Pledge Could Backfire
As nearly everyone knows, I strongly favor the idea that in organizational votes members of the Tennessee House or Senate who are Republicans should support the nominees of the House Republican Caucus for the officers of those bodies. However, I truly believe that making members sign a loyalty oath is not a good idea and, as we have seen, could backfire:
I'm also a political traditionalist in the sense that I believe that whether you supported someone in a Caucus Leadership vote or not, the opening rolls are the one time when parties need to stand together as one and support the Leadership. Family fights ought not to be held on the House floor.
Making members sign a "loyalty pledge" of any kind looks like a desperate political move on the part of the House Republican Caucus. I'm not saying that members and candidates should not be told that there will be political consequences if they do not stand together on the organization of the House or Senate-that needs to be made explicitly clear to every single member of the GOP Caucus. Such a conversation should be saved for a Caucus meeting, however, and making people sign loyalty pledges looks as though leadership otherwise wouldn't have the support of its own rank-and-file, and that isn't a message we as a party need to send. I would argue that making people sign such a pledge acts as an invitation for the questioning member to say "why did they make me do that" and to break their pledge as though they felt cajoled into signing.
Labels: Conservatism, Elections, Republican Party, Tennessee politics