1992 Democratic Presidential Primary

                           The Tsongas Committee
Booklet - 86 pages.
early version...6" x 9"
later verson...5 3/8" x 8 3/8"

Forging A New American Mandate

America's greatness is under attack. We need a battle plan to strengthen our nation's economic base, better educate our children, save our environment, and preserve our social fabric.

Since I left the Senate in 1984, I have given a great deal of thought to America's problems and the leadership required to solve them. This paper represents my version of the journey America must make.

I would appreciate your ideas and thoughts. I would ask you to read this paper and join the debate for America's future.

I look forward to hearing your response. You can reach me at the address below.

Paul E. Tsongas

The Tsongas Committee
2 Oliver Street
Post Office Box 4504
Boston, MA 02101-4504
(617) 422-...




Economic Survival – The Creation of National Wealth


Education  – The Meeting House of Our Society


The Environment — Equilibrium With Earth


Energy, Fossil Fuels – Someday There Won't Be Any


Foreign Policy – Time to Heal Thyself


The Culture of America – The Essential Need


Return to Purpose




     America is greatness. It is the pursuit of excellence and the fulfillment of human capacity. America is not the casual acceptance of economic decline and social disintegration. Yet, that is what some are prepared to endure. We are better than what we are being asked to be by our leaders. We are a nation of goals, not a nation of limits. We must have leadership that is committed to world pre-eminence in the strength of our economy, in the cohesion of our society, and in the quality of our environment. To accept anything less is to do violence to the two centuries of our history.
     America is not just another country. It is not just another place. It is the embrace of fundamental human values that define what man can become. America is "We The People" as respectful keepers of the sacred trust that was forged by the blood and hardships of those who came before us. America has been bequeathed to us. It is a living her­itage meant for us to preserve and then bequeath to other Americans, yet unborn and yet proven to be worthy.

     Today, that heritage is under attack.

     Its restoration is the great challenge of our generation.

     This is the mandate to which we must now attend.

     America faces great economic peril as our standard of living is threatened by Europe 1992 and the Pacific Rim. Once the world's great­est economic power, we are selling off our national patrimony as we sink ever deeper into national debt. The Reagan-Bush years have seen us become the world's greatest debtor nation. America is also witnessing the weakening of its social fabric as more and more families dissolve under the onslaught of a culture that glorifies the immediate and the shallow. As our historic values are disregarded by today's society-in-a-­hurry, the civility of America has been lessened. Finally, America is adrift as our leaders flinch from the difficult decisions that will safeguard us from the energy and environmental threats that confront us. This nation's will is not being called upon on the home front because of a fear that our people are not ready for an honest and forceful response to these threats. I strongly disagree.

     The purposeful avoidance of difficult issues caused serious erosion to our society in the eighties. The eighties, fortunately, are over. The icon of indulgence that we worshipped during that decade has proven to be a false god. However, it has left behind a legacy of comfort and ease and the pursuit of self.

     That legacy is not what America is all about. That legacy contra­venes the values of our ancestors. These forebearers created a nation with an enduring work ethic, a sense of personal discipline, and an acute appreciation of the common good. They had a sense of purpose that gave meaning to their lives and strengthened their nation. They defined patriotism as what they did, not what they avoided doing.

     They left that sense of purpose and that patriotism to our keeping. We have set it aside.

     America is asking us to return to that purpose. The time has come for a New American Mandate, based on the precious values of the past but focused on a vision of the future. The New American Mandate is a positive response to America under siege. Saddam Hussein is an acknowledged threat, but he is not the only one. Just as we deploy our men and women in the Persian Gulf, we must deploy every American to stop our economic bleeding, to restore our social fabric, and to meet head on the environmental and energy threats to our well being.

     We must all be soldiers - everyone of us. Our men and women in the armed forces demonstrate their love of country by facing possible death in the sands of the Arabian peninsula. We must be prepared to love our country as well in our every day deeds and our every day commitments.

     America in 1991 needs our total devotion. This paper is meant to provide the battle plan to deploy that devotion in a way that will strengthen the nation we love.

The 1992 Democratic Mission

     The mission of the Democratic Party in 1992 would normally be to put one of its own in the White House. But these are not normal times.

     What our country needs is not just a President - but a President with the necessary mandate. In many respects the mandate to correctly change our course is more critical than which party will oversee that change from the White House.

     One thing is clear. Democrats must avoid, at all costs, emulating the "Pledge of Allegiance/Willie Horton/Read My Lips" campaign of George Bush. That campaign was designed to win in November, not govern in January. There was no attempt to seek a mandate except, of course, the one on taxes which everyone knew was a cynical ruse. The rest was all hot button politics. It was philosophy by polling data.

     So George Bush rules, and the nation is without a sense of direction. His media consultants patted themselves on the back, pleased with a vic­tory that would enhance their professional reputations. Having had no interest in creating a prevailing wind, the White House now acts as a spinning weathervane. The Persian Gulf is addressed but all else remains set aside. The country looks for some sign of the "vision thing," but to no avail.

     We Democrats, of course, could do the same thing.

     Winning would be thrilling as all victories are. But on January 20th the issues would be no less real. Perhaps our Democrat could be fortu­nate like Ronald Reagan and escape before the consequences of his poli­cies were fully realized. But if that is our offering, why would the American people substitute one army of "feel-good" salesmen for another?

     Let us use 1992 to articulate the cold challenges and the real threats to America that came before Saddam Hussein and will remain after Saddam Hussein. Let us seek to rally our nation to forcefully address these issues. Let us create a mandate, a mandate that will allow purpose­ful and effective governance. 

     Without such a mandate, the White House will be a prison. And the President will be captive to economic and social forces he cannot con­trol. With a mandate, the fortunes of America will truly brighten because the people will be deployed with purpose.

     This is the New American Mandate we must create.

     It requires the re-emergence of America as the world's pre­eminent economic power. It calls upon America to lead the fight for world environmental equilibrium. It demands that, once and for all, we achieve energy sufficiency. It seeks the repairing of the American social fabric so that we are spiritually one community. It positions America as the critical partner in achieving world peace, but based upon the principles of true burden sharing.

     If we Democrats cause that to happen, we will have truly served our country, no matter who wins the election

     The White House and a mandate. Both or neither. Let's get on with it.

     This paper will address six of the issues around which the strength of our nation revolves. They are:

•   Economic Survival

•   Education

•   Environment

•   Energy

•   Foreign Policy

•   Our Cultural Fabric
     My views reflect my ten years on Capitol Hill, my observations these past six years in the private sector, and my earlier experiences living out­side the United States.