News you can use if you happen to be a Republican politician or consultant who’s inclined to object to anything Jim DeMint says or does. By its own terms, the declaration only applies to “unfair” criticism; fair criticism is, in theory, still welcome because the signatories “do not expect or advocate for ideological purity in the Republican Party.” But as for what distinguishes fair criticism from unfair and who gets to decide which is which, that’s … less clear. Blaming DeMint for the GOP’s failure to win back the Senate falls into the latter category. Blaming him for anything else — like, say, alienating libertarians with his fiscal con/social con formulation or centrists with his “gays don’t belong in the classroom” rhetoric — means, at the very least, you’re rolling the dice. So it’s probably best to be on the safe side and not criticize at all.

I butt heads sometimes in the comments with Palin’s more strident fans, but I have to say, for all their devotion they’ve never proposed anything like this. Second look at Palinistas.

We do not expect or advocate for ideological purity in the Republican Party, but we do expect the Party’s leadership to rein in those who unfairly attack Senator DeMint, who instead should be given credit for what he has done, and done with such class, honor, humility, dignity and patriotism.

Since Republicans in and affiliated with the Senate who have attacked Senator Jim DeMint have an agenda, and may not heed calls to reason from the Republican leadership, let it be known that continued attacks, whether indirectly or anonymously, will result in conservatives’ responding in word and deed.

Conservatives will not only challenge and beat more Republican senators in Republican primaries, but conservatives will stop funding and volunteering for the NRSC and the RNC. Instead, conservatives will send their money to, and volunteer for, Senator DeMint’s Senate Conservative Fund and the candidates Senator DeMint supports. In fact, it would be our goal for the Senate Conservatives Fund to raise more money than the NRSC. Two: Does the boycott of the RNC and NRSC kick in if

Conservatives will also work to defeat in Republican primaries those Republicans who retain consultants who criticize or try to undermine Senator DeMint.

Follow the link up top for the full text and list of signatories. They make a good point in crediting DeMint for keeping conservatives who were fed up with the GOP in the party fold. (Palin, who repeatedly rejected the third-party route when asked about it, deserves credit too.) And they’re right that it’s unfair to blame him for the GOP not retaking the Senate. The NRSC spent a boatload of cash on Carly Fiorina in California that could have made a difference to Dino Rossi in Washington or Ken Buck in Colorado. And I reminded you just yesterday that an effective RNC could have swung a few races. DeMint himself mentioned that just this past weekend in hinting that it’s time for Steele to go.

A few things I don’t understand, though. One: Why just DeMint? Why not DeMint and Palin and O’Donnell and every other “true conservative” who’s been blamed for midterm failures? Surely they’re not more to blame for the GOP’s minority status in the Senate than he is. Two: What should the party leadership do to “rein in” those who criticize DeMint unfairly? Formal reprimand? Official statement from McConnell/Boehner/Cornyn? How will the leadership know when the criticism is fair versus unfair and therefore worthy of punishment? Three: What exactly would trigger the boycott of the RNC or NRSC mentioned in the letter? A single failure to reprimand? Repeated failure? Or, if enough members of the GOP caucus start criticizing him unfairly, will that trigger a boycott irrespective of committee action? Four: How exactly does a statement like this serve Jim DeMint’s cause? Knowing that his followers want to impose a de facto vow of silence on critics doesn’t make me think, “Hey, let’s give Jim DeMint a more prominent role in the caucus.” It makes me think, “Where, precisely, will this happy little precedent lead?” Sean Hackbarth calls it a right-wing version of political correctness, but of course, of course, he’s a lowly RINO, as am I. And this statement, I think, isn’t meant to be read technically the way I’ve done here but more broadly for what it is — a new “true conservative”/RINO litmus test. For that very reason, I didn’t want to post on it, knowing that the mere fact that I’m criticizing it will only reinforce the alleged RINO-ness of the opposition. But let’s face it: You’re not going to hear many “true conservatives” speak up about it, even if this bugs them too. That’s the way litmus tests operate. Why side with the RINOs and put your authenticity in question when you don’t have to?

Speaking of dirty RINOs, Gabe Malor at Ace’s site has a response to the statement that’s also worth reading.