Powerful lobbyists, PACs, etc… have candidates sign pledges to do a whole range of things, from refusing to raise taxes to oppose abortion at any cost to emphasizing their own marriage vows. In every case, it’s ridiculous – it is the opposite of mature, intelligent thought and you can argue that it’s antithetical to the Constitution and to their oath of office.
In the oath of office, Congress members “swear to protect and defend the Constitution” and “well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office”. Nowhere in the oath or in the Constitution is there a part where it says you should pledge your undying allegiance to a lobbyist or to a general principle, regardless of how that affects the rest of the country. It’s absurd that it’s allowed, far more absurd that it’s a common and acceptable practice.
One of the key pledges that caused so much stress in the past couple of months while the Tea Party and other irresponsible Republicans held a gun to the nation’s head, nearly forcing the first default in our history, putting the nation’s credit rating in great jeopardy (it still is), and wasting valuable time arguing about something completely specious rather than fixing the nation’s actual problems, is Grover Norquist’s tax pledge. Norquist, who heads a group called Americans for Tax Reform, convinces nearly every Republican in the House and Senate (even at the local level) to sign his pledge which states that they will oppose every single potential tax increase and every single instance where a tax deduction will be removed.
That’s right. Like brainless zombies, nearly every Republican has vowed in a written pledge to oppose a collection of policies regardless of their effect on the country. If there were a law that was able to promise eternal peace with a 1% tax hike on the wealthiest 1% of Americans, it wouldn’t be able to get through Congress due to Republican opposition. Either that, or they’d have to go against their pledge, and then Norquist would make absolutely certain that that Congress member will lose their seat. Makes sense, right?