Republicans are narrowly missing out on winning the House

Welfare reform. Damages reform. Tax reductions. Balanced budget

Gingrich’s plan envisioned an entirely new relationship between government and the people it governed, a fundamental rethinking of the way people interacted (and didn’t) with the federal bureaucracy.

On Friday, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy officially unveiled the “Pledge for America,” a not-so-subtle attempt to link his majority bid to what Gingrich built three decades ago.

A cursory examination of what McCarthy is actually proposing appears to be far less than what Gingrich has put on the table.

The plan is clear in its policy details. At an event in Pennsylvania to announce the framework, McCarthy said the first bill Republicans would take up if they win control of the House would be to cut funding for more IRS workers, which President Joe Biden signed into law.

That, I mean, sure, that’s something that’s going to make the Republican base happy. But compared to reforming the country’s welfare system? They feel like small potatoes, don’t they?

The same goes for another plank of McCarthy’s plan: ensuring that only women compete in women’s sports. A nice piece of red meat to throw at the base, but not exactly an overhaul of the way government engages with the public.

(Sidebar: For a party that apparently believes government should stay out of people’s lives, the decision to focus on regulating who can compete in sports is interesting.)

The “Go small” vision is all over the “Pledge for America.” And it’s a reflection of certain factors in today’s GOP.

1) The entire party, from Marjorie Taylor Green to a handful of other moderates, is an ordeal behind the scenes. This necessarily means that the proposals are narrower in scope than McCarthy would prefer.

2) Donald Trump’s takeover of the GOP has focused less on big policy prescriptions and more on small ideas that are often responses to things Democrats do or propose.

point: The House majority will not be won or lost based on the “Pledge to America.” That’s probably how McCarthy wants it. Broadening the platform protects him and his party from ill-advised attacks, while leaving them open to attacks on larger proposals, which carry the same risks.