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Discussion Starter #1
The Illusion With America

Repeat after me: I vote GOP. I do not carry their water.
Posted by Erick Erickson

Wednesday, September 22nd

The House Republicans are set to unveil the Contract with America Part II, which we already know based on history will be more an illusion than substance. We also know, based on early word about what is in there, that it will be an unmitigated spectacle of wasted opportunity. There will be good points we will all love. But what will be missing will make it a wasted exercise by a party that still shows little sign of getting exactly why it lost power in 2006.

One of the best examples of how terrible this thing will be is the lack of an earmarks ban. It’s not sexy, but cutting off the gateway drug to big government in critically important. Earmarks have been used by the leadership of both parties to pass every bad piece of legislation in the last several years.

Right now, the House GOP has a conference rule prohibiting earmarks. The Democrats have no such rule. That the GOP is not willing to extend the ban across the aisle via House Rules is a clear sign they really just don’t get it.

While the Illusion with America will surely defund Obamacare and rein in the regulatory zeal of the Obama administration, I hear it will do nothing about already enacted regulations, will have very little in it relating to a pro-family agenda, and most troubling it will most definitely not rein in the federal government itself.

That last bit, which relates directly to earmarks, is the most disturbing. The government should secure our borders. The government shouldn’t be funding abortions. The government shouldn’t be pushing Obamacare. Putting these in Contract 2: Back to Power are such no-brainer issues, you can hardly call them bold or exciting. Republicans have been campaigning on these for a year now. But there are major other areas the government should not be involved in.

Without, at minimum, an earmarks ban and a repeal of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, we are left asking one question: where the hell is the check on government itself, including on a Republican Party whose last foray into the majority saw a number of them hauled off to jail in scandals largely related to earmarks and spending?

In Forbes Magazine in the November 13, 2000, edition, Ed Crane, the head of CATO, penned a column entitled “GOP Pussycats”, noting

Over the past three years the Republican-controlled Congress has approved discretionary spending that exceeded Bill Clinton’s requests by more than $30 billion. The party that in 1994 would abolish the Department of Education now brags in response to Clinton’s 2000 State of the Union Address that it is outspending the White House when it comes to education. My colleagues Stephen Moore and Stephen Slivinski found that the combined budgets of the 95 major programs that the Contract with America promised to eliminate have increased by 13%. [Emphasis added]

We know from history that the GOP became everything they campaigned against.

We know from history that if the GOP cannot now, during the campaign season, promise to get rid of earmarks, the GOP will never do so once back in power.

We know the GOP is better than the Democrats. We know the GOP will fight to defund Obamacare. But we also know that the Democrats were willing to lose everything to nationalize healthcare and the GOP is so scared of ever doing anything to lose power they’d rather trade permanent policy victories for politics as usual with them in charge.

It is all an illusion.

The tea party movement exists because a great deal of the nation sees government as too much in our lives. It doesn’t do well what it should do and does too much more than it should. I highly doubt the Republicans will be willing to take a stand against government in general — just Barack Obama’s government.

That is not enough. It is not in tune with the American people’s concerns. I guarantee you we will all like solid bits of this great Illusion. We can expect little of it to pass the Senate. The one thing the House GOP could do on it own would be a rule prohibiting earmarks. That will be a bridge too far for them.

In our zeal to take back the House and help our team, let’s not expect too much.

3,712 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Perhaps the Most Ridiculous Thing to Come Out of Washington Since George McClellan

A+ Rhetoric. C- Ideas.
Posted by Erick Erickson (Profile)

Wednesday, September 22nd at 6:47PM EDT

The House Republicans’ “Pledge to America” is out. A thrill will run up the leg of a few Chris Matthews’ types on the right. As Dan noted on Twitter, the Contract with America was 869 words and this is 21 pages. The Contract told you everything you needed to know about how a Republican Congress would be different from a Democrat Congress after 40 years of Democrat control.

These 21 pages tell you lots of things, some contradictory things, but mostly this: it is a serious of compromises and milquetoast rhetorical flourishes in search of unanimity among House Republicans because the House GOP does not have the fortitude to lead boldly in opposition to Barack Obama.

I have one message for John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and the House GOP Leadership: If they do not want to use the GOP to lead, I would like to borrow it for a time.

Yes, yes, it is full of mom tested, kid approved pablum that will make certain hearts on the right sing in solidarity. But like a diet full of sugar, it will actually do nothing but keep making Washington fatter before we crash from the sugar high.

It is dreck — dreck with some stuff I like, but like Brussels sprouts in butter. I like the butter, not the Brussels sprouts. Overall, this grand illusion of an agenda that will never happen is best spoken of today and then never again as if it did not happen. It is best forgotten.

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 wants to put “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. Wow. Exciting.

There is a plan to cut Congress’s budget, which is pretty much what was promised in 1994. Seriously? In 4 years did the Democrats really blow up the Congressional budget? No — the GOP did that too.

There is no call for a Spending Limitation Amendment or a Balanced Budget Amendment. It is just meaningless stuff the Democrats can easily undo and that ultimately the Senate GOP will even turn its nose up at.

The entirety of this Promise is laughable. Why? It is an illusion that fixates on stuff the GOP already should be doing while not daring to touch on stuff that will have any meaningful longterm effects on the size and scope of the federal government.

This document proves the GOP is more focused on the acquisition of power than the advocacy of long term sound public policy. All the good stuff in it is stuff we expect them to do. What is not in it is more than a little telling that the House GOP has not learned much of anything from 2006.

I will vote Republican in November of 2010. But I will not carry their stagnant water.

1,069 Posts
The gop are rubbing their hind legs together like a cricket making noise not saying what has to be done.
Is reducing spending down to 2008 going to help reduce the deficit?
Trust Boener, HA, notice has reduced his tan, he also is waiting in the shadows to become speaker. He is no LEADER, not one person has stood up to take control of the gop. We cannot trust them, we must remove the GOP incumbents same as dems. ALL MUST GO.
The make believe show the other night, american value BS.
I watched cantor being asked three times on TV, if you are elected will you promise the first thing you will do is repeal all healthcare laws.
He didnt answer, looked around for help.
BS: trust them, the TEa party knows if they fall into the trap and allow the gop to claim the tea party as theirs all is lost.
If we dont get rid of the old guard the new will be as bad or worse
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