The Pledge to America: Platitudes or Platform?

Kevin Glass
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Posted: Sep 23, 2010 4:54 PM
Although a lot of TH readers were pessimistic, it seems as though optimism ruled the day around the conservative blogoworld today with regard to the GOP leadership's new "Pledge to America." While everyone seems to agree on the fact that the document doesn't go far enough and isn't specific enough in details, many have a positive view of what transcribed today. So does that make the conservative blogosphere a bunch of ruling class establishmentarians? Possibly.

Here's Reihan Salam with what I think is the best take:

We can hardly expect a pre-election manifesto to offer a specific guide to spending reductions. And so it is worth taking the House Republicans at their word, if only as a thought experiment. Though one might prefer a more innovative take on health reform and taxes – why not promise a new, more growth-friendly tax code or a new health plan that aims to empower state governments? – the Republicans have in this document committed themselves to a programme of reform and decentralisation. To that end, they will, if they win in November, have more options than our present political conversation allows.

Here's those skeptical cynical libertarians at Reason:

The document's most deafening silence is on entitlement spending. Indeed, it's main attack on ObamaCare is precisely that this awful new program steals money from Medicare. Which last time anybody looked, was the time bomb that's ticking under the federal budget like a Guy Fawkes' powder keg.

Memo to House Republicans, who had, what about four years?, to come up with an agenda: If you do win big in the midterms - and by all rights, you will - don't mistake those gains against a really awful opposition for anything like support for your non-program.

And more skepticism from Joseph Lawler at the American Spectator:

Listening on the radio to the Republicans announce the Pledge in Sterling, Virginia, I heard Rep. Jeb Hensarling, one of Congress's stalwart small-government conservatives, invoke some similarly confused imagery. I can't find a transcript, so I'll just have to paraphrase, but he said in one sentence something like that the "American dream is drowning in a sea of red ink" and in the next sentence that "the Statue of Liberty's torch is being covered with red tape."

There has to come a point, when you are presented with cliches stacked upon cliches wrapped in cliches, when you wonder whether the speaker is trying to say nothing at all.

I'd say more, but really, Salam's take was so spot-on that you should just go read that.