A Few Thoughts on the Iowa Family Leader Pledge: Bachmann Signed it, Who’s Next?

Republican Primary Conservative PledgeI am quite certain I have made my feelings regarding compulsory lists, pledges, oaths, or whatever you want to call them when they refer to candidates seeking office rather clear; but just in case… I can’t stand them.  While I think “oaths of office” are sacred and often overlooked or forgotten, I give no weight to similar constructs conceived out of a perceived agreement with a bullet list survey of supposedly virtuous talking points.  I think they’re asinine.  I think they’re reckless.  I think they’re foolish on a good day, counter-intuitive on most, and absolutely ridiculous every day in between.

That brings me to the topic at hand… This piece of brilliance The Marriage Vow – A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Familybeing floated around by a socially conservative group THE FAMILY LEADER in Iowa.  They call it their “Candidate Pledge Document.”  Accordingly, they will not support or endorse any candidate that does not sign it.  Michele Bachmann was the first to put pen to paper.   The rest are expected to follow suit; although, I feel certain most will not.

I must admit.  I came across it at Memeorandum via a Think Progress thread.  I often track the liberal narrative by following links of this sort to debunk them, discredit them, or simply point out how utterly ridiculous their claims may be.  Quite unfortunately, this was one of the rare occasions where I actually learned something therein.

So, what did I learn?

First, the Left is so blinded by its hate of all things “right-wing” that it completely missed the opportunity to take this pledge to task.  They could have scored a few points here.  The piece referenced above, and many of the others linked at Memeorandum, attempted to pluck specific provisions from the pledge and spin them into attention-grabbing headlines.  If you follow their narrative this thing “bans pornography” and “attacks Islam.”

What the Lefties miss is the fact that the whole of the pledge is ridiculous; regardless of content that may or may not be taken out of context.  In spite of the substantial end notes provided by the pledge’s author(s), the document is rooted in a piecemeal interpretation of our Founding Document and much of what it states as “givens,” “facts,” or “scientifically accepted truths” are anything but.

Accordingly, the Left missed a genuine moment here where it could have claimed the higher ground.  Not surprisingly, it chose to go for shock value.  I guess the involvement of Michele Bachmann just made the chance far too compelling to pass up.  But once again, the Left has proven that it cannot see the forest for the trees.  This pledge lacks any and all legitimate justification and the Left chose to focus on two points that were throwaways buried in subtext.

Second, Iowa politics and the current Presidential Primary system for choosing a Republican candidate is – for lack of a better expression – even more screwed up than I had previously thought.  Currently, we have two states – Iowa and New Hampshire – more or less determining the fate of our candidate field… and this is the garbage they want our candidates to sign… if they want the endorsement of a power-broker that most believe will determine the race in Iowa… even though he was not capable of winning state-wide office… on three occasions?  You have to be kidding me.

Just in case you’re wondering who said “power broker” is that I was referring to.  This pledge is the handiwork of Bob Vander Plaats.  He’s the guy that helped guide Governor Mike Huckabee to success in the Iowa caucuses in 2008.  He’s also the man behind Family Leader.  He’s by all accounts the most influential Republican in the state.  That said, I think some perspective is necessary here as well.  Like I mentioned, Vander Plaats is so powerful and important that he’s managed to lose all three of his own attempts at state-wide office.  Sounds just like the kind of winner I want to hitch my cart to.  You?

But yes, this is the current system; and yes, he is a real player in Iowa politics.  Candidates will genuinely have to consider signing this pledge – that is of course, unless they simply wish to cut ties with Iowa and move on to New Hampshire.  I happen to think that it the most likely scenario, so maybe we’ll all be better for it.  I know the Party will.

Either way, here’s the bullet list from the “pledge.”

Read it for yourself.  Enjoy it if that sort of thing is your cup of Tea.  It’s not mine – and not just because I loathe lists, pledges, and oaths that demonstrate allegiance to anything but my God or my Country.  I oppose this “pledge” because it is among the most disgusting bastardizations of Republican/Conservative ideology that I have read or heard in some years.  Frankly, I’d be offended by it if I even remotely associated myself with the author(s).  Thankfully I do not.


The Candidate Vow:  Therefore, in any elected or appointed capacity by which I may have the honor of serving our fellow citizens in these United States, I the undersigned do hereby solemnly vow* to honor and to cherish, to defend and to uphold, the Institution of Marriage as only between one man and one woman.  I vow* to do so through my:

 Personal fidelity to my spouse.

 Respect for the marital bonds of others.

 Official fidelity to the U.S. Constitution, supporting the elevation of none but faithful constitutionalists as judges or justices.

 Vigorous opposition to any redefinition of the Institution of Marriage – faithful monogamy between one man and one woman – through statutory-, bureaucratic-, or court-imposed recognition of intimate unions which are bigamous, polygamous, polyandrous, same-sex, etc.

 Recognition of the overwhelming statistical evidence that married people enjoy better health, better sex, longer lives, greater financial stability, and that children raised by a mother and a father together experience better learning, less addiction, less legal trouble, and less extramarital pregnancy.

 Support for prompt reform of uneconomic, anti-marriage aspects of welfare policy, tax policy, and marital/divorce law, andextended “second chance” or “cooling-off” periods for those seeking a “quickie divorce.”

 Earnest, bona fide legal advocacy for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) at the federal and state levels.

 Steadfast embrace of a federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which protects the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman in all of the United States.

 Humane protection of women and the innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy – our next generation of American children –from human trafficking, sexual slavery, seduction into promiscuity, and all forms of pornography and prostitution, infanticide, abortion and other types of coercion or stolen innocence.

 Support for the enactment of safeguards for all married and unmarried U.S. Military and National Guard personnel, especially our combat troops, from inappropriate same-gender or opposite-gender sexual harassment, adultery or intrusively intimate commingling among attracteds (restrooms, showers, barracks, tents, etc.); plus prompt termination of military policymakers who would expose American wives and daughters to rape or sexual harassment, torture, enslavement or sexual leveraging by the enemy in forward combat roles.

 Rejection of Sharia Islam and all other anti-woman, anti-human rights forms of totalitarian control.

 Recognition that robust childbearing and reproduction is beneficial to U.S. demographic, economic, strategic and actuarial health and security.

 Commitment to downsizing government and the enormous burden upon American families of the USA‟s $14.3 trillion public debt, its $77 trillion in unfunded liabilities, its $1.5 trillion federal deficit, and its $3.5 trillion federal budget.

 Fierce defense of the First Amendment‟s rights of Religious Liberty and Freedom of Speech22, especially against the intolerance of any who would undermine law-abiding American citizens and institutions of faith and conscience for their adherence to, and defense of, faithful heterosexual monogamy.

Read the whole thing here… or here…

I’ll spare you the commentary or the time of breaking down my frustrations/resentments with the “pledge.”  I’ll take the specifics up in the comments if you feel like objecting to any specific provision.  Instead I will simply state that any document that aims to bind a political candidate should probably not tie itself to the Constitution while simultaneously pissing on it with the content in subsequent subsections.

Let me just be clear.  While I may agree with certain aspects of the “pledge” and may even bind my potential primary vote to similar – yet personal – “litmus tests”; I cannot endorse, accept, or even tolerate such things being floated about as prerequisites for leadership of my political party.  Any document that aims to use the Constitution and its First Amendment as its cornerstone cannot then write 12 bullet points that emanate from religious origins and still consider itself consistent with its cornerstone.  To do so is not only contradictory and hypocritical; it is also disgraceful.  I was ashamed to read the content knowing it was to be associated with the GOP primary process.

To be fair.  I would not object to any candidate signing it.  I would not sign it myself, but I would not sign any pledge of this kind – even if this one was not highly objectionable to my view of conservatism and American governance.  I understand that this pledge may fit soundly in the personal and political beliefs of a candidate.  It may very well square the religious and ideological viewpoints of said candidate; and accordingly may be more than desirable.

What I have a problem with is with this “pledge” being viewed as a compulsory step toward conservative credential when it demonstrates nothing to that end.

To this point, I’ve been frank but respectful of the Iowa primary and those who put great faith in it.  From here forward, I will not be so respectful.  So if you’re the sensitive type, the judgmental type, or the type that will call me a RINO for the next few words… either find a new site to find your “news”, call it a day and come back tomorrow, or proceed with caution as I’m very likely about to really piss you off.

I have not read anything more vile, despicable, or bigotted in quite some time; and I have never read anything given the cloak of respectability, decency, and credibility of being labeled “Republican” in my entire life.  I was ashamed while reading it, and I shudder at the thought of a candidate having to face the question of whether they’d be willing to sign it.  They call it a “Marriage Vow – A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family.” I call it one of the most ignorant; narrow-minded; loads of crap I’ve ever read.

Just to be clear, if I happened to be a candidate in this field, I would sign NO pledge – zero, zilch, nada.  That said, not only would I NOT sign this one; I’d laugh in Family Leader and Bob Vander Plaats face when they presented it to me.  For all their footnotes, end notes, and citations; what they failed to explain is how much of this – let alone marriage – has any place being debated at the federal level.  Moreover, for all their “explanation”; they made no attempt to explain how the Constitution spoke to any of this.  Last I checked, the word “marriage” is nowhere therein.

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  6 comments for “A Few Thoughts on the Iowa Family Leader Pledge: Bachmann Signed it, Who’s Next?

  1. July 8, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Wow. Absolutely beautiful post, T.

    • July 11, 2011 at 1:00 pm

      Thanks Scratch. Lord knows I hate me some lists….

      • July 11, 2011 at 1:35 pm

        Hooboy… and that one was a doozy.

        But coming here for a dose of common sense restores my hope a bit. As usual.

        You do realize, you deserve a good bit of the credit for my *not* running like hell from the Republicans. :) Keep it up, please and thank you.

        • July 11, 2011 at 1:39 pm

          Yeah yeah. The only thing keeping you from running like hell from Republicans is the lack of any other options. I just help you to see that this one’s not that bad – or at least better than the load of bs you’d have to choose from if you decided to go it alone. But I do appreciate your trying to give me credit – even if no credit is really deserved.

          • July 12, 2011 at 10:45 am

            “I just help you to see that this one’s not that bad…”

            That’s enough. Keeps me listening.

            “no credit is really deserved”

            Untrue. You underestimate yourself, my friend.

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