(Ronald Kessler/NewsMax) – The Tea Party Patriots launched their Contract from America in a nationwide effort to make Washington more accountable to conservative principles.
At a Conservative Political Action Conference press briefing, FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey; Sen. Jim DeMint, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform; and members of the Tea Party Patriots, the National Taxpayers Union, Liberty Central, and Regular Folks United joined grass-roots activists to announce plans for a final document to be unveiled on April 15.
It will list 10 grass-roots-generated policy pillars that candidates of either party will be asked to subscribe to in order to bring about economic and government reform and win the votes of tea party activists.
“We started this to give every American the opportunity to make a difference and to tell elected officials that it’s now time for them to listen to the people,” said Ryan Hecker of the Tea Party Patriots, who came up with the idea of a contract that originates with the people.
Norquist emphasized that the contract can be employed when evaluating local as well as national candidates.
“We also see this as a way to help unite the tea party movement and transform it from a purely protest movement to one calling for proactive and positive reform,” Hecker said.
Dick Armey described the tea party movement as riding on a “tidal wave of patriotism.” He noted that the movement is “leaderless, which is baffling to liberals.” With some pride, he observed that the president of the United States makes jokes about the tea party movement.
“The Democrats’ attitude is sit down and shut up,” Armey said. While the Contract from America is intended to enlist both Democrats and Republicans, he said, “I have no illusions that Democrats will treat it with anything but scorn.”
Beginning in September of last year, more than 100,000 Americans submitted ideas for the contract at ContractFromAmerica.org. After debate, the list was narrowed to 22. Nationwide voting now begins to narrow the list to ten solutions. Voting will be open for a month.
At the next round of tea parties on April 15, the 10 winning solutions comprising the Contract from America will be unveiled. Candidates and elected officials from both parties will be asked to sign the contract, committing themselves to the goals it outlines.
Here are the 22 proposed solutions:
• Stop the Tax Hikes
• Demand a Balanced Budget
• Commit to Government Transparency
• Protect Freedom of the Press
• Protect the Constitution
• Protect Private Property Rights
• Pass Real Healthcare Reform
• Reject Cap and Trade
• Sunset Regulations and Enact Fundamental Regulatory Reform
• No Czar Regulation Without Representation
• End Runaway Government Spending
• No More Bailouts
• Let Us Save
• Audit the Fed
• Let Us Watch
• Stop the Pork
• Protect Internet Freedom
• Enact Fundamental Tax Reform
• Pass an ‘All of the Above’ Energy Policy
• Stop Career Politicians and Curb Lobbyist Power
• Give Parents More Choices in the Education of Their Children
• Restore Fiscal Responsibility and Constitutionally Limited Government
“The goal of this document is to create the biggest tent around economic conservatism as possible,” Hecker said. “This is a bottom-up document. It is from the people, and that is a very powerful idea.”
(Mr. Kessler received the first Robert Novak Journalist of the Year Award at this year’s CPAC)