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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

‘Pledge to America’ Vapid GOP Boilerplate

You will have no trouble finding both thoughtful critiques and richly-deserved snarkage regarding the Republicans newly-unveiled credo, “A Pledge to America: A New Governing Agenda Built on the Priorities of Our Nation, the Principles We Stand For & America’s Founding Values.” I liked David Corn’s post on the topic at MotherJones.com, which succinctly exposes the GOP document as a collection of predictable Republican cliches and distortions:

…it offers few surprises: tax cuts for all (including the super-rich), slashing federal spending (without specifying actual targets), downsizing government, more money for the military (especially missile defense), and repealing the health care bill. It decries deficits–though it advocates proposals that will add trillions of dollars to the deficit. It calls for reforming Congress–but in non-significant ways (such as forcing legislators to place a sentence in every bill attesting that the legislation is connected to a principle in the Constitution). It’s full of Hallmark-style patriotism: “America is more than a country.” It’s infused with tea party anger: Washington has plotted “to thwart the will of the people and overturn their votes and their values.” It is likely to have little impact on the elections….

Corn links to other critiques, left and right:

liberal Ezra Klein dissects its internal contradictions; tea partier Erick Erickson decries the “Pledge” as a sell-out of the tea party movement; Republican curmudgeon David Frum finds it retro and short on “modern” and “affirmative” ideas for governing during a recessionary year.

But I like Corn’s reverse content analysis:

…Below is a list of words and phrases and the number of times they are each mentioned in the 45-page “Pledge.”
Wall Street: 0
Bank: 0
Finance: 0
Mortgage crisis: 0
Derivative: 0
Subprime: 0
Lobbying: 0
Lobbyist: 0
K Street: 0
Campaign finance: 0
Campaign contribution: 0
Campaign donation: 0
Disclosure: 0
Climate change: 0
Environment: 1 (“political environment”)
Alternative energy: 0
Renewable: 0
Green: 0
Transportation: 0
Infrastructure: 0
Poverty: 0
Food: 0
Food safety: 0
Housing: 0
Internet: 0
Education: 0
College: 0
Reading: 0
Science: 0
Research: 0
Technology: 0
Bush administration: 0
That list is as telling as the actual contents.

Democratic candidates should be able to leverage Corn’s list for crafting responses. Corn is probably right that the Republicans’ latest nothing burger will have considerably less political impact than the ‘Contract for America,’ revealing though it is of the GOP’s intellectual and moral bankruptcy.

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