Monday, June 20, 2011

Pledge is for furniture

DustingCan someone explain to me why or how it has become some sort of litmus test for a candidate or legislator to sign a pledge?

The latest one has been issued by the Susan B. Anthony Foundation, an anti-choice group. Several of the Republican candidates signed it, but Romney and Cain refused. Cain cited his reason as that as President, he can’t advance legislation. Romney said that the pledge itself was flawed, with unforeseen consequences; that it’s one thing to defund Planned Parenthood, but entirely another to withdraw federal funding from hospitals all over the country for providing abortions to victims of incest or rape.

You all know me well enough to know that I am firmly and irrevocably pro-choice, and that I find the defunding of Planned Parenthood here in my state and in others to be harmful to women’s health (especially low income women). That is not the purpose of this entry. It’s no surprise that both candidates were attacked for their refusal to sign it, particularly Romney, considering his past pro-choice stance. It’s also no surprise that fellow candidates attacked him. That’s politics. I get it.

The other pledge that has been out there for some time is Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge. Norquist must have one hell of a blackmail file on all sorts of legislators, because over 200 Congressmen and 41 Senators have signed this agreement stating that they will not raise taxes unless such raises are accompanied by tax cuts in other areas. First of all, who the fuck is Grover Norquist? (That was a rhetorical question. I know who he is.) And why are so many people kowtowing to him and his stupid pledge? He doesn’t seem to have ever held elected office, and he is basically a conservative lobbyist. Yet somehow he twists enough arms (With what leverage? I have no idea.) to coerce people to sign his little pledge, and vilifies them if they don’t.

Senator Coburn of Oklahoma actually had the guts to stand up to the guy recently in a showdown over ending ethanol subsidies. Norquist had the nerve to say that ending $6 billion in ethanol subsidies amounted to a tax increase, and called for tax cuts elsewhere. The subsidy repeal passed the Senate, with 33 Republicans going against Norquist and voting yes to repeal. Let’s hope this is the beginning of the end of Norquist’s bizarre stranglehold over so many legislators.

Why anyone would commit to signing some sort of pledge (pushing ANY sort of agenda put forth by any group) is beyond me. We are in dire straits at the moment, and the unrealistic and illogical Republican adherence to no tax increases is incomprehensible. Every analysis I’ve read shows that the deficit can only be reduced with a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. BOTH. We’re not talking hiking the rates up to 90% (like they were under Eisenhower). Let’s just hike them on our highest earners by about 3%, okay? Let’s all have a dose of reality and understand that compromise happens in politics. It must, if anything is going to get done.

And jeez, grow some balls, politicians. Grover Norquist is not the boss of you. He’s a freakin’ lobbyist. I’m really amazed that I have to point this out to you. Your pledge is to uphold the Constitution, not to kiss the ass of a dude with a Muppet name.


  1. Hey, what do you have against Grover? :o)

  2. I think the pledges are mainly for PR purposes ... just so they can beat their chests and say "look what I signed." I'd rather see them just pledge to do what we elected them for: Run the country without all the posturing.

  3. It makes for good PR in the socio/political climate to take a populist stance. What kills me is that the voters who rally behind such rhetoric soon find themselves the ultimate victim of their own demands.

  4. Beth, love the title.:)

    Pledges are clever distractions.

    Though I think we need to look at our spending habits, our real problem is a revenue problem. The tax structure is allowing those that earn the most to shelter most of their their income from being taxed and going into our national revenue stream. If they don't want to be part of a society, and contribute to it, they shouldn't live in one. End of story. I don't have any wealthy friends;I wonder why?


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