RNC considers instituting a purity test

Conservatives within the party leadership want to blacklist any candidate who strays too far from their line

Published November 23, 2009 8:24PM (EST)

Some conservatives want the Republican Party to strive for ideological purity in its platform and choice of candidates. Others want to make it official policy.

10 members of the Republican National Committee have put together a resolution that would keep the RNC from endorsing or supporting any candidates who don't agree with at least eight out of 10 principles described in it. (The math is based, natch, on a philosophy straight from former President Reagan, who said, as mentioned in the resolution, "that someone who agreed with him 8 out of 10 times was his friend, not his opponent.")

National Committeeman James Bopp is leading the charge on the measure; he gained fame earlier this year when he sponsored another resolution, one that would have officially declared President Obama's agenda socialist. That resolution was watered down before it was passed, but Bopp has inserted similar language in this one; it, too, is likely to be toned down somewhat.

Here, via the New York Times' Caucus blog, is the list of principles candidates would have to abide by in order to get the RNC's endorsement and/or money:

  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 and 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

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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