Grading the Pledge to America

So….the Republicans have put out their Pledge to America. Is it any good?

Jeffrey Tucker sums it up pithily by juxtaposing short quotes from it and the Declaration of Independence:

Declaration of Independence (1776): “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…”

A Pledge to America (GOP, 2010): “Whenever the agenda of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to institute a new governing agenda and set a different course.”

If this goes on, related fellow TLS blogger Daniel Coleman to me, in another 100 years it will be “Whenever a subpoint of policy within a government agenda becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to organize a committee to change those subpoints of policy and replace them with better subpoints.”

Liberty Central, the Establishment’s attempt to co-opt the Tea Party, has a poll asking us to grade the Pledge. Head on over there and tell them what you think of it. Fellow TLS blogger Jacob Huebert has a couple of good posts on about Liberty Central, the Tea Party, the Pledge, and Glenn Beck.

The Liberty Central poll only lets you grade the Pledge as a whole. Here is a quick graded breakdown of important aspects of the Pledge, with short reactions by me in parentheses:


  • Stop job-killing tax hikes — Grade: A. (It’s a start, but better to abolish taxes.)
  • Allow small businesses to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their income — Grade: A. (Ditto.)
  • Require congressional approval for any new federal regulation that would add to the deficit — Grade: C.  (How about no new regulations period? Better yet, repeal all existing ones.)
  • Repeal small business mandates in the new health care law. — Grade: A.

Cutting Spending

  • Repeal and replace health care reform law — Grade: Unknown, probably B or lower. (Replace with what?)
  • Roll back non-discretionary spending to 2008 levels before TARP and stimulus (will save $100 billion in first year alone) — Grade: B.  (Should roll back more.)
  • Establish strict budget caps to limit federal spending going forward — Grade: B, maybe C.  (How strict? Will these caps be lifted periodically like the national debt ceiling?)
  • Cancel all future TARP payments and reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — Grade: Unknown, no higher than a B. (Reform Fannie and Freddie how? Better to abolish them.)

Reforming Congress

  • Will require that every bill have a citation of constitutional authority — Grade: C. (Won’t stop Constitutional-but-still-bad bills, and the Constitution is a “living” document anyway.)
  • Give members at least 3 days to read bills before a vote — Grade: C.  (Little impact; they still won’t read them.)


  • Provide resources to troops — Grade: F. (Get troops out of foreign countries. Cut the military and intelligence budgets.)
  • Fund missile defense — Grade: F. (Worthless boondoggle.)
  • Enforce sanctions in Iran — Grade: F.  (Act of war.)

Overall: F. The military provisions outweigh the good things. How about ending the War on Drugs, rolling back the surveillance and police state, and ending aggression against immigrants? In any case, put not your faith in campaign promises.

I think I’m being generous. What do you think? How would you grade the Republicans’ Pledge to America?


Cross-posted at Is-Ought GAP.