Monday, November 30, 2009

Kathleen Parker and Republican Purity Tests

I've never been much of a Kathleen Parker fan--I see her as kind of my side's Maureen Dowd--good looking, lightweight, a little snarky and a little superficial. She's got a column out in yesterday's Post in which she takes a faction of the Republican National Committee to task for their promotion of a Ten Point summation of conservative principles--and the suggestion that the RNC not provide funding to any candidate who does not agree with eight of them.

I'm no stranger to ten point plans, as I've put forward my own "Ten Principles for a Republican Renaissance".

I think Parker goes a bit over the top in her objections to the RNC proposal--what's come forward is hardly a suicide pact. Here are the ten principles put forward by the RNC faction....

(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

While I find these to be too closely tied to "in the moment" political issues (rather than timeless principles), they don't seem to be overly dangerous to the party. I would hesitate to use them as a "purity" test, assigning some fixed score to the fund-worthiness of would be candidates. As I look at the list, I'd vote no on #'s 5,6,7 and 10--which would of course, keep me from getting any cash from the Party. Here's why I'd go the way I would:

#5--Not sure I oppose amnesty for "ALL" illegal immigrants. I'd be in favor of an amnesty that looked a lot like--0h, maybe Ronald Reagan's amnesty of the mid 80's.
#6--Hogwash. We have civilian control of the military, and war is a political act. The President should NEVER be a rubber stamp for his generals. Oh--and by the way--GWB's generals on the JCS ALL OPPOSED THE SURGE.
#7--Makes it sound like we treat the Norks and the Mullahs the same. We shouldn't. Our policy goals are too important to have a "one size fits all" approach.
#10--All restrictions? Should a ten year old be able to buy and Uzi? This is so broad as to be meaningless.

That said--having a set of guidelines-standards if you will--against which to measure candidates is a good idea. The Party should have some method of evaluating candidates--obviously with the ability to raise money and the ability to actually win the seat also playing a part. Inflexibility in such a test would be stupid--what if there were a good candidate in a heavily Democratic region who agreed with 6 of the 10 points above (the the likely Democrat would agree with far fewer)? Would the Party deprive this Republican of funding? That would be silly as far as I'm concerned.


Mudge said...

"We opposing"

Horribly ineffective way of communicating vision and, as you stated, timeless principles upon which to compel voters to entrust us with their vote. Kathleen Parker just reinforced the "Party of No" label that is like a switch in a person's "off."

You should submit your 10 points to the Post in rebuttal. Off to hunt deer from your stand.

Greg "The Hammer" Dail said...

I like your 10 points, very Wilsonian. But we had a bunch of angry white guys lay it out for us a couple of hundred years ago so why reinvent the wheel? Right off the top of my head I would disagree with only one, and that's abortion.
This may be the most volatile, most demagogic issue in our lifetime. And it's not addressed in the Constitution. As you know, it's an issue that cuts across party lines and evokes emotions like none other. And I have the answer. I have an answer that is fair and equitable, just and humane. If only people would listen.

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