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Republicans adopt watered-down version of the 'Reagan Resolution' purity test

January 29, 2010 |  6:43 pm

RNC delegates

So what was that all about?

After weeks of feverish build-up, the great GOP Purity Debate fizzled out in mere seconds this afternoon, as the Republican National Committee — on a unanimous voice vote — adopted a watered-down version of the so-called Reagan Resolution.

As first proposed by Indiana lawyer and committee member James Bopp Jr., GOP candidates would have been required to meet at least eight of 10 prescribed positions on issues such as gun control, abortion, immigration and same-sex marriage. Otherwise, they would have received no financial or organizational help from the party.

Many here in Honolulu — including party Chairman Michael Steele — opposed the so-called litmus test, saying it would crimp recruiting and hurt the party’s inclusive image at a time the GOP is trying to broaden its support among independents and moderate voters.

So they set to work behind closed doors coming up with a substitute that would allow everyone to declare victory and get the heck back to the Hawaii beach.

The result is a vaguely worded five-paragraph collection of "whereas" and "resolved," urging the RNC “to carefully screen the record and statements” of candidates and measure that against “the core principles and positions” in the platform adopted at the GOP’s national convention in 2008.James Bopp Jr.

Bopp withdrew his original resolution — to applause from fellow committee members — and afterward declared he got everything he wanted, and more.

 “I see this as a broader, more effective, more comprehensive resolution than I proposed,” Bopp told reporters after withdrawing his resolution, to applause from committee members. “It goes to the core principles of the party, not just a few votes.”

As for those who missed a vigorous back-and-forth, fear not.

Looming over Bopp’s shoulder was Oregon Chairman Bob Tiernan, who engaged in the following:  

Tiernan: “It’s a suggestion… 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. That’s ridiculous”

Bopp: “This is binding. You are to determine –  determine – that the candidate wholeheartedly supports…”

Tiernan: “There is nothing binding in there.”

Bopp: “Can I finish?”

Tiernan: “Read the words.”

Bopp: “Shut up!”

Tiernan: “That’s not nice.”

Hang 10!

-- Mark Z. Barabak

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Top photo: Dick Wadhams, left, Lilly Nunez, center, and Mark Hillman, right, national committee members from Colorado, listen to RNC Chairman Michael Steele speak Friday. Credit: Associated Press. Bottom photo: James Bopp Jr. Credit: Associated Press.

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