The answer to all the Republican woes as finally arrived. California Congressman Kevin McCarthy is developing his “Commitment to America.” It’s a lot like Gingrich’s “Contract with America,” which as we all know was the greatest political achievement put on paper since the Bill of Rights.
I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve slipped into bed filled with angst over the state of politics in America, only to soothe myself to sleep with dreams of another 10-Point Plan. I mean, haven’t you? Wouldn’t it be great to know that our representatives were working on a PLAN–a document that tells us what they believe in? I, for one, am just tickled pink.
I know what the cynics will say. They’ll say that our Representatives told us what they believed in when they campaigned for office. They’ll say that “action speaks louder than words.” Pish posh! What impresses me most is a couple of pages of well thought out slogans and clichés in a historical font with roman numerals. If they have it bound with a full color glossy cover all the better.
Putting together a document stating their beliefs gives them an excuse to avoid working with those pesky Democrats. They can now avoid the same kind of frustration that has driven Illinois Senator Evan Bayh to not seek re-election. They can avoid the late nights and long hours that consensus building and compromise demand.
Look what long range planning, innovation and sticking to your principles is getting Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. Ryan is working on—I know this will hard to swallow—actual legislation to fix the country’s fiscal problem. His proposal would zero out the deficit, balance the budget by 2063, reduce Medicare’s share of the economy to 4% of GDP by 2080 (it’s over 14% today), simplify the tax code, and replace the current corporate tax structure with an 8.5% consumption tax. All this adherence to basic conservative principles has done is draw the ire of his GOP colleagues. The Instruments of Inertia remain tethered to the short leash of immediate gratification for their constituents. Passing that kind of legislation would require hard truths to be told the folks back home and who needs that hassle?
The real irony is that the Commitment to America stems from House Minority Leader John Boehner tasking Congressman McCarthy to develop a plan to help the Republican Party overcome its reputation as the “party of no.” It is precisely “no” that needs to be said more often. Not “No” to the Democrats, but to Americans. As in, “No, we can’t expand government programs and reduce taxes simultaneously.”
But golly, who wants to hear that? I’d rather hold in my ideological grip a pretty document outlining what the GOP believes in–what they’d do if they were in charge (not like 1996-2004. These Republicans are different.) With the recent over-achieving history of these Republicans in my rear view mirror I can only hope that in short order we will have 535 Republicans working for us.