The Daily Parker

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Have the GOP always been like this?

The Texas Republicans published their 2012 platform this week, vowing to stop teaching children critical reasoning skills in the next four years. I was curious about other GOP platforms, to see if Texas was an aberration, and I found this one:

Resolved, That we, the delegated representatives of the Republican electors of the United States, in convention assembled, in discharge of the duty we owe to our constituent and our country, unite in the following declarations:


8. That the normal condition of all the territory of the United States is that of freedom; that as our republican fathers, when they had abolished slavery in all our national territory, ordained that no "person should be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law," it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever such legislation is necessary, to maintain this provision of the constitution against all attempts to violate it; and we deny the authority of congress, of a territorial legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in any territory of the United States.

12. That while providing revenue for the support of the general government by duties upon imports, sound policy requires such an adjustment of these imposts as to encourage the development of the industrial interests of the whole country, and we commend that policy of national exchanges which secures to the workingmen liberal wages, to agriculture remunerating prices, to mechanics and manufacturers an adequate reward for their skill, labor and enterprise, and to the nation commercial prosperity and independence.

14. That the Republican Party is opposed to any change in our naturalization laws, or any state legislation by which the rights of citizenship hitherto accorded by emigrants from foreign lands shall be abridged or impaired; and in favor of giving a full and efficient protection to the rights of all classes of citizens, whether native or naturalized, both at home and abroad.

The rest of it is pretty interesting, and also short. Obviously I'm quoting their first presidential-election-year platform, from 1860, so much of it applies to the situation that existed right before the Civil War.

Today's Illinois GOP platform, while saner (only just) than the Texas platform, still has these planks:

  • A call to "meet the contractual obligations of our state by properly funding the various state pension systems" without raising revenue to do it;
  • An assertion that kids are better off "within a two-parent family based on the principle of marriage between one man and one woman;" and
  • The anti-science position that "The Illinois Republican Party opposes the fostering of utilitarian experiments which sacrifice human embryos in what appears to be a futile search for medical cures."

On the other hand, some of their planks really surprised me:

  • "We call on the Federal Government to streamline the task of citizenship for legal immigrants to assimilate and complete the process of becoming Americans."
  • "We call for the granting of full citizenship rights to be granted to any immigrant upon the completion of service to the armed forces of the United States."
  • "[W]e endorse...[t]he use of criminal and mental background checks by licensed firearms dealers...."

Finding three planks to support out of the entire platform took some effort, though. A lot of it repeats the right-wing policies of the national GOP, like opposition to taxes in general, support for a concealed-carry firearms law, and one of my favorites, "We call on the United States Senate to reject treaties which cede the powers and rights of the American people to the United Nations and other international agencies." (Because of the black helicopters following some of the more, ah, committed party members, you see.)

I'm sure a careful reading of my party's platform (which, unfortunately, is spread across 14 pages of the party website rather than being written down in any one document) would uncover a few planks I don't support. I expect, though, I've chosen the right bunch for now. When the Republicans shed themselves of the right-wing nutters currently running things for them, maybe I'll take another look.

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