Contract from America

POLITICO: GOP Praises Tea Party ‘Contract from America’

By Jake Sherman

House Republicans are showering praise on the tea party’s “Contract from America,” a document that lays out some of the movement’s priorities.

As the tea partiers gathered on the National Mall for a tax day protest, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the document “captures the American people’s frustration with a government that has grown too big, too costly, and too arrogant.”

The tea party contract calls for a balanced budget, repeal of the health care law, tax reform, an end to earmarks and a rejection of a cap and trade energy plan.

House Republican Conference Chair Mike Pence of Indiana said it’s a “good start toward the essential goals of individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom.”

“I hope that many conservative leaders will join with this bold initiative that’s marked by powerful ideas to get our government’s fiscal house in order,” Pence wrote in an emailed statement. “As Republicans move forward developing our agenda for the 112th Congress, efforts like this will be invaluable.”

Continue reading at the Politico

NYT: A Revised Contract for America, Minus ‘With’ and Newt

By Bernie Becker

WASHINGTON — Sixteen years after the Contract With America, say hello to the Contract From America.

On Wednesday, some members of the Tea Party movement released a legislative agenda they want elected officials to follow. The 10 planks of the Contract from America — heavy on fiscal restraint and limited government, light on social issues — were chosen through an online ballot and unveiled the day before a round of Tea Party protests scheduled to be held across the country on April 15, Tax Day.

The contract, to use its own language, asks candidates to agree to: 1) protect the Constitution; 2) reject cap-and-trade regulation of climate-warming gases; 3) demand a balanced budget; 4) enact fundamental tax reform; 5) restore fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government in Washington; 6) end runaway government spending; 7) defund, repeal and replace government-run health care; 8) pass an “all-of-the-above” energy policy (referring, in part, to the exploration of domestic energy reserves); 9) stop the pork; and 10) stop the tax hikes.

The announcement of the list came after a seven-week contest that organizers said attracted more than 450,000 votes.

Continue read at the New York Times

Grassroots Activists Help Launch Historic “Contract from America”

Download a hardcopy of the official press release here.

On April 15th, hundreds of local Tea Party and limited government groups around the country will join together to announce the launch of the “Contract from America,” a grassroots legislative blueprint for 2010 and beyond. Originally proposed by Ryan Hecker, a Houston Tea Party activist and National Coordinator for the initiative’s chief organizing group Tea Party Patriots, this project is intended to present a different kind of agenda for our federal lawmakers: unlike the Contract with America introduced in the 1990s, everyday citizens proposed and voted on every plank of the Contract from America.

Grassroots activists from across the country visited the website to choose their top ten priorities from a list of 21 action items that committed Americans from all walks of life proposed. The top ten issues comprise the final Contract. By asking website visitors to propose and vote on the agenda, the result is not a list handed down from on high by old-bull politicians, but one handed up from the true grassroots in this country. After garnering nearly half a million votes in less than two months, the Contract from America has now been finalized into a blueprint that will serve notice to public officials about what the people want for their future.

And the top ten are…

1. Protect the Constitution
2. Reject Cap & Trade
3. Demand a Balanced Budget
4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform
5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington
6. End Runaway Government Spending
7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care
8. Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy
9. Stop the Pork
10. Stop the Tax Hikes

We are proud to join with millions of Tea Party activists across the country to announce the arrival of the Contract from America and the exit of elected officials who continue to ignore calls for fiscal responsibility, constitutionally-limited government, and free markets.

Thank You American Patriots!

WASH EXAMINER: Enough Already with Bashing of Tea Partiers

By Ron Miller, President of Regular Folks United

Previously apolitical Americans who have become involved with the unexpected uprising known as the Tea Party movement have been subjected to a virulent and sustained assault by the political class, the media elite, academia and the entertainment industry.

Those who still trust these corrupted institutions are misled into believing this textbook application of the people’s First Amendment rights to free speech, assembly and petition is motivated by racism, targeting America’s first black President.

As a veteran, family man and law-abiding citizen, I am angry at these institutions for impugning my neighbors and friends.

As a black man who knows real racism when he sees it, I am furious at their trivialization of the word for political gain. The people who gave President Obama approval ratings in the mid-80’s at the beginning of his term didn’t become racists overnight. It’s not his skin color, but his policies that mobilized the silent majority into action.

Regular folks are angry because the institutions we trusted in the past have failed us. Our elected officials are supposed to work for us, not demean and disregard us.

The media is supposed to inform us without an agenda, to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” regardless of ideology.

Our schools are supposed to impart information to our children and develop their critical thinking skills, not spout propaganda and promote groupthink.

Our entertainers, whose careers depend on the millions of ordinary Americans who adore them, are supposed to amuse or inspire us, not deride us for our beliefs and lifestyles, which they deem less enlightened than their own.

Obama, who promised to transcend our divisions, instead exacerbates them. He represents all the people, but openly mocks those of us who object to his vision of America as people who are not just wrong, but stupid and easily misled. This open display of condescension toward ordinary Americans by our own president is unprecedented in my lifetime.

We expect the people in the political arena to take shots at one another. We don’t expect our elected officials, whose salaries we pay and whose respect we are owed due to the power we accorded them, to attack us and mobilize their allies against us.

We are not the enemy.

We believe in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

We believe true compassion is a personal, voluntary act of love taken by individuals acting alone or collectively, not the confiscation and redistribution of our wealth by government.

We believe government serves the people, not the other way around, and should be our protector and enforcer, but not our provider. We know the price of government meeting our needs is the loss of our liberty and prosperity.

If you share our beliefs, regardless of race, you are welcome here – I guarantee it.

Continue reading at the Washington Examiner

Tea Parties Brew Notable Ideas

By Kyle Wingfield

If there is a Party of No, it’s not the tea party.

A week from today, Tax Day, tea partiers will again stage rallies nationwide to protest overgrown government. Last year’s huge April 15 crowds and the momentum they kept up established the loosely organized groups as a political fixture.

But tea partiers next week won’t simply tell Washington what not to do. They’ll present an affirmative plan: a 10-point Contract From America.

This platform has been months, scores of ideas and hundreds of thousands of online votes in the making. Candidates who want tea party support will commit to the ideas chosen from 21 finalists.

There are many good policies among those 21, but a shorter list is wise. In that spirit, here are five of the planks I support.

Note that I intentionally excluded constitutional amendments from my list. A two-thirds vote is required in both the U.S. House and Senate for a potential amendment to be sent to the states for approval. I think such a majority is unlikely in the next two years.

That’s also why I’ve left out the option for market-based health reform. Repealing the newly passed health law and replacing it with a better one is a worthy idea, but it’s not going to happen while Barack Obama is president. I’m going with ideas that are doable, and soon:

1. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform. Other items would keep the Bush tax cuts in place and require a two-thirds vote to raise taxes. I’d rather overhaul the tax code entirely.

This idea calls for adopting “a fair and simple single-rate tax system by scrapping the internal revenue code and replacing it with one that is no longer than 4,543 words — the length of the original Constitution.”

A single rate — aka the flat tax — would stop the progressive code’s punishment of success. The word limit is key, too: It would slash special-interest carve-outs and loopholes, which reward lobbying power and create inefficiencies.

2. End Runaway Government Spending. This plank would limit spending increases to the rates of inflation and population growth, or roughly 5 percent to 6 percent a year.

History shows that federal revenues are consistently around 18 percent of the economy. Unchecked spending, by both major parties, is what creates budget deficits.

Continue reading at the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Tea Party Agenda: Smaller Government

By B. Daniel Blatt

Scan the editorial pages of some of this country’s major dailies and you’ll come away with the impression that the most energetic political movement in the United States to have emerged since Obama took office is a bunch of angry racist red necks, lead by white men berating Barney Frank not for his big-government policies, but for his attraction to members of his own sex.

As Matt Carden, one of our readers put it, the media coverage of the Tea Parties is like social conservatives’ coverage of Gay Pride marches. They show us the freaks and call it the mainstream.

Well, today, via Glenn Reynolds, comes a piece of even-handed reporting on this movement which has galvanized hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of freedom-loving Americans. Those reporters who look at the Tea Party movement without prejudice find that instead of representing an amalgamation of angry right-wing freaks instead represent the mainstream of Americans.

In his piece for the Christian Science Monitor, Patrik Jonsson reminds us that, “polls show that the anger at big government exhibited by tea party protesters is shared by many, if not most, Americans“:

A Pew poll in early March found 71 percent of Americans “dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country today,” while a CNN poll showed that 56 percent of Americans are more than just discontented with Washington. Instead, that majority of respondents agreed that the government is “so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens.”

Moreover, Paul Krugman’s fulminations notwithstanding, the Tea Party agenda does not include rolling back the Civil or Voting Rights Acts, but focuses on holding the line on the growth of government and its regulatory sweep:

What’s more, the release this week of the top three planks of the “crowd-sourced” Contract From America project, to some activists, shows a maturation from sign-wielding protesters to a political reform movement grounded in ideas.

The top three vote-getters among 360,000 respondents on the Contract From America website: Calling for an enumerated powers act to force lawmakers to check the constitionality of new laws; requiring a two-thirds majority in Congress for any tax hike; and a legislative backstop to prevent the EPA from “backdoor regulating.”

Continue reading at the Gay Patriot

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: Amid Harsh Criticisms, ‘Tea Party’ Slips into the Mainstream

The release of the top three ‘tea party’ issues this week gives a glimpse of a small-government movement growing, maturing, and looking increasingly more like middle America.

By Patrik Jonsson, Staff Writer for Christian Science Monitor

Their faces sometimes twisted in anger, ‘tea party’ followers have been called neo-Klansmen and knuckle-dragging hillbillies.

To be sure, angry town halls, the N-word thrown at black congressmen, and signs comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler play into the hands of the movement’s critics. And demonizing tea party activists tends to energize the Democrats’ left-of-center base.

But political experts say that many such criticisms are near-sighted, if not outright inappropriate – and ultimately may miss the point. Indeed, polls suggest that tea party activists are not only more mainstream than many critics suggest, but that a majority of them are women (primarily mothers), not angry white men.

What’s more, the release this week of the top three planks of the “crowd-sourced” Contract From America project, to some activists, shows a maturation from sign-wielding protesters to a political reform movement grounded in ideas.

The top three vote-getters among 360,000 respondents on the Contract From America website: Calling for an enumerated powers act to force lawmakers to check the constitionality of new laws; requiring a two-thirds majority in Congress for any tax hike; and a legislative backstop to prevent the EPA from “backdoor regulating.”

Tea Party: ‘Intellectual Reform Movement?’

“[The ideas in the tea party-coined Contract From America] takes our protest movement and really sets forth a real kind of intellectual reform movement,” says Ryan Hecker, a Tea Party Patriots activist in Houston, and a founder of the Contract From America website. “It’s a response to the idea that the tea party people don’t know what they’re fighting about, and it shows there’s a real intellectual center to this movement and that we really do have ideas.”

Still, many critics look at a tea party crowd and just see a “fantasy-based” movement of “angry white people,” as Monitor Facebook commentator Bill Downey points out.

The fact that most tea party activists are white, however, may reflect less racial animus against a black president than the fact that white workers – by far the majority in the US population – have seen their plight worsen at dramatic rates, some political experts say.

“[O]pposition to health-care reform from the tea party is not based on racism but self-interest,” writes NPR’s Juan Williams, who is black, in the Wall Street Journal. “The older, whiter segment of the American demographic was at the heart of opposition to the president’s health-care proposal because they feared cuts in their Medicare benefits or tax hikes eroding their income.”

Most Americans Down on Big Government

Moreover, polls show that the anger at big government exhibited by tea party protesters is shared by many, if not most, Americans.

Continue reading at the Christian Science Monitor

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Getting It On, 2010 Version

By Barry Casselman

The 2010 national mid-term elections are now taking full shape as incumbents make their final decisions about whether they will run for re-election or not, and challengers are stepping up to the plate to take on those incumbents who do run.

The momentum so far is clearly to Republican challengers, but this is not true in all states and in all races. Furthermore, if the GOP is to win big in November, it will have to raise a substantial amount of money, develop major national organizing and campaign technology support, and continue to “nationalize” the 2010 elections. A further challenge for Republicans will be to integrate the significant grass roots “Tea Party” movement into their electoral efforts (to avoid self-defeating campaigns in which Tea Party candidates run as independents against Republicans, thus giving elections to the Democrats).

Democrats have serious challenges, too. They need to “localize” as many elections as best they can because national public opinion is not favorable to the recently-passed healthcare legislation, the continued bail-out of big banks and corporations, and to the Obama foreign policy which is in a shambles.

President Obama’s popularity has declined precipitously. The historic surge among black voters in 2008 will not reappear in 2010. Independents, most of whom voted for Obama in 2008, are shifting away from the president. His policy in the Middle East and with our other major allies is also turning off Jewish voters, and other liberals who had different expectations of him. House speaker Nancy Pelosi and senate leader Harry Reid, the daily faces and voices of the Democratic agenda, are not attractive or inspiring political figures.

Republicans seem ready to offer a new “Contract From America.” specifying alternative policies to the current Democratic agenda. How the public will respond to this is unknown. Social conservatives and others on the right who want to revive the immigration issue risk turning away important constituencies, most notable of which is the huge Hispanic voting population. This group is naturally conservative, but in 2006 and 2008 began turning more and more to the Democrats as illegal immigration and amnesty issues were taken up on the right and alienated many Hispanic voters.

Continue reading at the Prairie Editor

FOX NEWS: Tea Partiers Draft ‘Contract From America’ to Tackle Country’s Problems

Echoing the Republican Revolution of 1994, Tea Party activists are crafting a document that expresses the beliefs, values and ideas on how to solve the country’s biggest problems.

Tea Party activists, echoing the Republicans who took control of Congress in 1994, are crafting a document that expresses their beliefs, values and ideas on how to solve the country’s biggest problems.

The Tea Party Movement will unveil the full “Contract from America” on April 15, Tax Day. But on Thursday, Tea Partiers released the top three planks of the platform, which were determined by an online vote.

The top priority, chosen by 80.7 percent of respondents, is to protect the Constitution. This would require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does.

The second priority, selected by 70.8 percent, is to reject President Obama’s climate change legislation, otherwise known as “cap and trade.”

The third priority is demand a balanced budget – chosen by 69.9 percent. This calls for starting a constitutional amendment process to require a balanced budget with a two-thirds majority needed for any tax hike.

The priorities were chosen from a list of 21 issues that included “stop the tax hikes,” “commit to real government transparency,” “no more bailouts,” and “stop the pork.”

Continue reading on Fox News