Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pledge to America - Some Conservative Blowback - UPDATE

I noticed a smattering of blowback from the right against the "Pledge to America" unveiled by the Republicans. I think Greta Van Susteren asked the toughest question on her Fox News show, when she asked Paul Ryan "Why isn't there a pledge against earmarks?" I thought that was a great question and Ryan's answer of essentially, "trust us" doesn't really cut it.

Another commenter that I respect, Eric Erickson at RedState has this to say:

The plan wants to put “government on the path to a balanced budget” without doing anything substantive. There is a promise to “immediately reduce spending” by cutting off stimulus funds. Wow. Exciting.
I thought that was a little harsh. The pledge includes a roll back of the stimulus and Obamacare, as well as rolling back federal spending to 2008 levels. Not intellectually challenging perhaps, but necessary first steps.

Richard Viguerie of ConservativeHQ and direct mail mastermind from the 1980's had this to say in an email to me (how BDaddy got on his email list, I don't know.):

This new promise is mostly about Republicans promising not to do things they relished doing in the last decade. But if the GOP does not push hard in the new Congress to return America to small, constitutional government, expect most Republican incumbents to be seriously challenged by Tea Party candidates in 2012.
Agreed, but again, it is still a step in the right direction. Glenn Beck makes the same point right now his TV show, by saying that returning to 2008 spending levels is insufficiently bold. Viguerie goes on to say the document is a good first step.

Was this the year to be even bolder with this pledge? Would the Democrats attacks have been more vicious or less? Who cares? As a way to change the debate, I think the document is almost brilliant. It focuses on the real issues, even if it doesn't have too many specifics. It keeps the focus on the right issues, for the most part, and puts the left on its heels.

Michele Malkin is among those on the right who liked the pledge.

Left Coast Rebel
links to a pretty decent set of proposals, that unfortunately might be construed as too radical right now from Doug Ross. Don't get me wrong, he has great ideas, but I question if we have sufficiently changed the terms of the debate for a major party to issue a manifesto like his.

• We will repeal the Democrat health care bill and, if vetoed by the President, will de-fund every aspect of that bill until such time as the American people have input into a sensible health care reform process.
• We will slash the size of the federal government bureaucracies (Commerce, Education, Energy, the EPA, Labor, etc.) by 20% in 2011 with a goal of reducing each by 50% over the next three years, thereby saving hundreds of billions of dollars.
• We will secure the border with physical fencing suitable to repel drug smugglers, human smugglers, and terrorists, while encouraging legal immigration and enforcement of the law.
• We will confront the entitlement crisis -- Social Security and Medicare -- by preserving benefits for those who depend upon them and moving to privatized options for younger workers. Anything less condemns future generations to mountains of debt and economic catastrophe.
• We will strengthen our armed forces, space and missile defense programs to retain our unparalleled superpower status.
• We will begin the process of paying down our debts, spending within our means every year.
• We will ban public sector unions, which exist solely to wage war against the taxpayers who fund their operations.


Jonah Goldberg hopped on my bandwagon and reviewed the conservative reaction to The Pledge albeit much more eloquently than me. If you thought this article was worthwhile you ought to give his round up a read as well, to put some perspective on the whole effort.

Bottom line, I think Republicans can look forward to crushing the Democrats this fall and the Pledge will be somewhat helpful in both doing so and in claiming a policy mandate.


  1. I saw Greta's interview with Ryan and he was very weak on the "earmarks" question. But what is the honest answer? No one wants to give up "getting the goodies" for their constituents.

    At least we received an honest answer from Howard Dean on why torte reform wasn't in health care reform. Remember that gem?

  2. Dawg,
    I do remember, it was classic. The deal with earmarks is like nuclear disarmament. One party could seize a political advantage by swearing off earmarks, and then the other side would be compelled to follow suit. Unlike the nukes, if someone cheated, retaliation would be easy to achieve.

    Bottom line, Republicans should just do it, as the general public wakes up to the massiveness of the debt, they will look the better party to govern.

  3. This is the difference between the Republican ruling class and the Tea Party conservatives.

    The Tea Party has the grapes to grab the political moment, (because it's the right thing to do) but the Ruling Class can't/ won't because of losing power.

    Ryan lost sooooo much credibility with me with his pathetic posture.