Thursday, September 23, 2010

Laughable pablum

While liberals have predictably slammed the Republicans' plan, unveiled Thursday, to fix the country, the pledge is getting mixed reviews from conservative pundits, some of whom argue the 21-page document is all bark and no bite.

Blasting the document for not providing specific, long-term solutions, conservative blogger Erick Erickson called the pledge the "most ridiculous thing to come out of Washington since George McClellan…. Yes, yes, it is full of mom-tested, kid-approved pablum that will make certain hearts on the right sing in solidarity," he wrote on his blog, "But like a diet full of sugar, it will actually do nothing but keep making Washington fatter before we crash from the sugar high."

The pledge gathers together in one document familiar talking points for Republicans, such as cutting taxes and slashing government spending. It comes at a time when the GOP is gearing up for the midterm elections and hoping to gain majorities in Congress. Taking a page from the 1994 GOP playbook when the Republicans touted their "Contract with America," which offered a specific plan of action for a GOP Congress, Republicans hope to once again gain control of the House.

But the document has only broad statements and no real specifics.

Conservative commentator and former Bush speechwriter David Frum echoed Erickson's disapproval, "Did you seriously imagine that they would jeopardize the prospect of victory and chairmanships by issuing big, bold promises to do deadly, unpopular things?" asked Frum. He said he was not surprised by the weakness of the so-called pledge. He writes:

The Pledge to America is a pledge to do nothing and even goes against what the Tea Party stands for. Tea party activists have been claiming all year that there exists in the United States a potential voting majority for radically more limited government. The Republican ‘Pledge to America' declares: Sorry, we don't believe that… Yet at the same time, we so-called RINOs can take no pleasure in this document. Yes, there is good in it. (Putting legislative language online 72 hours in advance seems Good Government 101.) ...The promise to cite specific constitutional language is an empty sop to those so-called constitutionalists who vainly hope to revive the John Randolph School of constitutional interpretation.”

This is not a document that will help to govern in the recessionary year 2010. Without an alternative modern Republican affirmative program, the GOP will be captured and controlled by special interests instead. Actually, the GOP is already captured and controlled by the lobbyists for rich corporations and wealthy individuals.

Of course, not all conservatives outright decried the pledge. Tony Perkins, president of the conservative, Christian lobbying organization, The Family Research Council, said the pledge is "not exceptional, but it is satisfactory. It does lay a foundation to build upon, and it moves congressional Republicans to a place of public acknowledgment that values issues are to be a part of the conservative way forward."

Again, quoting from Erik Erikson:
The pledge begins by lamenting an arrogant and out-of-touch government of self-appointed elites" issuing mandates, "then proceeds to demand health care mandates on insurance companies that will drive up the costs of health care for ordinary Americans. The plan puts “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. There is a plan to cut Congress’s budget, which is pretty much what was promised in 1994. …In 4 years did the Democrats really blow up the Congressional budget? No — the GOP did that.” 

The document combines old ideas, bad ideas, contradictory ideas, and discredited ideas. The Republican Party that lost control of Congress four years ago has had an abundance of time to craft a policy vision that offers credible, serious solutions. Instead, we are confronted with a document that can best be described as tired nonsense. This "pledge" is just meaningless stuff at which even the Senate GOP will ultimately turn up its nose.

It is laughable. 



David Frum: 

Read the entire “pledge” here: