RNC proposal: it’s all about the principle

At the next RNC annual meeting in January there could be a resolution introduced to address the Scozzafava problem, defined as throwing party support behind a candidate better suited to be a Democrat philosophically.

According to the Washington Post, James Bopp, Jr. of Indiana is introducing this draft resolution, the “Proposed RNC Resolution on Reagan’s Unity Principle for Support of Candidates”, and expects candidates to be agreeable to at least 8 of the 10 – the “80 percent” rule espoused by Ronald Reagan. Here are the ten issues in question:

  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.

Well, I guess I can get money from the RNC because I support at least the minimum eight (actually to one extent or another I can go 10 for 10.) To me, this is a no-brainer.

But the supporting members who signed the resolution hail mostly from flyover country, which leads me to believe that if the elitists, who elected to financially support a candidate like Dede Scozzafava in the mistaken belief that creating a “big tent” means expanding the tent to cover any and all political beliefs as long as the candidate carries an “R” after their name, have the majority of the 168 votes they’ll somehow make sure this never sees the light of day. This resolution is for those of us who believe the size of the philosophical tent is limited and it’s our job to draw the voters there, winning them over by convincing them that maximizing freedom – as opposed to having the nanny state allow them crumbs at the whim of their dictates – is to their benefit. Come on, we’re only talking about how Reagan won, that’s all. The guy carried 49 states!

Last January’s RNC meeting was interesting because of the Chair race, so this year it’s all about the issues. But in the end, that’s truly what elections come down to in most cases so establishing a baseline for support (sort of a Contract With America but one based on overall principles and not actual legislation) seems to me a solid game plan to build a groundswell of support for GOP candidates. Try as the partisan media of the alphabet networks might, the poor economy can easily be tied to the party in power, and that’s not the GOP.

Perhaps the inside-the-Beltway crowd doesn’t like the idea of a litmus test, but we tried it your way the last several years and the results were found wanting. Why have a party if it’s not about principles?

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

7 thoughts on “RNC proposal: it’s all about the principle”

  1. There’s nothing wrong with ensuring a fair amount of ideological consistency, however this list is problematic in two key respects.

    First, it is far too Obama-centric and too now-oriented. Something like this should be firm principles that are always relevant, able to apply to issues of the day but also go beyond them.

    Second, this list would rule out an awful lot of libertarians and libertarian-minded individuals (most likely including Ron Paul and the Campaign for Liberty). Numbers 5 and even more 8 run counter to the position of most every libertarian, while 5 and 6 are topics of legitimate policy debate as to the nature of our involvement abroad (and once again an area where many libertarians disagree with the listed position).

  2. To answer your last point, that’s why I’m a Republican and not a Libertarian. You’ll be interested in the post I’ve already set for later this afternoon because it explores further the Libertarian vs. Republican question.

    The resolution is intended more for the here and now anyway. I read this as an attempt to update the party platform from last year because some of these issues wouldn’t have been addressed.

    And, having gone through the Scozzafava controversy and infighting I think ground rules are in order. If someone disagreed with the three planks you cited, they probably either would be running on the Libertarian ticket anyway or would disagree with many of the others as well and be a Democrat.

    I happen to think the majority of Americans not spending time within the Beltway would agree with 8 or more of these positions.

  3. I look forward to the post you mentioned.

    Until then, is the party going to realistically have any chance without trying to cater to that general persuasion? While it isn’t always the case, it seems the average voter, displeased with the bailouts, stimulus, and other big spending are rejecting the economic left, but remain socially moderate to socially liberal as a general rule. They don’t want to pay for abortions, but they don’t really seem to care who marries whom either.

    As for the 3rd paragraph, there’s a reasonably large contingent group of people in the Goldwater and Reagan tradition (“I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism”) who adhere, much as I do to something more like 6 or 7 of the items on the list but have no interest in running as Libertarians and recognize as wrong as the Republicans are on some issues the Democrats are worse. Do we really want to be driving them off?

  4. You only had to wait six minutes – how’s that for service?

    In all honesty, there aren’t a whole lot of people who are one-issue types of folks, and most vote their pocketbook. Remember how the media absolutely hammered the Bush economy, where continued good economic numbers were “unexpected” and news of successes in the Long War was minimized or simply not reported? Now double-digit unemployment is going to be the “new norm” and bad economic news is explained away or blamed on the “last eight years”.

    In 2004 Bush won despite the media attacks because we didn’t want to change leaders in a time of war. So the media made the lack of success in our fight the story in order to distract Americans from a couple worthy issues (privatizing Social Security and energy independence through refining our own oil) that Bush didn’t have the political capital or will – again, assisted by Democrats and their media friends – to push for.

    At this time I think the key planks most Americans agree on are 1 through 4, 9, and 10 and those will generally separate Republicans from Democrats anyway. At that point you only need 2 out of 4 to comply with the resolution and that should be plenty of leeway.

  5. This list is a horrible idea. Republican candidates should be as conservative as possible in order to still win their districts or states. In a district like my old one in Idaho, a Republican could agree with all ten criteria and still be considered a squish. But if Republicans are to win in other districts then they should be able to get resources without having to take positions that will make them unelectable.

    Take Joseph Cao in Louisiana. Does he deserve RNC support even though he supported the health care bill? I say yes. He is in a heavily Democratic district and the only way he can get re-elected is to vote somewhat liberally. But is it better to have a moderate Republican in that seat rather than a liberal Democrat?

    This list is an example of letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. It would be ideal if every Republican candidate were a true blue conservative and could get elected to office as such. But we have to recognize that in many Congressional districts, the electorate isn’t conservative. We need to concentrate on electing good candidates in those districts that are as conservative as possible given the district.

    In terms close to home: who would be a better Senator from Delaware, Mike Castle or Beau Biden? If you force Castle to accept 8 of these 10 points or do without RNC support, then you’ve decided that Beau Biden is a better Senator. My view is that Castle would be a good, not ideal, Senator. But he’s as good as we can get from Delaware.

    Also, I agree with Kevin on the libertarian issue. The GOP should be welcoming those with limited government principles, not shoving them away. Three of these points are anathema to most libertarians like me. If the GOP wants to start enforcing these ten things as orthodoxy you’ll soon find that it will be getting even fewer votes in elections than it receives today.

  6. I wouldn’t disagree that most people aren’t single issue – but I think in the end most voters are. I could be wrong, but it’s my intuition that anyone who is motivated enough to vote is going to have one issue that is their sticking point, the one they will never compromise on. But that’s a separate point.

    I wouldn’t disagree on your assessment of the agreeableness of 1-4, 9 & 10. I also agree that it leaves some wiggle room, but I’m inclined to think it doesn’t leave enough as I don’t think there is a single libertarian alive who supports DOMA. And in that case you suddenly have 2 out of 3 you have to support, and if you’re a conservative in the tradition of Senator Robert Taft you’re suddenly shut out.

    After reading through the piece on Gaztanaga, something else jumped out at me about what’s wrong with this proposal. Just about every election there’s a strong outcry about the Libertarian candidates and how all they do is hurt the Republican candidates and put Democrats in office. And yet at the same time there you see efforts like this that seem fairly hostile to libertarian sentiment and that only serve to drive such people away from the GOP.

    The Republican Party ultimately needs to decide whether it wants to have a libertarian wing or not. If it does it can’t keep antagonizing them with this sort of action. If it doesn’t then it needs to stop using libertarian rhetoric and quit whining about Libertarian candidates. Personally, I’d prefer the former, but it really needs to be decided one way or the other.

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