by Sen Sam Brownback (R-KS)
First, I want to thank the Republican Party of Iowa for putting together this wonderful event. In a very real way, the race for the White House in 2008 begins in Iowa and begins here today in Ames. You, the people of Iowa, know that elections and the future of our country are based on principles not on personalities.
Today, here in Ames, I have a message of hope. You, the people of Iowa, will send a message to our party and to our country: we win when we stand on principle not when we abandon it. Because of America's commitment to principles, the principles I carry can flourish. And the son of a Kansas farmer can still grow up to be President.
I want to make one point with this speech. We must rebuild our families, renew our culture and revive our economy if we are to sustain and grow ourselves during this long-term battle we are in with militant Islamists.
The first principle, upon which our entire vision is based, is the dignity of each and every human life. Every person, everywhere, is a beautiful, precious, unique, child of a loving God. It is message that will unite us and a message that we should not shy away from.
It is the America we all know is possible. It is the America where the strong protect the weak. It means first that we are willing to fight for the child in the womb, the most vulnerable among us. We know that America is better than abortion on demand. You know, as I do, that 45 million children killed since Roe v. Wade is a sin not worthy of this great land.
You know that of course it does not end there. Our concern for the dignity of each and every human life means that we fight also for the child in Darfur. we fight for the woman in poverty and the man in prison. We are willing to fight for every life, everywhere.
We are pro-life and whole-life. That is the vision of our party and our people. It is a vision that is expansive and inclusive, and it is the foundation of my vision for America.
We also need to revive our economy. I am pro-growth. As president, I am committed to grow the economy, save social security, and provide more choices and coverage in health care.
I have never voted for a tax increase, and I would certainly never sign one. I think we're taxed to the max. We need to balance the budget and control spending, not raise taxes.
We should have a commission report on wasteful government spending every year and then require a vote of Congress whether to eliminate the whole package or not, deal or no deal.
We need a different taxation system. I support an optional flat tax, that lets the people choose to pay one low, flat rate between 15 to 20 percent or stay in the current system if you want.
These ideas will provide growth!
The strength of America is not in its government, but in the goodness of its people. The American people are made strong by strong families. We need more and stronger families in this country. Families are the leading place where we learn about character and values and virtue.
Yet, 36 percent of our children are born out of wedlock. The number is 56 percent in Washington, DC. It is too high.
You can raise a good child in a single parent environment and we should celebrate when it happens, but it is more difficult. The best place to raise a child is between a Mom and a Dad bonded together for life. We know this from all the social data, and we know it in our heart.
If you have weak families, more government will be created to make up for the loss of family. But the government has stiff arms and a cold heart. Woe to the person hugged by the government.
The best way to reduce poverty in America is to have stronger families!
The best way to reduce crime in America is to have stronger families!
The best way to improve education in America is to have stronger families!
As president, I will rebuild the American family!
Make no mistake: we need to invest in our schools, in law enforcement and prison reform. But unless we address the fundamental problem of the breakdown of the family, we are only taking a band-aid approach addressing the symptoms and not the problem itself.
In Iraq, our military is performing brilliantly. We will set no timetables to leave. A timetable is a timetable to defeat. But we also need to push aggressively a political solution in Iraq. I have put forward a bipartisan resolution for a federalized system in Iraq: three states, one country, a loose confederation with Baghdad as the federal city and a way of sharing oil revenue. Iraq is really more three groups, Kurds, Sunnis, and Shias, held together by exterior forces than anything else. We need a political solution to match our military commitment. We must have a "political surge" which is the only way to reach a long-term, durable solution to this difficult conflict.
Furthermore, we need to be energy secure at home. We have got to rely more on the Midwest for our energy than the Middle East. We must expand our use of ethanol, upping our blends of ethanol in gasoline.
Ensuring our nation's security also means ensuring the security of our borders. We need to fund and build a fence on our border, and we need do more enforcement at the work site.
We also need to encourage faith, not litigate it out of existence! We should be able to say "one nation under God" in our flag salute without someone threatening to sue us. Faith is a good thing, not a bad thing.
I don't know how you understand America without understanding faith. Study the Founders, they were people of faith. Abraham Lincoln was a man of faith. Martin Luther King was a man of faith. Faith is what powered them.
I met Mother Teresa once, just months before she died. As I put her in her car to leave, she grabbed my hand, stared me in the eyes and said three words, four times: "All for Jesus, All for Jesus." Hers was a simple faith that worked through her to help millions.
Part of being a strong nation is to be a rule of law nation. I am committed to appoint strict constructionist judges who will stand by the Constitution, not rewrite it. I want to be the president to appoint the justice who will provide that fifth vote, to overturn Roe vs. Wade and end this night of wrong.
America is best when she is looking up. Let us lift our heads up and see how blessed we are. We are a great land of many people, diverse, beautiful, full of hope.
Hope for the future is inherently part of who we are. Let us never lose our hopefulness, nor our goodness. Let us always practice justice and righteousness. With goodness the guide for our greatness, let's be the "shining city on a hill."