This much is clear: the pledge is not just a pledge.
At issue, Republican gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert's signed the Taxpayers League's no new taxes pledge and Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer hasn't. Seifert's hoping that difference will sway some delegates at the GOP state convention later this month.
This week, Seifert ceremonially signed the pledge again -- he first signed it early last month -- at a Capitol press conference with League president Phil Krinkie on hand to pitch the pledge's importance.
In response, Emmer put together this Web page and released this video on his Web site:
In response to that response, Seifert campaign manager Kurt Daudt released this email addressed to "Republican Leaders:"
On Tuesday, Marty Seifert sent a letter to delegates explaining his principled decision to sign the Taxpayers’ Protection Pledge. No other candidate's name was mentioned or referred to in this positive communication. It was with great disappointment that I saw the Emmer campaign's response last night: an unprovoked attack email. It is very sad that Rep. Emmer felt the need to lash out at Marty with a number of unsubstantiated, misleading attacks.
Marty signed the no-tax-increase pledge for one very important reason: for too long, politicians from both parties have said one thing on the campaign trail and acted differently once in office. Republicans lost their way in Washington, DC, and joined the Democrats in out-of-control spending. Republicans then got their just reward: defeat at the polls. Democrats now control all levers of government in Washington and in both the House and Senate in Minnesota.
Marty Seifert signed the pledge that he will not raise taxes as governor to send an unmistakable message: that the state government spending binge must end and we Republicans must not be accomplices to increasing the already-too-high tax burden on Minnesota families and employers.
Since the Emmer campaign has chosen to attack Marty for signing the same pledge which Governor Pawlenty signed in 2002, let's consider a few facts.
First, Tom Emmer says that he will not sign the no-tax-increase pledge because he doesn't sign pledges out of principle. He claims that he “never” signs pledges of any kind. However, the record shows a different story. In 2008, Rep. Emmer signed at least two pledges – one (the “Live Within Our Means Commitment”) from a coalition that included the Taxpayers League of Minnesota and the other (the Liberty Compact) from the Republican Liberty Caucus of Minnesota. No one should criticize Rep. Emmer for signing these pledges. But for him to claim that it is a “principled” position to not sign the Taxpayers’ Protection Pledge now is simply not credible. Rep. Emmer has indeed signed other pledges in the past but today wouldn't commit himself to an absolute promise not to raise taxes. What sort of "principled" leadership for Minnesota is that?
Second, the Emmer campaign also criticizes Marty for somehow breaking his pledge in 2005. What Rep. Emmer doesn’t tell you is that this vote was on a bill that included major pro-life legislation (the Fetal Pain bill), in addition to the health impact fee, and that numerous other no-tax-increase conservatives -- including then state Senator Michele Bachmann – voted the same as Marty Seifert did.
Moreover, Rep. Emmer conveniently leaves out the fact that he skipped the vote on this bill – which explains why Rep. Emmer does not have a 100% lifetime pro-life rating from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). How can Tom Emmer criticize a fellow conservative for a vote like this when he didn't vote either way?
In the 2006 campaign for Congress, Michele Bachmann was attacked for her vote on this same pro-life bill, as Marty Seifert is now. Does anyone consider Michele Bachmann and Erik Paulsen pledge-breakers on taxes?
If Rep. Emmer agrees that we should rule out tax increases, why won’t he simply sign the Taxpayers’ Protection Pledge?
With cynicism and distrust of government and politicians at record levels, it is important for a candidate for governor to state unequivocally where he stands on the all-important issue of taxes. There’s no doubt where Marty Seifert stands and his record of opposing tax increases backs that up.
Visit www.SeifertforGovernor.com to see where Marty stands on the important issues. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions on Marty’s record.
Seifert for Governor
So will Emmer now respond to Seifert's response to Emmer's response? Or it that too meta, even for the very meta gubernatorial campaign?