While in recent days the mainstream media was busy lambasting the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and promoting the myth of it standing in the way of tax reform, some individuals in the nation’s editorial pages were taking an honest look at the issues and were able to come to far different conclusions.
Editorials in the New York Sun, Investor’s Business Daily, the Wall Street Journal, and various think tanks and blogs praised both the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and president of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist. They also pointed out the danger of breaking their personal written commitment and pointed out the damage it does to the Republican brand. The best example was the disaster that followed when President George HW Bush broke his pledge to not raise taxes.
Investor’s Business Daily stated:
“When President George H.W. Bush broke his "read my lips" pledge in 1990, the Democrat who made him a one-term president didn't just attack him for breaking the pledge. During 1992's final presidential debate, Bill Clinton said, "The mistake that was made was making the 'read my lips' promise in the first place just to get elected."
The New York Sun went on to clear up a commonly repeated liberal attack line on the pledge. They stated:
“A fundamental point of the pledges is that they are not made to Mr. Norquist or his organization. He merely keeps track of them. They are pledges to the legislators’ constituents and to the American people.”
The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, too, got to the root of the true problem in Washington. Their article reads:
“The one thing Republicans shouldn’t do is join the media and Democratic chorus that Mr. Norquist and his pledge are the root of our political and economic woes. The real problems are a political class that won’t control its spending and economic policies that are retarding growth […]Mr. Norquist’s tax pledge has been one of the few restraints over the years against those bad Beltway appetites.”
Lastly, the Cato Institute pointed out the sheer hypocrisy of Democrats who attack the pledge, but have signed pledges of their own and refuse to put any government entitlements on the table. They write:
“It's worth noting that more than half of Democratic congressmen and eleven senators have signed a pledge to oppose any changes to Social Security or Medicare […]Republicans are simply negotiating with themselves and with the news media. Democrats haven't even come to the table.”
It seems there are some in the media who understand why the Pledge is an effective tool by which voters may hold their Representatives accountable. Those who signed the pledge should make good on their word, and remember that history has already taught us all we need to know about ‘grand compromises’: they don’t work.