In yesterday’s DailyCaller/ATR Republican National Committee candidate debate, the five candidates were asked a question about what sort of non-conservative issue position a candidate could have which would cause them to not be welcomed as a Republican.
Candidates Ann Wagner (Missouri) and Maria Cino (New York) both gave more general answers about how candidates should uphold all the party’s core beliefs. Candidate Saul Anuzis (Michigan) was a bit more open to differences — though he said that a prospective GOP candidate should be with the party 80 percent of the time or more.
The most interesting answers came from RNC Chairman Michael Steele (Maryland) — seeking a second term — and presumed front-runner for the job, Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus.
Steele said: “I would agree with all of that, but I would also say having done the job for two years and recognizing that this country is much bigger than we think it is sometimes, and it runs a lot deeper with its passions than we like to believe on a host of issues. I see the job of the chairman as the standard-bearer is to, one, uphold that platform, yes, but to recognize that everyone who comes into this party will have some problem with this platform. So your responsibility and your opportunity is to work with them and help them if they want to be active, if they want to assume leadership, then they’ll have to come to understand the importance of these principles and what they mean. But we cannot be a party that sits back with a litmus test and excludes, and the national chairman cannot go into a state, ‘You’re less Republican than you are, therefore I will not talk with you and only talk with you’. That is not the Republican Party that I joined at 17 years old. And it will not be the Republican I lead over the next two years. Trust me.”
Priebus said: “Well, I think that being the standard-bearer for the Republican Party has to take into account that our country’s in great peril. As I said before we’re about to walk off a fiscal cliff. And I think that the RNC chairman ought to take a chance and promote that conservative platform every time that he or she has an opportunity to do it. Because right now, just without anything Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi did this past two years, normally it costs about 19 cents on every dollar made in America to run the federal government. Without anything that they’d done, it will cost, by the time my son who is five years old is my age, it will cost 40 cents for every dollar made in America, to run this country. And if we don’t have a chairman who understand that being a Republican means something, that if you’re pro-abortion, pro-stimulus, pro-G.M. bailout, pro-AIG, well you know guess what, you might not be a Republican.”
Reince wants to decide who is and who is not a Republican.
The problem with Priebus’s stated position is that — if a party litmus test is imposed by the powers that be — those who do not fall in line will simply be removed. Presumably that would also include removing or disenfranchising many Republican Liberty Caucus members throughout the country.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons the Wisconsin RLC came out against Reince Priebus the day after he made his announcement.
No thanks, Mr. Priebus.