Magazine article The Nation

'I Hereby Pledge.' (John Tower's Abstinence Pledge) (Editorial)

Magazine article The Nation

'I Hereby Pledge.' (John Tower's Abstinence Pledge) (Editorial)

Article excerpt

To get Sam Nunn and other prohibitionists off his back, John Tower resorted to the ultimate Southern strategy: taking what is known in the Bible Belt as a total abstinence pledge. But Tower's renunciation of Demon Chardonnay left us cold sober. He was not a Baptist bucking for church usher. If he'd sworn off gold-plated missiles, $1,000 wing nuts and chemical weapons, he would have set a worthy precedent for Defense Secretary-designates.

In fact, we can think of any number of public pledges that might prove useful. Jesse Helms, for example, might swear off tobacco companies rather than 'cigarettes. William Bennett, who gave up nicotine so that he could fight crack with pure heart and lungs, should say no to any drug policy based on just saying no.

Director of Central Intelligence William Webster should take a solemn oath on Meet the Press that he will abstain from covert actions. …

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