The Eleventh Commandment
The Eleventh Commandment is a precept which states, "Thou shall not speak ill of any fellow Republican."
Although its creation is attributed to former President Ronald Reagan, the statement was actually created by former California state Republican chairman, Gayland Parkinson. In the 1966 California governor primary, then actor, Ronald Reagan, ran against mayor George Christopher. The primary race led to significant allegations against Reagan, mainly centered at his occupation as an actor. In response to attacks by Christopher, Parkinson advised the candidates to follow the Eleventh Commandment. Reagan later stated the Eleventh Commandment was, "A rule I followed during that campaign and ever since."
Over the years, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has been criticized for not following the precept. In recent elections, prominent Republicans have helped in attacking other Republicans during primary seasons. In the 2004 Pennsylvania Republican primary race between liberal Republican, Arlen Specter, and conservative, Pat Tommy, Republican institutions support went towards Specter, leading to the defeat of the conservative candidate. In the 2006 Republican primary elections in Rhode Island, conservative, Steven Laffey, ran against liberal Republican Senator, Lincoln Chafee. The National Republican Senatorial Committee funded a barrage of negative advertisements against Laffey. During the heated campaign, Laffey stated to the press, "Whatever happened to Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment?". Although Laffey gained support of some conservative institutions he could not overcome the funding that Chafee received from Republican leaders.
- An American Life, Ronald Reagan Autobiography, pg.. 150