Newt’s Plan to Save Congressional Republicans

As regular readers know, I have a kind of love/hate thing with Newt Gingrich.

He is one of the few voices arguing strongly against the continuation of (corrupt and inefficient) business as usual among the Republicans.

Today he yet again makes the case on his website that the Republicans (especially The House members) need an entire re-think:  agenda, tone, style, focus.  Agreed.  [h/t The Hill for link].

But the platform he proposes that they run on is um, different. It consists of 9 proposals.

1. Repeal the gas tax for the summer, and pay for the repeal by cutting domestic discretionary spending

Following in the McCain-Clinton pander express.  Not good.

2. Redirect the oil being put into the national petroleum reserve onto the open market.

Really not smart.  He claims it would reduce gas $0.05/gallon and “lower the deficit”.  Assuming those numbers are legit–which on the face of it seems questionable–reducing the price of gas encourages the kind of behavior you don’t want.  You want the market moving towards post-carbon technologies.

4. Establish an earmark moratorium for one year and pledge to uphold the presidential veto of bills with earmarks through the end of 2009.

Alright.  I’m no fan of earmarks but as compared to the budgetary issues of defense spending–and no Iraq doesn’t count as “supplemental” to the budget thank you very much–this is quite literally spending dollars to save pennies.

Then some more random conservative bromides about (#9) strict constructionist (aka “non-activist”) judges, making English the official language (#7 and goodbye Latino vote for the Republicans).

Now numbers five and six are really where it’s at.

5. Overhaul the census and cut its budget radically. The recent announcement that the Census Bureau could not build an effective hand-held computer for $1.3 billion and is turning instead to 600,000 temporary workers to do a paper and pencil census in 2010 is an opportunity to slash its budget, shrink its bureaucracy, and turn to entrepreneurial internet-based companies to build an information-age census. This is an absurdity that cries out for bold, decisive reform (see my YouTube video “FedEx versus federal bureaucracy” for an example of what I mean).

6.Implement a space-based, GPS-style air traffic control system. The problems of the Federal Aviation Administration are symptoms of a union-dominated bureaucracy resisting change. If we implemented a space-based GPS-style air traffic system we would get 40% more air travel with one-half the bureaucrats. The union has stopped 200,000,000 passengers from enjoying more reliable air travel to protect 7,000 obsolete jobs. This real change would allow the millions of frustrated travelers to have champions in congress trying to help them get places better, safer, faster.

I’m totally down with #5.  #6 sounds intelligent enough (unless of course you’re one of those 7,000 people whose jobs will become obsolete I suppose).

But Holy Wonkery Batman, if this Nerd-Alert Agenda is the best they can muster up, they gonna be in trouble.

So while I like some of those last ones, I’m not really sure “F–K the Census, Vote Miller” is gonna be the most effective campaign slogan.   Though it would be quiet unique; I’d like it anyway.

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Published in: on May 6, 2008 at 2:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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