Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Critique of the GOP's New 'Pledge to America': Dudes. It's, Like, 20 Pages Too Long. I've Got the One-Page Version Right Here.

I won't be quite as harsh on the GOP's magnum opus as RedState's Erick Erickson, who calls it "the worst thing to come out of Washington since George McClellan."

Erick must have blocked out DC's distinguished Mayor Marion Berry.

But his point -- that the GOP's effort is mostly "dreck" -- is valid. Washington's so freaking broken that the usual platitudes and rhetoric can't and won't suffice.

21 pages? How about starting with two words: THE CONSTITUTION?

To be sure, the Constitution is paid lip service in the GOP's pledge. And a few (unfortunately, too few) stats are powerful. For example: did you know that there are 2,050 federal assistance programs?

And consider this sentence, notwithstanding the "sic":

Despite having the largest Democratic majority since 1993, the current Congress marked the first time in the history [sic] that not a single spending bill was considered under an 'open' amendment process.

But there's also plenty of fluff, with anecdotes and quotes and lengthy paragraphs that morph into meaningless mush.

Consider the summary of the GOP pledge:

• We will fight to ensure transparency and accountability in Congress and throughout government. [Platitude]
• We will continue to fight the growth of government and oppose new stimulus spending that only puts our nation further in debt. [Platitude]
• We will fight efforts to fund the costly new health care law. [Feh]
• We will fight to increase access to domestic energy sources and oppose attempts to impose a national “cap and trade” energy tax. [Okay, barely]
• We will fight for the rights of workers and oppose “card check” schemes that put union bosses before individuals’ right to a secret ballot. [Okay, barely]
• We will fight efforts to use a national crisis for political gain. [I have no idea what this means]

Reps. Boehner, Cantor, Ryan and other members of the GOP: you could have come to me for the one-page pledge. It would read as follows:

The GOP Pledge to America

We pledge that every action we take will be gauged by the answer to a single question: Does it show fidelity to the Constitution, our highest law?

With that as our guide, we solemnly pledge the following as our first actions:

• We will repeal the Democrat health care bill and, if vetoed by the President, will de-fund every aspect of that bill until such time as the American people have input into a sensible health care reform process.
• We will slash the size of the federal government bureaucracies (Commerce, Education, Energy, the EPA, Labor, etc.) by 20% in 2011 with a goal of reducing each by 50% over the next three years, thereby saving hundreds of billions of dollars.
• We will secure the border with physical fencing suitable to repel drug smugglers, human smugglers, and terrorists, while encouraging legal immigration and enforcement of the law.
• We will confront the entitlement crisis -- Social Security and Medicare -- by preserving benefits for those who depend upon them and moving to privatized options for younger workers. Anything less condemns future generations to mountains of debt and economic catastrophe.
• We will strengthen our armed forces, space and missile defense programs to retain our unparalleled superpower status.
• We will begin the process of paying down our debts, spending within our means every year.
• We will ban public sector unions, which exist solely to wage war against the taxpayers who fund their operations.

Put simply: we intend to adhere to a strict interpretation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Faith, Family, and the Founding. That is our creed.

And for your support and with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

It really is just that simple.

We are fighting to prevent the destruction of the American way -- and the remedy is simple. It's been right in front of our faces the whole time.

Somewhere, James Madison and John Adams are looking down on us with expectant gleams in their eyes.


Anonymous said...

Doug Ross for USA Czar.

Seriously, what in God's name is it going to take for these Republican pols to effing get it?

This thing is laughable-I'm ready to do a full body duct taping.

Anonymous said...


But you're still too generous. Cutting budgets isn't enough. Whole departments and agencies gotta go. Otherwise, they'll just grow back, bigger and badder than ever.

As far as the pledge goes, is the GOP still that dense? Platitudes and rhetoric aren't going to get the job done. And if that's their best sales pitch, they aren't going to win many elections, either.

juandos said...

"did you know that there are 2,050 federal assistance programs?"...

Well Doug this is yet another excellent post in a long line of excellent posts by you and your pals...

I need to correct you slightly on that number you posted...

Check out the catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance - 2,061 programs...

Now check out the numbers of this Cato Institute article: All Aboard the Gravy Train

Note the increase in programs in five year increments: 1970 - 1019 programs to 2008 where there were 1804 programs...

Now look at it...

Isn't America a great place to live if one likes to leech off the backs of the taxpayer?!?!

Sad Hill News said...

Nice work, Doug!

Sad Hill

FeFe said...

Repeal Stimulus. No mandatory electronic health records! Do it for the children; all those in special ed.

DaMav said...

You've got my vote on this Doug. Much much better.

AlinskyRules said...

The timing of your Pledge is perfect. Like the Contract From America, your Pledge would resonate with Tea Party Patriots everywhere.

How do we repeal Boehner's Pledge and replace it with yours?

Per Erick, I will vote Republican in November of 2010. But I will not carry their stagnant water. If they do not want to use the GOP to lead, we would like to borrow it for a time.

Anonymous said...

In the future, we need to be as hard on Republicans who fall off the wagon as we are on Democrats. I held my nose during the Bush years when the Republican Congress did its impression of the Democrats. No longer can we afford to give moderate or liberal Republicans a pass.

Unknown said...

Quite a contradiction: The GOP pledges fealty to the Tenth Amendment, yet promises to "allow individuals to buy health care coverage outside of the state in which they live." Don't they realize that the thing that stops HI from being national is state regulation? Essentially, such a measure forces states to cede their individual regulatory authority to the Federal government. Under a strict interpretation of the Tenth Amendment, wouldn't Congress need to invoke the much-abused commerce clause to constitutionally legitimize it?

Bernie W said...

Love the one page version, you are correct, they finally have the right idea, but they are much too heady in their approach.

Republicans need to learn a little from Democrats, they can sell an idea no matter no matter how bad it will be for the country.

Republicans also have to have a much better way of rolling this out, so there's a little sparkle and wakes people up....not put them to sleep. The pledge right now....too long...and the message will get lost.

DavidCyrus said...

Where will the laid-off government workers find new jobs? Looks like your plan increases our already high unemployment.

Anonymous said...

Do you have a PDF version?


The Crawfish said...


The GOP's Pledge is an okay start, for a bunch of politicians, but your version works much better.

Because of "compassionate conservatism" and other liberal nonsense, I voted Constitution Party in 2008, and Libertarian Party wherever the race in TX was not contested by the Dems.

suek said...

>>Whole departments and agencies gotta go>>

Indeed. In fact, considering the power of the Federal Workers Unions, this might be the _only_ way to cut stuff - by eliminating departments. If you just try to fire people, you're just going to end up paying high priced lawyers fighting the unions over the firings...