In Ohio, a Tea Party group, the Freedom Institute of Erie County has been sending out an ideological purity test to candidates for political office. The Freedom Institute is far from the sort of independence that Tea Party activists have claimed in the past. In order to become members of the group, people are required to take an oath developed by top level Republican operatives Oliver North and James Dobson. The Freedom Institute’s ideology certainly isn’t developed by grassroots activists.
The particular items on the institute’s ideological purity test seem designed more to cater to the Republican Party’s powerful constituencies than to promote a consistent belief system. The group’s inconsistencies are in especially high relief when it comes to the issue of voting.
When it comes to voting by members of labor unions, the Freedom Institute demands that candidates oppose a card check, claiming that such checks are an unfair method of intimidation. The ideological test challenges candidates to “oppose card check for voting to implement a Union as this could give unions an unfair intimidation tactic”.
When it comes to voting in public elections, however, the Freedom Institute performs an about face, demanding that card check take place before people are allowed to vote. The Institute’s candidate test demands that, “a photo ID should always be required to vote”. Fears of voter intimidation suddenly evaporate in this case.
So, does this “Tea Party” group support card check for voting or not? It depends upon which way the winds of convenience are blowing.