It's reminiscent of the bad old days of the House Un-American Activities Committee, the John Birch Society and the blacklist of the 1950's.
Now the Republican Party will require potential 2010 candidates to fill out an "ideological purity" form, in which they must correctly score on at least eight out of ten answers on topics such as abortion, gay marriage and taxes, if they are to qualify for national party campaign funds.
Of course, the party has a right to do this--but is it politically sound reasoning? As the GOP circles the wagons more and more tightly around its conservative core, it may develop into an effective force for anointing candidates to win primaries, but in the general election, it will be relinquishing the vast swath of moderate turf--turf most Americans feel comfortable occupying--to the Democrats.
In recent times, the Democratic Party has been more of a "big tent," embracing members from across the idealogical spectrum, including moderate conservatives who, fifty years ago, would have fallen into the "Rockefeller Republican" camp.
Since retaining or augmenting majorities in both houses of Congress is the name of the game, one has to wonder if the GOP has some kind of death wish. Maybe it simply has no credible leaders at the moment, except for the bloviators who make a living by being extremist.