Gingrich Refuses to Sign Anti-Gay-Marriage Pledge
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich refused to sign Iowa social conservative Bob Vander Plaats’s anti-gay-marriage pledge, saying through a spokesman that it had a long list of problems.
Mr. Vander Plaats already made one change, removing a sentence that suggested African American children fared better under slavery.
“We told him that we couldn’t sign it in its current form,” said Mr. Gingrich’s spokesman, R.C. Hammond. “We’re happy to work with him to get some more precise language.” Among the problems? “It was too long,” said Mr. Hammond. He declined to specify the problems, but said, “The concerns were across the board.”
Mr. Gingrich, an outspoken critic of gay marriage, was in the Hawkeye State Monday at an event hosted by Mr. Vander Plaats’s The Family Leader. The pledge’s signatories promise to oppose gay marriage, pornography and Sharia, or Islamic law and support marital fidelity. In an interview last week, Mr. Vander Plaats said his pledge was in no way a slap at Mr. Gingrich, who has been married three times.
“We all understand we fall short of high standards,” Mr. Vander Plaats told Washington Wire. “What we want to do is recognizing growth going forward.”
Mitt Romney is loath to sign any of these “pledges.” As far as that goes, he and Gingrich both are blind squirrels that occasionally find acorns. After the clusterfuck that was the previous Van Der Plaats petition that included slightly laudatory language about slavery, no Presidential candidate is going to want to put his or her John or Jane Henry on any pledge ever again. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that some leftist in good enough disguise might torpedo Republican candidates into signing a “pledge” with a real poison pill buried 87 pages deep. Or maybe a rival intra-party candidate is secretly paying a real conservative group to trick his or her rivals within the party to sign a goofy pledge to bork their credibility, or hoping they won’t sign it so they can run to the base and question their “conservative bona fides” and their “purity.”
There seems to be a cottage industry of Republican and conservative oriented groups that spend all of their time concocting pledges for political candidates to sign. When there is a contentious Republican Presidential primary field, the people in this industry come out of the woodwork to earn their saltiest salt.
I happen to think that pledges are the coward’s resume enhancer. Do you think Ron Paul needs to sign a pledge for us to know what he is about and what he would do as President? No, because he has a long and clear (yes, Obama, perfectly clear) record. Presidential candidates usually sign these “pledges” because their real record is less than conservative, and they think signing one conservative pledge will cover up ten “moderate” House or Senate votes, or ten “moderate” major initiatives or actions as Governor.
A nubile running for his or her first dog catcher public office, fine. But by the time you run for President, you should have an established record such that these dorky pledges are unnecessary.
1. Where are all the Democrat Presidential candidate pledges? Where is the cottage industry of leftist interest groups demanding that Democrats running for President sign them? When have Democrats running for President signed such pledges? Why is it that only the conservative/Republican interest groups demand Republican Presidential candidates sign these pledges, and why is it that only Republicans running for President think that signing a piece of paper gives them credibility among the base? I think the ultimate answer is because leftist voters have a lot more confidence in a typical serious credible Democrat Presidential candidate than their analogues on the other side of the aisle, because the Stupid Party instills a lot of disappointment in people.
2. Who and how do you sue if a candidate violates the substance of a signed pledge once in office? Does contract law even cover this? Is it even applicable? I highly doubt it, because the person who wins a political race doesn’t usually get anywhere near 100%. If, e.g. Rick Santorum signs a pro-life pledge as a candidate, gets 51% of the national popular vote and wins, then vetoes a pro-life bill, can the pledge authors sue President Santorum? What of the 49% who didn’t vote for him because they’re not pro-life? If I sign a contract with you to buy a widget, all that is necessary to fulfill the contract is I give you money and you give me widget. Nobody else needs to get involved. Politics and elections are games of margins. This is another reason why pledges rank underneath toilet paper as a good reason to kill trees.