Reactions to House Republicans' Pledge to America

PRESS RELEASE from the Libertarian Party


September 24, 2010

Contact: Wes Benedict, Executive Director

Libertarians say Republicans owe apology, not pledge, to America

WASHINGTON - In response to the recent Republican "Pledge to America," Libertarian Party executive director Wes Benedict released the following statement:

Instead of a "Pledge to America," the Republicans should have written an "Apology to America." It should have gone something like this:

"We're sorry, America. Sorry we grew the federal government budget from $1.7 trillion to over $3 trillion. Sorry we added $5 trillion to the federal debt. Sorry we doubled the size of the Department of Education. Sorry we started two incredibly costly foreign wars. Sorry we supported the absurd and costly TARP bailouts. Sorry we created a huge and costly new Medicare entitlement. Sorry we did nothing to end the costly and destructive War on Drugs. Sorry we did nothing to reform the federal government's near-prohibition on immigration. But hey, at least we helped you by shifting a lot of your tax burden onto your children and grandchildren."

There are so many lies, distortions, hypocrisies, and idiocy in this document that it's hard to know where to start.

It is deeply insulting to see the Republicans refer to "America's founding values" on their cover. The Republican Party has no understanding whatsoever of America's founding values. They have proven and re-proven that for decades.

The document talks a lot about "tax cuts." Unfortunately, the Republican "tax cut" proposals would really do nothing to cut taxes. All their proposals achieve is to defer taxes, pushing the burden onto our children and grandchildren. The only real way to cut taxes is to cut government spending, and the Republican document does almost nothing in that regard.

The Republicans say they want to "roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels." In other words, to re-create the situation near the end of the Bush administration, after Republicans had massively increased federal spending on almost everything.

Republicans must love it when Democrats expand government, because it gives them the opportunity to propose small "cuts," while still ending up with huge government.

One shocking aspect of the document is that it actually includes subtle Republican proposals to increase government spending.

The Republicans offer no plan whatsoever to reduce military spending, America's foreign wars and nation building, or our military defense of rich foriegn nations. On the contrary, the Republicans apparently want to increase military spending, promising to "provide the resources, authority, and support our deployed military requires, fully fund missile defense, and enforce sanctions against Iran."

The Republicans also appear to want to increase government spending on border control. They say "We will ensure that the Border Patrol has the tools and authorities to establish operational control at the border," a costly proposition.

Furthermore, as expected, the document complains about "massive Medicare cuts," implying that Republicans want to make sure Medicare is kept gigantic.

The bulk of federal spending is in three places: Social Security, Medicare, and the military. The Republicans propose absolutely nothing to reduce spending on these three things, or even to slow down their growth.

There must be a typo in the document where it says "Undeterred by dismal results, Washington Democrats continue to double-down on their job-killing policies." That probably should read "Washington Democrats continue to double-down on Republican job-killing policies."

The best way to restore American prosperity would be to implement the straightforward 28 planks of the Libertarian Party platform, or even just follow the Constitution. I mean the actual Constitution, not the Republican re-write that allows for every federal government program imaginable.

I suppose the one positive aspect of the document is that it finally dispels any illusion that Republicans want to shrink government in any meaningful way.

Apparently the Republicans are hoping they can "fool some of the people all of the time." The Libertarian Party is ready to point out Republican lies and hypocrisy to American voters, and we hope that Americans who actually want small and constitutional government, not just hypocrisy and worthless rhetoric, will vote Libertarian this November.
The Libertarian Party has 21 candidates for U.S. Senate and 170 candidates for U.S. House in the upcoming November 2010 elections.

For more information, or to arrange an interview, call LP Executive Director Wes Benedict at 202-333-0008 ext. 222.

The LP is America's third-largest political party, founded in 1971. The Libertarian Party stands for free markets and civil liberties. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party at our website.


WHITE HOUSE TRANSCRIPT excerpt from briefing

     Q    Robert, what’s the White House reaction to the Republicans’ Pledge to America?
     MR. GIBBS:  Well, I know that you’ve probably seen or heard a lot about this back in Washington.  Look, I will say this, from what I’ve read, if it sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same litany or catalogue of failed policies that got us into this mess:  tax cuts for the very rich that cost trillions of dollars; putting banks and insurance companies back in charge of Wall Street and your health care. 
     I think John Boehner said, and I think most of the American people will see, that this is very much in line with what the Republican Party has proposed for the past many years.  It’s the same policies that got us into this financial crisis.  The document was written by somebody with a -- written by a lobbyist and rolled out at a small business even as Republicans went back to Capitol Hill to vote against tax cuts for small business.
     So I think it was just another -- it seems like just another day -- could have been any of the days of Republican ideas for the last 10 years.

PRESS RELEASE from the Democratic National Committee

For Immediate Release
September 23, 2010
Contact DNC Press
DNC Chairman Tim Kaine: The New GOP Agenda is the Same as the Old GOP Agenda
Party Chairman Says Republican Policies will Take America Back, Explode the Debt and Deficit, Ship More American Jobs Overseas 
WATCH the DNC’s New Video: "GOP: Same Old Agenda":
Washington, DC – Today, Republicans issued a “Pledge to America,” laying out what their agenda would be if they win control of Congress in November.  That “Pledge” is purportedly based on submissions from the Republicans’ “America Speaking Out” website.  In response to the release of the “Pledge to America,” DNC Chairman Tim Kaine issued the following statement:
“Today’s roll out of the GOP’s campaign agenda is as we predicted:  it has no new ideas, would return America to the failed policies that nearly sank our economy into a second Great Depression and would saddle this and future generations with crushing debt and deficit to satisfy the Republican Party’s urge to give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires.
“But at least Republicans have finally decided to acknowledge in stark terms the fundamental choice for American voters in this election: Do we go backward with a $4 trillion Republican tax plan that gives more tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and doubles the national debt, or do we go forward with Democratic tax cuts that will promote job growth, provide relief for the middle class, and create greater opportunity for small businesses to expand?
“Do we elect Democrats who will listen to Americans and deliver the change they’re asking for by ending loopholes for corporations that ship jobs overseas; or do we elect Republicans who ignore this priority that Americans overwhelmingly want addressed?
“Do we elect Democrats who will follow through to deliver change that matters or Republicans who within hours of making a pledge to cut taxes for small businesses will have broken that pledge by standing against middle class tax cuts in Congress?
“Do we hand the keys back to the insurance companies and Wall Street banks that drove the American economy into the ditch or do we keep climbing out with 700,000 new private sector jobs and laws that put patients and consumers first?
“Do we continue to have Democrats making it the job of the government to fight for working families or do we permit Republicans to use government to benefit special interests at the expense of the American people?
“The voters’ choice is now crystal clear, and we look forward to talking about that choice in the remaining days of this campaign.”

Gingrich Statement on House Republicans' Pledge to America

September 23, 2010 11am

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich issued the following statement about the House Republicans' Pledge to America: 
Like with the Contract with America in 1994, a new generation of reform Republicans is offering the American people a clear choice about America’s future.  Reconnecting Congress to the Constitution and based on listening to citizens in every part of the country – especially the 2010 Contract FROM America -- the reform Republicans offer a choice between the job killing, big government, high tax agenda of the Democratic Party and a Republican Party agenda to reverse out-of-control spending, restore fiscal accountability leading to a balanced budget, create confidence in the private sector to spur new job creation, and strengthen the family. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                    CONTACT: Alex Conant
September 23, 2010   

Pawlenty Statement on House Republicans' "Pledge to America"

“The American people are saying ‘enough’, and House Republicans are listening. The new 'Pledge To America' promises to stop Washington’s spending spree, reform Congress, and grow jobs – exactly what conservatives should expect from the Republicans we send to Washington.

“I’m especially pleased to see the House Republicans reaffirm their commitment to stopping the Federal takeover of health care. Six months after President Obama signed the legislation, it’s clearer than ever that his reforms fail to control health care costs and only expand access to a broken system. Stopping Obamacare from going into effect must be a top priority of the next Congress.

“To encourage businesses to grow and create jobs, Congress must also stop any tax increases. Democrats are pledging to increase taxes to pay for even bigger government. The House Republicans’ pledge to stop tax increases is welcome news for the millions of Americans seeking jobs.”

# # #

BLOG POSTING from Richard Viguerie,

Written by Richard Viguerie on September 23, 2010, 12:03 PM
Concerning the Republicans’ Pledge to America document:

Republican House leaders are to be congratulated on a pretty good 2010 election campaign document. 

The “Pledge to America” is an improvement on the 1994 “Contract with America” that was little more than promises to vote on poll-tested issues.

The clear purpose of the 21-page “Pledge to America” is to help Republicans in the 2010 congressional elections. And to that end it will have some small benefit. 

Of course, it is asking too much of politicians to expect them to put forth meaningful, bold, new ideas weeks before a major election.

This new promise is mostly about Republicans promising not to do things they relished doing in the last decade.

But if the GOP does not push hard in the new Congress to return America to small, constitutional government, expect most Republican incumbents to be seriously challenged by Tea Party candidates in 2012.

Once again, conservatives are in Congressman Mike Pence’s debt for insisting that the pledge include references to the life and family issues. How sad that it required pressure from conservatives before Republican leaders, only at the last minute and begrudgingly, added one token line in the preamble about life and family.

While the U. S. House Republican 2012 ‘Pledge to America” falls far short of a road map of how we will return America to the vision of our Founders, it is a good first step and will increase Republican votes on November 2nd and help keep the new Congressmen’s feet to the fire in 2011.