GOP's 'Pledge to America' Hits Right Notes

Thursday, 23 Sep 2010 02:13 PM

By Ralph Reed

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
As someone who was privileged to work closely with Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey, and their compatriots on the Contract with America in 1994, it felt like Groundhog Day every day for the past few weeks.

As individuals within the House Republican caucus jostled and jockeyed to have their favorite issue included or something objectionable excluded, and as conservative issue groups buzzed the tower seeking an acknowledgment of their own priorities (national security, marriage and family, etc.), it all felt, to quote that great philosopher Yogi Berra, like "déjà vu all over again."

Many forget that the Contract with America was, at the time, viewed by many as a strategic mistake. After all, there was a popular backlash against the Clinton healthcare plan, tax increases, and social policies, many argued. Why mess it up by giving Democrats a target to shoot at?

I debated Stan Greenberg, then Bill Clinton's pollster, on a television show shortly before the election. He told me it was the dumbest thing the Republicans could have done because now Clinton would be able to argue that as unhappy as voters were with him, the GOP agenda was too extreme and dangerous for seniors and children.

Fortunately, Gingrich and his lieutenants rejected this thinking and put forward a bold agenda that energized conservatives, intrigued and attracted independents, and extended a hand of fellowship to Perot voters (the tea party activists of the 1990s).

Whether the Contract played a role in the election of the first GOP Congress in 40 years is a debatable proposition. What is not in dispute is it was a seminal document that provided a road map for the GOP insurgents who were coming out of the wilderness and pulling the levers of legislative power for the first time in two generations.

Indeed, my only criticism then and now is that there didn't seem to be a second act. After the first 100 days and the flurry of floor votes on the 10 items in the Contract, the GOP fountainhead of ideas seemed to be a spent volcano.

The lesson: next time, make sure the agenda envisions 100 months, not 100 days.

That is why the House Republicans' Pledge to America is so encouraging. It's big, brash, and bold, calling for everything from disarming Iran and winning the wars and the subsequent peace in Iraq and Afghanistan to repealing Obamacare. This is a tall order. Good.

Governing is a marathon, not a sprint, and Republicans now grasp that reality.

In its initial phase, it is a negative document, calling for ending the Reid-Pelosi Congress and Barack Obama's socialistic spending spree and government takeover of healthcare in its tracks.

But it goes further, pledging to replace it with a conservative alternative that is friendly to hard-working families and small businesses.

Significantly, House Republicans rejected the false choice between tea party issues like cutting spending and delimiting government and pro-family issues such as honoring marriage and protecting unborn life.

For some strange reason the media and some in the party think the two agendas are incompatible. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Indeed, the exact opposite is true. Pro-family candidates are the most likely to be fiscal conservatives, and tea party candidates are most likely to be pro-life. Witness Sharron Angle, Joe Miller, Marco Rubio, and Christine O'Donnell. How come every time we scratch a tea party candidate we find a social conservative and a person of deep faith?

Could it be that the notion of limiting government and maximizing freedom presupposes a citizenry animated by virtue, faith, and reliance on God? That's certainly what the founders believed. How refreshing that the House GOP agrees.

The GOP agenda embraces time-honored values like traditional marriage and ending taxpayer-funded abortion as well as lower taxes and reduced spending.

The message was unmistakable: we will not be divided by a false choice between fiscal responsibility and strong families. We will fight for both, and indeed we must do both if we are to restore America's promise.



© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Supercommittee Must Reform Taxes, Roll Back Job-Killing Regulations

Wednesday, 19 Oct 2011 09:47 AM

From the Faith Freedom Coalition website.
The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction must vote on a plan wit . . .

Evangelicals Impact on 2012 Election

Friday, 26 Aug 2011 12:26 PM

A funny thing happened on the way to the 2012 presidential contest. The conventional wisdom that social issues would not . . .

From 'Hope and Change' to 'Eat Your Peas'

Thursday, 28 Jul 2011 09:31 AM

Well, it s now official: Hope and change has become eat your peas. President Barack Obama s petulant, partisan perfo . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved