Freshmen and Principles: The Contract as Mission
The GOP’s 1994 “Contract with America” created a mission statement upon which conservative Republicans could declare a meeting of their minds. It included organizational reform for Congress, as well as a policy platform couched in the language of conservative principles. House Republicans used the Contract in an instrumental sense as a vehicle to enhance unity of purpose. Enhanced agreement made it easier for Contract proponents to portray policy planks in the Contract platform as fundamental principles. In a sense, conservative House Republicans came to understand principles as ideals with wide support among conservative ideologues.