Rather than the steps of the Capitol building, with the House GOP membership behind them, the House GOP leadership rolled out a pledge to voters at a hardware store in Sterling, Virginia. Dressed in shirt sleeves and polo shirts, the setting was deliberately simple and casual. The nod to the grassroots populist movement in the country obvious.
I'm disappointed to read that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) didn't play a part in the pledge or its presentation. Is he being shown the door by GOP House leadership? I certainly hope now. Ryan has a reasoned, common sense approach to fiscal responsibility that is sorely needed in Washington. He shines in economic discussions, especially when put up against Barack Obama. Ryan has his own plan offered and ignored by this administration for economic reform. Ryan does say the GOP pledge is the first step towards the right path. I am heartened, though, that Rep Ryan is line place to be chairman of the House budget committee.
Ryan says earmark reform isn't in the current pledge because the GOP has already pledged reform on that and this new pledge is not for rehashing previous reform decisions. Interesting.
Vice-President Biden mocked the GOP pledge. That's ok. No one listens to Biden anyway. He's only around to give Obama legitimacy on foreign policy and even in that he has been historically wrong in his policy opinions.
As reported in The Hill, former President Clinton urged the Democrats to produce their own pledge of ideas for governance as the House Republicans did.
"I think the Democrats should put on a card no more than five and no less than three things they plan to do," he said in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe. "I know how easy it is to lose hold of the message, it happened to us in 1993 and 1994." The problem with that is, President Obama refuses to acknowledge that he brings the country to the edge of the cliff again as he claims to have put it back on the right course. Statistic after statistic shows otherwise and it is getting harder and harder to push the idea that the country is now on the right path.
The big question after the November elections will be, will Obama see the anger of the American taxpayer, finally and change course as Bill Clinton did in 1994, or will he stubbornly forge ahead with his lurch to the left?
Some of the farther right - some of the Tea Party movement - describe the GOP Pledge as not going far enough. They are complaining that social issues, for example, are not more prominently featured. The Tea Party, in general, though is more of a fiscal conservative movement and steers clear of heavy involvement in the social issues. That is why so many Independents feel comfortable moving towards the Tea Party. I find it interesting that those most conservative who advocate for less government involvement in our lives and public policy feel so strongly that it is the government's business to get involved in the most intimate of issues - the issue of marriage, for example. Many of the farther right who publicly criticize the GOP Pledge do so to get a headline and further their own careers as pundits.
From Senator John Cornyn :
U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Senate Republican Policy Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD), National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (R-TX), and Senate Republican Conference Vice Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) released the following joint statement in support of “A Pledge to America.”
“Americans are speaking out and we are listening. The proposals put forward today by House Republicans reflect what Americans are saying. They want to us to focus on jobs first, fight wasteful Washington spending, repeal and replace the health spending bill and shrink an exploding deficit. Americans want a smaller, less costly and more accountable government.
“We strongly support this effort, and together, House and Senate Republicans will continue to fight for these principles. While the White House will retain the veto pen, House and Senate Republicans will focus on making America more competitive, reducing the size and cost of government, keeping our nation strong and secure, and reining in the massive health care costs and mandates imposed by the Democrats’ health spending bill.”
The Democrats did the predictable, sending out leadership to mock the pledge and firmly state that the GOP simply wants to go back to the past. They want the voter to think the GOP will not produce any new ideas or produce results for the economy. These same people are the ones putting off a vote on the Bush era tax cuts that have now been tax law for a decade. They would like for them all to sunset but only have nerve enough now to make with the standard class warfare on the campaign trail - end the tax cuts for "the rich", the millionaires and the billionaires. They claim anyone making $250,000 or more - for single individuals the amount is $200,000 per year - are rich enough to cough up more tax money for them to mismanage. They believe in deciding how much money a person in America can make in any given year.
The rising American taxpaying majority doesn't agree. We will find out the level of frustration and anger towards the malpractice practiced by the Democratic leadership in this country on November 2.