I pledge not to pledge!

Other than The Pledge of Allegiance, I know of no pledges worth taking.

For the life of me, I fail to understand the phenomena of committing to pledges as the latest iteration of the dreaded political litmus test.  Few of the Republican Presidential hopefuls show the backbone or willingness to be a LEADER!  It has gotten to the point where I am forced to agree with a Liberal scribe, such as Karen Heller of The Philadelphia Inquirer, whose Wednesday column reflects my own growing frustration with spine-ophobia.

It is time to begin looking with jaundiced eye at any candidate who feels compelled to kowtow to every political group looking to push a narrow, unyielding agenda.  The trend is growing beyond the point of disturbing.  Is winning in the Iowa caucuses really worth losing any claim to being a strong, independent leader?!?

Don’t get me wrong.  I agree with the underlying premise of some of the more popular pledges.  Others however, like Rick Santorum’s public pledge to remain faithful to one’s wife, are simply silly and capricious.  If we honestly admit to NEEDING such a pledge, then the problem is magnitudes larger than the objectives of all pledges combined.  In reality what we are saying is, “We no longer TRUST you, Mr./Mrs. OfficeSeeker, to use your judgement and do the right thing!”  And that to me, says much more about the shallowness of our expectations than it does the worthiness of any candidate.

And what might we expect in the way of governance from candidates who so willingly allow narrow political agendas to bind their feet so tightly as to make compromise impossible?  Currently over half of the entire House of Representatives has signed Grover Norquist‘s call for no tax increases. 

At this particular time, how does that further the interests of The Country?  Does anyone really believe that with skyrocketing national debt and the sacrifices being made on Main Streets throughout The Country, that taxes on the richest cannot ever be raised? 

The concept of republican government requires compromise.  Without it no progress can be made towards the true goals and interests of the country.  There are plenty of areas on both sides where compromise can and should be made.  But binding one’s feet only guarantees nothing can be done.      

At least ONE candidate has refused to prostrate himself before the pledge seekers.  Jon Huntsman, the former Ambassador to China, has steadfastly refused to take any pledges other than The Pledge of Allegiance and his marital pledge to his wife.  Interesting that he didn’t seem to need anyone to force him to sign for the latter!

That’s a breath of fresh air!

2 thoughts on “I pledge not to pledge!

  1. I am in agreement with the CM’s post for the most part. However, I am also good with pledging to not raise taxes. What is wrong with the GOP making our stands somewhere, the other side does often and is lauded for their commitment in the liberal, willing press. I don’t see the “richest” in our society as the enemy or the deepest well for funds to float us out of our financial bind.

    Let us spend some real time cutting the waste and the incredibly generous programs so many are tethered to in this country. Some people are truly in need and should be helped, that is a great tradition of the Judeo-Christian ethic this country was founded on, but these truly needy don’t number in the millions. Anectdotally, do students who arrive in school via Range Rovers driven by Moms with Louis Vitton handbags really need free meals at school? (an observation reported to me by a small business owner I know). Likewise, I think massive industries and their subsidizes need to be throttled back where possible.

    Just saying……


    • Certainly, the “raise no taxes” objective fits with BOTH our philosophies in general. My problem with taking a pledge that essentially locks you into an intractable position is that it leaves you no room for manuvering. The way it stands right now, If the Dems agreed to every cost reduction measure the Reps demanded but included a reasonable tax increase for people making over $1 million a year, it would be rejected because of re-election fears (the real threat behind every so-called pledge) on “the pledgers” side.

      Again, I’m not condoning the need to raise those taxes. My point is that “the pledgers” leave themselves no room to bring this issue to a solution, even if they get EVERYTHING else they wanted. I just don’t see it as governance. I see it as politicians doing what they think they need to do to ensure their own re-election, nothing more. I don’t see what’s wrong with maintaining a reasonable philosophy on “no tax increases” while at the same time allowing for reasonable compromise, not matter how distasteful and bitter a pill it is to swallow, and assuming you’re getting real, valuable concessions in exchange.

      In my opinion, it’s selfish politicians, allowing themselves to be manipulated by political groups into legislative corners all for the promise of an easier re-election. That’s not governing!

      I assume you agree that signing a pledge stating that one will stay loyal to one’s spouse is a bit ridiculous.


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