Ideological litmus tests for future Hill staffers

IDEOLOGICAL LITMUS TESTS FOR FUTURE HILL STAFFERS…. There are no doubt legions of far-right activists looking forward to applying for new Capitol Hill positions. No matter what happens in the midterms, there will be jobs to be filled, and if there’s a GOP majority in the House, Republicans will have a lot of openings to fill with eager young ideologues.

And in preparation for these employment opportunities, the House Republican Study Committee is asking would-be employees who want to work for one of its members to check in with a couple of websites first.

“Once we receive your resume, it will be passed along in a binder to each new Member (and to any existing RSC Member requesting to see resumes) for consideration,” reads an e-mail Tuesday from RSC staff, obtained by Roll Call. “We also strongly encourage you to submit your resume and complete the ideological questionnaires at the following two websites, as we will be checking these questionnaires as well.”

The links to questionnaires on the websites of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, and Leadership Institute’s conservativejobs.com site, are pasted into the RSC e-mail. The RSC claims more than 115 House Republicans as its membership.

For the record, I’m not especially interested in seeking employment with a member of the House Republican Study Committee, but I was curious what these applicants might be asked before being considered for positions on Capitol Hill.

So I stopped by the Heritage questionnaire that Republicans are encouraging potential staffers to fill out. The “correct” answers seemed pretty obvious. Agree or disagree: “The U.N. should not have authority over the citizens or public policies of sovereign nations.” Agree or disagree: “The U.S. has the right to use force to protect its national interests.” Agree or disagree: “Judges should not make decisions based on their policy preferences.”

I especially liked the next section in which applicants were presented a list of people and organizations, and asked to express general agreement or disagreement. The list includes Al Gore, the NRA, CATO, the National Organization of Women*, George W. Bush, Clarence Thomas, James Dobson, Bill Bennett, and for some reason, Dianne Feinstein.

The Leadership Institute’s questionnaire, meanwhile, wants to know, among other things, if you think “homosexual activity should be incompatible with service in the U.S. military forces,” and whether “minimum wage laws contribute to unemployment.”

There was no explicit demands made by the House Republican Study Committee, but it’s probably a safe bet that those with the “wrong” answers won’t be eligible for employment.

The next Congress really isn’t going to be a pleasant experience.

* Update: NOW, of course, stands for National Organization for Women, not National Organization of Women. The mistake was the Heritage Foundation’s, not mine.