White House spokesman Tony Fratto defended the Bush administration’s actions, saying, “We understand the opposition to using tax dollars to support private businesses we also oppose using tax dollars to support private businesses. But this was the necessary and responsible thing to do to prevent a collapse of the American economy.”
Several RNC members including some of Mr. Bopp’s fellow conservatives are not pleased with the idea of having it make policy instead of simply minding the campaign fundraising store.
Ron Nehring, chairman of the California Republican Party, said the party also can’t be seen endorsing a do-nothing approach.
“We have to be careful not to confuse passing resolutions for action, or creating a situation where people interpret the lack of some resolution as an excuse for inaction on an important issue,” he said.
The resolution says: “WHEREAS, the Bank Bailout Bill effectively nationalized the Nation’s banking system, giving the United States non-voting warrants from participating financial institutions, and moving our free market based economy another dangerous step closer toward socialism; and WHEREAS, what was needed, and is still needed, to fix the banking industry is not a bailout, but rather a commitment to fiscal responsibility.”
The financial sector bailout passed the House by a vote of 263-171 with 91 Republicans backing it, and passed the Senate by a 74-25 vote with 34 Republicans in favor. The auto bailout passed the House by a 237-170 vote with 32 Republicans supporting it, but was blocked by a Republican-led filibuster in the Senate, with just 10 Republicans voting to advance the bill.
The RNC’s sole job historically has been to raise money for candidates and to pass the party line down the food chain to state and local leaders. Policy has been set by the party’s congressional leaders and, when a Republican sits in the White House, by the president.
The same has been true for the Democratic National Committee.
The Bopp-Yue vanguard say they are determined to change that.
“For the past eight years, the RNC has been the political outreach of the White House,” said Arizona Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen, another resolution co-sponsor who led the 2006 immigration fight and who opposed Mr. Bush’s “economic policies promoting the ‘ownership society’ because they would eventually lead to the financial meltdown we are currently experiencing.”
“It is now time for the RNC to assert itself in terms of ideas and political philosophy,” Mr. Pullen added. “If we don’t do it now, when will we?”
Mr. Bopp, a social conservative who has served as counsel to pro-life groups, said, “We must stand for and publicly advocate our conservative principles as a party 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year.”
The RNC revolutionaries leave no doubt they mean to turn the committee into policy-producing and enforcing machine.
“In the long run, we want to see this committee play an active philosophical-policy leadership role for the national GOP,” Mr. Yue said.
But it remains unclear whether the rules or the machinery exist for enforcing such a resolution on Republican elected officials.