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Make No Stupid Campaign Promises

As former Vice President Joe Biden’s advisers struggle with ways to heighten the visibility of their candidate in these bizarre political times, they should avoid the trap that has ensnared many other campaigns: making promises that can undermine campaign operations and the work of governing if you win. The long road to chaos or defeat is littered with many of them. 

Most notable may be George H. W. Bush’s “Read my lips, no new taxes!” pledge in 1988. When forced to raise revenues with even a modest tax increase he was bludgeoned by conservatives and ultimately defeated for re-election.

While campaigning in 2008, Barack Obama emphatically declared that he would close the Guantanamo Bay facility housing terrorist suspects. Throughout his two terms he was criticized for not doing so.

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