A Pledge We'll Live With

Posted: Sep 23, 2010 8:38 AM
The GOP is releasing its much-heralded "Pledge to America" this morning in Virginia. This document has been characterized as everything from a grand plan of governance to mere campaign rhetoric. Comparisons to Republicans' famous 1994 Contract With America are inevitable, but the Pledge has been describes as more broad-ranging and even bolder than the Contract.

In the document, GOP leadership lines out their plan for economic recovery, Congressional procedure reform, balancing the budget and rolling back the massive government expansion of Obamacare. On all these fronts, the GOP has put forth a positive agenda for governance that, though sometimes disappointingly light on details, clearly lays out an alternate vision of the future than what the Obama Administration and the Democrats have in store.

Here are a few highlights from the Pledge to America:

*Give small businesses a tax deduction

*Repeal job-killing small business mandates like Obamacare's 1099 reporting mandate

*Cut government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels

*Establish a hard cap on new discretionary spending

*End government control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

*Allow health insurance to be purchased across state lines

*Ensure access for patients with pre-existing conditions

*Expand health savings accounts

*Fully fund missile defense

*Demand an overarching detention policy

*Work with state and local officials to enforce our immigration laws

There's a healthy dose of both short- and long-term vision for the direction the GOP wants to take the country in. Some, like "working with local and state officials to enforce our immigration laws," are responses to events happening right now. But their layout for combating the deficit is real, and their alternative vision for health care reform has definite legs.

Many complain that this will give the GOP something concrete for the Democrats to run against. And conservative blogger Erick Erickson has derided the Pledge as "milquetoast rhetorical flourishes." To an extent this is true. The GOP leadership's number one task between now and November 2nd is "don't blow it." As such, they can't afford to take the kinds of risks that many in the grassroots want them to.

The Pledge doesn't go far enough. Many would have been ecstatic if the GOP merely held a press conference announced that Paul Ryan's "Roadmap" will be their governing document. That would have been truly bold, but would have left the GOP very vulnerable to hollow Democrat attacks. The "Pledge" is a good start, and about as bold as the GOP would and could realistically go at this point.

Below, you can read the Pledge to America's opening text in ful.