Skip to comments.Powelson: Time for another contract with America
Posted on 01/28/2006 10:29:20 PM PST by SmithL
Democrats in Congress still are struggling about how to excite voters as Republicans did in 1994 when the GOP snatched away control of both the House and the Senate.
Republicans had their Contract With America in 1994, which was a proposal for 10 bold actions. Democrats have a few big proposals floating out there, but their loudest talk is blaming Republicans for problems: corruption in Congress, a protracted war in Iraq, out-of-control spending and tax cuts and budget deficits.
The major lesson of 1994 was the public wants major positive changes and a party that stands for that.
Republicans at the time pushed goals including a balanced federal budget, welfare reform, tax relief, national security, legal reforms and term limits. Some of these concerns remain distant to nonexistent.
In 1994, two Tennessee advocates of term limits were Bill Frist and Zach Wamp. Frist, now Senate majority leader, is keeping his pledge to serve no more than 12 years by not seeking re-election this year. He probably could have convinced voters earlier, however, that keeping a Tennessean as majority leader would be a huge benefit for the state, and voters would have agreed. It's too late now. Five major candidates have been spending a lot of time and money jockeying to succeed him.
Wamp, a Chattanooga Republican, decided that he would like to serve longer and sensed that voters in his district for the most part want his continued seniority to help them get their fair share of federal funding while he is on the Appropriations Committee.
Wamp told the Associated Press in December 2004 that pledging in his 1994 campaign to limit his House service to 12 years was a mistake. Earlier, in May 2003, he reversed his long-time campaign ban on accepting donations from interest groups. At the time he said he could not run an effective Senate campaign without accepting all legal donations that were flowing to other candidates. But later he changed his mind about running for the Senate when his friend, then-Mayor Bob Corker of Chattanooga, announced he was running to succeed Frist.
But, back to the Democrats.
They could adopt several of the uncompleted priorities of the 1994 GOP contract:
No. 1: fiscal responsibility - balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Line-item veto power to let a president cut some spending from a bill rather than veto the entire bill. Fact: The last balanced budget cycle started under a Democratic president.
No. 2: improving anti-crime programs. Fear of crime remains rampant in much of the country. How many parts of your community do you avoid because of their reputation for violence?
No. 5: initially was called Broad Tax Relief. Well, many have received huge tax relief. But a large number of lower-income people are not doing well and want something more tangible: financial stability. They want a good-paying job, to own a house, have health insurance, to be able to save significant money for a child to perhaps earn a college degree, and to live retirement with dignity - not in poverty.
No. 6: National security. With millions of illegal immigrants crossing our southern border and terrorists threatening another 9/11, do Americans feel secure? Congress and the president keep thinking and spending, but many remain uneasy.
No. 9: Legal reforms. Large corporations are scared to death of excessive jury awards in liability cases. Many Americans feel they cannot afford a good lawyer when they need one. There's much room for improvement here.
Number whatever: Here's where Democrats - and Republicans - have to fill in more blanks if they expect lots of voter appreciation in November. There's much discontent with both parties at this point in the campaign season.
Priority #2 is irrelevant. Crime is a local and state issue.
Yeah voters are going to trust the gun banning, jail sentence lowering, anti-death penalty democrats. A contract with America isn't going to work since what is hurting the democrats is the big city liberals running party.
The Dems can't run on any of these because they have been a major obstacle to getting any of them implemented. The author is nuts.
The author may be nuts, or maybe he had the same question that I did.
well the republicans do seem to have thought #1 is to see how much they CAN spend under a GOP president.
I agree. The Republicans are spending money like druncken sailors (no offense to the NAVY). And President Bush cannot find a veto pen. BTW, I love President Bush and his lovely wife Laura; however, the spending bills that Kennedy, and others put together, which were passed in the House and the Senate, and signed by President Bush makes me sick.
Cut spending, cut taxes, improve national security (immigration), and enact tort reform - I'd be happy with those from the federal government. Crime is a local issue, not a federal issue.
None. My state has concealed and OPEN carry.
The term limits issue is quite simple: seniority systems in legislatures are predicated on the idea that not only voters but elected representatives thereof need specialized leadership.
But if legislators get better with experience, why should they ever be replaced? Why should there ever be elections?
Seniority advantages in elected office are directly contrary to the basic premise of democracy - the premise that the people are intelligent enough to judge their own interests.
I think that the supreme court decided wrongly in overturning state election laws intended to promote competitive elections by disadvantaging incumbents from getting on the ballot as a form of term limit.