Mourdock, Fischer, and the Repeal Pledge

 

Last week it was Richard Mourdock in Indiana. Today, it’s Deb Fischer in Nebraska.

In both cases these candidates took the ObamaCare Repeal Pledge. And in both cases, we at Independent Women’s Voice communicated their signatures via paid advertising to make sure that voters in their respective states knew that they had signed the Pledge.  And because of that, the voters in those states knew that they would, if elected, do everything in their power to see that this government take-over of our private health care decisions is fully repealed.

In both states, the voters rewarded the candidates who signed the Pledge.

Voters recognize that we must hold our political leaders accountable for their actions. This point is particularly poignant for the voters in Nebraska, home of the Sen. Ben Nelson and the Cornhusker Kickback.

It was the power of the issue of ObamaCare that compelled Sen. Nelson into retirement. And it was the power of ObamaCare, and the commitment shown by signing the Repeal Pledge, that helped carry Deb Fischer to victory last night.

Other candidates around the country should take notice. Voters see the Repeal Pledge not only as a sign of a candidate’s sincerity about walking the talk, but as a larger philosophical marker that they appreciate that this isn’t just about cost, but about liberty.

I hope that candidates and incumbents alike will read the tea leaves, see what has happened in Indiana and last night in Nebraska, and be encouraged by their constituents to sign the ObamaCare Repeal Pledge (http://www.therepealpledge.com/) immediately.

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive
    @BrentB67

    I think there is too much emphasis on this pledge and Grover Norquist’s pledge, etc.

    Each of us has a responsibility to hold our elected officials accountable for their positions and votes. All of these pledges are silly and give us an excuse to think that we can all go home and forget about this stuff the day after the election.

    If we spend as much time logging into their website, sending emails, making phone calls as we do worrying about an arbitrary pledge we will have much more accountable representation.

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    @Cylon

    Seriously, I’ve never even heard of this pledge. I doubt most voters in Indiana and Nebaska have either. This is pretty serious equating correlation with causation error. Pledges are silly efforts drummed up by wanna-be power brokers that want to seem important, like Norquist.

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    @NickStuart

    At least some of the Beltway Barnacles are being scraped in primaries, pour encourager les autres.

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    @HeatherHiggins

    Quite the reverse. Politicians know that you care if you bother to call, and we see real results coming of that, not least, for example, Chris Christie last week vetoing the proposed exchange in NJ. There are countless examples where pledges work if they are well crafted, and if anything they help the voter know how sincerely a candidate means what they say.The average citizen doesn’t have time to monitor every latest political machination, but the further advantage for those who do want to be engaged is that we alert them (after they signify their interest by signing the citizen corollary of the pledge) about the times and places where their input will make a real difference.

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    @Cylon

    How is agreeing to a non-binding pledge any less susceptible to being an empty promise than anything else a politician runs on? These things are about people wanting to get credit for helping to elect someone when they in fact actually have very little effect on how voters behave.

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    @MollieHemingway
    Cylon: How is agreeing to a non-binding pledge any less susceptible to being an empty promise than anything else a politician runs on? These things are about people wanting to get credit for helping to elect someone when they in fact actually have very little effect on how voters behave. ·

    I think it’s awesome when organizations can remind their supporters about people backtracking on pledges. And it does lead to results.

    Ask all those “pro-life” Democrats who voted for Obamacare whether they felt the impact of breaking their pro-life pledges? When groups emailed their supporters or put out ads reminding their supporters of the politicians’ lack of faithfulness, it hurt.

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    @HeatherHiggins

    Cylon, I’ve been described as many things, but wanna-be power broker has not been one of them. Maybe you don’t think ObamaCare is a problem; I do. Maybe you think repealing it either doesn’t matter or will just happen on its own; I believe both assumptions would be in serious error.That you have not heard of the Repeal Pledge is not surprising; you probably don’t live in a state where we have deployed our small but hard-earned resources. In Indiana, we not only messaged to all likely voters, but our message was picked up by outside groups like Freedom Works and American Majority, and particularly, we were told, by the campaign itself that understood this to be a hugely telling contrast point, so they included it in every speech, press releases and GOTV call.We did the same think in Nebraska. Some folks are happy to hold the coat of others whom they let fight for them; this may not be your issue, but until you come up with a better approach and can demonstrate greater impact, you might want to attempt, if not gratitude, at least a little less cynicism

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    @Cylon
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    I think it’s awesome when organizations can remind their supporters about people backtracking on pledges. And it does lead to results.

    Ask all those “pro-life” Democrats who voted for Obamacare whether they felt the impact of breaking their pro-life pledges?

    Sure, but it’s not like those politicians ran as pro-life supporters because of some pledge. They were already taking a pro-life position and even without a pledge their pro-life position and rhetoric could be used against them. It’s not as if someone could run as pro-life and then say they didn’t renege on their campaign position just because they didn’t sign a pledge. I think it’s great for groups to advocate for positions and vocally promote the causes they believe in. And I appreciate them calling out politicians who break promises. But pledges are just silly theater to me and I think Heather exemplifies my point when she tries to claim that the reason Mourdock and Fischer won was because of her group’s pledge. Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back.

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    @Cylon

    Heather, I have no problem with you fighting to repeal Obamacare. I applaud you for it. What I find kind of silly is you claiming that Lugar lost because of your pledge. I’ve read and heard a lot of post-mortem on Lugar’s defeat. Neither your pledge nor your group came up once.

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    @Britanicus
    Cylon

    …But pledges are just silly theater to me and I think Heather exemplifies my point when she tries to claim that the reason Mourdock and Fischer won was because of her group’s pledge. Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back.

    I think you’re missing the point.

    The claim isn’t that the pledge was the only reason the candidates won–rather the claim is that it helped. This seems to be a reasonable assertion in my opinion.

    Many people don’t realize the tremendous impact nonprofits can have influencing citizens and/or rallying them to action (depending on the c3 or c4 status). The pro-life voter that you mention above may not have been aware that his rep voted for ObamaCare. Isn’t it quite likely that the pledge alerted him to this fact and perhaps nudged him to the voting booth?

    Heather isn’t trying to “pat herself on the back”, she’s fighting the good fight.

    Edited to reflect Cylon’s post above mine, which I hadn’t read when writing my response.

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    @Jager
    Heather Higgins: And it was the power of ObamaCare, and the commitment shown by signing the Repeal Pledge, that helped carry Deb Fischer to victory last night.

    Not sure that this is really related at all. Deb Fischer did not have much money to get this message across. The fact is Nebraska Atty General Brunning and Nebraska Treasure Stenburg were all over TV going negative on each other. They beat each other up so much Fischer was able to win.  

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    @Cylon

    I agree that Heather is fighting the good fight. I just happen to find pledges to be poor weapons. Feet on the ground, grass roots advocacy, fundraising, creating awareness about issues and educating people are all outstanding. Political theater and taking credit for other’s success put me off. This whole pledge thing has gotten out of hand. Everyone and their mother are promoting pledges these days. Coalition building by ultimatum is foolish IMO. This is what I see. A group develops a pledge and says that if you don’t sign the pledge we’ll run ads against you. It doesn’t matter if the politician has already campaigned in agreement on the issue, you have to sign the pledge or else! And then when a politician that has signed the pledge wins, we hear that such and such group forced that politician into line and they crow as victorious champions taking credit. It doesn’t matter that the politician already supported the position before signing the pledge.

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    @user_31634

    Let’s all get on board with Ted Cruz in Texas. Love you, HRH, here in the Lowcountry.

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    @DavidWilliamson
    Heather Higgins: 

    I hope that candidates and incumbents alike will read the tea leaves, 

    Yep, ’twas the Tea Party, and in particular Ms Palin’s facebook note, which did it for Ms Fischer, rather than whatever pledges she signed (although those do help gain favor with the Tea Party, for sure).

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    @StevenDrexler

    Cylon – I’m not at all familiar with the Nebraska primary, but I think pledges are a good shorthand to categorize a candidate’s position. Essentially, they are the same thing as a party platform, right?

    I won’t argue with your criticism of nonprofit groups taking perhaps exaggerated credit for electoral wins, but the point stands: Obamacare repeal is a really important issue this cycle.

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    @Muleskinner

    Here is the best explanation of what happened in Nebraska yesterday. It had nothing to do with signing pledges. Bruning was one of the AG’s that brought the suit against Obamacare, and both Bruning and Stenberg made it absolutely clear that they would vote to repeal it.

    Kerrey seems to be talking about modifying Obamacare, and trying hard to play the old game of being nonpartisan, taking good ideas from both Democrats and Republicans. Ben Nelson survived for years playing that game, but I suspect that the vote for Obamacare and the Cornhusker Kickback will make the nonpartisan claim unusable for years to come. Also, Kerrey has a problem caused by Chuck Hagel (D-France, as National Review labeled him), which probably makes carpetbagging untenable in Nebraska for some time to come.

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