After spending the holiday season in hibernation, the GOP "purity test
" is back on the table for RNC officials gathering in Hawaii this week.
The so-called “Reagan test” would require Republican candidates to
agree on at least eight listed conservative positions, ranging from the
legality of abortion to gun-control laws, or face an exclusion from
Republican financial and political resources. The New York Times’ Adam Nagourney
reports that one question is "already percolating" among Republicans: "Would Scott Brown
– the Republican from Massachusetts who just captured the Senate seat of Edward M. Kennedy
, and someone who is a hero these days in the party – have passed the test?"
Some moderate Republicans say no, arguing that Brown's record—from his career of votes and quotes—doesn't pass muster. But given how much enthusiasm Brown's election generated for a Republican resurgence
, does the test even matter?
- Not Pragmatic writes The Washington Monthly’s liberal Steve Benen: "I still have a hard time believing the RNC will actually accept this –
it would likely block party backing for too many candidates Republicans
need to win this year – but the party has certainly done
incomprehensible things before.”
- Makes the Republicans Look Obstructionist The Guardian’s Michael Tomasky
points to pledge point two, which states “we support market-based
health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare,”
as a source of potential issues: “It will be an official point of GOP
policy that candidates have to oppose Obama's healthcare bill. This is
the party Obama is not doing enough to work with?! Of course, some will
argue, well, they must support only eight of 10, not all 10, so some
candidates can support Obamacare and still get party funding. Yeah,
- Fodder for the Media Pilgrim
at The Minority Report thinks the test is mistake, whether Brown
qualifies or not, since the mainstream media “try to trap a GOP
candidate or GOP officeholder” into breaking from party lines of
flip-flopping during debate.
- Risks Outweigh Benefits writes Martin Knight
at Red State. While Knight appreciates the purpose of the purity test
as an reaffirmation of Reagan’s belief that “where people are bound
together by a shared philosophy,” he remains skeptical of its practical
"Not only does it give the media a
handy propaganda tool supporting their favored narrative of the GOP
being a narrow lock-step marching cult catering to the 'Far Right'…it
would be all too easy for the GOP establishment’s preferred
content-free, spineless, unprincipled, go-along-to-get-along,
Republicans-of-convenience to shortcircuit the vetting process by
signing off on positions they have no intention of advancing or
defending once in office, especially if it would get them disinvited
from swanky DC cocktails."
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