Jewish World Review Sept. 27, 2010 / 19 Tishrei, 5771
The GOP's Ante
By Jonah Goldberg
n the political gimmickry scale, the
First and foremost it promises to focus on job creation, vowing to stop all scheduled tax hikes (i.e., the expiration of the Bush tax cuts). It offers a steep tax deduction for small businesses and a renewed commitment to curbing business-stifling regulations.
The Pledge also stands athwart the Obama agenda, promising to "repeal and replace the government takeover of health care," cancel the unspent portion of the stimulus, and drive a stake through the heart of TARP. The Republicans also promise to "roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels" and disentangle the government from
That's hardly all of the substance, but the politics are more interesting. Naturally, Democrats attacked the Pledge before they read it as a mean-spirited, irresponsible return to the boneheaded and miserly policies of the Bush years. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn insisted it would "visit a plague on Americans."
Compared to what many Democrats said about the Contract With America, this is a ringing endorsement. Rep.
On the right, reactions were mostly positive, with a healthy mix of skepticism. "I love it," wrote blogger
Meanwhile, others, like
My take: They're all right.
Malkin is absolutely correct that the
Krauthammer, I think, is uncharacteristically shortsighted. Politicians not only need mandates, they need to understand what their mandates are. Otherwise they tend to think they were elected for their sheer personal awesomeness. President Obama, somewhat understandably, thought he had a messianic mandate to push a hard partisan agenda from the left. In reality, voters thought his mandate was to be "not Bush" and to then govern from the center. He fulfilled the first part and ignored the second entirely.
It's true that running on something rather than nothing might cost the
As for the argument that the Pledge doesn't go far enough, that's obviously true. But it's also true that the Pledge is far, far more ambitious than the Contract With America was.
Moreover, the fact that it garners support from across the
Conservatives shouldn't look at the Pledge as the sum total of the Republican agenda. They should see it as the opening bid.
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