“There is literally no aspect of our economy or our society that the federal government doesn’t tax, regulate or subsidize, and often it does all three at the same time.” – from the Republican Party “Pledge to America.”

At least they admit it.

With a not-so-incredible grasp of the obvious and a completely self-serving sense of urgency, the Republican Party rolled out its “Pledge to America” last week.

The 21-page document, a mix of GOP promises and Democrat criticisms, is being marketed by Republicans as “a new way forward.”

From the slick booklet itself to the carefully staged presentation at a Virginia lumber yard, Republicans pulled out all the stops in this latest bit of political theater.

I wonder if politicians have any idea how ridiculous they look when they shed the blazers from their $1,000 suits and roll up the sleeves on their $200 shirts in an attempt to look like average working Joes. Probably not.

Nonetheless, in presenting the pledge booklet, these Congressional “average Joes” essentially outlined how they are the good guys fighting against entrenched Democratic opponents who are “arrogant and out-of-touch” and part of a “government of self-appointed elites [that] makes decisions, issues mandates, and enacts laws without accepting or requesting the input of the many.”

That is absolutely true, but can the Republicans entirely exempt themselves from that same criticism?

In their manifesto, Republicans point out that the government’s powers are derived from the consent of the governed. Sixteen years ago, the governed gave Republicans a chance to prove their worth by signing off on the “Contract with America.” That 865-word document listed eight reform goals and ten pieces of legislation the Republicans vowed to introduce. Their success in implementing the contract was mixed, but the Republicans put forth a good effort. At least for a while.

The people spoke very clearly in 1994 and sent a strong message that the governed masses were tired of wasteful spending, tired of excessive taxation, tired of burdensome legislation and tired of a Congress that played by different rules than the rest of us.

I don’t recall the public ever rescinding that contract or giving any indication that those expectations had been met or changed, but today’s GOP is acting like they just discovered gravity by promising to do the same things they had already promised to do and frankly should have already done.

Take for instance the pledge to “make government more transparent in its actions, careful in its stewardship, and honest in its dealings.” Basically, this is a GOP admission that the government hides things from the public, is a poor steward and is deceitful. If that is the case, then why on earth has the party not done something about it before now? Why are Republicans waiting until six weeks before the midterm elections to decide this is a problem that needs to be fixed?

Throughout the document, Republicans claim they have been listening to “the people.” Sure. Just like a star player who has been forced to ride the pine after a major screw-up, these guys are desperately sucking up to the coach hoping to get back in the game.

You want lower taxes? Yes coach, we have a pledge for that. You want more jobs and an end to economic uncertainty? We have a pledge for that too coach. Tired of wasteful spending? We’re on it coach!

While there are some worthy goals in the GOP pledge, I am angry the party thinks the people are stupid enough to be impressed by a group of politicians promising to do things they should already be doing.

Here is what I say to the Republicans: Save the showmanship for Congressional talent night, put your Brooks Brothers blazers back on and get to work. Do the job the people asked you do in 1994 and every election since. Listen to your constituents every day, not just in the weeks leading up to the election. That is the pledge that matters most.

Kristi Reed is a reporter for the Barrow Journal. She can be reached at kreed@barrowjournal.com.

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