Grover Norquist’s pledge doesn’t leave signatories with much in the way of wiggle room. Republicans who sign it – which includes the vast majority of Republicans in the House and Senate – commit to voting against any and all tax increases, and opposing the elimination of tax deductions unless they’re matched with other tax cuts.
It is, incidentally, a one-time, life-long pledge. Those who sign it are making a promise that’s supposed to last their entire career – they don’t re-commit before every election.
Since the pledge is obviously incompatible with sane policymaking and efforts at bipartisan compromises, a growing number of Republican policymakers are either abandoning the commitment or looking for new ways to get around it. Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.) won’t win any awards for political courageousness, but he does earn points for creativity (via David Nir).
“The Congressman signed the pledge as a candidate in 2010 for the 20th Congressional District…. Regarding the pledge moving forward, Congressman Gibson doesn’t plan to resign it for the 19th Congressional District, which he now represents (the pledge is to your constituents of a numbered district).”
Oh, I see. Gibson signed the pledge as a candidate in the 20th district, but now that his district number is different, the congressman no longer sees his earlier pledges as binding.
As best as I can tell, the statement issued by his office wasn’t intended as a joke or an attempt at satire.
In case anyone’s curious, Gibson didn’t move or change districts; it’s just that the state redrew the boundaries a little and shuffled the numerical deck. New York’s new 19th includes slightly more of the Hudson Valley than the old 20th. It’s why, if I had to guess, Norquist won’t be swayed by the congressman’s efforts to break his pledge.