A Conservative Checklist for Republican Candidates: The Dumbest Idea I Have Ever Heard
I am rarely surprised when the group of conservatives that the mainstream media calls the “Far Right” decide to grab something and run with it, but this one really has my head shaking. This group of “Right Wingers,” that clearly lacks the ability to set down their Going Rogue textbooks long enough to recognize that conservatism is not about a checklist of talking points and issues, has decided to draft a resolution to submit to the RNC that would force Republican candidates to adhere to a 10-point checklist of key issues / principles. To be as kind as I can about the matter, and to avoid using the expletives I screamed out loud as I read about this (I am trying to clean up my potty mouth a bit), I will simply state that this is the dumbest Republican idea I have heard in my lifetime. I understand that I may not be as old as some who may read this, but nearly three decades of stupid ideas and gimicks all pale in comparison to this one. My only hope is that the idiots who drafted this resolution, and those who allowed it to leak to the press, are so fringe, so far out in “lala land”, that no one in the Party gives them even a moment of their time. These people are not the “right wing” of the Party and they are not conservatives. They think they are because they purport to stand for “conservative” issues and principles, but they lack any understanding of the fundamentals of True Conservatism.
In what was being dubbed a purity test when it leaked out to reporters on Monday, the proposal would require the party to withhold campaign money and endorsements from candidates who do not adhere to at least seven principles on the checklist.
While it is unclear whether the test will be adopted when it is put up for consideration before the Republican National Committee early next year, its drafting is a striking example of the intensified internal debate among Republicans about how best to handle pressure from conservatives to move the party more to the right and to recapture control of Congress and the White House.
Gail Gitcho, a spokeswoman for the committee, said it was not clear what Mr. Steele would do about the proposed checklist. The list was in a resolution devised by a group of 10 conservative committee members who will introduce it when the party gathers for an annual conference in Hawaii in January.
When the mainstream media catches wind of this, and they will, it will undoubtedly be characterized as a “right wing” document, so I just want to add some clarity to that issue before we have to defend ourselves from being grouped with these morons. True conservatism is about a principled and virtuous adherence to the fundamental intentions of our Founding Fathers expressed through our Founding Documents. The principle and the virtue are individual in nature and are not derivative of any one religion or culture. The intentions are strictly interpreted and rely primarily upon the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Conservatism is NOT about a laundry list of issues. This is why many on the “far right” lose me. They get so caught up in defending issues they deem to be “conservative” that they lose sight of the explanation and justification for their arguments. This is where religion gets infused with conservatism on a compulsory level and discredits the message altogether. The religion, or more accurately the principle or virtue, are supposed to be individual in nature. Our Founding Documents which we as conservatives purport to protect make it so. That is the very idea behind the 1st Amendment.
That being said, I will save that rant for another day, but I will simply add that lists such as these are counter productive as well as counter intuitive. While this list may not be offensive or completely misguided in its content, what will the next one look like? Will it take free will, free expression, and the freedom of religion out of the Republican Party platform altogether? On a more practical level, does a national party really want a list of issues determining its candidates at every level of government? What idiot with only a nominal understanding of political science cannot understand that such a list would stifle the party’s efforts across the 50 states and make the party appear rigid and closed minded to everyone not in strict adherence with these arbitrary lists?
There will be some that call me a moderate for taking this position, because that’s what these “right wing” nutbags do when other conservatives tell them that they’re actions border on lunacy and wreak of ignorance as to the true principles of conservatism. To those people… I will say… enjoy your life in Palinville and let me know how it feels when you finally realize what an idiot you and everyone standing around you truly are. For those that will call me a moderate, I will ask one question of you “super-conservatives” and “protectors of the true right.” Where in the Constitution is that section that discusses compulsory inclusion or exclusion of candidates for political office; and where exactly did Madison, Jefferson, Hamilton, Franklin, and Adams lay out the framework for stifling the Bill of Rights even before they had ratified it? If such a section or group of sections cannot be found; then might I suggest that your simple little lists are absolutely, undeniably, and Fundamentally Misguided….?
No Surprise on this one…
“The Republican Party knows it has to repair its standing with the American people,” Mr. Armey said. “If you listen to the voters’ anger out there, I think they’re saying, ‘We want the Republican Party to define themselves as a real alternative to the Democrat Party.’ ”
I’m modestly a fan of Dick Armey and what he has been able to do with his new conservative movement even though I don’t always agree with his tactics. I am not surprised that he is all over this idea, but I have to once again point out the obvious, if Armey had all the answers, perhaps he would still hold a public office???
Someone on the Right Who Agrees With Me
“The party has a platform, and that platform and the pieces of it are enforced by primary voters,” Mr. Norquist said. “I think orthodoxy should be imposed from below not above.” Still, he said, forced adherence to 7 of the 10 principles listed “strikes me as eminently reasonable.”
What is in it?
(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, 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 positions 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
RESOLVED, that upon the approval of this resolution the Republican National Committee shall deliver a copy of this resolution to each of Republican members of Congress, all Republican candidates for Congress, as they become known, and to each Republican state and territorial party office.
The resolution dictates that Republican candidates’ adherence to the principles be determined through their public statements, voting records or signed questionnaires.
Immediately after posting this, I received an email from a trusted friend and genuine conservative reminding me that the Republican Revolution of the 90′s and the Contract with America were byproducts of “lists.” I will share with you my response.
I genuinely appreciate your timely feedback on my posting and always welcome your thoughts when you believe I have gone off the reservation. That being said, I must firmly disagree with you. The Contract with America was a list – but not one of stated principles. Rather it was a list of actions that Republicans would take if they claimed a majority of both Houses. It was a pledge to Americans that they would carry out their will through the legislative process. I firmly support this type of list and this display of initiative and proactive reform. I do not however view the list in question as having equal merit and /or substantive value. It would effectively take the American voter out of the political process by allowing the RNC to choose a universal platform for all candidates.
You pointed to the race in NY-23 and I certainly understand your concern there, but I believe that steps such as these will only lead to more Dede Scozzafava’s. The Party chose her – not the people. Do you really want the Party choosing all of your candidates in a similar fashion, because I do not?
I cannot find one place in the Constitution or in my understanding of conservatism that allows me to believe in a rigid set of issues or talking points that I must pledge allegiance to in order to be a Republican or a good conservative. I would venture to guess (because I admittedly do not know of one) that there is not one reference from the Constitutional Convention that would illustrate an intention of our Founding Fathers to allow political parties to cast such documents as impediments to political participation. Knowing you, you will argue that a third party would be their solution, and to that point I will simply add that I cannot imagine a United States – as I believe our Founding Fathers envisioned it to be – that would embrace a notion such as this that would limit the freedoms of association, speech, and religion as this list would aim to do…. Conservatism is about protecting each and every aspect of our Founding Documents and a document that would require Republican candidates to agree to talking points is a threat to liberty and representative government. This list may not be unusually offensive, but what if the next one requires adherence to provided standards for belief in God, a mutually agreed upon position on where life begins, a firm position on birth control, a religious preference, a position on the institution of marriage (not just same-sex marriage) – you have to understand that the contradictions of making such a rigid list would prove problematic and contradictory for the Party and would lead to its ultimate demise. We have seen far too many Republicans fall from grace and be attacked viciously when Democrats behaving similarly are dismissed without notice. Attempting to legislate, lead, and govern from a position of compulsory morality such as this could aim to do is simply counterproductive and counter to the intentions of our Founding Fathers. Such positions were intended to be personal in nature – not institutionalized. If Republicans want to vote for someone (as I do) who supports many of these positions, let them; but do not make them, and do not make our elected officials or political nominees pay homage to issues and policies which they are only paying lip service to in order to gain party favor (see Rudy Guiliani). We have far too many phony conservatives already running rampant throughout the Party.