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A Contract for the American People

The editorial ``The GOP `Contract,' '' Sept. 29, criticized House Republicans' Contract With America. Of the three ``problems'' the editorial listed, the first two were self-contradictory. Supposedly, the first problem is the inability to promise ultimate victory: ``As Democrats can attest, having a majority in Congress does not mean legislation passes.''

However, the second ``problem'' is that merely proposing legislation is not sufficient either: ``Promising only to bring matters to votes, as [Rep. Newt] Gingrich [of Georgia] describes the contract's pledge, is realistic but also paints an effective pattern of political camouflage.''

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Finally, problem No. 3: ``The contract fails to serve the political interests of the signatories.'' Amazingly, House Republicans find themselves being indicted for not being self-serving.

Fortunately, House Republicans' Contract With America was written for the American people. The contract was written in response to a demand that we try to fundamentally change the way our nation works, or to many people's way of thinking - the way it doesn't. To succeed we must first try. And to ultimately succeed, perhaps we must fail on occasion.

If we and the American people were to follow the editorial's advice, we would have to concede that the citizens of a democracy are not able to change their own government. We could not propose, dispose, or even oppose, which hardly sounds like a democracy. Rep. Lamar Smith, Washington (R) of Texas