The House Republicans’ Pledge to America

Richard W. writes:

The GOP House leadership has released a 21-page document outlining what they will attempt to accomplish if they gain the majority.

I have been saying for a while that our politics would be more meaningful if the parties took the time to come up with actual plans and positions and ran on them. I have not read the entire document yet, so I am not yet ready to say whether I think it’s good, bad, or just boilerplate nonsense.

Here is the intro, the entire document is downloadable here.

I am not aware of the Democrats providing anything like this. (On his radio show Thursday morning, Dennis Miller said the Democrats’ pledge to America is communicated with a single finger.) [LA replies: truer words were never spoken.]

Here is the introduction of the GOP Pledge to America:

America is more than a country.

America is an idea—an idea that free people can govern themselves, that government’s powers are derived from the consent of the governed, that each of us is endowed by their Creator with the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. America is the belief that any man or woman can—given economic, political, and religious liberty—advance themselves, their families, and the common good. [LA replies: As a passionate critic of the assertion that “America is not a country, it is an idea,” I am not offended by the above, because it not saying, in the usual neocon manner, that America is NOT a country (particularly that America is not a country based on historical ethnocultural commonalities), it is saying that America is MORE than a country. And certainly that is true. Whether or not we agree with the idea of self-government as stated so magnificently in the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence, it is one of the most powerful ideas in the world, and it is central to what America is, in a way that is not true of other Western democracies.]

America is an inspiration to those who yearn to be free and have the ability and the dignity to determine their own destiny.

Whenever the agenda of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to institute a new governing agenda and set a different course.

These first principles were proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, enshrined in the Constitution, and have endured through hard sacrifice and commitment by generations of Americans.

In a self-governing society, the only bulwark against the power of the state is the consent of the governed, and regarding the policies of the current government, the governed do not consent.

An unchecked executive, a compliant legislature, and an overreaching judiciary have combined to thwart the will of the people and overturn their votes and their values, striking down longstanding laws and institutions and scorning the deepest beliefs of the American people. [This argument is deeply flawed in that it pretends that unconstitutional, unrepresentative federal rule only began with the current administration, whereas it has been steadily developing for the last century. If Republicans are to start successfully pushing back against unconstitutional unrepresentative government, they must admit how deep the problem is and their own involvement and compliance in it for many decades.]

An arrogant and out-of-touch government of self-appointed elites makes decisions, issues mandates, and enacts laws without accepting or requesting the input of the many.

Rising joblessness, crushing debt, and a polarizing political environment are fraying the bonds among our people and blurring our sense of national purpose.

Like free peoples of the past, our citizens refuse to accommodate a government that believes it can replace the will of the people with its own. The American people are speaking out, demanding that we realign our country’s compass with its founding principles and apply those principles to solve our common problems for the common good.

The need for urgent action to repair our economy and reclaim our government for the people cannot be overstated.

With this document, we pledge to dedicate ourselves to the task of reconnecting our highest aspirations to the permanent truths of our founding by keeping faith with the values our nation was founded on, the principles we stand for, and the priorities of our people. This is our Pledge to America. [LA replies: I like the word “reconnecting,” because it means that we have not been connected to the highest truths of our founding and must reconnect ourselves with it. So it’s not just the Democrats who are at fault. Both sides are at fault.]

We pledge to honor the Constitution as constructed by its framers and honor the original intent of those precepts that have been consistently ignored—particularly the Tenth Amendment, which grants that all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people. [LA replies: This is both too much and too little. It is too much because if the Tenth Amendment, which has NEVER been applied in the entire history of American constitutional jurisprudence, began to be applied, most of our existing government would have to be immediately dismantled—something that the people who wrote this document and the Tea Party do not remotely contemplate. It is too little, because it is not acknowledging how radical it would be to apply the Tenth Amendment. So it is a rhetorical statement of aspiration, not a statement to be taken seriously.]

We pledge to advance policies that promote greater liberty, wider opportunity, a robust defense, and national economic prosperity.

We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values.

We pledge to make government more transparent in its actions, careful in its stewardship, and honest in its dealings.

We pledge to uphold the purpose and promise of a better America, knowing that to whom much is given, much is expected and that the blessings of our liberty buoy the hopes of mankind.

We make this pledge bearing true faith and allegiance to the people we represent, and we invite fellow citizens and patriots to join us in forming a new governing agenda for America.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 24, 2010 08:45 AM | Send

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