Republicans unveiled their Pledge to America Thursday, a gamble designed to coalesce anger sufficient to garner enough votes to build a GOP majority in Congress. Unlike its predecessor, the Contract with America, which swept the Republicans to victory in 1994, the Pledge to America consists significantly of vituperative diatribe against the President and Democrats, and is almost devoid of consensus-building proposals that might engage voters of different persuasions in common enterprise.
“An unchecked executive, a compliant legislature, and an overreaching judiciary have combined to thwart the will of the people and overturn their votes and their values, striking down long-standing laws and institutions and scorning the deepest beliefs of the American people,” the Pledge incongruously puts forth.
How exactly did the executive go unchecked with 435 Representatives and 100 Senators, 219 of them Republicans, but all elected to represent the will of the American people and serve as a check on executive power?
The GOP’s Pledge to America goes on to rail against the President and Democrats in Congress, claiming that “Since 2009, President Obama and Congressional Democrats have enacted $680 billion in gross tax increases” (emphasis in original)…
“Instead of putting the brakes on Washington’s spending habits as they promised, President Obama and Democratic Leaders have stepped on the accelerator and demonstrated unparalleled recklessness with taxpayer dollars,” the GOP alleges.
“Unfortunately Washington Democrats refuse to listen to the American people and eliminate, restrain, or even budget for their out-of-control spending spree,” the Republican Pledge to America goes on to say.
Is this an admission by Republicans that they have been wholly ineffective as members of Congress? Maybe voters should start checking Republican absentee records. Were there any Republican members in the chamber at any time during the last session?
The American taxpayers paid these admitted do-nothings $174,000 apiece in annual salary in 2009 and 2010, contrasted with the average American’s personal income of about $45,000 per year. The Pledge to America neglects to mention this apparent poor use of taxpayer funds.
The Pledge to America portrays Republicans resistant to belief in the power of positive thinking. What they implicitly promise voters in the Pledge to America is bipartisan bickering, excess fueled by rage, and blame-casting when a loud minority fails to impose its will on the majority.
There are some valuable ideas scattered within the Pledge to America, without a doubt. Single-subject bills, for example, and sunset provisions providing for periodic re-evaluation of the need for federal programs. But valuable ideas are not the core of the document, and they are surrounded by highly controversial “moral” proposals that appeal to a minority of Americans — opposition to gay marriage and a ban on federal subsidies for Americans choosing health plans offering abortion coverage, for example.
The Pledge to America fails to unite, serves to divide, and deserves to fail.