Thursday, June 9, 2011

Texas Republican Platform - 2010

I only made it through the first 4 pages before I got too much of a headache too continue. Enjoy

Page 1:

“Constitutional Citations on Legislation – We urge that all bills presented in Congress include citations to the authorizing constitutional provision, cost to implement, and impact on the family”

I honestly don't understand the rationale for this statement. Not that it's a bad idea for laws to be constitutional, but because (SPOILER) laws already need to be constitutional. I know it's difficult to understand constitutional law though, so we should make it really simple by demanding straight citations. Although I'm totally in favor of bills including costs, so I propose we should establish a non-partisan Congressional Budget Office so we have an idea of the “cost to implement. Frankly I'm at a loss to how one summarizes “impact on the family” of every bill, I suspect it's a meaningless phrase that feels kinda nice.

Page 2:

“to eliminate aid to any nation threatening us or aiding terrorists or hostile nations
... and to publicly support other nations fighting terrorists”

In a nice black and white world, this would be simple. It takes the most very basic understanding of any foreign policy to see that the world, and national relationships with terrorism, to see that the world is not in fact divided among countries with us or countries with terrorism. Off the top of my head, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq all fit into the gray area they ignore. It would be very nice if the world were divided cleanly among allies and enemies, among terrorists and allies, but it's not. It takes remarkable mental gymnastics to think that it does – and urge others that you're right.

“to reasonably use profiling to protect us”

This is unethical, un-American, and impractical. We simply cannot decide that America's policy is to suspect that all non-Christian, non-white people are terrorists. I don't really know how someone can say otherwise, so there's not much left I can say about this.

“Elimination of Executive Orders – We demand elimination of presidential authority to issue executive orders and other mandates lacking congressional approval, as well as repeal of all previous executive orders and mandates.”

There are two possible explanations. One is that a detailed study of constitutional law, effects of executive orders on society and the law in general, and careful considerations of the weight of powers between the President and Congress has led someone to believe that in sum we are better off without Executive Orders, and we should repeal them all. The second explanation is that we don't like the President doing stuff we don't trust, that's bad. Thus everything everrr done like this is bad.

I've never seen a reasoned argument for eliminating and repealing Executive Orders, and I don't think there is a good one. It is important to keep in mind that if the people who endorse this statement had their way the following have this vision of America:

Racial, ethnic, and religious discrimination in the defense industry would be OK

Racial, ethnic, and religious discrimination in the military would be OK

Discriminating against hiring people based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin would be OK

Discriminating against people based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, age, or sexual orientation in the competitive service of the federal civilian workforce would be OK

Political assassinations would be OK

FEMA would not exist

The Executive Department Centers for FaithBased and Community Initiatives would not exist

The White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives would not exist

The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology would not exist

The Office of Homeland Security would not exist

Afghanistan and the airspace above would not be designated as a combat zone

Streamlining intelligence information under Executive Order 13388? No more

Eminent domain could be used with more latitude

Torturing would be OK

No more White House Office of Health Reform

The PPACA (healthcare reform bill) wouldn't have abortion restrictions

Proclaiming that you want all of these things gone, that you want to shake up the balance of Executive and Legislative power that has existed since the 1800's, that's a pretty big deal. And I've never heard an argument in favor of it, at least not one more reasoned or elegant than “it feels like the President shouldn't do that!”.

“We also urge the Texas Legislature and the United States Congress to enact legislation prohibiting any jurisdiction from allowing any substitute or parallel system of Law, specifically, but not limited to, Sharia Law, to be recognized which is not in accordance with the Constitutions of Texas or of the United States of America.”

Quite honestly if anyone thinks “Sharia Law” is a threat to America, they haven't read this far so I won't even bother.

Page 3

“Free Speech for the Clergy – We urge change of the Internal Revenue Code to allow a religious organization to address issues without fear of losing its tax-exempt status.”

If an organization wants everyone else to pay their share of taxes, then it needs a good reason. Typically it's because the organization is a non-profit, charity, etc. The taxpayer partially subsidizes the museum down the road, or the homeless shelter, because it benefits all of society. One has to meet a really high bar to claim that others should pay your tax burden for you. When a church says A) you the taxpayer should pay my taxes, and B) we're going to endorse particular politicians and particular political parties, it's fundamentally unfair. If a church wants to pay taxes, then I have no problem with them endorsing any candidates they like, but the moment a church asks me to pay their taxes then they give up the right to endorse political candidates.

“The state should have no power over licensing or training of clergy. The State should withdraw all imposed regulations”

Again, a church can't claim they deserve secular government recognition, and yet also claim that secular government has no right to do things like license.

“...Single Issue Legislation that prohibits the current practice of inserting into otherwise unrelated legitimate legislation funding for or federal regulations for special interest issues into virtually every piece of legislation”

First, this has been tried countless times. Do you know why it fails? Because A) it's possible to link just about anything with anything else, and B) politicians are more concerned with whether something passes than whether their particular amendment was attached to a relevant bill. Secondly, the phrase “virtually every piece of legislation” just smacks of immaturity and passive aggressiveness. It's one thing to talk like that informally, but if you put out the platform for the entire Republican Party of Texas... one would think they'd avoid jabs that sound more at home in a school cafeteria.

“Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) – We oppose this act through which the federal government would coerce religious business owners and employees to violate their own beliefs and principles by affirming what they consider to be sinful and sexually immoral behavior.”

If one of your beliefs is that the employer should approve when, where, and with whom the employee has sex... If one of your principles is that the employer should determine which sexual positions the employee uses... It's ridiculous. A person has every right to hate blacks, Jews, women, gays, anybody you can possibly imagine! But you don't have a right to discriminate against them in hiring. I'm sorry this is still contentious in 2011. I'm more sorry every person supporting this Republican platform doesn't understand this very simple concept.

Page 4:

“Further, we urge Congress to withhold Supreme Court jurisdiction in cases involving abortion, religious freedom, and the Bill of Rights”

Am I missing something? This seems so incredibly idiotic, I'm embarrassed for anyone (OK, anyone over 13 years old) who agrees with that statement.

Some of these are totally idiotic, some confusing (and more to come), but the fact that this is an actual platform is truly vexing.

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