The Pledge As A Campaign

The Pledge As A Campaign Issue: As I mentioned yesterday, the Republican party should use the whole ‘Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional’ flap to their advantage in the November elections. John Podhoretz reminds us of what happened the last time the Pledge became a campaign issue…

“Take a journey with me down memory lane back to 1988, when Michael Dukakis, governor of Massachusetts and Democratic presidential candidate, found himself on the wrong side of the Pledge of Allegiance. Using the same logic deployed by the Ninth Circuit yesterday, Dukakis had vetoed a bill requiring teachers to lead students in the Pledge.

So what did Dukakis’ rival, George Bush the Elder, do? He spent three weeks – 21 days – going across the country to flag factories and schools, placing his hand on his heart and reciting the Pledge.

Elite commentators cringed at the demagogic use of patriotic symbols. Sophisticates scoffed. But Dukakis, who’d been 15 points ahead of Bush in polls, went into a public-opinion nose-dive from which he never recovered.”

When Bush the Elder took on Dukakis, the nominal subject was the Pledge. But the real subject, the underlying theme, was the discomfort felt by American liberals at the open expression of traditional values, religious faith and patriotic sentiment.”


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