Party Loyalty

Jan Ting, a longtime member of the Delaware Republican state committee and the party's nominee for U.S. Senate in 2006, was asked to resign from ...
by | August 4, 2008
 

Jan_ting_2 Jan Ting, a longtime member of the Delaware Republican state committee and the party's nominee for U.S. Senate in 2006, was asked to resign from the party after giving financial support to Barack Obama.

The Wilmington News Journal has a surprisingly long story about this:

[State GOP regional chairman Bill] Sahm said if this incident happened "on the other side of the fence, and a Democrat was supporting McCain, I would hope in the best interests of their party, they would do the same. That is what party loyalty is all about."

I was recently on a panel at the Council of State Governments' western regional meeting and was challenged by a legislator from New Mexico who wanted to blame the media for a share of contemporary hyperpartisanship. I've been thinking about the extent to which that's fair, but have also been thinking about examples of the parties and their legislative caucuses imposing discipline on people who stray from orthodoxy that clearly are not media-generated (without necessarily concluding that insisting on a party line on key votes or matters such as support of the presidential nominee is such a bad idea).

I wrote an article in May about how Republicans in the Minnesota House were 'buked and scorned for voting to override Gov. Tim Pawlenty in support of a transportation package:

Tingelstad became one of the Override Six. The GOP House caucus stripped her of a top committee position following the vote. When it became clear that she also would be denied the local Republican endorsement for reelection, she announced her retirement. Three of the other six dissidents already had lost party endorsements to anti-tax challengers. Pawlenty and most of the GOP insisted on holding the line against tax increases of any sort--and against apostates. "If you are going to be a team," the governor said after the vote, "then there are going to be some team rules and team expectations."

In this context, it's interesting to note how many Republicans in tough Senate races are skipping the party's national convention. Loyalty to a brand may be considered more important than individual policy stances, but it's never more important than winning.

Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan

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