A Selection of Notable Quotes from Past Republican Conventions

With the 2008 Republican National Convention beginning September 1, HUMAN EVENTS thought subscribers would enjoy reading a selection of quotes from previous GOP conventions, some of which they might find particularly relevant to today’s political situation.

Barry Goldwater, 1960, Chicago: “Let’s grow up, conservatives … we can take this party back.”

Barry Goldwater, 1964, San Francisco: “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”

Ronald Reagan 1980, Detroit: “Tonight, let us dedicate ourselves to renewing the American compact. I ask you not simply to ‘Trust me,’ but to trust your values—our values—and to hold me responsible for living up to them. I ask you to trust that American spirit which knows no ethnic, religious, social, political, regional, or economic boundaries—the spirit that burned with zeal in the hearts of millions of immigrants from every corner of the Earth who came here in search of freedom.”

Ronald Reagan 1984, Dallas
: “In 1980 we asked the people of America, ‘Are you better off than you were four years ago?’ Well, the people answered then by choosing us to bring about a change. We have every reason now, four years later, to ask that same question again, for we have made a change. … As we ask for their help, we should also answer the central question of public service: Why are we here? What do we believe in? Well for one thing, we’re here to see that government continues to serve the people and not the other way around. Yes, government should do all that is necessary, but only that which is necessary.

George H.W. Bush, 1988, New Orleans
: “Read my lips : No new taxes.”

Patrick J. Buchanan, 1992, Houston: “My friends, this election is about much more than who gets what. It is about who we are. It is about what we believe. It is about what we stand for as Americans. There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself. And in that struggle for the soul of America, Clinton & Clinton are on the other side, and George Bush is on our side. And so, we have to come home, and stand beside him.”

George H.W. Bush 1992, Houston: “When it comes to taxes, I’ve learned the hard way. There’s an old saying, Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment. Two years ago, I made a bad call on the Democrats’ tax increase. I underestimated Congress’s addiction to taxes. With my back against the wall, I agreed to a hard bargain: One tax increase one time in return for the toughest spending limits ever. Well, it was a mistake to go along with the Democratic tax increase, and I admit it. But here’s the question for the American people: Who do you trust in this election? The candidate who’s raised taxes one time and regrets it, or the other candidate who raised taxes and fees 128 times and enjoyed it every time?”

George W. Bush, 2004 New York: “Three days after September 11, I stood where Americans died, in the ruins of the Twin Towers. Workers in hard hats were shouting to me, “Whatever it takes.” A fellow grabbed me by the arm and he said, “Do not let me down.” Since that day, I wake up every morning thinking about how to better protect our country. I will never relent in defending America, whatever it takes.”

Herbert Hoover, 1944, Chicago: “Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die. And it is youth who must inherit the tribulation, the sorrow and the triumphs that are the aftermath of war.”

James A. Garfield, 1880, Chicago: “I have seen the sea lashed into fury and tossed into spray, and its grandeur moves the soul of the dullest man, but I remember that it is not the billows, but the calm level of the sea from which all heights and depths are measured.”

Jeane Kirkpatrick, 1984, Dallas: “When Marxist dictators shoot their way into power in Central America, the San Francisco Democrats don’t blame the guerrillas and their Soviet allies. They blame United States policies of 100 years ago. But then they always blame America first.”

Everett Dirksen, 1952, Chicago: “Reexamine your hearts,” Dirksen told the convention delegates. Then clearly singling out Tom Dewey and his supporters, he said: “We followed you before. And you took us down the road to defeat. And don’t do this to us.”

Dwight Eisenhower, 1952, Chicago
: “Ladies and gentleman, you have summoned me on behalf of millions of your fellow Americans to lead a great crusade for freedom in America and freedom in the world,”. . . “I know something of the solemn responsibility of leading a crusade. I have led one.”

Richard Nixon, 1952, Chicago: “One other thing I probably should tell you, because if I don’t they will probably be saying this about me, too. We did get something, a gift, after the election. A man down in Texas heard Pat on the radio mention the fact that our two youngsters would like to have a dog, and, believe it or not, the day before we left on this campaign trip we got a message from Union Station in Baltimore, saying they had a package for us. We went down to get it. You know what it was? It was a little cocker spaniel dog, in a crate that he had sent all the way from Texas, black and white, spotted, and our little girl Tricia, the six-year-old, named it Checkers. And you know, the kids, like all kids, loved the dog, and I just want to say this, right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we are going to keep it.”

Richard Nixon, 1968. Miami: “It is another voice. It is the quiet voice in the tumult and the shouting. It is the voice of the great majority of Americans, the forgotten Americans–the non-shouters; the non-demonstrators. They are not racists or sick. They are not guilty of the crime that plagues the land. They are black and they are white–they’re native born and foreign born–they’re young and they’re old. They work in America’s factories. They run America’s businesses. They serve in government. They provide most of the soldiers who died to keep us free. They give drive to the spirit of America. They give lift to the American Dream. They give steel to the backbone of America. They are good people, they are decent people; they work, and they save, and they pay their taxes, and they care.”

Zell Miller, 2004, New York: “The B-1 bomber, that Sen. Kerry opposed, dropped 40% of the bombs in the first six months of Enduring Freedom. The B-2 bomber, that Sen. Kerry opposed, delivered air strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Hussein’s command post in Iraq. The F-14A Tomcats, that Sen. Kerry opposed, shot down Khadafi’s Libyan MIGs over the Gulf of Sidra. The modernized F-14D, that Sen. Kerry opposed, delivered missile strikes against Tora Bora. The Apache helicopter, that Sen. Kerry opposed, took out those Republican Guard tanks in Kuwait in the Gulf War. The F-15 Eagles, that Sen. Kerry opposed, flew cover over our Nation’s Capital and this very city after 9/11…. This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces? U.S. forces armed with what? Spitballs?”

Ronald Reagan 1992, Houston: “And whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty’s lamp guiding your steps and opportunity’s arm steadying your way.”