With the winter meeting of the Republican National Committee coming up, RNC Vice Chairman Jim Bopp has come out with a proposal to pass a resolution establishing a "purity test" for Republican candidates in 2010, rather like the "loyalty oath" idea which was floated a few years ago. The plan would be to get all Republican candidates to sign off on a list of 10 positions, and if they disagreed with three or more of the items they would then be denied any support and funding from the RNC and other party organizations.
While I can safely say that I'd probably pass the test, I find the entire concept deeply distasteful. It's so un-Republican that it makes me angry to think that we've got people in the party leadership who would seriously advocate it. It reflects so badly on the party that supporting it should be more of a disqualification for holding office than disagreeing with its various positions would be.
Obviously this idea originated in the dissatisfaction which many people felt with the failed campaign of moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava. The problem with this is that Scozzafava was selected by her state's county party chairs who are part of the structure that produces the RNC and she was approved by the RNC. So this proposal is essentially saying that the RNC doesn't trust its self or its own people to pick candidates responsibly. And the double irony is that based on her actual views rather than various misrepresenations, Scozzafava might actually pass this test, and if they had just held a party primary and let the GOP rank and file pick her the entire problem would have been avoided.
This is the kind of ideologically based litmus test which makes the party look foolish and which has historically been more characteristic of the Democrats than of Republicans. Traditionally Republicans have been united by broad core values like a belief in individual liberty and limited government rather than specific issues of policy. The membership has been called a "big tent" for a reason. Bopp apparently wants to replace that tent with a tiny little coffin.
Here are the proposed items which candidates would have to sign off on:
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 health care;
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;