Why Are Republicans Signing a Purity Pledge?

Why Are Republicans Signing a Purity Pledge?

Why Are Republicans Signing a Purity Pledge?

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Jan. 8 2010 1:22 PM

Why Are Republicans Signing a Purity Pledge?

Today, Republicans are deciding whether to water down the new proposed "purity resolution"-10 conservative principles future candidates have to agree to. I, for one, can’t get past the name. "Purity resolution" comes from the "True Love Waits" movement. It’s a pledge signed by teenagers-mostly girls-agreeing to stay virgins until married. In the context of sexuality, the word "purity" transmits a clear-and these days, transgressive-message. In the context of politics, "purity" seems squeamish and naive, with a touch of the Aryan.

Newt Gingrich’s 1994 Contract With America served the same purpose. It created a set of principles to unify Republicans. But with its emphasis on "fiscal responsibility" and "taking back our streets," the contract had a certain kind of muscular practicality this one lacks. Gingrich took special care to avoid including abortion and other divisive social issues in his contract.

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This time, the Republicans are taking the opposite approach. The name "purity resolution" was chosen by James Bopp, Jr., from Indiana, a member of the Republican National Committee who is associated with National Right to Life. The principles are a throwback to the pre-Gingrich culture war era: anti-abortion, pro-gun, anti-union, anti-immigrant. Many conservatives have pointed out that even Ronald Reagan would not pass. Bopp’s answer to this charge displays a kind of subtlety and intelligence we would want in a man helping choose our future leaders: " Ronald Reagan was the most conservative president in the last 100 years. Everyone knows this, and it is stupid to suggest otherwise."