Having scanned the GOP’s “Pledge to America”” (“House Republicans’ legislative agenda for the next Congress [which] they will formally unveil Thursday morning at a Virginia hardware store“), I am largely satisfied with the direction of the document. It puts forward a conservative agenda, consistent with the free-market principles the Gipper championed. (That said, having a lot on my plate this week, I have not had the chance to read it its entirety, merely scanned it.)
Taking the pledge, National Review editors called this document “bolder” than the compact which helped Republican win congressional majorities in 1994:
The Contract with America merely promised to hold votes on popular bills that had been bottled up during decades of Democratic control of the House. The pledge commits Republicans to working toward a broad conservative agenda that, if implemented, would make the federal government significantly smaller, Congress more accountable, and America more prosperous.
Government smaller? I’m liking it! I am particularly please that Republicans pledge to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. (The NR editorial is the best short summary I’ve read so far.)
And like a leftie blogress (who, despite her views, is a great gal), I also took note of one interesting juxtaposition:
We pledge to advance policies that promote greater liberty, wider opportunity, a robust defense, and national economic prosperity.
We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values.
I like the first line, love it, in fact. Love the focus on liberty. And while I wish Republican leaders had left marriage out of their “pledge”*, the language of the second line is particularly anodyne, as if they had spent hours hashing over it so they could throw a bone to social conservatives and say something which most people agree with.
Note, the operative verb here is “honor.” And who doesn’t want to honor traditional marriages? (A gay marriage advocate, if he really valued the institution he seeks to promote, would honor traditional marriages. Note what the document doesn’t say, it doesn’t say let’s dishonor nontraditional ones nor (unless I missed it) nor does it say anything about same-sex marriage, though that will be implied to said social conservatives — and even said aforementioned swell leftie blogress who has a much different take on the document than I.)
As if on cue, the Administration responded with their standard means of addressing Republican ideas, “claiming the 21-page ‘Pledge to America’ plan will ‘take America back to the same failed economic policies that caused this recession.’”
NB: I will try and print this out today (I am traveling this week) and peruse it at my leisure (if I have any); I’d like to offer a more thoughtful and in-depth analysis. (Also tweaked the post since its initial publication.)
*Knowing that document would be released today, I had planned a post entitled, “Memo to the GOP: Ignore the Gays” where I would have said basically, “Keep gay issues out of this new contract.” If Republicans really feel they have to talk about marriage, then, say, “We believe elected state legislatures should define the qualifications for marriage in their respective states.” (or something in a similar vein.)
**Thanks to Peter Wehner for reminding me of those words Obama spoke when president-elect.
UPDATE: Allahpundit notices something “notable missing from the list of key agenda items“:
. . . nothing on cultural issues. In fact, here’s the sum total of language in the document about that: “We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values.” One line, buried at the end of the preamble on page one, and according to sources, even that was only added at the very last minute after Mike Pence objected.
I’m not complaining.