A 3 Sentence Litmus Test For GOP Candidates
Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 1:39PM
John Prothro

At the Republican winter meeting in Honolulu last week, GOP leaders rejected a so-called “purity test” that would have either qualified or disqualified candidates from receiving national GOP funds.  Had the rule passed, to receive GOP support, candidates would have needed to agree with eight of the ten resolutions below.

(1) Smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill;

(2) Market-based healthcare 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 healthcare rationing and denial of healthcare and government funding of abortion; and

(10) The right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership.

Republicans decided against adopting this litmus test for candidates and—in true United Nations fashion—passed a watered-down, non-binding resolution instead.  From a political standpoint, a litmus test is probably a bad idea.  But instead of a non-binding resolution, why not force candidates before receiving GOP funds to sign their name to a statement like this:

I, ________________, as a representative of the Republican Party, believe in the principle of limited government.  If elected, I will underscore my actions with the wisdom of the founding fathers who, having better judgment than I, enacted an open system through which free Americans created the most just, decent, and prosperous society on Earth. 

Cursed be my descendants if I do anything to weaken the limited government principle that made my country great.







Okay, so the last line was a bit over-the-top, but you get the point.   In my estimation, there really is only one principle upon which all Republicans must agree—limited government.

Like it or not, the Republican Party is the home of the Conservative movement.  The Conservative coalition—originally a hodgepodge of libertarians, anti-Communists, and traditionalists[i]—is held together by a shared belief in the dignity of the individual and a common distrust of government.  Now, as Conservatives unite against the dangers of big government, we can only afford to nominate those who share our purpose.


[i] See Alfred S. Regnery, Upstream:  The Ascendance of American Conservatism, (New York:  Simon and Schuster, 2008).

Article originally appeared on LastingLiberty.com (http://lastingliberty.com/).
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