THE PURPOSE OF THE RNC’S ‘PURITY TEST’…. A significant faction within the Republican National Committee is reportedly pushing a purity test, which GOP candidates expecting party support would have to pass. It includes a 10-point platform, and if you’re deemed inadequate on three or more issues, no party backing for you.

Part of the problem, of course, is that a whole lot of Republican leaders would come up short on this litmus test. Everyone from John McCain to George W. Bush to Ronald Reagan would likely be deemed insufficiently right-wing for today’s Republican National Committee.

But Ralph Hallow reports today that some RNC members believe the test may be necessary anyway.

Members of the conservative group within the RNC tell The Washington Times that, besides aiming to make the GOP more consistently and reliably conservative by promoting lower taxes, keeping spending levels in check and focusing on national security, they want to head off an already emerging third party inspired by the anti-spending tea-party movement.

Honestly, if the already far-right Republican Party needs purity tests to prevent even-further-right Republicans from breaking off and forming their own party, Republicans are in even deeper trouble than they realize.

And yet, the effort continues.

To a very real extent, this only serves to reinforce Democratic arguments about the GOP no longer welcoming moderates. The DNC is no doubt hoping that the RNC embraces the strategy with both arms.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.