Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Loyal to the Party, or to Reagan?

Raymond Boyd, a new self-financed candidate for Georgia's governorship, has begun his campaign for the GOP's nomination by taking on the state party in a symbolic battle. A classic self-made outsider with, in his own words, "the testicular fortitude it takes to be a leader", Boyd refuses to be tainted or restrained by the Republican machine. By rule, all candidates must make an oath of allegiance to the Party to recieve its nomination . Boyd refuses. "I’m not a Republican who follows the sheep," he says, unwilling to make a pledge to a party which has "drifted from its core principles" - "It's an oath, by God, it means something to me." It is unclear exactly what the oath demands, but I expect it is not dissimilar to this Florida one, which simply asks that candidates and officeholders do not oppose other Republicans in other elections.

Oaths are not in themselves unacceptable to Boyd, however, and he has suggested his own, which pledges that he:
will not be bound by any position of the Georgia Republican Party that I do not feel would represent the core principles of that faction of the Republican Party which is referred to by many as ‘Ronald Reagan Republicans.' I am running as a Republican -- a Ronald Reagan Republican. I hereby reaffirm my pledge to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and I offer my life in defense thereof.
A Tea Partier, Boyd embraces the new factionalism in the Republican Party, using Reagan as an incoherent symbol of that split, and of the angry nationalism that drives it. Reagan represents the broad idea of America, but also the belligerent minority. This is probably not a sustainable idea, and likely not enough to sustain Boyd's earnest if clumsy campaign. He seems like an interesting one to watch this year, though.

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