Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Help the Republican class of '94 keep its pledge!

Here's a blast from the past: remember the Contract With America? Briefly, the Contract was a short list of priorities that Republicans seeking to oust Democratic incumbents in 1994 offered up. It was well responded to: Democrats were tossed out in great numbers that year, with Republicans taking over both the House and the Senate. I was out of the country when this happened, so I don't remember the circus that I'm told surrounded it, but I do harbor a certain amount of regret for having missed it—it's like the same feeling you get when you find out you drove by a railroad crossing five minutes too late to see a train plow into a stalled car: you didn't want to see it, but on the other hand, there's a bloody fascination to it at the same time.

Anyway, Item 10 on the Contract With America was called the Citizen Legislature Act, which proposed that all legislators be held to a maximum of twelve (12) years' service in government. It never became law, but the Citizen Legislature Act was a principle that these congresspeople got elected on, telling the voters that it was high time to boot out the entrenched (Democratic) incumbents and get some fresh faces in office. Admirable, huh?

Despite that, there are plenty of legislators who ran on the Contract With America in 1994—that's 12 years ago!—who are running for reëlection this year, thus exceeding their election pledge to stop at twelve years. Man! A broken campaign promise! Doesn't that just make you mad? Vote them out!

To help you out, here are the names of the Representatives who made this promise:

Charles Bass, NH-02
Steve Chabot, OH-01
Tom Davis, VA-11
Mark Foley, FL-16
Rodney Frelinghuysen, NJ-11
Gil Gutknecht, MN-01
Doc Hastings, WA-04
J.D. Hayworth, AZ-08
John Hostettler, IN-09
Walter Jones, NC-03
Sue Kelly, NY-19
Ray LaHood, IL-18
Tom Latham, IA-04
Steven LaTourette, OH-14
Sue Myrick, NC-09
Robert Ney, OH-18
Charlie Norwood, GA-09
George Radanovich, CA-19
John Shadegg, AZ-03
Mac Thornberry, TX-13
Todd Tiahrt, KS-04
Dave Weldon, FL-15
Jerry Weller, IL-11
Ed Whitfield, KY-01
Roger Wicker, MS-01

Here are the senators elected that year who made the same pledge:

Mike DeWine, OH
Jon Kyl, AZ
Rick Santorum, PA
Olympia Snowe, ME
Craig Thomas, WY

All of these Republican Contract With America candidates are seeking reëlection! Of course, there were others elected in 1994 seeking reëlection this year who did not make this pledge, but they're not on they hypocrite list. Republican Representative Phil English, PA-3, comes to mind. While I'm no fan of Mr. English, I can't call him a hypocrite, since he didn't make this promise. I'd like to see English out of office, too, but the hypocrite alert applies to the congresspeople listed above, not him.

So, citizens, it's your civic duty to keep your government honest, no matter what. Simply by running to serve in excess of twelve years, the above hypocrites are breaking their promise and living that lie, whether they win or lose. The best thing to do is to make sure they lose, so they'll be kept at least a little bit honest. Because if they'll break such a basic promise, who knows what other promises they'll break? If these congresspeople are currently representing you in Congress, help them break the addiction to incumbency that they ran against in 1994 and vote them out. Voting them out will help you, and it will help them. You owe it to your country.

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