The Pledge: More Than Words?
by Jen Green
Iowa’s conservative pro-family group The Family Leader, lead by former gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats, unveiled a new candidate pledge Thursday at a press conference. That in and of itself is not surprising—one would expect a group of that standing in a state like Iowa to expect more than just lip service from GOP candidates looking for the nod from Iowans.
That the pledge asks the candidates to stand firm on traditional marriage is also not a surprise. Vander Plaats is known for leading a successful campaign to ouster three Supreme Court judges in Iowa who ruled for “same-sex” marriage. Because support for traditional marriage is a mainstay in the Republican party platform, one would assume most of the GOP candidates campaigning in this state would have no problem with a pledge like this.
Except, it’s not a pledge like that. In fact, it’s a very ambitious pledge that is sure to cause some of the GOP candidates in Iowa some serious heartburn. This pledge says the “signer” will work to remove elements that are “unfriendly” to traditional marriage from our welfare system and seek to make “quickie” divorces less quickie and more difficult. The pledge suggests a “cooling off” period before divorces are granted.
The pledge goes further and demands the signer agree to protect the next generation from “human trafficking, sexual slavery, all forms of pornography, prostitution, infanticide and abortion” among others. Considering child pornography is one of the biggest industries in our world, this is a big and difficult request, but is very much in line with the stated mission of both the Family Leader and the Republican party.
The signers will also “pledge marital fidelity to my spouse” (interesting considering Newt Gingrich is the Family Leader’s guest tomorrow and he has had some very public issues with this in the past), legal advocacy for DOMA, and a complete rejection of Sharia Law.
There’s much more. The full text of the pledge is here. The Family Leader states it will not endorse a candidate unless they sign the pledge. If no one signs the pledge, they will not endorse.
How do you think the candidates are going to respond? Will it matter to you?
On a personal note, I had the opportunity to help moderate a focus group of undecided voters for stevedeace.com not long ago. These ten people, all socially and fiscally conservative and politically active, said that endorsements were not “very” important to them. However, they all said if there was anyone in Iowa whose endorsement would factor into their decision, it would be Bob Vander Plaats and the Family Leader. If those folks are indicative of a segment of Iowa voters—say the ones who will be at the Ames Straw Poll and/or the Iowa caucuses– this pledge could be quite significant.