WHERE THEY STAND
SEPTEMBER 16, 1996
Bob Dole spoke at Villanova University this morning, once again emphasizing the twin evils of drugs and crime. He was accompanied by his running mate, Jack Kemp and 13 Republican governors.
SEN. BOB DOLE, Republican Presidential Candidate: The program I'm announcing today is to combat drugs and combat violent crime. Now, some may think they're two separate issues. They're not. They're not separate. The simple fact is that drug abuse, particularly among young people, leads to more criminal activity, and that criminal activity leads to violent crime. This is the crime pipeline. Now, I go back to the Reagan and Bush years, and we went a long way to closing off this crime pipeline at the source in teen-age drug use. From 1979 to 1992, overall drug use in America dropped 50 percent, 50 percent. But President Clinton has opened the crime pipeline up again, and thanks to the liberal wink'n nod policies of this administration, drug use among teen-agers has not just started up again, it's skyrocketing upward. Now, how could this be? Why after so many years of progress have we seen such back-sliding?
The fact is that the country is reaping the bitter harvest of what this administration's liberal policies have sowed. And while the administration has looked the other way on drugs, a tragic number of America's youth have gone the wrong way on crime. It began almost the day this administration was sworn in, when they cut the drug czar's office, the drug policy office, control office by 83 percent, 83 percent, then they cut by more than half the Defense Department's budget for planes and troops to help keep drugs from ever crossing our border. Then they proposed cutting the number of drug enforcement agents by more than 600 in the United States. They all but stopped searches for drugs at major ports of entry, and have returned hundreds of drug smugglers to Mexico without charges being filed. In fact, they even had a quota out there, but if you only bring in so much, you go back home, if you bring in more, you brought that much into Kansas, I know where you'd go. But they ship them back.
They appointed a surgeon general who openly suggested that drugs should be legalized. Now I want to make it clear. None of these actions, of course, were taken out of bad motives, but they do all reflect the administration's own liberal view that law enforcement is less important than social engineering in attacking crime and that drugs are really not--aren't anything to get worked up about. But unfortunately, this liberal approach has failed over and over again through the decades. And Americans are tired of being guinea pigs in a discredited, liberal, living laboratory of leniency. We've got to change things. If we're going to make it work, we've got to change things. First and foremost, we will close down the drugs to crime, to violent crime pipeline. And my goal will be to cut teen-age drug use in America by 50 percent in my first term in office as President of the United States, 50 percent.
When I'm President, I don't intend to wink at drugs, I intend to wipe them out. And I've recently spoken about the comprehensive action that I will take against drugs from restoring the Office of National Drug Control Policy to making certain that prosecutors once again bring the full sanction of law against drug criminals, preventing drugs from ever reaching our shores in the first place by using what we would use against any invader, our armed forces, in this case the National Guard, to keep it out of America, and we'll do that. (applause) But most of all, I want to change the message coming from the White House. I will use the bully pulpit of the President of the United States to say to young people drugs are deadly, and teen-agers who've been deceived in believing that drugs are something you must experiment with will hear a very different message from Bob Dole and from Jack Kemp. The second point in my action plan against violent crime and drugs is to work with the nation's governors to end the revolving justice--door justice system by taking such measures as abolishing parole for violent criminals, abolishing parole for violent criminals. And the third point in my action plan is to hold juvenile criminals fully accountable for their crimes, fully accountable. (applause) And, of course, we don't want them entering crime at all in the first place. We hope it never happens, but the best preventive message is the simplest: If you do an adult crime, you will serve adult time. What we're offering is tough love. This is about love. It is about the future. It is about young Americans.
And if we could make it clear to young people who might be tempted into crime of any sort that it does not pay and, in fact, there is a cost, we may be able to save thousands and thousands from taking that tragic lifestyle choice. That is the ultimate goal and will be the ultimate goal in our administration. It's time to get serious about violent crimes and drugs in a way that we have not seen in our government over the last four years. For what we're talking about is not just the policy of our government but the character of our country. The actions of the President and the government he leads must convey the message that drugs and violent crime are morally repugnant in a free society. That must be the message every day, every day, every day.