There were those who said it couldn’t be done. The problems were too big, too politically charged, too broken to fix. But we were on a path we could no longer afford to follow.
They said it was impossible to cut taxes in a state where taxes were raised 115 times in eight years. That it was impossible to balance a budget at the same time, with an $11 billion deficit. Three years later, we have three balanced budgets with lower taxes.
We did it.
They said it was impossible to touch the third rail of politics. To take on the public sector unions and to reform a pension and health benefit system that was headed to bankruptcy.
With bipartisan leadership we saved taxpayers $132 billion over 30 years and saved retirees their pension.
We did it.
They said it was impossible to speak the truth to the teachers union. They were just too powerful. Real teacher tenure reform that demands accountability and ends the guarantee of a job for life regardless of performance would never happen.
For the first time in 100 years with bipartisan support, we did it.
The disciples of yesterday’s politics underestimated the will of the people. They assumed our people were selfish; that when told of the difficult problems, tough choices and complicated solutions, they would simply turn their backs, that they would decide it was every man for himself.
Instead, the people of New Jersey stepped up and shared in the sacrifice.
They rewarded politicians who led instead of politicians who pandered.
We shouldn’t be surprised.
We’ve never been a country to shy away from the truth. History shows that we stand up when it counts and it’s this quality that has defined our character and our significance in the world.
I know this simple truth and I’m not afraid to say it: our ideas are right for America and their ideas have failed America.
Let’s be clear with the American people tonight. Here’s what we believe as Republicans and what they believe as Democrats.
We believe in telling hard working families the truth about our country’s fiscal realities. Telling them what they already know – the math of federal spending doesn’t add up.
With $5 trillion in debt added over the last four years, we have no other option but to make the hard choices, cut federal spending and fundamentally reduce the size of government.
They believe that the American people don’t want to hear the truth about the extent of our fiscal difficulties and need to be coddled by big government.
They believe the American people are content to live the lie with them.
We believe in telling seniors the truth about our overburdened entitlements.
We know seniors not only want these programs to survive, but they just as badly want them secured for their grandchildren.
Seniors are not selfish.
They believe seniors will always put themselves ahead of their grandchildren. So they prey on their vulnerabilities and scare them with misinformation for the cynical purpose of winning the next election.
Their plan: whistle a happy tune while driving us off the fiscal cliff, as long as they are behind the wheel of power.
We believe that the majority of teachers in America know our system must be reformed to put students first so that America can compete.
Teachers don’t teach to become rich or famous. They teach because they love children.
We believe that we should honor and reward the good ones while doing what’s best for our nation’s future – demanding accountability, higher standards and the best teacher in every classroom.
They believe the educational establishment will always put themselves ahead of children. That self-interest trumps common sense.
They believe in pitting unions against teachers, educators against parents, and lobbyists against children.
They believe in teacher’s unions.
We believe in teachers.
We believe that if we tell the people the truth they will act bigger than the pettiness of Washington, D.C.
We believe it's possible to forge bipartisan compromise and stand up for conservative principles.
It's the power of our ideas, not of our rhetoric, that attracts people to our Party.
We win when we make it about what needs to be done; we lose when we play along with their game of scaring and dividing.
For make no mistake, the problems are too big to let the American people lose – the slowest economic recovery in decades, a spiraling out of control deficit, an education system that’s failing to compete in the world.
It doesn't matter how we got here. There is enough blame to go around.
What matters now is what we do.
I know we can fix our problems.
When there are people in the room who care more about doing the job they were elected to do than worrying about winning re-election, it’s possible to work together, achieve principled compromise and get results.