The Astonishing Mediocrity Of The GOP’s Pledge To America

by John Hawkins | September 23, 2010 12:41 pm

For years now, conservatives have been asking the GOP to come out with another “Contract with America.” Finally they have, and quite frankly, they shouldn’t have bothered.

Not only is the GOP’s Pledge to America[1] gutless pabulum, it’s gutless pabulum that shows that behind the wall of “no’s” they’re throwing up, the GOP still has exactly the same problems that caused them to go so far off the rails during the Bush Administration.

First off, the document is 21 pages. Why, why, why, would they create a rambling, 21 page document that’s supposed to show people what the GOP stands for instead of putting together something concise that people could absorb? This document screams, “I was put together by a not particularly competent committee of interns.”

That’s not to say that there aren’t good ideas in it. There are. They want to repeal and replace Obamacare. They want to cancel TARP. They want to reform Fannie and Freddie. They want to keep the Bush tax cuts in place. Including a clause to cite the specific constitutional authority under which each bill is justified would also be nice.

Those are good things. But, what’s most notable are all the dogs that don’t bark in this exhaustive document.

There’s no promise to try to defund Obamacare. There’s no pledge to build the wall. There’s no security first pledge on immigration that I saw. No promise of term limits or a balanced budget amendment. Nothing about freezing the salaries of federal employees. No promise to adopt the Ryan plan. Nothing about auditing the Fed. There’s no promise to get the government out of student loan plans or private industry. There’s nothing but platitudes on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

In other words, this is a document that was written by men who carry around their cahones in a purse. How can it be that the Republicans in DC STILL don’t have the courage to take a stand on controversial issues? We need to dramatically reverse the course that this country has been on in the last two years, not continue business as usual, and after looking at this document, I’m not sure anyone in the GOP leadership gets that.

Let me put it another way: Let’s say the GOP does everything that’s in this document. Would it be an improvement over our current situation? Yes it would. Would they still have failed this country miserably? Yes, they would have.

That’s the real problem that never seems to go way: You just don’t get the sense that anyone in the GOP’s leadership is in touch with the mood of the country.

This nation has lurched DRAMATICALLY towards socialism in the last two years and is on pace to go bankrupt. Uncle Sam has a shotgun in his mouth and he’s feeling around for the trigger. Outside of DC, people are terrified and alarmed by what’s happening. This is why there’s a Tea Party movement. This is why you’ve seen the massive electoral surge against the Democrats. Meanwhile, back in DC, the GOP comes across like they’re shrugging their shoulders and looking for the best way to finish all this unpleasantness so they can take a nap.

Long story short, this pledge is trite, play it safe crap and any Republican in DC who thinks this is good enough for government work deserves to join Lisa Murkowski and Mike Castle in the unemployment line.

Update #1: As I’ve looked around the blogosphere, it’s pretty clear that I’m in the minority on this issue. I don’t how much of that is people’s genuine sentiment and how much of it is people not wanting to beat up on the GOP right before an election, but whatever the case may be, I’ve been amazed to read comments like this one on the Corner,

That is why the House Republicans’ Pledge to America is so encouraging. It’s big, brash, and bold, calling for everything from disarming Iran and winning the wars and the subsequent peace in Iraq and Afghanistan to repealing Obamacare. This is a tall order. Good. Governing is a marathon, not a sprint, and Republicans now grasp that reality. — Ralph Reed

The pledge to America is “big, brash, and bold”? Actually, that’s exactly what’s wrong with it: It’s not “big, brash, and bold” at all.

Here’s a good test of how “big, brash, and bold” the pledge is: Let’s say the GOP takes back the House next year and they don’t at least try to finish the border fence, cut off the funds for Obamacare, audit the Fed, do anything significant to fix Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security or try to get the government out of private industry — do you think the base is going to be happy with their performance?

My expectation is that the grassroots will be absolutely seething if that’s how it plays out. Sure, conservatives may not get everything we want, but we should at least be able to expect them to try to get us what we want.

Moreover, if we don’t tell these Republicans in Congress exactly what we expect them to do, then they’re going to duck, dodge, weave, keep their heads down, and do everything they can to avoid taking a principled stand that might produce an angry editorial in the Washington Post. That’s why it’s better to lay down a marker now, so that they understand we intend to ask a lot more out of them this time around than we did during the Bush years.

  1. Pledge to America:

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