Washington GOP releases novel: Contract with America v 2.0 (2010)

Yeah, it’s so damn long I have no interest in reading it right now. But I will, and there was one paragraph that caught my eye. I’m pretty certain the Washington insiders who wrote this thing either chuckled while composing the paragraph, or they read the Constitution quite differently than most conservatives.

From page 18. It certainly sounds really good acceptable, but for the past 80 years the courts have allowed Congress to spend money as they feel fit, even if they want to fund a plaque on the side of a historic house in some mid-Atlantic state. I’ve got the full “draft” document for you right here (PDF, .5 MB).

Adhere To The Constitution: For too long, Congress has ignored the proper limits imposed by the Constitution on the federal government. Further, it has too often drafted unclear and muddled laws, leaving to an unelected judiciary the power to interpret what the law means and by what authority the law stands. This lack of respect for the clear Constitutional limits and authorities has allowed Congress to create ineffective and costly programs that add to the massive deficit year after year. We will require each bill moving through Congress to include a clause citing the specific constitutional authority upon which the bill is justified.

Siting the “specific constitutional authority” is a nice thought, but my guess is they will just quote something that is not there at all like they usually do. A reminder about Article One, Section 8 which I assume is what they are referring to. When mentioning the general welfare, they were very specific to the national general welfare, not local stuff.

AP at Hot Air notes there is little in the way of “Republican” social issues in the document … good for libertarians?

[N]othing on cultural issues. In fact, here’s the sum total of language in the document about that: “We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values.” One line, buried at the end of the preamble on page one…

Eric Erickson at Red State slams it.

This document proves the GOP is more focused on the acquisition of power than the advocacy of long term sound public policy. All the good stuff in it is stuff we expect them to do. What is not in it is more than a little telling that the House GOP has not learned much of anything from 2006.

Update: Michelle Malkin reminds us we have a reason to be skeptical of the Washington GOP.

[A]ctions speak louder than words. And no action bespoke of the gap between conservative rhetoric and reality louder than the hysterical votes of 91 Republicans who voted with Chicken Little Democrats under the Republican Bush administration to pass the TARP all-purpose banking/auto suppliers/life insurance/AIG bailout.

Maybe we can create a form of some type and have them check off one or more items from the following list if they are serious about adhering to the Constitution. The following is backed up and reinforced by the 10th Amendment.

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

  • To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
  • To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
  • To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
  • To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
  • To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
  • To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;
  • To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
  • To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
  • To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
  • To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
  • To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
  • To provide and maintain a Navy;
  • To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
  • To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
  • To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
  • To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And
  • 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.
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Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. phil on September 23, 2010 at 4:10 am

    Although we have had leaders that were unsure of the definition of the word 'is', I cannot find a single word in the original 'Contract with America', i.e The Constitution of the United States, which is beyond the comprehension of the average sixth grade student.  Perhaps we should only elect sixth graders to Congress, and kick them out when reach the seventh grade.  We could do a lot worse.  Ummm.  Oh, we already have!

  2. PatRiot on September 23, 2010 at 7:24 am

    This Contract is no different than the new law in Arizona.  This new law restates the original law (illegal aliens) and we are going to enforce it.  But we really mean it this time.

    Actions speak louder than words.  The Repubs should bring the health care bill to the Supreme Court and scream – "its unconstitutional – now go do the right thing".  Same thing with the Patriot Act.

    Somehow I don't trust that the new contract is going to give us more freedoms than the original.

    Making a statement that we have the equipment to fight the fire is useless.  Using the equipment to fire the fire is best.

    And replacing perfectly good equipment "just because" or for the sake of change is never wise. 

  3. Lynn on September 24, 2010 at 5:47 am

    Steve, You have nailed it! People are just NOT going to read 16 pages. Short pledge only!

    At the risk of not speaking to the subject, I want to congratulate you on the wonderful job you did creating this Blog or at least Jim always gives you credit for it. I am addicted to RadioViceonline and this blog is better than Neal Cavuto's and he probably has a lot more money to spend on it! kudos


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