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Pledge to America NOT the Answer


By Kelly Thomas - Posted on 07 October 2010

As we edge closer to November 2nd, we are faced with important decisions as we step into the voting booth. Knowing so many in Congress can be "bought," how do we determine the "lesser of two evils"?

Here are the areas I am focusing on this year:

1. Record. What are the accomplishments of the party in power and how has the minority party governed? (Advantage Democrats)

2. Moderation: which party reflects my more moderate views and distances itself from radicals and extremism? (Advantage Democrats)

3. Which party embraces diversity? (Advantage Democrats)

4. Will the philosophy or "game plan" of  a given party move us forward as a nation? (Advantage Democrats)

President Obama's agenda is still pretty clear, but what would Republicans do if they regained power? Thanks to their "Pledge to America" the GOP has let us peak into that window and get some answers. Personally, I am not at all impressed with this recycled GOP "Pledge to America" and it actually pushes me further away from the Republican Pary.

This article from The Washington Post reinforces my discomfort and distaste for the GOP "Pledge to America."

"America is more than a country," begins the GOP's 'Pledge to America.' America, it turns out, is an "idea," an "inspiration," and a "belief." And the GOP wants to govern it.

Their policy agenda is detailed and specific -- a decision they will almost certainly come to regret. Because when you get past the adjectives and soaring language, the talk of inalienable rights and constitutional guarantees, you're left with a set of hard promises that will increase the deficit by trillions of dollars, take health-care insurance away from tens of millions of people, create a level of policy uncertainty businesses have never previously known, and suck demand out of an economy that's already got too little of it.

You're also left with a difficult question: What, exactly, does the Republican Party believe? The document speaks constantly and eloquently of the dangers of debt -- but offers a raft of proposals that would sharply increase it. It says, in one paragraph, that the Republican Party will commit itself to "greater liberty" and then, in the next, that it will protect "traditional marriage." It says that "small business must have certainty that the rules won't change every few months" and then promises to change all the rules that the Obama administration has passed in recent months. It is a document with a clear theory of what has gone wrong -- debt, policy uncertainty, and too much government -- and a solid promise to make most of it worse.

Take the deficit. Perhaps the two most consequential policies in the proposal are the full extension of the Bush tax cuts and the full repeal of the health-care law. The first would increase the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next 10 years, and many trillions of dollars more after that. The second would increase the deficit by more than $100 billion over the next 10 years, and many trillions of dollars more after that. Nothing in the document comes close to paying for these two proposals, and the authors know it: The document never says that the policy proposals it offers will ultimately reduce the deficit.

Then there's the question of policy uncertainty. The health-care law, which is now in the early stages of implementation, would be repealed. In its place, Republicans would write a new health-care bill. They offer some guidance as to what it would look like, but as every business knows, the congressional and regulatory processes are both long and uncertain. That's joined by three sentences on shrinking and reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- the policy's anticipated effects on the housing market, where the two mortgage giants are backing nine out of every 10 new loans, are not mentioned -- and a promise to force a separate congressional vote on every regulation with more than $100 million in economic impact, which would force businesses to figure out a new, dual-track regulatory process.

And this article from TPM gives us a glimpse into the real world implications of  this GOP pledge.

Here are the top five issues that would suffer under the Pledge to America.

1. Education

President Obama has requested over $70 billion for the Department of Education next year. A cut along the lines of what the Republicans propose would necessitate a $5 billion cut to the Pell Grant program, which assists low-income students with college tuition costs.

2. Health Care

This is where Republicans really want to do damage -- to Obama's health care reform law. But their discretionary spending cut alone would mean billions in fewer resources for the Department of Health and Human Services. Perhaps most troubling, the National Institutes of Health would take a $6 billion hit. The Centers for Disease Control would also take hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts. And the National Cancer Institute, where spending has risen dramatically in the last two years, would have to pare back about $13 billion.

3. Social Services

Congress would also have to cut money for Justice Assistance Grants -- a.k.a. state and local law enforcement. Without cuts, that's $2 billion. Republicans would take $400 million from local police forces alone.

4. Housing

Everyone knows America's infrastructure is crumbling. Part of the initial response by the Administration was an increase in funding for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development. Returning to 2006 levels would mean over $13 billion in lost revenue for projects under the purview of that department.

5. Revenue Collection

It's probably wrong to think that the public wouldn't support cutting funds for tax collectors. But if the government is going lean, it will probably have to lay off people who collect tax dollars, and conduct audits. That sounds great to your average frustrated tax payer. But Republicans talking about closing budget shortfalls will be working against themselves. In fact, without their help, the Treasury could lose just about as much money as it saves in non-defense, non-veteran non-senior, discretionary spending.

I say "no thanks." What do you say?

1.  Many of the accomplishments listed are basically things where the President has just spent money that we simply don't have.  He should have focused on jobs and the economy rather than 90% of what is on that list.  I think the facts clearly show that in the long term the health care bill will be a disaster both in terms of money and quality of care.

However, the minority party did not try to work with the president at all in solving the nation's problems.  The Democrats behaved the same way in Bush's second term, so I know that politics is politics but still the Republicans should have behaved better.

Advantage:  Split

2.  Neither side distances themselves enough from the radical fringe.  Rep. Grayson of Florida is a nutcase, but no one on the Democratic side is criticizing him.  Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz are every bit as hateful as Rush and Beck.

Even worse, Speaker Pelosi promised she would run the "most ethical and honest congress in history" and promised to "drain the swamp of congressional corruption."  But we continue to have Democrats like Charlie Rangel, Maxine Waters and Eddie Bernice Johnson commit outright crimes and Pelosi doesn't offer even a mild condemnation.

Advantage:  Split

3.  No doubt, the Democratic Party embraces and is more comfortable with diversity.  For years, I've believed Republicans should make this their number one priority.  If we could just increase our minority vote by 20%, several states would basically be lost to the Democrats for a generation.

Republicans are in many ways, the party of old white men. We desperately need to attract more women, young people, African Americans and Latino Americans.  We have several Hispanics running for Congress and one African American in South Carolina that is sure to win.  But until we get serious about this issue and realize that America is never going to look like 1960 again--

Advantage:  Democratics

4.  If you believe government is the answer to our problems, then you will give the advantage to the Democrats.  If you think free market principles are the answer than you will give the advantage to the Republicans.  I think history clearly shows what works best.

 Advantage:  Republicans 

1.  He should have focused on jobs and the economy rather than 90% of what is on that list.  I think the facts clearly show that in the long term the health care bill will be a disaster both in terms of money and quality of care.

They tried to focus on jobs and the economy but when the GOP blocks a small business bill and even extending jobless benefits, not much room for advancement. Let's put the blame in the right place. Also, if you want to see a health care plan that would have been a disaster it would have been the GOP plan: change nothing, keep the status quo. Or even their repeal and replace. They want to keep the good, popular parts but get rid of the parts that would pay for it. Now that's bad for the economy! If you really are a fiscal conservative, can't you see the writing on the wall? Just look at their record during the Bush years if you don't trust me. Their policies would drive us deeper into debt than the Democrats who at least want to help the needy and the environment, not help the rich, through spending. And most domestic spending the Democrats push like Education, green jobs, and infrastructure programs would actually stimulate the economy and add to the tax base, unlike the "cut taxes for the rich" Republicans which will do very little to help our economy or the job market, if we judge by history.

2.  Neither side distances themselves enough from the radical fringe.  Rep. Grayson of Florida is a nutcase, but no one on the Democratic side is criticizing him.  Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz are every bit as hateful as Rush and Beck.

When GOP leaders are forced to apologize to Rush Limbaugh and put things like "uphold traditional families" in their Pledge, get booted out of office for mocking birthers or smiling at Obama, actually endorse people like Angle, O'Donnell, Paul, & Paladino, or push ways to change the Constitution, I think they've got the Dem's beat. Sure the Dem's have a few "out there" but it's not a whole movement.

Even worse, Speaker Pelosi promised she would run the "most ethical and honest congress in history" and promised to "drain the swamp of congressional corruption."  But we continue to have Democrats like Charlie Rangel, Maxine Waters and Eddie Bernice Johnson commit outright crimes and Pelosi doesn't offer even a mild condemnation.

Isn't Pelosi investigating Rangel and Waters? Don't they have hearings coming up? Wasn't it a bipartisan commission that pressed charges? Didn't Pelosi make sure that wacky navy Congressman from NY who "tickled" interns was shown the door? That seems transparent to me. She certainly is not protecting them. They are going through the right channels, unlike the GOP who would protect the offenders, defend them, especially all those "family values" guys who have ethical, moral issues.

3.  No doubt, the Democratic Party embraces and is more comfortable with diversity.  For years, I've believed Republicans should make this their number one priority.  If we could just increase our minority vote by 20%, several states would basically be lost to the Democrats for a generation.

Republicans are in many ways, the party of old white men. We desperately need to attract more women, young people, African Americans and Latino Americans.  We have several Hispanics running for Congress and one African American in South Carolina that is sure to win.  But until we get serious about this issue and realize that America is never going to look like 1960 again--

I agree. Not only is the GOP not recruiting minorities, they are pushing them away in droves. Arizona law, Muslim bashing, racist signs at Tea Party rallies, you name it!

4.  If you believe government is the answer to our problems, then you will give the advantage to the Democrats.  If you think free market principles are the answer than you will give the advantage to the Republicans.  I think history clearly shows what works best.

Are Republicans really anti-government solutions when they want to invade a woman's decisions about her body, tell who should be allowed to teach, where Muslims can build a community center, who has the right to get married and support policies that force gay service members to lie about their sexuality while risking their lives at the risk of "big brother" kicking them out. And free market? Yeah, that has worked out well for big corporations while the middle class got screwed! I used to believe in that free market stuff before the banking crisis and realizing how Wall Street and Big Oil Lobbyists own this country and can get elected officials to vote no or create policies with loopholes and benefits for big business at the expense of the little guy. I used to question whether unions were really needed or were too powerful, then I looked at all the mining disasters, the Gulf Oil spill, and even a guy named DeMint saying that school boards should be able to dismiss a woman who "lives in sin" or a teacher simply because they are gay. So no, I don't think "government" is a bad thing unless it is used to impose one's views on the nation or help big corporations. 
Look at the first article. The pledge would explode our deficit because nothing is paid for, while getting rid of needed services like health care and education.  Sounds like a lose, lose for everyone but the rich!
Wow!!!  Excellent points.  I've wondered about those "anti-government solutions" myself.  How do you spell hypocrisy?  Thanks.

Jon Stewart hit on the false notion of "small government conservatives" in his interview with Eric Cantor. Ouch.

Jon Stewart had House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) on his show last night. Cantor was promoting his new "Young Guns" book. Though Cantor talked about the idea of limited government that the Republicans have been touting, Stewart pointed out: "You voted for 'No Child Left Behind,' you voted for Real ID, you voted for the Medicare bill which was a trillion dollars, unfunded, you voted for the Patriot Act. In what way are you a limited government, in what way do you want to shrink government?"

Stewart said later that the Republicans "always hit the old platitudes of 'we trust you the people,' 'it's about freedom and liberty,' 'it's about small government,' and then you get in there, and you expand government."

Stewart added at the end that it's a "fallacy that limited government is the principled stand of conservatives. It's only limited to the shit they want to do."

 

Was that tonight or last night?

I saw the TV version (not the full version). 

My impression: Cantor came off as a male version of Sarah Palin, but with much less likability.  He appeared to have not a brain of his own but to spout out the talking points his overlords tell him to say.  In fact, I highly suspect that "his" new book is not really his or his co-authors.  I fully believe that someone within the GOP belly (Kristol, anyone?) wrote it and just chose three "Young Guns"-like Congresscritters to put on the cover.

He was only comfortable saying things like, "Well in my book...," "If you read the book..."  Dear God, EVERY flippin sentence started there. 

 

They are all tools-it's pathetic. And yet chances are the GOP will be given greater control and elevated to exercise even more power than their ever-so-influential, favorite tactic of fillibustering everything. If given a majority, they are starting the buzz of "investigating" Obama-even about his darn birth certificate-and "shutting down the government." Yeah, sounds like they are full of great ideas. I really hope smart Americans open their eyes to how dangerous GOP control would be and how far backwards it will take us and VOTE. The results of the November election will reveal whether the American people are as reasonable as I think (they did elect Obama/Biden over McCain/Palin, afterall) or dumb enough to fall for the fear-mongering and lies once again. Thanks to the citizens united decision, we have massive money pouring into the GOP/Tea Party spin machine which appears to be hurting Democratic chances.

Such a nice points in this article, So impressive, well designed article, I want to appreciat it. Keep it up.

cheap term papers

This kind of spamming is ridiculous. Suzi, do you delete the old threads that were bumped or are you unsure about deleting some of them? I noticed last time a bunch of old threads were spammed to the top you were able to get rid of them. Did that happen because you deleted the post or the entire thread? The less old threads there are the less they can spam us. Some of them were obviously to big or important to delete. They're over this captcha now too. They like to keep you on your feet and offer you cheap term papers. lol

Steven, we don't delete any old threads.  When I delete the spamming posts, the thread returns to it previous position.  You're right about less threads giving less opportunity to spam, and I hadn't thought of that.  I'll talk to John about closing the older ones.  Hopefully, there's a was to do that in bulk, as it would take forever and a day to do it one by one. 

This is obviously a human, not a bot, as they often refer to the subject matter of the thread.  Humans can get past any captcha we put up.  Grrrrrrr

Well, I sort of admire their tenacity, because sometimes it takes me three times to get the Captcha right!  LOL

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power
the world will know peace." Jimi Hendrix

 

Me too CTX.....I don't like the new one very much. Sorry Suzi  

No need for "Sorry Suzi"....I don't like it either.  The problem with ths simple math one was the bots found a way to over ride it.  The spam was unmanageable. 

One thing I've noticed about the old threads are that all of them are blog posts; none seem to be discussion threads.  That seems more than just co-in-kee-dink.

 

Good point Kim.  Prolly cause Blogs are in the site heading, and take no navigating, like the Forums heading. 

Dear Spam Person....We are all adults at this site, and few of us have need for term papers.  The few who do, are intelligent people more than capable of writing their own, and would never stoop to using your spammy internet crap.  Maybe you should get an education yourself, and not be reduced to spamming web sites for a living.

I removed all of the others and will continue to do so.  I unlinked this one and left it up, simply so I could answer a question for a user.

The conspiratorial side of me wonders if all of these spam messages isn't the work of some neo-con Karl Rove wannabe.

"Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug." -- Mark Knopfler

Are neo-cons capable of writing term papers?

 

They only have to be capable of selling them; they get others to do the grunt work.:)

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