The Republicans’ "Pledge to America" could have been a no-nonsense, make-the-tough-decisions, visionary plan to take the country out of a troubling era of high unemployment, cultural divides, and stalemate in Congress. Instead, it was a stack of bumper stickers.
That’s unfortunate, because the GOP includes some serious people with serious proposals to fix, well, serious problems. But the package merely pushed the buttons of the various voting blocs that appear poised to give Republicans huge victories in November, and perhaps control of both chambers of Congress.
They stood at a Virginia hardware store, dressed in that affected casualness of carefully rolled up sleeves and one button daringly unbuttoned on their shirts, and promised to reduce the size of government and the deficit while making the Bush-era tax cuts permanent for the wealthy as well as the middle class--all matters important to Tea Party movement voters. Government should be “smaller, less costly, more accountable,” said House Minority Leader John Boehner.
You’d have to take them at their word, since the GOP, when it ran the House, not only passed bigger and bigger budgets, but created an entirely new federal agency, ushered in an unprecedented era of federal involvement in elementary and secondary education, and established an entirely new entitlement under Medicare. But the group made no recommendations on controlling the cost of entitlements, which comprise a huge chunk of the budget. It doesn’t make a good bumper sticker.