Magnolia Marketplace was in the 9th grade in the fall of 1994, so we had no idea then what the Contract with America meant. The only contract we worried about was negotiating a deal with the parents that would produce a vehicle that was all ours.
Sixteen years later, Republicans are dusting off the broad outline of its Contract with America and rebranding it as the Pledge to America. Different name (barely). Same principles (in fact, nearly identical).
Both plans were unveiled while there was a Democratic president in the White House who wasn’t very popular with anybody at the time, and when the economy wasn’t exactly blazing. Both seek to capitalize on voter fears and frustrations — whether they’re real or perceived — and stake Republicans to power in the halls of Congress. Both hit on general themes of fewer taxes and less government.
The Contract worked in 1994, launching the national political career of then-Rep. Roger Wicker and making current Gov. Haley Barbour, who was RNC head at the time, one of the most powerful and important members the GOP had seen since Ronald Reagan. He’s still considered such, probably more so than ever.
Predicting voter behavior isn’t easy, so who knows if the Pledge will prove as effective as the Contract. But you can be guaranteed that even though political winds will shift, they’ll eventually all blow in the same direction.