Ten years ago, the Republican Party shocked political pundits by seizing control of both the House and Senate in Congress. They swept into office on a wave of promises called the Contract With America.
A decade later, nobody in the GOP mentions the so-called contract. It, like so many political promises, lies forgotten in the dustbin of history.
From the moment they took control of Congress, the Republicans started reneging on their contract.
They promised term limits and scrapped that promise the first month of the new Congress in 1995.
They promised to put an end to “Christmas tree legislation,” last-minute spending bills laden down with non-germane items that had no relation to the original bill. Nine-months later, a budget bill failed to pass because Republicans loaded it down with abortion-related amendments.
They promised quick action on federal budgets. They passed one and the government has run on “continuing resolutions” instead of a final budget for nine out of the last ten years.
They promised an end to “pork barrel,” the dumping of federal spending projects into the districts of Congressional leaders. Pork barrel has increased 137 percent in the last decade.
They promised comprehensive campaign reform. In 1992, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky led the Republican campaign against political action committee, calling them “whores” and a “plague on society.” After the GOP took control of the Senate, the Republicans installed McConnell as head of the National Senatorial Campaign Committee where he became the champion of PACs and stonewalled any attempts to limit their influence in elections.
Republicans promised to curb spending, then passed the largest highway spending bill in history, a financial monster that – of course – included a number of projects in the districts and states of GOP leaders.
They promised tougher ethics standards and higher moral values. Then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich quit amid revelations of an extra-marital affair with a Congressional staffer and his successor never even made it to the job when his dalliances came to light. Then they gutted the House Ethics Committee to protect scandal-ridden House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
So what has 10 years of Republican control of Congress given this nation? Record deficits, a stagnant economy, runaway federal spending, Congressional gridlock and a long, long string of broken promises.
Republican die-hards argue that Congress had just as many broken promises and problems when Democrats ran the show.
That’s not the point. The Republicans promises to chance all that. They promised to do better.
Instead, they’ve lied, cheated and robbed the American people. They are nothing but a collections of crooks, con-men (and women) and power-mad despots who have sold out the principles of their party and their country.
They are supposed to represent the American people. Instead, they represent only themselves as well as the worst of the American political system.