The Republican National Committee has passed a resolution denying financial support to any GOP candidate who does not endorse the party platform.
The rule is seen as less restrictive than a proposed “litmus test” requiring candidates to pledge their loyalty to at least seven out of ten core conservative positions. Despite this, it was strongly opposed by Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele and many state party chairs. It was strongly backed by conservatives, however, and passed without opposition on a voice vote.
The earlier litmus test proposal, offered by conservative activist James Bopp, Jr., had aroused widespread opposition. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Privately, many members of the committee disdained the proposal as silly and unnecessarily divisive at a time the party is on a political roll. A group of about two dozen state chairmen voted unanimously Wednesday to oppose the Bopp resolution, as it came to be called, and efforts were quietly underway to kill the resolution or render it moot.”
Even Dick Wadhams, a Republican political consultant often described as a disciple of Karl Rove, called Bopp’s proposal, “just totally ill-conceived and misdirected.”
The alternative resolution demanding loyalty to the party platform was offered as a compromise by RNC member Bill Crocker of Texas, who explained that it would still bar funding to GOP moderates and help attract Tea Party votes. “No more Scozzafavas, please,” Crocker stated. “No more Specters, please. No more Chafees, please.”
Even Bopp has now endorsed Crocker’s alternative to his own litmust test, saying, “The resolution that was adopted by the committee satisfies the concerns that I have and the need I think that we have for the party to insist upon accountability of our candidates to our core principles.”
According to the New York Times’ Adam Nagourney, however, not all Republican leaders intend to follow the resolution. Oregon GOP chairman Bob Tiernan told Bopp, “There’s nothing mandatory there. There’s nothing required. I am a chairman: I am not going take that back and make my candidates sign it.”
When Bopp insisted, “This is binding,” Tiernan cut him off, saying, “There is nothing binding in there. Read the words.”
“Shut up!” Bopp yelled, to which Tiernan replied, after a pause, “That’s not nice.”