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Why Republicans aren't signing the Contract From America

Stephanie Mencimer reports on the tea party-written, 10-principle pledge that was developed over four months (I was at an early planning meeting) but has met resistance from elected Republicans who want to draft their own sequel to the "Contract With America," the yet-unwritten Commitment to America.

"We totally are on board with what they did," [said Commitment to America spokesman Brendan Buck]. That doesn’t mean, of course, that his boss -- or any other GOP leader -- will actually sign their agenda. Buck explained that the contract is too narrow in focus, and not exactly what the party would include in its own top-10 list of priorities. "We just want to have as big and open process as we can," he said, while making sure to add, "The tea party people will have a seat at the table."

Candidates like Utah's Mike Lee have signed the Contract From America, as has Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). But this contract is both more specific and more frustratingly generalized than the Contract With America, which cobbled together a number of popular, achievable reforms. This, for example, is the Contract From America's tax position.

Adopt a simple and fair 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.

What are the odds that a Republican House, say, under President Obama, fails to do that? Pretty high.

Also, I was unaware of this new Tea Party Patriots iconography until clicking through.


By David Weigel  |  April 30, 2010; 8:48 AM ET
Categories:  Tea Party  
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