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Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Campaign Pledge

Dick Cheney's latest inanity is headlining Drudge because he blames Dems for high gas prices, and within the AP story I found the following too:

"The vast majority of Americans believe this is one nation under God, and we believe we ought to be able to say that when we pledge allegiance to the flag," Cheney said.

Please, God, don't let yourself be dragged into the campaign like this.

I will say that this is a step forward from 1988, when Bush I said in his convention speech, "Should public school teachers be required to lead our children in the pledge of allegiance? My opponent says no--but I say yes." At least now it's simply wanting to say the "under God" part rather than requiring the pledge in all public schools.

David Greenberg, in an excellent piece about the pledge, has the Bush I story:

In the 1988 presidential race, as many readers will recall, George Bush bludgeoned Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis for vetoing a mandatory-pledge bill when he was governor of Massachusetts, even though the state Supreme Court had ruled the bill unconstitutional. (emphasis mine)

In fact, the start of the daily pledge in the House of Representatives was a 1988 political stunt:

During the 1988 campaign, candidate George Bush criticized candidate Michael Dukakis for his veto of a Massachusetts state bill to require the Pledge of Allegiance in all public schools in that state. House Republicans (then in the minority) surprised their chamber by offering a privileged resolution to require that each House day commence with the Pledge.

Then-Speaker Jim Wright (D-TX) came to the floor and chastised Republicans for using the Pledge of Allegiance to make a partisan point, saying, "I think it is very important that all of us recognize that the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag is something intended to unite us, not intended to divide us."

So there's some great lineage Cheney was drawing from today. Scott points to another possible flashpoint in the pledge war, noting some Catholic objections to the new Kerry faith outreach person on the basis that she opposed "under God" in the recent Supreme Court case. Steve Waldman of Beliefnet writes today about the emerging religious themes from the convention, and Kos also looks at attempts by Bush to peel off Catholic votes. Finally, the Kerry dis of Archbishop O'Malley for the blessing last week was one of the great stories of convention week that received only limited attention.

UPDATE: Via the Corner, I came across the "Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics." It lists five non-negotiable issue positions against: 1) Abortion, 2) Euthanasia, 3) Stem-Cell Research, 4) Human Cloning, 5) Gay Marriage. Note the omission of foreign and economic policy from this list, the areas in which many progressives like to point out that the views of the Church are not aligned with a certain Republican up for reelection this fall.