It was almost 20 years ago that Newt Gingrich earned his claim to fame, engineering one of the most radical turnarounds in the history of American politics; flipping Congress to the GOP for the first time since the Great Depression.
And he did it using one of the most radical techniques in the history of politics; telling the people what his movement stood for, and what it’d stand by.
It worked; the 1994 elections were one of the most sweeping turnarounds in American political history. The ’94 election did for Congress what Reagan did for the White House; put conservatism on the table.
It didn’t stick, of course; the Gingrich Congress gave way to the Frist Congress. The Class of 94 slowly went Beltway Native. But noting that merely proves one of the most important points of political activism; it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Getting people elected is only the first half of the problem; keeping them honest is just as important.
But that’s history. I’m here to talk about the present.
A New American Repair Manual: Of course, the name “Contract with America” had that patina of legalism that smacks of the same thing that gave us the problem in the first place. The System.
I think conservatives need to revisit the notion of putting down a hard set of…not “campaign” promises, but lines in the sand, things that separate them from the Democrat party for all to see. Something that everyone, from a movement conservative to a college kid looking for a job to a working, not-overly-political family with a cancelled insurance policy and a skyrocketing premium can look at, compare with “Hope and Change!”, and find some red meat to support.
It’s not a “Contract”. It’s a repair manual. Sort of like a Chilton © manual for the 2014 United State of America.
Here’s my suggestion for that repair guide:
It’s Your Money – Not Government’s!: Return all personal, inheritance and capital gains taxes to 2004 levels, immediately. You earned it. You use it.
The Government Diet: Freeze spending at 2010 levels. I know, that’s already too high – but Americans lack the stomach for radical change. And economic growth will make that sustainable, eventually. Especially if we…:
Rebuild the Economy: Three points to this one:
- Roll back Obama’s regulatory orgy – Especially those related to energy – because we’re gonna…
- Drill, baby! Drill! – when Obama took office, gas was under $2 a gallon; with North America awash in oil, coal and natural gas, there’s no reason gas can’t be cheaper than it was. Turning into a net energy exporter for the first time in over 40 years will be a huge boost to the economy – and start a domino effect that will, along with the regulatory rollback.
- Slash corporate taxes and push R&D tax credits. The cuts will be more than repaid in revenue from new business and paying jobs.
Focus On The Real Enemies: On the one hand, stop warrantless domestic spying. Immediately. Completely. The NSA and CIA exist for a reason – to protect us from foreign enemies. Focus on them. Put some teeth into the FISA warrant laws. Stop the NSA, CIA, DHS and IRS from spying on, oppressing, watch-listing and persecuting Americans going about their daily business. Reinstate the Fourth Amendment in all its prickly glory.
And in the process, move from being the world’s policeman to the world’s ninja. Stay out of foreign affairs that don’t affect us – and when we do get involved, do it judiciously, economically, and with an aim toward accomlishing a defined mission and getting out. This is one area where the French have a lot to teach us. Like the Frogs, we should become the porcupine – a porcupine with a baseball bat and a couple of rattlesnakes in the closet. Remain magnificently above the world’s niggling jabbering squabbles, unless it’s something very important that’s utterly immutable to diplomacy. Then hit it so hard they spend the next hundred years wondering what hit them. Go home. Let them pick up their pieces and reflect on the lesson they just learned.
Path To Dignity: Focus federal welfare efforts on getting people to work. Transition federal welfare spending to grants to state that use methods that show success at getting the poor back to work.
Go Back To Your Own Doctor: Repeal Obamacare. Replace it with one of the Republican plans that leverage Medicaid while preserving the private market. Abolish laws forbidding purchasing insurance across state lines. We’ve invested half a trillion dollars in a failed website, and that’s only the beginning of the problems. Cut it loose. Abandon it. Stop throwing good money after bad – and worse, screwing up the lives of average Americans.
It’s not a contract. It’s a repair manual. Because that’s what this country needs after six years of our experiment of letting a bunch of giggly fratboys run the country; the country is like a frat house that’s going to need a summer’s worth of repairs to be ready for the fall semester.
So let’s start repairing things.
And here, locally? : Most of the same points apply here in Minnesota. More on that tomorrow or early next week.