Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Proposed "Purity" Pledge for GOP: Hypocritical and Internally Inconsistent

Members of the Republican Party have circulated a proposed resolution that lists 10 conservative principles that GOP candidates should embrace. Candidates who opposed 3 or more of the listed principles would forfeit financial and political support from the Republican National Committee.

The list, which New York Times reporter Adam Nagourney describes as a "purity" resolution, could stoke divisions among Republicans concerning the ideological direction of the party. Many Republicans believe that the party must embrace more moderate positions in order to achieve political success, while others believe that it should rally around conservatism.

Here is a list of the principles stated in the proposed resolution:

(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 health care;

(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.

Although supporters of the resolution believe that the 10-point list specifies conservative values, many Republicans have taken positions that contradict the principles that the resolution espouses. For example, during the Bush presidency, Republicans overwhelmingly voted to cut taxes and to increase government spending, particularly by launching 2 expensive wars. The size of the federal government increased during the Bush presidency, and Republican policies helped to transform a federal budget surplus into an enormous deficit.

The resolution cites the "stimulus" legislation passed during the Obama administration as an example of wasteful government spending. The $700 billion bailout for financial institutions, however, is noticeably absent from the list. Perhaps this is because the Bush administration proposed the bailout, and many Republicans, including John McCain, voted for it. Sara "the Barracuda" Palin praised McCain for his vote.

Although many conservatives have argued that Bush did not represent conservative values, "conservative" members of Congress almost uniformly voted for tax cuts and to authorize military action in Iraq and Afghanistan. So, while conservatives spend a lot of time talking about fiscal restraint, their behavior in the last 8 years did not exhibit restraint at all.

The proposed resolution also denounces "Obama-style government run health care." The hypocrisy in this statement is blatant. Although Republicans continue to condemn government-run health plans, they support government-run programs for the elderly (Medicare) and for military personnel and veterans (TRICARE).

The list is also internally inconsistent. Although the resolution praises "smaller government," it endorses governmental intrusions into deeply private decisions such as marriage and reproduction; it also endorses an expensive troop surge in Afghanistan. And while the proposed resolution condemns "health care rationing," it favors excluding coverage of abortion-related services from government-run health plans.

The proposed resolution would send the GOP scrambling for candidates.


eric said...

However nonsensical this "purity test" may be, it's implementation and enforcement would surely be a boon to the Democrats, who would likely welcome purged GOP moderates with open arms. As a critic of the Democrats from the left, I might not necessarily rejoice in that scenario either. But I'd be quite content to see the far-right marginalized, even if it means empowering the mushy-middle.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Eric: I strongly share your opinion!

Midnight Angel said...

Those 10 points you mention I agree with but what I want most in Washington is someone who is going to listen to people and not put the people on the ignore button. I don't care if a few don't agree with the points I do. We're human. We are not going to agree on everything. It doesn't mean a thing if their not going to listen to the people and go do their own agenda, their own thing, or weeny out of it. What I want in office is someone with guts and not a weeny for the lack of better words to say. Someone who is going to listen to us, the people.

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