Last week, Republicans in the House of Representatives unveiled with much fanfare their "Pledge to America." It is intended by the GOP leadership to serve as both a campaign platform for winning a new majority and as a program for governing should they succeed.
The document transparently is designed to appeal to those Republicans, Tea Party activists, independents and conservative Democrats who are rallying to the defense of the U.S. Constitution at a moment when it is under assault, in the words of the congressional oath of office "from enemies, foreign and domestic."
Just as the framers saw the need for the immediate amendment of the original Constitution with the Bill of Rights, however, the Pledge to America cries out for a strengthened national security plank. Call it a "Bill of National Security Rights" or, better yet, "the Peace Through Strength Pledge."
As it stands, the House GOP's Pledge treats the Constitution's obligation to "provide common defense" as a kind of afterthought. Just 758 words - a little under two pages of the forty-five in its glossy blueprint for "a governing agenda" - are devoted to mostly hortatory statements about demanding policies, "getting all hands on deck" and passing "clean" troop-funding legislation.
The "Plan for National and Border Security" reads like focus group-tested themes embraced as a sort of issue box-checking exercise. What the times require, though, must be a key element of a defining - and differentiating - platform for a would-be governing party.
There are considerably more pictures in the Pledge booklet than there are substantive commitments on why we need a different approach to national security than has been the practice under Democratic control, and to what end.
A modest suggestion would be to flesh out the Pledge to America with a real national security platform - one that has the advantage of addressing more comprehensively and more definitively the choices facing the country in this critical election.
To this end, leaders of six preeminent national security-minded public policy institutions - including the Heritage Foundation, the Claremont Institute, the Foundation for Defense of Democracy and my own Center for Security Policy - came together earlier this year to define such an agenda. As it is rooted in the tradition and vision of Ronald Reagan, we call it the Peace through Strength Platform.
This 10-item Bill of National Security Rights includes the following commitments:
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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