The Republicans' "Pledge to America" is an encouraging step on the road back to recapturing America. It's not enough for Republicans merely to stop Obama's disastrously destructive agenda in its tracks. This pledge is their acknowledgment that they have heard the grass roots, too -- that they are not exempt from scrutiny or accountability merely because they are the anti-Obamas.
Rep. Paul Ryan conceded as much in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos when he said that the Republicans have lost their way in the past and that with this pledge, they are embracing bold steps to get this nation back on track.
That said, Ryan made clear that Republicans are not trying to reinvent the wheel. Rather, he said, "We are here trying to reclaim our country by rededicating ourselves to those timeless principles that made us exceptional." The pledge, he said, contains the basic building blocks to get us back on the right track.
Precisely correct. This is not rocket science. It's a matter of rolling back government, radically reducing spending, ensuring that taxes are not so high that they smother economic growth, repealing and replacing Obamacare, bolstering our national defense and embracing traditional values.
These are not complicated ideas, and they don't need to be. We just want to restore government to its intended role under the Constitution. These timeless principles -- not some gimmicky ideas designed by faux conservatives to appeal to "moderates" -- are what allowed America to be exceptional.
With their pledge, Republicans are reclaiming their commitment to the idea that Americans, unshackled by an oppressive government, are what made America great, not a proactive, intrusive government. This stands in sharp contrast to Obama's Democrats, who can no longer credibly deny they are the party of nearly unlimited government.
The liberal media have exaggerated the level of conservative dissent from the pledge, which has been mild. But one criticism from the right that merits discussion is this: By presenting an affirmative agenda, Republicans are giving Democrats ammunition with which to counterattack them, when they could have simply coasted to victory running against Obama's wildly unpopular agenda.
This is unpersuasive. Don't forget that Republicans were successful in taking back Congress in 1994 not just by running against Bill Clinton, but by presenting the "Contract With America" and signing it with blood.