Archive for Sunday, September 26, 2010

GOP’s ‘Pledge to America’ full of poll-tested goals

September 26, 2010


— Billed as a “Pledge to America,” the House Republican campaign manifesto is as much political straddle as conservative call to action, long on poll-tested goals, short on controversial specifics and designed to reassure independent voters who abandoned the party in the last two elections.

“It’s not intended to be a party platform. It’s not intended to cover everything under the sun,” said House Republican leader John Boehner as he and others presented the 21-page document at a prototypical small business (hardware store) just outside the Washington Beltway (15.7 miles).

The strategy of appealing to independents while trying to hold the support of conservatives is clearest in the vow to cut spending and taxes, boost defense and put the government “on a path to a balanced budget and pay down the debt.”

No less a hero to modern-day Republicans than Ronald Reagan sought much the same thing. His tax cuts passed and the Pentagon got bigger. Deep spending cuts proved unpalatable to lawmakers, though, and deficits ballooned for a decade. Now, his conservative heirs must find potentially trillions of dollars in savings from Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

On that, the manifesto is manifestly reticent. It calls for “setting benchmarks for these programs and reviewing them regularly, and preventing the expansion of unfunded liabilities.”

Left on the cutting room floor was a plan drawn up by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who is in line to become chairman of the House Budget Committee if Republicans win a majority in the elections.

It would give workers under age 55 the option of investing part of their payroll taxes on their own, with a lower guaranteed Social Security benefit when they retire but the hope of investment gains. Better-off retirees of the future would face lower benefits than are currently guaranteed. The age at which workers could receive full benefits, scheduled to rise to 67 in 2026, would gradually go to 70 by early next century.

Asked why the Pledge To America omitted more specific recommendations on benefit programs, Boehner said, “It’s time for us as Americans to have an adult conversation with each other about the serious challenges that face our country. I don’t have all of the solutions.”

In polls and focus groups that were part of the plan’s development, according to Republicans, goals such as cutting spending, reducing the deficit, halting the growth of government and making it more responsive to the public enjoyed support among independents of at least 2-1. With the exception of a call to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s health care law, a Republican refrain for months, items that showed mixed polling results — like Ryan’s — generally were omitted.

Nor did Republicans want to present Democrats with an easy target, they said.

A handful of conservatives, none in a position of power within the party, criticized the GOP House leadership for not going further on some issues.

Andrew Roth, a vice president at the Club for Growth, wrote that the pledge “has no teeth. Voters have no reliable assurances that House Republicans will behave appropriately.” In part, he cited the absence of a commitment to ban earmarks.


uncleandyt 7 years, 8 months ago

Soon we will be free from the tyranical grip of Communism that has plagued our great nation. While Leader Bohner may not have all of the solutions, we can be confident that the ones he shall someday share with us will be right and valuable. The Republicans have proven that they are determined to win our wars, no matter the cost. Spending can be cut on the un-necessary hand-outs to greedy poor people. It will be nice to have good things happen. God bless America.

whats_going_on 7 years, 8 months ago

So you just said it was okay to start wars and spend as MUCH money as we possibly can, but not help out people in need.

Stay classy.

whats_going_on 7 years, 8 months ago

Irony for the loss, Tom.

"Arrogance diminishes wisdom" um, what exactly does that say about you?

jafs 7 years, 8 months ago

Cutting taxes and spending while boosting defense.

Since the defense budget is already a huge slice of the pie, this raises the question of where they'd like to make cuts, and what effect that will have on the country.

weeslicket 7 years, 8 months ago

"No less a hero to modern-day Republicans than Ronald Reagan sought much the same thing. His tax cuts passed and the Pentagon got bigger. Deep spending cuts proved unpalatable to lawmakers, though,

golly, that sounds familiar.

lounger 7 years, 8 months ago

Both partys are silly. Its just the republicans are a little bit moreso...

Paul R Getto 7 years, 8 months ago

Much like Senator Sam's school finance discussions, the R's numbers don't add up. It will be intreresting to see this put into action if they win. We are in a deep hole of our own selfish making, and simple bumper sticker phrases won't get us out. Nicely done publication, however. Lots of pretty pictures and simplistic ideas. Go for it, R's. Like the famous Contract on America of nearly a generation ago, this too shall pass.

notajayhawk 7 years, 8 months ago

Bumper sticker slogans like "Hope and Change?"

What's changed?

And how have Obama's numbers added up so far?

Mike Ford 7 years, 8 months ago

the numbers never have to add up... their constituents like his smile, his church attendance, and his ability to speak in code about minorities and reinforce their stereotypes.... numbers.... they don't need no numbers. he and his policies are right for the chosen... ignore the media.. we repeat myths over and over until the dummies believe.. the mythology of rural America.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 8 months ago

Tax cuts and spending increases are what we got under GWB and are what this "Pledge" is promising again.

Miss GWB yet?

beatrice 7 years, 8 months ago

What does that have to do with the fact that the Republican's "pledge" won't fix the debt problems facing the nation, which is one of the biggest issues with the Tea Party movement?

Seriously, I would be in support of something if it makes sense, I don't care who was backing it. This pledge doesn't make sense. We can't get out of debt if we refuse to address defense, medicare and social security spending, while continuing tax cuts. Impossible to do it. The debt will only continue to rise.

So how does a group making a pledge that is impossible to meet the demands of a nation in debt sit with you? I personally think that Republicans are looking favorable enough for gains in the coming election that this bogus pledge may actually hurt them rather than help their cause. The specifics of the pledge, if you can call them specifics, certainly don't help Americans.

notajayhawk 7 years, 8 months ago

"What does that have to do with the fact that the Republican's "pledge" won't fix the debt problems facing the nation"

Whereas Obama has? Oh, that's right - he made it worse - but that's different.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.