The Pledge of a Grievance


STERLING, Va. — House Republicans on Thursday officially unveiled what they hope will be a majority-making agenda at a Virginia hardware store warehouse.

The agenda, “A Pledge to America,” calls for a series of reforms, including cutting the size of the federal government, to try to put the country back on a path to prosperity. The agenda, months in the making, only lightly touches on divisive social issues.

Original DVD cover

Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio), Whip Eric Cantor (Va.), Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.), Chief Deputy Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) Conference Vice Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rogers [sic] (Wash.), and Reps. Peter Roskam (Ill.), Frank Wolf (Va.), Jason Chaffetz (Utah), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Mac Thornberry (Texas), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) and Jeb Hensarling (Texas) were on hand for the formal release of the document inside Tart Lumber Co. Inc.

Republican aides said the store was an example of a small business that would be hurt if the George W. Bush tax cuts were allowed to expire at the end of the year.

From Dana Milbank at The Washington Post:

It took the Republicans just three minutes to violate their “Pledge to America.”

In a lumberyard near Dulles Airport on Thursday morning, House Republicans handed out copies of the Pledge, which, among other things, promises to rein in an “arrogant and out-of-touch government of self-appointed elites.”

Yet moments after taking the stage to face the cameras, GOP leaders appointed themselves arrogant elites. They compared themselves to the Founding Fathers and likened their actions at Tart Lumber to the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) told the reporters that he would speak slowly and with clarity, “just as John Hancock boldly signed his name to the Declaration of Independence so even Britain’s King George could read it.”

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) then read passages from the Pledge that paraphrase the Declaration:ย  “Every American citizen is endowed with certain rights from their creator. When our government charts a course that endangers those rights, the people – indeed, the people! – have the right to demand a new agenda from their government.”

The 45-page booklet explaining the Pledge contains archaic fonts reminiscent of the founding texts, and it is filled with random snippets of historical phrases such as “consent of the governed” and “bearing true faith and allegiance.” The Republicans illustrated their own importance with a full-page photo of Mount Rushmore facing a full-page photo of Rep. Rob Wittman (Va.) working at a meat counter.


“We pledge to uphold the model for our country our founders envisioned, a grander America, the exception among the nations of the Earth, where promise of liberty refreshes the hopes of mankind,” exulted McCarthy, who designed the Pledge.

Yet for all the grandiosity, the document they released is small in its ambition. The policy goals they cited were banal (“Support the troops! Fight the terrorists!), and their prescriptions were often narrow and procedural (regular votes on proposed regulations).


Getting rid of earmarks? Not in the Pledge. Dealing with the millions of illegal immigrants in this country? Not in the Pledge. Reforming Social Security and Medicare? Not in the Pledge. And when it comes to social issues such as marriage and abortion, “we are not going to be any different than what we’ve been,” Boehner asserted.

When it comes to the really tough problems, all the minority leader would say is that “it’s time for us as Americans to have an adult conversation with each other.” But an adult conversation was not to be had at Tart Lumber. Instead came a collection of campaign slogans aimed at President Obama: “tyranny . . . future hangs in the balance . . . road to bankruptcy . . . disastrous policies of the current administration.”

The lawmakers lost more altitude with their awkward regular-guy routine. They eschewed neckties, and most rolled up their shirt sleeves. Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), chairman of the House Republican Conference, arrived wearing suit pants but changed to khakis before facing the cameras. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah) wore blue jeans. Boehner, a heavy smoker, appeared to be chewing gum on stage, then rushed outside for a smoke.


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27 responses to “The Pledge of a Grievance

  1. So, maybe Boehner’s face is nicotine-stained, too?

    Jon Stewart pointed out the Democrats’ problem right now. Obama ran as a visionary and performs as a functionary. That and I’ll add the obvious: a democratic majority is not a democratic majority because of all the conservative democrats.

    The Republicans are as batshit crazy as ever.

  2. jeb

    The amazing thing is that it took them 45 pages to recycle the same bullshit they’ve always been selling. Too many business courses extolling the virtue or repackaging and marketing the same substandard turds they tried to sell in the “Contract on America.”

  3. Comment went into vapor lock-try again..

  4. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Pledge of a Grievance ยซ HYSTERICAL RAISINS --

  5. Thats better. Boner is going to get a NYT story about fooling around with a printing lobbyist- ink on the dink! Wish that bunch of slacker punks could have watched me load an upright piano in the moving container today by myself. Rolled up sleeves indeed!

    • that’s very odd, jerry, that a comment got lost. they usually wind up in the spam filter or somewhere i can find them, but there wasn’t a trace, so i couldn’t rescue it. wordpress had a boo-boo earlier tonight.

      i read about boohoo and the lobbyist. this is from huffpo:

      [UPDATE: Boehner spokesman Michael Steel tells HuffPost Hill, “It is deeply disappointing that even a scandal-mongering rag like the NY Post prints โ€˜bull(bleep)โ€™ when the spokesman clearly said itโ€™s โ€˜bullshit.โ€™”]

      ummm, isn’t the ny post owned by a certain mr. rupie murdoch? ๐Ÿ˜†

      an upright piano? i’m impressed. one day i’ll tell you the ridiculous story of an upright piano i once owned. too much typing for this late at night.

      • Agreed! Fatigue setting in on my 10/1 deadline. When I unload the old Storey & Clark in a couple of weeks, I’ll need to hear the story for sure. I always imagine a scene like the old Laurel & Hardy piano mover short when they fight it up that long series of steps only to get all the way to the top and have it break loose flying back down the steps. Funny stuff.

        • remind me, and i’ll tell you the story.

          hey, jerry, something is driving me crazy today (like that’s different from any other day). do you remember when boohoo boehner pronounced hyperbole as ‘hyper bowl’? i could have sworn that i made a graphic for that. i think it was from a superbowl image. do you remember seeing something like that? i’ve looked and looked, and i can’t find it anywhere. i don’t know if i imagined it, or if i’m just going nuts.

  6. At least the GOP knows how to recycle their ideas. Now if they’d learn to recycle everything else…

  7. Joanaroo

    Oh, for Chrissakes, these asses comparing themselves to the foundlng fathers is the biggest load of horse manure! How especially interesting that the hardware place is called Tart Lumber. I’m sure many a tart has seen GOP morning wood!

    • i don’t think it’s a coincidence that rethugs are suddenly all comparing themselves to the founding fathers. remember how sharron the obtuse angle said she was just like thomas jefferson? of course, princess sarah would be just like the founding fathers, but she’s way too busy being william shakespeare. ๐Ÿ™„

      • Sarah is a disciple of Saint Ronnie-
        Viva deregulation!

        • she’s a disciple of whatever will get her more money. she’s neither smart enough nor intellectually curious enough to understand anything she’s told to support. any understanding she has of anything is purely superficial. that’s why she won’t do any interviews with real reporters or allow anyone in her audiences to ask an unscreened question.

  8. โ€œwe are not going to be any different than what weโ€™ve been,โ€ Boehner asserted.

    Jon Stewart quipped: I believe that is a promise they CAN keep.

    Any idiot can figure out there is nothing new there.

    John Bonehead said the same shit – word for word. It was fun to watch old clips.
    Cut the crap John, why not just have the conference @ the Golf Course?
    From the bar @ the elite country club house???

    • the only publication that’s come out in favor of this bullshit is the national review. the rethugs had a deal with them beforehand that they would say how astounding the damned thing is. now, when anyone describes it as being the useless pablum that it is, the rethugs point to the national review and say that a respectable (yeah, right) publication says it’s the bees’ knees.