It used to be that a sworn oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution was the only promise required to become president. But that no longer seems to be enough for a growing number of Republican interest groups, who are demanding that presidential candidates sign pledges shackling them to the corners of conservative ideology. Many candidates are going along, and each pledge they sign undermines the basic principle of democratic government built on compromise and negotiation.
But iron-clad promises were just what the most rigid Republican ideologues wanted. They had seen too many presidents — specifically Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush — bend when confronted by a complex national reality. Both those presidents agreed to new taxes and some Republicans said they did not fight hard enough to outlaw abortion or cut spending to the point where government was unrecognizable. In other words, they compromised a bit, to keep divided government from destroying itself. Washington, the ideologues decided, corrupted true conservatives into moderates.
More was needed to keep them in line, which gave birth to the signed pledge — no more enforceable than a spoken promise, but a politician’s actual signature was seen as more binding. [...]
Guess whose name comes up in the next sentence. Hint: rhymes with Grover Norquist.
Politicians' words aren't worth much, whether they sign their names or swear on a stack of bibles. Neither is ideological purity when it comes up against reality. Reality? Oh, that's the world most people in. Means nothing in politics, where 'reality' is the next election.
That pledge is the single biggest reason the federal government is now on the edge of default.
Someone needs to tell the pols that their signatures and rigid ideology are the problem, and tell Groober to take his goddam 'pledge' and shove it up his ass.
Only one candidate, Jon Huntsman Jr., has refused to sign any pledge, saying he owes allegiance to his flag and his wife. It is refreshing in a field of candidates who have forgotten the true source of political power in America.
In theory, but short of 'rebellion' or an 'uprising' such as we are seeing the beginning of in some states, the true source of political power in America is the Koch Bros and their ilk.
¡Viva la revolucion!