Five Quick Things: Punching Up the Commitment to America - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Five Quick Things: Punching Up the Commitment to America

I agree with Jed Babbin, and I don’t.

A week and a half ago, when the Republican House leadership unveiled their Commitment to America, an electoral agenda designed to cement the party as the favorite to retake Capitol Hill (or at least the House), Babbin panned the document as little more than the faint echo of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s 1994 Contract with America.

As he said, there are differences:

The “Contract” was just that: a specific list of 10 bills they promised to pass in the first hundred days of a new Republican Congress, along with a list of rules changes for the House. It was signed by all but two of the House’s Republican incumbents and candidates. About half of its text was taken from President Ronald Reagan’s 1985 inauguration speech.

Gingrich was the first real MAGA candidate. His conservatism in 1994 was brilliant, hard-nosed, and pitched to the average American. He was a fireball across the sky. By the inevitable and unfortunate comparison, the next would-be House speaker, current Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, is a smoldering campfire.

The impact of McCarthy’s “Commitment to America” is a fair measure of its effectiveness: It crashed on takeoff. The mainstream media ignored it as did the conservative media. And deservedly so.

I’ll agree that the Commitment didn’t really make the splash it needed to. Babbin’s right when he says it lacks the specificity, and therefore punch, of Gingrich’s offering.

I’ll disagree that what’s needed is a list of specific bills. That’s a way to get bogged down, given the poisonous lies of the legacy corporate media, who’ll report all the specifics within a context that’s as toxic as they can make it.

I can live with some broad strokes, and the four McCarthy and his team settled on aren’t terrible. If you’ve looked at it or if you paid attention to the launch event, you’ll know they include “An Economy That’s Strong,” “A Nation That’s Safe,” “A Future That’s Built On Freedom,” and “A Government That’s Accountable.”

Sound economics, public safety, constitutional rights, and good government are pillars of winning politics. The problem is that while they’re perfectly rational and the pieces within them all poll pretty well, I don’t think they grab the emotions like they need to.

So, I thought I’d help. Today’s Five Quick Things are additions or revisions that would help make the document pop.

1. Break up and downsize the Department of Justice and the FBI; strengthen state and local law enforcement.

There’s a bunch of stuff in the “Government That’s Accountable” section talking about how they want to hold hearings on the corruption and politicization of the Justice Department, and certainly I’d take that, but it isn’t enough.

Last week, when U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland sent 20 FBI agents with guns to the home of Catholic activist and pro-life crusader Mark Houck, terrorizing his wife and seven children by brandishing weapons and hauling him away over a shoving match that was already adjudicated in the local courts as a nothing, because, by a bizarre interpretation of a federal law aiming to keep the peace around abortuaries, that shoving match may have been a federal crime, and it was a turning point.

The FBI has some useful assets, such as its crime lab, which can be preserved in repurposing it as a strategic complement to state and local cops. But when it’s turned into the secret police of the ruling party, it becomes a grave threat to the liberty and conscience of the American people, and it has to go.

We don’t need hearings. We don’t need a struggle session that FBI Director Chris Wray phones into while he’s given five-minute breaks by Democrats who offer him softball questions rather than accountability. After Houck and the Jan. 6 raids and Mar-a-Lago and now the 30 whistleblowers coming forward to assert its politicization, the jury isn’t out any longer.

You need to run on using the power of the purse to return state law enforcement to its constitutional place at the top of the pyramid and on eliminating the abuses of the Justice Department.

2. Maybe impeach President Joe Biden. Definitely impeach the entire cabinet.

I’ve written about this before, and nothing has changed since the first time. As I keep saying, we’re governed by people who suck, and the Biden cabinet personifies that in a way so demonstrative it feels like a novel.

There isn’t a single cabinet-level official in this government who doesn’t have major grounds for impeachment. Alejandro Mayorkas and the border; Pete Buttigieg and the supply chain; Jennifer Granholm and the burgeoning energy crisis; Miguel Cardona and the persecution of school board parents; Lloyd Austin, Jake Sullivan, Antony Blinken, and Afghanistan (Blinken has already had articles of impeachment filed on him for that debacle); Xavier Becerra and the various abuses related to COVID lockdowns and mandates; Janet Yellen and … well, gosh, how much time do you have?

And Garland. Obviously Garland.

And Deb Haaland at the Department of the Interior for failing to hold oil and gas lease sales despite being ordered to by federal judges.

And on and on.

Bring the bills of impeachment either now or in the first week of January after promising to do so now, and, if you’re going to promise hearings for government accountability like the Commitment has done, then clarify that those hearings aren’t going to be run-of-the-mill oversight affairs. They’re going to be scalp-taking, fight-for-your-life street fights.

What that will do is precipitate a nice round of resignations, many of which were coming anyway, and McCarthy and his team can tack those up as skins on the wall. It doesn’t really matter whether that’s accurate — what you want to do is build the narrative through examples that the entire Democratic governing apparatus is crumpling under the pressure of accountability and that rather than defend their records the Democrats are fleeing.

That’s a rough look for Democratic incumbents in swing districts to defend.

And going after the cabinet before you go after Biden acknowledges the truth that Biden runs nothing in this administration. You’ll be taking on the real power, and people will know it.

3. Push a carbon tariff against China. A big one.

I’ve written about this one before as well, though I’m not sure everybody quite got it. Some of the detractors thought it was a concession that this anthropogenic global warming stuff was real, a belief that has never been my position.

This is a jiu-jitsu thing that is all about making the Democrats’ arguments useless and void. With every hurricane, earthquake, snowstorm, volcanic eruption, or wildfire, the Left runs around screaming about “climate change” and demands the keys to your Tahoe. But China is the principal sinner when it comes to carbon emissions, not us. Wise or unwise, American industry has made amazing strides in cleaning up its carbon footprint, and doing so has put us at a competitive disadvantage with the slavers and polluters in Xinjiang, Guangzhou, and Shenyang.

We need to claw as much of our supply chain back from China as we can anyway so that we can boost domestic productivity or, at least, spread the wealth to countries who don’t hate us. Slapping a massive tariff “for the planet” would force these companies to impose the same kinds of strictures our companies have to deal with if they want to maintain their position. And if the critique is that this is inflationary, well, then maybe that means, in the name of balancing things off, some other inflationary policies Biden likes will just have to go, won’t they?

Who doesn’t want to stick it to China? Democrats. Make them choose between China and “The Planet” and watch their heads explode like they did when the Venezuelans got off the jet in Edgartown. The public will get one look at that and decide two things: First, that the Democrats’ contempt for working Americans has zero limits, and second, that the GOP is actually more fun than the Democrats are.

4. Tie federal dollars going to cities to aggressive law enforcement.

Those George Soros–affiliated defense attorneys in the cities are both the ruination of urban America and the soft underbelly of the Democratic Party. Attack that underbelly by promising to slash federal funding to any cities that are sanctuaries for illegals or that embrace things like cashless bail or failure to prosecute property crimes. Doing so will generate howls of “racism,” but what we’re talking about is coddling criminals — something everybody knows the Democrats do. Taking their money away is a statement that the American taxpayer shouldn’t be on the financial hook for the active efforts to turn our cities into hellholes; it’s the same sort of exposition the Martha’s Vineyard Airlift provided.

The only real answer to such a proposal that doesn’t self-immolate is to scream that the defense attorneys are underfunded. But we’ve already established that there will be lots of money becoming available to state and local law enforcement when we defenestrate the FBI and Justice Department; they’ve just got to commit to enforcing the law. There’s no political escape from this one, and it’ll focus the public’s mind on where the real source of our current crime epidemic lies.

5. Start tying solutions to problems.

The attack on the GOP in this cycle is out in the open. We know the Democrats’ playbook, and it’s got only one play: Republicans, and MAGA/revivalist Republicans in particular, are fascists and extremists and terrorists. Team Biden and the Democrat political machine doesn’t have anything else to run on.

The best way to beat this isn’t to try to moderate your position. That’s a stupid way to go — it doesn’t turn the enemy’s temperature down, and it depresses and demoralizes your people. Instead, what you want to do is to goad the Democrats into screeching ever louder.

People don’t like screechers. Screechers are irritating.

So, for just one example, now that Biden’s stupid college debt payoff plan has a Congressional Budget Office score of $400 billion, we know it’s awfully easy to find that money — it’s sitting in the university endowments, and so all you’ve got to do is tax it to pay for that debt relief. Say, a 50-percent wealth tax on university endowments of more than a half-billion dollars unless they set up an approved need-based debt-forgiveness program for their alumni with degrees paying below x percent of the average.

And out comes the screeching from the bloated university administrators whom every college parent wants to strangle anyway.

Colleges are the ones that benefit from the ringing up of all that debt, and the most expensive ones are all essentially hedge funds with an overrated school attached, so why should regular folks be on the hook for any of that free money for the gender studies and French lit majors who are still pouring coffee at 32?


There’s a lot more where that came from, and I might do a follow-up column soon with more of those ideas. The point being that you’ve got to find ways to set factions within the Democrats’ coalition off against each other — financially screwed, overeducated millennials against the higher-ed bubble complex, the transgender crowd against the feminists, suburban moms against teachers unions, and so on — and there are all kinds of policy proposals, once you posture them correctly, that will do precisely that (and in the process weaken the Left’s hold on key political and cultural institutions) while at the same time effectively addressing issues Americans need solutions for.

Scott McKay
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Scott McKay is a contributing editor at The American Spectator  and publisher of the Hayride, which offers news and commentary on Louisiana and national politics, and, a national political news aggregation and opinion site. Additionally, he's the author of the new book The Revivalist Manifesto: How Patriots Can Win The Next American Era, available at He’s also a writer of fiction — check out his three Tales of Ardenia novels Animus, Perdition and Retribution at Amazon. Scott's other project is The Speakeasy, a free-speech social and news app with benefits - check it out here.
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