GOP, Desperate For Midterm Victory, Retools Contract With America

Posted by | April 16, 2010 18:03 | Filed under: Top Stories

by webwiseass

It’s baaaack! The GOP leadership wants to party like it’s 1994 and bring back that year’s Contract With America, the Newt Gingrich-authored “document” which ushered in the previous Republican House majority. You’d think the one thing congressional Republicans would collectively agree on (besides saying “NO!” in unison to everything President Obama proposes) would be an official contract with the American people, right? Well…not exactly. That’s where the unity tapers off a bit, and disagreement abounds.

Despite being repurposed/repackaged with a snazzy new (tentative) title, “Commitment to America,” not every House Republican is entirely enamored of the idea. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor is down for it, so long as this year’s model contains legislation which would be a slam-dunk should Republicans win their majority status back. Indiana Rep. Mike Pence agrees, preferring a document which “tells people what [the party] want[s] and how you’re going to do it.” However, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy (pictured, who is pushing for the contract redux) warns against including specific legislation in the new contract, lest the new document have the stink of wheeling and dealing with lobbyists, which GOP leaders accuse Democrats of doing.

But what’s a contract without specifics? Without specific legislative targets, what you have is a document which contains nothing more than a series of pledges and platitudes. You don’t need an official document for that. Of course, no one wants to over-promise, then under-deliver. In 2006 Democrats crafted their own “contract,” optimistically titled, “A New Direction for America,” which listed priorities but no specific legislative objectives. It’s doubtful the document itself had much to do with the Democrats reclaiming their majority that year (lame-duck President George W. Bush gets credit for that).

It will be interesting to see if any specifics (other than…let’s see…the usual “more tax breaks for the rich”) are included in the new Contract…erm…Commitment to America — or if the document ever sees the light of day at all. But if it does, caveat emptor, America — or, at the very least, beware of the fine print.

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