Let me explain why I’m here. When I met my wife, we talked a lot about our life experiences: How being a woman shaped Ann’s choices (strong women are Texas’ biggest export) and how the Vietnam war changed my view of government. The war was crazy, but the strength of my view didn’t persuade me to occupy the Harvard administration building along with SDS classmates who subscribed to a different theory of man. And my lottery number let me dodge the bullet when I certainly would have fought in the American revolution and probably in the Civil War. My solution was to hold a series of salons with speakers (sound familiar?) at the Kennedy Institute and to spend several years working for Senators Fulbright and Church on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
My entrepreneurial business enterprises have dominated my life, but somehow America’s thirst for war just won’t leave me alone. The 2003 Iraq war blew me up. Ann said she wouldn’t have any more dinner parties until I quieted down. So Chas, Bill, Boyden and I founded the Committee to talk about a war nobody wanted to talk about.
Five generations of Old Testament chosen people foreign policy have produced three generations of presidential wars. The Democratic and Republican parties have bent our Constitution so out of shape that our framers wouldn’t recognize it. Both parties have expanded the power of the executive until we now have an imperial presidency and elective monarchy.
Tonight we must begin the painful process of shrinking the powers of the Presidency and restoring Congress to its 19th century glory as the greatest legislative body in the history of the world. The House of Representatives & the Senate must once again be the place where our great national debates take place, where their approval ratings are sky high, where Presidents yearn to go when they leave office.
Now there are those who say this can’t be done. That we’re quixotic to make Congress accountable for war. Congress is corrupt to the core. And there are those who will support us but don’t believe we have a prayer. I care not that others see things as they are. I see a Congress that was once great and demand that it be great again!