The Republican National Committee will be in Hawaii this week for its annual meeting to discuss its agenda. One of the items on the agenda is a series of ten statements dubbed the “purity” test by the media. The actual name is a mouthful: Resolution on Reagan’s Unity Principle for Support of Candidates. The idea is that Republican candidates must agree with at least eight of the ten statements in order to qualify for campaign contributions and/or an endorsement from the RNC.
It seems it was originally proposed in November of 2009, but wasn’t taken up for consideration. Reportedly, it will be this week.
I’ve read mixed reactions about the proposal. Some think it’s a good idea. Some think the Republicans are shooting themselves in the foot. Of course, the RNC can do what it wants, and though I can understand their desire to have a sort of litmus test for candidates, this seems somewhat draconian.
Here’s a link to the entire document (it’s a PDF), and below I have a list of each of the ten items along with my commentary on each one.
We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill;
I’m onboard with that… except for the wording. It seems silly to include the final clause “by opposing bills like Obama’s ‘stimulus’ bill.” Not only are the scare quotes overly dramatic and laden with unnecessary sarcasm, but wouldn’t it be more constructive to give a more positive suggestion about how to reach the goal?
We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare;
Again with the unnecessary “Obama-style” word choice. Why not just “We support market-based health care reform?” I think a simple approach to health care reform would be a good choice, but of course there needs to be regulation. There is some good in the current healthcare proposal… no exclusions for pre-existing conditions, for example… but something leaner would be better. On the other hand, if the current proposal doesn’t pass, healthcare reform will be essentially dead for another few decades. I suppose I can say that I, too, support market-based health care reform, but it really depends on what is meant by “market-based health care reform.” There’s plenty more to say here, but I’ll just leave it at that, since the statement is so vague.
We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;
This statement is mostly meaningless in what it supports, but says more about what it opposes. Republicans are notorious for being climate change deniers, and it almost seems that their denial stems from their dislike for any solution that costs money. I don’t know what is meant by “market-based energy reforms” but gauging from what I hear from many Republicans, it means letting companies pollute all they want, drilling for more oil, burning more fossil fuels, and flipping the bird to the environment… and to science.
We support workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check;
Hooray! This is one that I support 100%!… and it’s strangely specific compared to most of the other statements. The union push to eliminate anonymous voting is basically giving them free rein to use precision bullying and intimidation tactics. They complain about corporate intimidation of employees, but the fact is that, with secret ballots, neither the company nor the union knows how any individual voted. That’s as it should be.
We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;
I’m of mixed opinion here. I support legal immigration and assimilation into American society. The rest of the statement is a non sequitur in reference to the first part. You don’t support legal immigration by opposing amnesty. The two are related but not dependant. I’m undecided on the amnesty issue.
We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;
“We support victory.” That’s meaningless tripe. Everyone supports victory. It’s not a question of whether someone supports victory or not. It’s a question of whether victory is even possible… which it probably isn’t in any meaningful way. Invading Afghanistan was understandable and (mostly) warranted. Invading Iraq was not. That aside, these people have been fighting amongst themselves for longer than our country has been in existence and suddenly we think we can resolve all their problems? Not gonna happen. Waste of money. Waste of time. Waste of human life.
We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat;
Yes. I support this as well, but the caveat is that it depends on what they mean by “effective action.” The recent Republican track record on this is less than stellar.
We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;
The Defense of Marriage Act is nothing but blatant rights-removing, religion-based bigotry and homophobia. No… I don’t support this statement in the least.
We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion;
This statement is laughable because our current system is all about rationing and denial of health care. Are they suggesting that everyone should have unlimited health care coverage? Isn’t that… *gasp!*… socialistic? As for government funding of abortion… I don’t care if it’s government funded or not as long as the right to have an abortion isn’t restricted. However, I do support protecting the lives of “vulnerable persons.”
We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership;
I’m okay with this statement, too, assuming it doesn’t mean that Average Joe and Frank the Felon can stock up their houses with automatic weapons and RPGs. The statement is vague on that point. I think existing regulations are fine for the most part… waiting periods and registrations are nothing insidious.
So, overall, the statements are a bit too vague to just accept unconditionally… and a few of them are vague to the point of meaninglessness… and at least one is reprehensible. It doesn’t seem to be a collection of statements on which the Republicans want to hang their future, but it will be interesting to see what they decide.
However, it looks like I would pass the test because I support at least eight of the statements. In most cases, my support is conditional, but given the vagueness of some of the statements, I think it’s only fair that I add the necessary detail on my own. But even though I’m not a Democrat, I don’t think I’ll be calling myself a Republican any time soon.
They still have a long way to go.