GOP 'Pledge' Is Simply a Way of Shutting Down a Large Part of Government
By Gary D. Bass, OMB Watch
Simultaneously published Sept. 23, 2010 in the Huffington Post
As Yogi Berra's redundant saying goes, "It's déjà vu all over again." Back in 1994, congressional Republicans unveiled what they called the "Contract with America." The Contract was chock-full of policy proposals intended to shrink the size of government, kneecap agencies' ability to protect the public, and decrease the burden on taxpayers, especially the rich.
Fast-forward to 2010, and we have John Boehner and Friends' "Pledge to America." The Pledge, cobbled together from comments from various forums and sprinkled with a variety of items from a number of conservative wish lists, contains some similar policy goals, though it appears to be far more driven by an angry, anti-government sentiment than the Contract with America was. Moreover, the Contract provided detailed descriptions of proposals; the Pledge is a set of bullet points with little detail. One conservative critic called it "pablum" in an article in the Washington Post.
Beyond the ultra-negative, unconstructive spin that opens the document, the Pledge contains what may be serious policy items buried within the bullet points. These include budget-busting tax cuts, spending cuts that would further shortchange Americans most in need, and a proposal that attempts to slow down and possibly stop public protections.