This one is a couple of weeks old, but was just brought to my attention. It seems the Wisconsin GOP passed a resolution at its state convention on the 20th of May that would bar the party from supporting moderate candidates. Resolution 25 reads:
2006-25 Conservative Direction: GOP
WHEREAS, the Republican Party of Wisconsin at the local, district, and state level at the Convention, has passed numerous resolutions of a conservative nature; favoring a smaller less intrusive government, a right to bear arms, and a directive to secure our borders, etc.; and
WHEREAS, these resolutions are the direction that the people of the party want their representatives to adhere to; and
WHEREAS, the people of the party recognize that while they cannot compel their representatives to vote in this manner, they can and do expect them to:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Republican Party of Wisconsin, in convention assembled, urge the Republican Party to withhold all promotional and financial support of those candidates that do not consistently subscribe to this overall conservative agenda, be they incumbent or new candidates, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Republican Party actively and vigorously seek candidates that will go in this conservative direction, and respect the wishes of party members.
While I don’t think any Republican (with the possible exception of those currently in control of Congress and the White House) would quibble with the concepts of small government, the right to bear arms, and protecting our borders, this resolution sets a dangerous path for the party because it doesn’t define “conservative”.
I’m as conservative as you’re going to get on fiscal matters, and the size of government, but most social conservatives would consider me moderate to liberal on a lot of social issues. Would I get the support of the party? My guess is no.
The Wisconsin GOP has set a dangerous precedent for other state parties to follow. A resolution like this can be used to keep anyone out of the process – which candidate is the most conservative? – but will likely be used to keep moderates from getting party support.