Republicans’ Pledge to America tastes like watered-down tea

The House Republicans’ Pledge to America might just be too little, too late. I have marveled for a year now at how easily the Republicans have let Democrats get away with calling them “obstructionists” and accusing them of having no ideas or solutions of their own, only criticisms of the Democratic agenda.

Some of the best, most practical, most obvious, most necessary, least extreme, least partisan, and least ideological ideas there are over the last two years have been coming from the Tea Party movement brewing in the “center-right” of the country’s political divide. But for two years now, the House Leadership has preferred to ignore them, and is now plagiarizing and betraying them at the same time with its “Pledge to America” (M).

A Real Pledge to America

The Republicans’ rising star, U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul, has said repeatedly on the campaign trail that we need a balanced budget amendment requiring Washington to do what every small business has to do: balance its budget.

He has advocated a law that would require Congress to wait one day for every twenty pages in a bill before it can pass. That would give everyone — including the Congressmen themselves — time to actually read the bill before Congress votes on it. Additionally, Rand Paul wants to require Congressmen to sign a legal document attesting that they have read a bill before voting for it.

Finally, Rand Paul has called for term limits, which would curb the ambitions of career politicians and make our nation’s highest offices more accessible to its everyday citizens.

These are all policies that make sense to most Americans. Washington simply cannot spend more than it takes in. That is not an extreme, partisan, right-wing idea, but a simple and unavoidable reality, and frankly a balanced-budget amendment might have prevented the so-called “tax cuts for the wealthy” that the Democrats rail against.

And reading a law that affects and changes people’s lives before voting on it also just makes sense. It would create real transparency in the legislative process. Any politician who opposes such a policy cannot claim to be for transparency. If a “Read the Bills” act had been in effect over the last decade, many of Washington’s worst bills like TARP and the Patriot Act may not be law today.

The Phony Pledge to America

But during some of the most critical moments in recent legislative history — like the fight over health care reform as well as the bipartisan Washington orgy that gave birth to the TARP bailouts — the Republican Party seriously fumbled an opportunity to stand up and fight for some of the best solutions its members had to offer.

House and Senate leaders let the Democrats control the narrative, define the debate, and label any Republican opposition to the consolidation of Washington’s power as obstructionism. The Republicans appeared then as they do today — positively impotent.

Now that they have finally managed to do something that should have been done over a year ago — craft a coherent message — the Republicans have exacerbated their tardiness with their cowardice and offered their country a watered-down, unserious, and impotent version of the Tea Party’s platform.

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  • Swen

    Well said. The Pledge is weak TEA indeed. Take a look at Page 21 where they say they’ll “put common-sense limits on the growth of government”. Good lord, we can’t afford the federal government the size it is now and they’ll limit its future growth? Well hallelujah, we’ll still go broke, just a little slower than we might under the Democrats’ rule. That’s just profoundly unserious.

    We must give the Democrats the boot in November, but that will be only a good start. Then we must clean house on the RINOs who think they can gain power by promising to be the slightly lesser evil.

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  • Mean Granny

    What do I want from the Republicans? A pledge that they will REPEAL obamacare, or failing that, defund it completely. I also want abortion outlawed, the EPA defunded/shut down, and the IRS closed down and replaced with a fair/flat tax. I want the law outlawing light bulbs repealed. I want the federal budget to be balanced, while downsizing the federal government and its intrusion into our lives.

    The GOP “Pledge” isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. I refuse to continue the insanity of voting for republicans and expecting anything different. Don’t think you can throw a sop to the Tea Party and get our support.

  • ohthehugemanatee

    Wesley, how many minutes have you been out of college?

    • GrouchoNotKarl

      Maybe you should go to college because you just made an ad hominem logical fallacy which makes you’re argument null and void. However, you didn’t have an argument at all, so what does that make you?

      If you have something to say, say it. This isn’t Huffington Post. I speak for myself, but I like to discuss/argue these topics that will decide the future of politics and therefore this country.

      On topic: I think these “contracts” are a manner of distraction and subversion of what the tea party are trying to accomplish. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Congress is insane.

  • johno413

    My guess is your perceiving a lack of boldness and specificity is less likely a result of their wimpiness, and more likely due to the fact that they need only make it clear they will move even remotely right of Pelosi-Reed to get votes. Had this Congress not been dominated by such shameless big government spenders, this crew might have felt compelled to be more distinctive. If you’re allergic to cats but love dogs, you just need to know cats won’t be around the house. Whether there are dogs or not isn’t so important. (Bad analogy? You judge).