There's the no-tax pledge, the term-limits pledge, and briefly there was the "purity pledge" for those Republicans wishing to appear on the June primary ballot in Laurens County.
Some of the 28 points on the purity pledge certainly would have culled any broad field of GOP candidates, who would have had to sign the pledge to get on the ballot. For example: "You must oppose abortion, in any circumstances."
And: "You must uphold the right to have guns, all kinds of guns."
Does that include howitzers?
More to the point of the pledge was the stipulation: "You must be faithful to your spouse."
According to The Associated Press, the resolution grew out party dissatisfaction with the incumbent sheriff, who last year admitted to an extramarital relationship with an employee. She has since filed suit for sexual harassment, contending that he drove her to get an abortion in a county-owned car, the AP reports.
We don't have our finger on the political pulse of Laurens County, but we'd say that the sheriff already faces serious impediments to his re-election, even without a purity pledge. And he does have opposition.
Other pledge points cited by the AP and the Clinton Chronicle, which first reported the story, include such diverse matters as support for national sovereignty and a balanced budget, and opposition to extramarital sex and pornography.
The purity pledge, which was passed by the Laurens County Republican executive committee, was quickly overruled by state GOP officials, saying the extensive list of qualifications was illegal.
"The state party does not endorse this action, and no county party can legally keep a qualified candidate off the ballot," said Matt Moore, executive director of the S.C. Republican Party.
Those qualifications are limited to ensuring that candidates meet age requirements, aren't convicted felons and live within the area they seek to represent.
Mr. Moore said that the purity pledge also goes far beyond the state GOP's more general focus on broad public policy issues like smaller government and fiscal responsibility.
Now that the meddlesome overreach of the Laurens GOP has been properly struck down, the decision it sought to impose will be settled at the polls.
It's only right in a democracy that the voters decide which candidates will serve and which will be put out to pasture.
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