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1988 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION : Bentsen Text: We Agree a Good Job Is Passport to Opportunity

July 22, 1988|Associated Press

ATLANTA Following is a transcript of the speech Thursday night by Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas to the Democratic National Convention as he accepted the party's vice presidential nomination:

Thank you very much.

John Glenn is one of the most talented, respected figures in America. And I thank him for a very gracious introduction.

And Danny Rostenkowski, Tom Daschle, Barbara Jordan, Mickey Leland, what great friends you are.

Thank you very much.

And I thank you, my fellow Democrats, for this high honor.

I am proud and pleased to accept your nomination for vice president of the United States of America.

In four months America will elect a new President. And his name will be Michael Dukakis. His theme will be economic opportunity for all. His values will be honesty, integrity and fairness. And his party will be a united Democratic Party.

Hopes of a Nation

Twenty-eight years ago, our party nominated a President from Massachusetts and a vice president from Texas. The Texan on that ticket was Lyndon Baines Johnson. Lyndon Johnson knew then what you and I know so well today. The equality of opportunity is the ultimate civil right.

His vision and his victories paved the way for Democratic leaders like Rev. Jesse Jackson, whose eloquence, whose leadership and achievements transcend pride of party and inspire a nation.

Tonight the hopes of a nation--the incredible energy and diversity of America--are focused on Atlanta. This convention reflects that energy and diversity.

We are a mirror of America.

We Democrats don't march in lock step behind some narrow, rigid ideology of indifference. We are not gray grains of oatmeal in a bland porridge of privilege.

Our way, the Democratic way, is to tackle the tough problems. Our way is to search out the honest answers and stand by our principles.

Of course, we have differences of opinion. But on the basic issues of justice and opportunity, we stand united.

Democrats agree that a good job at a fair wage is the passport to opportunity in America.

Democrats agree that America needs a trade policy based on the simple premise of fairness. We demand that nations selling goods freely into our country, that we have full access to their markets.

Reeling in Crisis

Democrats agree that the economic, trade and energy policies of the Reagan-Bush Administration have devastated vast areas of America. We see an agricultural economy that has been driven to its knees. We see the energy economy reeling in crisis. We see the loss of more than one million high-paying jobs in manufacturing.

Democrats agree that the American worker who has struggled for 20 years to support his or her family, has earned 60 days' notice when that management closes down a plant.

But the Reagan-Bush Administration thinks a pink slip in the mail is notice enough. That's their notion of fairness. That's their message to the working men and women of America.

Democrats want a strong national defense, and we will pay the price to defend freedom. But we also demand a careful accounting for our hard-earned dollars. And we will not tolerate the corruption and greed that threaten to undermine our military might.

A Clean Environment

Democrats agree that decent housing, a clean environment, a good education, and quality health care should be the birthright of every American citizen and not the private domain of a privileged few.

So make no mistake about it. We are united in our commitment to do better for America.

My friends, America has just passed through the ultimate epoch of illusion: an eight-year coma in which slogans were confused with solutions and rhetoric passed for reality; a time when America tried to borrow its way to prosperity and became the largest debtor nation in the history of mankind; when the Reagan-Bush Administration gave lip service to progress while fighting a frantic, losing battle to turn back the clock on civil rights and equal opportunity; a time of tough talk on foreign policy and strange tales of double-dealing Swiss bank accounts, and a botched campaign against a drug-running, tin-horn dictator.

The Reagan-Bush Administration likes to talk about prosperity. But the farmers in Iowa don't hear them. The oil field workers in Texas and Oklahoma and Louisiana don't hear them. The factory workers in John Glenn's Ohio don't hear them.

My fellow Democrats, it is easy enough to create an illusion of prosperity. All you have to do is write hot checks for $200 billion a year. That's what the Reagan-Bush Administration has done. That's how they doubled our national debt in just seven years.

At long last the epoch of illusion is drawing to a close. America is ready for the honest, proven, hands-on, real-world leadership of Michael Dukakis backed by the power of a united, committed Democratic Party.

Individual Opportunity

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