Tuesday, December 01, 2009

I'm just not seeing anything suicidal here...

....or, Maybe Kathleen Parker has a different definition of "suicide pact" than I do:

Just when independents and moderates were considering revisiting the GOP tent. Just when a near-perfect storm of unpopular Democratic ideas — from massive health care reform to terrorist show trials, not to mention global warming hype — is coagulating over 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Just when the GOP was gaining traction following gubernatorial victories in Virginia and New Jersey … Republicans perform a rain dance at their own garden party.
Things were just going too well.
Thus, some conservative members of the party have come up with a list of principles they want future candidates to agree to or forfeit backing by the Republican National Committee.
The so-called purity test is a 10-point checklist — a suicide pact, really — of alleged Republican positions. Anyone hoping to play on Team GOP would have to sign off on eight of the 10 — through their voting records, public statements or a questionnaire.

Okay then. Let us, for just a moment, look through this checklist (PDF ALERT) and its essentials:

1. Support of smaller government, lower debt and lower taxes.
2. Support of market-based health reform as opposed to government-based health reform and government-run health care.
3. Support of market-based energy reform and opposing cap-and-trade;
4. Support of workers' right to secret ballot.
5. Support of legal immigration and assimilation and opposition to amnesty.
6. Support of troop surges in the Middle East.
7. Support of containment of Iran and North Korea vis-a-vis their nuke threats.
8. Supporting retention of the Defense of Marriage Act.
9. Opposing government funding of abortion and rationing and denial of health care.
10. Supporting the right to keep and bear arms by opposing further restrictions on gun ownership.

Now, granted, this list does have its flaws, in particular No. 8. As a libertarian who thinks the government has no business telling people whom they can and cannot marry, I find the DOMA to be a tremendous affront to personal liberty in this country, even being quite heterosexual as I am.

However, I see absolutely nothing wrong with any of the other nine items in this list whatsoever. After all, for example, if you support higher taxes, more gun control and amnesty for illegals, for all practical intents and purposes, you're...a Democrat. The only problem I might see in some of them is their phrasing, i.e., "support this by opposing this." To that extent I might agree with Kathleen Parker that taking positions on certain issues might "require more than a Sharpie check in a little square." On the other hand, I think it's safe to say this list takes all those so-called "nuances" and distills them down to their bare essentials. And I don't really see anything wrong with that either.

I am not surprised that Parker just preferred to take the list at face value and proclaim it to be some sort of Manichean litmus test, as that's the only spin on it that gives her "argument," if you want to call it that, any credibility whatsoever. It is, however, ironic that she would contend that "the problem is that many conservatives have lost faith in the ability of Republican leaders to think" considering how she leveled every other accusation in that piece off the cuff, evidently with no other reasons to back them up than "because I said so and my status as an elite media pundit matters." Such a method of argument, of course, requires absolutely zero thinking.