There's lots to be done, but we've seen several years of Washington gridlock. This is something beyond what we've seen in the past, perhaps, as they like to say, an order of magnitude worse. Many Bush initiatives had support from Democratic Senators and Congress people, but the current class of Republican House members seem more committed to conflict than compromise. Many of them seem, and perhaps are, fiercy partisan, to the extent, even, of putting party before country.
We've learned that on the very evening of our President's inauguration, with the nation already reeling from the worst fiscal crisis in 80 years, a group of the Republican House leadership, several radical Senators, and a few special invitees, met and pledged to fight to block and obstruct everything and anything the new President would propose. Many of this group had already signed onto the Norquist Pledge ("never raise taxes….drown government in the bathtub"), but this pledge was, again, something beyond a pledge or a contract with America. In fact, some have likened this pledge to treason, in that these people, elected to serve the COUNTRY, were willing, indeed gleeful, to put party before country and leave the US economy damaged for political ends. The former Senate majority leader, Mr. McConnell, said it clearly when he claimed his goal was to prevent the re-election of the President. Actually, while these folks are free to have private agendas, their elected role is as stewards of the country, to do what's best for the country, in fact to do many things FOR the country. I've lived through eleven Presidencies and I have never seen anything like this crew's willingness to damage the country's economy, let alone the lives of vast numbers of Americans, including large numbers of their actual constituents, by this pernicious pledge.
So, here's a modest proposal, that should be enacted swiftly. Every single Republican running for the House and Senate should be asked and required to answer a simple question. Given that Republicans have consciously and deliberately conspired to harm the country for partisan advantage, and have done so for four years, can they now pledge that, if the President is re-elected, they will take off their partisan hats and, rolling up their sleeves, start honest work on the real problems we face? I'll call it the Pledge for America. Voters should ask their aspiring incumbents and newbies alike:
If the President is re-elected, will you pledge to work, as a representative not of a political party but of the American people, to find real solutions to our real problems?
Enough is enough. If candidates can't commit to something this simple, why should anyone, Republican, Independent, or Democratic voters, agree to send them to Washington and put or keep them on a path to becoming private millionaires while they are unwilling to work to advance the American cause?
So, let's make our representatives take this pledge. We can start by asking for responses from those who, on January 20, 2009, pledged to block anything that President Obama proposed. In fact, since he was a ring leader, we can start by asking Paul Ryan to take this pledge, if, as seems likely, he wins one of the two campaigns he's running for federal office this year --- his fallback race for his current House seat. It's really simple Paul, Kevin McCarthy, Eric Cantor and the crew.
If the President is re-elected, are you really going to spend EIGHT years trying to block anything and everything that might be good for the country but not precisely perfect for your party?
Make them take the Pledge for America: If the President is re-elected, I will pledge to work as a representative of the American people, not a particular political party, to find, advance, and enact real solutions that work for the United States of America. If they can't take this pledge, why would we want them to represent anything or anyone?