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Tilting at Windmills

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November 23, 2009

THE RNC'S PURITY TEST.... After the party's unpleasant experience in New York's 23rd, Republicans hope to exclude moderates from their upcoming slate of candidates. But the commitment leads to an awkward question: who gets to decide which candidates meet the party's ideological standards?

Don't worry; some Republican National Committee members have a plan. It's called the "Resolution on Reagan's Unity Principle for Support of Candidates," and it's being circulated among RNC members in the hopes of generating party support. The litmus test was reportedly written by attorney Jim Bopp, Jr., a prominent attorney opposed to abortion rights, perhaps best known for pushing an RNC resolution that would have relabeled the Democratic Party the "Democrat Socialist Party." (The effort failed earlier this year.)

Bopp's purity test for Republican candidates hits most of the predictable highlights.

(1) Smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama's "stimulus" bill

(2) Market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare;

(3) Market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;

(4) Workers' right to secret ballot by opposing card check

(5) Legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;

(6) Victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;

(7) Containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat

(8) Retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;

(9) Protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and

(10) The right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership

And what does this have to do with Reagan? "President Ronald Reagan believed ... that someone who agreed with him 8 out of 10 times was his friend, not his opponent," the resolution states. With that in mind, if a candidate strayed from the list on three more issues, the RNC resolution, if approved, would block him/her from receiving financial support and/or official endorsements.

Complicating matters, the resolution also says that the RNC will decide whether a candidate actually agrees with eight out of 10 -- merely promising to go along isn't enough if the party doesn't like your voting record.

It occurs to me, looking over the list, that George W. Bush would have been deemed ineligible for support from the Republican National Committee. He did, after all, increase the size of government, run enormous deficits, endorsed cap and trade, allowed North Korea and Iran to become more serious security threats, and rejected the right's line on immigration.

For that matter, I'm not sure if Ronald Reagan would have gotten RNC support, either. Reagan, you'll recall, voted for several tax increases, began the modern era of massive federal debt, ran huge deficits, and approved an immigration measure the far-right still resents.*

And it's not just the past, either -- Sen. Olympia Snowe (R) of Maine would easily fail this test, and be made ineligible for support from her own party.

I can't wait to see how the purity test turns out for the RNC. They're a clever bunch, aren't they?

* Update: Reader S.T. also reminds that Reagan would have failed the RNC Purity Test after withdrawing Marines from Lebanon in 1983 in the wake of the barracks bombing. Dick Cheney bashed the decision years later.

Steve Benen 3:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (45)

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Comments

Oh! Do we get a purity ring, too?

Reality and common sense is never part of the equation for zealots. They can keep their crazy, while the adults take care of business.

Posted by: JJC on November 23, 2009 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Do these clowns not get that they have become the old Cold War enemy of Communism who spent an inordinate time fighting over stuff like "Political Reliability"?

I still am boggled at the seemingly endless depth of stupid and failure to grasp history.

Posted by: Former Dan on November 23, 2009 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

You betcha, I am all for the test. I think it should be rigidly enforced. If it were the size of the Republican party would shrink to just about the same number as Rush Limbaughs daily radio audience. That works. Good for Rush. Good for America. No Republican would ever be elected again.

Posted by: Ron Byers on November 23, 2009 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, the free market really has been instrumental in environmental and health care reform...

Posted by: citizen_pain on November 23, 2009 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

I guarantee Reagan would get tea bagged in this climate.

Posted by: RolloTomasi on November 23, 2009 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

As Rollo says, the actual Ronald Reagan rather than the parody sainted zombie that Republicans worship today would never be allowed to run as a Republican. Not only did he raise taxes, but he didn't really care about church.

Posted by: freelunch on November 23, 2009 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

I get the homophobia thing... that's their M.O., these closet fags. But where's the item about Abortion? You know, Purity Pledge #11:

"Protect the unborn by violating a woman's personal freedom."

Posted by: JJC on November 23, 2009 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

All of this dreamed up by a lawyer from Terre Haute, IN. Consider the source.

I bet Larry Bird burns his clothes after he visits the ISU campus.

Having said that, I do think it's an excellent idea in the sense that the GOP is becoming a party of national purity. They'll have an easy time sewing up the white, low-info voters. Until they're all dead from old-age or lack of healthcare.

Posted by: BGinCHI on November 23, 2009 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

this kind of profound foolishness from the RNC suggests that no matter how many ways Obama compromises with these clowns, and no matter how many ways he pisses off his own base, he'll probably win re-election in 2012, because the GOP will be completely incompetent.

'course, if he *doesn't* win, we are So. Screwed.

Posted by: LL on November 23, 2009 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

It might well be intentional that this list would rule out George W. Bush. After all, right-wingers begann trying to spin Bush as "not a true conservative" before he was even out of office. As for Reagan, he's been a shell for conservatives to project their own options onto for at least a decade now, the same way they project everything they hate onto Obama.

Also, didn't Hanson have a song about Jim Bopp?

Posted by: Master Mahan on November 23, 2009 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

With regards to point 3, what the hell do they think the "trade" part of "cap-and-trade" refers to?

Posted by: Robert Merkel on November 23, 2009 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

The RNC is going to hunt RINOs into extinction! Yes!

Posted by: Al on November 23, 2009 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Reagan wouldn't last a minute with the current conservative crowd.

In addition to what Steve said, Reagan also passed the largest tax increase in American history (1982, largely to offset the previous year's largest tax cut in American history) as well as tax hikes in 1983, 1984, and 1986. An apostate on tax cutting philosophy, and a clear "flip-flopper."

And he negotiated with Gorbachev five times over two years at the end of his presidency -- in today's idiotic lingo, he was "an appeaser."

Also, when it got tough in Beirut after the terrorist attack on the Marine barracks, he pulled the U.S. out -- he "cut and ran."

Describe what Reagan actually did, and the Tea Party crowd would want him tarred and feathered.

Posted by: TR on November 23, 2009 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

"(9) Protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care" -- isn't this the Democratic position? Or are they only referring to fictional rules?

Posted by: Bobo on November 23, 2009 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

"President Ronald Reagan believed ... that someone who agreed with him 8 out of 10 times was his friend, not his opponent,"

Cute.

President Ronald Reagan believed whatever his handlers told him he believed.

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on November 23, 2009 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

so there's the two purity tests:

the mostly pure whiteness of the Caucasian-Repugnant party

and the mostly pure hateful, pro-rich, pro-corporate, anti-poor, anti-middle class destruction of the common good of a decent society.

sounds "right" to me...

(a third purity test on sexuality is best not discussed...)

Posted by: neill on November 23, 2009 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

I encourage the GOP to push this quest for purity as far as it possibly can. Taken to its inevitable conclusion, the party will consist of a single, man, sitting in a corner, wearing a white sheet, and grumbling about how things should be like they used to be.

You go right ahead, GOP.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on November 23, 2009 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

"President Ronald Reagan believed ... that someone who agreed with him 8 out of 10 times was his friend, not his opponent,"

Reagan would fit right in with these clowns. Here are a couple of his crazier thoughts on aliens:

At the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 21st, 1987, Reagan said, "In our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat to make us recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world."

Speaking to a room full of reporters at the White House on May 5th, 1988, Reagan said, "I've often wondered what if all of us in the world discovered that we were threatened by an outer…a power from another planet. Wouldn't we all of a sudden find that we didn't have any differences between us at all, we were all human beings, citizens of the world and wouldn't we come together to fight that particular threat?"

Posted by: ScottW on November 23, 2009 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK
Market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation

Demonstrating yet again that "free market" is just an ideological buzzword for these clowns, and has no connection with actual functioning market.

Posted by: Redshift on November 23, 2009 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

@ScottW: to be fair, Reagan was speaking hypothetically here. Tease out the implications of Reagan's thought experiment, and I think you'll find it's a (weak, kind of strange) argument for international cooperation. This, of course, directly violates the the spirit of the GOP rule about doing everything you can to antagonize Iran and North Korea, so it's another stike against the old squish.

I really hope this resolution passes so I can watch The Daily Show mock it. Some enterprising blogger ought to come up with a chart showing who passes the test and who doesn't.

Posted by: Decline and Fall on November 23, 2009 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

out of ten, seven are 'oppose' or 'opposing.'
boy, do they have their number!

your pal,
blake

Posted by: blake on November 23, 2009 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

"Obama's" Stimulus bill..say what now? That was engendered under a Republican, with bipartisan support. Sept-Oct 08 Bush was still Preznit.
Amazing how these retrophagiacs love to re-Right history.

Posted by: johnnymags on November 23, 2009 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

Gee who else had a National Purity Party test back in '39?

Posted by: johnnymags on November 23, 2009 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

I watched the Kansas GOP pull this same act in the '90s, it got them a democratic Governor. I thought about calling the KS Republican committee to tell them they were getting a little extreme, but what the hay.

Posted by: Jackie on November 23, 2009 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Don't forget Reagan's 11th commandment: thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.

Posted by: ebbolles on November 23, 2009 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

So would selling Iran weapons fall under "containment"?

Or is it "victory in Iraq", since that's who the Iranians were using the weapons against?

Posted by: 2Manchu on November 23, 2009 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

"lower deficits and lower taxes"

Oxymoron.

Emphasizing MORON.

Posted by: Joe Friday on November 23, 2009 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Robert and Redshift beat me to it (the disadvantages of living in Beijing), but i still can't let this slide without commenting:

"(3) Market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation"

because even with rightwing nuts, it's still a relatively rare instance when someone manages to contradict themselves inside of one single sentence.

Posted by: ahoy polloi on November 23, 2009 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

Yes ahoy polloi, even compared to other examples of Republican logic, 3) is a particularly stupid statement.

Posted by: tanstaafl on November 24, 2009 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

Reagan, you'll recall, voted for several tax increases[...]

Reagan VOTED for tax increases? When?

He was only ever an executive. He never had a chance to vote for any legislation.

Posted by: Michael Seery on November 24, 2009 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

OK, signed.

Bonzo Ronnie signed seven large tax increases into law, two of which remain the largest in non-World War history.

Posted by: Joe Friday on November 24, 2009 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

Blake's right. Seven of the ten points offer nothing more than opposition to the Democrats. Then there is the one that says to protect the existing Defense of Marriage Act (Oppose Gays, in other words.) And then they support the military.

I wonder what kind of "effective action" they would accept to prevent N. Korea from getting nukes. The same absence of any action that Cheney/Bush demonstrated? That's an unspecified way of stating they oppose N. Korea getting nukes.

As the party who used to claim they were the party of ideas, all they can do is say "NO!" They can't even figure out how. That's their definition of purity. Those guys are running scared.

Posted by: Rick B on November 24, 2009 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

The purity test is just part of the new GOP marketing strategy:

http://bit.ly/fxv3G

(satire)

Posted by: bondwooley on November 24, 2009 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't it odd that the "purity test" doesn't actually require one to be anti-abortion? It only requires to oppose the government funding of abortion. Gotta wonder how that slipped through. That is normally #1 on their list.

Posted by: Daniel on November 24, 2009 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

#1 - sounds good. Stimulus bill has failed.
#2 - some market based approaches should be focused on, fixed, and new solutions implemented. However, health care is a huge problem, Repubs only seem to care all of a sudden when Dems start shoving legislation through. A true bi-partisan bill would have helped our system a lot.
#3 - cap and trade won't do us any good, sorry people. The government needs to begin diverting more grants to educational research in the development of alternative energy sources. GOP would hop on board if it had a defensive slant. Our current energy grid is highly susceptible to attack because of its networked design. Installation of independent alt energy hubs would increase national security.
#4 - what the hell is that?
#5 - opposing the assimilation of Mexicans into America will be the downfall of the entire nation if the current trends continue. They deserve amnesty. Plus we could start taxing them.
#6 - We are already victorious in Iraq, time to go. Send a surge to Afghan, get it set, and then lets leave. We have bigger problems in this world than that barren worthless country.
#7 - Yes
#8 - Who cares? Gays should be allowed to be just as miserable as the rest of us.
#9 - We are already rationing our health care. However, I work for the government and can vouch, if the system is working this badly under private ownership, it will be 10x worse if administered by the government.
#10 - It's in the Constitution which is the supreme law of the land. This is a non-issue. The protection and opposition to legislation which opposes the Constitution is the Supreme Courts job, not the GOPs.

If only the dems and repubs could get along. Regardless, liberal and conservative thinking can no longer be associated with the semantic meaning of either word. They have both diverged substantially from each base with both supporting both communitarian and individualist styles of thinking. I personally think they both suck.

Posted by: dan on November 24, 2009 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

Awesome. Ride that bird down GOP! Hint: When you're in a pinch, AND your party is morally loathsome, swing the center, don't firm up votes you already have with far-righties.

Posted by: Sir_bouncy on November 24, 2009 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

As a life-long conservative, I couldn't support 3,5,6,7,or 10, so I guess I'm a Liberal after all.

Posted by: John on November 24, 2009 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Reagan is the culprit for running huge deficits w/a democratic controlled congress that ran for 40 years? It's a wonder that he got the personal income tax cuts through in 1986, the benefits of which Dollar Bill & the tech boom rode through the 90's.
And there are still legions of morons who maintain that the Cold War wouldn't have ended a day later w/Carter or Goondale @ the helm.

Posted by: Buck on November 24, 2009 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Reagan is the culprit for running huge deficits w/a democratic controlled congress that ran for 40 years? It's a wonder that he got the personal income tax cuts through in 1986, the benefits of which Dollar Bill & the tech boom rode through the 90's.
And there are still legions of morons who maintain that the Cold War wouldn't have ended a day later w/Carter or Goondale @ the helm.

Posted by: Buck on November 24, 2009 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Ha! The party of Lincoln would likely ostracize Honest Abe nowdays.

Posted by: GNG on November 24, 2009 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Buck your logic doesn't hold up. Sure the dems held the house(not the senate)for 40 years. But by this thinking shouldn't the huge deficits have started in the 50's instead of the 80's when Reagan took office? Instead the total national debt stood at just under a trillion dollars when Carter left office. Now 30 years after the so called Reagan revolution it's 11 trillion. But as Stephen Colbert says the facts have a well known liberal bias.

Posted by: Idiotland on November 24, 2009 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

After the hostage crisis in Iran, Reagan rewarded (appeased) the Iranians by selling them weapons. It's amazing how forgotten THAT is. You kids can look it up under "Iran-contra." That's still a good conversation-stopper in some circles.

Posted by: tubino on November 24, 2009 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a national deficit chart you don't see very often.

http://www.lafn.org/politics/gvdc/Natl_Debt_Chart.html

Posted by: tubino on November 24, 2009 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

Joe Friday said: "lower deficits and lower taxes" Oxymoron.

It's even worse than that.

(1) Smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama's "stimulus" bill

Lower deficits make for a BIGGER debt.
They can't even write one sentence without internal contradiction.

These are the guys claiming to be better with economics than the Democrats?

I'll take my chances with the Donkey party until they send some adults out to play.

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Posted by: Lacy on March 23, 2010 at 7:12 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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