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I have some friendly advice for all my good friends who are currently competing for the Republican nomination for president: you should refuse to sign pledges. Sure, the first one seems harmless. Maybe it’s a pledge not to raise taxes. No problem. Then the next one is a pledge to oppose gay marriage. OK, you can do that too, even if you’d rather not. But then the next one is something like this. And you’re stuck. You can’t pretend to have a principled objection to pledges, but you’re toast with the tea party crowd if you refuse to sign because you disagree with parts of it. These folks accept no shilly shallying from politicians with “nuanced” views.

So your best bet is to simply register a broad objection to presidents signing interest group pledges at all, along with a noble-sounding statement that you want people to judge you by your past actions and character etc. etc., not by who can out-pledge the other. Just say no to pledges.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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