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ideology

Republican National Committee rejects "purity test"

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 11:15:16 AM CST

The Republican National Committee won't be imposing the "purity test" proposed by committeeman James Bopp of Indiana. During last week's meetings in Honolulu, a group of state GOP chairs unanimously voted against requiring Republican candidates to agree with at least eight out of ten conservative policy stands in order to receive RNC support during the 2010 campaign.

Bopp withdrew his motion from the floor on Friday after a compromise had been reached. RNC members then unanimously passed a non-binding resolution that "only 'urges' party leaders to support nominees who back the party's platform," Politico's Jonathan Martin reported.

Republican candidates for U.S. Senate in Illinois and Delaware would have failed Bopp's purity test and therefore not qualified for RNC support. The resolution that passed does not penalize candidates who disagree with various "core principles" of the GOP. Still, Bopp tried to spin the compromise as a victory:

"You've got to determine that the candidate supports all the core principles of the Republican Party before you support them," he said, explaining the alternate measure.

But when asked whether it was binding, Bopp was cut off by Oregon GOP Chairman Bob Tiernan, who was standing nearby the impromptu press briefing.

"That resolution passed is not binding; it's a suggestion," said Tiernan.

As Bopp began to again make his case for the compromise, Tiernan again interjected.

"There's nothing mandatory or required in there," the Oregonian noted.

"Can I answer the question, Mr. Chairman?" Bopp shot back.

Continuing, Bopp explained that he thought the RNC's decision to, for the first time, make it party policy to urge candidates to pledge fealty to the GOP platform represented a significant step.

But Tiernan, standing just over Bopp's shoulder, again rebutted his committee colleague.

"I'm not going to take that back and make my candidates sign it, that's ridiculous," Tiernan said, gesturing toward the compromise resolution in a reporter's hand. "We don't have a litmus test and we rejected the litmus test today."

As Bopp continued, Tiernan again spoke up.

"There's nothing binding in there," said the state chairman.

"Can I finish?" a plainly annoyed Bopp asked.

"Read the words," replied Tiernan.

"Shut up," Bopp finally said.

Although the RNC papered over this dispute, clearly tensions remain over whether Republican leaders should insist that candidates be conservatives.

Two of Iowa's RNC members, Steve Scheffler and Kim Lehman, supported Bopp's purity test. Our state's third representative on the RNC, Iowa GOP chairman Matt Strawn, didn't comment on Bopp's effort when it first emerged or last week, to my knowledge. I assume he agreed with other state party chairs, who according to various reports strongly opposed the idea. If that is inaccurate, I hope someone will correct me.

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

The shrinking Republican tent (part 2)

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 07:47:10 AM CST

Not long ago I noted that Republicans are not even considering a socially moderate candidate to challenge Dave Loebsack in Iowa's most Democratic-leaning Congressional district.

Now some members of the Republican National Committee have the bright idea of cutting off party support for any candidate, anywhere, who strays too far from conservative dogma.

I knew some conservatives were crazy, but I didn't know they were that crazy.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1504 words in story)

The shrinking Republican tent (part 1)

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Nov 18, 2009 at 09:00:00 AM CST

Iowa's second Congressional district is the most Democratic-leaning of our five districts. It has a partisan voting index of D+7, which means that in any given year, we would expect this district to vote about 7 point more Democratic than the country as a whole. In 2008, Dave Loebsack won re-election in IA-02 with about 57 percent of the vote against Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who couldn't crack 40 percent.

Today Republican blogger Craig Robinson previews the GOP primary to take on Loebsack. His piece is a good reminder of how small the Republican tent has become in a district once represented by Jim Leach.  

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 373 words in story)

Iowa GOP building new machine to sell old ideas

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 00:00:00 AM CDT

Thomas Beaumont wrote about the Republican Party of Iowa's revamped outreach strategy in Monday's Des Moines Register. GOP chairman Matt Strawn is working on several fronts to bring the party back to power after three consecutive losses in Iowa gubernatorial elections and four consecutive elections in which Republicans lost seats in the Iowa House and Senate.

Strawn's strategy consists of:

1) meeting with activists in numerous cities and towns

2) using social networking tools to spread the Republican message

3) building an organization with a more accurate database

After the jump I'll discuss the strengths of this approach as well as its glaring flaw.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 866 words in story)

Republican governors don't believe their party's talking points

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Feb 01, 2009 at 15:38:40 PM CST

It's easy to complain about "wasteful government spending" in the stimulus bill when you're in the Congressional minority. Voting against the stimulus may even be a smart political play for Congressional Republicans.

However, Republican governors who have to balance state budgets in this shrinking economy view the prospect of massive federal government spending differently:

Most Republican governors have broken with their GOP colleagues in Congress and are pushing for passage of President Barack Obama's economic aid plan that would send billions to states for education, public works and health care.

Their state treasuries drained by the financial crisis, governors would welcome the money from Capitol Hill, where GOP lawmakers are more skeptical of Obama's spending priorities.

The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, planned to meet in Washington this weekend with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and other senators to press for her state's share of the package.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist worked the phones last week with members of his state's congressional delegation, including House Republicans. Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, the Republican vice chairman of the National Governors Association, planned to be in Washington on Monday to urge the Senate to approve the plan. [...]

This past week the bipartisan National Governors Association called on Congress to quickly pass the plan.

"States are facing fiscal conditions not seen since the Great Depression _ anticipated budget shortfalls are expected in excess of $200 billion," the NGA statement said. "Governors ... support several key elements of the bill critical to states-increased federal support for Medicaid and K-12 and higher education; investment in the nation's infrastructure; and tax provisions to spur investment."

Will the GOP base become disenchanted with Alaska Governor Sarah Palin because of her public support for the stimulus? I suspect Markos is right:

It complicates matters for the anti-stimulus ideologues who see starbursts in the presence of Palin.

Then again, Palin had no trouble lying about her support for the Bridge to Nowhere. Nothing will stop her from trying to rewrite history three years from now.

Speaking of Palin, I learned from Jeff Angelo that she's created SarahPAC. Something tells me that a lot of Iowa Republican candidates in will receive generous contributions from this political action committee during the next two election cycles.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Does it matter who ends up running the Republican Party?

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 15:03:29 PM CST

Since the election, the quest to find a new leader for the divided Republican Party of Iowa has been a frequent topic for discussion on conservative blogs. No clear front-runner has emerged among the nine people known to be seeking the job. Some observers believe Iowa GOP treasurer Gopal Krishna has the most supporters on the 17-member State Central Committee that will select a new chair, although committee member David Chung handicaps the race differently.

All the candidates have been invited to appear at a public forum this Saturday, January 3, at the Iowa GOP headquarters. Knowing little about most of the people vying for this job, I've been intrigued by the comment threads at conservative blogs like "Krusty Konservative." Attacks against this or that candidate have been nastier than anything I remember reading on Democratic blogs when Howard Dean was running for Democratic National Committee chairman in 2005.

The Republican National Committee also needs a new leader, with no front-runner for that job. A mini-scandal has erupted over one candidate's decision to give RNC members a CD including a song called "Barack the Magic Negro."

I've been wondering how much these leadership contests matter.

Obviously some people will be better organizers or better fundraisers or better communicators than others, and for all I know some of the declared candidates are truly inept. But let's assume the Republicans find leaders with all the qualities on a party hack's wish list. Will they be able to turn things around for the GOP by raising more money and improving their campaign mechanics?

Commenting on plans to create a think tank within the RNC called the "Center for Republican Renewal," Matthew Yglesias recently observed,

Ambitious people don't like the idea that their fate is out of their hands. But an opposition political party's fate is largely out of its hands. The Democratic Party's recovery from its low ebb in the winter of 2004-2005 had very little to do with Democratic policy innovation and a great deal to do with the fact that the objective situation facing the country got worse. The time for the GOP to improve, policy-wise, was back then. Had the Bush administration been animated by better ideas, Bush might not have led to declining incomes, rising inequality, and catastrophic military adventures. But since he did, the GOP lost. And now the reality is that it's the Democrats' turn to govern. If things work out poorly, the GOP will get back in whether or not they have an ideological renewal, and if things work out well the Republicans will stay locked out.

I suspect Yglesias is right. Republican conservatives want to "embrace their core principles and effectively communicate a compelling message of bold-color conservatism". Moderates want to do away with "litmus tests" and "recapture the broad base."

But the facts of life are these: in Iowa and at the federal level, voters have given Democrats control of the legislative and executive branches. Whether the Republicans bounce back in 2010 or 2012 will depend more on whether Democrats blow it than whether the RNC or the Iowa State Central Committee chooses the right leader.

What do you think?

Discuss :: (2 Comments)
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