Thank you all very much, and thank you for that kind introduction. Sometimes when I'm feeling tired I listen to everything ok maybe that's why I'm tired. I'm just so glad to be back here and I just think Clare Boothe Luce Society for this opportunity to talk to all of you because there's is nothing more important than your generation and making sure that you're involved and that you can carry on the great legacy the United States of America. Before we get started, and I've got prepared comments I would like to ask all of you to keep in your thoughts and prayers the men and women in the military. We live in the greatest nation in the history of the world and it's because their service and their sacrifice. As was mentioned, I served, I had the honor of serving on veteran affairs committee and when you too are well to read in Bethesda and Brooke Army medical, you understand the sacrifices that our military makes, and their families right alongside them.
So we must never take that for granted, we must always support them and keep them in our prayers. Just recently in this morning three Americans, two of them military were killed in a plane accident in Afghanistan and off the coast of Virginia, sailors were in a helicopter, they were another two or I think three sailors, one is still missing. So they do they make that sacrifice day in and day out, and their family makes it alongside of them.
I'm not gonna go into the introduction, I have a paragraph here, because you did such a wonderful job, thank you very much. Before I start my comments, I thought it might be helpful for me to hear from all of you as to what concerns you, and what's on your mind today, as we sit here January the 10th, 2014. This is the first Merton meeting of the Conservative Women Network, and I just, what is on your mind? What do you think should be the priorities for the United States of America?
And I'm delighted to see one of my former staffers here who now works in the Pro-Life Movement, Christe O'Brien thank you for coming, it's so great to see you. Well, and I think probably what was echoed up here in terms of the Affordable Care Act, jobs the economy, cutting taxes, keeping spending down, those are the things that most Americans, certainly those of us who are paying attention are concerned about. And we'll get into some that in just a minute. You know you come in you hear people talk, and you walk away and think, what did that person just say. So before I get into my comments, I just want to leave you with two thoughts, if you remember anything else about today remember these two things.
Number one, be grateful that you are fortunate enough to live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. That you are an American citizen and that you live in the United States of America. We sometimes take that for granted and we must never forget that. And the other really important thing I want you all to remember is that you can be or do anything which you are willing to work hard for and set your mind to, and if you are willing to pick yourself up after you have failed, and you pick yourself up and you start all over again, you can do it. I hold myself up as a perfect example.
You know I went to a Catholic High School in a small town called Auburn, New York. When you when you met with Sister Saint Joseph, she was a guidance counselor and she gave you like three options, and one of course was to go into the convent, and that was always number one and then, you know, back then you became a nurse, or teacher, or a homemaker.
Those were the choices. No one ever said to me you can run and be the first woman to sit in the seat, and represent your district in Congress. So it isn't easy, and I don't want to let you think it's easy, but what I do want to say to you is you can do it and don't be deterred in. When people, in 2009, when I left my job and I started telling people I was interested in running for congress, my background had been in health, and I was really concerned about the Affordable Care Act, they rolled their eyes at me, a lot of rolled their eyes at me. You just, if you believe in, and you want to do it, you really need to be undeterred and don't let the media or anyone else discourage you from doing what God has giving you the ability to do.
I think that's a very important component about that, is to make sure you're praying for direction your life and knowing what it is your calling is. We all have different talents, we all bring different talents to the table. So those two things, if you don't remember anything else about this morning or this afternoon, please keep those in mind. Okay, let's get started.
Today I want to talk to you about conservativism. I kind of broke it down into three separate buckets we will talk about. The first thing I want to talk about is very fundamental issues within conservativism, and within promoting our principles of conservativism. Secondly, I want to talk to you about the obstacles that we find and we encounter as we pursue our core principles. Thirdly I want to talk to you about some opportunities that I see we need to, the Republicans and the conservatives need to really grasp onto these opportunities, because I think they're ways for us to hopefully take back the White House, take back the Senate, and remain in control of the house.
I think that for the sake of our nation in generations to come that really should be the goal of our party, and of our conservative movement. So let's start with what is pretty obvious and some basic facts. Number 1, 2012 was a bad year for Republicans and conservatives and in really we have got to make some changes if we're gonna be move forward and be successful in promoting our conservative causes and beliefs. Number two, there are many people in this country who believe, that if we compromise, if we move to the center, if we somehow give up our core beliefs, that then we will attract more people, we will win election. I guess I'm here to tell you I don't agree with that.
I think that the key to getting more people involved, and getting more people interested in the Republican Party and into the conservative movement is to stay firm, and to let the American people know that we stand for something, and we believe in something. I don't want you to confuse that with perhaps thinking that means perhaps we're intractable, we will compromise, and we will consider all these other options. Now I'll get into it a little bit later, but I think we've got to learn as conservatives, and Republicans, to look at issues, not is to really I should say from a 360 degree angle.
We look at the entire issue, we look at it first and foremost, not whether it's a Republican or Democratic issue, but whether it's working or not. What we're seeing in our nation today is that these liberal progressive ideas aren't working, and so our key is to show the American People what does work, and we'll get into that little bit later.
I just want to reiterate, I do not believe that compromising what is so important to us, what is really the core of what, I believe the United States of America, in the way we connect the essence how we connect to the American people, we can't compromise that. That's not going to win us collections.
The third thing I talk about in terms of different basic and obvious thoughts is that conservativism is hard. It's a hard message to articulate, it's a hard, you know, when we encounter a problem, we look to the health care, we all identify that there was a problem with health care in this country.
Our liberal friends turned to the government for answers. They look to appropriate money and solve the problem with the bureaucracy. But conservatives don't do that. Conservatives believe that that the answers in the solutions to these monumental problems in this country lie with the American people. But that's a more difficult road to take because it requires getting people involved, selling what you want to do those people, getting the money from the private sector, and getting people on board so that they will espouse in it, and understand these critical issues.
So it's really easier just to turn to the congress, or to turn to the senate and say, okay what law are we gonna pass, the prime example is the Affordable Care Act. That's how we're going to resolve the health care issues in this country. You know it's not working and I don't have to tell you all that. But I do want to say, conservativism is difficult, but it's the right way for us to go, and the right way for the United States of America to go. So let's talk just a few minutes about the obstacles we face as conservatives.
I think the first and it kind of dovetails into what I just talked about, how difficult it is and that is messaging. It's difficult to message conservative principles. We have to inspire people. That's the task of the conservative. To inspire people that this is a better way to go for the United States of America. It's a better way to go because our principles empower people, our principles lift people up and that's far better than making them dependent on the federal government. But it's not any easy task to articulate and to, you know, make that message clear to the American people.
That's a task, that's an obstacle we face. Until and unless we make our messaging clearer, and we are able to inspire a lot of Americans are just going the wrong way, living their own lives and a lot of people within the conservative movement. I think that's one of the issues we've suffered is that conservatives tend to be working, raising their families, being concerned about their children, and their education, and they're not paying attention to the bigger picture.
I was in Kentucky a week ago visiting my daughter. We we're in a conservative church and the pastor stood up and he was saying how we need to pray for this country. Yes we do need to pray for this country, but we also must get involved. We also must get like-minded people in government because I think it dovetails into my next I'm at school we face, the media.
The media has intimidated people from getting involved. They've intimidated people from even expressing their views, because if you pick up a paper, and I can talk about my own local papers and Christi can acknowledge this, they, from the time a declared until as recently as last week, they've been on a vendetta to just go after me. Last week it was a whole issue, now I've been a congress a year and they're still going after me.
The media and really and I think the biggest problem we have with the media is it intimidates and it makes conservatives think that they're like the only the one who thinks that way. One of the things that you all can do, which you leave this room today, and as you go forward, is you can talk to people, and you can empower other women.
That no, you are not alone when you want the best for your kids or you want more opportunities for your kids, and you don't want this Affordable Care Act, you want to make sure health care stays quality of health care that we have in this country.
So that's a problem we have with the media, and I think it does intimidate. But a getting back to the messaging because I left out a very important component, we need as Republicans and conservatives, to let the country know and the people who live in this country that we are not a party of white, rich men. That is a huge problem in our messaging and something that we have to we have to change that.
We have to really insist and show through our conversations, through our policies, that were a party for all Americans, the wealthy, the poor, the African-Americans, Latinos, the urban, the rural, that we, the values we hold so dear, are those values that left everyone up. That's a very important message that we're not getting out there. There's a stereotype that fits with the Republican Party and we need to break that.
You all in this room can begin to make those changes. That leads me to the third obstacle we face, and I can say that I've really encountered it, first hand and that is stereotypes. The media, primarily the media, has made conservatives out to be crazy right-wing radicals. When I it was mentioned I just begin in July is a commissioner at the Consumer Product Safety Commission. I cannot tell you from the time I started, up until yesterday we had a coffee in our office, people came come up to me and they say, oh my gosh we were so nervous about you.
I think that I have snakes coming out of my ears, I don't know what, because of my conservative, because I was supposedly a tea party person, to this day I don't know what the Tea Party person is. There's political party, there's no, Americans who believe that the Constitution is as relevant today as it was when it was written. But that's the stereotype that conservatives find themselves in, and again the media plays into that, because it's what the paper did to me. If they can marginalize you, if they can make you irrelevant, or they can make you sound like what you're espousing is radical, and nothing we espouse is radical. You all know that in this room, to the very core of your being.
We're talking about what made this country the greatest country ever. The individual responsibilities and rights coming from Almighty Creator, those are, that's what we value. That's not radical at all, and we all know that. But that's the stereotype that we face as conservatives in this country. I will say that we are guilty on the other side and we need to be very careful of this, and this kind of dovetails into my next section on opportunities.
We can't stereotype. We can't look at a group and say, well they never vote Republican, they're not conservatives, and we write them off. So getting into where I think that there are opportunities for conservative movement in this country, number one with women, I think that we need to articulate s message to women, which this health care system, women are intimately they're mostly the health care decisions. I've got health care, I've got a health care proxy for my mother who is 92, I'm getting ready go to Texas, one of my daughters is having a baby. We're intimately involved in health care. So this whole roll out me enlightens some women that the Affordable Care Act is not a good way to go. Education, women are very interested in education. So we can articulate a message to women that there is a place for you in this Republican Party. That what we care about, you care about. We're not doing a very good job with that.
Part of attracting women to our conservative movement, is the hypocrisy on the other side. Now feature this, when I ran in 2010 I had NOW picketing my campaign office. I am mother of six, I went to law school when I was forty, I should be the poster child for NOW. Right? And Christie knows. We were vilified by women's groups because we didn't go lock in step with the life issue. That's the only thing that I can conclude. And liberal policies in general, government running more, but the hypocrisy of the women's movement you know where when I was defeated in 2012, the liberal group targeted women. Mary Bono Mack, Judy Biggert, Nan Hayworth, myself, they defeated us. They said, from the time I was elected in January 2011, until my defeat, I was targeted. You say wait a minute, this doesn't make sense, and so it's going to be up to us to expose the hypocrisy of women's groups in this country. It is the Conservatives who truly care about women and advancing their cause.
We have far more, far more depth, solely in what we all talk about here is our reproductive rights. There's so much more to women and that whole initiative in the way they've really co-opted the women's vote is based on that. It's going to be up to us to show women we are far more than that. We have far more depth than that. We're concerned we're concerned about our kids getting jobs out of college, about a strong economy, that's hindering and it's an insult to women and we should take it as such.
So I left my stereotypes, and went into the cracks, and where are the cracks, and where can we infiltrate. I think women is one, I think teachers historically teachers unions always vote democratic, rather than looking to the union leaders. I think we need to get to the teachers. There are so many teachers and we talk to a lot of them during the last campaign who are so disenchanted and so upset with core curriculum, with race to the top, with no child left behind. This movement to nationalize our education system is frustrating teachers who set out with a mission, and that mission was to educate kids and you're being hamstrung, and they're limited as to how what they can do. I see the USDA just reversed their whole ruling on food, and what kids can eat. But the teachers I think is a very fertile ground, because you're so frustrated with this federalization of education. They really believe that the education decisions should be left to the state and the local governments. Syracuse, New York knows what's best for Syracuse, New York, Washington doesn't. The bureaucrats down here don't. So I think teachers are very fertile ground. I think if we can we can make some headway and head roads into the teachers.
I think health-care workers are another group that we should be able to make our case to physicians, nurses, folks in local hospitals up in our neck of the woods, they've laid off people because the Affordable Care Act. People who are intimately involved in health care understand that this law, among a whole myriad of problems, this law is going to really affect the quality of health care, affect the ability to access positions and health care, and it really is not what we needed in this country. So I think health-care workers are another area that we should be able to get our message to. Again that message is a conservative message, but it's also a message about what works.
Last week, this past week, we celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the war on poverty, thank you LBJ, 20.7 trillion dollars have been spent on the war on poverty. Where are we? We are at the same percentage of Americans below the federal poverty guidelines. So these policies don't work. Don't make it a Republican or democratic issue, they don't work. You've got this Affordable Care Act, you've got education, and you've got the war on poverty. Are we saying, and this is where the message gets tricky and gets challenging, we're not saying we don't care about the poor, we're seeing the way to lift the people out of poverty is to give them opportunities. All of this war and poverty, and all these handouts do not do that. They keep people down, they make them dependent on the government. That is not the United States of America, it's not the right way to go for this country.
We talked about my grandparents they all came here as teenagers from Italy. They never spoke English. My parents were so determined that we we're going to have opportunities that they didn't have. My father worked, he was an insurance salesman, we had a grocery store, he had roller skating rinks, he'd work 18 to 20 hours a day. To take a nickel from the government, that was a complete disgrace. You'd never even considered that as an option, you'd just go out and work harder. Now somewhere in between, there is, and especially with the economy the way it is, that's another thing that's not working with today. The unemployment number came out, dropped to 6.7, only seventy four thousand new jobs we're created this past month in this country. That's the lowest in three years. We are not on a path to economic recovery. Because these policies don't work. As we sell our conservativism, that's the approach we've got to take. We do care about people, but we care about people so much, that we respect their innate abilities, we want to give them a chance, and we want to lift them up. We don't want to keep them down, we don't want to keep them subservient to government.
So in conclusion, and I think we will have time for questions, I want to encourage all of you that conservativism is nothing to be ashamed of. You should be proud of the principles and the core beliefs that you have. It is really something that we really need to embrace it and not run away from conservativism. Because that conservative policies really offer more to people. They are what this country was intended to be. So we need to be proud of them and continue to really educate and message, so that we can get more Americans involved. In doing so, we'll not only win elections, but we will change our country for the better. We will ensure that our children and our grandchildren have access to all the opportunities that we had. That we will achieve the true American dream of ensuring that we hand off to the next generation, a better United States America. You know, that has been historically the hallmark of this country, something that is unique to the United States of America, and that is each generation hands off a better United States. Right now, we're not going to do that to this next generation. It's so unfair that what is being done to you. That debt have this nation is something that will be on the backs of generation after generation. It's why we need to get back to our fiscal responsibility in our roots of not spending more money than we take in as government. The country has been doing this for three decades now, and the debt that we're giving to the next generation is unconscionable and it really is something that my generation is really responsible for, and really we need to make sure that we change policies so that we don't do that to the next generation.
Again, I want to say told you that this is not easy. It is a very steep hill we have to climb. Our current leaders need to be resilient, we need them to continue to fight for the values we hold dear. It is they, and they who they serve who share their principles that lead us into a new chapter of conservativism. However, they can't do it alone. They need more great candidates. We need people from all walks of life, and all backgrounds. We need people to take up the charge, just like they did in the colonial days, where you go down to Washington as a civilian, not as a career politician, and you take up, you're representing your district, and you stick to the the conservative principles in the constitution that made this country so great.
We have too many career politicians. I often talk about considering term limits, we have too many people that have made politics in their office a way of life. It's something that really I think it's been to the detriment of the United States of America. I want to encourage all of you, and as I mentioned earlier in Kentucky when the pastor mentioned and about praying. Praying is very important for this nation, but representing in getting involved is equally as important, I believe. I think that we have a moral commitment, and it's not easy, but a moral commitment to get involved, and to do what we can do. It starts in a little coffee group, it starts in your family and it grows from there. Educating and really talking about the conservative principles that we all hold so dear.
I think as far as women go, we need more women in government. Women are problem solvers, women are multitaskers, women are creative in their solutions to problems, and we need more women to get involved. So any way we can do that, certainly this type of a forum encourages you all, and hopefully inspires you. I think that's something the conservative movement needs to do more of, really inspire women to get involved and to give them the support they need so that they're not fearful and they are not considered with the backlash that they may feel from the media or from their liberal counterparts.
Some races we will win at the polls and others we will not. But every time you have a conversation with someone, anytime you espouse the conservative values and you make the case for conservative principles, we win. We can't look at Windsor losses, we have to look at advancing our cause, because it's not about you, and it's not about me, it's about United States of America.
In this nation right now, and it's why I ran in 2010, we had 87 freshmen and the whole conservative movement was so vocal, we're headed in the wrong direction. So many things are not working right now. Our foreign policy, our economic policy, our health care policy, our education policy, and unless and until we get conservatives in office, and I would strongly encourage women to get involved, we will not change that. That is the reality of where we're at in this country.
I'll just finish where I began, and that is that we have a steep mountain to climb, and we have a lot of challenges ahead of us. But by embracing our conservativism, standing up for and not running away from, sharing our message with all Americans, we will lead this great nation into a brighter, better future. For our kids, and for our grandkids. God bless you all, thanks for coming today, and may God bless the greatest nation ever, the United States of America. Thank you so much.