Seeking to capitalize on the righteous indignation voters are feeling toward President Barack Obama and his Congressional allies, a group of Republican politicians is dusting off an old playbook.
Led by former GOP Speaker Newt Gingrich – Washington’s preeminent “Reformer in Name Only” – this group’s plan is to bring back the “Contract with America,” the 1994 policy platform that helped propel Republicans to majorities in both the U.S. House and Senate in 1995. In unveiling his first draft of such a document, Gingrich spoke of “the clarity, the positive focus, and the election results of the 1994 contract.”
He obviously wasn’t able to speak about the post-election results of the contract, because those are frankly few and far between.
Nonetheless a second contract, according to Gingrich, “would be a powerful unifier for all those who are tired of the corruption and waste of Washington and the alien views of the secular-socialist coalition seeking to radically change America.”
Well, well. That’s tough talk – but once again, it’s all pre-election. And while Republicans are great at campaigning on limited government talking points, they’ve proven positively awful when it comes to governing according to those principles.
After all, the “corruption and waste of Washington” didn’t stop when Gingrich and his Republican Revolutionists rode into town, far from it in fact. And as for the “secular-socialist coalition,” didn’t Gingrich recently endorse a secular socialist (over a limited government Conservative Party candidate) in a New York Congressional race?
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
That should be America’s response to a “second contract.”
Gingrich’s 1994 plan was actually dead before arrival, meaning that the Speaker and his committee chairmen broke their balanced budget promises early on in their first appropriations process – literally days after arriving in the capital.
“We got our people into leadership,” the late Paul Weyrich, a long-time Gingrich ally, complained in 1996, “but we are not getting different policies.”
Indeed the two signature “accomplishments” of the Republican Revolution were partisan distractions – a politically-motivated government shutdown and the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. And of course after Clinton came the big government era of “Bush Republicanism,” which has been an unmitigated fiscal disaster.
Also, remember how the Gingrich contract was going to replace career politicians with “citizen legislators?”
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