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tv   Dick Armey Leader  CSPAN  June 18, 2022 11:03am-12:01pm EDT

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thank you so much. those of you who are here in the audience those of you who have joined online on c-span. welcome. this is going to be a riveting conversation and i say that as someone who is a historian. so just a couple of minutes of comments before i turn it over to my friend and colleague steve moore who really will be running the show tonight. and that is in 1994. i was president of my university's college republicans. and it was more than a dream as a son of the reagan revolution. that -- army would soon be the majority leader.
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that phil graham's economic expertise along with leader armies at least for a narrow window in american political history would be ascendant in this town. and while we have to be careful as historians not to dwell in the past we can as we are on the brink of a red wave and i mean that philosophically not as a partisan. this year know that that isn't merely about party registration. about one party being in charge instead of another it is about the ideas that define us as a people namely freedom. flourishing and this town and this government spending a hell of a lot less money than it does. and so it is a great great privilege to have -- army. senator phil graham my one of my political mentors who a couple years later. he was thinking about running for a different office. he was in louisiana, and i said senator, you know, this is before there was a red wave in
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louisiana, would you adopt us as as our third senator? he said yes, son. you just keep doing what you're doing. so here we are many years later senator. good to see you. welcome back to heritage. but without further ado. it's also an equally great privilege to have steve moore back here at the heritage foundation to welcome him. here is our distinguished fellow and to this program over to him. it's right here so we can really boxes, thank you kevin for the kind introduction and i'm loving this new era at heritage. it's fantastic and his leadership has been amazing. we're going to have some fun today tonight and welcome to our c-span audience as well. --. army is a legend. he's one of the few people in addition to phil graham who actually cut this came to this
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town to actually make government smaller not bigger. so thank you to both of you and so we have i just got this note from newt gingrich. was the as you all know the speaker of the house and was the one with the army who really engineered the republican revolution in 1994. so i just thought if i may --, i'd love to read this comment from from speaker congrats, and it's really sweet. he says -- army was invaluable as a creative dynamic energetic member when we were in the minority and as a key part. of the contract of america majority an extraordinary force for good ideas and real reforms and a leader who helped re-elect the house gop majority for the first time in 68 years and helped develop the only four balanced budgets in our lifetime. that's pretty amazing. isn't it his new book provides vivid and wise insights into the legislative process and the
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house as an institution with gratitude newt gingrich. so that's this really nice tribute to -- army. this is the book if you haven't got if you haven't gotten this book yet. it's a great read. i actually think this book should be read by all people every political science major in america should be reading this book called leader. it really is a a great discussion of how washington really works and how things get done and don't get done in washington. and so we're going to kind of have some fun. telling our -- army stories. there's probably in this rum deck at least 15 or 20 people who work for you at one time or another and i i say in addition to all of the great. contributions you made directly to policy one of your great contributions was the incredible number of successful people who you mentored including myself. i'm and so my little story about -- army is that i work for -- on the joint economic committee in
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1990. 3 and 1994 and i remember that that when that when i was on the committee, and i i decided by the summer of 19 of 1994 that i was going to leave the committee because i just had it, you know if you were a minority remember if you were working for a minority member in the house you might as well have not been there. i mean the democrats were so arrogant at that time after what 40 years of rule, you know, there was like republicans weren't even there. and so i remember i went to -- and i said look, i love working for you --, but i just can't i can't do this anymore. it's pulling my hair out. we're not really having much of an impact here and and i'll never forget --, you know. turn me said steve. you cannot leave now remember this and you said don't leave now because we're going to take the house in november of 1994. and you know dennis you were part of that revolution as well, and i said --, whatever you're smoking. i want some of it, you know, because it seems so incredibly
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and for people forget how improbable it seemed and that how many seats did you have to pick up like 60 seats or something like that? and it was it was obviously a tidal wave election and it was in no small part because a newt gingrich and -- army in the contract with american republicans. there's a lesson here when republicans stand for something they win. when they're just the lesser of two evils, which is most of the time they lose and so that was an incredible period and what you all did you and nude and the whole team from 1995 through 2000. it's true all the four only four balanced budgets in the last 50 years. we did welfare reform. we did the capital gains tax cut all of these incredible things --. army was also for those of the younger people in this room. you were the first inspiration for the flat tax idea. you were the one of the first inspirations for medical savings accounts. you never were with me on the term limits idea. i don't think you like that too much.
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but anyway that it's just so fantastic to have you here, so i wanted to turn the podium over to senator phil graham who actually i first met in this building, you know back in 1984 85 when when -- when phil graham came up with this crazy idea called the they called it the ground rudman. bill and the ground rubbin bell was basically automatic spending cuts if we couldn't get that deficit down and all of washington, you know had palpatel palpitations over this, but it was one of the few times senator that we actually cut spending under that ground rugby bill and he has been a crusader for small government as well also hails from the great state of texas. so give a nice warm. welcome to phil graham of texas.
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thank you, steve. well, nobody told me that i was going to say anything. i will say a few things. president reagan once put his arm around me and said i want you to look me and i said kept weinberger tells me. that your graham rudman is more dangerous than the soviet menace. were you assure me that that's not the case? and i said yes, mr. president, i'll assure you is not the case. well --, and i were destined to become friends. because we will both from texas. we're both economists. and we both came to washington because we wanted less government and more freedom. they're not a lot of people who come to government with the idea
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of having less of the very institution. that come to be part of. and the thing that i always found was very interesting and i never lost. my sort of all of it. and that was that --. always had this view that he was like a spy in the soviet union. that had become a leader of the central committee. and was one of the people actually running the soviet. so that when we got together, it was sort of like i was there as his american handler and he was telling me what was we were actually doing inside the belly of the beast. and i never cease to find that fascinating. i served in washington for quarter of a century. and i dealt with a lot of people. but i can say without any fear
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of contradiction. that of all the people that i ever serve with -- army was less interested that somebody. decorumi was less interested. in getting credit for things he did than anybody i have ever dealt with in, washington. is for is i could tell his aspiration other than saving america was owning a ford s-150 king ranch version. and he got it. and -- story is a story that reassures me about america. a -- was from cadoo north dakota. that's right in. i don't have any idea where it is.
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um, i went to north dakota campaigning once and i had to plug in the car to the tires from freezing. but he came from candor, north dakota. and he became the first republican majority first republican majority leader in 40 years. and he was an indispensable leader in changing america. and implementing the final stones on the reagan revolution and then he retired and went back to being just in plain citizen. to me that is a reassuring story about america. i once had a guy in china. asked me where did you come from? you know we try to look at leadership in america, and we just can't figure out where you
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came from. and i tried to explain to him that in america. the greatness of our country is that leaders just come from nowhere? and so people are always saying where are the reagans and where are the -- armies now that we need them? well, i never despair because i know they're out there. they're waiting to be discovered. they're waiting for the right moment. and the only thing that i well let me just say the contract will america. -- army wrote the contract with america. he gave it the name contract with america. i was the chairman of the republican senatorial committee. we tried to copy it by having our seven more and 94. we won more than seven seats. by the way now i'm not taking
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anything away from newt gingrich. he grabbed it he ran with it. he made it famous. he deserves all the credit he gets. but -- army was the father of contract with america. my welcome, but let me just say a couple of more things. from the beginning of the republic we had wasted money because of an inability to close government facilities, especially military bases. and so what -- did in a new and totally original idea of his own creation? was he came up with the idea of a commission? and then a straight up or down vote. in congress to approve the closing of military basis so
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that it allowed a congressman or senator to go to the military base as the bulldozer was pulling up and knocked down the gate and lie down on the ground telling his staff now just at the last moment rush in and drag me out and i'll be begging to die, but pull me out and then it'll be gone. and that's exactly what happened. we closed a lot of military bases. that should have never been built to begin with and were being operated just draining the blood out of american. um -- was very instrumental in welfare reform. the most successful reform of a government program in american history why we don't take that. reform program and apply it to every entitlement program the federal government. i don't understand.
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the average household in the bottom 20% of american income earners get over 45,000 a year in benefits in the federal government. is there any wonder that you can't get people to work? and we were able to implement a program and an area that was the most difficult area where you've got an unmarried woman with children. a situation where senator warren would say it's impossible for it to work. well, guess what? we reform the program we set time limits and within four years. 50% of the people had been on the program were working. it's amazing. what incentives do. so i'm very happy to be here
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today to one give credit. we're not enough credit has been given. partly because he lacked the skill to blow his own horn. and secondly to just say to -- that. it was a great privilege those years working with you one of the highlights of my career. was getting together with -- to get his spying report. that he was actually running the system. he came to washington to dramatically reform. and so --. congratulations thank you senator. those were terrific comments. just one thing about the contract with america. i remember -- talking to you after the republicans, you know won the congress and and i kind
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of was apologetic. i said, you know --. i didn't really pay all that much attention to the contract of america because i never thought she would win. and you said well steve if people thought we would win they never would have signed the contract of america. that was a great great period and and instantly i think you all remember your first hundred hours. what was it the first hundred hours? you did. i mean you pass more good legislation than probably the previous 25 years in that first hundred dollars. so it's an amazing revolution we have by the way. could i see a lot of new people have come in if what i'd love if any all of you in this room who at some point in your career work for -- army. could you please stand up? that's amazing. thank you all for being here. i'll say it again -- leggett. -- legacy is really the amazing people. he's mentored over the years. okay, so i wanted to call and kevin kramer. where are you senator there?
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are you out kid? we have another person for the second most person from north most famous person from north dakota here. kevin kramer is a senator from the state of north dakota and he is also i believe you are all you're also from can-do. he's also is how one of the odds the two of the most famous people in washington would come from can do north dakota senator. thanks so much for being. all right. neither -- nor i are the most famous person from can do however peter davidson could attest that dave osborne one of -- classmates all pro running back for the vikings was is from can do. eastern canada, he and dicker classmates well, i this is such an honor steve thanks for including me to be able to participate in something like this my 10 years in congress, this is a highlight it is it really is -- i mean it and for for the handful of you who've read the whole book susan and i
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know did she i'm sure she proof it many times. but i read the whole but i might have been the first person in america to read the whole book. i mean i was texting -- as i was reading it on the airplane going. i'm laughing so hard the people next to me are concerned. but just to give you a little context if you didn't read the book. i my daddy and -- army lived across the alley from one another in can do. and in the book -- tells the story about richard kramer the elder richard. there's a number of richards. they're in the book that he references but um was passed with teaching the younger richard how to climb polls when -- joined the rural electric cooperative as alignment for a summer job. now i love the fact that -- -- had to go union shop and work for co-op, you know, that was the last time he did either of those things but but but more importantly than that even charlie army -- brother who along with phil graham really is
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are the two stars of the book. i'd say they get more ink than anybody else combined. and so charlie army -- older brother and my daddy were best man at each other's weddings. they both married. well, they both stayed married to the same person their entire life. so just to give you a little a little of that my dad did teach -- didn't put this part in the book. he put the part about the climbing poles in the book. he didn't put this my dad -- tells me gave him his first one of his first economics lessons. yet -- and dad after work one day dixon. let's go down to it was a gordy's bar downtown kandu and have a drink. maybe he didn't. but richard kramer said --. you know that for the price of a drink at the bar downtown we could go to the liquor store and get a six pack. and my dad retired alignment and -- wrote the book on price theory literally wrote the book on price three.
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but the best book -- has ever ridden is is leader his memoirs or spectac. ular i encourage everybody. it's listening to watching to read it. and we celebrate that for sure because not only as steve says not only is it a great documentation of a historical moment. i mean it is a great documentation of it. significant historical moment here, but it has countless lessons to all of us. on how to govern and better yet how to behave. really and the two go hand in hand. i told you i laughed so hard at some points that people were concerned about me sitting sitting on the plane, but i'm just gonna give you a couple of of the lessons that i learned. first of all i one of the parts so i really laughed the hardest is when when the wives the faculty wives accosted you -- because he as a professor had written this piece. that the newspaper picked up that proved that.
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stay at home wives were overpaid. well, maybe not exactly but it's something like that something like that that in fact they were paid both for their consumption as well as for their as well as for their productivity. and so of course he's doing all this wonky stuff, but here's what it reminded me. it reminded me of shortly after -- went to congress his alma mater where you guys masters degree the university of north dakota at the time known as the fighting sioux until the ncaa said it was hostile and abusive. but which which by the way because of scarcity after that happened -- called me said, can you run over to grand forks and get me a fighting sue hockey jersey before before they're all gone. they were smart enough at und to print a whole bunch of them. but anyway. but at that event where he received the coveted sioux award the mc was the president of the alumni association and the state republican majority leader of the state legislature north dakota earl strinden. and -- gets up and gives this wonderful speech starting out
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about why how important the university system is because it not only teaches our children but teachers our children's children. right, that's pretty important. that's where the good news ended and he pivoted to the problem with the university system. of course phil is faculty governance, right? and i'm sorry he gives this oration of oration on faculty governance. why how bad that is and how it's ruining the university system and he gets all done and gets his wonderful ovation from all the wealthy donors to the university of north dakota and earl stranden gets up and says, just one quick announcement the dessert reception and honor of congressman army that was going to be hosted by the faculty has been canceled due to a recent lack of interest. one other thing about north dakota -- beloved home state and most of his family still lives there. i was distant can do about a week or two ago and and saw some of them but his preference for free markets senator graham. really supersedes the prairie populism of north dakota. he would add a hard time getting elected there. let's just say and although i
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think today he'd be hit that much better chance, but he did come and often knives game campaign for me in the 90s when i was young party chairman. he was the guy that would come and give the lincoln day speeches when we had no celebrities and from north dakota. we didn't even have a living republican that had been in at that time. but but we always had to get assurances that he would not talk about the farm bill or the farm programs and you would certainly not give his opinion about ethanol. and until until he came to cut the ribbon on the ronald reagan republic senator senator in bismarck. it just so happened that that same day john hoven the governor at the time now my colleague in the senate was to give the keynote address at the north dakota petroleum council, but he got sick. so they called scrambled in the mornings that could you get -- army possibly to fill in for john holden. and i said, i think i can. and as we were in the parking lot of the radisson and i said, this is your chance. to say whatever you want about
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ethanol in north dakota and he got up. i'll never forget he gets up in front of all these oilmen. he said kramer said i could say anything i wanted about ethanol. it was such a -- dumb idea that russians didn't even try it and and just true story and he got a standard ovation. he didn't have to say another word. i did one time. yes. i did one time try to plead my case for the farm bill. in his office. it's a --. you've got to admit free markets don't work in every situation because agriculture is heavily subsidized by all of our competitors. it's we just are trying to have a you know, a fair marketer at least level the playing field a little bit to which he said without thinking about it contemplating worrying about my feelings. he said i've never met an american decided to become a farmer because somebody put a gun to their head. and i said, okay, we'll talk about something else.
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let's talk about glenda or edie. anyway i know there's a 39 page index on -- book. i bet i have twice that many pages that i've written. notes stick so that i will always be able to go back to the things that that really matter because -- took army's axioms and turned them into really into army's parables. again historical as it is it taught us a lot of things. -- your i agree with you. i think it should be it should be required reading for every freshman for sure for every freshman that comes to congress for sure because one thing the newt gingrich said to me the first time i ever met him and i told him that you and my dad grew up together. -- army is the epitome of what one man can do in congress if he has the will ladies and gentlemen when he passed brac he was a junior member of the minority party. that should be encouragement for everybody that aspires to do big things. the lessons of your ten years leader proved that regular order
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works. regular order works. i've been in congress ten years. i've never seen regular order. but your book proves that regular order works when you respect every member. when you empower every committee. and you honor the chairman i'd like to see that return. i think we'd get back to a lot of those principles. if in fact we just took care of those. but perhaps the greatest economics lesson that you taught us. there can that you teach us in your book is that god's grace is in high demand and high supply and it's still free. it's still true one of the most important lessons i take from -- book. is that going home on weekends makes you a better member of congress than going on a codell? mean that was that that one's gonna hurt some people. but it's true. you inspired me to be a senator as well, and you know that. you know that and the reason and the way he did it, don't worry. it won't be as blunt as you put.
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was because i asked him in 1993 senator graham if such a celebrity from texas as he is would ever run for the open seat vacated by lloyd benson to which he said. i'm not a big enough, you know. to be to be a senator, but you have the potential. and you have always had, you know great aspirations for me. -- army and my father learned a really valuable lesson together climbing polls that if you work long hours you get time and a half. and then professor army became he became congressman army and leader army. and he and his entire team many of whom you've seen tonight and there are many others. proved that if you work long hours at their job. you don't make an extra penny. but just like my dad who earned
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time and a half benefited his family -- and his team. their hard work have benefited all of our families. and you can live without assurance --. you are a man to quote your own book not about you, but i'm going to quote it back to you our man of great great stature as well as a man of great. status there are two men in my life. without whom i would never be a united. they're both named richard. they're both from can do. and i love you both. thank you. thank you so much senator. that was so fabulous. by the way. i apologize. i forgot to mention the most important person in this room susan army, susan. thank you for everything you've done.
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so i asked a few people. would you like to say something about your husband? all right. i can't wait to hear what you have to say. ladies and gentlemen, susan. i'm not sure if i'm supposed to come up or not. but here i am so let me think about this my husband and i have been married for almost 42 years. and i've got to say it has never been boring. i remember when he first came to me, we'd only been married about two and a half years. and he said, you know honey i've been thinking about i i really think i could do a lot of good and do some good work if ran for congress. and i said what? i'm cooking dinner, you know we have children here. i don't what are you talking? so anyway, i just very quickly. i'd read a few articles on
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political families and how tough their lives were and i said if you do this honey, i'll have to think seriously about a divorce. and so i laughed and he said really and i said, well, i don't know. let's talk about it. so we did and he had he really had deep felt feelings. he had a plan and he knew who he was. he was an economist. and he'd been watching c-span and he would talk to me about this and he would say, you know. there's so many good things that we could do. and so i just really didn't want him to do it, but he did and he and i encouraged him to do what he wanted what his dream was. and he ran and against all odds he want. and then he said, you know, i'll never be in leadership those guys. they have to work all the time. i'm just going to be a regular member. just do my work i said, oh good. that's great because we can, you know, get back to a normal life. before i know it he's running for leadership.
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for eight years and but i look back now that we're out of it. it's so much better. i can look back and he did so much. i mean he and his team. they did so much he had the best team in dc and they did wonderful work together and i look back. you know, it's been what 20 years since he's been out of congress. and i'm amazed as i've gotten older. i'm amazed at what my husband and his team did. so it was worth it. it was worth it. the kids said it was good. before we hear from from -- army. there's one person in this room who really played a huge huge role in and -- army becoming a member of congress, but also
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majority leader was with the -- for many many years. really literally from the very start and that's carrie not carrie. where are you? can you come can you come up and say few words about those first campaigns? i mean the stories of that campaign and how -- really, you know rolled the dice and really put everything on the line was amazing. and so thank you for everything you did to make -- armory the success that he was i will try we're still trying to figure out if susan actually voted for -- in that first. well, i mean we've heard tonight from senator graham and and others about how much of a difference he it's true. it's a phenomenal difference he made. career, but i've tried to figure out what made him different. and so i thought of a few things one is he truly is fearless. and he chose to run for congress when everybody said the pool to
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try. i thought there's no way you're going to win against the the guy who was incumbent who had been mayor of arlington for 26 years who had millions of dollars and but he did it anyway, and he said i'm gonna i'm going to win my own way, and he knocked on 10,000 doors he made. thousands of phone calls you scratched his way. he got it done, but he was honest with me when he interviewed me. he and susan interviewed me to be his campaign manager he goes. and i didn't know two things. i don't have any money and i don't know anybody who does. and he was correct on that. you took on all the fights once you got up to dc and you know the base closing bill. he was literally a junior member and his second term not on the armed services committee. and i remember one time senator graham. he came back. i think he had. it shared the idea with you and you said that can't be done that's impossible. so i tried it one time and it goes i just that just makes you want to try it that much more
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and so with brian gunderson and others on the team after you know, three or four good years of getting it done it it got through and it continued for many many rounds and say billions and billions of dollars. but there are lots of other issues he took on school choice back when even the first bush administration was opposed to it when it was i think our first goal was to get a majority republicans to vote for it and now it's party orthodoxy, but it wasn't for a long time public housing reform with jack kemp walter faunt roy and all the others in those days ag subsidies, which you heard about which people thought you could never touch protecting the homeschoolers, which i think to this day probably shut down congress more than any other project i've ever seen but yeah, we just had remarkable success across a variety of issues and i was trying to think of other. house members or senators who left a legacy who left behind such a a big body of work and i think of maybe ted kennedy on the other side, maybe phil
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graham, but there aren't many. it's a very very short list. i think you can be proud of what what you left behind. another difference is he truly didn't give a hoot what anybody thought about. and that gave him remarkable freedom. he did what he thought was right and what his conscious told him to do and he couldn't be bent. i mean lobbyists couldn't bend him his donors and his district couldn't bend him and he lost several of them because they tried and he refused. he told constituents. what he believed and in one. famous encountered a town hall meeting a guy just keep badgering him over something over and over again and -- finally said i've had enough of you meet me outside after this and i'll kick your --. you may not have said but but that was kind of who he was but he's not justified or he's a thinker and that's another thing. i think that sets him apart is he really does spend time actually. i think thought time today is a
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pretty rare commodity my kids i try to get them to like. you've got empty time. think don't just go to your phone and look at something but -- would be in the shower. he'd be out fishing or he'd go for run or whatever and he would he would just think and so on a lot of times on monday mornings, he would call me in his office goes. i've been thinking. and i knew something was up at that point and he would have some. idea, like even back in the university came up with his invisible foot of government. corollary to adam smith's invisible hand of the market and you know, it's look it up. it's really well done, but he would come up with an idea in congress that we would either we would analyze for days. turn it into some project and and many of them would would change america and just he would take the time to think and today. we're just reacting to stuff that we see on the news or people are pushing, but he would actually take time. and think about it whether it's on a power pole in north dakota thinking about whether you should go back to college. or thinking about the flat tax
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or thinking about some of their economic concept. he also analyzed people. and he could unlock people because he would study them and understand them. and to this day, you know new gingrich is a great guy love the guy spent thousands of hours in meetings with him and the rest of the leadership i think -- probably analyzed new better than anybody else who's written or talked about nude. i'll i'll let you read the book to see his analysis of new but i think it's spot on he read widely. and he remembered what he read from all the the classic economists adam smith. he written. you know, george gilder was a great friend of his thomas soul milton friedman. some of the classics joseph schumpeter. i mean he read them and studied them and remembered them and learned how to apply them and different situations and he could articulate the concepts. whether it's a leadership meeting or at a town hall meeting or on a tv interview. he could he could explain it better than anybody else. i think i i know and many
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leadership meetings. there would be a big battle about something. and -- would then just launch into this? soliloquy bringing in several famous, you know economists of the past and just shut the whole thing down there go i can't argue with that. and later when when he became a believer in christ years into his career. he he learned to live out his faith in everything. he did and that gave him tremendous. peace. particularly toward the end when he was just unfairly maligned by a lot of people that should have been his friend, but he had to go through a lot and and get quite a few slings and arrows and he did it with a with a peaceful heart and not many of us could have. walk through it the way he did i think. but he also developed. true friendships with people that you wouldn't expect those who've been around a while. never ron dell evans. he and -- were great buddies didn't agree on hardly anything, but they were great friends. jim wright they became great
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friends, joe moakley rosa de laura, which is really surprised me. they became friends when they were doing the homeland security committee chuck schumer we attacked farm subsidies work with chuck schumer in the day jack brooks who was a crustiest guy in the world. but -- is the only guy who could joke with him and get away with it. even barney frank. they were actually friends people don't believe that they were his good nature allowed him to say things that most people couldn't get away with one of my favorite stories in the book is he was showing up at one of the office buildings and as he was going through vaccine waters happened to show up. and she was with some of her colleagues. you know maxine waters might appreciate this and it goes oh, maxine. i'm so glad to see you. she goes, why did he goes? well now we can call off the witch hunt. it's as she just laughed. and and her colleagues said maxine, you can't take that because oh come on. that was pretty funny.
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so she had a good sense of humor about it, too. he often said he was he was good at being pithy. the people didn't always like it when he -- on him. i've recently gone back to the hill after a 20-year absence and as i look at the hill today is a very very different place, but today's political entrepreneur as opposed to policy entrepreneurs today what typically passes as a campaign is to make an incendiary comment or perhaps tweet something that's outrageous go on their favorite tv network yell at somebody on the floor make a spectacle and then go send out millions of emails and text and try to raise money on it and then go back to the same thing the next day. that's pretty much what a large part of our movement has turned into which is which is unfortunate? we desperately need people who approach their job like -- did. i mean, it's hard to find an
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entrepreneurial congressman now partly it's because they've shut the rules down and members don't have an opportunity. to be effective on their committee or offer amendments on the floor like he did for so long. but i hope if republicans win they take the majority that they will reopen this and let members show that they can be a legislator and not just a perform. going forward we need that substance. we need the you know the political changes that can be made. for anyone who wants to understand the way congress worked during army and grams era. read his book. i really think it's it's a classic. book that people can learn from and and i agree members maybe heritage or someone could send a copy to all new freshmen when they come in. i think it would be well worth their their time to read it. they need to learn what it did. they need to replicate it because we need more leaders who can you know change america the way he did. i think he did come to a dc. we reached to ride around and pick up truck back in that 1984 campaign. he said i want to go to
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washington to save america. well, he did. you did. but we need people to do it every generation. so when you get a whole new crop, i think that can do. you did -- so it i'm terribly proud to have known you. proud to have worked with you and to get to know susan over the years and all the other members of our team that are here tonight. it was a wonderful group and incredible era. so thank you for let me be part of it. i'm going to tell one other quick -- army story and then i will by the way the book is leader by richard kay army and it is a wonderful read just one fun story that carrie reminded me of and i see that andy laperier here is here in the front row and worked, you know diligently and can helping put together the flat tax idea that their army flat tax and you may remember this story annie, but
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we had called in a bunch of really prominent economists to to you know to to have a conversation with -- about that plan and and so we brought in our laffer. and i think it was steve forbes. and i think like jack kemp was there or someone answered the three of them are huddled on this couch in army's office, and we're kind of sitting across from him and a -- army's first statement as he said gentlemen. said there is not been as much brain power on that couch since i slept there alone. all right. here from -- army the great one of the greatest majority leaders in the history of the house of representatives -- army. thank you. thank you all.
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i just really want to make two points. the first is about the house of representatives. i came to know and understand that. this is the most unique institution in the cause of liberty and representative democracy in the history of the world. and i was so privileged. to be part of it. i learned to loveth the institution. i learned to love the people who loved the institution one of the people. whose president recurs in my book and one of the few people with whom i served whose approval i coveted. was senator bird from west virginia people think that's a strange choice? but i love senator byrd for the way. he loved the institution. and i wanted him to remember me. as a person that did honor to the inst.
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i like to believe i succeeded. when i came there. the institution was run by regular order. the democrats were evil. we knew that but they ran a good ship. and as a young entrepreneurly minded. member of congress i could innovate legislation because i knew what the rules were. thanks largely to david hobbs. who taught me the ropes? but if you know the institutional structure and the procedures and the protocols and if you dare to believe they will be counted on. you can exceed in your individual initiative. you can't in a world that doesn't have that structure. now i look at the congress today and i feel bad i remember the
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people that i served. i remember the demonic democrats who were in charge of everything. but each and every one of those grumpy old men had served this nation in the service of its defense. they knew the sacrifice of that service. they understood the causal liberty liberty that they had paid for. and they treated liberty with a very very gentle and loving touch. and they deserve to be respected. and they were but now i've watched the house fall into a different direction. i've seen. republican speakers who fallen by the wayside and i can see i believe it is for one simple reason only. they left the structure behind.
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they got ahead of the body. they failed to respect each and every member. and their right to participate and then they would come to the floor. with a product that had not been seen or worked on by members at large. and try to bully it into passage. and it was a heartbreaking thing to watch. i believe. that if the states of this country preserve their integrity as granted in the constitution to administer their elections. and if the elections are administered fairly and honestly the republicans will regain majority of the house. i believe they do an extraordinary. good job. i've administering honest elections. the republicans will join will gain a majority in the senate. and i have a wish and a prayer.
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for these new majority run the organization in compliance with its rurals in its protocols and it's wonderful traditions. allow each member to be honored and appreciated and active. and doing what it is they do so well on every committee. you have people who have devoted a lifetime's career who have expertise and historical knowledge. that should be respected. and if you do that, mr. new speaker. you will retain your speakership because you will have an honest. happy and productive institution and it will be to your credit. that will mean you will have to stand up. to an administration that wants to go to the drying room together just a few of us. and we'll work it out and bring it back and you guys can pass it. you'll have to say no, we don't do things like that in our body.
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we do things in an all-inclusive and respectful fashion. together we are an institution. and by the way of all the things i admired about newt gingrich. the one thing i admired the most. he understood. congress was a separate and equal. body of this government and it's prerogatives and its obligations. needed to be protected. and they needed to be administered. and thank you newt for that great lesson. that's what we do. we come here to serve the nation. to do so together. in an inclusive fashion that is respectful of all our members. all our members even knows nitwits on the other side of the aisle. should be respected. i remember joe cap was being
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just because he couldn't throw a perfect spiral. and irrespass was i am a starting quarterback quarterback in the nfl. i apologize. i was elected by my citizen friends back home. and i apologize. to no one and on their behalf. i demand to be respected. now, let me just take a personal. i wrote this book. people think it's about me. it's not about me. especially those years in congress. it's about us. we did it together. i was never able to talk about my staff. i couldn't see them. we were a team. we were together we stuck up for each other. we stuck by each other and i wrote it one day i composed it to type, right? i found myself typing these words. we loved each other for what we love together. a safe and a prosperous and a
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happy america. we did that. and we did it so well with such a sense. of loyalty and loving affection through a system that i called respectful division of labor. that we became known as army guys. and i loved that. i thought it was fitting. your credit called called them carry not guys. you could have called them gillespie's if you like good whiskey. but we were army guys. and michelle davis was the first to enlighten us guys. that the term army guys is a gender-neutral term. we are all army god and we discovered did we not before we all broke up? there were people that were not of our staff not in our shop.
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there were other members of congress. there were even a handful of particularly enlightened senators. who've called himself army guys. so if you're an army guy, it's because you love one another. for what you love together a safe and prosperous and happy. america that's why we work. this is the prize for which we talk. so, may i ask you if you are. and army guy. will you stand and give yourself a hand? thank you. well -- army. it is fantastic to have you back in washington. i think this is your first one
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of your first trips back since you left town, and so it's a it's amazing that you were able to come here. it's a great book. it's called leader. truly. i mean, this is a great great book. it's a great read about how washington works and what it doesn't work senator phil graham. thank you so much for coming from texas. it was really fantastic having you and we will have drinks afterwards and all of the army guys and gals are going to be having dinner afterwards. so -- army. thank you for all you did for our country. you are a great great patriot.
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