Sep 23 2010
[Click image to see more excellent patriotic artwork]
For those on the right who think the GOP pledge does not go far enough to the right – thanks for standing up and letting us know who not to follow. Any element of the conservative movement that proposes to implode by pushing America outside its comfort zone and off its priorities the way Obama, Pelosi and Reid did is not someone to lead this nation forward. There is no reason to repeat the mistakes the liberals made and many on the right made leading into 2006 and 2008.
The pledge (full text here) looks to be a good balance of where to redirect our collective focus. This collective focus has been precisely scoped to not go outside common ground where consensus cannot be won with the broad middle of America. Its stays out of the fringes. But more than that, the pledge’s underlying premise is small, nonintrusive government. That libertarian streak throughout is why it holds together. I would like to echo the National Review Editorial here and note this is more than a contract with America:
The pledge is bolder. The Contract with America merely promised to hold votes on popular bills that had been bottled up during decades of Democratic control of the House. The pledge commits Republicans to working toward a broad conservative agenda that, if implemented, would make the federal government significantly smaller, Congress more accountable, and America more prosperous.
Emphasis mine. This last swing of the hyper-partisan pendulum we’ve been experiencing the last two years, which drastically thrust America to the left, was the straw that broke the People’s backs. The nation has finally accepted the idea a limited and constrained government is better than an all-intrusive, heavy-handed, busy-body government – whether the thrust behind the policies is liberal or conservative. Debate on how far and how fast to take these national objectives will consume us for many years. But it will be a debate with a direction acceptable to most Americans and not some social experiment backed by a minority.
The top priority is to get the government out of the way of the private sector so our economy can grow and create good jobs again. This area of the Pledge has the fewest specific actions listed, mainly because many other aspects of The Pledge will also have positive effects on businesses and the economy (e.g., lowering taxes, repealing and replacing Obamacare, shrinking the government and thus reducing deficits and debt). It is a recognition that government cannot do much more than get out of the way of the economy. Therefore a short list of actions to pull government’s jack boot from the economy’s neck is the right answer.
The longest list of actions is associated with trimming and fixing government. From overhauling Freddia Mac and Fannie Mae, to ending the failed stimulus bills that are still wasting money, to ending TARP and bailouts – the main thrust of the Pledge is healing our country by killing off the cancer of out-of-control government. There are so many things that the government needs to stop doing that this effort to get government back in shape will bear fruit for years and years to come. The important part of this is to make sure the Americans now working for the government are not punished or negatively impacted while this takes place. The compassionate path is to close down filling jobs or adding new ones, and let attrition and a growing private sector consume the fat of government over time.
I like the Pledge a lot. I think there is a lot for the broad center and the right to jointly cheer and support. There will be those who need to calibrate their expectations and there will be compromises. Lots and lots of compromises. But the debate will be on how far or fast to go – not which direction we will be heading.
No one will buy the claim a measured pace towards a libertarian balance of government and private sector is the same as being a big government liberal. There is no coherent argument there anymore. We are all RINO’s, because we are all Americans first, with diverse and independent views that can be handled with respect and a modicum of professionalism.
That is another trait we can dump that the Dems brought us. We don’t need conservative versions of snarky Carville’s and Begala’s – we need more Reagan’s, W Bush, Condi Rices, etc. Keep it classy folks.