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Opinion: Making a list and checking it seven times

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The New York Times reports that conservatives have been drawing up a 10-point checklist -- to be printed on litmus paper? -- against which the Republican National Committee should measure prospective GOP candidates.

There’s nothing surprising about the contents of the proposed creed (for example, opposition to government funding of abortion and President Obama’s ‘socialist agenda’). Nor is the idea of a conservative loyalty test. It was implicit in the muscling by true believers of a Republican nominee for a House seat in New York who didn’t toe the ideological line.

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Never mind that Democrats captured that seat after the withdrawal of the scorned RINO (Republican in Name Only). Conservative Republicans increasingly seem willing to sacrifice electoral success on the altar of philosophical purity, and moderate Republicans are increasingly are an endangered species. That’s good news for Democrats, but bad news for those of us who believe that a modicum of diversity in both parties is conducive to compromise and good government.

But back to the surprising thing about the proposed Index of Acceptability: the fact that 70% is a passing grade. Answer seven questions right and you get an endorsement and funding. Get six right and you flunk. (‘Bummer! I messed up that abortion question. Maybe I can do something for extra credit.’) If too many candidates fall short, the party may have to start grading on the curve.

-- Michael McGough


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