Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Boehner on Reagan Statue Dedication

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) delivered the following remarks at the ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda today dedicating the new statue of President Ronald Reagan:

“Mrs. Reagan, Madame Speaker, Honored guests, let me first say thanks to the California Delegation, especially Jerry Lewis and Ken Calvert, for all their efforts in making this day possible.

“On October 27, 1964 Ronald Reagan gave a nationally televised address supporting Barry Goldwater, the Republican nominee for President. And while Goldwater was later defeated by Lyndon Johnson, many Americans watching that day immediately sensed Reagan would one day become President.

“The title of Reagan’s speech was ‘A Time for Choosing.’ In it, Reagan crystallized the choices for voters: would people vote for self-government, or would they submit to being ruled by elites in far-distant capitol. Reagan’s poke at domestic social engineers was accompanied by a vigorous defense of American’s greatness abroad. He reminded Americans that they have a ‘rendezvous with destiny.’

“As California governor in the sixties and seventies, Ronald Reagan proved over and over he had the mind of a committed conservative and the temperament of an extraordinary leader. As President, Reagan displayed his unmistakable skill in communicating a vision of American exceptionalism.

“But it wasn’t just vision that moved people his way, it was also his tone. He was always quick with a smile or a self-deprecating joke. He once said ‘I have left orders to be awakened in case of a national emergency – even if I’m in a Cabinet meeting.’ He clearly had the pulse – and the respect – of the average American.

“Ronald Reagan developed an alliance with Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II. These three gifted individuals lead the West out of what the author John O’Sullivan has called ‘The Nightmare Years’ of the late 1970s. Together they literally changed the world for the better.

“Today we honor President Reagan’s lifetime of achievement and we honor his legacy of economic and political freedom. Early in his Presidency, he fought to enact a set of tax cuts authored in part by a fellow conservative who would have been honored to be here today – Jack Kemp. The tax cuts President Reagan enacted dropped rates that were as high as 70 percent. This allowed entrepreneurs to build, expand, and create jobs.

“Reagan’s economic policies inspired the largest peacetime expansion in U.S. history. This growth was predicated on free trade, low taxes, deregulation, and curbing runaway inflation. I recently had the privilege of touring the Reagan Ranch near Santa Barbara. One of the best things I saw was the table used to sign the Kemp-Roth tax cuts. The free market policies set in motion on that very table were responsible for creating an estimated 35 million jobs through 1999.

“And this is another part of Reagan’s legacy. This little piece of rock is from the Berlin Wall. Those walls came down because of Ronald Reagan’s relentless commitment to freedom and his insistence on an American victory in the Cold War. He was unafraid to say what the Soviets actually were, the ‘Evil Empire.’

“Reagan rejected the moral relativism of his day that was blind to the distinction of tyranny and freedom. Ronald Reagan saw America as a city on a hill, set apart by a God who intended us to be free. In his first inaugural address, he said ‘Freedom and the dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than in any other place on Earth.’ Three years later, commemorating the fallen warriors at Omaha Beach, Reagan said ‘We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free.’

“Today, our freedom is defended by a 1,092 foot-long aircraft carrier. The 5,500 sailors of the USS Ronald Reagan hail from every state and every continent. Their motto is ‘Peace Through Strength.’

“Ronald Reagan’s legacy is intact and I’m confident will be for generations to come. If you study the man and his times, you’ll see the rhythm of life described by Shakespeare: ‘All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players; … And one man in his time plays many parts.’

“Ronald Reagan played his parts brilliantly. With words and with deeds he inspired his countrymen to great heights and provided a clear vision for his generation. We are honored to add his likeness to this great hall of statesmen and patriots.”