In what would amount to a slap in the face to a sitting Republican president and the party’s Senate and House leaders, national GOP officials, including the vice chairman of the Republican National Committee, are sponsoring a resolution opposing the resort to “socialist” means to save capitalism.
“We can’t be a party of small government, free markets and low taxes while supporting bailouts and nationalizing industries, which lead to big government, socialism and high taxes at the expense of individual liberty and freedoms,” said Solomon Yue, a cosponsor of a resolution that would put the RNC — the party’s national governing body — on the record as opposing the U.S. government bailouts of the financial and auto industries.
Republican National Vice Chairman and constitutional law attorney James Bopp Jr. authored the resolution and is asking the rest of the 168 voting members of the committee to sign it.
“The resolution also opposes President-elect Obama’s proposed public works program and supports conservative alternatives,” while encouraging the RNC “to engage in vigorous public policy debates consistent with our party platform,” Mr. Bopp said.
The RNC has never played a leading policy role or any policy role except once every four years in framing the national party platform, which is quickly forgotten and almost never referred to for another four years.
“Jim Bopp is the author of the no-bailout resolution because he wants to articulate our core principles now, not every four years when we have a presidential election,” said Mr. Yue, an Oregon member of the Committee. “This is based on the thinking that articulating political philosophy is equally important as applying
“Failing to do so, we have today’s identity crisis, which resulted in our losses in 2006 and 2008,” Mr. Yue said. “The bailout is a good example. … In my view, if we are not going to address this, we will see more losses in 2010.”
North Dakota GOP Chairman Gary Emineth said he too has had enough of the never-ending disconnect between what the platform says and what elected Republicans do.
“It is time the party gets involved in policy issues and forces candidates to respond to the platform,” Mr. Emineth said. “Frankly the way we view the platform is a joke. We work hard to drive our principles into the platform, then candidates ignore it.”
“If the party doesn’t move in this direction, we will continue to be irrelevant. Whoever has the larger star power will continue to win, and what they stand for and believe will become less relevant,” Mr. Emineth said.
Mr. Bopp, Mr. Yue and the other cosponsors say they have the numbers to pull off this rebellion, unprecedented in the history of either party’s national committee.
“We have enough co-sponsors to take this to the RNC floor” at the party’s Jan. 28-31 annual winter meeting in Washington. “I will take it to the Resolutions Committee, but I intend to press this issue to the floor for decision.”
To the astonishment of most rank-and-file Republicans, hundreds of billions of dollars in bailouts of private-sector companies were pushed through Congress last month by President Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr.
Just as astonishing, the Senate and House GOP leaders and the party’s presidential nominee supported the bailout of the financial industry, which in some cases took the form of the U.S. government’s gaining ownership of huge but financially troubled companies.
Nonetheless, not all RNC members — including some of Mr. Bopp’s fellow conservatives — are pleased with the idea of having it make policy instead of simply minding the campaign fundraising store.
Fellow RNC member Ron Nehring, chairman of the California GOP, expressed more reservations.
“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.
Historically, the elected GOP House and Senate leaders, plus the president and his advisers when the party controls the White House, make national party policy.
The RNC’s sole job has been to raise money for candidates and to pass the party line down the food chain to state and local leaders.
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 GOP Chairman Randy Pullen, another resolution cosponsor who opposed what he regarded as Mr. Bush’s pro-amnesty immigration bill and his “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 there exist the rules or the machinery for enforcing such a resolution on Republican elected officials.