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November 23, 2009

A Proposed GOP List Of Principles

Naturally MSNBC is calling this a "Purity Test" but it strikes me that at some point a party has to stand for something and this seems like reasonable ground for agreement to me.

(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 and 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;

This is from a proposed RNC resolution. Candidates who want party support would have to sign off saying they agree with 8 of the 10 points. Obviously implementing this will provide some challenges in judging who meets some of the criteria but it's an interesting idea. Also, I might allow 7 of 10 to be the line but that's details.

More importantly, it's quite a good list. Abortion is handled particularly well (public financing is a good place to draw the line, while not casting out pro-choice Republicans as heretics).

The resolution hasn't been formally submitted but the more I think about it the more I like it. Yes, these are broad policy statements that have room for fudging but it's not just for office holders. I'd bet each of these items, couched in these terms, test well with voters.

Candidates could run around with this in most parts of the country and say, "if you are on board with 8 of these items, then you can be comfortable voting for me because so am I." Again, I'd like to see maybe 7, especially if you are going to use it to get votes, give people more reason to agree with you.

FTR-I'm 9.5 out of 10 (I'm not sold on a big troop increase as the key to victory in Afghanistan).

I see from some comments one of the things I like about this idea is annoying some...it doesn't cover every idea and isn't very specific. That would be a purity test (and it would vary by person). This list is a set of principles that a lot of people can agree on, it's a big tent but with some very strong anchors. If you get much beyond this in terms of policy positions, you get into fights. This sets up some ground rules, a frame work to win elections. We can fight the specifics out later but right now we need some solid guideposts laying out the boundaries and we can deal with the specifics later.

Another good way this is a good idea...it's built to allow people to opt out within certain bounds. A lot of people may not be in favor of DoMA or some other point. No problem. As long as you are with us most of the time, it's ok to disagree at other points.

Think how hard it is to get a group of friends to decide on what restaurant to eat at and then what movie to see. That's a small, self-selected group and unanimity is almost always impossible. A big political movement (at least one that wants to win) is going to have disagreements. That's fine, pick your heresies, just be with us a significant amount of the time.

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posted by DrewM. at 02:39 PM

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