The Danger in Litmus Testing

I already wrote extensively about the bad news that Senator Allan Kittleman’s resignation from leadership has for the State Party and the Senate Caucus. As the Post noted, State Party Chairman Alex Mooney has joined the chorus lamenting Kittleman’s resignation and has urged him to reconsider. Here is Mooney’s statement in full:

For Immediate Release
Contact: Ryan Mahoney, (410) 263-2125
January 18, 2011

Chairman Mooney statement on Kittleman resignation

ANNAPOLIS – Maryland Republican Party Chairman Alex X. Mooney issued the following statement today in response to Senator Allan Kittleman’s resignation announcement:

“Senator Kittleman is an excellent Senate minority leader and I encourage him to reconsider his decision to step aside this Friday. In the past election Senator Kittleman was the only Republican Senator to give away most of his campaign funds to help elect other candidates. Senator Kittleman also traveled the state of Maryland tirelessly to offer grassroots campaign support to candidates without requiring any litmus test on issues.

“While Republicans in elected office and Republican voters at the grassroots level will not agree on every issue, Senator Kittleman’s strong record on issues such as the right to keep and bear arms, tax relief, parental rights in education and less government spending fit well within the values of the Republican Party.

“In addition, Senator Kittleman is a man of the utmost ethical and moral character. He is a strong family man from a distinguished family of loyal Republicans. I urge my former Republican colleagues in the state Senate and Republicans at the grassroots level to publicly show their support for Senator Kittleman to continue as minority leader. I have already called Senator Kittleman today and asked him to reconsider.”


That middle paragraph is a very key statement here. As Mooney notes, Allan Kittleman busted his hump trying to elect more Republicans to the State Senate irrespective of any particular “litmus test” on determining who has the most conservative bonafides. That we are left with the impression that his colleagues wanted to turf Kittleman from his position as minority leader based on is short-sighted given his diligence and hard work on behalf of the party and his status as an articulate spokesman of our core Republican values.

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Now we’re also left with another problem; who takes over as Minority Leader from Senator Kittleman. Because if Allan Kittleman cannot pass a “litmus test” to remain as Minority Leader, then who from the ranks can?

Senators David Brinkley, Barry Glassman, and EJ Pipkin all voted for The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act.

Senator Ed Reilly supported higher home costs through mandatory sprinklers while a member of the Anne Arundel County Council.

Senators Brinkley, Richard Coburn, George Edwards were three of the five Republicans Senators who voted for the O’Malley budget last year (the two others: Larry Haines, who retired, and Don Munson, who got shellacked twice by Chris Shank).

On top of it, Brinkley would bring forth some legal issues from his past and a reluctance to play nice with current party leadership.

Does that make any of them incapable of leadership in the State Senate? Of course not (though we’ve already “been there and done that” with Senator Brinkley).

But what my point here is that you can take the voting record of any of the twelve members of the Republican Caucus of the State Senate and find some issue in which they would not pass the “litmus test” of the Republican base and their colleagues in the Senate. Why should Allan Kittleman be held to some sort of higher standard than his colleagues, particularly when most of Kittleman’s views (particularly on matters surrounding the budget) are much closer to not only the mainstream Republican Party but also mainstream Marylanders than those of some of his Republican colleagues?

If Allan Kittleman can’t pass a litmus test to be Minority Leader of the Republicans in the Senate, it means nobody can….

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