What Do The Republicans Stand For?

The Republican platform is an interesting psychological document. In places it says too much, while elsewhere its hypocrisy screams at you. The forces that lost George Bush the 1992 election--the religious and wacky elements of the far right-- are still there, and still own the party. This is why Dole has the impossible task of balancing the religious right and the far more moderate electorate; a conflict he has tried to resolve by running against parts of his own platform, while appearing at Christian Coalition meetings to try and appease the angry forces who do not trust him.

A candidate running against his own platform is yet another symptom of the general diffusion and denial of moral responsibility today. Bob Dole is trying to have his cake and eat it too. We should hold both candidates completely responsible for the views their parties proclaim; they are beholden to the parties, so we must recognize that the platforms represent the forces to whom the candidates of necessity must respond. Anything else is likely to be a spin. In a contemporary American election, the voters are the last people to hear the truth. Analyzing the platforms is useful as a way of exposing the metadata.

We will continue our fight against gerrymandered congressional districts designed to thwart majority rule. We will eliminate made-in-Washington schemes to rig the election process under the guise of campaign reform. True reform is indeed needed: ending taxpayer subsidies for campaigns, strengthening party structures to guard against rogue operations, requiring full and immediate disclosure of all contributions, and cracking down on the indirect support, or "soft money," by which special interest groups underwrite their favored candidates.

This is a likely story. Newt Gingrich and the Contract Republicans have grown fat on soft money. In two years of Republican dominance, nothing has been done about campaign finance reform, and nothing will be.

[We] refuse to allow special interest groups to block innovative solutions for the poor or to block workplace or legal reforms that would help all working Americans...

The special interest groups you refer to are public interest organizations looking to defend almost powerless constitutencies, and the "reforms" you talk about are those that would benefit the real special interests, the businessmen who have filled your coffers with contributions. Tearing out safety and environmental rules or getting rid of the Food and Drug Administration-- a favorite Gingrich project--doesn't qualify as helping all Americans.

We will end welfare for lobbyists. Every year, the federal government gives away billions of dollars in grants. Much of that money goes to interest groups which engage in political activity and issue advocacy at the taxpayers' expense. This is an intolerable abuse of the public's money. A Republican Congress will enact legislation, currently blocked by Bill Clinton's congressional allies, to make groups choose between grants and lobbying.

This refers to one more disgraceful attack by the Contract Republicans. They don't want public interest organizations specializing in helping the poor, children, AIDS victims, immigrants and the like to accept federal grants while lobbying for reforms. Even the Red Cross, run by Elizabeth Dole, could be affected by this legislation. How about a bill prohibiting companies like Archer Daniels Midland, who receive federal subsidies for useless products like ethanol, from making campaign contributions?

A Republican president will fight wasteful spending with the line-item veto which was finally enacted by congressional Republicans this year over bitter Democrat opposition, 120 years after President Grant first proposed it.

Will President Dole use the line item veto to eliminate corporate welfare for supporters of his such as Archer Daniels Midland, the Koch brothers, and Gallo Wineries?

We will require agencies to conduct cost-benefit analyses of their regulations and pursue alternatives to the outdated Clinton command-and-control approach.

This again refers to a Gingrich/Contract initiative, which (contrary to the bureaucracy-slashing claims the Republicans love to make) would tie the Environmental Protection Agency up in acres of red tape any time it tried to issue regulations. If you're so fond of cost benefit analyses, how about calculating the increased medical costs of putting more powerful weapons on the streets, when you repeal the semi-automatic weapons ban?

The words "command-and-control" are sprinkled through the platform, a highly evocative description of the Republican bugaboo, "Clintonian" big government. To me, "command-and-control" seems a pretty fair description of the Christian Coalition approach to moral issues such as freedom of speech and abortion.

The federal judiciary, including the U.S. Supreme Court, has overstepped its authority under the Constitution. It has usurped the right of citizen legislators and popularly elected executives to make law by declaring duly enacted laws to be "unconstitutional" through the misapplication of the principle of judicial review. Any other role for the judiciary, especially when personal preferences masquerade as interpreting the law, is fundamentally at odds with our system of government in which the people and their representatives decide issues great and small.

This is a frighteningly radical statement, suggesting to me that no-one with a clear head proof-read this part of the platform. The Supreme Court doesn't hold laws "unconstitutional"; it holds them UNCONSTITUTIONAL. The quotes suggest that the Supreme Court has no right to overrule the will of Congress. But that's exactly what it is there for, to provide a check on Congressional zeal and idiocy. I know it is frustrating to you not to be able to pass laws censoring speech, outlawing abortion, discriminating against gay people, and the like, but we all have to put up with some frustrations in a democracy. Incidentally, the platform recommends a number of Constitutional amendments--the Republicans believe that if we keep on amending this document we'll get it right someday.

Bill Clinton even vetoed the Securities Litigation Reform Act, a Republican initiative to protect shareholders against avaricious litigation.

More spin. The Reform Act had the kernel of a good idea--there is a lot of frivolous shareholder litigation going on--but its goal was to protect business owners by cutting back the rights of the average shareholder.

The sole source of equal opportunity for all is equality before the law. Therefore, we oppose discrimination based on sex, race, age, creed, or national origin and will vigorously enforce anti-discrimination statutes. We reject the distortion of those laws to cover sexual preference, and we endorse the Defense of Marriage Act to prevent states from being forced to recognize same-sex unions. Because we believe rights inhere in individuals, not in groups, we will attain our nation's goal of equal rights without quotas or other forms of preferential treatment. We scorn Bill Clinton's notion that any person should be denied a job, promotion, contract or a chance at higher education because of their race or gender. Instead, we endorse the Dole-Canady Equal Opportunity Act to end discrimination by the federal government. We likewise endorse this year's Proposition 209, the California Civil Rights Initiative, to restore to law the original meaning of civil rights.

Hmmm. Let me get this straight. We love equality, and we're going to show it by endorsing a bunch of laws that end affirmative action and promote hatred of gay people.

The unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children. Our purpose is to have legislative and judicial protection of that right against those who perform abortions. We oppose using public revenues for abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.

No command and control here.

Republicans really do seem to agree with the saying, "Life begins at conception and ends at birth."

We defend the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

You mean the constitutional right which Mr. Gingrich described in his book as follows: "The Second Amendment is a political right written into our Constitution for the purpose of protecting individual citizens from their own government....[P]olitical freedom is ultimately based on the courage and preparedness of those who would remain free...." It would have been very helpful if the platform contained a description of the circumstances under which the Republicans feel it is appropriate for citizens to shoot government officials? No-one else seems willing to tell us.

As a nation of immigrants, we welcome those who follow our laws and come to our land to seek a better life. New Americans strengthen our economy, enrich our culture, and defend the nation in war and in peace. At the same time, we are determined to reform the system by which we welcome them to the American family....

Bill Clinton's immigration record does not match his rhetoric. While talking tough on illegal immigration, he has.... opposed Proposition 187 in California which 60 percent of Californians supported, and has opposed Republican efforts to ensure that non-citizens do not take advantage of expensive welfare programs....

Legal immigrants should depend for assistance on their sponsors, who are legally responsible for their financial well-being, not the American taxpayers. Just as we require "deadbeat dads" to provide for the children they bring into the world, we should require "deadbeat sponsors" to provide for the immigrants they bring into the country. We support a constitutional amendment or constitutionally-valid legislation declaring that children born in the United States of parents who are not legally present in the United States or who are not long-term residents are not automatically citizens.

Mean-spirited and morally wrong. All of these initiatives--Proposition 187 and the legislation the Republicans recently got through Congress--are intended to deny benefits to legal immigrants whose taxes and social security contributions we accept. We are asking them to help fund a safety net not available to them. Its mean and incredibly petty.

Under the Constitution, anyone born within our borders is a citizen, no matter who the parents are. So we have to amend the Constitution to end that. Its not any America I know.

We support educational initiatives to promote chastity until marriage as the expected standard of behavior. This education initiative is the best preventive measure to avoid the emotional trauma of sexually-transmitted diseases and teen pregnancies that are serious problems among our young people. While recognizing that something must be done to help children when parental consent or supervision is not possible, we oppose school-based clinics, which provide referrals, counseling, and related services for contraception and abortion.

I am sure that kids will stop having sex if we teach them chastity in school and stop providing counseling.

We will continue to work for the return of voluntary prayer to our schools and will strongly enforce the Republican legislation that guarantees equal access to school facilities by student religious groups. We encourage State legislatures to pass statutes which prohibit local school boards from adopting policies of denial regarding voluntary school prayer.

Last time I checked, the Christian Coalition newsletter was still called "Christian Nation". The last time I checked, the Constitution still made this a secular nation. Whose party are you, anyway? As a Jewish American, I deplore the fact that there are Jews (or Moslems, or Buddhists, or atheists) who vote Republican. Like Colin Powell, whom you exploit for the color of his skin but do not respect, you want a few other religions around for window-dressing, but you are clearly trying to create a fundamentalist Protestant nation.

To reinforce our American heritage, we believe our nation's Governors, State legislators, and local school boards should support requiring our public schools to dedicate one full day each year solely to studying the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

While we're at it, let's require Congress and the President to spend a full day a year studying the Constitution. None of you seem to have read it in a good long while.

Because illegitimacy is the most serious cause of child poverty, we will encourage States to stop cash payments to unmarried teens and set a family cap on payments for additional children.

You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.

Republicans have always advocated conserving our animal and plant resources, but we recognize the current Endangered Species Act is seriously flawed and, indeed, is often counterproductive because of its reliance on Federal command-and-control measures. The adherence of Clinton Democrats to these discredited ESA provisions has devastated the environment they pretend to protect by virtually encouraging landowners to remove habitat for marginal species to avoid government seizure of their property.

The Contract Republicans did everything they could to gut the Endangered Species Act, including forcing a moratorium on the listing of any new species for a while. In fact, the Contract Republicans tried to destroy all environmental regulation. You end with a really radical statement: laws protecting habitat backfire because people break them to avoid enforcement. Hmmmm.... do "Three Strikes" laws backfire because third-time felons are more likely to fight the police?

We will preserve priority wilderness and wetlands - real wetlands of environmental significance, not the damp grounds of a bureaucrat's imagination.

Translation, as proven by two years of Contract Republican practice: there are no real wetlands. They are all "the damp grounds of a bureaucrat's imagination."

We recognize the historic use of public lands for livestock production in compliance with legal requirements. Our renewable rangeland should continue to be available under conditions that ensure both expanded production of livestock and protection of the rangeland environment. We condemn the Clinton Administration's range war against this pillar of the western economy.

In other words, lets continue the corporate welfare give-away of allowing ranchers to graze their herds on federal lands for practically nothing.

We support the original intent of the Mining Law of 1872: to provide the certainty and land tenure necessary for miners to risk tremendous capital investment on federal lands, thus preserving jobs - indeed, whole industries - and bolstering our domestic economy. We support appropriate changes to the law to ensure the taxpayer will receive a reasonable return for the value of extracted minerals. We oppose extremist attempts to shut down American mining in favor of our international competitors.

Meaning: let's continue another favored specimen of corporate welfare: allow mining companies to strip public land while paying laughably tiny royalties to the government.

The United States should continue its commitment to addressing global climate change in a prudent and effective manner that does not punish the U.S. economy. Despite scientific uncertainty about the role of human activity in climate change, the Clinton Administration has leapfrogged over reasoned scientific inquiry and now favors misdirected measures, such as binding targets and timetables, imposed only on the United States and certain other developed countries, to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Republicans deplore the arbitrary and premature abandonment of the previous policy of voluntary reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. We further deplore ceding U.S. sovereignty on environmental issues to international bureaucrats and our foreign economic competitors.

Translation: There is no such thing as global warming.

To cope with the threat of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the United States will have to deter the threat or use of weapons of mass destruction by rogue states. This in turn will require the continuing maintenance and development of nuclear weapons and their periodic testing. The Clinton Administration's proposed Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is inconsistent with American security interests.

"The tighter I pull, the safer I am."

Republicans will not subordinate United States sovereignty to any international authority. We oppose the commitment of American troops to U.N. "peacekeeping" operations under foreign commanders and will never compel American servicemen to wear foreign uniforms or insignia. We will insist on an end to waste, mismanagement, and fraud at the United Nations. We will ensure American interests are pursued and defended at the United Nations, will not tolerate any international taxation by the organization, nor will we permit any international court to seize, try, or punish American citizens.

And keep those black helicopters out of here.

We affirm that homosexuality is incompatible with military service.

You guys must be privately very relieved that there is someone you you can still beat up.

We will not tolerate sexual harassment or misconduct toward anyone in the uniform, but we oppose politically motivated witch-hunts that smear the innocent and destroy honorable careers.

Huh? Do you mean Tailhook? Give us an example of a politically motivated sexual harassment withhunt.

Notice how in the Republican party platform, the word "but" cancels everything that went before it? As in, "We will not tolerate sexual harassment, but what's the harm in grabbing someone's butt?"