Republicans May Consider Test of Purity

5173860Members of the Republican National Committee are pushing a resolution built on "conservative principles and public policies" and opposition to "Obama's socialist agenda" that Republican candidates would have to largely accept and adopt if they want the party's support.

The New York Times reports that ten RNC members have signed onto the resolution, which was circulated today. It contains ten principles, among them support for the Defense of Marriage Act, gun rights and "military-recommended troop surges" in Iraq and Afghanistan; opposition to President Obama's health care reform efforts, cap and trade legislation, a card check bill and amnesty for illegal immigrants; and support for "smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes."

Any Republican who breaks with more than two of the ten principles, the resolution says, would be denied the GOP's endorsement and money from the party for his or her campaign.

Republicans may debate the resolution, which invokes Ronald Reagan, at their winter meeting in Honolulu in January, which could put party chairman Michael Steele in a difficult spot as he tries to hold together the Republican coalition.

Republicans are now involved in an internal debate over to what degree their party can and should be a "big tent" that includes both conservatives and moderates. While tea party protesters and some lawmakers have pushed for the GOP to essentially excommunicate potential candidates with relatively moderate or liberal positions, other Republicans have suggested such a strategy is a mistake that will effectively keep the GOP out of the majority in Congress.

The Times has the full list of ten principles here.