IN SIMPLE TERMS
By BOBBIE McAULIFFE
Who crowned Newt Gingrich as the architect of the 1994 Contract With America? Wikipedia credits authorship of the CWA to Larry Hunter, who had worked in the Reagan White House and served as chief economist with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
He was “assisted” by a handful of House Republicans, including Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey, Tom Delay and John Boehner.
Part of the text in the contract came from President Reagan’s 1985 State of the Union address and many of the policies in the contract originated with the Washington Think Tank, the Heritage Foundation.
The CWA was unveiled a mere six weeks before the November 1994 elections, and certainly helped, but was not the real driver in the GOP success in taking over Capitol Hill that year.
The real driver was exposure of corruption in Washington that became known as the House Banking Scandal and the Congressional Post Office Scandal that ultimately resulted in more than 70 House members, mostly Democrats being forced to resign and criminal charges brought against several.
In the banking scandal the investigation revealed the House Bank was holding 20-something kited checks for Republican Minority Whip Newt Gingrich, who somehow escaped any charges, became Speaker of the House in January 1995 and is current POTUS candidate.
The exposure and investigation was started by a handful of freshman Republican House members elected in 1990. Among them were current Speaker of the House John Boehner and current POTUS candidate Rick Santorum.
Back to the Contract. There are a lot of people who are not fully informed, touting this project as a failure, but in reality it is not. The Contract was promises made by 1994 Republican candidates for election to the House of Representatives to the American people. The Senate was not a part of the contract. The House kept their promise to pass reforms in the first 100 days of the 104th Congress.
Although Republicans held a majority in the Senate, it takes 60 votes and not a simple majority to get anything passed in that body, so not all of the contract passed in that chamber. Example: Term limits on members of congress failed by one vote in the Senate and although Welfare Reform, first introduced by Rick Santorum when he was a House member then brought forward in the Contract, was vetoed twice by President Clinton before a compromise he would sign was passed in the House and the Senate.
Speaker Gingrich has revealed plans for a new Contract With America as part of his campaign to be the Republican nominee for POTUS 2012 that is not much different from the campaigns of other present candidates and candidates that have withdrawn, and most Republican candidates for U.S. Congress.
Voters in the upcoming primary elections, for POTUS and for Congress, should evaluate these issues, listen for other POTUS candidates positions on them, and in the next few months ask the Congressional candidates what their positions are. Discuss issues and candidates with your friends, neighbors and coworkers and get involved in your government.
If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.