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Conservative "Purity Test" Too Right Wing for Ronald Reagan

Rigid conservatives in the RNC want to establish a purity test for the party's candidates. Guess what? Reagan the conservative hero would have failed most of the criteria.

The most rigidly conservative members of the Republican National Committee are circulating a proposal to establish a purity test for the party's candidates.

If adopted, the party would withhold money from any contender who disagreed with conservative principles on more than two of 10 essential issues identified by the right-wingers.

"The problem is that conservatives have lost trust in the Republican Party that we will govern as conservatives," argues James Bopp Jr., an RNC member from Indiana who has spearheaded the purity-test push. "I think that loss of trust is warranted to a certain extent because of the fact that we in the final several years of the Bush administration were supporting increased government, earmarks and, ultimately, bailouts."

Earlier this year, Bopp and his compatriots pressured RNC chair Michael Steele to declare President Obama to be a "socialist." The conservative crusaders were rebuffed then, but if they win approval for their purity test at the committee's winter meeting in January, the party will officially express: "Republican solidarity in opposition to Obama's socialist agenda is necessary to preserve the security of our country, our economic and political freedoms, and our way of life."

With Orwellian irony, Bopp and his buddies have labeled their proposal: "Reagan's Unity Principle for Support of Candidates. " The relevant portion of the resolution reads:

WHEREAS, the Republican National Committee shares President Ronald Reagan's belief that the Republican Party should espouse conservative principles and public policies and welcome persons of diverse views; and   WHEREAS, the Republican National Committee desires to implement President Reagan's Unity Principle for Support of Candidates; and WHEREAS, in addition to supporting candidates, the Republican National Committee provides financial support for Republican state and local parties for party building and federal election activities, which benefits all candidates and is not affected by this resolution; and THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee identifies ten (10) key public policy positions for the 2010 election cycle, which the Republican National Committee expects its public officials and candidates to support: (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, 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.

Fair enough.

So here's a question: Applying the standard established in the resolution – review of the candidate's official record, public statements and answers to questions – would Ronald Reagan pass the purity test?

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