Republican Party Fails its Own Test

For the Republican Party, the gap between image and reality widened again yesterday, with the RNC’s decision to promulgate a “test” for whether or not a candidate can be properly termed a “Republican,” and receive the party’s blessing. Apparently, following a bit of complex calculus derived by Pres. Reagan himself, any candidate ought to meet eight of  the ten following criteria before asking for RNC money, or thinking themselves safe from inevitable betrayal, without regard for the nuances that animate American regional politics (“Scozzafava-ing”). Without further ado, the requirements:

  1. Smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill
  2. Market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare
  3. Market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation<!–
  4. Workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check
  5. Legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants
  6. Victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges
  7. Containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat
  8. Retention of the Defense of Marriage Act
  9. Protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion
  10. The right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership

Well, let’s see how recent leaders stack up!

  • Pres. Ronald Reagan (FAIL): loses 1 (increased deficit); 7 (met with Soviet leaders without preconditions, funded terrorists); 9 (did little but talk on abortion).
  • Pres. George W. Bush (FAIL): loses 1 (increased deficit); 5 (pushed for “amnesty”); 6 (stalled on “the surge” until McCain pushed him into it).
  • Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) (PASS): loses 1 (voted for the bailout); 5 (pushed for “amnesty”).

This is easy, because almost every Republican in the last 20 years will fail #1, at least. Remember, contrary magazine-style “purity quizzes” notwithstanding, Republicans treat McCain as the emblematic “RINO,” and Reagan as God himself. Please, add your own!

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6 comments

  1. Obviously, they’ll all fail 1, but it’s likely this really just means you didn’t support the stimulus.

    The way Republicans tell it, 9 sorta double counts 2, because if you’re for Obama’s plan, you’re also for rationing.

    2 and 3: A public option and cap & trade are both market-based reforms.

    No real problem with them opposing card check. It’s what they do.

    5 presupposes that illegal immigrants can be made to just go away and never come back. Once you accept that we’re basically stuck with most of the several million illegal immigrants in this country, figuring out a way to turn them into legal immigrants becomes the sensible option. You can certainly do things to curb future illegal immigration, but they’re really kinda separate issues.

    I could really say more about 6, but having the party line be to support military recommendations is pretty reasonable.

    As per your comment about Reagan, 7 will mean what they want it to mean. Meeting without preconditions does not mean you are not trying to deal with those states and their nuclear capabilities.

    8: Shouldn’t Republicans be calling for a repeal of DOMA in the name of states’ rights?

    I’ve already sort of addressed “rationing” in 9 – “bah.” Otherwise, I think it’s reasonable to expect a Republican candidate to support the ban on federal funds for abortions. Requiring full support for the amendment to the health care bill is unreasonable, but requiring support for the way the law stands currently is sensible within the party.

    10: If you support any regulation or restriction (wait, don’t we have tons of those already? where’s the party line call for repeal?), then you against the second amendment. There’s an incisive comparison with the first amendment to be made here.

    1. “5 presupposes that illegal immigrants can be made to just go away and never come back. Once you accept that we’re basically stuck with most of the several million illegal immigrants in this country, figuring out a way to turn them into legal immigrants becomes the sensible option. You can certainly do things to curb future illegal immigration, but they’re really kinda separate issues.”

      If you deport them, then the curbs on future illegal immigration would prevent reentry, so… doesn’t that qualify as making them go away and never come back? I just don’t see where there’s a basis for accepting “that we’re basically stuck with most of the several million illegal immigrants in this country” as a true statement – and that’s without making illegal entry a capital crime or giving ICE orders to hold summary executions (killing people does, after all, ensure that they go away and not come back). If illegal immigrants can be identified, they can be deported, and once they’ve been deported, there’s no distinction between curbing future illegal immigration and keeping existing illegal immigrants out… so it seems to me that distinction isn’t really there.

  2. 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 are all pretty straight forward and I can’t see too many Republicans having a problem with them, nor the majority of right-leaning voters. The other ones are debatable.

    I would raise a couple points of clairification though. You said:

    “…the RNC’s decision to promulgate a “test” for whether or not a candidate can be properly termed a “Republican”

    This is being circultated by one member of the RNC and they might vote on it this winter. It certainly not offical policy yet, as you sort of imply.

    You also said:

    “..or thinking themselves safe from inevitable betrayal…”

    What do you mean by that? Do you mean primary challenges? If so, then I ask you again to state for the record you will oppose all primary challenges to Blue Dog incumbants next year.

    1. Mike,
      The point isn’t whether the 10 things outlined make one a Republican (I agree that they do pretty much define how I as a liberal view Republicans). The point was that the Republican promulgating these tests is being hypocritical because the “heros” of 20th century Republican Party politics don’t meet the proclaimed threshold, yet are not jettisoned by the current Party.

      As to primary challenegs – I’ll make my position clear – we need more on both sides of the asile, and we need them to be really close votes if the challenger looses. We also need the Parties to police themselves – if Doug Hoffman was truly more Republican then Sciofazza, then he should have run in that primary and defeated her to run in the General as a Republican, not syphoned off her money (and thus her chance of winning) by running third party.

      1. A lot of those issues were not really ever faced by the ‘heroes’ of the 20th century GOP. Gun rights, abortion, immigration, gay marriage…. TR, Eisenhower and even Reagan didn’t face those kinds of issues. So I think it’s reasonable that the platform would change. Do you honestly believe FDR or LBJ or Kennedy would completely support the platform Obama ran on? I think we can be fairly sure they would have had serious objections to a lot of it.

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