To run for office as a Republican in 2010 was to make many, many, many promises.
The promise tour typically began with sit-downs in 2009 at Tea Party meetings and town halls, where conservative activists put you on the record about the 16th Amendment, the Federal Reserve, and about 100 other things you had to study up on. The tour continued as some of these groups put their pledges into writing, and put them on the stack of conservative pledges—Americans for Tax Reform's no-tax pledge, the Death Tax Repeal pledge, pro-life pacts—that Republicans have been signing for years. A comprehensive listing of every promise every Republican candidate agreed to would take up the entire Internet, but these two documents are a good place to start: the grassroots Contract From America and the Republican Pledge to America.
Will they fulfill their promises? That's what the Don't-Tread-on-Meter is for. It will track the progress (or lack thereof) of the Republican House of Representatives, and the Republican conference in the Senate, in fulfilling the promises they made to Tea Party activists. Scores range from 0 to 100, and we start today with the meter at 5, as the House is about to read the Constitution aloud and agree to rules that fulfill an essential part of every Tea Party pledge, spelled out in the Pledge to America: "We will adhere to the Constitution and require every bill to cite its specific Constitutional Authority."
The meter will hit 100 if and when the GOP does absolutely everything it promised.
Bloggingheads Video: Ben Smith and David Weigel on the GOP Mandate To Cut Entitlements