It was fourteen years ago today that New Gingrich, then Leader of the Republican Delegation to the United States House of Represented initiated the absurd stunt known as the Contract on America (or something close to that, anyway). The Contract was originally circulated as a joke internet meme that was accidentally picked up by congressional staffers and converted into policy.

Well, that’s not really true, but that is what it looked like. Those of you who are not Americans, were not Americans at the time or who are too young, and thus have no memory of this travesty: Don’t let this into your memory banks because it will just cause occasional headaches and momentary depression. Those of you who remembered The Contract … well, sorry for bringing this up.

The details of The Contract are unimportant. I bring this up today for two reasons. One, according to sources close to the Republican Party, as I write this (on September 10th), there are plans to make the anniversary of the contract a big deal this year (because of the election). Second, I wanted to remind everyone of the only single salient fact regarding the contract:

The contract was a deal that said that as soon as the Republicans took charge in the House, they would bring to a vote (not even vote on, certainly not necessarily pass, and heaven forbid, not fund) each of a list of items, within a certain limited amount of time. Bringing something to a vote, especially if your party is in charge of the house, is trivially easy. (This could not have been done in the Senate.)

The only item from the Contract on America that turned into law as far as I can remember (and I may be a little wrong on this, but not much) was the one item that happened to be on President Bill Clinton’s To Do list as well: A Welfare to Work bill.

The Republicans will also make the claim that the Contract caused the budget to be balanced and the federal debt was reduced, but that is not true. Bill Clinton caused those things to happen. Liars.


  1. #1 Who Cares
    September 27, 2008

    And Bill got lucky that the tax income due to a bubbling economy outpaced his budget increases. Otherwise the projections would have been a 200 billion shortage each year.
    Still that was significantly less then the gap left by Reagan and due to that a economy that was picking up speed could (and did) lead to a surplus.

  2. #2 Shawn
    September 27, 2008

    Hey “Who Cares”, were you alive in the 80’s? Reagan: Recession, Bush I: Recession, Clinton: Economic boom. I’m not even a fan of Clinton, but to say that the economy under Reagan was “picking up speed” is delusional. And it’s typical of a conservative to make snipes at Clinton’s alleged “budget increases” while praising Reagan’s Keynesian pyramid schemes. The casualness with which a typical conservative lies never ceases to amaze me.

  3. #3 Who Cares
    September 27, 2008

    Shawn if someone is lying at the moment it is you, you twisted my words in such a way that I thought I fell through the looking glass into a some kind of mirror land when I read your reply.
    Still it was a good laugh to be called a conservative, seeing that where I live all the political parties basically start to the left of the democrats (when considering ideology).
    Another good thing of living where I do is that there is no presidency worship with rabid fanatics feeling the need to defend against even the slightest form of a realistic look at their idol of worship.

    I said:

    Still that was significantly less then the gap left by Reagan

    This is me qualifying the previous part, of stating that Clinton didn’t try to go for a surplus, by stating that Clinton did indeed work on reducing the deficit.

    How in the world can you associate the second part of the sentence

    and due to that a economy that was picking up speed could (and did) lead to a surplus.

    with Reagan. The gap left by Reagan is only used as a comparison to what is the subject of the first part. The subject being the word that. The second that in the sentence refers to the first in the sentence (which refers to the projected shortage in the sentence before that).
    This is a second tie in to what I wrote before (that Clinton got lucky by a getting an economic boom during his presidency) again adding a qualifier, this time that Clinton set the stage so that this luck got him further.

    If I’d wanted to snipe at Clinton I’d used the allegations on my favorite conspiracy site (a good laugh to read).

  4. #4 reggie
    September 27, 2008

    Under the current Administration the Contract With America has evolved into the Marshall Law Plan For America (…and these people don’t even believe in evolution).

  5. #5 Strider
    September 27, 2008

    I liked the item in the COA on term limits. How’d that work out for ’em?