The Lunacy of Signing a Pledge

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

With the Republican Presidential campaign now getting into full swing, we’re getting into the season of ludicrous pledges that organizations push candidates to sign, trying to guarantee progress on their issues.

The concept is very popular during primary season because organizations use these pledges to take advantage of candidates who are trying to prove they are party purebreds.

A recent pledge that has made news in the GOP Presidential primary is one that symbolizes the absolute lunacy of these pledges and why they only serve to hurt those who are pressured into signing them.

Rick Perry became the latest GOP contender to sign a pledge that if he is elected President, he will support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would define marriage between one man and one woman, and only appoint Supreme Court justices that would see the issue the same way.

Perry joins other GOP candidates, Michelle Bachman, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in signing the pledge.

First of all, even if these candidates feel that way about the gay marriage issue, to sign a pledge making such a commitment during their potential Presidential term is absolutely counterintuitive to democracy.

What if Rick Perry is elected to office and opinions across the United States continue to trend towards the acceptance of gay marriage? What if that general acceptance becomes an overwhelming majority? Is Perry to keep his word by bucking the notion held by the majority of Americans?

Or let’s offer this scenario, taking the opinions of Americans out of the picture. What if the very best conservative Supreme Court candidate happens to disagree with the GOP stance on gay marriage? Would rank and file Republicans prefer to lose the opportunity to have a perfect conservative judge because he or she didn’t fit the bill on one issue?

Not only does this particular pledge make little sense in the practical political world, it incites serious negative campaign ads from the left that will likely resonate with moderate, independent voters.

And one final reason why this pledge makes no sense for GOP contenders to sign, despite their personal view of the issue, is that the pledge represents just one more example of how GOP candidates are not focusing on economic issues, taking their eye off the ball the biggest issue to voters of all stripes.

I had dinner with my parents this weekend and as we discussed presidential politics, my father hit the nail on the head when he said it’s all about jobs, jobs, and jobs. For presidential candidates to spend time talking, or worse yet, pledging support on issues that have nothing to do with jobs, is asking for disaster.

If any candidate of any party is going to sign a pledge, I do have one that I think will appeal to voters everywhere.

“I __(candidate’s name here)___ hereby pledge that if I am elected President, I will think for myself. I will not make decisions based on silly promises made years ago, but rather take everything into account when considering a decision, and I will base that decision not on promises made to special interest groups, but on what is best for the citizens of the United States of America.”

About The Blogger

– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.


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