Break Promises, Win Friends

“Hey, it was just a quote-pledge-unquote, so chill.”

Fresh off their chirpy endorsement of Mitt Romney back in October, the newly conservative editorialists at The Tennessean today are prepared to canonize Sen. Bob Corker for essentially going back on a promise. Noting Corker’s apparent repudiation Monday of his sworn fealty to Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge, the paper “applauds Sen. Corker for seeing the light.” Corker told Charlie Rose on CBS that “The only thing I’m honoring is the oath I take when I serve when I’m sworn in this January.”

Just so that nobody is confused about whether the Americans for Tax Reform pledge really does look like a promise, here is the full text of the thing that Corker signed:

I, ___, pledge to the taxpayers of the state of ___, and to the American people that I will: one, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and two, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.

The Tennessean writes that “Norquist’s pledge has been a major stumbling block to Congress serving its constituents, preventing any real discussion about reasonable compromises that would get the nation’s economy back on track.” Puh-leeze. Norquist’s pledge has not been the stumbling block; the craven and dogmatic act of signing the damn thing by political cowards like Corker is the stumbling block. In its Romney endorsement, the paper was critical of Barack Obama’s “inability to possess the leadership to break the partisan gridlock in Congress.” Gee, do you think brainless pledges like Corker’s might have had anything to do with that?

Let’s see if we have this straight, Senator: As a candidate for office you make an inane (yet solemn) promise to never ever ever do something, and then you abandon it on a dime six years later when you suddenly wake up to the painfully obvious idiocy of making such a promise in the first place. Are we supposed to call this statesmanship?

A version of this post appears on the Nashville Scene‘s Pith in the Wind blog.


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