Republican Pledge a Good Start
By: Craig Chamberlain
For many months conservative voters and pundits called for a new “Contract with America” well the party didn’t issue a new contract. It went further with the “Pledge to America.” The pledge is an explicitly conservative blueprint for America that, if actually adhered to, will go a long way to putting the federal government back in its constitutional place. The pledge promises to roll back federal spending to “pre- bailout levels” rolling back spending to 2008 levels is a good start but only a start. Even at those levels the federal government is still spending too much money. If the GOP is serious about rolling back federal spending they should insist about going back to pre- Bush levels. After all it was President Bush who first took the federal budget above one trillion dollars. Ending TARP, jettisoning Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are much needed measures to get the federal government out of the financial, mortgage markets.
The promise to repeal Obamacare is heartening, but is unrealistic. As long as Obama is President, or the Democrats control the White House, they will have the authority to veto any legislation passed by a Republican Congress. As far as the Democrats are concerned Obamacare is their crowning glory, and they are not in any mood to compromise on the bill one bit. The best the Republicans can hope for in this area is to deny funding for the bill, and if we’re lucky enough to capture the White House in 2012, then we can think seriously about repeal.
There are many points in the pledge that are welcoming news. The promise of Congressional reform is a welcome sign, even though such promises have been given before. Remember Speaker Pelosi’s promise to “drain the swamp?” These promises have been made before and they have always been broken. There is a tendency for politicians to run against Congress when they are in the minority, and then defend it when they are in the majority. Still the promises to make legislation available online for up to 72 hours so lawmakers actually have time to read what they are voting on, and citing constitutional authorization for every piece of legislation(what a novel idea, thinking about the constitution) any congress that doesn’t cite the constitution ought to be thrown out on principle regardless of what party holds the majority.
Perhaps the best idea to hold down spending is the proposal to open spending bills to amendment. Right now a popular tactic is to attach spending to some other bill. And let it ride along with the more popular legislation. If the GOP takes over it will end this practice, and any spending item that can’t get a majority on its own won’t pass. The pledge also promises enforcement of the immigration laws, both state and federal. This is an endorsement of Arizona’s attempt to handle immigration in its own way. They would pass a law that gives the local, and state, authorities a larger share in immigration policy. There is also a pledge to secure our southern border.
All of this is well and good. The federal government has spent the last 80 years growing and growing, into an uncontrollable, unconstitutional, leviathan. In the last decade the rate of growth exploded with federal budgets in the trillions of dollars, new medicare programs, bailouts, stimulus spending, earmarks, and any other way that Congress could think to spend money that wasn’t theirs, they found it. If this group of republicans is sincere in its desire to cut back to the size of governments, to reduce the debt, to secure our borders, and to put Congress in order, that’s great.
The current ruling class has shown nothing but contempt for the constitution, and nothing but desire to expand the federal government even more. Congressman Peter Stark(D-CA) told a group of constituents that, in his opinion, there are no constitutional restraints on federal power. That kind of thinking is dangerous, and, in reality treasonous to the idea of the American republic. If they are not turned out of office, there is no telling how far federal power will reach. What’s the point of having a constitution if not to limit the power of the government?
But ultimate responsibility lies not with the candidates but with the voters. If they choose to elect a GOP majority, then it will be up to them to see to it that the new majority acts on its promises. If they don’t then it will be the responsibility of the voters to clean house, yet again. If they are blocked by President Obama and the Democrats then it will be the responsibility of the voters to expand GOP majorities, and to elect a Republican President so that these proposed reforms can really go forward.
The pledge is a step in the right direction, now it is up to the citizens to make sure that it doesn’t go off course.