In 1994, Newt Gingrich unveiled the Contract for America. Many political analysts view this document as being helpful to the GOP’s effort to gain control of Congress in that year’s election. Now that the GOP finds itself in a similar situation in 2010, they have decided to release a Pledge to America with the hope that it will help them gain control of Congress in the mid-term elections. Whether that proves to be true is yet to be seen.
A draft version of the document has been released on the Internet. What I’ve read so far appears to be a typical GOP document filled with misdirection, misinformation, half-truths, and outright lies.
The misdirection starts on the first page in the intro. They save the lies for the content. I’ll deal with those in a later post.
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 long-standing laws and institutions and scorning the deepest beliefs of the American people.
What they say in that paragraph is true. The misdirection is that they want people to think they are talking about the current government when it is obvious that they are describing the Bush administration that was appointed by a conservative controlled Supreme Court and enabled by a compliant GOP-controlled Congress.
They continue the misdirection with this paragraph.
Rising joblessness, crushing debt, and a polarizing political environment are fraying the bonds among our people and blurring our sense of national purpose.
They hope people will forget that the rising joblessness and crushing debt are the direct results of GOP misgovernance, while, at the same time, ignoring their part in creating a polarized political environment and their constant efforts to drive a wedge between different segments of our populous.
The need for urgent action to repair our economy and reclaim our government for the people cannot be overstated.
The unmitigated gall of this statement is hard to believe, even for the GOP. They have spent every minute of every day in an effort to prevent any action to repair our economy, or for that matter, the country. They have played the sole role of obstructionists since the day Barack Obama took office.
The next paragraph is also misleading.
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.
The leaders of the GOP know perfectly well that the Tenth Amendment has very little to do with the governance of this country. Numerous precedents show that the Tenth Amendment is subordinate to the Necessary and Proper Clause in Article One of the United States Constitution, section 8, clause 18:
“The Congress shall have Power – To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”
The inclusion of the mention of the Tenth Amendment is rather telling. This was the favorite clause of the slave-holding states leading up to the Civil War. It is the first weapon in the arsenal of bigots. They trot it out every time some disadvantaged group is given a leg up by the Federal government. The feds ban segregation – 10th Amendment!!!!. The feds outlaw unfair housing practices – 10th Amendment!!!! The feds mandate health insurance – 10th Amendment!!!! We’ll see a lot more of this in the months and years ahead.
The misdirection goes on and on in this document. I’ve gotten pretty good at interpreting right-wing doublespeak. This next sentence is loaded with it.
We pledge to advance policies that promote greater liberty, wider opportunity, a robust defense, and national economic prosperity.
For instance, “advance policies that promote greater liberty, wider opportunity” translates to gutting regulations so their favorite oligarchs can rape the economy again, while others can steal the nation’s commonly held natural resources, like oil in ANWAR or oil shale in western states. “A robust defense” means the military-industrial complex will have an even easier time driving this country into bankruptcy. And, “national economic prosperity” means that the rich will continue to get richer while the middle-class and the poor fall farther and farther behind.
The last example from the intro is this seemingly high-minded declaration.
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.
They are currently putting the lie to this claim. “knowing to whom much is given, much is expected”. If they really believed this, would they be fighting a 3.5% increase in taxes for marginal income over $250,000? Seems rather contradictory to me.
I’ll have more on the specifics in this document in future diaries. I’m sure we’ll all be hearing more about it between now and election day. I, for one, have no intention on letting their lies go unchallenged. Too bad we don’t have a news media in this country that can say the same.