Josh Mandel Takes BBA Pledge

July 2, 2012

It’s a small but important victory:  Ohio current state treasurer and Senate candidate Josh Mandel has just become the most prominent politician to date to take the People’s Balanced Budget Amendment pledge.

A month and a half ago, I discussed and recommended We Demand a Balanced Budget .com, which encourages people to take one of two pledges:

  • Candidates pledge to work to pass a balanced-budget amendment to the U. S. Constitution if elected.
  • Citizens pledge not to donate money toward, or otherwise support, any candidate who has not taken that pledge.  (Obviously citizens are still free to, and should, cast their vote for the more conservative candidate every time, regardless of whether he has taken the pledge.)

Since then, the number of citizens nationwide who have taken the pledge has grown by about 20%; that number is at 2,984 as of this writing.

The language of both pledges has been revised slightly since then, but remains substantially the same.  The candidate pledge is now tied to four particular written proposals, each of which has already been introduced in Congress.  The WDBB Web site has more information on the four proposals and links to the full text of the bills as introduced.

True, we already had reason to believe that Mandel might support such an amendment, but politicians’ promises can perhaps best be understood as a matter of degree, and there is some indication that this kind of public, organized pledge really makes a difference—just look at Americans for Tax Reform’s no-new-tax pledge.

I see that Mandel’s Web site now also explicitly gives his support to a balanced-budget amendment; I don’t remember seeing that there before:

Common Sense Solutions

Grow the economy. The budget will not balance through spending cuts alone. It must be a balanced approach of spending cuts and economic growth.

Balance the federal budget. The failure of Washington to control its spending for so long requires us to make a multi-year commitment to spending discipline and policies to promote economic growth.

Balanced Budget Amendment. Let the American people have the opportunity to limit the Washington politicians’ ability to spend like there is no tomorrow.

The fact that Mandel did not join in the People’s Balanced Budget Amendment pledge until this past weekend tells me that it isn’t just meaningless words on a page.  Yet we were able to persuade him to sign on with only some 1,300 Ohioans’ having taken the pledge.  Who knows what a difference you and a few of your fellow citizens can make in your state?

If you agree, publicly take the citizen pledge.  Then, when your representatives or candidates for Senate or the House of Representatives send you their ads asking for your support, politely reply and let them know that you can’t give them any more money until they’ve put their names on this list.

And if you live in Ohio, consider sending Josh Mandel a donation (or volunteering) with your thanks for his pledge.  His opponent, first-term incumbent Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown, is running ahead of Mandel in the polls (48.5 to 38% in Real Clear Politics polling average as of this writing), but under 50%, which some would say means an incumbent is vulnerable.  Although his constituency is moderate Ohio, Brown was tied for first for most liberal senator in America in 2009 and 2010 in National Journal’s legislative ratings.  (Even last year—the most recent year available—he still rated fifth most liberal.)  Mandel immediately responded to Thursday’s Supreme Court decision by renewing his commitment to repeal Obamacare.  (Brown voted for Obamacare.)  Let’s make it happen for Mandel!

9 Responses to “Josh Mandel Takes BBA Pledge”

  1. Tevyeh Says:

    “Obviously citizens are still free to, and should, cast their vote for the more conservative candidate every time…”

    Gaaah! Please tell me that you don’t really believe relative “position” on the political spectrum should be a voter’s sole deciding criterion…

    • Remind me again what the other criteria should be?

      • Snoodickle Says:

        How about competence?

      • Tevyeh Says:

        Intelligence, experience, leadership talent, a firm grasp of current political/economic issues…in a nutshell, competence.

        Please don’t commit the common liberal error of making ideology a proxy for all of the above.

      • (Each of them said “competence” without knowing that the other would say it, while waiting for me to moderate the comments.)

        Think of it this way: If a conservative wants to pull the nation in one direction, and a liberal wants to pull in the opposite direction, I might rather have an incompetent conservative than a competent liberal. I might also rather have an incompetent liberal than a competent liberal. We’re fighting for the future of the country; I don’t want to make my opponents the “best” at it they can possibly be. Think of it this way: There isn’t some neutral “job” that I want to be sure my representatives “do” (and can “do well”); from my point of view, gridlock that keeps Congress from “accomplishing” anything for a given two-year period might possibly be a better outcome than any other Congress in recent memory. (This argument applies more to legislators than to the presidency.)

        That said, I agree (with qualifications) that competence is good. Instead of competence, I thought you might mention character. I think both are best selected for at the primary level. I won’t say that there’s no way a candidate could ever make it through the primary and still not be sufficiently minimally competent to get my vote (if he’s also the more conservative candidate) in the general election, but if you can point to any example where that has ever actually happened, I would love to hear about it.

      • Tevyeh Says:

        Yeah, I forgot character. Add it to my list. Maybe my omission is a sign of my ever-increasing cynicism about politics.

        “There isn’t some neutral ‘job’ that I want to be sure my representatives ‘do’ (and can ‘do well’)…”

        I disagree sharply. The work of an elected official cannot be fairly summed up as “trying to pull the country” in one direction or another. Much of their work is mundane, uncontroversial “management,” to which political ideology is largely irrelevant. While this housekeeping work usually fails to make headlines or dominate popular discourse, it is nevertheless extremely important, and doing it poorly can wreak havoc on the nation. (This assessment applies greatly to executive offices, but also to legislative offices).

        A joke I made up:

        Q: What do you call a President with Bush’s ideology and Clinton’s competence?

        A: Ronald Reagan.

        Q: What do you call a President with Clinton’s Ideology and Bush’s competence?

        A: Barack Obama.

  2. […] 2 — Josh Mandel supports adding a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. […]

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