut taxes across the board, and we began in my first year in office.  We cut the income tax, we cut the business tax, the energy tax, we cut transportation taxes, property taxes.  We even cut the tax on beer and soda, and believe me that was extremely popular.  [laughter].  As the chairman said, we cut taxes by over $100 billion.  This year New Yorkers' tax burden will be more than 15 billion less that it would have otherwise because we understand as Republican that when you cut taxes you empower people to live their own lives and create opportunities.  And today we have almost 700,000 more private sector jobs, we have an expanding economy, and by the way we have the highest credit rating New York state has had in 30 years.

Our policies work, and our policies work not just for the business people or the entrepreneurs, they work for every single American.

I told you how one in 11 of every New Yorker was on welfare when I took office.  It wasn't because these weren't people with talent and ability and the desire to lead the American Dream and to see their children had a better life than they live.  They were trapped in programs, government programs, that said we take care of you.  Don't go out there and take that first job because you'll be better off dependent on government.  Well we changed that.  We said every single able-bodied welfare recipient is going to work.  But we're also going to have job training programs.  We're going to have more day care slots.  As you transition and take that first job up the ladder of economic opportunity, were going to make sure your kids still have health insurance so that you don't worry about them when you begin your career instead of depending on government.  And today in New York states we have 1,040,000 fewer people on welfare than back in 1995 because our policies work for everyone.

We are not looking at the '06 elections, the '07 elections, the '08 elections, and I know, chairman, you've got everybody in the legislature, you have the governor, we have our congressmen running.  How are we going to win elections in '06, '07, '08 and beyond?  In my view it's very simple.

By thinking like Republicans, by talking like Republicans and by acting like Republicans.  We know that you grow the economy not by raising taxes but by making the tax cuts permanent that have created the fastest growing economy in decades.  Let the Democrats say no.

We know you balance the budget not by raising taxes, but by controlling spending and that's what Republicans do.  Let the Democrats say no.

We know that the legal system is such were the judges are supposed to interpret the law and not make the law, and we'll continue to fight for judges that understand that.  Let the Democrats say no.

And we know that the legal system needs to be changed.  When small business owners and entrepreneurs who create our jobs spend more on legal fees than they do on research and development, let us work to change that.  Let the Democrats say no.

And we certainly know in the war on terror that if the terrorists lay down their arms we would be safe and the world would be safe tomorrow.  But if we laid down ours we will see more horrible attacks like September 11th.  We know and we will support those who are going to win the war on terror.  Let the Democrats say no.

And finally one last note.  We understand the importance of our American political system and the fact that the New Hampshire primary has to be number one and has to be undiminished in its importance.  [cheers, applause].  Let us fight to keep that, and let the Democrats say no.  [laughter].

So how do we win elections?  By being true to our principles that reach out to every single individual, not just Republicans but Independents and Democrats as well, with policies that improve people's lives.  Can it work?  Well just think about last November.  There was a northern city with a Democratic mayor.  Spending was going up, taxes were going up, violent crime was going up.  And a young Republican got out there.  He said he was going to get tough on crime and have more cops on the street.  He was going to control spending so he could cut taxes.  And he was going to make that city better and stronger that it has ever bee, and today Frank Guinta is the mayor-elect of the city of Manchester, New Hampshire.  [applause].  Congratulations, Frank.  We won in Manchester; we can win everywhere by acting, speaking, and thinking as Republicans.

You are the backbone of our party.  Keep the faith.  Keep working.  And yes we're going to win the elections in 2006, not for our party but for our country.  Thank you.  God bless you.  Thank you for having me here this evening.

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