With the Republican Party hoping to win congressional seats from the Democrats in 2010, a group of conservative RNC members is pushing a 10-point conservative "litmus test" to establish the ideological bona fides of all GOP candidatess. The 10 "principles" include opposition to cap and trade legislation and government-funded abortion, and support for the Defense of Marriage Act and a troop surge in Afghanistan. GOP candidates who are out of step on more than two of 10 positions would not be eligible for party funding. Is ideological purity a good strategy for GOP success in 2010? (Watch MSNBC apply the "purity test" to some famous Republicans.)
Purity is great for a minority party: “On the face of it,” this proposal for fealty to 10 principles seems pretty reasonable, says Alex Knapp in Outside the Beltway. If candidates don’t buy into a party’s “core issues,” why should the party support them? The problem is that all 10 of these “could be opposed by a principled conservative,” and have been. If the RNC backs this proposal, expect more GOP splintering and fewer electoral victories.
“Republican purity and conservatism”
This is what rank and file Republicans want: A majority of Republicans—51 percent—say they want ideological purity, says Taegan Goddard in CQ Politics, even if it means their pure GOP candidate has “a poor chance of beating the Democratic candidate,” according to a recent CNN/Opinion Research poll. As for Democrats, 58 percent want a winner, purity be damned.
“Most Republicans choose ideological purity”
What about Reagan’s 'big tent'? The backers of the purity proposal cite Ronald Reagan, says Rob Bernstein at FrumForum, but “Reagan’s Republicanism was that of the big tent—the kind where contrasting opinions, even on matters like abortion, were tolerated.” Reagan won by drawing together social conservatives, fiscal libertarians, and neocons. Ideologues like Sarah Palin would have been in Reagan’s tent, but not his inner circle.
“Reagan never went rogue”
You call this 'purity'? What’s all the fuss? asks Allahpundit in Hot Air. “For a ‘purity test,’ they’re not demanding much purity”—even John McCain, “the maverickiest Maverick of them all, would hit nine out of 10.” There’s not even a pro-life requirement. This is so big-tent, I thought at first it was RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s updated “Contract With America” messaging strategy.
“RNC members circulating 10-point “purity test” for candidates”
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