Patterico's Pontifications

9/23/2010

Not much of a Pledge to America

Filed under: General — Karl @ 9:55 am

[Posted by Karl]

Allahpundit did his usual spiffy job at rounding up reax to House Republicans’ “Pledge to America,” which was leaked yesterday. I offer a remix to make a few additional points.

First, Nick Gillespie’s observation that the 1994 Contract With America was not a major factor is dead on. The GOP was fairly sure it would win a majority of House seats months before the Contract was announced. Given that its contents were poll-tested as at least 60% favorable, it was a marginal plus. However, the Contract was less important as a campaign document than as an agenda Newt Gingrich could use to hit the ground running. Moreover, by keeping the (admittedly limited) promises to vote on its contents (particularly the internal reforms, which were the subject of the marathon 100-hour opening session), the GOP could build some confidence with voters that it would do what it said.

This year, with the odds already favoring the GOP regaining a House majority, it is again better to judge the new “Pledge” — which this year’s candidates are not even formally agreeing to support — on the basis of how well it serves as a governing document and potential confidence builder. It is so judged against the backdrop Gillespie describes — a GOP that spent big during the Bush43 era and which has not backed Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap to America’s Future” (Gillespie pooh-poohs the “Roadmap,” but the lack of party backing for it is a marker of where the Republican establishment is at the moment). The other major element is the successes of the Tea Party movement within the GOP, pushing a tough line on reducing federal spending and repealing ObamaCare.

Judged against these political dynamics, the Pledge has a major problem. Unlike Erick Erickson, it does not bother me that the Pledge lacks calls for a Spending Limitation Amendment or a Balanced Budget Amendment. Holding votes on Constitutional amendments the GOP will not have the votes to pass, even by the most favorable estimates, is a replay of theater from 1995.

However, Erickson is right to fault the Pledge for its milquetoast generalities about reducing spending. Indeed, the Pledge indicts its own authors on this score, if you read it carefully. Page 5 of the leaked version of the Pledge states:

With common-sense exceptions for seniors, veterans, and our troops, we will roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, saving us at least $100 billion in the first year alone and putting us on a path to balance the budget and pay down the debt. We will also establish strict budget caps to limit federal spending from this point forward.

We will launch a sustained effort to stem the relentless growth in government that has occurred over the past decade. By cutting Congress’ budget, imposing a net hiring freeze on non-security federal employees, and reviewing every current government program to eliminate wasteful and duplicative programs, we can curb Washington’s irresponsible spending habits and reduce the size of government, while still fulfilling our necessary obligations.

The second paragraph admits that government spending soared during the Bush43 era, including six years of a GOP-controlled Congress. But the first paragraph only commits to “pre-stimulus, pre-bailout” levels of spending, with exceptions for groups includng seniors, which looks to take entitlement reform off the table. In fairness, there is some very vague (deliberately so, I would wager) language on page 11 of the leaked Pledge that suggests a GOP Congress may at least put Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid’s long-term unfunded liabilities on budget, which would make our looming fiscal trainwreck harder to ignore. Even so, the Pledge’s approach on sending seems like fairly weak tea.

Oh, yes… tea. The point here is that on spending (and to a lesser degree with the “repeal / replace” approach to ObamaCare), it is difficult to see the Pledge appealing much to Tea Partiers as a campaign document, a governing document or a confidence builder. On this crucial point, the Pledge reads like a political calculation that the voters’ discontent is primarily directed at the past two years of Beltway overreach and that whatever mandate the GOP may receive in November extends no further than that.

It is easy enough to understand the cost-benefit analysis behind such a calculation. A bolder Pledge would open GOP candidates to Democratic demagogy. Boldness might further fuel Tea Party enthusiasm, but how much more eager can they get at this point? On the other hand, polls instruct the House GOP that swing voters are more enthused about voting against Democrats than for Republicans. Beyond the election, Pres. Obama will still be holding the veto pen, raising the risk of over-promising.

However, the fact that I can see those arguments does not change the fact that a lot of Tea Partiers — activists and candidates alike — will not be interested in them. They may reject them on principle. They may reject them on the idea that the GOP leaders’ concerns are based on the Pledge as a campaign document, when it should be seen more as a governing document. They can point to the Contract as an example, or even note that voters did not notice or care that Obama ran on a left-wing platform, because they were fed up with the failures (real and imagined) of the Bush43 Republicans.

The House GOP leadership might turn that last point around, noting that both the Contract and especially the Obama platform show that key voting blocs tend to resist sudden, big changes. They could argue that until the GOP is handed a majority like that the Democrats got in 2008, the better course is to give voters the gridlock they want and pick battles to frame future elections.

If this back-and-forth sounds vaguely familiar, it is because it echoes the arguments thrashed out in the Delaware Senate primary. Stand fast to principles, even if it risks over-reaching and losing, or focus on the winnable fights in a struggle that really has no defined endpoint?

The rise of the Tea Party was driven in no small part by failures in political leadership, particularly Republican leadership. The political task of Republican leadership now is to reconcile the demands of the Tea Party (and, more broadly, the small-government base of the GOP) with the limits imposed by a divided government and the need to attract swing voters who are voting more for gridlock than they are for Republicans. There is not much in the Pledge to suggest the House GOP has figured out how to square that circle.

–Karl

36 Comments

  1. I take the importance of the pledge to be that they’re acknowledging that social issues are a lot not relevant in this political era. That’s a bit step for Team R.

    If they want to leave themselves open to primary challenges about the spendings then that’s just sort of the way we always thought it would go anyway.

    Comment by happyfeet (a55ba0) — 9/23/2010 @ 10:04 am

  2. that’s a *big* step I mean

    Comment by happyfeet (a55ba0) — 9/23/2010 @ 10:04 am

  3. I found the things missing more revealing than the contents. For example, a lot of generalities about taxation, but no specific mention of the death tax.

    Comment by Tully (62151d) — 9/23/2010 @ 10:11 am

  4. i could be wrong, but wasn’t the contract of america just a short list of punchy policy proposals.

    This thing should have been more like that.

    like:

    1) every bill will be read unless there is an emergency.

    2) spending must be drastically reduced.

    3) no new taxes. no increase of taxes. do not let tax cuts expire.

    and so on…

    The thing i saw yesterday was just too long winded.

    Comment by Aaron Worthing (e7d72e) — 9/23/2010 @ 10:15 am

  5. We will launch a sustained effort to stem the relentless growth in government that has occurred over the past decade. By cutting Congress’ budget, imposing a net hiring freeze on non-security federal employees, and reviewing every current government program to eliminate wasteful and duplicative programs, we can curb Washington’s irresponsible spending habits and reduce the size of government, while still fulfilling our necessary obligations.

    – That paragraph is straight out of (as in “someone should check it for plagiarism”; hint hint) Mitt’s 2008 campaign rhetoric.

    Comment by Icy Texan (a8053b) — 9/23/2010 @ 10:16 am

  6. Note also that there’s nothing about earmarks. Boehner (“Mr K Street,” you may recall) is salivating at what his leadership can do for his lobbyist clients owners patrons pals, and what they in turn can do for his personal bottom line.

    No matter who you vote for, the Government gets in. And the real subtext of the game is: impoverishing you to enrich them.

    They’re still better than the Nancy and Harry Show, but anyone expecting fiscal discipline from them is going to be disappointed. That’s just not the way they roll.

    Comment by Kevin R.C. O'Brien (3a36d3) — 9/23/2010 @ 10:54 am

  7. #6, O’Brien should take a look at John Boehner’s record before starting in with the generic slime.

    When Boehner first ran for Congress in 1990 he told voters that if they were looking for someone to bring home the bacon, they should vote for his opponent. He was going to Washington to represent the interest of his constituents, not to raid the treasury for local consumption.

    Boehner’s record is clear as a bell and available on-line, he has never once taken a earmark.

    Comment by ropelight (11333a) — 9/23/2010 @ 12:02 pm

  8. that’s a good point about the earmarks

    Comment by happyfeet (a55ba0) — 9/23/2010 @ 12:22 pm

  9. they should have mentioned earmarks I mean

    Comment by happyfeet (a55ba0) — 9/23/2010 @ 12:54 pm

  10. He’s made himself very very rich, hasn’t he? And he gets richer every year. Funny how that happens to Congressmen. (Actually, not funny. There’s a paper on Congress and insider trading on SSRN that explains part of it).

    Ignoring the recent half-researched hit piece in the NYT bashing Boehner, there are plenty of other sources that tell us exactly what kind of fiscal conservative Mr Boehner isn’t.

    Bloomberg in 2006:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a64ZIkmVPv_w

    Here he is in 2007, taking some revenge on Jeff Flake for the kind of criticism Flake made in the 2006 article.
    http://sayanythingblog.com/entry/house_minority_leader_john_boehner_punishes_republican_for_being_principled/

    I mean, I could go on with the “generic slime.” The guy is a corrupt Washington porker, and that he doesn’t personally take earmarks is a bit of theater, when he defends them for the rest of the conference, and for his good friends the Democrats, to whom he’s closer than he is to any working man or woman in this country.

    An example of his defense of others’ earmarks is here: he backed Jerry Lewis (the self-enriching corruptican who was just quite unable to wedge 14,000 earmarks into the 2005 budget, settling for 13,997 for himself and his cronies) for Appropriations.
    http://blog.ntu.org/main/post.php?post_id=1717

    Sure, that’s the kind of leadership we want the Republicans back for.

    He does seem to be finally getting some religion: he did finally sponsor more dollars in bills that would have cut than in spending recently. But on balance, he’s still far from a fiscal-responsibility warrior.
    http://www.ntu.org/assets/pdf/ntuf/pp-167-appendix-a.pdf

    As far as his record is concerned, at best, it’s mixed. And the Washington Times and Politico recently found him (and Cantor) “hedging on the [earmark] issue.”
    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/Memo-to-GOP_-Don_t-drop-earmark-ban-898067-103155994.html and http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=17C25FE0-18FE-70B2-A8C2732E7282025F

    Who gives a damn what he said in 1990 and was groveling to get elected? Look at what he did in 2005 when he thought he was going to be in the majority for a while. Look at what he’s doing and saying today.

    So let me guess, “ropelight,” you hide behind a pseudonym because you’re:
    1) a Boehner staffer, part of the corruption problem
    2) another house staffer, part of the corruption problem
    3) one of the K-street lawyer-lobbyists, part of, etc.
    4) a hopelessly misled hero-worshipper who’s about to get disappointed unless he stops paying attention to his heartthrob after the election.

    But you’r perfectly willing to accuse me of “starting in with the generic slime,” Mr Man-in-the-looted-money-mask. I hope the specificity of my new slime meets with your approval.

    The only thing necessary to understand about any member of Congress is this: they’re all crooks. When some anonymous commenter starts with the, “sure my girlfriend is an ‘escort,’ but she’s not like all the others,” shtick, you know you’re dealing with either a made guy in the crew, or a naïf who should probably not be left out without a minder, for his own safety.

    Comment by Kevin R.C. O'Brien (3a36d3) — 9/23/2010 @ 12:56 pm

  11. Is destroying social security and medicare in there?

    imdw wants to know.

    Comment by daleyrocks (940075) — 9/23/2010 @ 1:19 pm

  12. Making changes that would assist in long term solvency are really a desire to destroy the system, daleyrocks. Everyone knows that.

    This seems like a good tentative first step

    Comment by JD (a30317) — 9/23/2010 @ 1:36 pm

  13. Not to mention the racism of it all. “Pledge to Americans”! Huh! Racists!

    Comment by Anti-Racist (6e616b) — 9/23/2010 @ 1:45 pm

  14. Boehner (“Mr K Street,” you may recall) is salivating at what his leadership can do for his lobbyist clients owners patrons pals, and what they in turn can do for his personal bottom line.

    Please look up the front page of the WSJ today, they’re paying strict attention to his corporate ties and also for the rest of the GOP leadership as well. It will not be business as usual, because they know that if they don’t toe the line they’ll have some serious primary challenges next time around.

    Karl, Ryan said today that the reason it’s still vague on the details is that they won’t get anything past Obama’s veto pen, no matter how hard they try. Makes sense to me.

    Comment by Dmac (d61c0d) — 9/23/2010 @ 1:58 pm

  15. Ace has an interesting take on this and I tend to agree with him. You do not need specifics right now, the more specifics, the more attacks and the truth is there will be 50 to 70 new members coming in a few months and they had no input into this.

    I think that general is all you need anyway, let the individual law makers and legislators be as specific as they like, after all they have to answer to their constituents and not all those people are going to agree on every specific on each issue. That is just not going to happen.

    The Contract with America was very general, more so than this in fact.

    It seems to me that people just have to find fault with everything. If they come up with something, people complain, if they don’t, people complain, if it is specific they complain, if it is not specific they complain.

    Comment by Terrye (ce0d6f) — 9/23/2010 @ 2:42 pm

  16. The rise of the Tea Party was driven in no small part by failures in political leadership, particularly Republican leadership. The political task of Republican leadership now is to reconcile the demands of the Tea Party (and, more broadly, the small-government base of the GOP) with the limits imposed by a divided government and the need to attract swing voters who are voting more for gridlock than they are for Republicans. There is not much in the Pledge to suggest the House GOP has figured out how to square that circle.

    –Karl

    This was just a pledge, it was not a piece of legislation. And I think the Tea Party people know that, in fact I think the point could be made that even they have not been specific. When constituents talk of limited government for example, do they all mean exactly the same thing?

    Comment by Terrye (ce0d6f) — 9/23/2010 @ 2:47 pm

  17. This is sort of good. But it’s still not good enough. The fact is that the GOP isn’t willing to lay down a plan to reduce spending and endorse it. Even some of TEA party candidates won’t endorse a specific plan. The lack of specifics to means either they can’t think of any cuts. Or they don’t want to do them.

    While a bolder Pledge would open GOP candidates to Democratic demagogy it’s going to happen anyway. But a bolder pledge would give them the political capital to say “we’re cutting entitlement spending because that’s what we were elected to do. Over promising is a small problem. If BO veto’s cuts they still get credit for passing the spending cuts and it gives the next GOP candidate for president a nice campaign issue.

    The GOP had congress for 6 years under Bush. Without specifics I trust the GOP to cut spending now as much as they did then. So, when I vote I’m going to assume that a republican who won’t give me specifics will give me about the same budget deficit as a democrat when you balance out the increased spending with the decreased tax cuts.

    I’m a fiscally conservative swing voter who usually votes republican. But there are policy goals that appeal to me on both sides of the isle so I’ve got choices in the lesser of 2 evils game.

    Comment by time (bec298) — 9/23/2010 @ 2:47 pm

  18. Dmac (and Terrye and others),

    Ryan is saying exactly what I would expect him to say. Re-read my post; that’s what I said they would say. The shorter version of what they’re saying is: Be Realistic.

    The point of my post is that the Tea Party phenomenon is largely a rebellion against that sort of thinking. Here’s what non-Tea Partier Peggy Noonan has grasped about it:

    But if you look at the past half century or so you have to think: How come even when Republicans are in charge, even when they’re dominant, government has always gotten larger and more expensive? It’s always grown! It’s as if something inexorable in our political reality—with those who think in liberal terms dominating the establishment, the media, the academy—has always tilted the starting point in negotiations away from 18 inches, and always toward liberalism, toward the 36-inch point.

    Democrats on the Hill or in the White House try to pull it up to 30, Republicans try to pull it back to 25. A deal is struck at 28. Washington Republicans call it victory: “Hey, it coulda been 29!” But regular conservative-minded or Republican voters see yet another loss. They could live with 18. They’d like eight. Instead it’s 28.

    For conservatives on the ground, it has often felt as if Democrats (and moderate Republicans) were always saying, “We should spend a trillion dollars,” and the Republican Party would respond, “No, too costly. How about $700 billion?” Conservatives on the ground are thinking, “How about nothing? How about we don’t spend more money but finally start cutting.”

    What they want is representatives who’ll begin the negotiations at 18 inches and tug the final bill toward five inches. And they believe tea party candidates will do that.

    The Pledge describes a 10-year problem and offers a 2-year solution. That won’t sit well with the mindset Noonan describes. My complaint here really goes beyond the spending issue, which merely crystallizes the problem. My complaint is that the House GOP leadership hasn’t learned or figured out how to manage the new part of their coalition, or — like the NRSC and other orgs — intends to fight it.

    Comment by Karl (eb6312) — 9/23/2010 @ 2:54 pm

  19. I too would have liked to see more ambitious spending cuts Karl. But you have to admit, the preamble is pretty good!

    But perhaps, as you and others have suggested, this is more about the Repubicans agreeing to a campaign platform that a set-in-stone legislative agenda.

    Perhaps I’m being pollyanish, but I look for the GOP to get more aggressive when/if they take over the majorities in Congress. I’m hoping it’s a clever case of under promise/over deliver, (a strategy you have to admit is more well thought than the Democrats over the last few years), and that they take up many of the pieces of Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap” when they can drive the agenda.

    I’m shocked, SHOCKED!, to find that I disagree with you, even on the margins :)

    But, as always, a great essay Karl.

    My regards

    Comment by Bob Reed (5f2db5) — 9/23/2010 @ 4:01 pm

  20. it’s definitely not a pro-actively bad thing

    Comment by happyfeet (a55ba0) — 9/23/2010 @ 4:17 pm

  21. Without even reading the damn thing, just as a piece of rhetoric or political theater it seems like a bad PR exercise: willfully or not it echoes the Contract with America and thus seems to look backwards to a past with different circumstances, rather than facing the new and unpleasant future. If this is what they’re going to do, I sort of give up. Like Dorothy Parker said, You can lead a whore ta culture but you can’t make her think.

    All during the Bush years, the GOP behaved disgracefully. When the Dems re-took everything, all they had to do was not be disgraceful, but they just couldn’t manage even that much.

    If there’s a reason to think the GOP won’t be disgraceful again once they’re back in power, I don’t trust it. Short of a House and Senate packed with pissed-off neophytes whose last visit to DC was a grade-school class trip.

    Show me the fence, or else shut up. No great big electric fence on the border with an Army division to back it up, no credibility. Period.

    Comment by d. in c. (d8f85c) — 9/23/2010 @ 5:07 pm

  22. That Peggy Noonan got this is really remarkable. Maybe Buckley and Parker and Frum and McCain and the rest of the idiots may have some hope.

    My original thought was that this was a not altogether horrible idea, and now I think this was a good albeit minor first tiny step forward.

    Comment by JD (8ded14) — 9/23/2010 @ 5:40 pm

  23. To me it’s just political theater. Even the promises are as weak as possible. Consider the three things in the last paragraph Karl quoted;
    By cutting Congress’ budget, imposing a net hiring freeze on non-security federal employees, and reviewing every current government program to eliminate wasteful and duplicative programs,

    Cut Congress’s budget–fair enough, and it’s the one thing completely under the control of the leadership. But that’s just the budget for the institution of Congress. Does that mean fewer staffers, fewer security guards, or just symbolic things like making all Congresspeople pay for their haircuts in the Congressional barber shop?

    Net freeze on non security federal employees–which allows the TSA to hire more passenger annoyances, and lets the Dept. of Education hire replacements for any bureaucrat who leaves or retires, instead of forcing them to cut the number of bureaucrats they employ now. And what, besides the obvious ones, does non-security mean? Does it include federal prosecutors, for instance?

    Review of programs to eliminate waste and duplication–they’ll review the programs; they can’t even bring themselves to promise to actually eliminate them. And of course one man’s waste and duplication is another man’s essential program….

    And, as even they acknowledge, almost none of this will get by Obama’s veto pen. To me it’s just a gimmick to make the Tea Party voters think that the GOP really is serious about what the Tea Party is serious about.

    I will, of course, be glad to find out I’m wrong. But I don’t expect to.

    Comment by kishnevi (c89e0a) — 9/23/2010 @ 6:09 pm

  24. No, you’re right, kish, it’s very near beer, and the netroots are still acting like scalded dogs

    Comment by ian cormac (6709ab) — 9/23/2010 @ 6:13 pm

  25. Instead of $1,500,000,000,000 deficits from Barcky/SanFranNan, we will get $1,000,000,000,000 deficits. Yippee!

    Comment by JD (8ded14) — 9/23/2010 @ 6:20 pm

  26. When people talk about “smaller government” I feel they are being vague and imprecise.

    We don’t (or at least I don’t) want to slash the budget for say the Food and Drug Administration. What I’d like to see is an end to the philosophy which holds that government is the go-to source whenever someone would like something more than they already have.

    For instance, maintaining large swathes of public housing results, long-term, in an entrenched class of people who feel that it’s their right to perpetually remain in… public housing.

    What’s needed, broadly speaking, is a great diminishing in the ongoing culture of entitlement, coupled with a clear-eyed industrial policy which creates a viable “place to go” for people who are caught in that transition.

    Is that hard to do? Yes. But it pays far greater dividends than the cups-and-balls game we presently face from a vague “less government” hue and cry.

    Comment by d. in c. (d9926c) — 9/23/2010 @ 6:50 pm

  27. because they know that if they don’t toe the line they’ll have some serious primary challenges next time around.

    They should be getting them THIS time around…

    Oh. Wait a minute

    Comment by IgotBupkis (9eeb86) — 9/23/2010 @ 8:07 pm

  28. and that they take up many of the pieces of Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap” when they can drive the agenda.

    Until the current borderline RINO leadership caste of the GOP gets booted out on their fat pork-bloated behinds, this ain’t happening.

    The 18-inch-settle-for-28-inch crew has got to go. A more aggressive leadership that uses public perception to force THEM to compromise towards LESS than 18 inches is what we need.

    The message of fiscal conservatives is The Right One. It needs competent, interested leadership to get it across so that the other side is doing the compromising, not the conservatives.

    Comment by IgotBupkis (9eeb86) — 9/23/2010 @ 8:15 pm

  29. The points have to be modest and limited or failure to implement them over obamas veto will be spun as broken promises.The dems are masters at hanging amendments on bills to kill them also. The damage done over the last 18 monthes could not be undone even with veto proof majorities in even a multiple of that time frame. Making promises you can not keep is nearly as bad as breaking promises you could deliver.

    Comment by dunce (bdc1fa) — 9/23/2010 @ 8:21 pm

  30. Instapundit points to Don Surber, who says (echoing many of the thoughts here but quite succinctly)–
    Republicans unveiled their 869-word Pledge to America. They should put the veil back on. It is too long to memorize let alone recite.

    Here’s a 39-word alternative: “On my honor, I will serve God and my country, obey the Constitution, balance the budget, reduce the size and scope of government, and protect the rights of the people and the sovereignty of the United States of America.”

    You’re welcome.

    Comment by Jim,MtnViewCA,USA (368061) — 9/23/2010 @ 8:35 pm

  31. Colonel would like to
    know what Dems have on paper
    principles and plans

    Comment by ColonelHaiku (1546ed) — 9/23/2010 @ 8:56 pm

  32. As far as calling for a “Balanced Budget” goes…

    The call is utterly and completely USELESS unless and until we REQUIRE that the governments — Federal, State, Local, adhere to the same accounting rules that ANY business is required to adhere to by law and/or financing custom:

    GAAP — Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

    Otherwise, one will simply wind up with some ludicrously idiotic shell games being played, much like the one NY State, with its ‘balanced budget requirement’ pulled back in 1990, when it sold Attica prison to itself and promptly leased it back.

    The result? 20 years into a supposed 30 year arrangement, NY State’s remaining principal on that original $200 million debt — after paying out over 344 million on the debt?

    Only $220 Million.

    Now. Isn’t that… special?

    When that kind of crap can go on, balanced budget requirements are utterly meaningless.

    Comment by IgotBupkis (9eeb86) — 9/23/2010 @ 9:19 pm

  33. Milton Friedman noted that the budget is ALWAYS balanced in an economic sense. At a given level of spending, if it is funded by taxes alone it removes that amount from available capital to the economy. If a portion is financed by debt, the money must come from credit markets, making less available for capital expansion financing in the private sector. All that really counts is the level of spending.

    Comment by Adjoran (ec6a4b) — 9/23/2010 @ 11:17 pm

  34. Who is making this pledge exactly? Are there signatories to this document? I haven’t read about any yet. I would like to know who is willing to sign their name and who isn’t, and why. I don’t think it’s the best crafted statment in the world but it’s going in a direction that I would like to see. Let’s see which RINOs are going to get onboard, if any.

    Comment by frankm (dc2516) — 9/24/2010 @ 4:59 am

  35. Being in Boehner’s district, and having been exposed to him during the last Bush election, I would be less optimistic that the GOP will present any substantial change that will carry them favorably into 2012, if he were to be elected Speaker.

    The GOP appears to be in the position of being given another opportunity. If they don’t produce, which will be difficult at best in view of our current situation, they may never see the light again. It will take incredible focus and dedication to rid themselves of their current inability to function in ways that are best for the country. Again, as with this document, they tried to take the safe route and ended up being lost in the wilderness. This document shows an inherent inability on the part of the GOP to listen to, and understand what, this entire nation is pleading for.

    And this may well be the last election that I vote – as there is no difference between politicians who carry an “R” or a “D”. At least we know what the “D”s stand for!

    Comment by rookwood (41786e) — 9/24/2010 @ 8:46 am

  36. There is actually a huge difference between this “pledge” and the “Contract with America”. This “pledge” is being issued by the GOP establishment while the pledge was Bullet Pointed with specific actions and then each GOP candidate actually signed it meaning they went on public record stating they supported each of the bullet points. Voters in all (50) states then had a very good idea of what what going to happen in the first 100 days of the new Congress.

    So what’s going to happen in the first (100) days of this new Congress? The Pledge? It really has no teeth unless the GOP candidates step and publicly support it…all we know is the leadership wrote the pledge and we all remember the great leadership displayed when Repubs held majorities in both chambers. Based on the Leadership positions in the primaries, I have little confidence they will do anything difficult, it will take guys like DeMint to force them.

    However I agree The “Pledge” is a useless exercise and quite unimpressive…

    Comment by GoDaddy (cc4166) — 9/25/2010 @ 9:53 pm

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