Free Markets, Free People

GOP’s Pledge? Just words …

That’s my initial reaction. Can’t help it. Been there, done this.

Sure, I understand the urge to be something other than the party of “no”.  I understand the desire to tell the American people what you stand for, and not necessarily only what you’re against.  Ok … got it.

But until and unless substantial change is enabled and accomplished by the GOP, this is just another in a long line of promises that ended up on the ash heap of history.

Oh certainly, much of it sounds wonderful – on the surface.  In fact, to the right, this is much like the sounds the left heard from the Obama campaign.  The reality, as they learned, isn’t anywhere close to what was promised.

Then there’s the recent GOP history.  An all Republican Congress led by a Republican President gave us Medicare Part D and No Child Left Behind among many other things which would be directly opposed to what is promised in “A Pledge to America”.

Steven Taylor does a good job of hitting most of my objections to a quick read of the “Pledge”:

I would take the whole affair far more seriously if the Pledge contained even the outline of real plan to deal with the country’s structural fiscal problems.  Caps on spending, especially ones that seems to partially exclude security-based spending, always sound good, but aren’t a solution to the problem (not by a long shot).  I am willing to accept the notion that one has to start somewhere, but this is nibbling around the edges.  This pledge does not seriously address the major issue facing the country.

As Taylor points out, it’s mostly warmed over GOP talking points, which, to this point have mostly remained talking points vs. action.  And the “Pledge” does indeed seem vague in a lot of areas.  Perhaps instead of calling it a “Pledge” or a “plan” it would be better to call it a “blueprint” or “outline” – detailed plan to follow.

Certainly this will please much of the base – but frankly, they didn’t need much pleasing.  They’re already eager to hit the polling booths.  What one has to wonder – especially with the obligatory social con stuff thrown in when it wasn’t necessary – is what the independents will think.  Certainly they have been seen by polling data to at least be abandoning the Democrats – but does that necessarily mean they’ll embrace the GOP?  The social con inclusion in what should have basically been a small government plan sort of argues against the whole premise of small less intrusive government, doesn’t it? 

It will be interesting to see how indies respond.

I’m going to be reading the “Pledge” more closely and will respond with more detail, but at the moment, those are my thoughts.  How about yours?



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20 Responses to GOP’s Pledge? Just words …

  • Hey, here’s a thought for you.  When was the last time you said, “I’m thinking about hiring you.  If you were to work for me, what would you do?”
    That’s not the way it works.
    When you hire someone, you tell them what they will be doing. Asking the GOP to give us a “pledge” is ridiculous.  We are hiring them.  Instead of asking them for a pledge, why don’t we just get together and tell them what they will be doing.  If and when you are elected…

    You will cut spending.
    You will repeal the atrocious health care and financial “reform” bills.
    You will kill and/or repeal any “cap and trade” legislation.
    You will eliminate earmarks.
    You will cut taxes.
    You will reduce the size of government, in terms of finances, departments, and employees.
    You will reverse the intrusion of government into every aspect of American life.
    You will, indeed, construct the most open and transparent government this nation has ever seen.

    And you will do this, because we…. we will be watching.

  • I would take the whole affair far more seriously if the Pledge contained even the outline of real plan to deal with the country’s structural fiscal problems.

    >>>>  Two points.

    1)  This close to (they pray) a historic wave election, the GOP isn’t gonna give you anything more than this type of pablum.  They’re not going to put anything even semi-objectionable in there that can allow the Dems to get off the defensive and attack with. 

    2) Obama will still have the veto pen, and possibly 1 chamber with a majority regardless.  As Paul Ryan put it, this is a list of what they can achieve, not a list of  sky-high idealism.

    The time for the type of detail you want is in 2012, when the GOP will be trying to make the case to the public to give them back EVERYTHING

    • Chris Christie also ran on a vague platform. I think you have to do that, at first, because the pain will be bad so you need to build up trust. That’s how Christie is doing it.

      The GOP messed up their brand (LOL) the last time, so they are sort of stuck until they start to prove themselves.

      Also, always under-promise and over-deliver.

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  • @gj: “You will eliminate earmarks.”

    Earmarks are not the same as pork. Earmarks show who, where, what, when and how much a particular program gets and exactly how it will be spent.  I’d change it to “You Will earmark all spending that is legal within the framework of the Constitution.  You shall Not allocate any funds for anything not within the framework of the Constitution.” or something like that.

    • In other words, “You will ensure all funding allocations will go through the proper vetting and committee process.”

  • I’m really strating to think that the whole social con vs small government is the seam that could truly fracture the GOP. That was an uneccessary sop in this election cycle and too weak to appease a true  believer anyway. Unless and until you can convince people that social issues are best dealt with at the most local level possible, there can be no larege conservative governing majority. This should be an easy argument to win based on how abused social cons have been by big government, but, apparently, they think otherwise.

    • That has always been the big sticking point.  I have argued before with prolifers who demand a nationwide solution. That will never fly, I try to get them to see that if it is a matter for the states, which it always should have been, then that is the best they can hope for, and it gets the Federal government out of it.

      But they remain a stubborn group.  Still, the big issue today is the economy, so I am not seeing much of a push by social conservatives.  The truth is, most social conservatives are also fiscal conservatives and are pretty frightened at the Obama administration.

      • Or even the argument that a libertarian society will allow them to survive whereas a Nanny State will slowly wear them away ala Europe.

  • By the way, I don’t really have a problem with this pledge. Of course they will not adopt even a half of it, but it is worthy to shoot for it.

    I would have been happier with a very very short and simple pledge:  “I promise to reduce the size, cost and power of government at all levels, in all ways.”

    • I agree with your impulse, but not your choice of words.  Federalism PROHIBITS Federal diddling with state and local government, so it would be wrong for the Congress to make the promise you propose.  I’d be DE-freaking-LIGHTED if they would tend to their own very considerable house cleaning.

  • It’s all about managing expectations

  • Between this unspeakably-lame minifesto and their utterly-predictable ability to meet even flaccid vows once elected, the Dead Elephants have killed not only themselves, but also the hope of a peaceful solution.
    What happens when the intelligent, capable, realistic Americans awakened over the past several years realize that politics truly is a blood sport?

  • Precatory
    That’s a term I never came across until law school (not that long ago, BTW).
    It means “hopeful” or “aspirational” language. Which I think pretty well defines The Pledge.
    OK. Good. Nice. But hardly sufficient in the moment.

  • I asked spokesman Ryan Rudominer whether, since we now have the GOP agenda, there is a similar document laying out what Democrats will do if voters return them to power in the House. There was a moment of silence on the other end of the call.
    “I’m sorry, you mean, like, a current one?” Rudominer asked.
    Yes, I said.
    “I don’t think we have, like, you know, a 21-page sort of infommercial-type package like this,” Rudominer said.
    Well, any sort of agenda would be fine, I said.
    “Look, you know, each race is going to have their own individualized message,” Rudominer answered. “So look, we’re not putting together a gimmicky package like this six weeks before the election. We’re talking about making each of these elections a choice.”
    Rudominer didn’t handle my question very well, which suggests that the DCCC hasn’t gotten a lot of inquiries about the specifics of the Democratic agenda.

    • Right, because of course only the GOP has to lay out their detailed plans.

      The dems just pass bills and decide what’s in them after the fact.

  • These Republicans are playing right into the Democrats’ hands. Yep, this whole attempt to mollify the extremist tea partiers puts the Republicans biggest electoral opportunity in years at risk. I decree it.

    Over at my blog today, I discuss this in detail. You should come over there for rich, creamy analysis {analysis, analysis, analysis}. For example, I explain that this might be a wave election and the Republicans could win 40-45 House seats, just as the experts say, and six or seven Senate seats. Or, because of the nasty extremist tea partiers, and their extreme message that many voters find way too extreme, the Republicans could have peaked too early and the Democrats could very possibly hold that down to 20-25 House seats, and 2 or 3 Senate seats. Really. Stop laughing! It could happen! And shut up about how the “peaked too early” thing is a trite, stupid, lazy form of commentary. It’s analysis, I tell you. Definitely not lazy and trite opinion! Analysis! Stop laughing, I said.

    I’m so brilliant in my analysis that I’m always right. Yes, no matter how the election goes, it’s clear from the above that I predicted it. Unless a meteor hits Washington, DC, which is a low-probability quantum event that I decided to leave out.

    I also have a prediction for the weather on election day here in Maine. It will be clear. Unless we get some precipitation. In that case, there might be rain, or even snow. See, no matter what the weather is that day, it will turn out that I predicted it.

    I did leave off the low probability quantum event that Republicans could do even better than the experts say, because that’s just flat out unimaginable. Everyone in the faculty lounge agrees that it’s impossible. Heck, we don’t even see how they will get the 40 seats to take back the House. Nobody we know intends to vote for them. And if somehow it happens anyway, I will be back with a socially constructed multiple truth that shows I predicted it.

    Now, don’t you dense righties go trying to predict these election results like you’ve just seen me do. You really need advanced degrees for that kind of innovative prognostication. {chuckle} If you don’t believe me, you doth protest too much. LOL.

  • A 20+ page pledge?

    That’s not a pledge, that’s a term paper.

  • Neither party gets it, the United States spends 40% MORE than it earns and sooner or later those we lend from or owe money to are going to ask us – When will you pay us back? (Argentina 2001), or more likely If you want to lend from us we demand a much higher rate of return. (Greece ~ today) .  America has only 2 real choices, we get the spending under control ourselves or we suffer economic meltdown more severe than the 1930’s when our lenders cut off the credit lines.  Unfortunately the Democrats and Republicans are choosing option 2.