Well, you can't say you don't know what Republicans stand for anymore. After two years during which the party was defined by its opposition to nearly every Democratic initiative, GOP leaders have presented a 48-page outline of their legislative agenda — which will take on new importance next year if Republicans take control of at least one house of Congress. After reading the document, we're pining for the days when Republicans were only the party of "no."
If the "Pledge to America" unveiled Thursday were a genuine attempt to solve the country's economic troubles by living up to GOP principles of low taxation and spending, we might find more in it to like. Instead, it's a manifesto of meaningless bromides served up to please "tea party" activists, disingenuous attacks on Democrats and President Obama, and policy prescriptions that are at best impractical and at worst deeply counterproductive.
Don't look to the pledge for a sober analysis of our country's challenges in such areas as energy, immigration or foreign policy. The document is seasoned with a few chunks of red meat on these issues — it contains a veiled call for more states to follow Arizona's lead by passing laws that circumvent federal authority on enforcement of immigration rules, and a statement of opposition to a "cap-and-trade" climate law — but these are matters that divide the party and don't really get the teapot boiling. What Republicans agree on, based on the key elements of the pledge, is that Obama's healthcare reform law must be repealed and that the economic recovery measures favored by both Obama and President George W. Bush have failed and must be halted.