Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Can Conservatives Pass the "Conservative" Purity Test?

Just as the air in Tennessee is still full of “Ron Paul” Republican Matt Collins’ ousting from the Davidson County GOP, the national party has created an uproar by discussion of a so-called “purity test” to determine which candidates should receive party support.

In the ousting of Collins we find someone who is committed to traditional Republican positions and true conservative principles being cast out from the party ranks. At the national level, we find the party trying to cast out just the opposite and withdraw support from RINOs (or at least that is the official story). However, a look at the so-called “purity list” reveals that many true conservatives and champions of constitutional government (including myself and of course Ron Paul) would fail the test.

(I recommend the following article for the complete list and an explanation of potential failures.)

When reading over the list a few things jumped out.

Purity Pledge #1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill.

Well…I sort of can sign on to this one, but I have a huge problem with the wording. I don’t support “smaller national debt [and] lower deficits.” Rather I support no national debt and no deficits. By using the language of "lower," we have already given up philosophical ground. But still I can live with this one.

Purity Pledge #6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges.

Oh, we do? I don’t, and neither do a number of conservative Republicans who have had enough with the wars in the Middle East and understand that throwing more troops at the situation will do little more than put more of our brave men and women in harm’s way.

Purity Pledge #7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat.

This is a broad statement that could entail a number of things. Based on the rhetoric coming from many party members, I cannot sign on to this one, and neither can a number of conservatives within the party.

Purity Pledge #8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act.

I am 100% pro-traditional marriage and am at the same time against the Defense of Marriage Act. The government should not be in the business of marriage--heterosexual or otherwise. When it does get involved in this matter, liberty is trampled and more problems are created. And most importantly, the federal government has no constitutional authority to be involved in marriage in the first place. The Act is unconstitutional!

There it is. I cannot sign on to seven or more--the requirement for GOP support. (Well...maybe I can depending on how we score pledge number 1.) Therefore, being a peace-loving and liberty-loving individual, I cannot depend on support from the GOP even though my views are much more in line with that of the GOP for the majority of the twentieth century.

I think the “purity test” is well intentioned and a step in the right direction. The problem is that those defining conservative are not conservatives themselves.

Myself, I have one standard that must be met for my support of a candidate: fidelity to the Constitution. Sadly even fewer pass this “purity test.”

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