Our Opinion: State GOP should swear off proposed loyalty oath

Republicans will make a compound error if they follow passage of flawed legislation with poor policy.

The Republican State Committee at its meeting Saturday considered the equivalent of a loyalty oath for GOP candidates.

The proposal comes in the wake of some Republican dissension during last week’s veto session. Republicans hold veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate if no GOP lawmaker breaks ranks.

The proposed statement for prospective Republican hopefuls would read: “I have read, understand and fundamentally support the platform of the Missouri Republican Party.”

We fundamentally support some planks of the Republican platform, but we do not and will not support specific bills that are grotesque manifestations of sound concepts.

During the recent veto session, Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon suffered a record 10 veto overrides, but prevailed on 20 others. Among those 20 were high-profile measures, including a tax cut and nullification of certain federal firearms laws.

We support reasonable tax cuts as economic incentives to spur business and consumer activity.

But, we cannot ask lawmakers to pass a flawed bill; even Republicans acknowledged the bill erred in lifting a tax exemption on prescription medication.

Knowingly approving flawed legislation is not good governing.

With regard to the firearm bill, we reiterate our objection that the bill was a duplicative, meaningless and self-serving GOP proposal.

The right to bear arms is protected in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a document that supersedes state pronouncements.

Party loyalty deserves to be a consideration in the political arena, but not the only — or even paramount — consideration.

Lawmakers represent constituencies.

They also have responsibility to analyze specific proposals to determine if those proposals dovetail with their own conscience and values.

Governing is more than the mindless exercise of simply adhering to the party line.

Political platforms, constituent concerns and personal philosophy and principles all are part of the equation.

The state GOP will make an egregious error if it handcuffs candidates with a loyalty oath.

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