After reading the 54-page 2012 Republican Platform, I’m not sure if I agree with Phyllis Schlafly that it’s the best GOP platform ever adopted… but it’s not bad. This year’s manifesto contains sections on the economy, restoring constitutional government, energy production, entitlement reform, social issues, and foreign policy. Here are some highlights:
Rebuilding the Economy
“The best jobs program is economic growth.” This may be the most valuable sentence in the entire platform and the one that best demonstrates that Republicans “get it.” Whatever your thoughts on big-government entitlements, reduced welfare work requirements, or unfunded liabilities, all of these programs are possible only via the engine of roaring economic growth. (How’s Venezuela’s SCHIP program doing these days?)
The only disadvantage of living in such an economically prosperous society as ours is that our affluence hides the extent to which the government leeches its productive citizens dry.
Restoring Constitutional Government
The platform condemns Obama’s proliferation of “czars,” his frequent recess appointments, and his executive orders that bypass Congress’s legislative authority. It disparages Congress’s refusal to pass a budget for three years, the President’s failure to consult Congress before going to war, and Obama’s encouragement of heavy-handed regulatory actions by executive agencies.
Everyone expects a party’s platform to include language condemning the other party’s partisan policies—but it’s astounding the extent to which the current administration and Democratic Congress have circumvented the processes by which such policies are supposed to be approved and implemented.
Energy and the Environment
“Unlike the current Administration, we will not pick winners and losers in the energy marketplace.” Such a stance would prevent billions of dollars in subsidies from going to politically-connected companies promoting economically unfeasible technologies, e.g., Solyndra. It would also demonstrate the continuing need for more traditional methods of energy production such as coal-burning and not commit the nation to trendy “green” alternatives that science has yet to perfect in a cost-effective way.
Reforming Government to Serve the People
“We salute the Republican Governors and State legislators who have, in the face of abuse and threats of violence, reformed their State pension systems for the benefit of both taxpayers and retirees alike” [emphasis added]. This sentence says it all about the opposition party’s intransigent opposition to any entitlement reforms whatsoever.
The rest of this section addresses Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security reform, as well as a grab bag of minor issues. While I wish the platform’s language were tougher in calling for privatizing these giant, unsustainable Ponzi schemes, I understand the need to placate seniors who are vulnerable to Democratic accusations that Republicans want to ruin their retirements and throw them in the street.
Renewing American Values to Build Healthy Families, Great Schools and Safe Neighborhoods
This section mostly endorsed positions such as keeping the work requirement in welfare reform, repealing Obamacare, and instituting free-market health insurance reforms. I’m glad the authors placed their “social issues” section near the end, which shows their understanding of priorities in this era of anemic growth and trillion-dollar deficits.
Don’t count on the same sense of perspective from the Democrats, who I expect to rail frequently and loudly in their platform about the Republican “War on Women,” and Romney and Ryan’s supposed ideological proximity to Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin.
The final section revisits the threat of Islamic terrorism and the need for the U.S. to vigorously defend itself without apologizing for its ideals. The platform decries Obama’s defense budget cuts and affirms that “the best way to promote peace and prevent costly wars is to ensure that we constantly renew America’s economic strength. A healthy American economy is what underwrites and sustains American power.”
Although economic issues should certainly trump national security issues this election year, I wish the authors hadn’t waited till the last page to mention the threat of Iran obtaining weapons of mass destruction. Our economy is what makes our strong defense possible, but we’re not going to have much of an economy if Iran is allowed to wreak havoc on the U.S. and its enemies via nuclear, biological, or cyber attacks.