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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Of Pledges & Politics...

I pledge allegiance....to the notion of brevity.  At least, I will do my very best to maintain that pledge.  Perhaps it would be best to take back that pledge since I know good and well there may be a chance I won't keep to it.

Several other pledges have made it into the news.  Today, there was a bit of controversy as NBC opened up its coverage of the US Open golf tournament's final round with a patriotic bit.  Interspersed with other scenes, was a group of children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.  Well, except for the part where the children would have been saying the words "under God", which the NBC production team chose to edit out.

Later in the broadcast, the on-air host apologized for this "regrettable" oversight.  Perhaps it was inadvertant, a gliche.  Perhaps it is also inadvertant when the President skips over the "endowed by our Creator" language in the Declaration of Independence; or a gliche, maybe just an oversight.  "God" "Someone" knows the President doesn't have anybody to proofread his text when he speaks.  The fact that it happened on several occasions, I'm sure was just another gliche.

Earlier this week, there was a notable dispute between Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform over the Taxpayer Protection Pledge that many lawmakers have signed.  Signers promise to oppose any tax increase as well as “any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”

The issue is that Coburn is trying to make a deal on a bill that would eliminate $6 billion in Ethanol subsidies.  Norquist believes that eliminating these subsidies would be a de facto "tax increase" and would break the pledge without a corresponding revenue reduction.

Leave aside the fact that ethanol subsidies are a terrible waste of tax dollars, such a pledge would make it impossible to govern well.  I understand the principle involved in seeking to keep taxes low, but it ties the hands of our elected officials.  Whether it be ethanol, wind or solar power, if a subsidy is bad then eliminate it.  By adding preconditions to the ability to make good laws, we inhibit the process. 

Ronald Reagan, on more than one occasion was able to achieve passage of a large tax cut bill, then later passed another bill with smaller tax increases.  Under Norquist's reasoning, Reagan would have been either unable to govern as he did or considered a traitor to conservative principles.

In other pledge-related news, GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has refused to sign a pro-life pledge from the Susan B. Anthony list group.  Romney stated that his opposition to the pledge was due to some language regarding funding of abortion providers and their affiliated organizations, which he felt could be construed to hospital funding.  Naturally the SBA disputes this notion, but Romney's pledge still sits unsigned.  As pro-life/anti-abortion as anyone, I take no issue with Romney's refusal. 

The most important pledge any President or Senator or any other American must use to make decisions that affect this nation, is the Pledge of Allegiance.  Being pro-life isn't about signing a restrictive pledge, but it is about what actions can be taken to advance the sanctitiy of life.  Romney has stated that if elected, he will support any reversal of Roe v. Wade, he will support the Hyde Amendment and will reinstate the Mexico City Policy. 

These all stand in contrast to the current occupant of the White House, who ended the Mexico City Policy allowing American tax dollars to fund foreign abortion services and whose healthcare legislation attempts to work around the Hyde Amendment.

Perhaps the removal of the mention of God or a Creator from our national conversation is more than an oversight or a gliche.  Perhaps far from being inadvertant, Obama's omission of God is a larger part of why he is the most pro-abortion President this nation has ever had.  Looking at Romney's words and actions in this context makes this issue go away for those of us who want to see abortion ended.

If Romney's name is next to Obama's next November, I can tell you who I will vote for right now.  And you won't need to me to sign a pledge on that promise.

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