Longtime GOP strategist Mary Matalin thinks that maybe a "purity test" for Republican candidates is a good thing. And at least one of her counterparts in the Democratic party agrees.


Appearing on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 on Friday, Matalin suggested that a "purity test" would not exclude moderate Republicans but instead grow the GOP.

Such a test is "[not] excluding anybody, except Nancy Pelosi Democrats," she said, claiming that all it would do is ensure Republican funds don't push any "liberal lite" candidates. "I applaud these members who have taken the initiative to come up with these ten points, all of which -- and I defy my friend Paul to find me any blue dog Democrat that wouldn't agree with at least eight out of ten of these mainstream principles."

Appearing with her, Paul Bagala, a Democratic strategist, essentially mocked the idea by agreeing with her.

"The Republicans are all about driving people out right now," he said. "And I think it's a great idea. So if you're, for example, if you believe in, like, evolution or gravity or photosynthesis or any of the stuff that Republicans are afraid of, come on over to the Democratic Party. You know, we're the party right now of the mainstream. Wasn't always the case. But God bless the Republicans."

As he made the comment, Matalin tilted her head back and stared at the ceiling.

"[The] country is two to one conservative," she said. "And the -- it's not -- people don't identify themselves, people who do identify themselves as Republicans and Democrats are in the minority. Who identifies themselves as independents are 2 to 1 conservative. And they're increasingly opposed to these big government programs that President Obama has ushered in. And it's hurting the party."

Begala fired back with sarcasm.

"I think this is great," he said. "I think the Republicans should go back to the Dark Ages. And don't stop there. Go all the way to the Stone Age. This is what I want as a Democrat. I couldn't be happier. It's my Thanksgiving gift from the RNC. And I want to thank the Republicans for trying to keep the Democrats in the center."

According to a Think Progress analysis, at least 40 current Republican members of Congress would find themselves at odds with some part of the proposed "purity test," should it come to fruition.

Additionally, the 10 points on the test -- ranging from "victory" in Iraq and Afghanistan to "protecting" sick people by maintaining present health insurance policies that allow thousands to die for lack of insurance -- would have prevented even prior Republican presidents from receiving GOP money.

The measure would likely have screened out President Ronald Reagan, under whose watch the US deficit ballooned. The federal deficit mushroomed from 2.7 percent of gross domestic product in 1980, to 6 percent in 1983.

Reagan also agreed to a $165 billion bailout of Social Security, in contradiction of conservative orthodoxy (though he did drastically reduce the top income tax brackets for Americans).

The Gipper also raised the gasoline tax in 1983.

George W. Bush would have had trouble too, Washington Monthly notes.

Bush, too, dramatically increased the size of the federal deficit, which was turning surpluses under his predecessor, President Bill Clinton. He also broke with conservatives on the issue of opposing blanket amnesty for undocumented immigrants.

Mary Matalin is married to famed Democratic strategist James Carville.

This video is from CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, broadcast Nov. 27, 2009, as captured by Crooks and Liars.