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Pledge Or Propaganda?

By Elisha Dorfsmith

‘Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me’

Conservative websites and blogs have been buzzing with the release of the new Republican plan: the  “Pledge to America.”


The general consensus among conservatives and tea party members is that Republicans have finally seen the error of their ways and are coming back to champion small government, constitutional rights and personal liberty. I wish I could be so naive and trusting but I’m a realist.

Anybody remember the contract with America put forth by Newt Gingrich? How much of that was actually implemented? Let’s take a look at three popular items on the list:

  1. Require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply to Congress.
  2. Select a major independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive  audit of Congress for waste, fraud or abuse.
  3. Cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third.

So much for any of that actually happening. To give credit where credit is due, most of the contract was brought to the house floor for debate or votes but very little was accomplished. Republicans will blame Democrats for blocking the legislation in the Senate but many Republicans shied away from these bills when it came down to actually supporting them.  On November 13, 2000 an article was published by Edward H. Crane, president of the Cato Institute. In it he pointed out that  “… the combined budgets of the 95 major programs that the Contract with America promised to eliminate have increased by 13%.” Not exactly what I would call success.

As anyone who has been paying attention knows, Republicans strayed even further away from the fiscal principles in the “Contract with America” during the Bush administration. Government grew, spending increased and liberties were lost. It became increasingly difficult to tell the difference between the two major parties.

The stunning Republican defeat in 2008 certainly sent a strong message to Republicans that it was time to wake up and reflect on where they went wrong. I’m sure the “Pledge to America” can partly credit tea party anger and conservative frustration for it’s existence. The big question is, are Republicans honestly waking up or are they simply pandering to win elections. I believe that a little waking up has taken place but a close inspection of the “Pledge” makes me doubt that they actually mean what they say.

Let me point out a few things that I find disturbing:

The “Pledge” throws a bone to Constitutionalists and libertarians like myself by promising to defend and support the 10th amendment. At the same time it slams states’ rights by suggesting that Republicans will support a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage…even though many states have legalized it.  I call that inconsistent doublespeak.

The “Pledge” also calls for  sanctions on Iran and makes sure to include a statement that says:

“We will never apologize for advancing the cause of democracy and freedom around the world, nor will we abandon our historic role in lifting up those who struggle to receive the blessings of liberty.”

Sounds great on the surface but  let’s be honest and say what they really mean. They promise to unapologetically keep policing the world through perpetual, unconstitutional, undeclared wars.  If there is any promise in the “Pledge” that I believe they will keep, it is that one.

A lot of liars will be kicked out in November. Unfortunately, we will be replacing many of them with new liars. I sincerely hope that at least some will break the mold and transcend the status quo. I hope you will join me in holding our new representatives accountable by demanding that they uphold the Constitution, represent the people, and defend true liberty. Anybody can make a pledge but the proof in in their actions.


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