In an apparent attempt to simultaneously slander the Tea Party movement and preempt some of the themes the Republican Party will run on come Labor Day, the Democratic National Committee is announcing today the "Republican Tea Party Contract on America." Echoing Newt Gingrich's 1994 "Contract with America," the faux manifesto contains the following ten points:
- Repeal the Affordable Care Act (Health Care Reform)
Privatize Social Security (or phase it out altogether)
- End Medicare as it presently exists
- Extend the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy and big oil
- Repeal Wall Street Reform
- Protect those responsible for the oil spill and future environmental catastrophes
- Abolish the Department of Education
- Abolish the Department of Energy
- Abolish the Environmental Protection Agency
- Repeal the 17th Amendment which provides for the direct election of senators
Now, I might quibble with some of the phrasing for both accuracy and PR -- e.g., "permanently lower tax rates" rather than provide "breaks" for any particular group; nobody's talking about protecting BP from liability but the drilling moratorium has spawned riskier practices farther away from the coast -- but otherwise this looks pretty good. The Democrats may well have stumbled on a winning platform, the only way they can forestall the massive losses expected this fall!
I mean, sustained majorities of Americans already favor number 1, support for number 5 drops the more people find out what's in the actual "reform," and numbers 7 and 8 have been popular ever since the GOP put them in their Reagan-era platform (since removed). Again, a lot depends on how you understand each particular item -- "end Medicare as it presently exists" could mean anything from nationalizing to privatizing to means-testing -- but this list is a great start for taking back America from bureaucrats and big-government types and restoring lost individual freedoms.
For more ideas, see Cato's Handbook for Policymakers.