The GOP purity test -- well that's something new. The long name is the "Proposed RNC Resolution on Reagan's Unity Principle for Support of Candidates, and the document, proposed by some Republican National Committee bigwigs, sets out "ten (10) key public policy positions for the 2010 election cycle" -- of which candidates must pick seven to merit RNC cash in the 2010 election:

(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; and be further
RESOLVED, that a candidate who disagrees with three or more of the above stated public policy position of the Republican National Committee, as identified by the voting record, public statements and/or signed questionnaire of the candidate, shall not be eligible for financial support and endorsement by the Republican National Committee; and be further
....
Chief Sponsor:
James Bopp, Jr. NCM IN
Sponsors:
Donna Cain NCW OR
Cindy Costa NCW SC
Demetra Demonte NCW IL
Peggy Lambert NCW TN
Carolyn McLarty NCW OK
Pete Rickets NCM NE
Steve Scheffler NCM IA
Helen Van Etten NCW KA
Solomon Yue NCM OR

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Conceptually, a number of quixotic things arise as striking. The very first thing is that this is election-specific, suggesting that the 'core values' of the party will be unsteady over time. It is also odd to set forth values as absolute and yet agree to pass donor funds on to candidates who oppose several of those values. For example, a Republican candidate could back totally nationalized health care, higher taxes, higher deficits, health care rationing, and government funded abortions, and still not run afoul of access to donor dollars per the list (because this would only deviate from values 1,2, and 9). Or, a Republican candidate could support amnesty for illegal immigrants, and total surrender and disengagement with Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and North Korea, and still qualify for RNC funding (deviating only from values 4, 5, 6).

Some of the "values" themselves are vaguely worded, such as the ones relating to "victory in Iraq and Afghanistan," and "effective action to eliminate" nuclear weapons threats in Iran and North Korea, both without offering any parameter for defining victory or effectiveness. Support for "protecting the lives of vulnerable persons" is equally vague, though it is downright surprising that a general opposition to abortion is nowhere to be found in this statement of values -- perhaps indicative of the RNC finally realizing that abortion is here to stay. Even the evokation of smaller government and debt is subject to interpretation. On the other hand, the RNC continues to cling to the fundamentally anti-conservative postion of supporting the Defense of Marriage Act -- an aggrandizement of federalization of marital law which had previously only ever been the business of the States. Though the whole list is framed as Reaganistic values, nothing in Reagan's record supports federal imposition on the rights of States to grant the status of marriage upon their citizens.

Maybe the greatest irony of the issue is that, with the vagueness of some principals and the broad appeal of certain others, the RNC could find more than a handful of Democrats who would qualify for RNC funding under the standards invoked in the proposal.

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