Independent presidential candidate John B. Anderson has never liked giving the same speech twice. But as his campaign has evolved over the months, he has returned to certain themes to explain why he left the Republican Party last spring to launch his independent campaign and why he believes neither of his opponents deserves to be elected.
There can be no doubt in 1980 that our traditional political parties have failed us in their choice of nominees. I think that our political parties are asleep, that they are not offering the kind of fresh new ideas that are needed as we confront the decade of the 80s. And the historic quarrel between Republicans and Democrats has become irrelevant to our most pressing problems.
But I don't believe that the American people have fallen asleep. I don't believe that the American people are asleep. I think they're wide awake. And they know that it is going to take some real effort to rebuild America and to restore the foundation of social justice and economic prosperity for all of our people -- for men, for women, for black, for white, for Hispanic voters.
They know that the time has come to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. They know that we should not have to wait for another four years to put into the basic structure of our Constitution a simple statement that equality shall be denied no person, simply because of sex. And yet, as you look back over the almost four years of the Carter administration, you are struck by the fact that a single state has ratified that amendment during the Carter administration.
We also know that, given the kind of problems that we confront in the nation today, given the past that remains unfulfilled, that this is not the time to talk about constructing an MX missile system that, over its 30-year life cycle, would cost not $33 billion as the administration would have you believe, it would cost, we are told by a recent study issued by the Department of the Air Force itself, over $100 billion.
Just think of it. To pour out, over the next 30 years, over $100 billion of the substance of the treasure of our country to build a system that would not add, I am convinced, would not add to the ultimate security of our nation. We could put that money to work rebuilding this country.
I am not going to endorse either the Carter administration's mobile MX system nor am I going to endorse the mindless race for superiority that the Republican platform talks about, and on which Ronald Reagan seeks the presidency.
I think the American people know that the time has come to put an end to inflation and to do something about rising interest rates. On the first score, I picked up a newspaper when I was in Maine, and the headline reads, "Brace Yourself: Food Prices Expected to Soar 10-15% in the Next 10 to 15 Months." That's what we have to look forward to under the economic policies that have been offered by this administration.
But I'm concerned, also, about another story that appeared [recently], after members of the U.S. Savings and Loan Association met with the president of the United States. They said that the American dream of home ownership is being killed. It is almost dead. If high interest rates, and I quote the league's vice president, "if high interest rates get much higher, they're going to kill a lot of other things as well."
The dream that many Americans once had of owning their own home is being wiped out by an administration whose economic policy is literally founded on the notion that it's only with high interest rates that we can deal with inflation. I say that isn't good enough. That isn't good enough for future generations.
I think also that Americans realize that under the Carter administration we simply have not ended our dependence on foreign oil, as we should have done. Oh, to be sure, the president likes to boast that, over the last 12 months, we have seen a decline in our imports of oil. But why? He doesn't answer that question, because the answer is quite clear. It isn't because of the conservation efforts of the Carter administration. It's because of the deliberately induced economic recession that has led to a downturn in economic activity, and with it we are consuming less gasoline and oil than we once did.
I would like to ask this administration, why has it neglected to fill the national petroleum strategic reserve?
Why is it that we still number in weeks, rather than in months, the reserve supplies that we ought to have in the national strategic reserves?
It's because this administration has not been willing to brook the wrath of oil-producing states like Saudi Arabia, who have told us, "We're going to cut our production or raise oil prices if you dare to go out in the world markets and buy oil that is needed to put into that strategic reserve." Doesn't that tell us something about the dependent posture of this country, when our domestic policies, yes, when our diplomacy, can be dictated by some of those oil-producing states in the Middle East? And it's because this administration has been unwilling to call upon the American people to do something dramatically to illustrate that, yes we are willing to tax ourselves, if necessary, in order to keep OPEC from continuing to tax us, to dictate what our energy policy should be.
My friends, we simply cannot afford to wait for another four years for the Carter administration to find the time that is politically propitious to call on the American people to do those things that I am convinced they are willing to do, if they are given the kind of leadership that they should have. And I don't think the American people are going to turn to Ronald Reagan, who clings to the false idea that all you have to do is get the government off the back of the energy companies and deregulate, and that somehow that is a magic cure for our energy situation.
No. If we are going to do the things that we want -- whether we call ourselves liberals or conservatives, whether we are Republicans, Democrats or independents -- we're going to have to shake up this political system as it's not been shaken up in a long, long time.
We're going to have to tell the American people that we are not going to give them the kind of half-truths that they are being given. We're going to have to tell the two parties that we are ready to unite once again as one nation, indivisible, to put aside partisan differences, to put patriotism above party, to put country above party, and as Andrew Jackson said, "to restore a spirit of compromise to our body politic" that simply does not exist anymore.
No, it's not going to be easy, and I would never tell you otherwise. But let me tell you, it's gonna be worth it. It's gonna be worth it. It won't happen overnight, but it will mean a better tomorrow for our children, for our grandchildren. And it would involve something other than just business as usual. It means, literally, a rebirth of the spirit of the American people. And it means that we are going to have to do, as I said a moment ago, concentrate on the rebuilding of America; to restore our industry that is no longer competitive, to rebuild and restore the crumbling foundations of our cities, and to begin to preserve our farms. And I believe that we must demand no less. We must demand that our next president be a leader of all the people, not simply a partisan for a particular party.
I think that, with all of the hard choices that I have been talking about, that there is one relatively easy choice that we have to make. And that is, on the fourth of November, to reject both the Republican and the Democratic party. To reject both Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter.
Adlai Stevenson once said that it is time to tell the American people the truth, that there are no gains without some pains. And I think that's the plain truth. That we aren't with simple slogans, we aren't with simplistic solutions, going to overcome the problems that I've talked about.
We're going to have to save, we're going to have to invest, we're going to have to sacrifice for a better tomorrow, and for a better future. But I believe that it's possible, that it is surely within our grasp if we will all reach for it and help us in this campaign and elect the National Unity ticket on the fourth of November.