Yesterday at Outside the Beltway, James Joyner, who is attending CPAC, listed Newt Gingrich’s 12 point plan for the GOP to recapture the hearts of America (and I have cut the descriptions of the items down, you can visit OTB for the full list):
1. Payroll Tax Stimulus.
2. Real Middle-Income Tax Relief.
3. Reduce the Business Tax Rate.
4. Homeowner’s Assistance.
5. Control Spending So We Can Move to a Balanced Budget.
6. No State Aid Without Protection From Fraud.
7. More American Energy Now (Energy exploration).
8. Abolish Taxes on Capital Gains.
9. Protect the Rights of American Workers (from… Unions)
10. Replace Sarbanes-Oxley.
11. Abolish the Death Tax.
12. Invest in Energy and Transportation Infrastructure.
Again, visit OTB for longer descriptions and the video of Gingrich discussing them. Let’s review that list and look at the new and original ideas that Newt is offering:
Items 1-4 are tax cuts.
Republicans just spent the last eight years proving they simply are incapable of item #5, and have recently had their RNC chairman run around telling America no one can trust them to do this, and their response from Bobby Jindal the another night including another apology for failing to do this.
Item #6 is a federal mandate on states (woohoo, states rights!), and would seem to be precisely the kind of thing that the governors are protesting in regards to the stimulus money that requires them to rewrite state laws.
Item #7, energy exploration, would appear to be in the provenance of private enterprise, notwithstanding Republican efforts to block any meaningful advancements in alternative exploration.
Item 8 is a tax cut.
Item 9 is union bashing. Unions, mind you, are just about the only force out there who have served somewhat as a stopgap for the decline of wages in the middle class, and even they are a beaten and almost broken group.
Item #10, Sarbanes-Oxley, was created in response to the Enron debacle (and others), and given the widespread fraud and abuse that led to our current disaster, is not going to go anywhere (and I am really slim on the details of Sarbanes-Oxley, but I don’t think there is a real fervor for deregulation anywhere in America, particularly not in Washington).
Item #11 is a tax cut.
Item #12 is something the Republicans just oppose outright. In fact, they just voted against infrastructure spending in the stimulus, ran around screaming pork and ranting about… high speed rail (which, unless I am mistaken, would fall under the “transportation” and “infrastructre” categories.
So there is their big laundry list of ideas- tax cuts, deregulation, union bashing, and spending projects they have repeatedly opposed. And that doesn’t even go into the fact that they just, a few weeks ago, voted against massive tax cuts for 95% of the country.
What a breath of fresh air. By way of comparison, here is there list of ideas as presented in the Contract with America. You may or may not agree with the ideas, and they were centered around a reform agenda, but at least they were honest to goodness ideas. For good fun, you could go through and count how many the Republicans violated the past eight years. Particularly of note is the third point, which promised to “cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third.” Why is that interesting? Well, here is why:
More than 2,000 employers laid off more than 50 workers each in January, the Labor Department reported Wednesday.
One workplace, however, wasn’t on the list: the U.S. Congress.
A ten percent increase in the budget for Congressional operations was needed because Senate Republicans wanted to retain previous staff levels despite having lost roughly 20 percent of their ranks in the 2008 elections, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Wednesday.
Congressional Republicans have been pouncing on any instance of wasteful spending they can find, but the congressional-operations line item will likely remain safe from their ire.
This is a sputtering, rudderless, idea free movement. There is a reason the only thing they can do is yell “socialist” and attend tea parties (although given the turnout, it looks like they are just sticking to yelling socialist).
*** Update ***
This headline at the HuffPo really says it all:
This isn’t a movement anymore, it is the political equivalent of the bearded lady.