Kissing Your Republican Sister!

The Republican “pledge” is, at best, the rough equivalent of kissing your sister in terms of the excitement quotient.  Well short of manifesto status it is a carefully considered, calculated political document, which represents little risk and less courage.  Better than the absence of a statement, it is inherently a small step seemingly calculated to reach the lowest common denominator of conservative acceptability.  The ideas are acceptable, but they lack the manner of political courage many of us were hoping for, against all evidence that such hope was justified.  While the ideas are acceptable, what is absent may not be. 

The best thing one can say for the Pledge is that it does address the most vocalized issues to some extent: TARP, Health Care repeal, unspent stimulus funding. It’s easy to applaud those commitments, but those commitments do not represent anything new or surprising from Congressional Republicans. The worst one can say is that it is simply not aggressive enough and is a document intended to secure power but not fully address critical issues.  It is an election plan intended to cement the current trend, not an acceptable governance plan to the skeptics among us.    

If “The Pledge” was aimed at Independents and leaning Democrats it likely hit the target.  It offers a mea culpa for past sins represents generalized conservative values and reinforces constitutionality as a legislative basis point.    

“The Pledge” addresses, in the main, economic issues and at the same time ignores critical issues.   To target spending to pre-bail out levels is to target spending at a level that was unacceptable in the first place.  This will, according to the Pledge, save $100 billion a year, $100 billion a year is less than 8% of the annual deficit. That said the economic program is a valid first step with clear tax cuts for small business, it’s most aggressive proposal and one to be applauded.  The analysis of tax impact is also valid but that analysis would have supported a much more aggressive program.

The Pledge commits to “common sense” spending caps but does not address specifics related to spending reductions.  Outside of spending cuts in Congress itself, 5.8%, there are no “hard” targets for spending reductions beyond the 2008 standards.  If the Pledge had committed to targeted 10% reductions from 2008 levels there would be dancing in the Conservative streets, there is no dancing.  If there is a hard target for deficit reduction I missed it.

The Pledge commits to “root out” government waste and duplication; great, how?  The application of Sunset provisions is notoriously ineffective and tends to find new life in the dark of night.  The Pledge misses a major opportunity to define an aggressive approach to elimination of waste and duplication by forcing bureaucratic departments to prioritize based on Congressionally mandated funding reductions.       

The Pledge does not address, in a meaningful manner, the $120 trillion dollar entitlement boondoggle that is at the heart of our fiscal crisis in the future.  The Pledge is disturbing, in light of the fact that Republicans such as Paul Ryan have invested significant effort and analysis in an effort to point the way toward fiscal sustainability.   It is not a case of Republican ideas being absent on the issue; it is, however, unsettling that those ideas are absent from the Pledge.

The Pledge does not address earmarks, it addresses “amendments to spending bills”, hard to know if that is the same thing.  The typical argument that earmarks represent a small percentage of government spending is true.  However, earmarks represent a large percentage of what most consider to be corrupting influences.  Again, a clear lack of courage and a demonstration of the political versus the governance focus of the document.  Were the pledge to contain a provision that committed to no earmarks by Republicans that would be meaningful and a demonstration of some degree of leadership courage.

The Pledge recognizes American discontent with Congress but goes only so far as requiring Constitutional authority, prioritization of economic issues, reduction time spent on non legislative issues and a three day “reading” period.  Absent is a commitment to simplify the legislative process to the point of comprehensibility for average Americans. Having three days to read an incomprehensible bill is not the “change” many of us were looking for.

Border security is highlighted but the only commitment is to “enforcing our laws” and to establish “operational control”.   What, no wall?

The “Pledge” is better than nothing.  Stale bread is better than nothing to a starving man.

  • In a word: Underwhelming.

    But I supposed it needs to start somewhere? I am feeling like this is the list of common sense things to do before you even get into the list of more complicated things to do.

    Here’s a possibility. Perhaps if you aim for small goals and achieve them, you will have strong credibility for tackling larger goals like the entitlement system.

    Perhaps these are some core basic ideas even most moderates could grasp onto and support?

    If this plan came from the RINO wing I’d be worried but since it comes from Cantor, Ryan and McCarthy, three strong conservatives, I will give them the benefit of the doubt that they have strategized this for the end game.

  • Bill Hedges

    World War One will soon be over. Germany will have paid off their war debt. Mostly to France. No pay off for the 2nd BIG WAR ??? We could use that money to pay off our debt. What about LEND-LEASE money owed us ?

    Tonight on FOX I was struck with realization that TEA is the good portion of Republican party. The hope. The future. Nate seems displeased or even very disappointed in the CONTRACT. Who would argue with that. Range in change is 50 to 100 in midterm vote. Frankly, we do not know our own power and which is people hatred toward Democrats. So many newcomer TEA candidates untested. But polls look good.

    Martin Luther King said it best “I have a dream”. We are taking the GOP and attempting to revamp. If we were modernizing a 57 chevy first thing I would do is get rid of the vacuum windshield wipers and put on electric motor. When I go up hill in rain I want windshield wipers working. Not stalled.

    Gosh 38 Democrats voted against adjourning Congress today. Wanted to vote up or down the extension of Bush near ALL AMERICAN TAX CUTS.

    The TEA DREAM is manifesting itself all over. We do not know our strength. We have general idea of our direction. The future is not brightly shining for America, but our shirt sleeves are being rolled up

  • Bill Hedges

    Government spending is the ROOT OF ALL EVIL, not tax cuts…
    Whenever conservatives talks of tax cuts liberals go into loss/debt to government coffers. Liberals must ignore the facts of life.

    Cutting taxes increase government revenue for government from the rich:

    “The tax cuts of the 1920s”

    “The share of the tax burden paid by the rich rose dramatically as tax rates were reduced. The share of the tax burden borne by the rich (those making $50,000 and up in those days) climbed from 44.2 percent in 1921 to 78.4 percent in 1928.”

    “The Kennedy tax cuts”

    “Just as happened in the 1920s, the share of the income tax burden borne by the rich increased following the tax cuts. Tax collections from those making over $50,000 per year climbed by 57 percent between 1963 and 1966, while tax collections from those earning below $50,000 rose 11 percent. As a result, the rich saw their portion of the income tax burden climb from 11.6 percent to 15.1 percent“.

    “The Reagan tax cuts”

    “The share of income taxes paid by the top 10 percent of earners jumped significantly, climbing from 48.0 percent in 1981 to 57.2 percent in 1988. The top 1 percent saw their share of the income tax bill climb even more dramatically, from 17.6 percent in 1981 to 27.5 percent in 1988.”


    Thus the increase in revenue is not remembered but debt by overspending Congress is. Be it the cost of actual wars or in Reagan case COLD WAR.

    Some wishful liberals try to blame Bush tax cut to present recession. Ignoring Clinton, lawyer obama, Dodd, Frank, and ACORN in housing scandal. Ignoring all of Bushes warning concerning Fannie, Freddy, and the financial institutions:

    “Nancy Pelosi (D) Caught Lying: Says Bush Didn’t Warn Congress About Financial Crisis”

    “The President’s Leadership in Combating Corporate Fraud”

    Had Bush’s warnings been heeded the benefits of added revenues due to his tax cuts would clearly been seen:

    “ Bush Tax Cuts Increased Tax Base, Study Says”

    “CBO: Bush Tax Cut Extension Would Boost Economy But Also Create Deficits”

    “Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), said keeping the tax cuts in place would boost the economy in the short term but have a negative impact as time goes on.”

    Article points out SPENDING, SPENDING, and more SPENDING throws a wrench into the good of tax cuts by outspending income. THERE LIES THE PROBLEM…

  • Unforturnatly, it is the best of the two political party platforms. I have been part of the process for over 40 years and have learned that if good people get involved things can turn around. One thing is very true, politicans do want to keep their jobs in Washington. If we hold them responsible and boot them out of office when they do not vote the way we request, they will comply to our demands.

    We still can change things in Washington if we can motivate good people to vote and get involved in the process.
    I have discovered some of the problem causing the apthy we are seeing today and have written a book addressing the problem in a matter that will hopefully correct the mind set that is crippling good people from taking action.
    We do have a little time before the forth comming deaster occurs. If you have any suggestions as to how I can get this information out quickly, I would appreciate any suggestions you may have. You can reach me at or e-mail me with any help you can provide.