AUDIO OBTAINED FROM A SOURCE WHO WAS PRESENT.
June 16, 2014
P R O C E E D I N G S
KEVIN GENTRY: Okay. Ok, I’m going to ask you to take your seats because I’m now going to turn it over to Ken and Freda Levy to lead us in a little toast. Ken, Freda, take it away.
FREDA LEVY: There’s a saying, and the saying goes, “Happiness shared is happiness doubled. Sadness shared is sadness, sadness halved.” With that in mind, we’d like to toast to everyone for sharing in our concern for about the future of America, and thereby cutting that concern in half and mixing it with courage. And we want to toast everyone for joining together and not just doubling our ability to restore economic liberty, but for actually multiplying it many times over.
KEN LEVY: As the legendary coach Vince Lombardi said, “Individual commitment to a group effort, that’s what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” So we’d like to thank David, Liz, Charles, and the Freedom Partners team for banding us together and giving us the courage and commitment to fight to restore the American Dream. So we’d like to propose a Jewish Libertarian toast.
FREDA LEVY: Actually, I believe it was a Libertarian Jewish toast.
FREDA LEVY: But the classic Jewish toast is to say, “L’chaim,” which literally means “to life.”
FRED AND KEN LEVY: So L’chaim, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
KEVIN GENTRY: Thank you very much. Thank you, again, for being with us this entire weekend. I really enjoyed getting the opportunity to spend time with people we’ve been getting to know over the past couple of years of this fight. And also, again, we’ve really gotten to know a lot of new friends, and we look forward to being in the battle with you for many years to come.
I’ve just got a couple of little items I want to share and then turn it over for this program. Those of you who may be interested in the, what’s called the Aegis, but the effort on the candidates, the reception last night in the small group, there’s still a lot of opportunities, as I understand from them, for participation. And so, feel free to do whatever. There were a number of you — thank you, who maxed out to all seven of the candidates, which was a huge boost to them.
Point two, a number of you have tapped me on the shoulder. You can tap me on the shoulder any time if you’re coming to share good news. You can call me any time if you’re calling with good news.
KEVIN GENTRY: Otherwise I just may not answer.
KEVIN GENTRY: But we are glad to work with you, those of you who are still trying to think of what to do and trying to help fund the efforts to advance a free society.
So to wrap up this evening, we’ve got a great speaker to close us out. And those of you who are familiar with these meetings, after that we generally have Charles give us our final battle cry in leaving here. But many of you are familiar with our LIBRE initiative with an outreach to Hispanic and Latino voters. It has really grown tremendously (inaudible) Frank.
KEVIN GENTRY: I knew it was you.
KEVIN GENTRY: You’ve got a terrible poker face by the way.
KEVIN GENTRY: I know, I know. (Inaudible) Thanks. Charles, we’ve got to do something about him. I don’t know what to do.
KEVIN GENTRY: Thank you. Thank you. In the interest of well-being and making me laugh, please do something about this.
KEVIN GENTRY: So our LIBRE initiative in just a few short years has been a very effective outreach to voters across the United States. You all have been inspired by many of their stories. You see in the stories of David (inaudible) family come to the United States. Also Rachel Campos-Duffy over here and her father. Lots of really fantastic stories. We have one other, and it’s the story of Cesar Grajales, who is part of the LIBRE Initiative. And so, Cesar is going to introduce Marco Rubio tonight.
So what I’d like you to do is watch his story, his family’s story, and then he’ll do the introduction from there. So please turn your eyes to the screen. And, Rich, cut off your phone.
CESAR GRAJALES (VIDEO): I know how hard it can be to live in a place where there are no opportunities. I know how it feels to not have any money. I knew that in this country, I could achieve anything.
I was born in Colombia, in a small town in the mountains. My family was very poor. We didn’t have much, but my parents began working and saving money until they could buy a sewing machine. They were able to start a small clothing business.
The violence and the economy got so bad in Colombia, that we decided to apply for what they call asylum in the United States so we have the chance to control our destiny. I’ll never forget the day that I arrived to the United States 13 years ago, November 14 (inaudible), and it felt incredible. We arrived here with only $80 in our pockets which we used the first night to pay for the hotel room.
I got my start working whatever jobs I could, working construction, in a bakery, landscaping, anything. Eventually my family saved up enough. They start their own business here in the United States, and now my family works with some of the best fashion designers in the world.
I’m very grateful to the United States for all the opportunities it’s given me and my family to have a better life. And that’s why I joined LIBRE. LIBRE is an organization that educates Hispanics and empowers us to preserve those principles and values of economic freedom that make stories like mine possible.
This country opens doors to people, giving them the opportunity to progress, but now regulations are making it difficult to open a business, or find a job, or move up the ladder. My generation is concerned for families and people that are in need, especially for those who need help the most. Through LIBRE, we are in the communities solving problems and sharing knowledge about the policies that can help people achieve their dreams. I think it’s up to us — my generation — to ensure this country continues to be a place full of opportunities for everyone. Join us at joinLIBRE.org.
(End of video.)
CESAR GRAJALES: Thank you. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for your kind invitation (inaudible) the truly courageous (inaudible) the cause of liberty. I feel extremely honored to be with you tonight.
My story is the story of millions of immigrants who have come to this country, to our country, in search of a better life. The millions of immigrants who know the value of hard work and discipline, and who have the courage to attain their dreams and goals of their own.
My father had the courage to decide to (inaudible) back in Colombia and bring my mother, my sister, and me to this land of freedom, away from the violence and the bureaucracy that threatened our future. He had the vision and the courage to choose this country among all other nations of the world to finish raising his children. He wanted to give us the best thing a human being could have — freedom.
My family and I owe everything to this great country. That is why when Daniel Garza told me about the LIBRE Initiative back in 2011, without hesitation I said, Daniel, how can I help this organization? I have to give back to this country — now my country — my time and effort to make these principles and values of freedom that made this country a great Nation endure and not come (inaudible). And today I am honored to serve as (inaudible) for the LIBRE Initiative in Miami
CESAR GRAJALES: For me, a house, or a car is not American Dream. That’s just a consequence of material success. That is just one element of well-being. For me, the American Dream is a profound sentiment rooted in the fundamental belief that with liberty you can achieve your goals by your own merit. That is the only path to happiness and fulfillment.
It takes a lot of courage to do what you all are doing for our huge Hispanic community, coming together to support our movement for freedom, helping us build a stronger future in this country without depending on government. You demonstrate your own courage by kindness as well. That is why in the name of all those who believe in the goodness of freedom, thank you. And thank you, thank you so very much for your support of our cause.
At LIBRE, our battle is just beginning. That is why we need your support and kindness so that our community of millions of Hispanics across our country can have access to the truth. We cannot continue to allow the policies of government to harm people’s lives, especially the less fortunate in our society. The current Administration believes in a centralized, one-size-fits-all form of government. Their view is of an America where government knows best. This form of government is the exact type that many of us in the Hispanic community left behind. We all have come too far to settle for that. Ronald Reagan once said, “If we lose freedom here, there’s no place to escape to. This is the last stand forever.”
CESAR GRAJALES: (Inaudible) we must lead, and it’s going to take all of us together — scholars, activists, donors, and elected officials — to demonstrate the gravity to do what’s right. And we are fortunate to have with us tonight one of these principled leaders.
This evening we are honored with the presence of a very courageous American. He’s no stranger to facing long odds. For generations, conventional wisdom in Florida politics held that no Hispanic in South Florida could ever win the Speakership in the Florida House (inaudible). This Floridian became the first Cuban-American Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.
Further, conventional wisdom in Florida politics held that no Hispanic from South Florida could ever win statewide elected office because they could not appeal to a broader electorate. With that backdrop, was trailing in the polls by double digits to then Governor Charlie Crist.
(Murmurs from audience.)
CESAR GRAJALES: (Inaudible) principles and won. And tonight I have the great honor to introduce you to the great man who is working to make Florida across the state so that our people do not depend on government. He’s a courageous leader who is not only known in our state, but is also attracting national attention for his great work in the U.S. Senate.
(Inaudible) is such an effective, passionate advocate for freedom and opportunity. Please join me in giving a heartfelt welcome to the Honorable U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio.
MARCO RUBIO: First of all, Cesar, thank you for the kind introduction. But more importantly, thank you for your service to the cause of liberty and freedom. That video just reminded me of why I ran for office. Your mother for sharing that with you.
MARCIO RUBIO: I’m happy to be here with some of my colleagues and future colleagues in the U.S. Senate. I know Tom Cotton and Joni Ernst were here. Cory Gardner is here. These guys are going to be great senators.
MARCO RUBIO: And we still need good House members, and that’s why Sean is doing a great job, and we thank him for that, for what he’s doing in the House.
MARCO RUBIO: The House is under control. It’s the Senate that needs all the help we can get. Let us know when you’re ready.
Thank you for having me. On the flight here, this was a — I haven’t spoken to this group in almost four years, so I have a lot of catch up with you on. And so on the flight here, I wrote out some notes about what I wanted to say to you. And unfortunately, some of those notes got lost, and here I have notes from my speech for the car dealers in Florida.
MARCO RUBIO: So unless any of you are in the middle of a recall, you probably are not as interested (inaudible). So I’ll just share with you my thoughts.
Thank you for this opportunity and for what you’re doing across this country at this pivotal moment in our Nation’s history. You know, I said a moment ago that video reminded me of why I wanted to serve the government (inaudible).
As I look back at growing up, I realize that my best friend as a child until the time I was 13 was my grandfather, my maternal grandfather. He had grown up — he lived with us in both Las Vegas and then in Miami. And he had grown up as a child in rural Cuba, part of (inaudible) family, one of 12 or 13 kids. He had been stricken by polio when he was six years old. He was the only one who couldn’t work the farm. So just give him a chance in life, his parents sent him away to school where he learned how to read, and how to write, and how (inaudible) Morse code, and operate a telegraph.
When he left school, he went to work as a lecturer at a cigar factory. What that basically meant is that while the workers were rolling cigars, he would sit in the front of the room and read them newspapers, and then he would read them novels. So over the years he had done an extensive amount of work as — amount of reading and acquired a lot of knowledge. Years after that — a few years after that he actually got a job, a good job, working and operating one of the railroad stations in Cuba.
And then suddenly from one day to the next, his job was taken away from him for no reason. It was just given over to someone who had political connections in the union or the government. And from that point on, he struggled to provide for (inaudible). He was a disabled man living in rural Cuba, and he struggled to provide (inaudible). In fact, (inaudible) in Havana where he rented out a small little corner in a barbershop where he would fix shoes for a living before he finally wound up here in the United States permanently after Fidel Castro revealed himself to be a full-fledged Marxist.
My grandfather was an enormous influence in my life. He used to smoke three cigars a day, lived to be 84.
MARCO RUBIO: And I’ll never forget, he used to — even in Las Vegas he would dress up (inaudible) tie and suit, and would sit in a small (inaudible) in the porch of our house (inaudible). And when I was home, I would sit with him, and we would talk about everything. We’d talk about the Cuban revolution. We’d talk about the Spanish-American War. We’d talk about World War II, and he increasingly about Ronald Reagan (inaudible).
As I look back now, I remember some of the conversations, but what I realized what I learned most of all, what he really wanted me to understand, was how blessed I was, how I would have opportunities he never did. You see, my grandfather grew up (inaudible) in a society where (inaudible) was determined by (inaudible). Unless your family was rich or connected, you could only go so far in life. I didn’t know him as a young man. I know very little about it. But I can just tell you from having been around him, when he was my age and younger, he had dreams. There were things he wanted to do in life. He had ambition, and he had talent. He was smart. He was a good communicator.
But he could only go so far because he wasn’t connected, because his family had no money, and they had no access to power. And he carried that with him, not in a bitter way, but in way that he was able to pass on to me especially. He wanted me to understand that I do not have those limits, because I have the privilege and the blessing of being a citizen of the one Nation in all of human history where anyone from anywhere could achieve anything.
This was the most powerful lesson he wanted to leave behind. It gave his life purpose and meaning. I’ll never forget in the last days of his life, my grandfather lived with us, and he fell and broke his hip. And I remember riding with him in the ambulance to the hospital. I remember being outside the X-ray room as they were trying to position him to take the X-ray, and he was in so much pain. And later on the next day I was staying with him in the room, and he started to have trouble breathing, and the end was before us. I remember grabbing his hand. And the last thing I ever said to my grandfather, and I know he heard, was, I told you that I would not waste the opportunity that I have, that I would work hard to achieve the opportunities that I have been given. And I remember it like it was yesterday, he squeezed my hand back as if to let me know that he understood (inaudible).
The reason why I share that with you today is because that fundamental belief that you are not (inaudible) by the circumstances of your birth is what makes America special. There are other rich countries on this planet. There are other powerful militaries and big economies. But what has separated us from all human history, (inaudible) for almost two centuries, unlike any other place that’s ever existed, here, men and women from all walks of life through hard work and perseverance have achieved a better life.
This is the universal hope for people everywhere. People everywhere on this planet want to achieve that, too, but it happens so often for so many people in this country that that dream that has come to be named after us. This universal hope of men and women everywhere is called the American Dream, and we often misunderstand the American Dream.
The American Dream is not about becoming wealthy, although that may be part of your dream. The American Dream is not about becoming famous or powerful. For millions and millions of people, the American Dream is much simpler, yet more profound. It’s about the ability to acquire a job that fulfills you, but also allows you to provide for your family; the freedom to speak openly and worship as you please; to provide a safe and stable home for your children; to one day be able to retire with dignity and to leave your children better off than yourself.
That is the real American Dream. And if you ask me what the single greatest challenge before our country today is, it is that there are now millions of people in this country that believe that dream is not our dream for people like them. And that is not just a threat to our economy. That is a direct threat to our identity. This erosion of the American Dream threatens to rob us of what makes us special and what makes us different.
Why is that happening? It’s not just because we had a great recession. It’s because before our very eyes, our economy has undergone an extraordinary transformation, and it is still undergoing that transformation. Not that long ago, we used to be a national economy. Your competitors, your clients, they were all in the same neighborhood or the same city. Now, they’re halfway around the world. We compete with other countries for jobs, for investments, for innovation.
The other thing that’s changed is that the better paying jobs of the 21st century all require some form of higher education. When my parents came here in 1956, it didn’t matter that they had little formal education. Working as a bartender and a maid, they made it to the middle class. Never rich, never famous, but fully a part of the American middle class. Today that has gotten harder than ever because the middle class and above jobs of the 21st century require a higher level of education, and yet millions of people find it inaccessible to them. Those are the challenges that we’re facing.
The good news is this doesn’t have to be the new normal. We do not have to accept what we have today as the new normal. We can still restore what we have come to know as the American Dream. This can still remain a country where anyone from anywhere can accomplish anything. We have time to do that, but we do not have forever.
The fundamental challenge that we have in accomplishing that work is that I think to some extent both political parties are broken in how they approach this. The Democratic Party wants to continue to invest in programs from the last century. They believe that we can continue to tax people and that there’s no competition. They think we can continue to regulate businesses as though there’s no global competition. And they want to keep pouring money into a broken and stagnant higher education cartel that has become inexpensive — increasingly expensive and inaccessible to millions of Americans.
The problem we’ve had on the right for too long is we have not shown people how our principles of limited government and free enterprise apply to the challenges of the 21st century. And so why I’m so proud to endorse candidates like Cory Gardner, and Joni Ernst, and Tom Cotton, is because they fully understand the need that our country has to restore this agenda.
It’s an agenda that begins by saying our goal number one is to create millions of higher paying jobs in this country, and it isn’t rocket science how to accomplish that. Jobs and opportunity are created with a simple function of either investment or innovation. Someone risks money to start a new business or expand an existing one, or someone creates a product or a service that no has ever done.
And our goal must be to make America the greatest country in the world to invest and to innovate, and we’re losing our advantage in both. We have a tax code in America that isn’t just complicated, it’s expensive. It incentivizes people to invest their money in other countries. That’s why (inaudible) $2 trillion of American corporate taxes sitting in bank accounts overseas.
We have a regulatory code that discourages innovation. In fact, we too often have a regulatory code that is used by established businesses and industries to crush innovative competitors. We have a perfect example of this in Miami, Florida. Now, this is a small-scale example, but it’s an important one, where an innovative new car service called Uber cannot operate in Miami Dade County because government does allow it, because that government has become influenced by an established industry that doesn’t want the competition.
And perhaps more than anything else that I think we have failed to do is to convince people that big government doesn’t hurt the people who have made it. If you’re a multinational corporation, if you’re a millionaire or a billionaire, you may not agree with big government, you may not like big government, but you can afford to deal with big government. You can hire all the lawyers and lobbyists in Washington to help you out.
If you are trying to start a business out of the spare bedroom of your home, not only are you violating the zoning code, but you can’t afford to do all those things.
MARCO RUBIO: And so, we need a tax code that says the more you invest, the less you’ll pay in taxes. We need a regulatory code that encourages investment and innovation in America for the 21st century.
MARCO RUBIO: And I would just add — I would just add (inaudible), you do have to deal with the national debt because a debt crisis is not good for investment and innovation. People are not excited about investing and innovating in a country that’s headed for a debt crisis.
The second point I made to you was about the need for higher education. We have a completely outdated 19th century higher education system badly in need of reform. For the life of me, I do not understand why are we not graduating more kids from high school ready to go to work. Why aren’t we graduating more plumbers, and electricians, and airplane mechanics?
MARCO RUBIO: The other reality that we face in the 21st century is we have millions of people who are the ones that need higher education the most. I have one in my state. Her name is Christine. She’s a single mother of two girls. She works for a pet boarding operation making $9.50 an hour. She struggles to provide for her girls. Daycare alone takes up almost a third of her salary if not more. The President’s answer to her is let’s raise the minimum wage by another 50 to 60 cents, but what she needs is a raise to a job that pays $30 an hour.
The only way she will ever get that is if she gets a degree or a certificate in some profession. She wants to be an early childhood educator, but she can’t because our higher education system is not meant or built to help people like her. She can take online courses, but they cost more than going to class. She can go to a for-profit college, but oftentimes that costs five or six times what a community college or university costs. So what does she do? She can’t go to school. She will be stuck making $9.50 for the foreseeable future, and no government program in the world that exists right now will reverse that.
What we need is a higher education system that’s accessible for her, one that allows people like her to raise her family and work full time to acquire the skills and knowledge they need so they can improve their lot in life. I saw that with my own two eyes in my office. When I was in the state legislature, my administrative assistant, my secretary, made only $29,000 a year. That’s what the state paid. That wasn’t my decision. But she was able to go to school at night to become a paralegal and go from $29,000 a year to $51,000 a year. We need an education system that allows us to provide that learning for people that are facing these challenges who have to work full time and raise a family.
And it exists. There’s all sorts of ways to learn in the 21st century — massive online courses, community colleges. You should be able to get credit for life experience and work experience. You should be able to package all these things into the equivalent of a degree, but we can’t because only accredited colleges can give degrees. And guess who accredits colleges? The accredited colleges —
MARCO RUBIO: — who don’t want any competition from anyone else. If we do not address this, we are going to leave millions of people stuck and behind in this country.
And last, but not least, the traditional college route isn’t working out great either. We are graduating millions of young people in this country with degrees that do not meet the jobs. And that’s why I believe that before you get a major in Greek philosophy, that that school better tell you, here’s how much Greek philosophers are making these days.
MARCO RUBIO: So you can decide for yourself whether it’s worth borrowing $50,000 to major in it.
MARCO RUBIO: And I also believe that we should provide alternatives to student loans. I’ve offered something that was actually featured this weekend in the Wall Street Journal. It’s called Student Investment Plans. This is especially good for graduate students. It allows them to go to a lender, basically a venture fund, and say this is who I am, this is what I’m going to do with my future, and if you help me pay for my education, I will pay you back by promising over 10 years or 12 years to pay you a percentage of my salary. This has actually been used overseas, and I have filed a bill that creates a legal framework for this sort of lending to be available. It was featured this weekend. I encourage you to pick up the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal. There are other things that we can do, but we have to think about these sorts of innovations.
Here’s my last point that I’ll make to you. We have to reinvigorate values in family life in America. This idea that somehow the social well-being of your people can be separated from their economic well-being is simply not true. This is not the part where I tell people how to live their lives, or what they need to believe, or what church they need to go to. This is the part where I tell you that I know for a fact, and so do you, that perhaps the leading cause of poverty in America today is the breakdown of communities and American families, and that we need to empower families like never before.
We have a tax code that punishes family life. We have safety net programs in America that punish people and keep them from getting married. We know the power of parents. Parents should be able to send their kids to any school of their choice, and this is especially true (inaudible).
MARCO RUBIO: It is fundamentally unfair, in my opinion, and I’m married, that the only people in America who cannot pick where their children to go to school are poor people. The only parents in America that are stuck having to put kids in a school of the government’s choice are the parents that can’t afford anything else. The people who need it the most are the ones that are the ones that are least likely to get it. And it’s a fight that I believe we’re winning, but we’d better speed it up because in the process millions of children are being left behind by a broken education system, and their parents have no power over it.
My last point is we need to help families with the cost of living, and that means healthcare and alternatives (inaudible). I’m not going to spend a lot of time preaching to this choir about Obamacare.
But let me tell you one more area that I want to talk to you about, the cost of energy. You tell me — Christine, I just told you about her. She lives in Florida, which means she — and actually where she lives, her utility is very coal dependent. I promise you, though, what this President just did by executive order is going to raise her electric bill. She’s already struggling to provide for her family. She is already struggling with the cost of healthcare, and childcare, and gasoline, and health insurance, and transportation. And on top of that, you’re going to raise her utility rates?
Interestingly enough, the people who are in favor of all this stuff, they can afford to pay all of this. The people who are being crushed by it are the people that this President claims to be helping.
MARCIO RUBIO: I guess I’ll just wrap up by saying this. The Ford F-150 is the best car on (inaudible).
MARCO RUBIO: I apologize, sorry. I’ll wrap up by saying this. You know, by by every measure, I’m not considered to be someone that came from privilege. As I told you earlier, my father was — when he was nine years old, his mother passed away. He went to work as a nine-year-old. My son is nine years old, so that’s hard for me to imagine. Went to work when he was nine years old, and he worked for 70 years of his life. He worked primarily as a bartender at events just like this. When I see the men and women who have served us here tonight, it reminds me of my father who worked events like this over and over again, standing behind the bar so that his family could have a better future.
My mom (inaudible) I told you about earlier. She worked as a cashier, as a stock clerk at K-Mart, as a maid at the Imperial Palace Hotel in Las Vegas. My parents never owned more than one car and one house. Never took a trip to Europe. Never owned a yacht or a private plane. Nothing wrong with any of that. And yet I can tell you without a doubt my parents fully lived the American Dream, and I did come from privilege.
You see, I had the privilege of growing up in a strong and stable home where I knew that my parents loved me and they encouraged me to dream dreams. I was raised by two parents who loved each other, and I was raised in the single greatest country in all of human history.
I was raised in the one place on earth where even the son of a bartender and a maid could have the same dreams as the son of a president or a billionaire. This is real privilege. This is what all of us have been privileged with. I am struck tonight by how many people in this room started with nothing (inaudible) wealth. But it shouldn’t surprise us because this is the fundamental story of our Nation and our people.
And I close with this story of my parents not just to give you insight into who I am, but to help remind us of who we are. This is a defining characteristic of what it means to be an American. What it means to be America has never been we’ve got the most powerful army, although I always hope we will, or that we have the largest economy, although I hope we will. What it means to be America is this is the one place on earth where no matter where you start out, you have a God-given right to go as far as your talent and your work will take you.
And I’ve been reminded of that time and again in my life, but perhaps never more than on the night of my primary victory for the U.S. Senate. I had a general election. I had a primary. By then Charlie Crist had become an Independent, and now he’s a Democrat, potentially a vegetarian (inaudible). But anyway.
MARCO RUBIO: He actually is talking about traveling to Cuba, so maybe he’s got one more party switch in him.
MARCO RUBIO: Anyway, I’ve got to stop. The election was four years ago. I’ve got to stop.
MARCO RUBIO: Okay, so I was never more reminded of all this than the night of my primary election. My father got very sick during the end of my campaign, and he was living in my sister’s house. And he had not been out of bed for a week. He had chemotherapy, and he was nearing the end of his life now. And he had not gotten out of bed literally for two or three weeks.
So I went to see him, and this was not a very competitive primary. So I went to go see him that day, in the middle of the day. I knocked on the door, and my nephew who lived there opened the door with a big smile. And I said, “What are you smiling about?” He goes, “Well, come in and see for yourself.” So I walked to the back of the house, and there was my dad, fully dressed sitting in his wheelchair, ready to go because he had gotten up from his bed for the first time in three weeks because he was going to go to my victory party that night. Now, unfortunately as the day — this was the afternoon. As the day wore on, he didn’t have the strength to go. And by the time my victory party came (inaudible).
But I wonder often, why is it that it was so important for him to be there that night? And my sense was that he knew the end was near, and probably doubted he would make it to November (inaudible). And of course, part of it was that his son was going to win and he was very proud of me. But I now realize it was about something a lot more than that. You see, I’m sure when he was my age and younger he had all sorts of dreams. In fact, I know he did. He wanted to be a successful businessman, and he tried his hand at a couple of things. Didn’t quite work out.
I’ll never forget growing up he was a bartender. One day as a kid, I had this habit of whoever I saw on television, I would play pretend that I was that. So I was all sorts of things. I was a football coach. I was the Pope. I was whatever I saw on TV.
MARCO RUBIO: One day I dressed up like a bartender, and my dad said to me, I don’t want to you do that. I want you to wear a suit and tie to work. Little did he know how prophetic that would be.
MARCO RUBIO: Because to him, that was a symbol of success. That’s what he saw all the businessmen that traveled to Miami Beach wearing, and that’s what he wanted us to be able to do in our lives. You see, at some point in time — I don’t know when it was — but at some point in time, the very purpose of his life was opening up for us doors that had been closed for them. The very purpose of his life had become to make possible for us all the things that were never possible for them.
And so, for him that night wasn’t just going to be his son winning an election. It was going to be affirmation that he mattered, that his life had a purpose, that the sacrifices were not in vain, that all those nights that he had to stand behind a bar in his 70s when he was tired was not for nothing; that he had opened those doors for us, that he had made possible for us what had been impossible for him.
This is the fundamental promise of this country. It is a promise within each of us, in all of us. And this is how our future will be judged, not by how well our stock market performs, or by how large our GDP may grow. These are important things. But how our future will be judged will be whether or not people like my father can still leave their children better off.
Whether or not we will remain an exceptional country will be decided by whether or not the men and women who are working in this hotel tonight can one day have children sitting in chairs like these or standing at a podium like this one. That’s how we will be judged.
And that is the great problem of our time, not simply to stabilize America, but to save her exceptional nature, to keep her a special and unique place, and to leave for our children what our parents left for us: the single greatest Nation in all the history of the world.
So I thank you for what you’re doing in that regard, and I know that working together this is what we will achieve. We will leave our children what Americans always leave for their children, the greatest country that man has ever known. Thank you for the opportunity.
CHARLES KOCH: You know, Marco, that was quite a coincidence that you had the wrong notes because I seem to have the wrong notes a lot of times.
CHARLES KOCH: And the only way I know is when later that evening or the next day I get my report card from Liz.
CHARLES KOCH: But, you know, most of the many, many years and decades I’ve been involved in this struggle, I thought “principled politician” was an oxymoron.
CHARLES KOCH: And I still think that’s largely the case. But we see a few now and then, and when I think about it, that’s what we’re about: to find and get elected some politicians with principles. But how do we do that? The only way we can do that is have more principled voters, more principled Americans, who will try to do what’s right for the country rather than what’s in their personal interests as opposed to everybody else.
Now, this has been, in my view, a very special seminar, and in many ways it’s been, in my view, the best seminar we’ve ever had. The only thing that doesn’t make it the best in everything is we didn’t raise a record amount of money.
CHARLES KOCH: So Kevin is going to come back out and we’re going to try again.
CHARLES KOCH: So our record is January 7th?
SPEAKER: Yes. Yes.
CHARLES KOCH: Okay.
SPEAKER: I’m ready.
CHARLES KOCH: So now, I want to thank everybody who made this such a special seminar, all of you partners — fabulous — and the presenters, and the staff. I mean, it really was an uplifting experience. The only problem is (inaudible) I get (inaudible) having tears in my eyes. God, Liz, bring the Visine.
CHARLES KOCH: Now, I want to — sorry, I mean, after that great talk and thank Marco for a very inspiring story, very uplifting story, and a great message, and for all he’s doing to try to preserve and enhance our free society.
But I want to kind of give an overview of what we’re about and what our strength is in my idiosyncratic mind. And the way I view it is what we need to do is build a movement of people who are totally dedicated to preserving and enhancing our free society. And when I say “a movement,” I mean a group of people who will act or are dedicated to act, who don’t just give lip service, but are willing to dedicate themselves to our free society, and to making it better and better, whatever the cost to them personally. And I’m not big on self-sacrifice. I think it’s a win-win for all of us who do this.
And that means — when I say “to act,” I mean in whatever way fits their passion and capability. Everybody doesn’t have to give money. Everybody doesn’t have to be a college professor, be an activist, a writer, a leader of an organization. Whatever fits them and however they can contribute.
And this is absolutely critical because to me what’s going to determine the future of this country is the balance of people who are willing to act to affect the future of this country. And if the majority of those people are collectivists, we are doomed. So we have to be much more aggressive in identifying, recruiting, educating, and mobilizing those people who will be willing to act on behalf of our free society.
And so this seminar is a great foundation for that, but this is a labor intensive business. And the most we can have is several thousand, and we need a movement of several million. So we’re going to have to get — coordinate all of our organizations to do this identification, recruiting, and mobilization, and build new capabilities for better, more efficient outreach to find, and recruit, and mobilize these people.
I think Thomas Jefferson said this well. “I know of no safe depository of the liberty and property of the people but the people themselves.” And that means us and anyone else we can find and learn how to find to dedicate themselves to this cause.
Now, in these efforts, we’re guided by the three — what we consider the three requirements for action: that is, dissatisfaction with the current state, vision of a better state, and a path to get there.
So how do we satisfy these requirements? First, we encourage people to have a realistic level of dissatisfaction. And the way we do that is we help them understand the realities of collectivism and government control, and to get them to realize that the record in this regard is stark; that society dominated by government has impoverished and starved the very people they promise to help. And at best — in the best condition, it condemns them to a lifetime of poverty, dependency, and hopelessness. Even when they have enough to eat, they have no hope. They have no reason for living.
So our goal is to get people to understand, to recognize that continuing down the path we’re on will make their lives worse and those of their families’ worse, and possibly much worse.
Then next, we need to help people develop a vision of a better state, which we will do by demonstrating how even modest increases in freedom have benefited billions of people in every dimension of their lives. And how with increased freedom, individuals can enjoy far better lives, individuals from all walks of life.
And finally, as for a path to a better state, we will help people see that as we’re able to clear away these obstacles that the government has put in their path, that even the poorest among us will be able to create much better lives for themselves. And we will help them find that path, both by understanding how to eliminate those obstacles, and by helping them develop the skills and the values required for them to succeed.
Now, this may seem like not a vision, but a fantasy. But I think given the courage and commitment that this room has demonstrated, that we can make this vision a reality. And just speaking for me personally, your trust in us is tremendously gratifying to me, and makes my resolve, not that I was ever unresolved —
CHARLES KOCH: — makes my resolve even stronger. And I want to assure you that we are doing our utmost to earn that trust because together I believe that we can prevail.
So my last words are, be strong and Godspeed. Thank you.
(Whereupon, the meeting was adjourned.)