It's a dream come true for hysterical liberals and their fellow travelers in the 'unbiased' media. Pesky Republicans are actively working to discourage voter turnout in the 2012 Presidential election!
Unfortunately, in typical GOP fashion, the party is busy suppressing its own vote.
Thanks to a decision by the Virginia Republican State Central Committee, voters who may want to participate in the Commonwealth's Republican Presidential Primary will be forced to sign a loyalty oath before the commissars allow them to cast a ballot.
Members of the Electoral College, who actually choose the President, are not Constitutionally required to swear a similar oath, but the committee -- like Southern Baptists who frequently add qualifications for church office not found in the Bible -- feel this is a vital improvement to the system.
The oath is brief and to the point: "I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president."
Prince William County Virginia's redoubtable conservative Republican, Del. Bob Marshall strongly objects to requiring an oath, "Virginia's Republican leadership wants to mandate a loyalty oath when Virginia's Republican officials are in court fighting the Obamacare mandate? This sends the wrong message."
I'm not sure I'm in agreement with Marshall's analogy, since Obamacare is mandatory, while voting for the GOP is optional. (An option I fear many will choose not to exercise if it means signing this pledge.)
The oath manages to offend two groups that are key to winning in November: the conservative base and the independent. Longtime Republicans will be insulted by the presumption they are so fickle an oath is required to remind them of their loyalty.
Besides, as Marshall points out, Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Speaker of the House William Howell, have not always voted for the Republican nominee in November. Both supported an independent in an earlier race for Henrico County Commonwealth's Attorney.
Equally important, the Presidential election in November will be won among the 40 percent that considers themselves independent -- voting for the man and not the party. What a shock it will be to the commitment–phobic independent who decides to participate in the GOP primary, only to be hit with a contract that requires him to swear an oath to a November candidate who might not even be on the March 6th primary ballot.
Which brings us to another problem: Although nationally we currently have a fluctuating total of approximately ten GOP candidates, in the Virginia primary the ballot will resemble the inventory of a Soviet supermarket with only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul to choose from.
It seems that organizing a petition drive to get his name on the ballot is the latest entry on the lengthening list of things Rick Perry can't do.
Perry, who does have someone on staff who can file a lawsuit, and Virginia resident Newt Gingrich are attempting to gain access by judicial means -- a particularly ironic move for Gingrich who blasted federal judges last week proclaiming "Judicial supremacy is factually wrong. It is morally wrong, and it is an affront to the American system of self–government."
Unless, of course, you can find a judge who will overturn Republican rules and get you on the ballot.
The fact is if the yang and yin of presidential politics can get on the ballot under the existing rules, then the rest of the candidates should be able to clear the same hurdle, too.
This whole affair reeks of Paulophobia. Evidently the fear is that Ron Paul voters can't be relied upon in November to support the Republican nominee if it's not Ron Paul. It would make more sense to have Paul himself sign the oath as a condition of appearing on the ballot, since a third–party run on his behalf would only serve to re–elect Obama.
So naïve central committee members believe signing this worthless piece of paper is going to persuade a herd of black–helicopter Libertarian paranoids that they have to toe the line in November.
Fors Fortis, as the Romans say.
The other fear is wily Democrats voting for Paul in an effort to sow dissention in Republican ranks. The way to prevent this is to post a large sign informing Democrats their name will appear on Republican mailing lists and their mailboxes stuffed full of GOP direct mail and fund–raising appeals for the next four years.
My wife, Janet, still rues the day she voted for Hillary Clinton in one of those fruitless crossover voting schemes.
In the meantime, GOP Chairman Pat Mullins has scheduled a special meeting on January 21st. The only agenda item is the "loyalty oath."
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.