99.44% Pure

This Week’s Poll!

What does it mean to be a Republican these days? It’s an excellent question, given that, just this week, conservative columnist David Brooks published a piece in the New York Times urging mainstream Republicans to wrestle their party’s identity back from right-wing extremists. Alas, mere hours later, Senator Olympia Snowe, one of the last of the GOP’s once-powerful moderates, quit out of utter frustration with being constantly told to toe the far-right party line.

So it seems that a “true Republican” these days is an extremist. That might explain the rise of Rick Santorum, who, post-Super Tuesday, seems poised to take the 2012 GOP nomination fight all the way to the convention. The Republican electorate seems split between those who want to see Obama defeated and those who are hellbent on nominating a conservative purist. Poor Mitt Romney, the only one who anyone thinks has any chance of beating Obama in the general election, is now so desperate to show his ultra-conservative credentials that he offers only the lamest of rebukes to his woman-hating employee Rush Limbaugh. “It’s not the language I would have used,” Romney said in response to Limbaugh’s calling a woman who uses birth control pills a “slut.” (On the House floor this week, Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez wondered if Mitt would have preferred the term “Lady of the Evening.”)

And so all of this brings us to Laurens County in South Carolina. The good folks there have decided that, if you want to be on the GOP primary ballot, you gotta make a couple of promises. 28 of them, including promises to never again look at pornography, to get married only once (and to someone of the opposite sex), to be eternally faithful to that person, oppose abortion in all circumstances and to uphold the right to have guns — or, as the pledge states, “all kinds of guns.”

Laurens County’s pledge has us confused. OK, so clearly they’re not duped by Mitt’s desperate dives to the right. But couldn’t they just vote for Rick Santorum? In seeing the need for this new “purity pledge,” are they saying that they think even THAT lunatic isn’t conservative enough? Sheesh. How much more conservative can you get? Let’s say you’re a GOP candidate trying to get on the ballot in Laurens County. What else would you have to do to prove that you’re a true conservative? What do YOU think?

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