Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

It's Treason! Well, not really.

Treason is a pretty strong word but hopefully it got your attention.  I want to write about written pledges of elected officials.  I don't care what political party they belong to, but to pledge to anything other than the constitution they have sworn to uphold is a clear violation of that oath.  There is a difference between a political belief and swearing to do or not to do something. 


Fifty-two percent of elected congress folks (I don't know if they are Republican or Democrats, but I suspect the majority for this pledge are Republican) have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.  The pledge was created by right wing lobbyist, Grover Norquist.  It reads: 

I, _______________, pledge to the taxpayers of the _____ district of the state of__________, and to the American people that I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.

Which is then  followed by the signature of the congressman, date and witness .  

When a congressman is sworn in to serve they take the following oath: 

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

Now I have no objection to any politician being opposed to taxes as a part of their party's beliefs or their own personal philosophy that they use to negotiate laws and budgets.  What I am concerned is that by putting it in writing on a pledge controlled by a lobbyist that they have broken their oath of office.  Whether they like the tax provision of the Constitution of the United States or not, they have sworn an oath to uphold that.  By signing the Norquist pledge, they have sworn to a domestic power that is not a part of the Constitution.  They have betrayed those who elected them.  I believe that perhaps we should add to the oath of office a statement like "I hereby renounce any written pledge or written promise that is in direct conflict with the Constitution of the United States" or perhaps a simple question of "Do you renounce all written pledges, promises or statements to powers outside of the Constitution?"

When you put something like the Norquist pledge into writing, it is beyond philosophical differences which is the adversary nature of the two party system.  It is a pledge that interferes with compromise and negotiations that are necessary for the operation of our congress.  If you don't believe that Norquist is a domestic threat then remember this quote from his CPAC speech in 2012:

"We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don't need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go.  We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don't need someone to think it up or design it... The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate." (I would like to point out that in this speech he referred to the Ryan Budget by name.)

Senators and representatives you are my surrogate in the congress.  You are my voice.  You are not the voice of Grover Norquist or any lobbyist.  Renounce this or any other written pledge as you reaffirm your oath of office.