During a speech in Bedford, NH today, Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani spoke about his 12 point reform agenda for America. The campaign through a press release said that Giuliani’s 12 commitments, not to be confused with the Ten Commandments mind you, are based on the principles of giving people, “more freedom, more power, and more responsibility over their own lives, while protecting our nation, strengthening our economy, and improving the quality of life.” The candidate himself said, “I believe America solves its problems best from strength, not weakness, and from optimism, not pessimism. My Twelve Commitments are a promise to this generation and generations to come that we will keep the American dream alive. I believe it’s the kind of leadership and common sense accountability the American people need in Washington.”

Let’s look at the 12 Commitments, (my comments are in italics).

1. I will keep America on offense in the Terrorists’ War on Us. (Of course you will, and so will every other candidate out there).
2. I will end illegal immigration, secure our borders, and identify every non-citizen in our nation.
3. I will restore fiscal discipline and cut wasteful Washington spending.
4. I will cut taxes and reform the tax code.
5. I will impose accountability on Washington.
6. I will lead America towards energy independence (and so will everyone else running for president).
7. I will give Americans more control over, and access to, healthcare with affordable and portable free-market solutions (a.k.a health savings accounts for all).
8. I will increase adoptions, decrease abortions, and protect the quality of life for our children (Please forget the fact that I am pro choice).
9. I will reform the legal system and appoint strict constructionist judges (every GOP candidate says this).
10. I will ensure that every community in America is prepared for terrorist attacks and natural disasters. (I should hope so. Otherwise you wouldn’t be a very good president).
11. I will provide access to a quality education to every child in America by giving real school choice to parents. (He is talking about school vouchers here).
12. I will expand America’s involvement in the global economy and strengthen our reputation around the world.

He is the problem with the 12 commitments. It is a bunch of generic bull. All this campaign did was rip-off the Contract with America format, and neuter it until it became a cocktail of inoffensive bland generalities. Giuliani says he is going to talk about this all summer, but I doubt that serious details are coming any time soon. These are his 12 talking points. The points are so vague that more than half of them have already been used in the campaigns of the top Democrats. His education promise is a voucher system. The problem with a federal voucher system is that federal government doesn’t spend much on education. They aren’t really involved. Education has always been a local/state matter. In fact, in most states, the federal government accounts for just 3% of all public school spending.

The federal government only spends about $50 billion a year on public education. This obviously won’t be enough for a voucher program, so he is either going to have to create an expensive federal program, and bureaucracy to administer it, which will take power away from the state and local governments, or the program will have to be very small. When you look beneath the rhetoric, what he is advocating here is bigger government, with more federal control. This doesn’t seem very conservative to me. It seems like a continuation of the path we are currently on under George W. Bush. Instead of making him look like a visionary, his 12 commitments make him look like a candidate with no new ideas, and nothing to say.

Giuliani campaign press release

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics

Jason can also be heard every Sunday at 6:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse
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