'Contract with America II' nearly done but will anybody sign it?

The GOP leadership has labored hard and has given birth to a "Contract with America" document - an agenda the Republicans say for getting the country back on track.

The Hill:

Sixteen years ago, more than 300 Republican congressional candidates marched up the Capitol steps to sign the original pledge, which called for fiscal responsibility, term limits and a crackdown on crime.

But this year, according to several sources, candidates will not be asked to attend - because the new Contract is being pushed as a governing effort rather than an electoral one.
Brendan Buck, a spokesman for the effort, stressed that the new Contract will be a guide for how Republicans would run the House and said signing such a document is not necessary.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who is playing a leading role in the formulation of the Contract, said, "This is a government document. We're writing these bills now. Candidates are out campaigning. This is about legislation - doing it right now."

Inevitably, though, the document will be seen through the campaign prism - especially because its release will come just weeks before the midterm elections. Furthermore, because they're in the minority, Republicans cannot schedule votes on their legislative wish list. In November, campaign analysts say they have at least a 50-50 chance to win back House control.

An interesting exercise in responsible governance but beyond that, why not make it a political manifesto?

The reason is simple; not all candidates will agree with all the ideas in the document and some may even be controversial. It doesn't make any sense to hand GOP opponents a club just a couple of weeks prior to the election so the safe bet is to allow each candidate to pick and choose which parts of the new Contract with America they will support and stay silent about some others.

The GOP is counting on white hot anger by the voters against the Democrats to carry them most of the way to a majority. Just the fact that they will have a plan is probably good enough for most voters.


The GOP leadership has labored hard and has given birth to a "Contract with America" document - an agenda the Republicans say for getting the country back on track.

The Hill:

Sixteen years ago, more than 300 Republican congressional candidates marched up the Capitol steps to sign the original pledge, which called for fiscal responsibility, term limits and a crackdown on crime.

But this year, according to several sources, candidates will not be asked to attend - because the new Contract is being pushed as a governing effort rather than an electoral one.

Brendan Buck, a spokesman for the effort, stressed that the new Contract will be a guide for how Republicans would run the House and said signing such a document is not necessary.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who is playing a leading role in the formulation of the Contract, said, "This is a government document. We're writing these bills now. Candidates are out campaigning. This is about legislation - doing it right now."

Inevitably, though, the document will be seen through the campaign prism - especially because its release will come just weeks before the midterm elections. Furthermore, because they're in the minority, Republicans cannot schedule votes on their legislative wish list. In November, campaign analysts say they have at least a 50-50 chance to win back House control.

An interesting exercise in responsible governance but beyond that, why not make it a political manifesto?

The reason is simple; not all candidates will agree with all the ideas in the document and some may even be controversial. It doesn't make any sense to hand GOP opponents a club just a couple of weeks prior to the election so the safe bet is to allow each candidate to pick and choose which parts of the new Contract with America they will support and stay silent about some others.

The GOP is counting on white hot anger by the voters against the Democrats to carry them most of the way to a majority. Just the fact that they will have a plan is probably good enough for most voters.


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