There is something decidedly foul and unseemly in my mind about some vote pandering politicians – usually Republicans -- who are willing, for the purpose of appeasing the obsessive and peculiar fetishes of various special interest groups, to sign pledges solemnly promising and committing themselves to do this or that shameful overtly partisan deed if elected to office.
Almost invariably these politicians are asked by right wing social conservative organizations to formally declare, in effect: “I promise to be and act like a religious bigot just like you and your organization if elected.”
True to form, Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich recently became the latest Republican presidential candidate to sign the National Organization for Marriage presidential marriage pledge. NOM is a special interest group dedicated to fighting same sex marriage and preventing same sex couples from adopting children.
“We commend Newt Gingrich for signing NOM’s presidential marriage pledge, committing himself to play a leadership role as president to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” said the group’s president, Brian Brown. “Mr. Gingrich joins all the other major candidates who have made a similar commitment, save for one — Ron Paul. Now we will embark on an intensive communications program to inform Iowa voters who will stand with them to preserve marriage, and who has abandoned them on marriage.”
Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney have already signed the pledge, vowing to support a federal marriage amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman, to protect the Defense of Marriage Act in court, appoint conservative judges and a conservative attorney general, create a presidential commission to investigate harassment of same sex marriage opponents and put same sex marriage up to a vote in D.C.
The single major candidate demonstrating the courage and integrity to say “no!” to this group of religious bigots is the libertarian, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, even though he has said that in principle he personally supports the Defense of Marriage Act and personally believes that marriage should be between one man and one woman.
For his principled omission of apostasy, ignoring this and other similar political pledges, NOM has singled Congressman Paul out for harsh criticism as a sort of false conservative Republican lost black sheep candidate and therefore a proper political target for their ire. Paul has also refused to sign a pledge by the Family Leader, an Iowa-based Christian conservative group. Gingrich signed the marriage pledge last week.
“Many of Ron Paul’s supporters in Iowa believe that he is on their side when it comes to preserving traditional marriage, but he isn’t,” Brown lamented. “While Paul says he personally believes in traditional marriage, he has refused to sign our pledge and, worse, has said that marriage is strictly a private affair and that government has no role in regulating marriage. This is a dangerous position with profound consequences for society.”
If someone rightly believes that marriage is a private affair which is none of the government’s business, that’s a dangerous opinion according to NOM.
“NOM is not going to endorse a candidate in Iowa, but we will be making it clear through online ads, telephone calls and other actions that Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann stand with Iowans on defending traditional marriage, and Ron Paul does not,” Brown vowed.
Mr. Brown clearly has the unabashed sympathy of our friends at Fox News, including supposedly “fair and balanced” news anchor, Chris Wallace, who declared to all the world that Republicans in Iowa should not go wasting their votes on Ron Paul.
Wallace, showing his undisguised journalistic bias in favor of former Fox News analyst and Republican statist candidate, Newt Gingrich, maintained that a Paul win “won’t count” nationally and would “discredit” the Iowa caucuses.
“The Ron Paul people are not going to like my saying this,” Wallace intoned, “But to a certain degree, it will discredit the Iowa caucuses because, rightly or wrongly, I think most of the Republican establishment thinks he’s not going to end up as the nominee …. So therefore, Iowa won’t count … It would certainly be a knock to Gingrich because, you know, right now he was the front runner — or a week ago he was the big front runner in this state so it would be missed opportunity for him.”
Well, so what?
I don’t believe that Ron Paul will likely get the nomination either, but a win in Iowa would go a hell of a long way in establishing the force of his libertarian credentials in the Republican Party and the credibility of his libertarian ideas on the national stage. In that sense, Iowa would most definitely count.
I for one hold a great deal of admiration and respect for Ron Paul, a principled candidate who has the integrity to forswear the temptation to pathological partisan political pledging.