The Republican Party leadership assembled, as is traditional, at the Tart Lumber Company (“Everything to Build Anything”), to solemnly issue a Pledge to America. It is as unserious a political document as has ever been put forth by a major political party at a major lumber company “Supplying Northern Virginia builders with quality lumber building materials and hardware since 1951”) in American history.
It begins by denying the legitimacy of the American government. It’s worth quoting at length:
In a self-governing society, the only bulwark against the power of the state is the consent of the governed, and regarding the policies of the current government, the governed do not consent. An unchecked executive, a compliant legislature, and an overreaching judiciary have combined to thwart the will of the people and overturn their votes and their values, striking down long-standing laws and institutions and scorning the deepest beliefs of the American people. An arrogant and out-of-touch government of self-appointed elites makes decisions, issues mandates, and enacts laws without accepting or requesting the input of the many.
That paragraph accusing the majority party of being a dictatorship is followed in the very next sentence by a complaint about “a polarizing political environment”.
Was there a coup that didn’t make it into the papers, when those elites “self-appointed” themselves, possibly while we were all distracted by the World Cup? If the R’s can state as a fact that the elected (but unchecked) executive and the elected (but compliant) legislature are thwarting the will of the people, they must have some means of determining the will of the people that’s superior to democratic elections, and I can’t wait to hear what that is. Magic 8 Ball? Sarah Palin’s Twitter feed? If elections are now discredited as a means of ascertaining the will of the people, why should an election won by the R’s be accorded any greater legitimacy?
OH, I THINK IT CAN: “The need for urgent action to repair our economy and reclaim our government for the people cannot be overstated.”
They pledge to honor the “original intent” of the Constitution, especially the 10th Amendment.
PRIVATE? YOU MEAN THE MASONS, DON’T YOU? “We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values.”
WHISPER? OH, YOU’VE GOT THE VOLUME ON THE TV YOU’RE WATCHING FOX NEWS ON SET AT 2 AGAIN, DON’T YOU? “Voices in and out of government whisper that our standing as the world’s leader of democracy and economic growth is ending.”
CHENEY SECRET ENERGY TASK FORCE, RING ANY BELLS? “What’s worse, the most important decisions are made behind closed doors, where a flurry of backroom deals has supplanted the will of the people.”
They say they have a plan to “create jobs, end economic uncertainty... end the attack on free enterprise”. Did no one tell them that the essence of the free enterprise system is economic uncertainty?
They will stop job-killing policies and the job-killing agenda, job-killing tax increases, the job-killing health care plan, and job-killing mandates. They really like the adjective “job-killing,” is what I’m saying.
They also really like the adjective “common-sense,” as in “We must put common-sense limits on the growth of government”. Of course decisions on the growth of government are entirely political decisions, there is no such thing as a “common-sense” size of government. The phrase “common-sense” is intended to put their ideological positions beyond discussion.
THAT’S A BIG IF: “If we’ve learned anything over the last two years, it’s that we cannot spend our way to prosperity.” Unless we buy winning lottery tickets, of course.
Some details: Freeze net hiring of “non-security” federal employees; permanently end bailouts; end taxpayer funding of abortion forever; keep prisoners in Guantanamo forever. Every bill will “contain a citation of Constitutional authority,” and be put up on the web three days before Congress votes. Small businesses can deduct 20% of their income. A congressional vote on any regulation affecting more than $100m in economic activity. Kill Fannie & Freddie. End stimulus spending immediately (which would leave many projects half-finished, Kevin Drum points out).
PRIDE AND DIGNITY? HAVE THESE PEOPLE EVER ACTUALLY HADA JOB? “for our workforce, there is no substitute for the pride and dignity that comes with an honest day’s work and a steady paycheck.”
ALSO, “WHERE’S THE REMOTE?”: “The trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ spending bill has made ‘where are the jobs?’ a national rallying cry”. That’s a really odd rally.
JUST LIKE GEORGE CLOONEY: “Washington’s out-of-control spending spree needs no introduction.”
THEY PROMISED WHAT NOW? “Instead of putting the brakes on Washington’s spending habits as they promised, President Obama and Democratic Leaders have...”
A FACT-BASED CONVERSATION: “We will have a responsible, fact-based conversation with the American people about the scale of the fiscal challenges we face, and the urgent action that is required to deal with them.” Will have, future tense, because as everyone points out, they aren’t willing to name a single program (except TARP) that they plan to cut.
DAMN THE ‘60s! “Earlier this year, House Republicans launched the YouCut initiative to combat the permissive culture of runaway spending in Congress.” I just love that use of the word permissive.
THE ONE THING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANTED: “The American people wanted one thing out of health care reform: lower costs, which President Obama and Democrats in Washington promised, but did not deliver.” Just one thing, lower costs. Not access for the uninsured, not coverage of pre-existing conditions, certainly not single fucking payer.
AND YET THE MINORITY ALWAYS SEEMS TO WIN: “The House of Representatives continues to move further away from its roots as a deliberative body, toward a centralized power structure where the majority does whatever it needs to win at all costs.”
“We will launch a prolonged campaign to transfer power back to the people and ensure they have a say in what goes on in the Congress.” This prolonged campaign will evidently involve... wait for it... a web site. Power... transferred.
They will fight extending Miranda Rights to foreign terrorists.
Missile defense, because, oo, Iran, scary. Sanctions on Iran, which “has declared its determination to acquire a nuclear capability”. That is a true but wilfully misleading statement, which 90% of people will read as saying that Iran has declared a determination to acquire nuclear weapons.
We will “establish operational control” of the border, whatever that means, “and prohibit the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture from interfering with Border Patrol enforcement activities on federal lands.” I’m not sure what that means, but I’m going to guess it means that the border fence can violate environmental laws.
A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR JAN BREWER: “We will reaffirm the authority of state and local law enforcement to assist in the enforcement of all federal immigration laws.”
YES, BECAUSE REPUBLICANS WOULD NEVER DO THAT: “We will fight efforts to use a national crisis for political gain.”