When Reps. Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey wrote their 1994 congressional campaign platform entitled “Contract with America,” they led Republicans to their first House majority in 40 years.
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 “Commitment” makes three promises: to restore our way of life, to rebuild our economy, and to renew the American dream. There’s no detail, no clear and certain promises. Aside from some apparently unconnected promises to cut inflation and to not pass more inflationary Biden-like programs, that’s all there is.
McCarthy’s “Commitment” isn’t a winner because it lacks specific campaign pledges that people can rally around to reverse the damage President Joe Biden has done to America’s safety, economy, and credibility at home and abroad. Just as importantly, it lacks the personal commitment of all of the Republicans who seek to become the House majority.
It’s fewer than 50 days until Nov. 8. There’s not much time left for House Republicans to show American voters why they should become the majority next year. McCarthy’s “Commitment” should be revised dramatically and reissued this week.
According to July polls, about 80 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is taking under Biden. And no wonder they are.
Crime is up nationwide because liberal prosecutors and legislators are letting violent criminals go unpunished. Many major cities are seeing huge surges in violent crime, and, as a direct result, many Americans don’t feel safe in their homes, much less out in the streets.
Inflation is rampant because Biden has poured billions of dollars into reckless, unnecessary spending on the economy. Inflation acts as a tax that Biden has imposed on those of us — the poor and middle class — who can afford it least. Mortgage interest rates are up to 6 percent, a rise that will greatly reduce the number of people who can afford to buy their first home or refinance the one they are already in.
Biden has opened our borders to an influx of illegal aliens and drug smuggling. About 5 million illegals have already poured into America, and Biden has reversed the “public burden” rule so that anyone can come in regardless of whether they are only to become additions to the welfare rolls and crime in the streets.
And that’s only the beginning. Biden has, by his Afghanistan withdrawal debacle and by not standing up to our principal adversaries — Russia, China, and Iran — brought our credibility to a new low. Biden is still obsessively chasing a new nuclear weapons deal with Iran that promises to be worse than former President Barack Obama’s original, which is saying a lot.
Every one of those things should be the foundation of clear campaign promises that would be a real Republican commitment to America. The promises Republicans should make are very different than the ones in McCarthy’s list of mushy generalities.
Let’s start with crime, which is a matter for the states and localities, not usually a concern for Congress.
Republicans should promise to lower the crime rate by two actions.
First, they should promise to stop federal funding of judicial programs in every state that doesn’t prosecute violent criminals and keep them in jail. That way states such as New York that have laws requiring no cash bail for criminals would have to amend the law to keep the bad guys in jail and thus would reduce the crime rate.
Second, they should promise to campaign against businessman George Soros’ prosecutors — elected and appointed — across the nation. They should promise to remove prosecutors who refuse to charge violent criminals and force accountability on states that pass laws eliminating bail requirements for criminals, enabling repeat offenders — the majority of violent criminals — to be free to commit new crimes.
Campaigning against prosecutors who are more concerned with politics than with prosecuting the crimes that police bring to them should be a top priority for McCarthy & Co. In Loudoun County, Virginia, where I live, our elected prosecutor, Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj, is precisely the kind of disaster the increase of Soros-backed prosecutors is creating.
Biberaj — a hardcore progressive — has been kicked out of court on two cases. In the first, she misled the court. In the second, she had tried to make “an example” of Scott Smith, who was arrested at a school board meeting for disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice.
Smith’s crime? Raising hell over the fact that his daughter was raped in a girls bathroom by a supposedly “transgender” student whom the school board then transferred to another school in an attempt to cover up the rape. The obstruction of justice count was dismissed by the trial court, but a liberal Loudoun County jury convicted him of disorderly conduct. Biberaj has been kicked off the appeal for her bias.
The Republican promise should be to compel police and prosecutors to do their jobs: to punish the guilty and to keep criminals in jail where they belong. Republicans can campaign on the promise to relentlessly pressure states and attorneys general to do their jobs and stay out of politics.
It would be too much to expect that McCarthy & Co. would campaign on a promise to fix the FBI. But they can promise to hold highly publicized hearings on the bureau’s political activities against Congress itself and against President Donald Trump’s supporters. Language in Department of Justice appropriations bills could be crafted to accomplish that. Even if the Senate didn’t pass the bills or Biden vetoed them, the promise would be kept. (READ MORE from Jed Babbin: Trump and the Secret Documents)
The damage Biden is doing to our sinking economy should be the basis for another clear promise by McCarthy & Co. They should promise both to not enact any more of Biden’s inflationary programs and to try to repeal the ones already passed, ranging from his “stimulus” packages to the ridiculous “buyback” of student loans. Sure, a Democratic Senate may not pass any repeals and Biden could veto any passed by a Republican Senate, but the promise to refuse any further damaging spending could be kept easily. No “must-pass” bill should pass if more inflationary spending is included even if it means shutting down the government.
Despite the fact that Kalamity Kamala, Vice President Kamala Harris, continues to insist that the border is secure, it obviously isn’t. Biden’s open border could be fixed, at least partially, in much the same manner: by prohibiting funds for certain uses, such as Biden’s alleged secret flights that carry illegal immigrants and dump them on unsuspecting states and cities. There will have to be a lot more done — finishing Trump’s border wall, for one thing — but that will have to wait for the next Republican president.
And that’s another potential benefit of a much-improved McCarthy “Commitment.” It would, if greatly revised, be a set of campaign promises that the next Republican nominee could adopt and then carry forward.
McCarthy, if he acts quickly, can create a “Contract 2.0” like Gingrich’s original. He can make the specific promises I’ve outlined here and get all of the House Republican incumbents and candidates to sign it. He should do it this week.
If he doesn’t, we still have to vote for Republican House and Senate candidates this November to help regain control of both houses whether Republicans deserve to or not. McCarthy may become speaker of the House without proving himself a strong leader. The only thing good about that is that, even then, he’ll be enormously better than current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.