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Category: Politics, Health, Immigration, Reproductive Rights

Tea Party, Anyone?

| August 31, 2012

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Photo: Jenny Warburg

The GOP platform presumably states the values of the party—not good news for the 99 percent of us, argues the author.

The Chicago Tribune called the Republican National Party’s 2012 platform the “GOP rage platform.” The New York Times surmised, “The Republican Party has moved so far to the right that the extreme is now the mainstream.”  Its official title is “We Believe in America,” 62 pages of policy statements surrounding the business of government adopted this week at the national Republican convention.

If “We Believe in America” was a movie, they’d name it “More Of The Same—George Bush 2.0.” For the 99 percent, the “more” puts it squarely in the horror movie genre because the plot replicates the 2008 platform with a pinch more extremism, thanks to its complete adoption of the Tea Party’s agenda.  The accommodation of Tea Partiers included placating “birthers,” with seven well-known birthers speaking at the Tampa, Florida, convention held August 27 to 30.

Ever since the first U.S. political conventions—held each presidential election year since 1860—the platform asks and answers the question, “Who are we and what policies do we want to implement as a political party?” In this year's version, the monster roles are played by “the gays” and women’s reproductive systems, with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan portrayed as the saviors; nothing new there, just more extreme than 2008. The broad picture for 2012 is this: no gay rights, no abortion rights, no reproductive health care because ObamaCare would be repealed and no equal pay for equal work. And illegal immigrants should self-deport, according to the document released August 28. 

As for the role of government, this excerpt from the platform puts it in a nutshell:  “No peril justifies the regulatory impact of ObamaCare on the practice of medicine, the Dodd-Frank Act on financial services, or the Environmental Protection Agency’s and Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s overreaching regulation agenda.”

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH  If they do nothing else, Republicans want ObamaCare repealed and with it, those damnable reproductive health rights.   

The party makes its case for repealing parts of ObamaCare in a chapter called “Reforming Government to Serve the People,” using the same pitches seen and heard since healthcare reform was proposed. They accuse ObamaCare, for instance, of abandoning the private sector. If anything, the Affordable Care Act is a boon to the insurance industry, promising millions more Americans as customers, but the industry is forced to play fair: cancelling policies in the event of sickness, charging women higher premiums, or denying claims due to pre-existing conditions, once common, are now illegal. And women, who make up two-thirds of Medicaid recipients, would be hurt if states reject the expansion of Medicaid, as the platform recommends.

Outgoing Republican Senator Olympia Snowe addressed the pro-choice vitriol coloring both the platform and her party's “War on Women” in general. She called on Romney to override “the overly rigid language on abortion in the GOP platform—which includes no explicit exceptions for cases of rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother.”   But with a v.p. choice like Paul Ryan, Romney has clearly chosen the wing of the party he favors.

CIVIL RIGHTS  The platform addresses civil rights and liberties as another evil on the liberal agenda. Headings in the “We The People: A Restoration of Constitutional Government” section include “A Sacred Contract: Defense of Marriage,” relegating gays to monsterhood and “The Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life,” calling for a Constitutional amendment granting personhood to a fetus.

The party does deserve high marks for calling out child exploitation in the platform. “We urge active prosecution against child pornography, which is closely linked to the horrors of human trafficking.”  Yet again, the rhetoric conflicts with its actions. The platform applauds the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 yet it’s precisely the Republican senators and representatives who are holding up the current 2012 version.

IMMIGRATION The platform calls for a replication of “Arizona-style” immigration laws:  “State efforts to reduce illegal immigration must be encouraged, not attacked.”

Read draconian. Thinkprogress.org reports, “Kris Kobach, who wrote the now mostly invalidated immigration laws in Arizona and Alabama, pushed for language calling for a border fence, a national E-Verify system to make it harder for undocumented workers to find employment, the end of in-state tuition for illegal immigrants and an end to sanctuary cities.   The final platform version includes all these measures.

GAYS There are cracks in the GOP status as the party of “No”: young conservatives asked that gay marriage be included in the platform, according to a Los Angeles Times  story. They didn’t get very far, as the “one man, one woman” rule sailed through.

For now, you’ll find these contradictory GOP words in their platform: “We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity…We believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage.” As for lesbians and gays serving the nation in the military, the platform offers no regard, stating that it broadly rejects "the use of the military as a platform for social experimentation."

The platform may portray the Republican Party as satified with its extreme ideology. But  according to two comments on the RNC convention’s web site, the GOP is a political entity in conflict. The first called Obama anti-religion and the second pleaded for tolerance and an end to zealotry.

Coming next week, an analysis of the Democratic Party platform.

The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author alone and do not represent WMC. WMC is a 501(c)(3) organization and does not endorse candidates.

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