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RNC leader proposes 'litmus test' for candidates wishing GOP endorsements and funding

DeDe Scozzafava
DeDe Scozzafava

A proposed resolution was leaked by an unknown staff member earlier this week as a potential trial balloon to attract attention on it's merits. The Resolution is being proposed by a prominent pro-life and conservative attorney, James Bopp, Jr.. He has served as the general counsel for National Right to Life since 1978 and is the special counsel for Focus on the Family. The Republican National Committee has always had a platform, but has never asked potential candidates to sign an agreement that they adhere with it's content. Bopp's resolution has a list of ten principles that a candidate must adhere too if he or she would be entitled to an Republican National Committee endorsement and received RNC funding for their campaign, The resolution does not require complete agreement but the candidate must agree to eight out of the ten.

RNC leaders propose 'purity test' for candidates to receive endorsements and funding

The Columbia Republican Examiner has obtained a copy of the resolution that could potentially be introduced to the floor of the 167 RNC delegates in January, 2010

Proposed RNC Resolution on Reagan’s Unity Principle for Support of Candidates

WHEREAS, President Ronald Reagan believed that the Republican Party should support and espouse conservative principles and public policies; and

WHEREAS, President Ronald Reagan also believed the Republican Party should welcome those with diverse views; and

WHEREAS, President Ronald Reagan believed, as a result, that someone who agreed with him 8 out of 10 times was his friend, not his opponent; and

WHEREAS, Republican faithfulness to its conservative principles and public policies and 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; and

WHEREAS, Republican faithfulness to its conservative principles and public policies is necessary to restore the trust of the American people in the Republican Party and to lead to Republican electoral victories; and

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 benefit 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 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; 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.

With all of the media attention surrounding the Republican Party's so called 'civil war' between the social conservative and the fiscal conservative factions of the party, fighting for control, Bopp capitalized on the opportunity to point out that Ronald Reagan was a, “Big Tent” advocate and in 1972 he famously said, “the person who agrees with you eighty percent of the time is a friend and a ally not twenty percent an enemy or traitor.”

President Reagan made that statement not during a stump speech or during a press conference, he made that statement to his own staff when then Governor Reagan found out that his staff had canceled an appointment with Gerald Ford. Seems Reagan's staff thought that Ford was a bit too moderate to be a potential Vice-Presidential candidate for Reagan's 1972 Presidential bid. Reagan statement was never intended as exclusionary to potential candidates, but rather a statement of inclusion. Some Republicans simply have forgotten the context of the statement and have used it to eliminate one faction or the other within the GOP.

But Bopp saw the dissension within the GOP as the last straw during the special election in upstate New York 23rd congressional district. Dede Scozzafava had been anointed by ten party chairman to run under the Republican banner without a special election that would have allowed the people of upstate to decide who would carry the Republican banner.  While Reagan's statement worked well for moderate Gerald Ford, it did not include candidates like Dede Scozzafava.

Scozzafava is what some Republicans like to call a 'Republican in name only' (RINO) she disagreed with most of the major sections of the Republican Platform including being pro-choice, advocated gun control, same-sex marriage, and labor leaders 'card check. She also had ties with the controversial group ACORN. While the term RINO seems to have taken on a more 'liberal' definition in recent years, Scozzafava fits the definition to the first order.

In the GOP Simply calling yourself a Republican in an election opens the flood gates of financial assistance from the Republican National Committee. Scozzafava received approximately $250,000 for her campaign. She also began gaining endorsements from the likes of former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich who appeared to be more interested in gaining numbers in the House of Representatives, than standing for Republican Platform principles.

Bopp knew that those who call themselves Republican don't have to endorse the Republican Platform in word or in writing. So he decided to take a stand. He developed a tool he calls, “The Resolution on Reagan's Unity Principle for Support of Candidates”. The resolution appears to be careful to be inclusive of moderates, who are according to a recent poll 2-1 conservative, and eliminate those who use the party banner just to receive funding for their campaigns.

Critics are calling this resolution a moderate cleansing to eliminate anyone who does not agree with the GOP social conservative agenda. Others point out that Ronald Reagan himself would not qualify. But those critics were reviewing at his early career as a governor. All agree that former Republican Arlen Specter would not qualify, Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine agrees with 8 of 10 principles unless she were to vote in favor of Government healthcare reform, and South Carolina Senator Lindsy Graham meets the criteria even though he is for Cap and Trade and Immigration Reform

Republican strategist and CNN contributor Mary Matalin pointed out that the real 'civil war' appears to be within the Democrat party, She pointed out that Democrats can't seem to get a consensus on healthcare, Abortion, Cap and Trade, along with other issues where Democrats vote with Republicans by the dozens.

Matalin defended the Bopp resolution and asked guest Democratic operative, Paul Begala two times during the CNN telecast, to  give her one of the 49 or so blue dog Democrats that would not agree with 8 of the 10 principles proposed by the Bopp resolution. Both times Begala changed the subject or attacked the GOP as a sinking ship.  He never addressed the question.

The bottom line, the resolution would not oust anyone who doesn't agree with the principles, it simply  would withhold funding and endorsements for their campaigns from the RNC. The Republicans seem to be saying to potential Republican candidates, are you eighty percent my friend? Then you have our support.