Print Friendly, PDF & Email

{originally published in the Gazette}

“Honey, I’ve slept with 10 different women and wrecked our marriage. But I’m a new man now. I’ll cut it down to eight.”

“Mr. President, the Armed Forces of the United States are prepared to win the war on terror once and for all. Operation Armageddon will destroy 15 percent of Al Qaida .”

“I will not rest until 15 percent of all violent criminals are safely behind bars.”

This is the kind of visionary leadership offered by the GOP “[[Pledge to America]]”, unfurled with great fanfare a few days ago.

I read it from cover to cover. You should too. It is weak, timid, and uninspiring. It is little more than an attempt to co-opt the Tea Party movement by Republican party insiders, who will say or do whatever it takes to keep them in office.

There’s lots of the right rhetoric, which is fine as far as it goes. But if you look at the details, the plan can’t possibly address America’s fiscal problems. It’s big, revolutionary idea? A hard cap on discretionary spending. That’s a whopping 15 percent of the federal budget. Way to show some backbone there, guys.

The document is riddled with loopholes, with phrases like” “common sense exceptions for seniors, veterans, and our troops”. If I read that correctly, it means Social Security and defense spending are off the table.

But why should they be? When it comes to defense, we have more than adequate resources to defend the nation. It’s taking care of the rest of the world that bloats our defense budget. To paraphrase one pundit, the American people are asking why we are taking bricks out of America’s economy to build someone else’s. But you won’t read that in the Pledge. Anything even peripherally connected with “defense” or “national security” gets a pass.

And Social Security? We can’t cut that because it’s too, well, popular.

Oh wait, I forgot, it does have a really clever idea no one’s ever thought of before. On page 22, you can learn that Republicans are going to “root out waste.” Yawn. Being opposed to waste is like being in favor of motherhood. It’s hardly a controversial position.

Has there ever been a candidate on either side of the aisle who hasn’t promised to “cut waste” in every election for the past 100 years? If the evidence of the past century says anything, it is that waste is an inherent component of government. If you want less waste, you need less government.

The pledge isn’t completely bereft of sense. It talks about repealing Obamacare and TARP, two worthwhile goals. And while it pays lip service to” family values” and “protecting life”, it rightly focuses on the economic issues that ultimately are what will make or break the future of America.

But claiming to be the party of fiscal responsibility while taking 85 percent of spending off the table is the height of hypocrisy. Our debt and deficit are so enormous that everything should be on the table.

Yes, it is hard to tell people what they do not want to hear. It is hard to put your own elected office at risk by telling the truth. Instead, you can spout platitudes that will keep you inside the Beltway for another election cycle.

But isn’t making hard decisions what real leaders are supposed to do? Determine what is best for the country, and then take your case to the voters? We need real, genuine leadership in the Republican party that can face up to reality and put together a real plan to stop the madness that is Democratic budgetary policy.

Unfortunately, the “Pledge to America” shows nothing of the kind. Unless and until real leaders with the guts to do the right thing — emerge within the Republican Party, fiscal sanity and the restoration of American prosperity have no chance.

{LINKS, added by cRc}