Jonathan Bernstein is dumbfounded:
[W]hat really struck me as I went through it the first time was the foreign policy section, which is...how should I say this...amateurish and pathetic. What's the current Republican foreign policy? Stripping out the immigration stuff from that section of the document, what remains is (1) Gitmo; (2) Missile defense; and (3) threatening Iran. That's it. Iraq and Afghanistan are referred to once, in passing. There's nothing at all about what the United States should do in those nations. Nothing about Pakistan. Nothing about Russia, or China (China at least gets one mention, in the context of the deficit). Nothing about Europe. The rest of the world? Obviously not.
[W]ith all of the huffing and puffing we have heard - and indeed continue to hear - from conservatives about Obama's "appeasement" of Iran, are these same critics thus satisfied by a short and simple pledge to enforce "tough sanctions against Iran"? I believe this demonstrates just how easy it is to be one of the two main political party on the outs in the United States. Ideological rigidity, or, in the specific case of Iran, radical statements about preparing for a regime change, make for good soundbites and exchanges on the Sunday morning shows, but they don't resemble, as far as I can tell, the actual Republican plan for governance regarding the Islamic Republic - and that's a good thing. All this could change, of course, in 2012 ...
Had the Republicans been able to produce a more substantive governing document, they would have made it harder for Democrats to demagogue.
There's one bright spot in the GOP's "pledge." No where are their any promises, euphemistic or otherwise, to ensure that torturous "enhanced interrogation techniques" are used again. Although having attacked Obama for months over ending torture, it begs the question of why, if torture is so important to national security, Republicans haven't put it in their policy platform. It's almost as if they were willing to lionize torture just to make the administration look bad.
Republicans keep running on platforms consisting of specified measures to increase the deficit and unspecified pledges to reduce it. Inevitably, they fail to reduce it. Then the party faithful decide the problem was leaders who lacked true conviction, and so the new leaders promise to mend their ways. Then they do the same thing all over again.
To be honest, this document is designed to make GOP base voters happy, which is fine as far as that goes. It is, after all, a campaign pamphlet (granted, a long one). It is not, however, a real blueprint for policy. Instead it amounts to pledges for themes popular with the base: tax cuts, vague spending cuts, repeal of health care reform, and symbolic (not to mention bogus) promises to read bills and ensure their constitutionality