Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)
Values Voter Summit 2006
Washington, DC
September 22, 2006

...You're going to need a bigger room next time, Tony, to do this.  And I'd like you to have a bigger room, particularly in 2008 when you do this, I want a much bigger room, a lot bigger room.  This is great to have you here.  An important election cycle, and good to have you here to get fired up and looking forward to the cycle.  I head off from here to Michigan, and I'm going to be traveling across the country in this cycle.  So there's a lot to do and a lot for you to do coming up in this election cycle.  I'll hope to touch base in Kansas and be able to kiss my wife and see my kids every once in a while, but it's an important cycle.

Hopefully we have some Kansans here [a few cheers].  Oh come on guys, we've got to do better than that.  Hopefully we have some Kansans here [cheers].  All right.  Okay.  That'll do.  We have a small population but we're a proud state.  They talk a lot about it like the book "What's Right with Kansas?"  That's the one coming out following the other one that was wrong.  And they've done studies--see most people when they think of my state, they think of the long drive across I-70 getting to Colorado.  [laughter].  And they think, my, this place is flat.  They did a study, though, I want to disabuse you of that, or actually I want to affirm it.  They did a study.  They compared the flatness of Kansas with the flatness of a pancake.  And they found indeed we are flatter than a pancake.  [laughter].  The undulations of a pancake are more than my state.

It's great to farm.  I grew up on a farm there.  My family still farms.  It's a great way to grow up--I didn't think so at the time--but it's a great way to grow up.  My dad and my brothers still farm.  I have another brother that's a veterinarian, so we're still involved in the agricultural business.  I wanted indeed to go back to the farm for a period of time and really was pursuing that with my dad and he just didn't think there was room on the farm.  Now I don't know if that was his nice way of saying you know look son why don't you go off and do something else.  But he tried to think of ways, now how can we make enough money to support the families and so he wanted me to go to auctioneering school.  So I went to auctioneering school.  So he thought well if the boy can't farm, he can talk [laughter], so let's get him involved in this.  And I went through?to that, but I never did do much of it, although I'd like to teach you this morning how to auctioneer.

It's very simple.  There's a series of poems that auctioneers do to warm up before they can start running the numbers faster.  And then they start off with things like "Tommy Tatamus took two tees, tied 'em atop of two tall trees."  You try it.  It's really simple.  Just try it.  "Tommy Tatamus took two tees, tied 'em atop of two tall trees."  [audience repeats].  And then they go "rubber baby buggy bumpers."  You know that one.  "Rubber baby buggy bumpers."  [audience repeats].  And then when you get all warmed up they do Betty Botter.  We got somebody going here.  [laughter].  This is the ultimate one that you warm your tongue up to get it rolling is, "Betty Botter bought some butter, but she said this butter's bitter.  If I put it in my batter it will make my batter bitter.  So she bought a bit of better butter, put it in her bitter batter, made her bitter batter better.  So it is better Betty Botter bought a bit of bitter batter butter."  [cheers, applause].  Now you do it.  [laughter].

It's a great place.  It's a great state.  And it's a place that believes in majoring in the majors.  And by that I mean that it's important that we fight about important things and that there are some things worth fighting about.  And in my state's case it was coming into the union and whether we'd be a free or slave state.  And people came there and fought.  Indeed a number of the original people that settled the state were abolitionists, and they believed that everybody no matter what the color of their skin was a person and entitled to the dignity of personhood, and they were willing to fight about it.  And they'd send beautiful letters back home, some of which I've read, about the dignity of the individual and the beauty of what this is all about.  And they didn't come out to farm, they came out to fight for the dignity of somebody else.

And that's what I see in a lot of you folks.  People that are very willing to fight for the dignity of somebody else.  And that's important.  And don't ever back away from that, and don't ever be ashamed of that, and don't ever apologize for that, or don't ever kind of slink back from it either.  I mean we must go out; we must be happy about the message we put forward, but we must be clear about it too.

Life is a beautiful thing.  Every life at every stage is beautiful, it's unique, it's sacred, it's a child of the living God.  It is.  [applause].

And how does somebody argue against that?  What do they say?  No, life isn't beautiful.  No, it's not sacred.  No, it's not a child of the living God.  Is that the argument on the other side?  Because life is important and it is majoring on the majors.  You get these sort of things right on family and culture, it's like in football, it's blocking and tackling.  You get the basics right, you can move on.  If you don't get the basics right, like my Kansas City Chiefs have been having trouble with lately, you have trouble moving forward; you can't do much of anything.  We've got to get these right.

Life.  We've got to get it right.

Marriage.  We have to get it right.  Marriage is the union of a man and a woman.  It is.  And it is important.  And it is majoring on the majors to talk about it.

God in the public square.  It's important that we honor God in the public square and not throw him out.  [applause].  It's important.

I look at these as majoring in the majors...  We have to get the basics right.  And we are winning in these battles.

I want to encourage you on this as well.  We now live in a pro-life nation, a majority pro-life nation.  [applause].  A majority of the population is pro-life.  And we need to keep pushing this debate forward.  And the debate goes on both ends of the spectrum.  We've had a debate about stem cells.  We push, and we had a debate, we've got a Supreme Court date set on partial birth abortion about the later end of pregnancy and about the earliest end of life.  And we've got to be pushing about all of these issues and we've got to be standing for life at all its various points and in all its various--  We've got to stand for it at the end of life.  At the end of life is a very dignified and important time and we shouldn't be supporting things like assisted suicide that reduce and take away that dignity of life.  Life is a major.  It is important.  And thank you and God bless you for fighting on these fights and for being willing to be involved in these fights.  And I've been involved in these fights all along.

And the stem cell one--if David Prentice is here, that works with FRC, I want him to stand up.  Is David in the crowd anywhere around?  There he is in the back.  [applause].  I don't know if you heard him speak, but he is the lead scientist in the world defending our stance on stem cells, which is adult stem cells that are in our body, your and my body, we should research on.  We are finding a number of treatments using those stem cells.  Matter of fact they're like [inaud.] crews as David explains it to me.  They're little cells that go around fixing things.  But when there's a big [inaud.] they can't fix it.  You've got to take 'em out, grow 'em out of the body, put 'em back in.  And we've got 72 different human maladies being treated with adult stem cells.  The cord blood, the cord blood between the baby and the mother--important source of stem cells.

But embryonic stem cells.  Do you know how many human treatments we have today from human embryonic stem cells?  [audience: "zero"]  And I would say not just that; after investing nearly a quarter of a billion federal dollars in embryonic stem cell research, do you know how many...?  And I don't want to just even ask that.  After twenty years of research on mouse embryonic stem cells do you know how many human clinical trials, human treatments at any stage we have of human embryonic stem cells?  You know.  Zero.  So after a while, I looked at it and I said why are we doing this when we have so many people being treated, people walking, people having heart damage being treated, people having spinal cord injuries being treated, people with Parkinson's being treated with adult or cord blood.  Why do we put this [inaud.] here on embryonic or on cloning when we're getting all these treatments in these other areas?  [applause].  Why do we do that?

And it does go to the very issue of life and when does life begin?  I've held hearings on this topic and Dave Prentice has been there testifying.  He and I have been at Harvard together speaking back to back--him the scientist and me the policy maker--defending the issues of life and defending the stem issue and we've been back to back for a long time.  He and I are both from Parker, Kansas; it's a town of 250 people.  I grew up in the--we both grew up in the suburbs of Parker.  [laughter].  I was a mile and a half out; he was three out of town.  We were on city water and he wasn't on it so we thought we legitimately were in the suburbs.  But it's been great to be back to back with him.  And he is part of FRC.

And this is majoring on the majors.  This is a major fight, and it is about life.  And I'll ask their scientists, when does life begin?  Just basic question.  And they'll say, well depends on your faith tradition and this group thinks that and that group thinks that.  And I say, no not theologically, biologically when does life begin?  And then, and these are eminent Ph.D. scientists in biology or some specialty of biology; their answer has always been to me: We don't know.  And I go, you know--

All right, I want to confess something.  I'm a lawyer.  [laughter].  And I admit it.  I'm still being retrained, but I'm a lawyer.

But I would say to this guy that's a Ph.D. in biology, how do you expect us to make that decision, when you won't articulate a point of view?  When your own [inaud.] says it begins when the egg and the sperm are united, that life begins.  And then they'll confess, okay it's life; okay it's alive, but it's not a life.  Now you sound like a lawyer.  [laughter].

So then I'll ask 'em, and then I'll ask 'em okay when did your life begin.  And they won't answer.  One guy did answer, and he said well I don't have a memory until I was four, so not 'til I was four.  [laughter].  To which I responded, well, may we research on you then prior to your age of four.  I don't mean to make fun of people.  These are serious, sincere people and they are, and they're serious about what they mean, but if you research and you kill a human at that stage, that human doesn't have the rest of their life.  That's just a fact that we all started out as embryos, and if you kill us at any place along the way we don't end up where we are.  And we just need to be very dignified, putting forward a face that smiles, but saying truth.

Part of the reason I'm so pro-life is a little girl I got to meet out of Shantou City, China, by the name of Jen Yi Dan [phon.].  She just recently turned eight years old and she's my daughter now.  Jenna Brownback, from Jen Yi Dan.  [applause].  And I say that, I say that because I look at her often at night and I wonder, you know somebody who I've never met fought for her.  And she's alive and making straight A's and a brilliant, beautiful girl because somebody fought for her.  It would have been easier to abort her, but they fought for her and I hope we never forget about that, that that's what we fight for in life.  We fight for them.  It's important.  [applause].

We're going to win this fight.

Roe vs Wade is going to be overturned in the future.  [cheers, applause].

Those of you from South Dakota or willing to travel to South Dakota has an important vote on a state that's banned abortion other than in cases of life of the mother.  God bless you for carrying that fight forward.

The House of Representatives is going to take up a pain awareness bill next week, where if a child--  If a woman seeks an abortion at 20 weeks of age of the child or older, they must be informed of the pain that the child will experience and offer anesthesia for the child.  They're hearing the testimony's uncontroverted this child experiences extraordinary pain--has more pain receptors per square inch than you or I do; doesn't have the part of the brain that suppresses pain developed as much at that point in time, and that this is an extraordinary painful thing.  Does not ban the abortion, it simply gives the mother more information and gives her the right to provide anesthesia for the child.  I hope it passes.

Marriage is one that continues to move forward.  You have been at the center of that fight.  We must continue to fight that fight.  Marriage is important because it's where we raise our next generations.  This is a vast social experiment to redefine marriage.  We have seen other countries do it and the consequences to date have not been good.  They have seen the number of heterosexual marriages decline precipitously.  And you can say, well, that's just the trend line.  Problem is they've seen the number of children born out of wedlock rise precipitously.  In some counties in Norway it's as high as 80 percent of the children are born out of wedlock--80 percent of the first-born children.  You can say that that's just the way it is.  The problem of it is, you put a child in that situation, the likelihood of their getting a good education, their not being involved in crime, or their being abused, all of those indicators move in the wrong direction as a society.  The best place to raise a child is between a man and a woman bonded together for life.  We know that... [applause, inaud.].  We've got to stand for that.  It is important.  It is important.

Yesterday I held a meeting with the mayor of DC announcing a series of initiatives on welfare reform.  That right now in our welfare system, we tax somebody for getting married up to 88 percent.  You won't believe these numbers, but it is an effective rate of up to 88 percent of maximum loss of benefits if you get, if two people get married and their combined income goes from $10,000 to $40,000 and they have children.  Maximum effective tax loss of 88 percent.  You know people act economically rational.  If we say we're going to tax you for getting married, you know what happens?  Fewer people get married.  We need to change this system and set incentives that support marriage and bolster this and it is important that we do that.  [applause].

You're very kind to be indulgent with me, but I want to hit a couple final thingts and let you go.  And I deeply appreciate you, I deeply appreciate the work your organization does, I deeply appreciate Jim and Shirley Dobson and the work that they do.  I've worked with them over the years.  He has been a wonderful gift for this country in building the values... [applause, inaud.].

But some of us get weary.  And some people are getting weary and they're saying, I've been in this fight for a decade and I'm just getting tired.  My shoulders are starting to slump over and I'm ready to hand it off to somebody else.  But please don't.  Rest if you must, but don't quit.  We've got to stay pushing these things forward.  This country faces challenges from without and within.

Without we face a serious long term threat in this war on terrorism against militant Islamic fascists.  Now it's important and key that the President has started to identify who it is we're fighting against, not just the tactics they are using, and this is an important and a big fight.  And we've been fighting this fight--came here, it started 9-11, we'd been getting hit and not having an effective response.  Since 9-11 this President has leaned in and he's said, we're going to fight and we're going to fight against the terrorists and we're going to fight against those who have a plan against us.  And they have a plan.  And the plan is to throw us out of the Middle East, to remove the governments that are in place there today and to establish a caliphate, a religious-political leader in a region of the world.  And you can go on their websites and they're very clear about this and this is their effort.  And I pray we don't get weary in this battle against the terrorists.  We can't get weary of this.  And we're going into some of the toughest fighting now with the threats that we've had issued against us by the Iranian leadership and what they've been willing to fund.  We can't grow wear in this.

And we can't grow weary in other fights that we have here.  And this is a bit of a sidebar, but we can't grow weary in fighting the budget battle.  We've got to balance this budget.  [applause].  It is important we balance this budget, and it's important for future generations.  I say let's set a target of balancing the budget in five years and let's do it and we can do it.  We can get this and we can move it on forward.

We've got to continue to fight for judges.  My hope is that we'll have another Supreme Court nominee while George Bush is still president...  [applause, inaud.]

Final thought.  Lift your eyes up.  We can talk about a lot of problems and we do and it's important to talk about how we address them, but just lift them up for a moment.  You live in the greatest nation on the face of the Earth in the history of mankind.  [applause].  You do.  This is the greatest place.  We've got less than five-percent of the world's population, 30-percent of the world's military spending, a third of the world's GNP/economy and 40-percent of the research and development budget of the world.  As my kids would say, this place rocks.  It does.

And yet to whom much is given, much is required.  It is.  And as Tony Blair said, and God bless Tony Blair, he has stood up for the United States.  [applause].  He spoke at a joint session of Congress and he gave one of the most patriotic speeches I've heard since Ronald Reagan was at his prime.  And at one of the points he went off script and he said you know I know right now there's some guy in Idaho or New Mexico--some place I haven't been, but that I hope to go to some day--is saying right now, why me and why now?  Why do I have to do so much, why so much called of America, and why now?  To which Blair just simply responded, it's your time and it's your destiny.  And it is our time and it is our blessed destiny.

This is a great nation.  This is an exceptional place and we need to produce and to fight for it and we need to move it on forward.  So when you get weary, when you're going door to door this fall and you're looking like it's an uphill battle and you're thinking you know it's just too much, I don't want to do it.  I'm not going to do these next ten doors.  Or when you get somebody's there talking with you and you just decide not to engage in the debate, or you're just thinking you know I 'd rather have a second cup of coffee, just think who we're fighting for.

Mother Teresa went door to door in Calcutta asking for money for her orphans.  She went to this one door and a guy looked at her, saw her and spit in her face.  She took her habit, wiped it off, said you know I deserved that; that's for my humility training, but what about the children.  Will you give me something for them?  And he gave her some money.

The reason I say that is that sometimes when you maybe feel like you're put down, people are spitting in your face, you know and they're saying why are you pushing this or that, you say okay that's humility training for me.  This is for the kids, and we're going to fight for 'em, and I'm going to fight for 'em.  [applause].

And I appreciate you; I appreciate your support.  I would appreciate your support--if you do a straw poll here, I'd appreciate your vote.  [laughter].  But get out and fight for the future this fall.  All the best.  God bless you all.  [applause].  God bless this country.  Thank you.  [applause continues].

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