Republicans: No Comfort for Birchers

"Everybody's already read out the Birchers," snapped Arizona's John Rhodes, chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee. "Why should we have to take the oath every time we come up to bat?" Other G.O.P. congressional leaders agreed. On the road back from the 1964 Republican National Convention, many party chieftains have exorcised the bugaboo of "extremism." Yet when the party's nine-month-old coordinating committee met in Washington last week, moderate Republican Governors, led by Idaho's Bob Smylie, insisted that the leadership should collectively and specifically condemn the John Birch Society.

Instead, after a brief behind-the-scenes tussle between the Governors and the...