I'm stupider than you are
That's exactly what Republicans say to one another when they get all worked up about "No Tax" pledges that rear their ugly heads every election cycle. The Winston Salem Journal covers the latest sorry saga.
Many politicians say they won't vote to raise taxes. Some even sign a pledge not to do so. But signing on to such a clear statement also raises questions that lack clear answers.
The issue has come up in the race for the 31st District N.C. Senate seat, as it does each election cycle all across the country. Since 1986, the advocacy group Americans for Taxpayer Reform has circulated the "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" - a brief, written promise to oppose all tax increases - and urged candidates for state and national office to sign it.
Hundreds of politicians, almost all Republicans, have signed the pledge, including President Bush. His father, who also signed, famously broke the pledge in 1990 after telling voters, "Read my lips: No new taxes."
Supporters of the pledge see it as a contract with voters and a mark of fiscal conservatism. Critics, including some legislators and political scientists, say that the pledge is an irresponsible gimmick that can have unintended consequences.
In the Republican primary for the 31st District seat, all three candidates say that their top priority is to lower taxes. Two have signed the pledge; one has not. Gloria Whisenhunt is the holdout. She said she does not foresee raising taxes in the General Assembly but considers the one-sentence pledge overly restrictive.
"We're coming up on the hurricane season. We don't know what's going to happen. What if we had a Katrina?" Whisenhunt said. "If I had a crystal ball, I could sign all kinds of pledges, but I don't."
Her opponents, Pete Brunstetter and Nathan Tabor, disagree. They said that there is so much overspending at the state level that a tax increase would never be appropriate, even in the event of a natural disaster or economic catastrophe.
Go read the rest of the article for a front row seat on how Republicans think about the business of governing. It's all just a bunch of joke and gimmicks to them . . . each racing the other to see who can do the most damage, be the most divisive and create the most hardship.
Here's the Pledge
The advocacy group Americans for Taxpayer Reform urges candidates for state office to sign the "State Taxpayer Protection Pledge." The group circulates a similar pledge among candidates for national office.
"I, _____, pledge to the taxpayers of the _____ district of the State of _____ and to all the people of this state, that I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes."
The only thing missing is 'so help me god' . . . which is all I can think when I imagine these people running our government.