INSPIRATIONAL MOMENTS: Reagan calls for a new first party, no pale pastels

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It never hurts to look back at some of the more inspiring lines or moments of a speech. The Iowa Standard would like to know what moments stand out to you. Send us your favorite clips to [email protected] and we’ll gladly share them in the coming weeks and months!

Today we focus on a two-minute stretch from President Ronald Reagan.

“You know, in spite of all our greatness, our people feel a sense once again or a desire to feel a sense of greatness. A sense and a pride in their own capacity for performing great needs. We Republicans I think can do something about this.

“But not if we try to be all things to all people. There are some in our midst who’ve suggested that we should broaden our base. Except that what they mean by broadening our base is to blur the image, to make us indistinguishable from the other party.

“Some have suggested that the 1974 election, the disastrous results, were an indictment of what we stand for. Well, may I suggest that the meaning of the last election will not be found among those who voted, it will be found in my polling those who stayed home. The biggest non-voter bloc in our nation’s history.

“And why did they stay home? Well because they said they couldn’t see any difference between the two parties. I think they’re basically wrong, but I think this is also an indication of what our answer should be to those who would make us more like the opponent. I am a convert to Republicanism. I spent most of my adult life as a Democrat, and I can testify that when I found I could no longer follow the leadership of the Democratic Party, I became a Republican not because the parties were the same, but precisely because they were different.

“More than half of those who didn’t vote have been polled and say it no longer makes any difference which party wins. Now some have taken another course. There are some among us, and I respect their views, who suggest that that means an end to the Republican Party, that we should form a new third party. May I suggest an alternative to that?

“Let’s have a new first party. A Republican Party raising a banner of bold colors, no pale pastels. A banner instantly recognizable as standing for certain values which will not be compromised. Yes, we must broaden our base, but let’s broaden it the way we did in 1972, because those Americans — Democrats and Independents and Republicans — are still out there looking for a banner around which to rally. And we have what they want, what they’re seeking. But they don’t know that. And sometimes I wonder if we know it.”

Author: Jacob Hall