But a new proposal from a Montana Republican could change the game this weekend at the state GOP convention in Bozeman.
Loyalty oaths proliferated in the U.S. during the cold war era when hysteria over the supposed threat posed by Communists became known as the Red Scare.
Paranoia fueled a craze to weed out “subversives.” That’s when the infamous question, “Are you now or have you ever been…,” became part of the American lexicon.
But the loyalty oaths demanded by the fanatics did nothing to protect the country against so-called subversion. Instead, the oaths were used frighten, intimidate and punish anyone who exercised their constitutional right to question or criticize people in leadership.
Skees’s oaths seem intended for the same purpose. They are an attack on a small handful of Republican legislators who, in a very limited number of instances, did not vote 100% with the hard-right wing. I wouldn’t call them moderates–many of the group made up the 2011 session’s right-wing leadership. But they refused to go as far into Area 51 as the Essmann-Priest-Wittich Taliban wanted to take them.
If the Montana Republican party really wants to move forward, they need to realize that their party is packed with lawmakers whose vision is morally bankrupt–that hatred and punishing the working poor and middle class isn’t a viable ideology. If they can’t do this, they’re going to continue to repulse more and more people and they will continue to shrivel and shrink and lose.