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Eye On Boise

Is it or isn’t it?

Idaho GOP activist and former state Sen. Rod Beck is peeved about everyone calling the GOP platform plank he successfully sponsored this year a "loyalty oath." "It's just a candidate disclosure, that's all it is, it's not a loyalty oath," Beck declared. "It just asks candidates to say if they support the platform, and if they do, fine, if they don't, state which areas that they don't." Beck, who pushed a similar proposal unsuccessfully four years ago, said he copied the language for this year's successful proposal from Utah's GOP. Beck said the term "loyalty oath" is "used as a pejorative in a propaganda sense." However, he said, "The last time, Blake Hall called it a litmus test - I didn't like that either."

The former state Senate majority leader and current closed-primary backer said to him, a loyalty oath implies a penalty, but there'd be no penalty for those who don't agree with the platform - the party would just publish their replies on its website, for all federal, statewide and legislative candidates prior to every primary election. Beck said in his view, it might even help improve the party's platform - say, if every candidate objected to the same plank, the party might think about changing that one next time.

Incidentally, according to, a loyalty oath is, "An oath that declares an individual's allegiance to the government and its institutions and disclaims support of ideologies or associations that oppose or threaten the government." My Webster's Collegiate says loyalty is "the tie binding a person to something to which he is loyal," and an oath is "a solemn attestation of the truth of inviolability of one's words." Here's a link to Beck's guest-editorial on the subject.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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