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"Pledge to America": A New Governing Agenda

Wow! A "Pledge to America- A New Governing Agenda" is the Republicans’ amazing example of revisionist history. Their plan, 45 pages long, plays footloose and fancy-free with the facts. The Pledge says that there is an “arrogant and out-of-touch government of self-appointed elites.” 

This is quite amazing as our founding fathers were from an elite class, and last I looked, both President Obama and President Clinton were from very humble origins and both President Bush's were from a wealthy, powerful family. 

In the opening of the document, they put in a pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life and private faith-based organizations. This is the tip of the hat to their base but they don’t address it directly with the exception of public funding of abortion. It’s the old "make sure you come out and vote and we’ll support your values."

What is the most amazing part of their rewrite of history is they want smaller accountable government and fiscal responsibility. These are the same people who took a budget surplus when President Clinton left office and turned it into a huge deficit. This is the Party who, in today’s Pledge, say we can’t spend our way to prosperity. They are ignoring Mark Zandi, John McCain’s former economic adviser, after he said the stimulus helped us avoid a complete collapse. The “Pledge to America” also ignores the analysis of several other groups of the impact of extending the Bush tax cuts. It uses only one analysis from Deloitte and Touche. 

Trying to use their slogans from the early 1990s about government takeover of healthcare, they leave out some important parts of their proposed “real reform”. hey have some reasonable proposals such as allowing people to purchase health insurance Tacross state lines, ensuring access for patients with preexisting conditions and even enacting some medical liability reform. 

But, they ignore some of the big reforms that went into effect today. Their plan makes no provisions for allowing young people to stay on their parents’ insurance until their 26th birthday nor does it allow appeals for denial of coverage to independent third parties. Furthermore, nothing is included that would control higher premiums based on gender and allowing seniors free preventive care. 

The most galling part of their revisionist history is that they want to pass clean troop funding bills and yet the two Mississippi Senators were the biggest ear-markers on the Defense Authorization Bill. They want to enforce immigration laws, yet President Bush looked the other way while employers continued to hire undocumented workers. 

They went after the workers, not the employers. The Republicans give new meaning to the word “chutzpah” in their Pledge because they want to “fight to ensure transparency and accountability in Congress”. 

This is the same party that has brought to the Senate secret holds on legislation and are fighting to be able to keep the privilege. Reporter Sam Stein wrote that Brian Wilde, a major author of the Pledge, was a lobbyist with clients such as Exxon. 

Perhaps the release by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s press office says it best, Republicans have pledged allegiance to the oil companies who they apologized to and to big corporations whose jobs they outsourced and with recession and huge deficits for all. With a Pledge like that, give me the imperfect but better Democrats. 

Ellen Ratner joined FOX News Channel as a contributor in October 1997.