"But they're the party of small government, right? Well, the pledge lacks specifics on spending cuts. Defense is off the table. Medicare and Social Security remain untouched. Those are the big-ticket items. Budget-cutters who avoid those areas simply aren't serious. The GOP does call for a spending freeze on most government programs (not affecting the elderly or veterans or the military), saving an estimated $100 billion. That's great. The deficit this year will top $1.3 trillion."
"The overall thrust of the Pledge is a call for smaller and more limited government, but within limits. Republicans have embraced many of the easy proposals - easy in the sense that they are broadly popular within their coalition. They include extending all of President George W. Bush's tax cuts and overturning Obama's health-care law. But a paragraph halfway through the Pledge sums up the limits of the Republicans' willingness to wade into controversial territory."