Back in 1994 the then-Minority Whip in Congress, Georgia Republican Congressman Newt Gingrich, along with his colleague, Texas Republican Richard Armey, crafted what was later called the “Contract with America.” What some at the time, especially Democrats, viewed initially as a political gimmick, but ultimately turned out to be a brilliant political tactic.
The document detailed what Republicans promised to do if they were given control of Congress by the voters. In large part as a result of this written contract, for the first time in 40 years Republicans would indeed be given the majority in the lower house of government, controlling Congress for the remainder of Bill Clinton’s presidency.
Subsequently, most of the so-called “economic success” of the Clinton presidency was a direct result of Republicans controlling Congress and forcing Clinton to work together with them to restrain government spending and implementing programs which helped create a strong economy for the United States.
The ‘Contract’ basically consisted of eight main parts, but the most important for constituents included “requiring all laws pertaining to the public also apply to Congress;” “an audit of Congress for fraud, waste and abuse;” and “implementing so-called zero base-line budgeting.” Concrete things that voters could judge the Republicans on later if the Republicans were given the chance to control Congress.
With all the current animosity towards Republicans right now, which has helped to spawn the candidacy of Donald Trump, maybe it’s time for Republicans to reprise the Contract with America, updated to appeal to the voters of today.
Here’s a few suggestions for Republicans to consider:
- Require Congress to abide by the same laws as regular Americans would be a good start. Until Obamacare is repealed, insuring that it is included in this part of the contract is imperative. Americans are simply disgusted with how the Democrat-controlled Congress under Nancy Pelosi excluded Congress and their staffs from participating in Obamacare.
- A complete and thorough audit of Congress and Congressional expenditures needs to be done. The American people simply do not trust that our hard-earned tax dollars are being spent wisely by our elected representatives. Americans have the right to know exactly where their money is being spent, and what future tax dollars are being ear-marked for.
- Term limits! Republicans should agree to self-imposed term limits, at least until the necessary steps are achieved to change the Constitution so that it becomes the law of the land, which would then also cover Democrats and all other political parties.
Americans are fed up with career politicians who go to Washington for 30 or 40 years, losing touch with the reality that regular Americans face every day.
Simply stated, no one should hold political office for more than 12 years. That would equate to six consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, or two terms in the Senate. America desperately needs to rid ourselves of professional politicians and to return to a ‘citizen legislature,’ where regular Americans take time out of their lives to serve this nation.
Might there be good, honest public servants lost in the process? Certainly, but they can run for a different political office if they believe that they have more to offer and feel compelled by patriotism to stay in government service. But, just as importantly, they can ensure that other patriotic and like-minded individuals are in line to run for the seat they will be leaving at the end of their 12 years.
While there are other things that could be added to the list of a new Contract with America, those already mentioned would certainly go a long way towards mending some fences between Republican voters and the Republicans currently in office. And, perhaps end the support for some of the ‘protest candidates’ we’re experiencing right now.
But it’s going to take a major sales job on the part of Republicans to convince a very skeptical party membership that a new contract will be adhered to by those currently in office. And it will be challenging to convince voters that the days of promising things they can’t deliver, and of saying whatever it takes to get elected and then going about ‘business as usual’ once the election is over will be gone.
And a new Contract with America can go a long way towards fixing the mess that will be left behind by Barack Obama. Whomever the new president is, hopefully a Republican, they will need a Senate and House that is still under the control of Republicans in order to undo much of Obama’s damage to our country. The Republicans still have some time if they act quickly to mend some fences with voters. A Contract with America ‘sequel’ might just do the trick.
The thought of a President Hillary Clinton, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, or Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is just too scary to contemplate.