Skip to main content

Goposaur upside down
There was a time not so very long ago when taking a poke at the Texas Republican Party Platform was worth half an hour of head shakes and guffaws and cold shivers up the spine.

Today, however, no need to go slumming. In its place, we've got the extremist national GOP Party Platform to deliver the same Texas-sized thrills.

It it weren't such a smear of our long ago cousins, one might be tempted to call the 2012 screed a Neanderthal platform. Practically every sentence has something to make one go hide in a cave.

If you read it and think perhaps your revulsion is an overreaction, try measuring your judgment at how bad it is by comparing it to the fulsome praise offered by right-wing party stalwarts. Anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly, for instance, writes that it "may be the best one ever adopted." The National Rifle Association loves it. Freedomworks cheers that the Republican platform has adopted 11.5 of the 12 points of the tea party's Freedom Platform.

Michael Cooper at The New York Times compares this year's with the 1980 GOP platform, one that many of us viewed at the time as a thoroughly loathsome blueprint. Three decades down the road, however, and we're seeing how Republican leaders really feel about economics, equality, environment, energy, taxes, education, immigration. They are not pleased with the 21st Century so far.

It's long been argued that party platforms don't matter. Perhaps appalled by the extremism in his party's House Speaker John Boehner himself has suggested that nobody reads them anyway. So no big deal. Not everyone agrees:

But some political scientists say that party platforms do matter. Gerald M. Pomper, a professor emeritus of political science at Rutgers University, studied meaningful platform pledges from 1944 to 1976—and later updated his work by looking at the 1990s—and found that winning political parties try to redeem roughly 70 percent of their concrete platform pledges. Mr. Pomper said his work found that contrary to popular belief, party platforms should not be casually dismissed as meaningless.

“It seemed strange to me that people would have fights over platforms and would put in a lot of effort to try to influence them if they didn’t mean anything,” he said in an interview. “If they didn’t, why were practical people fighting over this? Putting something into the party platform is a pledge that you’re going to do something about it.”

Much of the 2012 Republican platform, more than 70 percent when one digs a little, is not stuff the party seeks to do but rather to undo. Dismantle decades of environmental, social and economic policies, at least as far back as the New Deal, in some cases further. This will supposedly take us back to the golden age of America when certain people knew their place and stayed there. Back to the days when nobody took note of the fact that the national convention of a major political party contained an endless sea of white faces.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site