The GOP’s “Pledge to America”

So far reaction to the Pledge to America among conservatives has been mixed. There are always going to be those, such as the National Review, The Weekly Standard, Newt Gingrich and Dan Reihl, who will choose politics over principle and cheer Team Republican no matter what. But let’s be honest, the Pledge is weak.

There is no acknowledgment whatsoever of the reasons they were tossed out of control of Congress by voters in 2006. As Leslie Carbone, author of Slaying Leviathan: The Moral Case for Tax Reform, wrote via Twitter, “I’m not going to get excited [regarding] any GOP Contract II that doesn’t open [with] credible contrition for outrages of last 20 yrs.”

Well said.

Some of those outrages are spending on par with Lyndon B. Johnson (including dramatically increasing non-defense discretionary spending), passing a new entitlement in Medicare Part D and expanding government involvement in education with No Child Left Behind. Each example of fiscal profligacy above was supported by Johnny Isakson and Nathan Deal, as well as some of the other Republican members of Georgia’s congressional delegation.

House Republicans had a chance to make a stand on fiscal issues and entitlements and they missed it, choosing to play it safe instead. They actually endorse parts of ObamaCare and do not commit to repealing the individual mandate. And unfortunately, there is absolutely not mention of earmarks, neither reform or continuing the self-imposed moratorium.

Robert Robb at the Arizona Republic calls the GOP out on Medicare (the largest of our entitlement programs that make up $66 trillion in commitments made by Congress) and other platitudes in the Pledge to America:

On spending, House Republicans promised restraint “with common-sense exceptions for seniors, veterans and our troops.” A pledge of spending restraint that begins with an exception for seniors isn’t serious.

Republicans are beating up Democrats for cutting Medicare spending. If Republicans are serious, they will also have to cut Medicare, not roll the savings into new health-care entitlements as Obama has done but just to reduce unsustainable spending.

On health care, Republicans say they will impose mandates that will increase costs to health-insurance companies. Fewer than Obama, but meaningful ones nonetheless.

The Pledge to America turns Republicans from the “Party of No” into the “Party of Maybe Not as Bad as the Democrats.”

If that’s how they’re going to campaign, that’s how they’re going to govern. We’ve heard that record before and conservatives, fiscal conservatives and libertarians rejected it. The disapproval of Barack Obama may bring voters out, but a tepid “pledge” isn’t going to keep you there.


  1. There’s no way that the GOP will get away with Conservatism-Light this time. There will be way too much attention paid to each legislative action and compromisers will be primaried-out of office. It’s a whole new ball game and they will find that out at each wrong turn.

  2. Quaker says:

    The older I get, the less patience I have for hypocracy. If they were honest with themselves and others, conservatives would admit that Medicare and Social Security are socialistic programs and work to repeal them. Similarly, instead of whining about embroynic stem cell research resulting in the “death” of foetuses, they’d go to the source and admit that fertility clinics flush the little blobs of protoplasm every day and work to outlaw them. Politics trumps conviction every time. Of course, anyone (any party) who can say with a straight face that millions of dollars doesn’t buy legislation can lie about anything.

  3. B Balz says:

    Trillions MISspent on poverty programs and we’re stuck. Yep, we just need to spend more EFFECTIVELY.

    The inevitability of the human condition precludes 0% poverty. Trends like this disturb me, they don’t ever end well.

    And, no, you are not a peckerwood.

  4. Three Jack says:

    gop pledge could have been summed up in one sentence — “we pledge to avoid the many lapses in principle based policy decisions made since we gained control in dc.”

    • Doug Grammer says:

      Spoken like a man who really supports the GOP. Can we call you RINO for short?

      I’ve said many times the GOP deserved to lose control of congress in 2006. However, I’d be an idiot to say it went to better hands.

      • Three Jack says:

        what part of my abbreviated pledge do you find disagreeable?

        and to be a rino, one has to claim to be a republican. since those representing the gop have so bastardized the basic principles of fiscal conservatism which was supposed to be the foundation of the party, many of us have stopped calling ourselves republican. so no, you cannot appropriately refer to me as a rino.

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