RNC ‘purity test’ still on the table

RNC ‘PURITY TEST’ STILL ON THE TABLE…. Just two months ago, some activists on the Republican National Committee came up with an idea: what the party really needs in 2010 is a “purity test.”

The idea, pushed by right-wing lawyer James Bopp Jr., would mandate that all Republican candidates agree with at least eight of 10 points on a party platform. If you’re deemed insufficiently conservative on three or more issues, no party backing for you.

The RNC is getting ready to ponder the matter this week at a meeting in Hawaii, and it’s apparently occurred to some party officials that Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-Mass.), the party’s new golden boy, probably would have failed the purity test and been ineligible for party support during the special election.

[S]ome moderate Republicans are circulating another e-mail arguing that in fact, a different reading of Mr. Brown’s record — a difference choice from his career of quotes and votes — could lead to a his failing the Reagan test.

As much as he opposed Mr. Obama’s health care plan, he voted for the law passed in Massachusetts that has provided the model for President Obama’s proposal — including a mandate on individuals to purchase insurance. […]

Conservative leaders who say, in the light of victory, that Mr. Brown passed the test may have easily found the grounds to make precisely the opposite argument had he lost the vote last Tuesday. This is one of the reasons why officials of the Republican National Committee are quietly lobbying to kill the Bopp resolution and trying to come up with an alternative by the vote on Friday.

I still have a hard time believing the RNC will actually accept this — it would likely block party backing for too many candidates Republicans need to win this year — but the party has certainly done incomprehensible things before.

Kathleen Parker got this right, when she called the proposal a “suicide pact,” that signals to Republican candidates, “Thinking people need not apply.”

One can only assume the DNC is praying the resolution is approved.