Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chosen Defender of the Indefensible: Romney and the 2012 Republican Platform

by Nomad


fter what seems like an eternity, with a campaign filled with endless debates involving a fairly unimpressive line-up of Republican candidates, it still comes as a shock that this man, Mitt Romney, is the best that the Republican party could come up.

When the candidate's wife has to come before the convention as part of a charm offensive, then something has clearly gone wrong with the selection process.

Who's next on the rostrum, his great-aunt June and her bridge partner?

Romney's unyielding ambition to be president at any cost has finally landed him in what can only be an truly awkward position: attempting to defend the indefensible Republican platform for 2012.

The blog, Winning Progressive, has taken a look at the official 2012 Republican platform (which is about as extreme as voters have ever seen) and asked the perfectly legitimate question: 
Does Mitt Romney actually support each of these positions? 

As the GOP's  nominee for the presidential race, it might seem like a foregone conclusion. However, it's a good thing (and a good time) to ask this particular question because as we have seen, the mainstream media cannot be trusted to look any further than necessary. 
Here are a few excellent questions voters need Romney to answer:
  • Does Romney support the idea that “in any restructuring of federal taxation . . . any value-added tax or national sales tax must be tied to the simultaneous repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, which established the federal income tax”?
  • Does Romney share the Platform’s opposition to the DISCLOSE Act, which would require disclosure of the identity of major donors to super PACs?
  • Does Romney support the Platforms’ call for ending Medicare as a “defined-benefit entitlement model” that provides guaranteed and universal health insurance coverage to America’s seniors, and for replacing it with a “defined contribution model” that would leave seniors with only inadequate vouchers to try to purchase insurance in the private insurance industry market?
  • Does Romney share the Platform’s support for “a human life amendment to the Constitution and [ ] legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children,”without any mention of exceptions to a ban on abortion in cases of rape, incest, or where the health of the mother is in danger?
There are more questions at the site and a carefully examination of the platform pdf will undoubtedly yield a few dozen more. There's never been a platform that has supplied the opposition with so much.  In addition to ammunition,  there are also a few unintentional jokes. The writers of the preamble of the platform don't quite notice the quaint irony contained in statements like:
Put simply: The times call for trustworthy leadership and honest talk about the challenges we face.
Quite a bold remark, considering that the delegates have just nominated the candidate who has consistently flip-flopped on about every issue put before him. A candidate who cowardly refuses to release his tax returns, simply because it would open up too many difficult questions. Not too much leadership and not too much honest talk. Despite the bravado and bluster going on this week in Tampa, that mindless cheering and chants of "USA, USA" cannot hide the fact that the Republican party is in a mess.

(Recently, as noticed, even one of the authors of the preamble of that GOP platform found herself unable to defend the official position on abortion. Realizing in mid-interview that her position does not sound so noble outside of her crowd, Representative Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee tried to back-peddle and misrepresented the policy, asserting that states will have the final say in an amendment banning all abortions. There's nothing about this in the text.)

Since the hijacking of the party by the Evangelicals and the Tea Party, moderate Republicans must be wondering where to turn. The extremist views, once a source of bemusement by the GOP elite, have now become the mainstay of the party's official platform. In the process, it has effectively disenfranchised women and minorities, the poor, the elderly and many other voting blocs.

An editorial in the New York Times declares:

The Republican Party has moved so far to the right that the extreme is now the mainstream. The mean-spirited and intolerant platform represents the face of Republican politics in 2012. And unless he makes changes, it is the current face of the shape-shifting Mitt Romney....
Over all, it is farther out on the party’s fringe than Mr. Romney ventured in the primaries, when he repudiated a career’s worth of centrist views on issues like abortion and gay marriage. But the planks hew closely to the views of his running mate, Paul Ryan, and the powerful right-wing.
But at least, the platform displays the Republican intolerance, its extremism and its blatant misogyny in unmistakably clear terms for all of the voters to see. Surprise, surprise, Rush Limbaugh just officially became the spiritual leader of the GOP.

Good luck with that in November.