Time for the quadrennial “should the GOP issue a new Contract With America?” debate

posted at 4:41 pm on May 27, 2014 by Allahpundit

You know there’s a midterm election on the way when Beltway Republicans start navel-gazing about whether they should cobble together a new platform that virtually no one expects them to take seriously if they win, let alone to actually fulfill. We went through this in 2010 too, with the same pros and cons on each side. If the GOP publishes a new agenda, it’ll prove to voters that they’re “serious” about governance but it’ll also hand Democrats a target to attack in lieu of defending Obama’s failures. If they don’t publish an agenda, Democrats will have nothing to demagogue but the GOP will also have nothing with which to entice fencesitters into turning out for them in the fall. It’ll affirm that they’re the “party of no,” bereft of ideas — which is not to say that they still won’t win big.

Actually, recycling Newt’s killer campaign gimmick from 20 years ago is itself evidence of a dearth of ideas, no?

“I think it’s a strategic mistake for our party leadership not to come up with a document that has four or five action items,” [Lindsey] Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the House class of 1994, said in an interview. “I’ve tried to allow those in leadership to do this. If they don’t move forward soon, there will be a rebellion among the rank and file.”

But the idea has met a cool reception from other senators, including some in leadership such as Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who faces a tough reelection race this year. Skeptics say it would be difficult to unite ideologically diverse candidates around a uniform set of ideas and argue the plan would give Democrats a fat target to attack. Better, they say, to keep the focus squarely on the shortcomings of President Barack Obama and his party than to make promises Republicans might not be able to keep.

“Even if we have a good election, President Obama is still going to be president,” Sen. John Cornyn, the minority whip from Texas, said when asked if his party should unveil a Contract with America-style agenda this year. “I don’t think we should be in the business of overpromising.”…

“It would be valuable for us to be outlining how different the Congress would be,” said Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “And I would start with just the broad, not just partisan Republican issues, I would start on how the Senate would work differently.”

Four years ago, they started drafting a new “Contract With America” in the spring and eventually ended up with the “Pledge to America,” whose name I’d forgotten so thoroughly that I had to google to remind myself. Here’s the document. Among their pledges was protecting the Bush tax cuts (failed), repealing ObamaCare (failed), and ensuring that every bill is posted online three days before a vote (in reality, the House has been to known to ram through legislation favored by leadership with fraudulent voice votes). If they were to float a realistic agenda this time, what would it conceivably look like knowing that Obama will still be there in 2015 and 2016 wielding his veto pen? Tax reform, maybe? The only big-ticket policy item I can envision a major compromise on is immigration reform, and needless to say, that’s not something the party would want to showcase in Contract With America 12.0. So if they do come up with something, it’s destined to be the same broad rehash of conservative principles as, well, this — lower spending, lower taxes, a strong national defense, family values. Does the party really need a formal document reminding people of that by now?

If they adopt Mike Lee’s agenda and throw the weight of the GOP behind it, I’ll take an interest. Not before then. In the meantime, watch this — the “preamble” to the “Pledge to America” — and remind yourself that the absolute top priority this year for the party that produced it is amnesty. That’s how seriously you should take these things.


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No

NO amnesty!!!

Schadenfreude on May 27, 2014 at 4:42 PM

Priorities

Schadenfreude on May 27, 2014 at 4:46 PM

If they were to float a realistic agenda this time, what would it conceivably look like knowing that Obama will still be there in 2015 and 2016 wielding his veto pen?

The Rat platform circa 2008?

Steve Eggleston on May 27, 2014 at 4:47 PM

Is that “Contract with” or “Contract on” America? Amnesty and “replace” Obamacare; that’s what we can expect from the GOP in the near future.

rickv404 on May 27, 2014 at 4:47 PM

Congress has a contract with the American people.

It’s called the Constitution, containing the enumerated powers of congress.

Don’t go making stuff up to pander to groups, however described or delineated.

We’d love to try constitutional govt for a change, for a while, you know, see how it works.

As for alternatives to it, you have no right even to think about them.

Akzed on May 27, 2014 at 4:47 PM

If it’s all just words and no action, why bother?

lineholder on May 27, 2014 at 4:48 PM

They all need to be clubbed, politically.

Schadenfreude on May 27, 2014 at 4:48 PM

Call me crazy but I’ve gotten the distinct impression that the GOP “leadership” is pretty united on pushing amnesty.

Bitter Clinger on May 27, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Is that “Contract with” or “Contract on” America? Amnesty and “replace” “fix” Obamacare; that’s what we can expect from the GOP in the near future.

rickv404 on May 27, 2014 at 4:47 PM

You forgot “and emsure that 50.1% of Americans have no net federal tax liability”.

Also, ReWrite™ engaged because their last Presidential nominee was the godfather of PlaceboCare.

Steve Eggleston on May 27, 2014 at 4:50 PM

Bitter Clinger on May 27, 2014 at 4:49 PM

What gave you that idea? ;)

bazil9 on May 27, 2014 at 4:51 PM

This is a discussion that should have taken place between 2003 and 2006, when the GOP controlled the Presidency and both houses of Congress.

bw222 on May 27, 2014 at 4:55 PM

The Republican Reform Agenda

1. Tax reform
2. Poverty program reform
3. VA reform
4. Regulatory reform

Vote for me!

dforston on May 27, 2014 at 4:56 PM

Good times

U.S. Setting Up Emergency Shelter in Texas as Youths Cross Border Alone

MAY 16, 2014

Timing….

bazil9 on May 27, 2014 at 4:56 PM

What gave you that idea? ;)

bazil9 on May 27, 2014 at 4:51 PM

I’m just sensing a disturbance in The Force.

:)

Bitter Clinger on May 27, 2014 at 4:56 PM

bazil9 on May 27, 2014 at 4:51 PM

I’m just sensing a disturbance in The Force.

:)

Bitter Clinger on May 27, 2014 at 4:56 PM

Funny that, so am I. :)

bazil9 on May 27, 2014 at 4:58 PM

Waste of time. No one believes a political promise anymore.

butch on May 27, 2014 at 4:58 PM

Talk less about a Contract and more about the Constitution.

Tater Salad on May 27, 2014 at 4:58 PM

The GOP’s Contract should be about the Constitution, the rule of law, and balancing the budget. Those are 90%+ issues.

Tater Salad on May 27, 2014 at 5:00 PM

It’s almost implausible that the Republicans in both the House and Senate are so completely disengaged from their constituents. Every time they do something -anything- that doesn’t limit government involvement in our lives, they’re moving in the wrong direction.

BKeyser on May 27, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Reagan once said,

“I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. It left me.”

Could the same thing occur for the Party of R?

Bmore on May 27, 2014 at 5:02 PM

Talk less about a Contract and more about the Constitution.

Tater Salad on May 27, 2014 at 4:58 PM

I’m with you Tater.

bazil9 on May 27, 2014 at 5:03 PM

These people are spineless.

KCB on May 27, 2014 at 5:05 PM

Forgive me if I’m mistaken, but wasn’t it ultimately learned that the CWA carried little weight with voters — that most had never heard of it — and was cleverly used by Gingrich, who announced we’re now going to go down the list, one by one, and enact the mandate the voters gave us.

Or am I simply repeating Democratic spin?

bobs1196 on May 27, 2014 at 5:05 PM

Time for the quadrennial “should the GOP issue a new Contract With America?” debate

Tarring and feathering the Weeping Boner and the whole lot of the Vichy GOP establishment would be a better strategy. With this gang of cem collaborators words don’t matter at all. Tar and feathers, on the other hand … would be very effective AND provide good entertainment. Win-win!

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 27, 2014 at 5:06 PM

Bmore on May 27, 2014 at 5:02 PM

Absolutely.

KCB on May 27, 2014 at 5:06 PM

Talk less about a Contract and more about the Constitution.

Tater Salad on May 27, 2014 at 4:58 PM

The ultimate Contract With America.

Bitter Clinger on May 27, 2014 at 5:09 PM

Could the same thing occur for the Party of R?

Bmore on May 27, 2014 at 5:02 PM

What do you mean, “could”?

vlad martel on May 27, 2014 at 5:10 PM

The Republican Reform Agenda

1. Tax reform
2. Poverty program reform
3. VA reform
4. Regulatory reform

Vote for me!

dforston on May 27, 2014 at 4:56 PM

You need to add tort reform to that list.

bw222 on May 27, 2014 at 5:12 PM

Me too. I’d like to see more emphasis on well-run government, trimming programs that don’t work or cost too much, and less on new spending initiatives.

flataffect on May 27, 2014 at 5:13 PM

I looked at the small print buried on the back of the last page, it says “Everything in this contract is open to interpretation as necessary, so sit down and shut up.”

Can someone here with a law background please explain that legalese mumbo-jumbo?

Bishop on May 27, 2014 at 5:14 PM

More money for education:

In his first major show of philanthropy, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made a splash by announcing his plan to give $100million to help turn around Newark, New Jersey’s public schools in an appearance on Oprah in 2010.

But nearly four years later, Zuckerberg’s money has run out, having been spent mostly on labor contracts and consulting fees with no noticeable improvement in student performance, a report in the New Yorker reveals.

‘Everybody’s getting paid, but Raheem still can’t read,’ Vivian Cox Fraser, the president of the Urban League of Essex County, told the magazine.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2627858/Mark-Zuckerbergs-100million-gift-Newark-public-schools-spent-students-arent-getting-better-education.html

davidk on May 27, 2014 at 5:14 PM

I looked at the small print buried on the back of the last page, it says “Everything in this contract is open to interpretation as necessary, so sit down and shut up.”

Can someone here with a law background please explain that legalese mumbo-jumbo?

Bishop on May 27, 2014 at 5:14 PM

And all the paper is watermarked “SHUT UP” in Microsoft PhagsPa font.

davidk on May 27, 2014 at 5:18 PM

davidk on May 27, 2014 at 5:14 PM

.
But, if Mark Zuckerberg would have used that same money to instead start a ‘faith-based’ private school in Newark, NJ, ____________________

listens2glenn on May 27, 2014 at 5:20 PM

If the Vichy GOP had any care about contracts, at all, they would have impeached Barky and his junta long, long ago. There really are no contracts in the American Socialist Superstate. And the Vichy GOP’s big goal is to do away with borders and the concept of the nation-state, to put a cherry on top of this turd.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 27, 2014 at 5:22 PM

Aaah. A pledge to not suck as bad as the opposition. It must pain them so to have to take time to pacify the us, the slopeheads. No I still cherish the idea of Boehner sharing a sell with Biden. Call me a romantic.

onomo on May 27, 2014 at 5:23 PM

Evan Jenkins ‏@ejenk

I’m trying to go through Piketty’s spreadsheets, but I can’t figure out what’s going on here: pic.twitter.com/hqjL9OgbWr

davidk on May 27, 2014 at 5:23 PM

If Mike Lee were interested in setting the agenda for House Republicans, he should have stayed there instead of running for Senate.

But the Contract with America wasn’t a big factor in 1994, that’s a myth. Polls didn’t budge at all when it was announced. The major factor that year was the House Banking scandal which ensnared mainly Democrats taking interest-free loans by floating bad checks to the House Bank. Even Rostenkowski got beat because of it.

But to Newt’s credit, the CwA pledge was just to bring those ten items to a vote within 100 days, and he was able to do that. I think eight passed, one more on a second try later after amending, if I remember right (which is questionable).

The problem with the concept is that House members are supposed to represent their own district’s interests, and it isn’t going to be very often that specific agenda items benefit every district, that’s just not realistic. National policy goals are for presidential campaigns.

Adjoran on May 27, 2014 at 5:23 PM

Talk less about a Contract and more about the Constitution.

Tater Salad on May 27, 2014 at 4:58 PM

.
The ultimate Contract With America.

Bitter Clinger on May 27, 2014 at 5:09 PM

.
Dittos … totally.

listens2glenn on May 27, 2014 at 5:24 PM

Cell. Sharing a cell. He’s already sharing a bs sell with the progressives. Sorry.

onomo on May 27, 2014 at 5:24 PM

Meanwhile,…..

AP Politics ‏@AP_Politics 16m

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, in campaign flier, attacks ‘amnesty’ plan for ‘illegal aliens’. http://apne.ws/1oGGzYA

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/primary-nears-cantor-mailer-attacks-amnesty

canopfor on May 27, 2014 at 5:36 PM

How about a Pact, er, contract with the American voters to
oust, er, shorten Hopey/Changey’s Social Justice Experiment!!
(snark)

canopfor on May 27, 2014 at 5:38 PM

Meanwhile,…..

AP Politics ‏@AP_Politics 16m

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, in campaign flier, attacks ‘amnesty’ plan for ‘illegal aliens’. http://apne.ws/1oGGzYA

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/primary-nears-cantor-mailer-attacks-amnesty

canopfor on May 27, 2014 at 5:36 PM

Man, Cantor is really all over the board – he must be seeing some truly frightening internal polling.

bofh on May 27, 2014 at 6:10 PM

The heights of GOPe stupidity.

I don’t care, let them do it. I’m not voting for any liberals, but I’m not voting for any GOPe candidate either.

They all need a UKIP lesson.

Diluculo on May 27, 2014 at 6:13 PM

lol. we promise more amnesty, higher spending, and to fix obamacare

El_Terrible on May 27, 2014 at 6:30 PM

if there were any justice in this world the american people would be able to sue the gop for breach of contract.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 27, 2014 at 6:41 PM

“Even if we have a good election, President Obama is still going to be president,” Sen. John Cornyn,

Ummm…yeah…so???

If you don’t ‘have a good election’ Harry Reid is going to continue to drive yer Old Dusty Trail on a daily basis….

BigWyo on May 27, 2014 at 7:14 PM

________________________________________

A More Modest and Effective Approach to Governing
________________________________________

Jennifer Rubin did a three-part interview
with Yuval Levin, Ramesh Ponnuru, and me
on a new publication, Room To Grow,

and our thoughts on a conservative reform agenda
for the 21st century.

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2014/05/27/a-more-modest-and-effective-approach-to-governing/

________________________________________

http://ygnetwork.org/roomtogrow/

________________________________________

Global HAWK on May 27, 2014 at 7:20 PM

With the lame leadership they have up there now, they need to do nothing of the sort. Newt Gingrich, like him or hate him, was a leader, he was a man with a plan, a man with ideas. I doubt, if it weren’t for Newt, the Republicans would have taken over the House.

I think Newt, in this day and age, would recognize that the tea party is responsible for the House being in Republican hands and he wouldn’t be waging a war against it. I believe, if Newt were in charge, the Republicans would have a bill on immigration, without amnesty, they’d have an alternative to Obamacare, with free market principles involved, and they’d be actively pursuing the criminals that have brought us, Benghazi, the IRS Scandal, and Fast and Furious.

If the vacuous leadership that’s in the House now decided to do a contract, it would look so lame it wouldn’t be worth voting for. Right now, there is no reason to vote for a Democrat, none. They’ve lied to the American people, supported a President that’s subverting the Constitution, and they’re just trying to divide the country in order to win. They look pathetic and weak so the Republicans shouldn’t do anything to change that.

Chuck Schumer is trying to coerce the Republicans into passing an Amnesty Bill that will cost them votes. If the Republicans had a spine, they’d pass a bill with border security only and say that, once the borders are secure they’ll file a bill to overhaul our immigration system. Not this bunch, though, they’ll probably cave and take a chance on losing in November.

bflat879 on May 27, 2014 at 9:06 PM

Here’s my ideal contract: get rid of the RINOs and fire Boehner as speaker.

Conservchik on May 27, 2014 at 9:53 PM

Mrrmph, if some form of amnesty is “required” let’s exact our pound of flesh to get it.

First there should be no more automatic citizenship in the US for somebody who is not the child of people legally in the US on a green card or actual citizens. That means no more automatic US citizenship for rich Chinese who ferry mothers over here to give birth and then return home or use the baby as an anchor baby. It means no more anchor babies for Hispanic illegal aliens.

Second there should be automatic loss of citizenship for naturalized citizens on the event of a felony conviction followed by immediate expulsion from the country, the felony trial deemed to be due process for the expulsion.

Third we should generate a formal description of what constitutes

Don’t try to stop it. That seems destined not to work. Make it worthwhile doing it.

{^_^}

herself on May 28, 2014 at 6:55 AM

Should they offer a new /Contract with America’?

YES! Start with these:

1. We vow to return to Representative Government, where we put the welfare of those who elected us and who we represent above that of ourselves or Party.

2. We vow that politicians will be held accountable and adhere to every law we pass, that politicians are in no way above or exempt from the laws we pass.

3. We vow to actually do what we promised when we took the oath of office — protect and defend the Constitution and Rule of Law — and that we will hold accountable anyone who violates either.

4. We promise to END treating the Constitution and Rule of Law being treated as an A LA CARTE Menu, that EVERY aspect of the Constitution and Law will be obeyed and enforced.

5. We promise to obey the LAW by submitting and passing a budget every year – as required by law, and we vow to pass a ‘Balanced Budget’ Amendment in order to end the national security-threatening, self-destructive process of spending more money than we collect in tax revenue.

6. Legislation will only be allowed to cover 1 issue, that no ‘pork projects, especially those having nothing to do with the primary bill, will be allowed to be attached. All ‘por’ projects will have to stand on their own merit and be presented as seperate, individual legislation.

7. The GOP will agree to granting amnesty to illegals ONLY 1) if the U.S. border is closed / protected as previously promised, and 2) Illegals who ignored our law to come here are granted all rights as a legal U.S. citizen EXCEPT having the right to vote. Illegals becoming Americans, because of their crime against U.S. immigration laws, will be treated like Felons in that they will NOT be allowed to vote. (THAT should dry up a lot of the support from politicians, especially Liberals, to make them citizens because at that point they have little to personally gain from them becoming citizens.)

easyt65 on May 28, 2014 at 9:06 AM

Republican primary voters in OH should dump Boehner. Where is the tea party when you need them?

ezspirit on May 28, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Another Contract with America? Only if we want another huge victory.

RedBaker on May 28, 2014 at 7:37 PM