In Focus: Is the GOP’s Pledge to America worthwhile?


On Thursday, the Republican Party formally unveiled the Pledge to America, a 21-page document outlining the House Republicans’ legislative agenda if they regain the majority in the upcoming midterm elections in November.

For this week’s “In Focus,” various Northern Star columnists and editors will weigh in on this question: What do you think about the pledge, and what would you like to have seen in the pledge?

Aaron Brooks, columnist: Since I could not access the final version on the GOP website, I quote the draft accessible on “An unchecked executive, compliant legislature and overreaching judiciary have [screwed over the people], striking down long-standing laws and institutions and scorning the deepest beliefs of the American people.” To the Republicans: Your executive was unchecked, you are an incompliant legislature who has scorned legislation promoting our deepest beliefs, and it is you that have stacked the judiciary. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” New York’s mosque, social independence, and a million other platforms that are contrary to the constitution–you support. You are the party of the fringe 15 percent, not the moderate 60 percent. Look in the mirror and examine yourself, if you can, because the mirror would most likely break. 

Adam Brown, columnist: The Republican ‘Pledge to America’ is merely a gimmick aimed at voters frustrated with the stagnant economy, not a revelatory new platform. In fact, it’s main tenants are repealing the Healthcare Reform Act and advocating the same neo-liberal, trickle-down economics that led to the financial crisis of 2008. it’s nothing more than a rehashing of their ‘Contract with America’ from sixteen year ago, and hopefully the electorate will see that come November. It would be refreshing, however, if we were to see new ideas for cohesive immigration reform, and greater tax benefits to small and medium sized businesses–rather than large corporations. Unfortunately under the leadership of Boehner, that seems unlikely.

Phil Case, columnist: The Republican “Pledge to America” needs to include a promise to make some attempt at bipartisanship. The pledge’s main objectives seem to be to repeal everything that has been accomplished in the last two years. I respect their right to disagree with the health care reform bill, but they need to at least propose something else. As it stands, the proposal reads as a “pledge” to half of America and a threat to the other half.

Jessica Jenks, columnist: I am not too invested in politics. Every time either party promises that they have the solution to something, nothing ends up changing. This is just 21 pages of promises to help Americans that will probably not end up positively affecting anyone’s life. After I read it, I felt like the Republicans were not actually changing anything. It seemed they just kept saying we’ll change everything back to the way it was in 2008. That obviously was not a great time for the economy either. Anyway, I just wish the pledge read, “Dear America, Let’s just get rid of the middle class. That would solve all our problems. Love, The GOP.”

Kathryn Minniti, columnist: The 21-page “Pledge to America” covered everything I was looking forward to read. It went straight to the point that our country is in trouble and action needs to be taken immediately. Finding jobs for our people is a good place to start along with cutting Congress’ budget and ending the tax hikes. President Kennedy once said, “An economy contrained by high tax rates will never produce enough revenue to balance the budget, just as it will never create jobs.” His statement contradicts the new $3.8 trillion tax hike that will be in effect Jan. 1, 2011. Futhermore, to permanently stop tax payers from having to pay abortion taxes is almost necessary to do. There is too much controversy with this topic and too many religious beliefs “butting heads” that it needs to be removed. There should not be any reason that tax payers have to pay for what contradicts their moral beliefs and values. As Americans we are given our rights, so why were terrorists such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other foreign threats to our country given rights that only us Americans should receive? They need to stay in military court, and no, we should not have to give them Miranda rights. They tried to hurt our people, our country, so why are we just slapping their wrists and giving them our rights? Lastly, the pledge to pass clean troop funding is just as important. These men and women are fighting for our country; there is not any reason that they need to wait for supplies and help from their supporters. I saw what I wanted to see in this pledge. I cannot wait to see it in full effect.

Logan Short, columnist: This grand “Pledge to America” seems to be nothing but a sensational statement of conservative values and gain the Tea Party’s support; a fancy crossover on the political court. It is part of the game, I suppose. In terms of their goals, though, I think the title of one of their sections, “A Plan to Stop Out-of-Control Spending and Reduce the Size of Government,” is hilarious. I would like to see one Republican say, “We spend too much on our military.” While I believe in having a strong military, and have many friends and family in it, I think our missions in Iraq and Afghanistan prove that it takes more than the best artillery to free a nation and implement democracy. We spend well over five times the amount as the next country does on our military, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Yearbook, 2010. During the Bush presidency, he made tax-cuts while proposing two expensive wars. In World War II, taxes were raised significantly to fund the war and the public was made to ration food and gas. Americans made sacrifices. While this is a different era and different wars, it still shows that when we have things to pay for the whole country (health care programs, Social Security, war), the country needs, not should, but needs to pay for it as a whole a.k.a. higher taxes. I think there are plenty of spots that the government could and should reduce spending. If we can do that while maintaining a higher, yet reasonable tax-rate, I think we’d find ourselves in better shape.