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Judge H. Lee Sarokin

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A Pledge Political Candidates Should Sign

Posted: 09/23/11 02:55 PM ET

Candidates should pledge and agree not to mention or refer directly or indirectly to their opponents during the course of the campaign for the presidency. I am opposed to political candidates signing any pledge or committing themselves in advance to opposing or supporting any particular legislation such as the Norquist No-Tax Pledge. In my view such pledges violate their oath of office and commit the signers to a position without knowing the relevant facts and circumstances that may exist in the future.

Elected officials should not follow some blind allegiance to a position which may not serve the public interest at the time it is being considered. I am, however, in favor of a voluntary pledge and agreement which candidates should make during their candidacy to speak about themselves and no one else. Candidates should speak only of what they have done in the past and what they propose for the future. They should declare what they believe and what they oppose, rather than condemning and criticizing their opponents.

Such a pledge would raise the level of debate and discourse in this country and eliminate the degrading sniping and ridiculing of one's opponent, the prepared insults, the practiced zingers, the half-truths and the outright lies. Criticism of one's opponent, even the rare truthful and accurate ones, are best left to the media and the endless collection of special interests groups ready to pounce on both the critical issues and the most trivial of matters.

The current Republican debates are being billed as heavyweight fights predicting knockout blows by the boxing governors. As it is now, debates and speeches by candidates are devoted to saying what is wrong with the opposition. Let us know what you have done; what you believe; what you envision and how you intend to implement it; not how wrong your opponent is or will be. Seeing the candidates go after each other is great fun, but in these serious times, entertainment should come from Sponge Bob or South Park -- not candidates for the presidency of the United States. Save the trash talk for the basketball and football players. We want to vote for a candidate because he is right for the country -- not because someone else is wrong for the country. So sign the pledge. Don't' tell us you are right for the job simply because someone else is not!