Bachmann, Santorum back over-the-top pledge

As if Republican presidential candidates didn’t have enough “pledges” to put up with, Iowa’s Bob Vander Plaats, a right-wing uber-activist, unveiling his own pledge this week. Even for the right, this one’s a doozy.

It’s called “The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family,” and Vander Plaats announced that candidates who refuse to sign the pledge won’t even be considered for an endorsement. Given Vander Plaats’ sway among right-wing activists in Iowa — his group, The Family Leader, is a conservative power in the state — this will no doubt get GOP candidates’ attention.

Indeed, as of late yesterday, two high-profile candidates had already signed on.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) signed “The Marriage Vow,” released Thursday by The Family Leader, the Iowa-based group headed by Vander Plaats.

The document is just the latest pledge for GOP presidential candidates, and focuses on a litany of social issues.

“Social issues” is accurate, but also an understatement.

The pledge, which is available online as a pdf, is almost a parody of itself, demanding Republican presidential candidates vow to fight against gay rights, all forms of pornography, and “Sharia Islam” (whatever that means).

As Alexandra Petri put it, “The vow includes almost every faux pas conceivable to a social liberal, or even a social moderate, or anyone who thinks it sounds goofy to refer to children as the ‘innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy.'”

That’s not a joke, by the way. The document actually refers to children as the “innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy.”

What’s more, the same pledge also makes the case that slavery was bad for African-American families, but at least the children of slaves grew up in two-parent households.

That this pledge is part of Republican politics in the 21st century is an embarrassment. That candidates for the nation’s highest office are actually signing it is a farce.