Purity Balls: Republican Party Proposes Test For PoliticiansS

A new purity test for Republicans seeking party support asks if potential GOPers support of the Defense of Marriage Act, are against government funding for abortion, and are ready to bow down and fellate the ghost of Ronald Reagan.


The Wall Street Journal
(natch) provides the most concise summary of the resolution and the text of the actual proposal.

But first, writer Peter Wallsten offers this interesting observation:

RNC meetings, traditionally fairly staid affairs focused on mundane rules and convention planning, have become lively in recent years as the party has slipped into minority status. Many committee members are elected by conservative party activists in their home states, and some pushed resolutions in the waning years of the George W. Bush presidency challenging his support for more open immigration laws.

Organizers of the new purity test said they decided to allow deviation on no more than two issues in deference to the mantra of the late President Ronald Reagan, who, as the resolution states, believed "that someone who agreed with him eight out of 10 times was his friend, not his opponent."

Still worshiping at the altar of Reagan? Good to know!

The actual proposal is even better - was there any Republican Party before Ronald Reagan - and reads as follows (all emphasis mine):

WHEREAS, President Ronald Reagan believed that the Republican Party should support and espouse conservative principles and public policies; and

WHEREAS, President Ronald Reagan also believed the Republican Party should welcome those with diverse views; and

WHEREAS, President Ronald Reagan believed, as a result, that someone who agreed with him 8 out of 10 times was his friend, not his opponent; and

WHEREAS, Republican faithfulness to its conservative principles and public policies and Republican solidarity in opposition to Obama's socialist agenda is necessary to preserve the security of our country, our economic and political freedoms, and our way of life; and

WHEREAS, Republican faithfulness to its conservative principles and public policies is necessary to restore the trust of the American people in the Republican Party and to lead to Republican electoral victories; and

WHEREAS, the Republican National Committee shares President Ronald Reagan's belief that the Republican Party should espouse conservative principles and public policies and welcome persons of diverse views; and (Wait, is this a repeat from three lines ago?)

WHEREAS, the Republican National Committee desires to implement President Reagan's Unity Principle for Support of Candidates; and

WHEREAS, in addition to supporting candidates, the Republican National Committee provides financial support for Republican state and local parties for party building and federal election activities, which benefits all candidates and is not affected by this resolution; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee identifies ten (10) key public policy positions for the 2010 election cycle, which the Republican National Committee expects its public officials and candidates to support [...]

And what are these ten key public policy positions? Here's a hint - the list is defined by what they oppose, not what they support.

1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama's "stimulus" bill;
(2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare;
(3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;
(4) We support workers' right to secret ballot by opposing card check;
(5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;
(6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;
(7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat;
(8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;
(9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing, denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and
(10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership; be further,

RESOLVED, that a candidate who disagrees with three or more of the above stated public policy positions of the Republican National Committee, as identified by the voting record, public statements and/or signed questionnaire of the candidate, shall not be eligible for financial support and endorsement by the Republican National Committee [...]

The Party of NO has spoken. (And in the case of number nine, spoken in circles. Isn't denial of health care and rationing occurring because of this prohibition on government funding of abortion? Whatever, details, details!)

The NY Times' Caucus blog accurately summarizes the nature of the proposal by explaining:

The resolution invokes Ronald Reagan, and noted that Mr. Reagan had said the Republican Party should be devoted to conservative principles but also be open to diverse views. President Reagan believed, the resolution notes, "that someone who agreed with him 8 out of 10 times was his friend, not his opponent."

Hence the provision calling for cutting off Republicans who agree with the party on seven of 10 items.

The Times also explains how the proposal is going to cause problems for RNC Chairman Michael Steele:

While it is unclear whether the test will be adopted when it is put up for consideration before the Republican National Committee early next year, its drafting is a striking example of the intensified internal debate among Republicans about how best to handle pressure from conservatives to move the party more to the right and to recapture control of Congress and the White House.

Its introduction increases pressure on the party chairman, Michael Steele, as he tries to maintain a balance between those in his party who have been saying the road to a Republican comeback is to include divergent views and appeal to the political center, and those who say the party needs to more fully embrace conservative principles.

The Times reached out to spurned GOP candidate Dede Scozzafava, who was so thoroughly attacked for her "liberal" views by the Republican establishment that she ultimately ended up endorsing a Democrat earlier this month:

The list was clearly influenced by the divisive Congressional race in upstate New York this fall, when conservative activists deemed the Republican nominee for the seat, Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, too liberal and instead supported a third-party candidate, Douglas L. Hoffman.

Under conservative pressure, Ms. Scozzafava withdrew from the race but supported the Democratic nominee, Bill Owens, whose victory removed the seat from Republican hands for the first time in more than 100 years.

On first blush Ms. Scozzafava said she found the new proposal "ridiculous," though she said she would have to read it in full before drawing a final conclusion. "I'm not a big fan of pledges," she said in an interview, "because things don't always fit through a keyhole and governing isn't always that easy."

However, by choosing to create the we-embrace-diversity-until-we-don't doctrine, the GOP has assured the prediction from BarbinMD over at DailyKos: "They're all teabaggers now."

Some Conservatives Push a ‘Purity Test' for GOP Candidates [Wall Street Journal]
G.O.P. Considers ‘Purity' Resolution for Candidates [NY Times]
Conservatives Make a List to Measure Candidates' Commitment [NY Times]
Purity Now, Purity Tomorrow, Purity Forever ... [Daily Kos]