R. Allison: Pledges undermining democracy

Mainers share an illustrious tradition of approaching problems with reason, independent thinking and open minds. Today, that seems the mark of an endangered species.

What is blocking a reasonable agreement on federal deficit reduction? It’s something called the Norquist pledge (euphemistically named the "taxpayer protection pledge"). Unless those elected representatives who have taken that ideological “no new taxes” pledge renounce it in recognition of a higher duty to country, there won’t be a budget solution that preserves the nation's economic recovery.

Grover Norquist began his anti-taxation campaign in the late 1980s, founding the (also euphemistically named) "Americans for Tax Reform." He then used it to threaten pledge signers with big-money smear campaigns if they ever tried to reclaim their right to independent judgments on tax and spending policy.

But don't we, in fact, elect our representatives to exercise their judgment for the good of the nation? Ideological pledges undermine democracy.

The central underlying question in the current debate is whether to return to the exercise of independent judgment, acknowledging the error of ideologically motivated pledges.

Recently, a few members of Congress are rethinking the appropriateness of the pledge. We can be proud that Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe always rejected Norquist’s ideological pledge, taking seriously their responsibility to think for themselves about what is best for the public and this country. Now they need to convince more of their Republican colleagues to do the same.

Then we could hope for a balanced approach — deficit reduction with continued economic growth.

Robert Allison, Greene

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Comments

Amedeo Lauria's picture

If you send it...they will spend it...

pure and simple and important to keep in mind.

There is no incentive for government to seek economies and efficiencies when the left can tax us into the stone age with no accountability at the ballot box. Just wait and see over the next couple of years. It is amazing how many financial scandals, excesses and fraud, waste and abuse were uncovered recently here in Maine as tax dollars got tighter and pencils got sharper and oversight improved.

The only saving grace, and the only thing that keeps many taxpayers sane, is it goes in cycles. Progressive liberal gluttony followed by a conservative diet, followed by gluttony ad nauseum.

The left will continue to use the "blame-thrower" until the electorate wises up like they did many times in the past. I have faith.

Steve  Dosh's picture

R. Allison: Pledges undermining democracy

Bob , et, al , 21:21 hst ? Tuesday ( still )
Not to worry though
Pledges , promulgations , pacts , rules , regulations , covenants , agreements , etc . Call them what you may . Republicans have selective memory and quickly forget what they said and did , if anything
Laws are different
The G O P puts the ' mock ' in democracy and -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_Nothing <-- are simply getting back to their roots these days /s Steve

 's picture

drawroF to Democrat roots.

Quoting a remark in another forum: There are some scientists who are speculating that human intelligence peaked several centuries ago,and that humans are, as a species, actually 'dumber' than our ancestors. Looking at our society today (and considering the election just past), it's hard to argue against this.

Considering some of the comments here from leftists whose only goal is winning, it's impossible to argue against that speculation.

Zack Lenhert's picture

Notice the Norquist pledge is

Notice the Norquist pledge is a pledge "to not raise taxes"... NOT a pledge to reduce the deficit. Norquist's financial backers don't care a lick about the deficit as long as they and theirs are taken care of.

 's picture

Grover Norquist is a putz.

There! Agree, disagree - I couldn't care less.

What's worse than a putz is someone with an indefensible record and vague plan, who has to shoot the other side's messenger because he doesn't know what else to do.

But do you know what's far, far worse than a putz? Someone whose principles are made from silly putty, who is always ready to reshape them for the sake of compromise. Those people created the mess we're in. They cannot and will not clean up that mess.

Steve  Dosh's picture

. .and Romney was a ƒish ,

. .and Romney was a ƒish , Mike . He just went with the flow , changed with the current . Make that a jellyfish . He had no back bone , exo - skelton ( like your lob-stah :) , firm ideals , ideas , etc . /s Santa Steve *<;-Q~ ho , H O , h O 0 0 o ø •

Zack Lenhert's picture

... you don't think Democrats

... you don't think Democrats should compromise with Republicans at all?

Steve  Dosh's picture

Zack ? A: No • Give them a

Zack ? A: No • Give them a taste of their own medicine . Turnabout is always ƒair play . They made their bed . They can sleep in it now whilst sipping tea and eating scones , that pale tea party of malcontents . They lost . Big time . People do not - l i k e - or even - r e s p e c t - them or their sarcastic & cynical ideals n e more
They represent exclusion , fat cats , poor rich *itches , The Bernies who Madeoff with (y)our money , Wall St., " Just Say No ," and various other over weight , ' Jabba the Hut ' types not at all unlike Rush Limbaugh
In contrast , we are the 99% and proudly remain so . We are the majority . We won . You lost . We are right , just , and firm in our convictions and beliefs and freely form our own opinions and you are wrong just about every time , every where . We do not listen to the shock jocks on s h o u t r a d i o but have independent minds of our own . We work for a living . Our minds are not like steel traps - rusted and permanently closed . We are not Scrooges either . We join groups and make alliances . We give w/o demanding something in return , tit for tat
Listen up Republicans because we will only say this once !
Minds are like parachutes
They do not work unless they are open
It's not too late . You are simply rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic
h t h , /s Dr. Dosh http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com <- take a look at US

 's picture

Democrats don't think ...

Perhaps I should leave it at that. ;-)

Democrats don't think Democrats should compromise with Republicans. Ask any Democrat in DC the meaning of "compromise" and he'll give you a variation of this reply: Compromise means Republicans must sit down, shut up, and do what we want. It's a one way street right off the cliff.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Mike, ya' think ? l o l - We

Mike, ya' think ? l o l - We already won the battle ? We won . You lost . Let the chips fall where they may . President Clinton put forth the very - l a s t - balanced U S federal budget . Whoops . Don't want to confuse you with the facts • /s Santa Steve , promise keeper *<;-Q~

 's picture

Did you skip your meds again?

You won and that's your plan: Let the chips fall where they may. Nobody knows, least of all BHO, and the last thing on his mind is a balanced budget. Nobody else knows, either, because there is no budget, because Democrats prefer to fly blind and let the chips fall.

Indeed, Clinton had balanced budgets, because in '96 he co-opted most of the Republican platform about economic matters, so he could get reelected and go back to having fun under his desk

Steve, I can't confuse you more than you already are.

Zack Lenhert's picture

...cute cartoon. "Democrats

...cute cartoon.

"Democrats don't think"- Didn't Santorum admit that Republicans "will never have the elite, smart people on our side"?

"Democrats don't think Democrats should compromise with Republicans" ...Laughable.

If Democrats refused to compromise, Obamacare would be single payer health coverage, or at least have a public-option. The Bush tax-cuts wouldn't have been extended the last time. We would have had a larger more effective stimulus. The GOP has gone so far to the right they're incapable of realizing Obama has been seriously going against his liberal base with these concessions.

Elections have consequences, and Republicans lost. It's their turn to start compromising.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Zack , the G O P is imploding

Zack , the G O P is imploding right now. They can not agree amongst themselves . Watch , look , listen and learn . It's historic and rather hysterical ( like your local ' hysterical ' society :) . They have no leader and are not growing young Republicans . S e r i o u s . There is one ( 1 ) black Republican on the federal level . There are no G L B T Republicans except for Ron Reagan jr. and Maureen Cheney , the former V P 's daughter . These are all true facts . You and i know what a Republican looks and thinks like these days . Everyone does . We see through them like a glass of water . /s Steve Melé Kalikimaka from Hawai'i •  *<;-Q~

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