Tom Davis / February 14, 2011

Is a Pledge Worth the Paper It’s Written On?

Question: What is a pledge? Definition as We the People understand it:

1. Noun: a solemn promise or agreement to do or refrain from doing something: a pledge of aid; a pledge not to wage war.

In order to entice Americans to go to the polls on November 2, 2010, the Republican leadership represented by then House Minority leader, John Boehner; Party Whip Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan, Ranking Minority member of the Budget Committee caused to be written a document, Pledging to Do that which they should have been doing all along.

Frank Luntz in his Washington Post article of Sunday, September 26, 2010, entitled, Is the ‘Pledge to America’ a worthy successor to the ‘Contract With America’? Mr. Luntz tried to determine which word, “Contract” or “Pledge,” carried the most clout with voters. He preferred the title “Contract” over “Pledge” but went on to suggest what he considered an even better word: “Commitment.” He purportedly conducted a poll which again, purportedly supported his choice.

Mr. Luntz writes for a Main Stream left-leaning, liberal-Democrat supporting Beltway publisher of pulp fiction. Such judicial luminaries as Judge Joe Brown, Marilyn Milian and the always affable Judith Scheindlin advises, “A contract has the force of law.” A pledge has a moral but not a legally enforceable component, while a commitment is nebulous, undefined and worthless.

Contracts, commitments and Pledge are, unless signed with well-stated obligations, as worthless as the paper upon which they are written and as valueless as their authors. Mr. Luntz in the first portion of his article was questioning angry Americans in Denver just prior to the 1994 election. He asked, “What do you want?” Here are the responses:

“The dam broke.”
“I want specifics.”
“Make them write it down on paper.”
“They have to sign it.”
“Make it a real contract. Make it enforceable.”

As quickly as their tempers had risen, the thought of a policy manifesto listing specific legislative proposals, with a genuine commitment to get it all done, soothed their scorned souls.

Contract is a powerful word. The signers of the Pledge literally signed a contract to perform certain acts in exchange for our votes and the money to pay them the exorbitant remuneration they receive. I believe a case could be made to hold the signers pecuniarily liable should they fail to perform their contractual obligations.

These self-proclaimed young Lions hopefully did not bite off more than they can chew. America can no longer afford the wasteful habits of an irresponsible government. We cannot afford more red ink, nor can we put more dollars into the hands of the spendthrifts by raising the debt ceiling. On the Senate side, Mitch McConnell has to stiffen his spine, confront the fear mongers like Charles Schumer and politely, but forcefully, tell him to wise up and shut up. Mitch might say, “Chucky boy, Wise up and zip up.”

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