Gee, the Kansas Republicans are going downhill faster than one can possibly imagine.
Our friend Thomas Frank is going to have to come out with a new edition entitled "What Used to Be the Matter With Kansas"
The Kansas GOP has come out with a loyalty oath and it's a dozy. There have been some important loyalty oaths in American history. They've always dealt with the past or the immediate future. In the post civil war era former Confederate soldiers released upon taking an "oath of allegiance". Lincoln required an oath to "faithfully support, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the union of the States thereunder" as a condition for a Presidential pardon. The ironclad loyalty oath during the Reconstruction forbid former Confederate soldiers from elected and appointed office.
During Truman's presidency, after the discovery of Communist spy rings, loyalty oaths were imposed for government jobs. Again, they dealt with the past and present. Here's an example.
Political parties sometimes require that their candidates do not support the candidates of any other party in the current election or something similar.
"I further swear (or affirm) that I do not advise, advocate or teach, and have not within the period beginning five (5) years prior to the effective date of the ordinance requiring the making of this oath or affirmation, advised, advocated or taught, the overthrow by force, violence or other unlawful means, of the Government of the United States of America or of the State of California and that I am not now and have not, within said period, been or become a member of or affiliated with any group, society, association, organization or party which advises, advocates or teaches, or has, within said period, advised, advocated or taught, the overthrow by force, violence or other unlawful means of the Government of the United States of America, or of the State of California...."
In the past, loyalty oaths have been imposed over issues of great import. A rebellion or the infiltration of the government by a conspiracy directed by a hostile government. What has the Kansas GOP so upset pales by comparison. A couple of former Republicans won state-wide office and a few at the legislative level. And that causes the GOP to panic and demand a loyalty oath of an extraordinary sort.
But the Kansas GOP is apparently demanding an oath in perpetuity. They must pledge "never to abandon" "I will, at no point in my political or personal future" "I will not at any future time ..." become a Democratic...or a Libertarian. "I will always be a Republican"
But even these forever promises aren't enough for the fearful Kansas Republicans. No, not by any means. Now they want candidates to forswear even "to ever consider" switching parties.
I, _______________, promise never to abandon my present Republican Party affiliation for the purpose of political gain. The Republican Party, both nationally and domestically, was founded on sound and principled ideals, that include but are not limited to, personal liberty, individual freedom, responsive and citizen-based Government, life-affirming values, economic growth, strong and cutting edge military, low taxes and a mutual respect for fellow Republicans. Because of that, I will, at no point in my political or personal future, find cause to transfer my Party loyalty to any other affiliated organization.
I will not, at any future moment, become a registered Democrat for the purpose of seeking any political office. Additionally, I will not change my Party affiliation to that of any peripheral political party, such as the Reform Party, the Green Party or the Libertarian Party. Such a move would be not only opportunistic, it would be an unjustified trampling of everything that I previously claimed to stand for.
I care far too deeply about the previously espoused Republican ideals as well as the thousands of hard-working Republican citizens all over the State of Kansas to ever consider changing my political Party affiliation. I look forward to a life of citizen-serving, Republican political involvement. I thank the Kansas Republican Party, including all of the registered Kansas Republicans, for their years of service, good will and friendship.
I solemnly pledge to always be a Republican, no matter what promises are made by external forces seeking only to undermine the Republican values I stand for. I can have reasonable disagreement with members of the Republican Party; however, at no point will ‘Party switching’ or quitting of the Party be tolerable.
(It is also interesting that the Kansas GOP, which once counted a great writer like William Allen White, has fallen on some hard times. Notice at the end of the first paragraph that the want people to pledge not to "transfer my Party loyalty to any other affiliated organization." Wouldn't an affiliated organization be a Republican organization.)
There were always two kinds of Republicans in Kansas. Those who were born Republicans and could never imagine anything different. Republican was just another way of saying Kansan. The absurd and insulting idea of having to swear forever to a Republican and to never at any future time to become a Democrat would be just ridiculous to this sort of GOPer. Now, they would never consider switching parties, but the very idea being asked to take an oath to never even considering switching parties would, I think, strike them as just plain loco. It might be enough to start them to thinking.
The other type of Republican is a Republican because everyone else is a Republican. It made sense to register in the GOP party where the primary made a difference. The road to professional success for many a young professional ran through the GOP. But if the Republicans have to resort to this sort of extreme loyalty oath to maintain their superiority, it may just occur to the go along Republicans that they are on a sinking ship.