When Americans are exposed and subjected to full, unbridled progressivism they always push back.
The Carter Administration rode into Washington on a wave of optimism as Americans placed their trust in a little known outsider to clean up the mess of Watergate and its aftermath. Four years later, the mistrust of the Nixon years had settled into the malaise of the Carter years. Americans were exhausted, discouraged, their confidence spent on four years of empty promises and progressive policies that drained the life out of the lifeblood of the country. When the still-wet-behind-the-ears U.S. hockey team defeated the fearsome Russians on the ice in Lake Placid, an entire country let out a yell that was a combination of the thrill of victory and the pent up frustration of a people who had lost confidence in themselves and desperately needed a reason to cheer.
Ronald Reagan won a landslide victory in 1980 and in 1984. His eight years of steady, conservative leadership restored the confidence and pride Americans had lost during the Carter years. America was back with a much lower tax burden and a fired up economic engine that produced the growing 80s and the roaring 90s.
While Americans were bolstered by the ability to keep more of their hard-earned money, the money pit known as Washington just kept right on piling up the debt. The national debt grew under both of Reagan's terms. It continued to grow under George H.W. Bush and under the first four years of Bill Clinton's leadership. But in 1994, conservatives took over the House of Representatives for the first time in fifty years. They forced President Clinton's hand and steered America into its first budget surplus in decades.
Republicans won back the Presidency in 2000 (barely) and held on by a thread to the Senate and the House. The recession that began during the last 18 months of the Clinton Administration took hold under President Bush. The Bush tax cuts restarted the economic engine of freedom as the government allowed small businesses and average Americans to keep more of the money they earned. But then 9/11 happened and the United States was plunged into a new kind of war with a new kind of enemy. Spending skyrocketed, and not just because of the war. The Bush Administration liked spending money and they went on a spending spree that included massive new spending on education and a Medicaid and Medicare supplement program that added billions to the national debt.
Americans were nervous but the housing bubble had yet to burst and the stock market was making a lot of ordinary people rich. Then, Fannie and Freddie went belly up and the housing market collapsed. Years of pressure being brought to bear on lending agencies through the Community Reinvestment Act led us to the brink of an economic collapse not seen since the Great Depression. The Bush Administration panicked and gave us TARP. John McCain left the 2008 campaign trail and went to Washington to take a stand against TARP. He missed a golden opportunity to show real leadership and instead of standing firm and looking presidential, he folded like soft taco sealing the election for Senator Obama. In the middle of the worst financial crisis in 80 years, Americans bought into the optimistic cheerleading of an inexperienced community organizer from Chicago.
So here we are, nineteen months, three trillion dollars and a Tea Party later hoping Republicans have learned their lesson well enough to stop being Republicans and start being conservative statesmen who will make the hard decisions necessary to pull this country out of the mire of debt and immorality before we sink out of sight.
And make no mistake, this is the very last chance for Republicans to prove they are more than just "progressive light." That is why the Pledge to America, which isn't perfect and doesn't go far enough, but definitely represents a good start, has to be followed to the letter. If Republicans regain the majority and clean the House and the Senate of the likes of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and then forget why they won, they will be tossed overboard like tea bags in Boston Harbor.
The Pledge to America promises to repeal and replace Obamacare. It promises to give real, permanent tax relief to small businesses. The Pledge calls for a return to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout spending levels. Republicans promise to establish a hard cap on new discretionary spending and to end TARP once and for all. The Pledge contains a promise that every bill debated in Congress will be published online for at least three days before coming up for a vote. Every piece of legislation will have a "adhere to the Constitution" statement that will demonstrate the constitutional validity of the bill. The borders will be closed and national security will once again become an adult conversation.
On the social front, the Pledge promises to protect marriage, support the traditional family, and stand for the sanctity of life. All of these are very important because as dire as our financial situation is, we will not climb out of the hole we are in if we leave behind the moral issues. Pulling ourselves up by the rope of responsibility requires character. Character comes from standing on the foundation of God's Word without compromise or condition. Marriage is between one man and one woman. Life begins at conception and should be protected from the womb to the tomb. The day we walk away from these principles is the day the protection of God will be taken away from us.
It looks like Americans might be ready to give Republicans one more chance. If so, we have to keep our word. If not, the GOP will become a sad footnote in America's history.