“Top Ten” GOP purity test

In 1867, Otto von Bismark penned the now-famous maxim, “politics is the art of the possible.”  Almost exactly one century later, economist John Kenneth Galbraith noted that politics had degenerated from the art of the possible, and become nothing more than the practice of  “choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.”  Now, in early 21st Century America, our two major political parties appear bent on proving Galbraith right.

The Democratic Party, under the leadership of an incumbent president, a colorless and humorless Senate leader, and a well-dressed but clueless Speaker of the House, is pursuing federal spending policies that make former, big-spending Republican President George W. Bush appear to have been a penny-pincher.  Under the misnomers of  “stimulating” the economy and “health care reform,” the current majority party is doing everything it can to ruin the country’s economic system and to degrade its health care system to one reflecting the lowest common denominator.

On the other side of the aisle, the Republican Party’s plan appears to be one of doing nothing and waiting for the citizenry to come running into its arms once the polity realizes how bad the Democratic Party’s plans really are.  But it is a party with a sense of humor.  One of its leaders, Republican National Committee member James Bopp, has proposed a pseudo-scientific “plan” by which the party might henceforth identify with an 80% degree of certainty who are “pure Republicans.”

Not content with simply evaluating Republican candidates and incumbents according to the party’s Platform, adopted each presidential-election cycle amid much debate and fanfare, Bopp has come up with what amounts to a “Top Ten List of Reasons Why Republicans Should Support Republicans.”  While it is unlikely Bopp’s list – which other Republicans have coined a “purity test” — was intended to be as humorous as one of David Letterman’s “Top Ten” vignettes, it bears a striking similarity when considered in the context of recent actions by the GOP.

For example, resolution Number One dictates that the GOP will support only those who in turn support “smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and .  .  .  opposing bills like Obama’s ’stimulus bill.’”  The irony of proposing such a litmus test for a party whose immediate past president spent the first six years of his presidency working with a Republican-controlled Congress to rack up historically-high levels of government spending and power, apparently has been lost on Mr. Bopp and others who support his approach.

Resolution Number Two mandates Republican support only if the recipients ” .  .  .  oppose Obama-style, government-run healthcare.”  Forgotten in this new-style Republicanism is the fact that just a few years back, more than 200 Republican House members voted in favor of the massive, “Medicare Prescription Drug and Modernization Act,” shortly before Republican President Bush signed it into law.

Cap-and-trade has become yet another criteria to be employed to assure that the GOP returns to its roots.  Strangely, however, a number of stalwart Republicans, including Mary Bono Mack and fervent pro-lifer Chris Smith, are already on the cap-and-trade bandwagon.  One wonders if they will be left by the wayside when the time comes to divvy up the party’s campaign loot in advance of next year’s elections.

Predictably, the Top Ten List includes an anti-immigration amnesty plank.  Perhaps its author has forgotten that the immediate past Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, failed this test. 

Military strategy and spending earns a place in The List, with unquestioning support for whatever troop levels our military leaders recommend.  Apparently those who pledge to support this maxim do not recall — or care — that it is the President, as the civilian, elected leader of our nation, and not our military officers, who is charged by oath of office with making those decisions (based presumably on his own judgment).

While the List’s author avows allegiance to former President Reagan as his mentor in developing the litmus test (a term Reagan would never have used), others already have pointed out that the Gipper himself would have failed the “80 percent solution.”  Like I said, who said the Republican Party doesn’t have a sense of humor.

93 comments Add your comment

arnold

December 9th, 2009
6:11 am

The problem with the list is simple. It wasn’t meant to be humorous. It is sickeningly serious. This country needs it’s leaders working to help the country come together, not hinder our future.

deborahinAthens

December 9th, 2009
6:42 am

Bless you Bob Barr for pointing out the ignorant blather and amnesia of the Republican Party. After thirty plus years of being a loyal Republican, when the idiots pushed George W. Bush into the presidency (knowing full well what a ding-bat he is), I could stomach it no longer. Why can we not have a fiscally conservative party that focuses on what is good for the people, rather than trying to legislate everything from when we buy our liquor to what sort of health care is appropriate for women? Remember poor Terry Schiavo? The idiots in charge wasted weeks on that debacle, when they could have gotten tort reform accomplished. What a disgusting show that was! We need a strong third party in this country, but, for the life of me, I don’t know how to get that done. I am so tired of my vote being wasted. The Repubs in Georgia are even worse than the Repubs at the national level. Any ideas? No matter who one votes for in GA, the right-wingbats get elected time after time after time. Now, the Republicans have no clue about what to do, so all they do is whine, and whine. All I can say, is don’t expect the Republican core to come back to the party–not until you stop listening to the wrong people and get your act together. And the “Tea Party” is a joke! You keep deluding yourselves into thinking that they can fix your problem–ain’t gonna work. When you get your nose out of my life, and balance the checkbook in Washington (without doing on the backs of the poor and middle class) I (and millions like me) might listen. Until then. I am a Democrat.

JoeD

December 9th, 2009
6:43 am

I thought Mitch McConnell was doing a comedy act the other day when he complained, with a straight, but sad, face that the Democrats were moving forward on health care without seeking input from the GOP. After 9 months of obstructionism and outright hostility to any reform, that was hilarious. Mitch is much funnier than he appears. Michael Steele is also honing his comedy skills, sending a letter to the President asking him to slow down on health care reform. These guys would kill in Vegas.

TonyinATL

December 9th, 2009
7:24 am

I think it is insane to start a “purity” test. This shows how insane the leaders of the republican party are. People like Rush, Sarah, Glen, and big headed Hannity will support it (watch and see). No sane person will think this makes sense. It just seems like a way to keep middle/normal Americans out of the party. The thing is, polls show that they need diversification. They turn my stomach!

Ben Brandon

December 9th, 2009
7:33 am

The only litmus test I use anymore is whether the candidate will swear to uphold the INTENT of the Constitution without using a couple of really bad SCOTUS rulings to get around it. A fellow “Republican” recently said that I was a Constitutionalist. I pointed out that we all should be shouldn’t we? Of course the Republican office holders don’t believe that, except for Ron Paul and Paul Broun, because there is no political power to be exercised by observing the Constitution.

catlady

December 9th, 2009
7:35 am

Well said, but I don’t think it is a joke.

You left out abortion and deregulating all industry, making following the law self-policing, and giving to private business the public’s money (ie, road building, running public parks, providing mental health care, running prisons).

Not to mention condemning anyone who doesn’t agree with you.

Karl Born

December 9th, 2009
7:37 am

I think the main problem is that there is no reason why the percentage should be 80% (a percentage that I think Reagan chose as an example to make his point clear, not to actually propose it as the place where the line should be drawn) and that even if it were, there is no reason why it should be applied to require compliance with eight out of these ten items. Depending on the list, requiring 80% as 16 out of 20 or 24 out of 30 might have been entirely reasonable.

With only ten items (of which some are seemingly multi-part, yet not disjunctive, possibly requiring satisfaction of each part to avoid incurring strike 1 of 2), the list could not easily allow partial credit, and it evidently does not. A Republican could satisfy seven of the ten and come close on the other three, and that would presumably be counted as 70%. I would probably consider that Republican to be well over the 80% mark, though.

I would be more optimistic about what the next Republican Congress would accomplish if the candidates would pledge (like in 1994) to bring a list of certain bills to the floor and to a vote. Whether or not the Contract With America affected the outcome of the 1994 election, I think that the idea behind it could be more helpful than the RNC list in ensuring a worthwhile 112th Congress. Bringing specific bills to a vote (at least in the House) is something that the majority party can do. If the House Republicans promise to do that and win a majority, then they cannot try to keep their promise and fail — they will either keep their promise or suffer the consequences for breaking it. Another list — possibly something similar to this RNC list — could also accompany that list of bills, committing Republicans to oppose certain kinds of bills, too.

Mambo

December 9th, 2009
7:42 am

This reads like a blog for democrats.

Karl Born

December 9th, 2009
7:44 am

catlady,

Seriously?

BMDPD

December 9th, 2009
7:48 am

deborahinAthens, it shows what the press does to you. “All the Republicans do is whine.” It seems to me that the Dems in DC are doing a lot and intentionally trying to exclude the Republicans. How many meetings have they had that are exclusive to Dems? Also, the press and the Dems like to call the Pubs the ‘do nothing’ party, when the Dems will not listen to any Republican proposals for healthcare reform or anything else for that matter. The Dems are so bitter that the Republicans were in control for so long, that they are doing everything they can in order to illegitimize (is that a word?) the Republican party. Remember after the election the media and the Dems were on the “Republican party is dead” kick. I do agree with you on a strong third party idea. Something has to be done. The country is going down quickly.

Bill

December 9th, 2009
7:49 am

Uh,….Bob… Look at what all those past actions by Republicans has gotten us – Democratic control of the House, Senate and White House. Is it that hard to see that the Republicans need to change if they want to be in control again? We, the (conservative) people are not happy with the Republicans because they lost their way, and turned into Democrat Lite. They need to get back to their roots if they want conservative Americans to support them.

Karl Born

December 9th, 2009
8:00 am

Bob,

I just saw this: http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/26/chief-sponsor-of-gop-defends-test/ It doesn’t respond to all of your points, but according to James Bopp, Jr., the list was meant partly as a response to the congressional Republicans’ budget (and spending) related failures during the Bush administration. I do not know whether congressional Republicans themselves understand what they did wrong, though.

Conservative White Male

December 9th, 2009
8:00 am

Bopp is my man, he wants to clean house of all of the non believers.
The election of Obama has produced a strong under current of resentment for everything being “diversified”.
If you are not for God,guns,and strong christian american values we dont need you. the sleeping masses have awakened.
Rino’s beware shape up or get shipped out. I cant wait for Saxby, and lindsey graham,and the rest of them to get voted out.
We need more unfraid rebels like Sarah Palin . if she was not a woman I would vote for her.
Ralph Reed has my vote as next Ga. Gov because he exemplifies those rebel values.

Derek Varsalona

December 9th, 2009
8:12 am

Interesting read. People can read my daily postknonw as THE DAILY RANT, on Myspace and Facebook. Search Derek Varsalona

Bubba

December 9th, 2009
8:20 am

As far as I’m concerned, Conservatives are not Republicans. Whereas Republicans are for less government, Conservatives go the next step and say less government for the people, more government for the Christian right. Conservatives are to the Republicans what Liberals are to the Democrats: hijackers of a political party to promote an extreme agenda supported by only a minority of the populace in the guise of offering “what the people want.” By moving the boundaries of public debate to the extreme fringes of an issue, the greatest tool in politics – compromise – becomes untenable at best, stagnant at worst.

It’s like watching a basketball game, where only 3-point shots are fired and the time clock becomes irrelevant because the goal is to shoot first and shoot quickly. Don’t allow for the opponent to set up a defense, don’t try to set up an offense. Shoot early and often. And maybe you make 15-20% of the shots, but boy is it fun to watch! The problem is you still have 80-85% of the game to play in which nothing happens except for running to the other side of the court, back and forth, with little engagement of the opponent.

This “litmus test” does nothing to define what a “Republican” is. Any “test” that defines a party or an agenda works for the “10 Words or Less” test, but if that’s you’re unit of measure, change the channel and watch something simple like Oprah or Judge Judy. The only way it changes is if “we the people” get more involved and start paying attention not only to the issues but also for whom we vote to represent us. And maybe that’s the goal: To “dumb down” the rules of the game so that “simple folk” don’t have to work up a mental sweat trying to play the game.

We the(Republican) people are not happy with the conservatives because they’ve stayed true to their course and tried to make this government a Christian theocracy. They need to get away from their roots if they want Republican Americans to support them.

william

December 9th, 2009
8:30 am

The republican party of the aforementioned by the progressive liberal liars are: neoconservatives..

1 : a former liberal espousing political conservatism
2 : a conservative who advocates the assertive promotion of democracy and United States national interest in international affairs including through military means.

Those were simply liberals who ran for republican office under the guise of conservatism and got elected. Now they are gone or on their way out.

The teabaggers as some of you say are the conservatives and the year 2010 will feel their presence. Obama is a nightmare just as his polls are reflecting. Change is coming!

StJ

December 9th, 2009
8:42 am

Glad I’m tossing the “give us money” letters if they’re going to come up with lists like this.

Robert Littel

December 9th, 2009
9:43 am

When the Republican Party is finally purged of all those who are marginally intelligent, follow the supposed teachings of their god/Human hybrid made-up messiah (compassion for their fellow Humans), and those who actually think in multi-syllabic words, then the Party can be all that the Sarah Palins of the world could want and they will be able to hold their next national convention at the Ramada Inn, out by the airport, in Boise, Idaho.

Hard Right Hook

December 9th, 2009
9:57 am

Congress depends on the voters apathy. It doens’t make a hill of beans whether you have an R or a D after your name; the acquisition or power is first, the maintenance of power is second.

Amend the Constitution! Term limits for all, including the Supremes. No more lifetime appointments for judges anywhere.

Then both the parties will be purged of the pinheds, nitwits and adulterers. Hurry up 2010.

mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack the LIAR Obama

December 9th, 2009
10:16 am

The answer is crystal clear – TERM LIMITS.

Intown Lib

December 9th, 2009
10:22 am

Every year I give due consideration to voting for a Republican. Every year, all I find are ideologues, racists, and selfish people. So, every year I come back to voting for a Democrat.

GA Peach

December 9th, 2009
10:30 am

Bob,

How many times must this be said.

Republicians are for capitlism for the poor and solialism for the rich. Its OK to bailout the banks which reps and dems voted for under the great leader Bush. But Hell NO we aint gone give the unemployeed people an extention on their Uemployment benefits, hello no we aint gone give more for food stamps. Those type issues are not reality for the rich reps. They dont care about Gods children only when they are in the womb.

Republicians are for less goverment in our lives except when it comes to my right to chose what to do with my body.

Republicians are for less taxes only for the rich. Let the little poor people pay that we are too busy sending jobs over seas.

I could go on and on. But im tired of typing.

sam

December 9th, 2009
10:30 am

republicans are only conservative during elections and while they while they are the minority in washington….its all a bunch of hooey!

GA Peach

December 9th, 2009
10:32 am

If our healthcare system is so great why does the US spend the most in the world but we’re only number 37 amoung industrialized nations.

Pay the most to be #37. USA, USA USA. WE’RE #37, WE’RE #37.

Hard Right Hook

December 9th, 2009
10:39 am

Intown Lib

December 9th, 2009
10:22 am
Every year I give due consideration to voting for a Republican. Every year, all I find are ideologues, racists, and selfish people. So, every year I come back to voting for a Democrat.

So move! Michigan is desparate for the tax base, as are New York and Mass. I’ll give you a lift to the airport.

sam

December 9th, 2009
10:42 am

thats the spirit hard right…georgia, vote republican or leave it!

actually i’m flying hom for xmas, can you give me a lift to the airport?

GA Peach

December 9th, 2009
10:42 am

HARD RIGHT! That is what you people do when someone does NOT agree with you. You tell them to Just leave. Guess what you can also leave. I know you do not like our current president. Just like when Bush was in office and people disagreed with him republicans told people to leave the country. You can do the same. PEACE OUT!

sam

December 9th, 2009
10:47 am

she’s a real peach that girl…

GA Peach

December 9th, 2009
10:49 am

WHO ME! WHY THANK YOU KIND SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN!

Chris Broe

December 9th, 2009
10:58 am

Republicans have a partisan sense of humor and America is the butt of the joke.

Bismark had a grounded sense of humor. He said that laws are like sausages. It’s better not to see them being made.

Galbraith had a stimulating sense of humor. He said that economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists.

Reagan had a fail-safe sense of humor. He said “My fellow Americans, I am happy to announce that I have outlawed Russia forever. The bombin will begin in five minutes. (August 11, 1984)

1984? OMG – Bob Barr was right!

John McCain once had a sense of humor, (he hasn’t smiled since Palin). He said, “Do you know why Chelsea Clinton is so ugly? Because Janet Reno is her father.”

George W Bush had a clairvoyant sense of humor. In 1992 he said, “‘Change. Change, change, change, change,’ say Clinton and the Ozone Man (Al Gore). Change, change, change, change, change. That’s all you’re going to have left in your pocket if you go in there with more taxes and more government spending.”

Joe Biden has a Quaylesque sense of humor. He stumped, “Look, McCain’s last-minute economic plan does nothing to tackle the number-one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs.”

Look, after hijinks like that, I’ve got milk coming out of my nose, so I’m going to go play with the Surprise Kitten. Gotta go.

Freedom Line Blog » Morning Links

December 9th, 2009
11:28 am

[...] Times – Why a Jobs Summit? National Review Online – The New New Deal Rep. Bob Barr – The GOP Purity Test Politico – Coakley Takes Kennedy’s Seat in [...]

The Snark

December 9th, 2009
11:39 am

I notice that the “Top Ten” list contains no mention of being knowledgable or competent in governance.

GA Peach

December 9th, 2009
11:41 am

Good Point Shark!

Jefferson

December 9th, 2009
11:50 am

I voted for you Bob, simply because you did not vote for the TARP bill, or you could say because I wouldn’t vote for someone who did. I never liked your partisan attack on Clinton over a technical lie about sex or kissin’, which really was not a high crime in the world of high crimes. One thing about a Republican is they defy logic, have short memories and do what they say not to do. If they every had decent competition, they would be gone. They hate a labor union, but they want a political union.

jconservative

December 9th, 2009
11:52 am

Using Reagan as the model for a “pure” conservative is a joke.

Reagan talked conservative, campaigned conservative but governed “liberal”. It is Reagan who invented the economic policy of
“cut taxes & increase spending”. The proof – a national debt of $12 Trillion Dollars after 28 years of Reagan’s policy. A policy Obama is still following.

Oh, and he increased the size of Medicare & saved Social Security, liberal programs all.

Military strategy & troop levels? Hey, didn’t Reagan cower & run out of Lebanon when the Marines took a hit?

Reagan is a poor choice as a model conservative.

Bubba

December 9th, 2009
11:52 am

I think the problem, in a nutshell, is that political discussion has been reduced to a sound bite. Sad when the likes of Rush, Sean, Ann Coulter, Jaenine Garafaolo, et al, are considered politically relevant because they “entertain” instead of debate. Just think, if Johnny Cochran were still alive, he may very well have beaten Obama to the punch. Witness: Al Franken. Who’s next? Lou Dobbs or Glenn Beck?

Georgia3

December 9th, 2009
12:08 pm

Hey GA Peach…
I totally agree with your comments. Before I moved here, I came to visit my son & his family in Marietta (I lived in N.C. at the time) Both my bumper stickers got torn off my car and shredded on his front lawn. One said “COEXIST” – the other said “Jesus was a Liberal!” Since moving, when I’ve brought up things like us being 37th in health care, I’ve been called uninformed and a liar. These comments are always from FOX listeners of course. And I wanna be able to buy beer & wine on Sunday!!!

GA Peach

December 9th, 2009
12:23 pm

Its a shame thats how is in the South. I have lived here all my life and have gotten used to those types of things. Its not as bad in ATL but bad compared to the rest of the country. Something I have never understood why do people want to stifle progress. We live in the most innovative country in the world but some of these people just want us to stay in the dark ages. We should have more electric cars on the road than gas gussellers. We should have monorail and not these old school trains. People need to get with the times or get left behind.

Corey

December 9th, 2009
12:24 pm

People, people, people, can’t you see that during campaign time both parties take their base for granted and appeal to the swing voters, for they know that the swing voters hold the trump card. Swing voters, can’t you see you are being played by both sides? Have a nice day, everybody.

Earl

December 9th, 2009
12:44 pm

Bob – are you honestly not able to connect the dots here?

The massive deficit that Obama is continuing was started by Republicans of this decade, the socialistic Obama health-care plan had something on a much smaller scale passed by Republicans of this decade, the climate-gate, cap-n-trade and other idiotic global warming plans are supported by Republicans of this decade, the idea of letting anyone past our borders without guarding them was supported by Republicans of this decade.

Yet amazingly, for whatever reason possible, you can’t use your God given wisdom to figure out why some true conservative stepped up and said we have to be on the opposite side of major issues from a number of Republicans from this decade?

It’s time to clean house. For all the crybabies who call us idealogues and Fox watchers, it’s much better than being an idealogue who attacks people if they don’t support homosexual practices, killing babies, having a nanny state, taking/taxing your hard earned money to give to people who support their stances, creating more red tape and more agencies that provide nothing, having wide open borders, and oh yes, you must accept that the earth is getting warmer when science says otherwise. Ah yes, the other “idealogues”.

Earl

December 9th, 2009
12:51 pm

“We live in the most innovative country in the world but some of these people just want us to stay in the dark ages.”

GA Peach – you are supporting the party of Sodom & Gomorrah, you haven’t even caught up to the Dark Ages yet. At least in the Dark Ages they understood what it meant to have a birthrate that was high enough to sustain a society. Who’s going to ride around in your fancy electric cars when there aren’t any citizens being created anymore?

GA Peach

December 9th, 2009
12:51 pm

So Earl, what hell is the govt supposed to use our tax money for? Giving it to the big corporations? You so called Christians have your bible in one hand and with the other you give people that dont look like you or talk like the finger with the other. WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?

Jefferson

December 9th, 2009
12:55 pm

This ain’t Disney folks and why should it be.

Earl

December 9th, 2009
1:00 pm

GA Peach – I am against the gov’t giving money to big corporations also. If you expanded your horizons and figured out what true conservatives think, you would know that they want the gov’t to just stay out unless there is risk of something hurting the common good.

You don’t even know what I look like so how can you say anything about that to begin with?

Here’s an idea, why not have the gov’t give the tax money back to the taxpayers and let them decide what to do with the money? Or do you feel that the gov’t is more competent with it’s trillion $$ deficit to decide how to spend the money than the people who actually went out and earned it?

GA Peach

December 9th, 2009
1:04 pm

Great strawman argruement Earl. There wont be a world because of people like you who do not believe in Global Warming. And dont give me the same song and dance this is a dooms day senario just like we got when we were forced into a war with Iraq. Why are you so concerned with people having abortions? Those would never be Christians doing that, right. That means more of your people would be born. Because the only people having abortions are the poor, minority and uneducated. You would rule the world.

Quick question how many abortions have you stopped by being completely against it? ZERO! Thanks that the Christian way!

GA Peach

December 9th, 2009
1:08 pm

Here’s a something to get your goat Earl. I am a taxpaying American citizen. I want the money to go towards helping those who have lost their jobs because Bush helps the big corps ship them oversees, like my hubby. I hope you had these same opinion when all this was started several years ago and not just since January 2009.

Guess what. I have heard conservative princinples. I have yet to see them be applied. So while you hollering about no govt intrution make those conservative values stand out be applied. Bush was no conservative. You guys have no ground to stand on.

GA Peach

December 9th, 2009
1:10 pm

Of course I dont know what you look like Earl. But as a conservative dont have to be Christina. Thats why Romney will never make it past the primary.

GA Peach

December 9th, 2009
1:11 pm

Earl: Where are you? We have a great dialogue going. Dont mess it up.

Hot Dog

December 9th, 2009
1:14 pm

When Sarah Palin, Rush Winbag and Glenn Beck are the best the REPUGS can do as leaders, we are in SERIOUS trouble as a nation. You have a DUMB woman, a druggie and a NUT case. WOW!! Now we know what the true Republicians are all about.

GA Peach

December 9th, 2009
1:24 pm

Hot Dog Hot Dog Hot Diggie Dog. Good point!