Grover Norquist notoriously turned the no-new-taxes pledge he demanded of conservative legislators into a weapon of mass destruction. The American economy now suffers from the burden of unsustainable cumulative debt and the likely shredding of the social contract Americans have traditionally observed towards sharing responsibility for the quality of life in our once-great nation. All because the fiscal terrorists of the right refuse to require the rich to pay their fair share of the cost of sustaining a viable, compassionate, humane society.
In addition to the imposed fiscal conservatism of the Norquist blackmail, big money now trumps voter preferences in determining national policy. The deluge of dollars flowing into Washington via lobbyists, campaign contributions, and PACs, has drown out the legitimate voice of the common citizen. Consequently, this is now also the era of the "silent pledge", paid-for unspoken commitments to the rich and powerful, the result being that on a great number of key issues our elected representatives and the laws they pass are directly at odds with a majority of the American public.
I believe this same weapon, the candidate pledge, now deployed to such grossly destructive ends, can be used to an opposite effect, that is, as a means of restoring some sanity to what comes out of the U. S. Senate and Congress. Candidate pledges can result in legislation on a host of crucial issues and pull the country out of the death spiral we currently find it in. I'm referring to familiar measures supported by large majorities that reflect the stated values and express wishes of the American people.
This coming election provides the necessary and pivotal opportunity to confront our representatives and deliver an ultimatum, an ultimatum in the form of a new kind of pledge, one that hasn't been seen in a while __ a pledge to do the right thing.
Or more to the point: Do the right thing or suffer the consequences!
Here in broad strokes is the concept. Immediately following are the specific steps we take. Stay with this. It's not more moaning about the problem. It's a strategy for a solution.
We begin with a specific demand on a critical issue. We put it in writing. The document takes the form of a candidate pledge, a binding contract to unambiguously and decisively perform certain actions in the Senate or House of Representatives, in order to implement a policy now supported by a large majority of American voters on the issue. Included as you will soon see are very specific directions.
We force candidates to sign the pledge. If they do, we're done. We get the legislation we want. If they refuse, we go after them! We humiliate them, mock and taunt them, harass them, stigmatize them, jeopardize their support, and do everything we can to defeat them. We brook no compromise. We accept no excuses. We leave no room for equivocation.
The salient point is that for once we will have the tools to do this.
For this to work, the pledges must embrace those issues where the voting public by vast majorities have indicated precisely what they want done: Social Security, taxes on the rich, the war in Afghanistan, oil industry subsidies, Medicare. Frankly, it's appalling how many important issues the public has clearly and unambiguously indicated in credible polls, exactly where they stand, only to have our politicians defy them. Please refer to my previous post: "Trust No Incumbent" to get a perspective on this.
In a perfect world, every candidate should be required to sign the pledges. This would put the control of voting on these critical items directly in the hands of voters.
Realistically this is impossible. There simply is not enough time. Plus we can get done what needs to be done without unanimity.
For now, it is more important to target incumbents, specifically those incumbents who have voted against enormously popular measures. Conveniently via their voting records they have handed us gift-wrapped the ammunition we need to force their hands. Bear in mind, these are the arrogant scoundrels who have brazenly sold the American public and their constituents down the river. They have curtsied to their rich campaign donors and blown off the rest of us as irrelevant. Until now they've paid no price for their arrogance and irresponsibility.
These are the ones we go after.