We Read the Republican Platform So You Don’t Have To

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A Republican flag where Donald Trump was awarded Statesman of the Year by the Sarasota Republican Party at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, Fla., Aug. 26, 2012. The opening day of the Republican National Convention in nearby Tampa was canceled Saturday ahead of the storm. (Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

Tampa

“Have you ever met anybody who has read the party platform?” John Boehner scoffed Monday. “I’ve not ever met anybody.” Boehner has a point. The 2012 Republican platform is neither widely read nor binding. But it is an important document, a dense statement of first principles and an antidote to a campaign waged with abstractions. It bears the fingerprints of two men, neither of whom is Mitt Romney. Above all, it’s an official marker of just how conservative the GOP has become. Here are five things you should know about the new GOP platform:

1. Ron Paul made an impact. A symbolic one, but still: Paul’s ideology has migrated from personal obsession into the party’s mainstream. The platform supports an annual audit of the Federal Reserve and proposes establishing a commission to study tying the dollar to precious metals. For Paulites concerned about the government’s use of drones to spy on citizens, there is a plank to “prevent unwarranted or unreasonable government intrusion through the use of aerial surveillance or flyovers on U.S. soil.” And there are sections devoting to “protecting Internet freedom,” which includes codified opposition to net neutrality.

2. The gun lobby stands unbowed. In the wake of recent mass shootings, even Democrats — cowed by the clout of the NRA — conceded that there was little hope of reining in access to guns. Instead, gun-control proponents have zeroed in on the sale of the high-capacity magazines that killers have used to tragic effect. The GOP rejects this, too. “We oppose legislation that is intended to restrict our Second Amendment rights by limiting the capacity of clips or magazines or otherwise restoring the ill-considered Clinton gun ban,” the authors write.

(PHOTOS: The RNC’s Kickoff in Pictures)

3. On social issues, the GOP grows ever more conservative. The platform defines marriage as between one man and one woman, assails an “activist judiciary” for decreeing otherwise at the state level and urges a crackdown on Internet pornography. Separate planks support prayer in public schools and the pubic display of the Ten Commandments as “a reflection of our shared Judeo-Christian heritage.” The party would ban all abortions, asserting that “the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.” While Mitt Romney has said he would permit abortions in the case of rape, Todd Akin is hardly an outlier for arguing otherwise. The base of the party, including Romney’s running mate, is with him.

4. Speaking of Paul Ryan… Four years ago, his “road map” to reform federal health-insurance entitlements received just eight Republican co-sponsors. Now it is party doctrine. The platforms calls “for a transition to a premium-support model for Medicare, with an income- adjusted contribution toward a health plan of the enrollee’s choice.” Ryan’s voucherized model, in other words.

5. The Republican hive mind has some strange obsessions. To be sure, much of the document is given over to codifying familiar GOP orthodoxy on taxes, regulations, spending and immigration. But sprinkled throughout the 50-page document are a grab-bag of planks that reflect the fears of party members. There is an obligatory prohibitions against the use of “foreign law by U.S. courts in interpreting our Constitution and laws,” a reference to the right’s infatuation with Sharia. There’s sweeping opposition to the U.N.’s future imposition of global taxes or control over the Internet. There’s a pledge to preserve the electoral college. One plank warns against ideological bias in the nation’s universities. And the campaign for energy independence wouldn’t be complete without “reducing dependence on foreign imports of fertilizer.” The agricultural lobby wins this round.

How much does all of this matter? Studies suggest it’s more than you may think. In a new Pew Research Center poll, respondents said they were more interested in the GOP platform than the much-anticipated speeches of Romney or Ryan. (It’s worth noting that response bias may be at play in this poll; one can imagine respondents might feel embarrassed to admit they are more interested in a politics than policy.) And according to academics, the GOP’s lurch to the right over the last 30 years, as reflected in the evolution of their platform, may be a harbinger of future struggles.

In a book that will be released later this year, political scientists Robert Erikson of Columbia University and Christopher Wlezian of Temple argue that the more extreme the party platform, the worse the party does at the polls. “We do not argue that voters actually read platforms,” they write. “Rather, our expectation is that the platform scores” — a measure of where their ideology sits on the political continuum — “provide a proxy for the positions of the presidential candidates as seen by the voters.”

In other words, the GOP platform may better reflect Ryan’s ideology than Romney’s. But Romney is the one who owns it.

31 comments
Micia Hussein Obama
Micia Hussein Obama

The republicans party promise their gullible, dense, and obtuse base only 5 things...

1.) You'll always have a gun. 2.) You're Christianity and Whiteness will always make you better than anyone different from you. 3.) We'll b*tch and whine about a law we can NEVER constitutionally overturn to protect fetuses. 4.) No way in Hell we'll allow gays to marry each other regardless of the fact that it doesn't affect anyone's life but their own. 5.) Corporations, Wall Street, and the top 2% of earners will become obscenely much more wealthy at the expense of further impoverishing you and your families for generations to come. 

Numbers 1 through 4 are divisive illusions that you really need to wake from, but even if they weren't, are you really willing to endure Number 5 just to have Numbers 1-4? If your voting record is any indication, I suppose the answer is yes. But what you've failed to discover (even though it stares you directly in the face on a daily basis) is that the price of your stupidity is your imminent demise.

lemhiboyscout
lemhiboyscout

Just want to point out that in point three it says they are calling for a pubic display of the ten commandments. I am sure you meant the public display...just thought I would point that out. Changes the meaning just a tad

msmith8501
msmith8501

I saw that too, made me burst out laughing at my desk!

lemhiboyscout
lemhiboyscout

Just want to point out an error you may want to fix....point 3 in the article, I think you meant public display of the ten commandments, not the pubic display. That would...shall we say...contradict the crackdown on Internet pornography haha

Ernest Fornaught
Ernest Fornaught

It is as bad as it seems. 

Fundamentalist theocracy for America. Do the post Bush Republicans understand that most God fearing Americans find their vision for how the rest of us should live to be Hell on Earth? 

My God tells me that my sphere of influence ends at my fence line. It was a once popular concept called humility. Forcing my beliefs on others would be violating their 1st Amendment rights. 

If the Bible belt was paradise on Earth, the new teavangelists might have something to sell us. The latest stats would tend to indicate that on every  scale of human misery in America, down South leads the pack. If the Bible belt was logical about its ideology, it might have more influence on us Yankees. I find the combination of no sex education, limited access to birth control, no interest in providing human services,  and the state and federal government  involved in every  pregnancy, to be beyond belief. It is fine for folks who have no interest in governing, responsible leadership, or lessening human misery. 

What Big Government sponsored religion is that anyway? It has at its core the worship of an idol. The Almighty Dollar. They are all about war. And rumors of war. 

I think the assertion that "the more extreme the party platform, the worse the party does at the polls." is true. I have heard that Romney is polling at 0% with black voters. 0 is absolute, and hard to do. I cannot remember ever hearing a poll result that was 0. This cant be true. There must be somebody out there. 

Romney is going to need a bunch of white folks to make up for 0. I find my white brethren to be reasonably intelligent, and the white sisters to have a lot going on upstairs. Romney is in trouble. 

sacredh
sacredh

Shorter republican platform: Please vote for Obama.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

Wow. Excellent summation, Alex.

anon76returns
anon76returns

Yeah, the "so you don't have to" part is much appreciated.  Frankly I hope that Alex et al were wearing some form of eye amp; brain protection (as well as keeping their Hotair.com sickness bags at the ready).

MrObvious
MrObvious

The Republican hive mind has some strange obsessions

I have to stop you here. Righties claim we're the hive; here's the thing. I don't mind being the 'hive'. That means we're a bunch of useful drones doing good. On the other hand, being part of the pavlovian rightie zombie horde is much worse.

All they do is groan and moan, says brain a lot and drool. They're like a bunch of zombie parrots. You say something to them and they repeat it right back.

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

 WHY do Republicraps hate women? 

Because Republicraps

don’t know how to handle a deep fear that lives at the center of the GOP, the catholic christ cult,  the

Taliban, and other organizations that shame and devalue women.

They are scared

of being left behind by the growing consciousness of women worldwide, but

because they can’t admit this fear they are desperately trying to solve their

problem by slowing women down down. Because they cannot acknowledge the fear,

they turn it into hate and direct it outwardly toward women. Republicraps fear

women so much that one of the major unspoken intentions of the Republicrap

agenda is to scare women. Fear is contagious, and by spreading the virus of

hate borne of fear, the GOP campaigns relentlessly to make sure women are just

as scared as Republicraps are.

On one level—attitudes

toward women—there is no essential difference between the GOP and the Taliban.

Both the Taliban and the GOP are opposed to women’s rights, especially in

sensitive areas such as abortion and women’s use of reliable contraceptives. If

Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sarah Palin or Sean Hannity lived in Afghanistan,

they’d be cheering for the Taliban, not for the western-style government that’s

been grafted onto the country. Republicraps and Taliban alike have bombed

women’s health clinics and deliberately frightened women who were attempting to

use those clinics.

The Taliban join with the Vatican and other male-dominated

entities to keep women subservient in lesser roles. No woman can ever expect to

rise to the top in the Taliban or The Vatican, nor is she likely to have the top

job in a Republicrap White House.

LiberalLies2012
LiberalLies2012

Glad to see the RINOs have all but been purged from the party.

Steve0T
Steve0T

 LOL, after November, its the baggers who will be purged.

MrObvious
MrObvious

Of course you do, see when you're into intellectual inbreeding it eventually mutates into what you see in the GOP today; some to scared to say something so the gravy doesn't stop flowing and the other window lickers that makes everything into a purity test.

Guess what; most people are not into purity tests. And eventually the purists destroy themselves from inside out.

Enjoy the cult before you guys start feeding on each others.

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

 Glad to see the party has such a harda$$ platform.  Makes me think the Independents will stay away in droves.

foxnewslieseveryday
foxnewslieseveryday

Purity of Party.

Seems I remember that happened somewhere in the 1930's and ended in May 1945.

Ohiolib
Ohiolib

 We Read the Republican Platform So They Don’t Have To

-FIFY

True Burns
True Burns

Is anyone else amused about the GOP crowing over widespread interest in their platform without stopping to consider whether most of that interest may be in the form of morbid curiosity? 

fhmadvocat
fhmadvocat

Let's be honest, the party platform is red meat for the base.  You can be sure none of the Republican candidates will want to talk about the platform because they don't want independents and moderate to think they are nuts.

The platform allows the base to air their grievances.  They realize they have to hide in order not to scare away moderates.  What the base hopes for is once the Republicans take over, the base can impose their views on the American people.

Take the issue of abortion.  Frankly, the platform position, which is viewed by the mainstream media as "extreme" is actually morally consistant.  If you believe life begins at conception and you believe an embryo or a fetus is a human being, then of course you would argue that the law should protect it no matter how the "child" was conceived.  It does not matter if incest or rape is involved, that child is a much of a person as one conceived by a voluntary sexual act.  So it actually makes sense.  Those who make exceptions for rape and incest are focusing on the behavior of the woman, not the kid.  That said whether a woman choses to have an abortion, unless the woman is my wife or my daughter, it is none of my business and it is certainly not the government's.

ARTraveler
ARTraveler

What they are is "pro-fetus" as they have cut all pre-natal care and post natal care and medical coverage.  They are also for the death penalty and for wars so they aren't pro-life, they are just "pro-fetus".

MrObvious
MrObvious

More like pro-breeding. It's a control feature. Just look at the history of how men have controlled women.

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

Sorry I didn't comment after I first read this, but rather went on to Lowry's tripe.

Thanks, Alex for this post. I knew about many of these and guessed about many of the others. I am curious about the polls that indicated the same greater interest in both platforms rather than the speakers. It will be interesting to see how these square with the research in the book to come.

Sue_N.
Sue_N.

I wonder if Orange Johnny is counting on no one reading the platform? After all, it's hard to argue your party hasn't gone totally off the rails when you've got this kind of document proving otherwise.

Seriously, why didn't they just write, "We're bringing back the '50s. The 1650s, that is."

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

Guns, God, gynecology, gays and greed.

Did I miss anything?

ARTraveler
ARTraveler

Nope, got them all but that was easy since it has been their program for years. Nothing about country infra-structure since Eisenhower did the highway system and they didn't like that.  Mitten's dad was right in his letter to Barry Goldwater after Goldwater chatsized him for not supporting him in the election (he walked out of the GOP convention when Goldwater was selected).  He forecast a divided America and stagnant government and that was 50 years ago.

Malty17
Malty17

Wow, am I first to post on this liberal slanted article. Or do democrats care so little about knowing about what the republicans are offering to educate themselves.

Come on Time, you're better than to hire this Alex hack to report fairly. 

ARTraveler
ARTraveler

We heard the GOTP platform in the form of sound bites through 8 klowns in the klown race until Mittens became the head Klown.  What they don't write is that they are scared stiff of anyone who isn't white but their rhetoric says it and the two attendees throwing food at a black CNN woman camera person today and saying that "this is how we feed animasl" shows that the intelligent level of the typical GOTP attendee is somewhat between a rock and a very small potted plant.

pollardty
pollardty

We are Democrats because we already know what is in the Republican platform.

Sue_N.
Sue_N.

And because we know how to read for ourselves.

michael valentine
michael valentine

Point it out in Democratic congressional races.  Make a bullet point video of the planks and use it as a burning tire to hang around the necks of  all Republican congressional candidates.  Make em embrace it or denounce it.