– Forcing Congress to cite specific constitutional authority for acts. Damon Root points out that this is a tepid idea at best, but there’re ways to give it actual authority. Since Congress has wide authority over the lower federal courts, Congress could pass a law ordering the courts to only look at the specific grounds on which a challenged statute was justified by its authors. This would largely repeal the rational basis test, and be a boon to liberty.
– Posting bill online for three days before passing. I like sunshine, even if the President doesn’t. I’m hard pressed to think of any law that needs to go into action immediately. After our experiences with Hurricane Katrina, the Nashville Floods, and the Haitian earthquake, can anyone make a serious and credible argument that government action is an efficient, effective, nimble source for primary responses?
The lone exception is obviously declarations of war, but those aren’t “laws”, they’re resolutions which the Presidents asks Congress to approve. Just a technicality, but then again, who wouldn’t be aware of the resolution brewing for a few days beforehand? Even after 9/11, the most unanticipated attack since Pearl Harbor, it took three days for Congress to officially get the troops moving.
– After they flailed around so uselessly during the Obamacare debates, you’d think Republican strategists would have examined actual proposals for free-market fixes to the health care system. Instead, the pledge is just a warmed-over commitment to the same stupid policies they’re theoretically running against. Peter Suderman does a great job breaking down the similarities.
– Ignoring education spending and policy (because NCLB was a republican boner), and ignoring energy policy are obvious gaps, because Republicans have no serious policy agenda here, and no real commitment to free market forces.
– Sidestepping entitlement spending. Because it’s hard. Also, because most Republicans have no interest in cutting the real drivers of spending.
What I Would Have Liked:
Well, nothing. The Republicans are going to fall backasswards into electoral victory, and a slew of new, impressionable, and idealistic members will come to DC. They’ll need policy prescriptions, not have Trent Lott and his establishment ilk dripping poison in their ears.