Jul 20 2013

Remarks by Governor Mike Huckabee

From the Salute to Middle-Tennessee GOP Chairmen

Governor Huckabee and Lamar

Thank you very much. It is a pleasure to be here. Thank you.

Well, first of all I’d like to say thanks for enduring the heat. You know, it’s even a little warmer up here on stage because we’re elevated. We’re keeping it cool for you out there.

I want to say a heartfelt thanks to one of the best friends that I’ve got in politics and that is your senator, Lamar Alexander. When I was Governor, Arkansas did not have a Republican senator and I used to ask Lamar would he mind just moving just a little bit further west every now and then and being Arkansas’ other senator because I needed somebody I could talk to, someone who understood how to govern. And he does. And I’m delighted to be here on his behalf today. And I want to share with you some of the reasons why.

You know, I’m convinced that part of President Obama’s problem is he has never run anything. He was never a governor. He was never a mayor of a large city. To my knowledge he never ran a hotdog stand on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. I don’t know that he’s ever managed or run anything.

You know it would help if he had managerial experience, administrating experience, understood the dynamics of leadership. Well you’ve got someone in Tennessee who is serving as your senator who absolutely understands it. Lamar Alexander has served as the governor of your state, he led this state to some of the most significant achievements in bringing business and industry here. He helped this state understand the priority of education. He understood healthcare. When he got to Washington he knew when Obamacare was being put on the table that it would not work. And he told the President it wouldn’t work. But the President said yes it will. Well guess who’s right and guess who’s wrong? Lamar was right. Obama was wrong. And we’ve got to keep his voice in the Senate reminding the President of what works.

I believe that we’re at a crossroads in our country like we’ve never been before. Every day I wake up there’s a new scandal. One day it’s the IRS, they’re out there trying to pin the ears of conservatives to the wall. Slow walking applications and targeting people. Even wanting to know what they prayed. I never thought I’d live to see the day when the government got so intrusive that it started demanding of its citizens the content of their prayers and their speeches and who are the members of their organization. It is completely out of hand.

Recently I was going to get one of those apps for my IPhone so that if you lose your phone it will find it. I realized I would save the money. If I lose my iPhone I’m just going to call the government. They seem to know where it is anyway. How much do they need to know about me? And all during the campaign when Harry Reid kept taking to the senate floor and acting like he knew what was in Mitt Romney’s tax returns we all said he can’t know that. Now we realize maybe he did. The sad thing is when government becomes a tool against its citizens rather than a tool for its citizens, it’s time to make sure that we remind them where the power is and it’s not in Washington it is in the people of the United States. Lamar Alexander understands that, believes that and has lived that his entire life as a public servant in this state and has been an effective voice not just for Tennessee but for America. And we need him.

One thing I appreciate, when the federal government wanted to tell the 900,000 people in Tennessee with a fishing license where they could and couldn’t fish, you had a bunch of boys sitting behind a desk in Washington who had probably never, ever skinned a catfish or filleted a bass. And here they were trying to tell people they couldn’t fish beneath the dams. It was your Senator, Lamar Alexander, who told the federal government essentially to go fishing somewhere else but that in Tennessee they weren’t going to have to have the federal government telling Tennessee fisherman where they could fish and when they couldn’t. You know the dumbest thing about that for those of your who are anglers you understand that you fish where the fish are. I don’t know why that’s so hard for some of these people to understand. Now that may not seem like a big deal to you, where people can fish, I just want you to understand something; a federal government that doesn’t have anything better to do than to tell people in the middle of the country, in Tennessee, where they can fish is a federal government that is way too big and needs somebody to take ‘em on and bring ‘em back down to size and Lamar Alexander is already proven he’s that person.

On a personal level, when I became governor I went into office well in a rather unusual way. I was the lieutenant governor and I was down in my end of the capitol minding my own business and the governor of the state got convicted of whitewater related felonies. He was a Democrat, I just wanted you to understand that. So he gets convicted of felonies and suddenly, unexpectedly, I became governor. Well Lamar has a little experience in becoming governor under rather adverse circumstance because when one of your governors was being shown the door, both the exit to his office and the entrance to the big house, he understood what it was like to take the leadership reins of the state in a time of crisis. And the way that he managed through that crisis and led Tennessee past the embarrassment and towards some of its greatest days was really a model. And so when I was getting sworn into office I called upon one of the only people in America who understood what I was going to be going through. And it was Lamar Alexander who took the time, not just to be my friend but to be a mentor to me, to spend time and to be willing to be a counsel to me. I will never forget it.

And when Lamar ran for President in 2000 I went all over this country on his behalf and I told people, I said let me tell you something, this is a person for whom governing is not simply some ego trip. This is a person who is absolutely serious and committed about good governing. Keeping taxes low, keeping opportunities high. And it was a real pleasure to be able to go in many parts of this country and to serve on his steering committee when he ran. A few years later when I ran for President I learned a lot from him and I took those lessons to heart. Unfortunately, uh, the end of the journey didn’t turn out quite like I had it planned. But I want you to know that I appreciate Tennessee because I carried Tennessee and I’ve said many times, had TN set the pace for the rest of the country and if the rest of the country had been as smart as Tennessee by golly folks we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in today.

Your senator understands what we do not need is a national school board dictating what your kid is going to learn in the classroom in Tennessee. He gets that. And he won’t let it happen. And he also is a person who recognizes that the fight is not over to get rid of Obamacare. It is going to strap this country and its businesses with a chokehold. Some of you in this room tonight you own a business. And it’s a shame when you’re forced to make decisions that are based on taxes and healthcare not on based on good business decisions. When you’re sitting there talking to an attorney and accountant and paying their hourly rates, just to figure out how to navigate through the tax code and Obamacare, that’s money you can’t spend giving somebody a job. What is it about that Obama doesn’t understand? The money that is spent on the nonsense of bureaucracy is money that can’t be used to hire people, give them a raise and pay their benefits. People in this country, a whole lot more than they need more government, they need more opportunities to go out and have a job and put a paycheck on their table every week. And be able to buy groceries and feed their kids and send them to school.

We’re at a point now where a lot of folks think that Uncle Sugar can fix everything. Well Uncle Sugar can’t fix everything because folks Uncle Sugar is broke. 17 trillion dollars in debt. And what’s to show for it? Not much. And that’s why you’ve got to have sound, solid, sensible leadership in Washington. The kind that Lamar Alexander has brought to TN over many years of public service. I don’t get to vote in TN. But if I did I would be voting for Lamar Alexander. I wouldn’t hesitate. I wouldn’t listen to any distractions. Because I would let his record speak and speak clearly and speak loudly. And I need to ask you to make sure that you send him back to Washington and represent not just Tennessee but represent the bedrock conservative principles that matter to those of us in this country who want to see America have a better future than the one we have with Barack Obama and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi leading this country. That’s not the kind of direction we need to be going.

I want to remind you something and I just want to be blunt about it. Nancy Pelosi said that we would know what was in Obamacare after we passed it. Remember when she said that? Is that not about the dumbest thing that ever came out of a person’s mouth? ‘We will know what’s in the bill when we’ve passed it.’ Now to put it in terms that we’d understand in Arkansas, that’s as dumb as saying I’ll know what I had for lunch when I’ve passed it. Folks, that doesn’t make good sense.

I want to thank you for being here for Lamar Alexander. I hope you will do three things for him. Number one, pray for him to continue the course. Pray for him. It is an important part of our citizenship, to pray for those in power. Number two, give generously to his campaign. You know, well you say ‘well he’s running unopposed in the primary right now. It doesn’t matter.’ That’s why right now contributions mean the most so that he can continue to focus on getting his job done and not have to spend all his time asking people to help and get reelected. So don’t wait ‘til someone comes and gets you in a half-nelson. Go ahead and write the check and do it. Give. And the third thing, vote for him. And don’t go to the polls alone. Make sure that you vote and that your family, your friends, the people you work with, your neighbors, they vote for him too. And don’t let them do anything but vote for Lamar. If they’re not going to vote for him, tell ‘em the senate election has been moved off to 2016 and it won’t be necessary to worry about it. Otherwise, vote for him.

Let me just thank you again from the bottom of my heart for being here. It means a lot that you have come out on a hot July day and you’ve been willing to stand with Lamar, in this case literally stand with Lamar. If it’s any consolation it is about ten degrees hotter in New York City today than it is here because I just came from there. I never thought I’d go south to get cool. And I just want you to know, I don’t live there. I just go up there to work and here’s why. People ask me all the time, ‘hey did you move to NY?’ and I tell ‘em ‘nope.’ And I’m not going to. I said now I’ve got one condition, I might consider it if Mayor Bloomberg would let me duck hunt in Central Park. Until that happens I ain’t going.

Thank you guys! God bless you. Appreciate your being here. Let’s get Lamar back in the United State Senate.