GOP Pledge To America. Where’s The Beef?
If the GOP Pledge To America were a classic American burger, the rhetoric would be the bun and conservative fiscal policy would be the meat. This ‘burger’ of a “new political agenda” would please only a vegetarian since there is no beef. There is however, an extra-large, carb filled, empty-caloried bun of rhetoric to fill 30 seconds TV ads though.
The GOP recently presented their 46 page Pledge To America where they pledge to uphold the Constitution, support heterosexual marriage, create jobs, improve apple pie, cut spending, expand the empire, and sing the Star Spangled Banner. The pledge starts with a platitude to constitutionalists.
We pledge to honor the Constitution as constructed by its framers and honor the original intent of those precepts that have been consistently ignored – particularly the Tenth Amendment, which grants that all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
Uhhhhh…didn’t you already swear an oath to do just that same thing when you were sworn into office? Now, I’m supposed to believe you since it’s now a pledge? Well, at least they have admitted that the Tenth Amendment should be relevant and that’s a start.
The GOP also turns on the hyper-rhetoric machine to eleven and churns out the latest Tea Party hits:
We pledge to advance policies that promote greater liberty, wider opportunity, a robust defense, and national economic prosperity.
We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values.
We pledge to make government more transparent in its actions, careful in its stewardship, and honest in its dealings.
We pledge to uphold the purpose and promise of a better America, knowing that to whom much is given, much is expected and that the blessings of our liberty buoy the hopes of mankind.
We make this pledge bearing true faith and allegiance to the people we represent, and we invite fellow citizens and patriots to join us in forming a new governing agenda for America.
What does all this rhetoric mean in terms of real policy? Very little unfortunately. In the Pledge To America’s document the details are few and far between. However, there are many pretty pictures of the Statue of Liberty, U.S. flags, government buildings, slick politicians, and people selling meat…WTF? Butchers at a meat market? Okay. If this doesn’t make you want to break out in a song of “Proud to Be An American” I don’t know what will.
What few details there are illustrate the GOP’s impotency to seriously tackle government size and spending.
For example, their pledge to:
Cut Congress’ Budget
This year, Congress increased its own budget by 5.8 percent at a time when families and small businesses across the country are cutting back. We will make Congress do more with less by significantly reducing its budget.
This paragraph proceeds the pledge to only make “common-sense” cuts to discretionary spending meaning medicare, medicaid, social security, and national defense are off the table. There is no possible way to seriously cut into the deficit only trimming discretionary spending as it only consists of a small percentage of the budget.
- Stop future tax hikes. I certainly hope so but why stop there? I want to hear about how you will cut taxes. We could go a long way towards recovery if we reduced the corporate and capital gains tax.
- Enact a 20% small business tax cut. I’m always in favor of tax cuts but again, why stop there?
- Stop the remaining TARP and stimulus spending. How many Republicans voted for Bush’s stimulus spending plans?
- Make an hard cap on spending. So they can stop themselves from voting for bigger budgets.
- Cut the congressional budget. Which both parties made too large in the first place.
- A non-security hiring freeze. Hey, that’s a fresh idea after thousands of new employees have already been hired throughout Republican control.
- Change procedural rules, the budget process, and reduce waste. I thought only the Democrats were selling that B.S. ?
- Repeal and replace parts of Obamacare. Great! Health care can start moving back to the free market. What! You support mandated coverage for pre-existing conditions? What part of free markets don’t you still get?
- Complete the Missile Defense Shield. Because crazy Iranians could kill us in a few years…not really…but they are the new boogeyman. According to the GOP’s pledge, bombs could stop dropping as early as 2015 despite any evidence of that being possible.
- Keep Terrorists Out of America. Both Democrats and Republicans agree. The continued infringement upon our civil liberties is what keeps a jihadist from killing you each day.
I know there are Republicans who will be completely unsatisfied with what amounts to a small chipping away from the leviathan of federal government. I know there are social conservatives who will be quite pleased and may ignore the rest of the pledge. I also know there are still plenty of Republicans in denial about the serious cuts that will have to be made in order to reduce the deficit. I know of Republicans who support the strong anti-terrorist message. However, I know of no honest Republicans who can say that this is a sincere effort at limited government policy and fiscal conservatism.
Politicians are running out of time to kick the entitlement can down the street. The nation cannot afford the empire or the current entitlement system. Both the welfare and warfare state are contributing to our economic malaise. Drastic change is needed now. The GOP has had an opportunity to try and redefine themselves as fiscal conservatives; demonstrate their commitment to limited government; and convince people that they have learned their lesson. That opportunity has passed, yet again.