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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Perry Pledges

As we note in the textbook, pledges are an enduring feature of American politics. Jennifer Rubin writes at The Washington Post:

As other Republican contenders did before him, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed the Susan B. Anthony List’s antiabortion pledge. That pledge includes this: “Select pro-life appointees for relevant Cabinet and Executive Branch positions, in particular the head of National Institutes of Health, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Health & Human Services.” This would exclude people such as Rudy Giuliani as attorney general. That might be fine for some Republicans, but Perry endorsed Giuliani for president in 2008. Good enough for the Oval Office but not the Justice Department? I asked the Perry campaign to explain but no answer was forthcoming.
It was not his first pledge. Running for reelection in 2010, he signed one from Americans for Tax Reform:

Texas Governor Rick Perry signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge today. The Pledge is a written commitment to Texas taxpayers to "oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes."

"At a time when lawmakers in Washington are considering Cap & Trade legislation that is estimated to cost families upwards of $4,000 per year and a health care bill that will levy thousands of dollars in higher taxes on millions of families, Governor Perry's assurance that taxes won't be raised at the state level under his watch is as important as ever," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. "Americans for Tax Reform applauds Gov. Perry for making this important commitment Texans and encourages all candidates for office to sign the Pledge."

The gubernatorial version of the pledge does not specify that it applies only to state taxes. When Perry complains that half of Americans do not pay federal income tax, he seems to be suggesting an increase in their taxes, which would violate the pledge.

Another problem: Perry also repeatedly pledged not to run for president.