Wednesday, November 25, 2009

REPORT: At Least 40 GOP Lawmakers Fail A Principle Of The ‘Purity Test’


Yesterday, Republican National Committee member Jim Bopp unveiled a resolution to deny funding of candidates who do not uphold right-wing conservative values. The resolution, termed a “purity test,” is being touted as a mechanism for actually avoiding the party schism that occurred in the NY-23 special election, when the Republican Party nominated a moderate who violated several of the resolution dictates.

As the Hotline has noted, the resolution, if adopted, would boot key Republican candidates running for the Senate next year. National Republicans recruited Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) to run for the Senate, even though they have bucked conservative orthodoxy in the past.

ThinkProgress has conducted an analysis that finds at least 40 current Republican members of Congress have violated at least one principle of the purity test:

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

– The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the stimulus) was passed with support from Republican Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

Purity Pledge #2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare

– Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA) voted for the health reform bill passed by the House.

Purity Pledge #3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation

– The Waxman Markey cap and trade clean energy bill was passed with support from GOP Reps. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), Mike Castle (R-DE), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Dave Reichert (R-WA), and Chris Smith (R-NJ).

Purity Pledge #4) We support workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check

– In 2007, the House passed the Employee Free Choice Act with support from Republican Reps. Tim Murphy (R-PA), Don Young (R-AK), Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Peter King (R-NY), and Steve LaTourette (R-OH).

Purity Pledge #5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants

– The McCain-Kennedy 2006 immigration bill would have “legalized millions of undocumented immigrants already in the U.S. if they paid fines, paid back taxes and learned English.” Republican Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Dick Lugar (R-IN), George Voinovich (R-OH), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bob Bennett (R-UT), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Susan Collins (R-ME), Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) voted for the bill.

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

– In 2007, both Republican Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) cosponsored resolutions opposing a troop surge in Iraq. In the House, Reps. Bob Inglis (R-SC), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Dean Heller (R-NV), Walter Jones (R-NC), Tim Johnson (R-IL), Mike Castle (R-DE), Howard Coble (R-NC), Ron Paul (R-TX), Tom Petri (R-WI), Fred Upton (R-MI), and Steve LaTourette (R-OH) supported a resolution opposing the Iraq surge. In addition, Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Ron Paul (R-TX), Walter Jones (R-NC), Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), John Duncan (R-TN), and Tim Johnson (R-IL) have signed onto a letter opposing a troop surge in Afghanistan.

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

– Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Dick Lugar (R-IN) both voted to remove North Korea from the state-sponsors of terror list. Sen. Lugar also voted against a 2007 resolution urging action against Iran. In the House, Reps. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Ron Paul (R-TX), and Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) voted against further sanctions against Iran in 2007.

Purity Pledge #10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership

– Earlier this year, Sen. John Thune’s (R-SD) “concealed carry” gun amendment failed to receive the 60 votes it needed to pass. Republican Senators Dick Lugar (R-IN) and George Voinovich (R-OH) opposed the measure.

Already, conservative leaders like RedState’s Erik Erickson are saying that Bopp’s purity resolution doesn’t even go far enough. On Monday night, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann noted that President Ronald Reagan violated 6 of the 10 purity tests. “Ronald Reagan was a Democrat?” asked Olbermann, tongue planted firmly in cheek.

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