Comments

Look! Michael Moore!

Posted by Realish at October 9, 2003 12:16 AM

This was a remarkably cogent post Kevin. It is often difficult for me to sum up why I am scared and feel like war has been declared on me. This is why I long ago felt like people like me became totally unwelcome in the GOP.

It's not that many of us didn't see it coming for decades. But when one has to site trends and fringe research books, it's not surprising that most people can't pay attention. But it's not covert any more as you demonstrated.

Reasonable people, please understand why many of us feel abject terror about the future, our country, basicly our ability to stop radical ideology.

Posted by jakarta at October 9, 2003 12:29 AM

But the Democrats support Saddam...and they Hate America.

Posted by SYM at October 9, 2003 12:32 AM

But Clinton was worse!

Posted by Orbitron at October 9, 2003 12:36 AM

The fall is long, huh Kevin? Your best post yesterday, and now this, the most atrocious post I've seen you make. Why pick Texas when the National Republican platform is equally available here ? Hyperbole is fine, but if you want to engage in a serious debate, start in the right place. This is garbage.

Posted by spc67 at October 9, 2003 12:41 AM

Spc67, agreed, the Texas Republican platform is garbage. Why is it not legitimate for non-Republicans to point this out?

Posted by Jesurgislac at October 9, 2003 12:42 AM

spc67:
Hyperbole is fine, but if you want to engage in a serious debate, start in the right place. This is garbage.

Well, you admit that the President's, and Delay's, views are garbage then? Because presumably both have initialed and signed that they have read and agreed to this platform.

The fact that the National Republican platform differs is evidence that Kevin's claim has validity. Your party is being hijacked -- it is time to wake up.

Posted by Timothy Klein at October 9, 2003 12:44 AM

Is Karl Rove really a movement conservative ideologue, though? My impression is that he's a crafty opportunist, with no real goal other than to see his guy maintained in elective office. I mean, to be quite honest, Bush has hardly pursued any of these objectives during his time in office.

Let's see

1) Gold standard/abolish the Fed - no sign that Bush is following this

2) weird shit with the Supreme Court - no sign that Bush is following this

3) no separation of church and state - Bush has made comments sympathetic to this, but not done particularly much in this direction

4) sodomy - Bush has hardly been courageous in his opposition to sodomy laws, but he hasn't been a strong supporter, either

5) abortion amendment - some rhetorical support, and support for things like partial birth ban, but no real practical effort to outlaw abortion

6) gays=child molesters. No particular sign of support for this

7) creationism. Rhetorical support for this, but not particularly substantive

8) abolishing social security. Bush has tepidly pushed for partial privatization, but abandoned it when people started getting upset.

9) abolishing the income tax. Bush has not particularly pursued policies which would accomplish this.

10) abolishing minimum wage. Certainly no policies in that direction have been pursued by the administration

11) abolishing EPA, HUD, HHS, and so forth. No particular efforts in this direction

12) Leaving the UN. Well, Bush has spit in their eye, and doesn't see much use for the UN, obviously, but I don't see us threatening to leave, either

13) taking back the Panama canal. Certainly Bush has done nothing towards this

14) we're dead serious. They may be, but Bush obviously isn't.

So, where do I come out on this? I've learned that what I dislike about Bush has little to do with his support of an entirely wacky social conservative agenda. At worst, he panders to these people without giving them very much of substance to hold on to. What I dislike about the current leadership of the Republican party, and certainly with this administration, has a lot more to do with its completely craven political opportunism, its attacks on civil liberties, its attempts to brand all opposition as treason, its belligerent, unwise, and unsustainable foreign policy, and its repeated, and dishonest calls for constant tax cuts for the rich. The fact that he gives rhetorical support to crazies like his own states GOP is troubling, of course, but is really a side issue.

On the other hand, it remains terrifying that one of the major parties in the second largest state in the country has such a horrific official platform. Is this platform actually any different from that adopted by the U.S. Constitution Party?

Posted by John at October 9, 2003 12:45 AM

"Get the United States out of the UN." - Kevin Drum

You say that like it's a bad thing. ;]

Posted by Ironbear at October 9, 2003 12:46 AM

Spc67, agreed, the Texas Republican platform is garbage. Why is it not legitimate for non-Republicans to point this out?

Because the allegation Kevin is making is broader, that this represents Republicans nationwide. He says "this is the kind of COUNTRY they want." Not this is the kind of STATE they want. When there is an equally available national platform, that's the reasonable choice for commencing a discussion.

Posted by spc67 at October 9, 2003 12:47 AM

SPC67:
Not to be harsh, but when you ask "Why pick Texas when the National Republican platform is equally available?" Are you asking a rhetorical question, or do you genuinely want an answer?
- If it's the former, please tell us what you think the answer is.
- If it's the latter, take a guess, then we can ask Kevin whether you've got it right or not.
- If you won't provide an answer, can we assume this is just posturing on your part?

Posted by Keith at October 9, 2003 12:47 AM

Your party is being hijacked -- it is time to wake up.

Yup, just like the people of California hijacked their own state yesterday right? OOOOKay

Posted by spc67 at October 9, 2003 12:48 AM

Kevin, why do you hate America?

Anyway, I think this is a major opportunity - Republican rank and file has to have at least 25% or so that really don't agree with the nonsense coming out of the DeLays and Roves. With good triangulation, a Clark/Hillary type candidate could slaughter Bush by "smoking him out" of some of these positions.

For instance, gay rights - I believe this is actually the HUGE wedge issue for 2004 that the Democrats can push and gain lots of fair-minded centrist voters.

Posted by noam chimpsky at October 9, 2003 12:49 AM

spc67, this IS garbage. But the question Kevin poses is whether this garbage provides a GOP roadmap beyond one big state. Why pick Texas? He explained that quite cogently. If you want to engage in debate, engage. Where, for instance, does Tom DeLay disagree with this document? Where do Bush and Ashcroft disagree?

Posted by Meteor Blades at October 9, 2003 12:49 AM

spc67, it doesn't trouble you that Delay's redistricting game in Texas will allow 5-6 more Republican House members who have presumably signed off on this to gain office, thus increasing the influence they have on legislation?

Posted by Linkmeister at October 9, 2003 12:50 AM

SPC67:
Not to be harsh, but when you ask "Why pick Texas when the National Republican platform is equally available?" Are you asking a rhetorical question, or do you genuinely want an answer?
- If it's the former, please tell us what you think the answer is.

Read my post, he's engaging in hyperbole. That's fine. But don't expect serious debate with such a poorly chosen starting point.

Posted by spc67 at October 9, 2003 12:51 AM

spc67, while I agree with you that it's unfair to try to tar the entire Republican party with the brush of the Texas party, your counterargument doesn't really work, either. The positions advocated by the Texas GOP that Kevin cites are largely positions on issues that can only be dealt with by the federal government. So that IS the kind of country these folks want. And don't you find it horrifying that people who believe those things dominate the GOP in the second largest state in the country? The state from which the president comes? Is there any doubt that no state Democratic party has a platform of such manifest insanity? I mean, the most wackily leftist Democrats get, so far as I can tell, is proposing that the US adopt the kind of health care system used throughout the rest of the world. (Not to say that single payer health care, or whatever, is necessarily a good idea, just that it's not manifestly insane, nor would even such a relatively major change signify the kind of massive changes to the entire basis of government and society in this country as those advocated by the Texas GOP)

Posted by John at October 9, 2003 12:51 AM

Spc67: you can't argue that the Texas platform doesn't exist and you can't argue that they don't really believe this stuff. So you'll have to argue instead that they are actually a fringe group of no consequence.

I don't think you can do that. They are for real, they have lots of influence, their goal is to remake the Republican party in their image, and they are making a lot of progress.

Instead of just dismissing it, can you tell my why it's wrong? Why these guys aren't going anywhere? Even though two of your party's top leaders subscribe to this stuff?

Just covering your ears won't work. You need to explain why this is "garbage" when the evidence is pretty plain. Let's talk.

Posted by Kevin Drum at October 9, 2003 12:53 AM

Folks, you want to take the time to read the national platform I have provided, I am happy to pursue this further on that basis. But as I said, the starting point Kevin proposes is garbage and I'm not going to start there, sorry. :)

Posted by spc67 at October 9, 2003 12:55 AM

And needless to say, I'm not arguing that these are the policies of the national party right now. I'm arguing that this is the direction that a significant faction within the party wants to move it.

This is the Republican party in 20 years unless somebody does something to stop it.

Posted by Kevin Drum at October 9, 2003 12:56 AM

The mere fact of the political prominence of Tom DeLay argues that these guys aren't simply a fringe group of no consequence. I'm still not sure it's fair to attack the administration (i.e.Bush and Rove) on these grounds, when it's pretty clear that they don't especially believe this shit, and certainly haven't done much of anything to put it into effect. Let's try to keep this tightly focused - there is a lunatic fringe in the Republican party, and it's getting stronger. But it remains a minority, and is largely unable to get its agenda achieved at the national (and probably, to a large extent, the local) level.

Posted by John at October 9, 2003 12:57 AM

There are many movements that started out as small fringes. Most of them got big because nobody truly took them seriously when they were still small. We shouldn't make that mistake with these guys.

Grover Norquist, for example, is extremely influential and he obviously *does* believe this kind of stuff. What makes you think Karl Rove doesn't?

Posted by Kevin Drum at October 9, 2003 12:59 AM

So do you agree with this platform, Spc67? I have read your post here and on Tacitus -- you are a conservative, but you don't strike me as unhinged or radical in your conservativism. But this platform does strike me as completely unhinged. Eliminating the separation of Church and State, for crying out loud!

And it seems pretty hard to argue that Texas Republicans are fringe. They don't represent the whole party, but they are powerful, and their power is growing. And it scares the shit out of me -- and it seems to me it should scare the shit out of normal Republicans, too.

And what does Arnold and Cali have to do with it -- Arnold is not a part of this group, to my eyes. I think what most have associated with Republicanism is trying to be radically altered by Texas Repubs.

Posted by Timothy Klein at October 9, 2003 01:00 AM

BTW, I also will not try to hold Dems nationally accountable for the views of the Berkeley city council, the Madison, Wisconsin city council or the Ivy League faculties in beginning political discussions. The platform of the Texas Republican Party has about as much relevance to Republicans across the country as my list would to Dems across the country.

Posted by spc67 at October 9, 2003 01:00 AM

Neil Gabler nailed the medieval Bush presidency pretty well. Its record so far isn't exactly identical to the Texas platform, but it's reasonably consistent with it:

Bush has a religious epistemology. Having devalued the idea of an observable, verifiable reality and having eschewed rational empiricism, he relies on his unalterable faith in himself not just to inform his policies, as all presidents have, but to dictate them.

If vast structural deficits aren't an attempt to eliminate Social Security and the rest of the modern state, what do they expect? A second Moses to part the Sea of Red Ink? Or does the mounting debt simply not matter, because Armageddon is just around the corner?

Posted by bad Jim at October 9, 2003 01:01 AM

Oh, I agree. These people should be taken seriously. And Norquist is insane, and his (seeming) influence within the party is frightening. DeLay is terrifying.

Rove, though. Well, there's no real evidence to suggest he's a terrifying radical movement conservative. So far as I can tell, Rove's a hard-nosed political operator with no real principles at all. He only really cares about power, and maintaining his own people in power. He knows that he has to keep the movement conservatives satisfied, but at the same time he's not willing to risk Bush's wider political support to do so. I mean, Rove's hero is Mark Hanna, the guy who engineered McKinley's electoral victories, ushering in a long period of GOP electoral dominance (the Dems only won twice between 1896 and 1928, and one of those times because the GOP split). Hanna was a "we are a wholly owned subsidiary of big business" Republican. The kind of wacky southern movement conservatives - well, they were Democrats back then. William Jennings Bryan would probably be more at home in the Texas Republican party of today than William McKinley and Mark Hanna would be.

Posted by John at October 9, 2003 01:04 AM

BTW, I also will not try to hold Dems nationally accountable for the views of the Berkeley city council, the Madison, Wisconsin city council or the Ivy League faculties in beginning political discussions. The platform of the Texas Republican Party has about as much relevance to Republicans across the country as my list would to Dems across the country.

So two extremely leftist city councils, and Ivy League faculties are comparable to the State Republican party in the second largest state in the country, which was initialled by George W. Bush himself??

Posted by John at October 9, 2003 01:07 AM

Normally I would hesitate to reply to someone who, in another forum, fantasized about blowing up the Secretary General of the United Nations, but dear spc67, has it entirely escaped your notice that not only was Bush the governor of Texas in 2000, but that Tom DeLay, the Speaker of the House, is also Texan and rumored still to be running things back there?

Posted by bad Jim at October 9, 2003 01:07 AM

DeLay is House Majority Leader. The more affable Dennis "Denny" Hastert remains Speaker.

Posted by John at October 9, 2003 01:08 AM

I posted this on another blog awhile back so for those seeing it again I apologise. I wrote it before the 2000 Presidential fiasco.

------

If Conservatives Had Their Way

We are, once again, hearing much these days about the so-called "Republican Revolution", but it's time to take their extremist ideas to their illogical conclusions. It seems to me, after years of listening to the rhetoric of the radical conservative right, that what they (the GOP leadership and also the Libertarian party) really want, their secret plan if you will and ultimate dream come true would be the dissolution of the United States government (remember all those government shutdowns?) and the creation, in its stead, of a country of isolationist baronial fiefdoms. These little kingdoms ("local control") would be ruled by the ultrarich 2% of society with the rest of the people that live within their boundaries as, more or less, servants to the landlords. This appears to have replaced their old wet dream of American world domination - at least for now (though there are still plenty of that old faction around as well). One need only listen to staunch conservatives to hear what they're saying. So what would life really be like if they had their way?

The results of the elimination of taxes, government rules and regulations, those programs and agencies that so irk them and the promotion of absolute private property rights:

· The end of environmental protections. The elimination of the endangered species act. Clean water/air acts gutted. Any conservation of land or wildlife is solely at the discretion of the individual landowners. Wholesale deforestation of woodlands, unbridled strip mining, dumping of toxic wastes becomes common. A rise in air pollution as slip-shod industries are erected willy-nilly and auto emissions laws are removed. Unrestricted development and use of pesticides and herbicides. End of federal labeling laws on food ingredients. All restrictions on genetic experimentation swept aside. An immediate halt on the development of alternative energies (only oil, gas, nuclear and coal are allowed). Abandonment of local growth control ordinances. The National Park system is abolished as all parks and Wilderness areas are auctioned off to the highest bidders. EPA, FDA, and Interior departments gone.
· Labor laws erased (including those for protecting children). Worker's wages plummet (the minimum wage vanquished) at the same time that hours required to work a day doubles. Labor unions dissolved. Beatings of problem employees becomes prevalent. OSHA is dismantled.
· Services like mail, fire protection, street maintenance and lighting, utilities, public schools and libraries, social security, state and federal consumer protection agencies, etc. are haphazard at best or disposed of entirely. Food stamps & school lunches for needy families are terminated. With taxes "cancelled", the great bulk of the monies previously allocated for these now go directly to the wealthy. Any returns to the lower classes are immediately confiscated by many landowners in the form of higher rents as rent control laws are obliterated. Those services that remain open can do so only at the sponsorship of business (or a few philanthropic individuals) and thus become their puppets.
· The basic right to privacy as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights evaporates under a relentless assault by rightwing busybodies in government. Court orders are no longer required to tap telephones, read email or snail mail, or even to break into homes and search for evidence of anti-conservative thinking. Violators are prosecuted.
· No longer are landlords obliged to repair the decaying houses of their tenants. As a result homes and communities degenerate, too expensive to fix. Equal rights housing laws are repealed.
· Nepotism, not the democratic vote (which has been done away with) becomes the method of placement for local officials. The two party system ceases. Corruption, without laws to oversee and enforce an equal distribution of justice, is rampant. Complaints fall on deaf ears with no recourse for appeal. Fair trials for accused are replaced by vigilantism and kangaroo courts. The death penalty is imposed for minor offenses. The President, Congress and Supreme Court are replaced with a "king".
· The lack of uniform safety regulations for airplanes, trains and other means of transport, hospitals, public and private buildings, nuclear power plants, household appliances, etc. etc. lead to many disasters. Government attorneys, which now protect the public’s interest from corporate fraud, go the way of the Dodo. In a David vs Goliath scenario, the onus for proof of safety is now on the shoulders of the individual which may or (more than likely) may not have the wherewithal to combat large corporations. Safety becomes an after-the-fact proposition (after needless suffering and death), dependant on winning lawsuits, since front-end regulations disappear.
· Prices for food and merchandise skyrocket without competition. Quality of food and other goods decrease. Lawsuits for dangerous products are disallowed. Suits against big tobacco are thrown out.
· Those schools that do remain open teach not factually responsible and universally accepted scholasticism, but each their own pet beliefs mixed with a powerful emphasis on duty to business/industry, the church and the landlord. A generous dose of corporal punishment keeps any deviants in line.
· The shelves of libraries and bookstores are drastically reduced as banned books are replaced with only a limited amount of "authorized reading". Freedom of the press is curtailed since all literature must now pass through a strictly conservative "Values Committee” before publication. News reports, whether paper, television or radio, that are viewed as anti-business or anti-church are forbidden. Only "wholesome", non-controversial programming is allowed.
· All are required to attend the only approved religious services every Sunday, that being a strict fundamentalist Christian church. If you miss you can expect a visit from the Council of Investigations.
· Scientific study that might contradict The Church's doctrines is prohibited and punishable by fines and imprisonment (or worse) for those who persist. Fear, superstition and witch-hunts are the order of the day.
· Women are made to learn their proper roles as the servants of men. Equal opportunity laws are invalidated.
· Any and all firearms/explosives regulations are shot down. High-powered guns etc. proliferate eventually endangering the oppressive wealthy which must then create ad/hoc rules removing them from the hands of the poor .
· Wars for the sake of wars, to keep restless young men occupied are arranged. Both civil wars and wars with Canada and Mexico (which fall prey to frequent pillaging raids). As a whole the "nation" without a central organized military, is considerably weakened and susceptible to hostile outside forces. The control of nuclear weapons becomes unstable. The new police, street thugs, desperate for money, are hired by the barons to harass and eliminate any that might protest or foment an uprising.
· Groups and individuals that don't properly fit the W.A.S.P. model are "reconditioned". Virulent bigotry now becomes an openly accepted "traditional value". Martin Luther King Day and other non-white holidays are cancelled. Any and all remaining treaties with Native Americans are invalidated. The confederate flag is officially raised in many southern kingdoms.
· The mass of new rules within kingdoms creates a conflicting chaos of standards between kingdoms, a new source of friction. Toll fees and "papers" are required to pass from kingdom to kingdom.
· The ranks of the beggar class swell enormously; at the same time the rich expand their stores, enjoy their parties and operas and become boredly depraved.

Sound familiar? To students of history, yes. This is much the way governments and societies were shaped in the middle ages (and in lots of present day corrupt, oppressive, fascist-style systems). A time of horrific abuses of the many by the spoiled, greedy, privileged few. This method of lawless "local control" has already been tried and it was a ruinous failure. It's the wolf guarding the henhouse. Yet it seems that the Republicans still dreamily look back to the good ol' days. Worse still, they've also, sadly, been successful in flimflamming many Americans into voting against their own best interests with a lot of hysterical nonsense about "big government". Witness, for example, the fate of President Clinton's health care bill (let alone even discussing universal health care in an open, public forum). How many of those rank and file who screamed about it could afford to spend even one day in the hospital let alone a week or a month if they had to? Ironically while they agonize over a new tax dollar here or there, they defend the right of the health care industry to charge as much as they want (which they do), driving many into poverty. And lest some think I exaggerate, let me remind them that each of the points listed has, at one time or other, been advocated, some even vociferously championed by the right, and in fact before laws were made to curb these practices, each was commonplace.
This is NOT to say that all conservatives hold the attitudes described above. However, given the long history of meanness on the part of the Republican Party, I'd be highly suspicious of their claims of new found compassion in this election year.
Am I just a "Iibrul guvment hugger"? Far from it. On most issues I consider myself a middle-of-the-roader. There are things I definitely don't like about feds and the ultraleft. Improvements can and should be made. But a return to the dark ages is definitely not the answer.
If we were a country numbering only in the thousands or a few million evenly spread out (as the Native Americans were) there would probably be no need for laws and regulations as we would rarely, if ever, infringe on the lives of others and our collective impact on the environment would be minimal. But in a nation approaching 300 million, each with his/her own ideas and degrees of character, not to have rules would be foolhardy. Thus the call for their end is naive, juvenile, suspect. And besides, when this country was first created we decided then that we wanted to be united. Have we now decided that divided is to be preferred?

Until human nature and intelligence suddenly evolve for the better, laws, taxes and government will, unfortunately, continue to be necessary.

Conservatives like to find conspiracies; I submit that they need to take a closer look at the shadowy figures behind their own movement.

Posted by Watch It at October 9, 2003 01:10 AM

...there is a lunatic fringe in the Republican party, and it's getting stronger. But it remains a minority, and is largely unable to get its agenda achieved at the national (and probably, to a large extent, the local) level.

But, as Kevin keeps saying, quite correctly, this is where some powerful members of the Party would like to go if they could. Look at how they behave in Congress right now even with a relatively weak margin of majority. Think what they might do if they could increase that margin to filibuster-proof levels.

Liberal Republicans - with rare, rare exceptions, don't exist anymore. As Mr. Jeffords found out, even moderates are being squeezed out. If they increase their margin and simultaneously move rightward - as appears by every indication to be their goal - how will they behave on the itemized list John has posted?

Posted by Meteor Blades at October 9, 2003 01:10 AM

Whew! Apologies also for its length.

Posted by Watch It at October 9, 2003 01:11 AM

Sorry, John. Jeez, you're quick.

Do I get credit for detecting an English Civil War reference in the "New Model" phrase?

Posted by bad Jim at October 9, 2003 01:14 AM

john stewart on the daily show, talking with hillary clinton about the california recall mess, asked if we could just lop off california, like a trapped animal chewing off it's leg to wriggle free.

i think this is what we need to do with texas. sure, we'll lose some good music and barbecue, but the union should have let them go when they had the chance. that way, could have bombed texas by now.

Posted by nova silverpill at October 9, 2003 01:16 AM

Not to stray off-topic, but... ah, who'm I kidding. John: I think William Jennings Bryan had some very strong opinions about the gold standard that would preclude his membership in the Texas GOP.

Posted by Anno-nymous at October 9, 2003 01:16 AM

But, as Kevin keeps saying, quite correctly, this is where some powerful members of the Party would like to go if they could. Look at how they behave in Congress right now even with a relatively weak margin of majority. Think what they might do if they could increase that margin to filibuster-proof levels.

Liberal Republicans - with rare, rare exceptions, don't exist anymore. As Mr. Jeffords found out, even moderates are being squeezed out. If they increase their margin and simultaneously move rightward - as appears by every indication to be their goal - how will they behave on the itemized list John has posted?

Well, I think if they start passing a lot of this shit, they'll be out on their asses very quickly, unless any kind of democratic process breaks down in this country (which I am still optimistic enough to think is unlikely). This is why Bush and Rove don't pursue most of this stuff - all it would do is guarantee that they're out on their asses come next November. Bush has consistently downplayed cultural issues throughout his presidency, although he has taken the opportunity to appoint conservative judges and do other insidious things to placate the base. And that's of concern. As is the growing strength of these goons within the party. But are we really at a critical level yet?

Posted by John at October 9, 2003 01:17 AM

I also will not try to hold Dems nationally accountable for the views of the Berkeley city council, the Madison, Wisconsin city council or the Ivy League faculties in beginning political discussions. The platform of the Texas Republican Party has about as much relevance to Republicans across the country as my list would to Dems across the country.

When was the last time a member of the Berkeley city council, Wisconsin city council, or Ivy league faculties was elected president of the United States? Became Speaker of the House? Was appointed Secretary of Education?

You might feel that Texas Republicans aren't representative of the party's, but the public face of the Republican party either approved or couldn't stop this platform from being voted upon. This is worrisome.

And about the platform: Chinese missiles at the Panama canal? Is this a serious concern I just haven't hear anything about?

Posted by Craig Moe at October 9, 2003 01:20 AM

Not to stray off-topic, but... ah, who'm I kidding. John: I think William Jennings Bryan had some very strong opinions about the gold standard that would preclude his membership in the Texas GOP.

Ah yes, forgot about that. damned crazy right wing obsession with the gold standard messing up my analogy! On economic issues, Bryan was certainly a lot more progressive than these people. But he was very much in the same protestant evangelical tradition, I think.

Posted by John at October 9, 2003 01:20 AM

SPC67:
I did read your post. I see that your reply to my question was not a reply at all, so let me ask it again. You are the one who wrote: "Why pick Texas when the National Republican platform is equally available..." Why indeed? Why do you think he picked Texas?

Kevin has given us his answer. I'm still waiting for yours. "He's engaging in hyperbole" is not an answer. It's a description, and nothing more.

C'mon, if you want people to take you seriously, you might want to try honest discourse!

Posted by Keith at October 9, 2003 01:23 AM

BTW, I also will not try to hold Dems nationally accountable for the views of the Berkeley city council, the Madison, Wisconsin city council or the Ivy League faculties in beginning political discussions. The platform of the Texas Republican Party has about as much relevance to Republicans across the country as my list would to Dems across the country

Where to start? How about this: you're wrong. The President and the House majority leader did not sign party platforms issued by the city councils of Berkeley or Madison. If they did so, we might well hold them accountable for such documents. As for Ivy League faculties, I'll assume that you don't have any idea what you're talking about.

Posted by Keith at October 9, 2003 01:28 AM

Let's look at what steps Bush has taken.

He keeps trying to deem the UN irrelevant, till he needs them to save his ass. He has taken big steps toward abolishing federal takation on unearned income. He has turned the EPA and other regulatory agencies into advocacy institutions for the interests they are supposed to regulate. He is bucking for the amendment to the constitution banning gay marriage. He is advocating tort reform that will in essence deny state and federal courts jurisdiction over citizen actions for redress against corporate wrongdoing. He is working to eliminate overtime pay and the minimum wage is essentially so low that it is meaningless. He is making it impossible for social security and medicare to survive as a result of his huge tax curts. So he is marching toward all of the goals in the platform except the panama canal. But I can see him coming up with a BS excuse that our national security demands that we take it over and secure it as part of the war on terror.

If he wins next year and no longer has to worry about reelection, is there any doubt that he will push all of this crap much harder? Him and Delay.

Posted by obe at October 9, 2003 01:55 AM

And just check out the White House website if you need more proof.

http://www.whitehouse.org/

Posted by obe at October 9, 2003 01:59 AM

Very interesting. But not very surprising. A very large number of Republicans seem to hold comparable notions (remember Newt Gingrich?) which have been around for quite a long time, but do seem to be gaining more credence.

I don't want to upset spc67 unnecessarily, but why is he trying to urge everyone to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain? If the Texas Democratic Party platform were calling for the nationalisation of all banks and the confiscation of all firearms, wouldn't he feel that this deserved some attention? It's almost as if he supports this stuff (at least at a gut level, if not intellectually), but doesn't really want us to know it.

Posted by MFB at October 9, 2003 02:03 AM

People like Kevin Drum need to visit Texas. The radical right does not dominate Republican politics. Moreover, President George W. Bush is not a far right religious extremist. He actually embraces a relatively mild form of evangelical Protestantism. My own theological views are somewhat Unitarian-Universalist. Bush’s religious affiliation is therefore not exactly my cup of tea---but he’s not an off the wall lunatic.

The liberal media have dramatically distorted the actual reality of Texas’ political life. I can safely say that the far right leads a marginalized existence. The majority of Republican Texans are middle of the road conservatives.

Posted by David Thomson at October 9, 2003 02:04 AM

" The majority of Republican Texans are middle of the road conservatives. "

Then why do people like Delay run the show? And why do they put out platforms like this?

It would be interesting to see the Texas GOP platforms from say 1964, 1974 and 1984 so we could see the progression in radicalism.

Posted by justsayno at October 9, 2003 02:19 AM

The liberal media have dramatically distorted the actual reality of Texas' political life. I can safely say that the far right leads a marginalized existence. The majority of Republican Texans are middle of the road conservatives.

You should avoid talking about the 'liberal media' -- it immediately puts your line of thinking into question. Particularly in this case.

But, if the 'majority of Republican Texans are middle of the road conservatives' they should really, really read the damn platform that their Republican leaders have written. This is not something made up by the 'liberal media:' this is straight from mouths of the Texas Republican party. So if Texans are nice, middle of the road conservatives, why do they elect people that are required to sign and affirm belief an agenda as radical as anything PETA has come up with?

Posted by Timothy Klein at October 9, 2003 02:22 AM

For that matter, how does Mr. Thomson explain the redistricting soap opera?

Posted by bad Jim at October 9, 2003 02:27 AM

>a relatively mild form of evangelical Protestantism

...that is embodied by kicking off his presidential campaign at Bob Jones University? Not so mild, David.

Posted by apostropher at October 9, 2003 02:31 AM

"The majority of Republican Texans are middle of the road conservatives."

How come they agreed to that platform, then ? I presume it was created through some democratic process within the party ?

Posted by KHR at October 9, 2003 02:35 AM

Wow, amazing, good see a concise compilation of GOP wackiness, if it only weren't so frightening ...

As to the question about the relevancy of the views of the Texas GOP platform to the whole of GOP policy: it definitely is relevant. Let me explain why I think so, by comparing it to the role of the CSU of Bavaria in Germany.
Some info first: Bavaria is the second largest "state" in Germany and ranks among the top 3 as far as economic indicators go. The CSU has been ruling Bavaria with an absolute majority since 1962, on a national level it is the sister party of the CDU, together they constitute the conservative block in German politics and in times of a conservative majority the CSU would always get 2-3 cabinet posts.

Now for cultural and sociological reasons Bavarians and therefore the CSU have always held the most staunchly conservative viewpoints in German politics.

The seperation of church and state can serve as a prime example here: there was a crucifix hanging in every Bavarian classroom until the German Supreme Court finally decided that it had to be taken down if an objection was raised. Preceding this ruling the CSU had fought a vigorous battle in the courts to keep the crucifix, which alternatively amused or enraged the whole of Germany for months.

Another example: When the ruling Social Democrats/Greens introduced a law legalizing homosexual civil unions in Germany the CDU had some constitutional objections but it was the CSU which - obviously inspired by the Vatican - unleashed a major campaign against it. When they finally had to give in and allow civil unions, they implemented the law on the state level in such a way that it is much more difficult to join in a civil union in Bavaria than in any other state in Germany.

These are only two fairly recent examples of the fringe conservatism represented by the CSU. In general, for the last 40 years, if one looked for the most socially conservative view held in Germany it would come from Bavaria. But far from being confined to this "state" only these views played a major role in the national debate on controversial topics like the ones above. The CDU could always take a comparatively modern and liberal standpoint which would not repel mainstream voters, knowing that the CSU's more radical platform would get them the vote of the hardcore conservatives and the right-wingers. The two sister parties would even blame each other for being too liberal or conservative respectively, knowing full well that this was a a put-up job designed to get the largest possible block of voters from the center to the right.

Now, as comparisons go unsurprisingly this one is far from being perfect and to get it right would require a much more detailed account of German party politics with which I wouldn't want to bore anyone.

The point is: Conservative parties need "fringe groups" such as the Texas GOP or the Bavarian CSU to get voters they cannot appeal to with their official party platform. Far from being oucasts these groups are instrumental to the success of conservative parties because they cater to views of a sizeable block of the population. The same cannot be said for "liberal" parties for the simple fact that the size of the left-wing fringe is negligible.

Posted by novakant at October 9, 2003 02:42 AM

that should read:

"good to see a concise compilation"

Posted by novakant at October 9, 2003 02:45 AM

Bush's allegedly "mild form" of evangelical Protestantism hasn't stopped him from confusing religious revelation with nationalism.

From Jim Wallis's piece in Sojourners:

Every Christian hopes to find a vocation and calling that is faithful to Christ. But a president who believes that the nation is fulfilling a God-given righteous mission and that he serves with a divine appointment can become quite theologically unsettling. Theologian Martin Marty voices the concern of many when he says, "The problem isn't with Bush's sincerity, but with his evident conviction that he's doing God's will." As Christianity Today put it, "Some worry that Bush is confusing genuine faith with national ideology." The president's faith, wrote Klein, "does not give him pause or force him to reflect. It is a source of comfort and strength but not of wisdom."

Posted by Meteor Blades at October 9, 2003 03:08 AM

"When was the last time a member of the Berkeley city council, Wisconsin city council, or Ivy league faculties was elected president of the United States? Became Speaker of the House? Was appointed Secretary of Education?"

Never...because they are so far out of the mainstream of American society. Most of America comes down in the center and right of center...much closer to the views of folks in Texas than in Berkeley. If that makes you uncomfortable...get over it.

Gay rights a wedge issue in 2004? Are you out of your mind? Which state that Bush carried in 2004 do you actually think will be swayed to the Democrats' side because of gay rights?

Posted by robert at October 9, 2003 03:41 AM

Hold on a sec.

Bush was a candidate for the Texas Republican Party not so long ago. Did he sign a document like this one?

If so, would someone please ask him about signing a document that calls for the abolition of half the federal government? Does he belive in this? If not, why did he sign it?

Posted by Andrew Edwards at October 9, 2003 03:49 AM

People like Kevin Drum need to visit Texas. The radical right does not dominate Republican politics.

I believe that Kevin is not trying to debate the political climate of present-day Texas, but rather the direction (meaning the future) of the GOP given how much power the Texas GOP currently wields.

The radical right is trying with all its might to attain enough power to implement these changes on a national scale. And they're succeeding.

Most of my family is from Texas (I attended college in Lubbock) and they have made sharp turns to the right in the last few years. I'm not sure that they would disagree with the Texas GOP platform. I would argue that in small towns, like Plainview, Dimmit, and Matador, the radical right DOES INDEED dominate the political landscape.

Posted by Bhaal at October 9, 2003 04:04 AM

".... and to prevent the establishment of Chinese missile bases in Panama."

No further comment needed.

Posted by pyts at October 9, 2003 04:06 AM

Party platforms are irrelevant and have been for at least fifty years.

Posted by Beldar at October 9, 2003 04:07 AM

I don't know Texas that well, but I know at least one member of the Arkansas legislature who would be happy to sign off on this platorm, which expresses quite well the desires of the activist base.

I won't say that every person in that base believes every bit of this, but large chunks of it are are gospel to large chunks of them--I'd say three-fourths of what's quoted by a third of them.

Posted by adamsj at October 9, 2003 04:16 AM

Robert wrote: Most of America comes down in the center and right of center...much closer to the views of folks in Texas than in Berkeley. If that makes you uncomfortable...get over it.

SPC67, do you disagree with Robert's comment?

Posted by Jesurgislac at October 9, 2003 04:18 AM

Here is some background on Tom Delay's influence:

http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=13104

Tom DeLay's Axis of Influence

By Stephen Pizzo, AlterNet
May 10, 2002

Posted by dwain at October 9, 2003 04:28 AM

Been to Texas. Real big. And East is different from West. Houston ain't El Paso ain't Austin. Lotsa good folks there, no doubt.

But the idea that it's politics are middle-of-the-road in this low-tax, low-service, bible-belt state is a stretch. And the idea that Texas Republicans are moderates is a stretch unto breaking. DeLay ain't a moderate, and neither is Bush. And the idea that Texans in general think anyone other than a Texan knows much worth knowing or should be in charge...

Posted by Tim B. at October 9, 2003 04:36 AM

Great Post Kevin, and great responses everyone to SPC67. SPC67's approach seems to be to deny the obvious, and then champion the notion that his guy Bush is a liar so that makes it all ok. Bush had to have signed the platform when he was in texas, he and his cronies have taken affirmative steps to create the climate and eventually the laws to bring this platform about, and he has done nothing to discourage his base of voters (the radical right) from believing that he will eventually go for the whole thing if he can. To the extent that SPC67 pretends not to believe that, he is accusing Bush of being a polticial opportunist and manipulator of the worst kind or expecting us to be fools as big as those in Texas for not taking Bush at his word. I also disagree strongly with the idea that Bush is a middle of the road christian: he has said outright that he believes non christian believers will end up in hell, and he doesn't seem to be cognizant of any of the laws of christianity that would otherwise give him pause in his career (thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not bear false witness...) etc..

aimai

Posted by aimai at October 9, 2003 04:37 AM

I see you're finally getting really pissed off, Kevin. It's about time. What took so long? The GOP gloves have been off for a long time. Since about Dec. 19, 1998.

Posted by skbubba at October 9, 2003 04:41 AM

spc67 is the typical response when something like this is mentioned. Talk about the PNAC, Grover Norquist, or Texas Republicans and listen to Democrats and liberals be called nuts and "exagerators" for brining these peoplweown words out in the open. Texas Republicans are the defacto leaders of the party, the PNAC wrote the Iraq invasion plan, Grover Norquist is a huge power player with his weekly meeting with White House and Republican leaders but when anyone mentions the true goals of these groups they are branded as conspiracy freaks. My question is why do people seem to think that these public stated goals really aren't what these people believe?

Posted by Rob at October 9, 2003 04:49 AM

I grew up in Texas, and both my parents and my brother still live there. The Texas GOP *is* really extreme. The state school board is so far to the right that the legislature had to strip them of virtually all effective authority (to avoid a Kansas-style embarassment). Priscilla Owens, who was so extreme that the Dems had to filibuster her nomination, was a state supreme court justice. The vindictive tactics used by the GOP in the redistricting travesty made national headlines for a reason. Back in the 80s these folks were a joke and so was their platform. Now they run the joint, and the joke isn't funny any more.

Marc


Posted by Marc at October 9, 2003 04:50 AM

I agree with Kevin's comments. Many of the Bush Administrations backdoor antics have had the effect of draining our surplus so that now there is a huge deficit -- and I believe, at some point they are going to say, "Oops! There's no money for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicade." By this, I mean tax cuts and the sink hole in Iraq in which more and more of our tax dollars will go.

Executive orders are eliminating environmental laws that have been been proven to work.

Our public schools are being held to a higher standard to improve the quality of education for our children, yet Bush has cut funding for his NCLB effort. I believe this (along with advocating vouchers) is an effort to drive our children from public schools to private ones, so that (1) the government can get out of the education business, and (2) our children can be taught whatever the religious right wants us to hear.

The ban on partial birth abortion,which chips away at abortion rights.

No, Bush in general has not vocally advocated most of the items on the Texas Replublican Party Platform, but he sure has been working behind our backs to move us in that direction. That is standard operating procedure this bunch. Tell us one thing -- give us another. Incrementally, these things are being set into place and usually announced on a Friday afternoon or before a holiday so that he can say he told us, although most people aren't listening.

Posted by pol at October 9, 2003 04:53 AM

"He actually embraces a relatively mild form of evangelical Protestantism.

Just a relative mild form of blowing off the arms of kids for lies. For killing our own men for lies.

Bush is a radical freak, as much as anything in the freak GOP Texas party platform.

One can add anyting one wants to that, but calling the sleazebag a Christian has got to be one of the most assinine comments I have ever seen here.

Posted by anon at October 9, 2003 05:17 AM

I'm from Texas, and obviously most Texans, even the Republicans, don't agree wholeheartedly with the GOP 2000 platform. There is a broad movement to take on some of the more achievable goals in the platform. Abortion is always under fire here, and intelligent design and an emphasis on teaching the weaknesses of evolutionary theory are receiving strong backing.

More importantly, Tom DeLay really does run the redistricting show. He came to Austin to personally get the squabbling Republicans to shut up and get out a map. That map, which comes out today, Thursday, will bear no resemblance to the map that citizens were allowed to comment on a few months ago. The public will have no chance to comment on the new map. Granted, I live in Austin, but I don't know a single person who backs redistricting. It's a crock, a total sham, and no amount of public outcry (and there's been a lot) has made any impression on the Republicans in charge.

Oh, and the new map will split up Democrat Lloyd Dogget's long-held seat. The new districts now run from southeast Austin to the Mexican border and from central/northeast Austin (where most students and minorities live) out to the rich, white suburbs of Houston.

I could go on about how many millions of dollars the redistricting sessions are costing a state that already has a budget shortfall (lost my job thanks to it), but I'll just say that, in Texas, the Republicans are taking everything they can get, with no remorse.

Posted by Matt W. at October 9, 2003 05:25 AM

Wow! this is great! I had no idea that us Texan republicans struck such fear into the hearts of Democrats all the way out in California! Absolutely amazing! I guess the TX VRWC Is the most feared jackbooted cowboy boot wearing thugs in history.
MWUAHAHAHAHAHA!

I love how you used some pretty hefty poetic license interpereting some of the stuff. Picking and choosing among the planks was nice, too. If the TX VRWC is feared it is because we have people who will go into hysterics over what is really an overvalued idea of their own manufacturing.

Perhaps the most striking example you give is the teaching of biblical creationism; You paint this picture that we want to throw out the theory of evolution so that we can start to attack the idea that the world is round, and then move to attacking the heliocentric view of the universe. Look at what it actually states: Teachers are allowed to also teach creation theory.

There is also the allegation that we do not want the supreme court to be able to call laws unconctitutional, when it is far closer to the truth to say we wish to protect state rights, and the limitation of federal power.

Also you allege that we think homosexuals should be treated like sex offenders, when what it actually says is that the gop does not endorse homosexual adoption of children. I may not toe the party line on that one, but you are still willfully misrepresenting the facts.

Although I find it disturbing that you seem to suffer from psuedologia phantastica, I cannot say it is not entertaining to watch the quivering horror of CA at the confabulated dread approach of TX VRWC brigades marching in goose step, Nacoma boots, spurs, and all. hehe.

Get a grip. Seriously.

....because we can smell fear!
MWAHAHAHAHA!
just kidding.

but really; lighten up. It seems you don't actually meet a lot of actual republicans, do you?

Posted by doc Russia at October 9, 2003 05:30 AM

I work in the tech industry with a lot of people mostly smarter than I am. It astounds me how many people around me advocate most of the principles espoused in the Texas Republican platform. They are smart, absolutely committed to their ideas, and completely unhinged. There's a cognitive disconnect between them and me that is completely unfathomable.

Posted by anonnernonner at October 9, 2003 05:35 AM

Just to quibble with your timeline: before DeLay was elevated to House Majority Leader, the previous House Majority Leader, Dick Armey, was very much also a Texan.

Posted by phil at October 9, 2003 05:39 AM

Kevin: "It's our job to make sure everyone knows this."
You're right: that insane state platform, and your summaries, should be distributed to every registered Democrat (and Republican) in America. My aunt is an elderly Texas Republican, and that would creep her out. I don't feel the need to do that so I won't send it to her (someone else can).
But Kevin, your opening about how we'd all be happy if the GOP were just the party of the rich is an unfortunate phrasing.

Posted by John Isbell at October 9, 2003 05:42 AM

David Thomson: "The liberal media have dramatically distorted the actual reality of Texas’ political life. I can safely say that the far right leads a marginalized existence."
And check out what they did to the 2000 Texas GOP party platform! I wonder how they got a hold of that, and made everybody sign it. Bastards.

Posted by John Isbell at October 9, 2003 05:55 AM

"Welcome to my world..."

As a life-long resident of Texas I have been kneedeep in these wingnuts for almost half a century. This is old, old news around here. What you have in Texas and other southern/southwestern state GOPs is the convergence of these groups:

cold warriors: The John Birchers and Curtis Lemays with their ultra-patriotism, distrust of the UN and aggressive foreign policy (nuclear first strikes, anyone?). Oh, and don't forget fluoridation. These types first began to flex their GOP muscle in '64 with Goldwater.

dixiecrats: The civil rights movement and legislation of the '60s single-handedly converted the Democratic Solid South into the Republican Solid South. It took over 100 years for a Republican to be elected to statewide office in Texas after Reconstruction. They are now the majority party. Same folks, same agenda, different mascot. This is the "dirty little secret" of Republican ascendency.

fundamentalists: I doubt I need to expand on what these folks want for us all and they have certainly found a home and voice in the GOP.

These merged interests began to dominate the Texas GOP in the 1980s and into this "traditional" mix we now also have the propeller-head neocons. Big corporate money immediately latched onto the idea of using the innate distrust of government and regulation of this new majority to pursue their own private and profitable agenda.

And there you have the Texas GOP. The only silver lining is that with so many blind zealots charging off to tilt with their favorite windmill, these folks are constantly shooting themselves in the foot in one way or the other. Sound familiar?

Posted by jim in austin at October 9, 2003 06:00 AM

Great piece -- and scarier than hell. People have to realize that this is what we're up against, and very few (Paul Krugman being one of the few) do.

Posted by Frederick at October 9, 2003 06:04 AM

"But this platform does strike me as completely unhinged. Eliminating the separation of Church and State, for crying out loud!" -- Timothy Klein

Yeah, like using federal funds to support faith-based initiatives, for Pete's sake. (It troubles me that Bush campaigned for tax cuts partially on the argument that taxpayers would be free to donate to their favorite charity, then wanted our tax dollars to pay for programs run by churches. My ccontrary side preversely wished the Church of Scientology would be first in line with their hand out.)

John, maybe Bush doesn't seem to be too actively pursuing items on the Texas GOP agenda (not that this surprises me), but every little accomplishment drives a wedge into a little chink in our armor.

Posted by Richard Brandt at October 9, 2003 06:05 AM

doc Russia, a tip: the word "pseudologia" will sound more impressive if you spell it right.

Posted by John Isbell at October 9, 2003 06:05 AM

Molly Ivins has been warning us about this for years. Take Texas seriously. And did someone refer to GWB as moderate? Norqiust and Co. chose him as an electable empty vessel.

Posted by Jeanne at October 9, 2003 06:06 AM

So I guess doc Russia point is sure these are the stated goals of our party, but really its ok. Teaching the outright lies of creationism is ok. Sure we want to overule the Supreme court but because of states rights, after all the court handed down those nasty civil rights decisions. Well sure the platform puts gays right next to sex offenders, but all its saying is gays shouldn't adopt like sex offenders shouldn't adopt. Now how do you imply thats comparing the two?

Posted by Rob at October 9, 2003 06:12 AM

Not to sound too Santorum-esque, but sodomy doesn't just refer to homosexual sex, it refers to all sex not involving both the male and female genitalia.

In other words, sodomy laws also outlaw oral and anal sex.

By heterosexual couples.

Even if they're married.

Posted by AJB at October 9, 2003 06:14 AM

I don't think you can do that. They are for real, they have lots of influence, their goal is to remake the Republican party in their image, and they are making a lot of progress.

You're right Kevin!

Social Security was abolished yesterday. Minimum wage laws went away last week. Women have resumed getting abortions in back alleys with coat hangers, creationsim is now taught at all public schools. My paycheck is that much bigger now that there is no federal income tax. I saw a "WIDE LOAD" truck hauling the UN building out of NYC the other day. The unemployment lines got longer now that nobody works that at the defunct, EPA, HUD, HHS, and DOE. In addition, I am flying down to Panama to celebrate our our taking back of the Panama Canal.

Sorry dude, but posts like this belong in the realm of Bartcop and Mediawhoresonline.

There are Democratic members of Congress that are part of the Democratic Socialists of America. I suppose all of us should be very afraid since that is their vision for America: a socialist state.

Good grief.

Posted by Jay Caruso at October 9, 2003 06:24 AM

I have lived in Texas for the last 22 years and have, on occaision, even considered applying for citizenship. Ironically, I moved here from California where I grew up, went to school and began my career.

The description of Texas Republicans by jim in austin is right on the money. There are notable exceptions, of course, like Kay Bailey Hutchinson who is civil and reasonable, but the base party activists are exactly as jim described them. Tom DeLay and true believers like him run the show.

While many here are happy Arnold won only because he has an R after his name, he would have been villified and utterly slaughtered if he ran in Texas.

Posted by Pug at October 9, 2003 06:28 AM

Traditional republicans represent the darker sides of human nature: selfishness and greed. Since this is human nature it will always remain, i.e., there will always be people similar to traditional republicans whatever they're called. The Texas republicans are deranged zealots. Question is, will the traditional republicans allow the zealots to take over.

Posted by carmine at October 9, 2003 06:28 AM

In their hatred for others not like themselves, the platform writers have made the document implicitly anti-democratic. That is what scares me about the likes of DeLay and Bush. They freely destroy the traditions and safeguards that bolster our form of government, because they care nothing for it.

If a democratic president and Maj. Leader came out of berkely city council, do you have any doubt that council excesses and platform absurdities would be howled from every conservative rooftop?

Posted by Boronx at October 9, 2003 06:30 AM

"Look at what it actually states: Teachers are allowed to also teach creation theory."

In science class? Creation theory has no actual science to back it up, you cannot teach it in science class. If you're going to teach it, you would have to teach it in a religion class or, better, a mythology class.

Posted by Maureen at October 9, 2003 06:30 AM

Kevin,

Michael Lind has written an excellent book about the Texasification of the GOP called Made In Texas. It is very sobering.

doc Russia: Anyone that permits a science class to teach known scientific falsehoods hates America. Teachers should never be permitted to teach lies and we both know why the GOP platform encourages teachers to do so: to sneak a bleak, dreary morality that most Americans reject into the public schools.

Posted by tristero at October 9, 2003 06:33 AM

jim in austin at October 9, 2003 06:00 AM

"dixiecrats: The civil rights movement and legislation of the '60s single-handedly converted the Democratic Solid South into the Republican Solid South."

This is true. One of the comments on OpinionJournal re Sullivan's idiotic article on gay marriage was the following:

>Say Goodbye to the South

>James Fanning - Rosedale, N.Y.

>If the Republicans endorse gay marriage they can kiss the religious right and the Bible Belt goodbye. The same way the Dems lost the South after the '65 civil rights signing.

As some of us say, scratch a homophobe and you often find a racist.

Posted by raj at October 9, 2003 06:33 AM

Jay, I can't tell if you are afraid of the stated goals of the Texas GOP or if you are supportive of them. But either way, Kevin's post clearly does not say that this platform will be fulfilled tomorrow, he is saying that the Republicans are taking incremental steps towards fulfilling these planks, and if you don't agree, you're not paying attention.

Posted by Maureen at October 9, 2003 06:34 AM

Sorry dude, but posts like this belong in the realm of Bartcop and Mediawhoresonline.

And the official platform of the Texas Republican Party belongs on FreeRepublic, dude.

Posted by Pug at October 9, 2003 06:35 AM

I just emailed this post to Clark and Kerry, with a little note. I tried emailing it to Dean, but his feedback now has a 250-word limit. I think folks should see this.

Posted by John Isbell at October 9, 2003 06:40 AM

Yeah, because Bernie Sanders, Danny Davis, and Major Owens are the left's equivalent to George Bush and Tom Delay.

Get a grip, Jay.

Posted by G C at October 9, 2003 06:43 AM

doc Russia at October 9, 2003 05:30 AM

I don't know whether this person is for real or just a caricature, but, if what it says

>Also you allege that we think homosexuals should be treated like sex offenders, when what it actually says is that the gop does not endorse homosexual adoption of children.

is true, I guess Texas Republicans would rather see children adopted by the likes of Earl "Butch" Kimmerling or Joe Combs than a loving gay person or couple.

Who is Earl "Butch" Kimmerling?

>Anti-Gay Indiana Preacher Sentenced to 40 Years

>The Associated Press reports Earl "Butch" Kimmerling, a fundamentalist preacher and a foster parent who successfully challenged a girl in his care from being adopted by a gay man, was sentenced Wednesday to 40 years in prison for child molestation.

>Kimmerling pleaded guilty last month to four counts of molesting his foster daughter, now 9. He and his wife, Saundra, fought in 1998 to keep the girl from being adopted by Craig Peterson -- a gay man who had adopted the little girl's three brothers.

>At his sentencing, Kimmerling broke down in tears and apologized for molesting the girl. He then begged the court for leniency. Prosecutors were unsympathetic and pushed the court to issue the maximum 50 year sentence.

http://www.datalounge.com/datalounge/news/record.html?record=5332

Who is Joe Combs?

>The woman raised as Esther Combs told a probation officer that in some ways Joe and Evangeline Combs will always be her parents, but she feels safer now that they are in jail. That and other comments from the now 22-year-old woman, who has changed her name, were reported in Joe and Evangeline Combs' presentence reports filed in criminal court last week.

>The Combses' were convicted jointly last month of kidnapping the girl, by concealing her, and of aggravated assault. Joe Combs was also convicted of aggravated perjury, aggravated rape and seven counts of rape. Evangeline Combs was convicted individually of four counts of aggravated child abuse.

BTW, Joe Combs was a Baptist preacher (in Florida and Tennessee) while this was going on.

http://www.sullivan-county.com/nf0/combs/ester_safe.htm

Posted by raj at October 9, 2003 06:44 AM

Jay:

If the Democrats had the Presidency and both houses of Congress, I'd hope you *would* point out the level of influence of radical people in the party, given that there's not much left to check them.

So why shouldn't people take a look at the pledged and publicly stated goals of the current officeholders?

Which parts of the Texas platform do you *not* agree with yourself?

Posted by V / VJ at October 9, 2003 06:46 AM

Jay Caruso -- scratch Kevin off the very short list of intelligent people who take your bullshit seriously. Why any one ever did, I don't know.

Your post here says nothing. Same old, same old -- heavy, stupid sarcasm, ignoring Kevin's point, and a big scare about sinister, unnamed Democratic Socialists in Congress. (I personally would much prefer for the US to be more like Sweden and less like Texas. What are the ways that Texas is better than Sweden? But people like me are not at all influential in the Democratic Party, whereas the Texas Republicans are extremely influential in the Republican Party -- here in Oregon that type is fighting to take over the Republicans.)

Doc Russia -- same thing. Heavy, stupid sarcasm, little or no point. SPC67 (??) on another thread -- complete refusal to deal with the topic. Reg -- random assertions one after another. Someone send over the smart Republicans.

For over a year now I've been saying this: look at what DeLay, Ashcroft, Rove, Norquist, the Conservative Citizens Council, Bob Jones University, Limbaugh, Lott, Gramm, Pat Robertson, and the rest of them are saying. Figure out what they want and what they're trying to do. And figure out how much power they have in the Republican Party. These are all well-known figures, often with important formal roles, sometimes more behind the scenes. We should take them at their word.

And whenever I do that, some conservative shithead stands up, calls me a hysterical conspiracy theorist, and explains that no one pays any attention to those people and that they have no importance.

Often they even have they nerve to say something like "I don't pay any attention to those people, much less agree with them. Why are you making such a big deal about them?" -- as if somehow I have demeaned myself by paying attention to those lowlifes. I pay attention to them because they're big-time players who have big plans and are in a position to put some of them in effect.

Posted by Zizka at October 9, 2003 06:48 AM

The point here for me is:

1) The people in charge of our country wrote this document.

2) The people in charge of our country signed it.

3) The people in charge of our country made sure that all Texas Republicans running for office read it and signed it.

Now, how can you say that they themselves are not taking this seriously?

Posted by bink at October 9, 2003 06:52 AM

The Party believes that scientific topics, such as the question of universe and life origins and environmental theories, should not be constrained to one opinion or viewpoint

I think that's the most important part of that plank, not the "creationism in science class" reading (although that part of it is true). To the people who subscribe to this, science="opinion or viewpoint." There is no objective reality; there is only faith. Faith in tax cuts, faith in neoconservative theories of the Middle East, faith in creationism. Opposing arguments, no matter how many facts they have on their side, are simply wrong, opinions based on a lack of faith. As wrong as someone not accepting Jesus Christ as their personal savior. There can be no argument, no compromise. The scientists around the world have coalesced around the consensus that global warming is real, extremely dangerous, and caused by the burning of fossil fuels. But, that "viewpoint" is dismissed as "opinion." This world-view is what caused that LATimes article to label this White House as "medieval." It's extraordinarily disturbing, and it's the mindset of the wing of the GOP headed by Delay and Bush.

Posted by BriVT at October 9, 2003 06:59 AM

Jay,
You said

"There are Democratic members of Congress that are part of the Democratic Socialists of America. I suppose all of us should be very afraid since that is their vision for America: a socialist state."

I'd be interested in seeing documentation for this. Is there a mission statement somewhere? I thought Wellstone was the farthest left, and he's dead now. who are you talking about?

Posted by Tripp at October 9, 2003 07:02 AM

LOL, it looks like you took someone's dirty laundry out of the hamper before they had time to wash it and make it look nice and presentable. This is no surprise to anyone with a mind though- we know who has the reigns of power and influence in the Republican Party, and we know who "they" mark as persona non grata without them needing to blatantly say it. Dirty laundry can be hidden in hampers, but eventually the stink gets so bad that everyone notices it!

The Straight-Jacketed Ranter element of the Republican Party is going to be exposed and kicked out on its coat-tails in 2004 because people are beyond being disappointed and complacently accepting anymore- they are truly mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. I feel bad for Bush because he really isn't part of these mania sufferers like Cheney, Rumsfeld, and DeLay, but I guess if you cut the puppet strings the puppet must fall as well.

Posted by DownWithDeLay at October 9, 2003 07:05 AM

DON'T WASTE TIME ARGUING WITH THE RIGHT, DEFEAT THEM. ORGANIZE, CAMPAIGN, GIVE MONEY. IN POLITICS YOU ARE EITHER PLAYING OFFENSE OR DEFENSE, PLAY OFFENSE.

Posted by john at October 9, 2003 07:07 AM

The Republican Party : hiding insanity in plain sight by insisting that anyone who pays attention to us is a crazy conspiracy-nut ! Sign up now!

Posted by ChrisL at October 9, 2003 07:12 AM

Okay, I'll agree with the posters up stream waving the Ivins flag on the play, but I'll go a little further. The platform isn't the fault of the politicians, it's the fault of the electorate, especially in Texas.

You're a little overly snarky in boiling down the party platform, but really not too far off the mark. The problem here though is lack of democratic turn out and financing. When it comes to Texas there's two constituencies to appeal to, Corporate interests (for campaign finance) and conservative christians (for votes). The problem with lambasting the party platform here is that the party platform has been created to get people elected, not out of some deep ideological beliefs on the part of the party.

If gay rights voters turned out in the numbers that the conservative Christians do year after year the Republican rhetoric against homosexuals would abate. The problem isn't the party that is opportunist, the problem is the electorate that decides their platform. It's okay to present the Republican platform for scrutiny, it's even alright to denigrate it, but to place all of the blame at the feet of the opportunistic Republicans is a bit disingenuous.

Posted by Gary at October 9, 2003 07:15 AM

It's not about what the rank and file Republican believes. It's about what the leadership believes.

And what the leadership believes DOES have such a far-right slant..they do what they get away with, but given time, and the way the media treats them, unless they are stopped, the right-ward slide will continue without anybody blinking an eye.

I would hope that the more sensible Republicans would see what's going on, and work from the inside to stop this, but I think it's more about power and ego than actual policy. It's just a game for most of them.

Ergo the lack of a "Draft anybody but Bush" movement.

Posted by Karmakin at October 9, 2003 07:24 AM

>>I suppose all of us should be very afraid since that is their vision for America: a socialist state

Maybe Jay can tell us what state's Democratic party platform advocates this.

The most dishonest way of argumentation - counter something based upon actual fact with accusations supposed to represent an equivilence but which are based upon fantasy - and people like Jay engage in that form of arugmentation all the time in order to prevent people from discussing the real man behind the curtain.

Posted by Andy X at October 9, 2003 07:26 AM

Jay,

Spc67 already beat you to the "hyperbole argument".

Kevin is arguing that the Texan Manifesto might be a road map for the future of the national Republican party, given that many of the players in the national party, including THE head of the national party, have literally signed off on it, that many of the actions of these leaders in the national party are in line with the Texan Manifesto, and that overall Texans are becoming more prominent in the national party.

Your response actually has much more hyperbole than anything in Kevin's post because you set up the strawman that none of the more severe proposals in the Texan Manifesto are currently in place. Your argument appears to be that since you don't see any of the the strawmen in place TODAY, Kevin's argument about the FUTURE direction of your party is ridiculous.

You choose to dismiss Kevin's argument rather than address it directly. I assume that means you have no counter-argument. In the same vein, spc67 has no counter-argument as he too resorts to ridicule and hyperbole without actually addressing Kevin's argument. Since you are both smart guys who profess to be conservatives, and I think Republicans, this indicates to me that there is in fact no conservative counter-argument to Kevin's point and that, indeed, the Texan Manifesto is the future of the Republican Party.

Now, if you would like to convince me that this is not so, you could try to actually address Kevin's post. Otherwise, you're simply proving his point.

Posted by Jeff Boatright at October 9, 2003 07:26 AM

OK, I'm up for some abuse.

The biggies I see here are #2: get the Courts out of things that the Federal Government has no power over, #8: personal responsibility folks, if you don't want to save for your retirement it's your problem, and #10: these programs are not among the enumerated powers of the Federal Government and are better performed at lower levels of government (#2 and #10 tie closely in my mind).

#1 I am not conversant enough with to defend
#3 The Constitution does not call for separation of church and state. It prevents the state from establishing a religion. Original intent folks.
#4 Is not defensible in light of #2
#6 The child molester part is correct, adding gays to that so questionable that I will not defend it.
#7 The teaching of Creation is a job for home and church, but I would be interested in why the left seems to have this fear of religion.
#9 If 8 & 10 go my way, we won't need a federal income tax.
#11 No sir, we stay a member of the UN and we keep them in Manhattan. This follows the old adage that you keep you friends close and your enemies closer.
#12 The Panama Canal is a vital national security asset, letting it go was a terrible mistake. However, getting it back is not feasible so I will not defend this.
#13 Yes, I am dead serious about this.

You will note that I have not addressed #5, abortion. The left and the right premise their arguments on 2 different ideals and a discussion cannot be reasonably held. My personal belief is that it falls under #2 and the government has no business being involved to say yes or no. I would prefer to leave this alone.

You may fire at will.

Posted by Ron at October 9, 2003 07:28 AM

SPC - real quick question:

Bush read and signed the Texas GOP platform, which asserted the party's aim to kill Social Security.

But prominent in the national party platform you were kind enough to link for us is an emphatic statement that the party aims to save it, to wit:

Saving Social Security: Helping Individuals Build Wealth

“Social Security is a defining American promise, and we will not turn back. This issue is a test of government’s capacity to give its word and to keep it, to act in good faith and to pursue the common good.”
— George W. Bush

Dubya was on board for both documents. On which one was he lying?

Posted by David Yaseen at October 9, 2003 07:28 AM

Shorter Texas Republican Platform:

Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

Posted by Thumb at October 9, 2003 07:30 AM

It's our job to make sure everyone knows this.


These views are not a secret. The argument that people just don't know what they are voting for is beyond lame, it is condescending. The real question is: How f*$#@!-up is the Democratic Party when it can't beat these whacko's? There is a large block of voters (mostly middle age white males who lean libertarian) who vote Republican, becasue they are more afraid of the Democrats.

Then when a Democrat loses, everybody else is to blame. Of late the Democratic Party has four arguments when it does not win an election.

1) The voters were stupid and just didn't understand.
2) It was all a dirty Republican trick orchestrated by Karl Rove.
3) Ralph Nader is Satan because he exercised his right to run for president.
4) Southerners are just racist hicks.

The Democratic party needs to focus on it's own message for a change.

Posted by Kevin G at October 9, 2003 07:33 AM

BTW, I also will not try to hold Dems nationally accountable for the views of the Berkeley city council, the Madison, Wisconsin city council or the Ivy League faculties in beginning political discussions. The platform of the Texas Republican Party has about as much relevance to Republicans across the country as my list would to Dems across the country.

Hahahahaha. Apparently spc67 inhabits Bizzaro Earth, in which members of the Berkeley City council immediately graduate to leadership positions in the senate, and the chairman of the Art Semiotics department at Brown University is the President of the United States. Oh the hilarity!

But seriously, spc - can I call you spc? - if you really think Texas Republicans are a marginal lot - despite Bush and Delay and Rove - there's something pretty simple you can do to keep your party sane and those marginal types marginal... actively work to ensure that the sane voices of the Republican party prevail, and that people like Bush and Delay are marginalIZED. I think we can both agree that nobody wants a national party looking like the Texas Republicans or the Berkeley City Council, right?

Posted by munster truck at October 9, 2003 07:33 AM

Funny how many right wing commentators were willing to take Bustamante to task for his connections to MECHA based on their somewhat inflammatory charter documents, but are somehow willing to give a free pass to Bush and the rest of the Texas GOP despite this inflammatory charter document. Especially ironic considering that this charter was (a)written more recently, (b) probably has a bigger impact on the actual activities of the group and its members and (c) we can presumptively believe based on that last part that Bush, DeLay, etc... actually read and understood this charter.

Yeah, funny.

Posted by Doug-E-Fresh at October 9, 2003 07:34 AM

Doesn't Texas have a secession clause in their state constitution? I would be happy if they'd secede, then anyone who wants to live in a conservative wingnut Utopia can move their, and leave the rest of us alone.

Posted by Carl at October 9, 2003 07:35 AM

The texas platform was written by party activists, and they seem to be more activist (kooky) than most Republicans I've ever known, though I am not from the South.

It is unfair to take the kookiest platform and tar the whole party with it, and then to argue that this is the direction the party is headed. Give me a break.

Read the MN platform for a mainstream view of Republican ideals and where the party is going. http://www.mngop.com/documents/2002platform.pdf

The southern Republicans are kind of out there. Though there isn't anything wrong with the states rights arguments on a lot of those issues. If texas wants to teach creation in its schools, why should you in CA be able to tell them to stop it? Do you really think Republicans are going to mandate creationism be taught by laws passed in Washington? These are mostly state issues, and I'm glad I'm not in Texas.

Posted by Reg at October 9, 2003 07:40 AM

I think this is an excellent and very thought-provoking post. The Texas Republicans have been reactionary for decades, and are scary folk--who wants to live in the kind of patriarchal theocracy they envision?

Still, I disagree that the right-wing wacko wing is the inevitable direction of the GOP. This kind of platform would have no more chance of being adopted in the state where I live (NY State) than Noam Chomsky would have of being elected Governor of Texas. This platform would have almost no appeal to the large majority of the population of the U.S., Republicans, Democrats, or Independents. Liberal Republicans may be in short supply in elected office (due to the distorting effect of primaries, which concentrate the wingnut elements in both parties, combined with the incumbency protection act also known as redistricting), but there are plenty of moderate to liberal Republicans in the country at large. Arnold's recent ascendance proves that liberal Republicans can and do get elected in such places as California, New York, et al. The Blue states have lots of electoral votes too.

One reason I consistently question the policies of liberal Democrats is because I live in NYC and liberal democrats are absolutely the establishment here. That means, like any establishment, they're entrenched in power and tend not to listen to their constituents anymore.

Still, I'm unlikely to move to Texas anytime soon, and if I did I'd likely be at war with these crypto-authoritarian right-wing nutjobs very quickly. In some ways, we're at the mercy of our own local geographies--we tend to fight the demons we know and project the local situation across the country--always a mistake, whether you're a liberal Democrat or a liberal republican or whatever.

As amply demonstrated in the California election, all of us have considerable capacity to believe that our own views and agendas are quite popular even when they demonstrably are not. This leads to a wierd cognitive dissonance in which we are unplasantly surprised when our side goes down in flames.

Skepticism about our own views, and the ability to keep an open mind and possibly change one's position, and trying to avoid the utter demonization of one's opponents, is an essential element in practicing democratic government successfully. The Texas Republicans, just as surely as the MoveOn nutjobs, clearly don't believe this and want to shove their narrow ideologies down our collective throats. To me, this means they should be resisted and held up to ridicule, by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Posted by Daniel Calto at October 9, 2003 07:41 AM

I don't believe Bush ever signed anything saying he agreed to the platform. If I remember correctly, that was recently added since the party apparatchiks were getting fed up with people running as Republicans but then disagreeing with parts of the platform. The signature thing wasn't around when he became governor; I believe that there was local pressure for him to sign it when he was running for President, but he fobbed it off. Who else were Texas Repubs going to vote for? His lack of signature merely tells us that he/Rove realizes you can't win Pennsylvania if you sign crap like that.

Posted by brian at October 9, 2003 07:42 AM

It is unfair to take the kookiest platform and tar the whole party with it, and then to argue that this is the direction the party is headed. Give me a break.

If George W. Bush had been Governor of Minnesota, and Tom DeLay was also from Minnesota, I'd think you had a point. But neither of them are, and you don't.

Posted by Jesurgislac at October 9, 2003 07:42 AM

Ron,

"#3 The Constitution does not call for separation of church and state. It prevents the state from establishing a religion. Original intent folks."

Here's some original intent:

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State."

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

Treaty of Tripoli - 4 November, 1796


And "the left" doesn't have a fear of religion. I'm sure somewhere in the millions of people who don't vote Republican you might find a Christian or two. The difference is this (and I am tempted to put this in all caps):

We don't want the government telling us which magical being to worship, and how and when to do it. I thought the Republicans were the party of personal freedom? Ron, why wouldn't you have a problem with this?


Posted by bardp at October 9, 2003 07:47 AM

Ron at October 9, 2003 07:28 AM

This is a joke, right?

>The biggies I see here are #2: get the Courts out of things that the Federal Government has no power over...

The federal government has no power over at least cases involving religious freedom, and all rights guaranteed under the Bill of Rights? One would believe that you had never heard of the 14th amendment's privileges and immunities and due process clauses.

>#10: these programs are not among the enumerated powers of the Federal Government and are better performed at lower levels of government....

I'm not sure, but I suspect that you mean 11 instead of 10. 10 refers to minimum wage, 11 lists various agencies. On that assumption, one would assume that you have never heard of the "provide for the general welfare" provision of Article 1, section 8.


>If 8 & 10 go my way, we won't need a federal income tax

(Again I assume you mean 11 instead of 10). Actually, if 8 goes your way, the social security tax will go by the way side. What is going to pay for the bloated defense budget?

>The teaching of Creation is a job for home and church, but I would be interested in why the left seems to have this fear of religion.

I'm not "left," but "fear of religion? Public schools can teach the biblical creation stories. (There are more than one story.) Not as a science. They can teach it as part of a comparative religion course. The problem is that people who want the biblical creation stories as having something to do with reality actually want the public schools to proselytize on behalf of their religion. Which the public schools are forbidden to do. It was reported not too long ago that a public school in Florida was even using one of the christian bibles as their history text. Give me a break.

Posted by raj at October 9, 2003 07:47 AM

Ron, there is no monolithic left that is afraid of religion. I go to church every week (Congregational) and pretty much everyone there is as liberal as me.

But look at the theocracies out there and tell me there isn't something to fear from a united church and state.

Posted by Maureen at October 9, 2003 07:47 AM

Jeff, what is there to address? Does Kevin have some kind of crystal ball that I don't?

Here's a clue: THERE IS NO ARGUMENT.

It's paranoid fantasy. I know because I've seen it on BOTH SIDES. If you listen to many hard core Republicans, they'll have people believing that the Democratic Party wants to resurrect Marx himself and re-write the US Constitution in the vein of the Communist Manifesto.

Taking the Texas GOP platform document and saying that it's a roadmap the GOP wants to take in the long run doesn't fly. Where is the evidence? These warnings have been coming forth from the mouths of Democrats ever since Barry Goldwater ran for President. Guess what? That was almost 40 years ago, and if the Texas GOP platform is some kind of roadmap as Kevin says it is, then they've done a piss-poor job of making their vision a reality.

And for the record, I am a conservative/libertarian and no longer affiliated with any party. I don't agree with everything in that stupid platform.

At the same time however, I am a realist and I find it both kind of sad and amusing that such smart people are doing their best imitation of "Be afraid! Be very afraid!" over some pointless document that isn't anywhere close to being a reality.

Try and think outside the box for once.

Posted by Jay Caruso at October 9, 2003 07:48 AM

Kevin's last paragraph has, I think been overlooked, but it's one of the most crucial.

There's really a very simple solution to all this speculation. This platform needs to be waved from every rooftop and, just as the Texas GOP would have it, politicians should be made accountable to publicly endorse or reject it.

President Bush should be presented with this platform by a reporter and asked whether he embraces it. His response will, I'm sure, be illuminating.

Posted by Gregory at October 9, 2003 07:50 AM

Kevin, good job. There is no doubt that the Texas GOP platform is THE agenda; Grover Norquist and others have said as much. Bush43 and Rove believe that the far right must be accomodated because Bush41 lost in 1992 for not doing so. It may be that Bush43, in pandering to the far right, has created a monster that he cannot control, but the effect is the same.

Now that we all (spc67 and doc Russia excepted) understand what is really going on here, it's time to think about next steps.

Isn't there perhaps a sizable chunk of the GOP that is very uncomfortable with this agenda? There is an unholy alliance of pro-business types, libertarians, isolationists, hawks, and fiscal and religious conservatives in the Republican party, and it should be rent asunder.

I see several big wedge issues here: deficits, civil liberties, subsidies, and the "war on terror".

Fiscal conservatives hate deficits; the hawks want hellof military spending.

Libertarians don't want government interfering in their lives; hawks think the DOJ and the FBI should be able to monitor peoples' activities, while religious conservatives believe government should legislate morality.

Libertarians believe in the free-market; pro-business types believe that the government should should give corporate handouts.

Hawks want to invade lots of Arab countries (+North Korea) and take them over; isolationists think America should disengage from foreign entanglements.

I could go on, but the point is this: there are many potential points of disagreement that Democrats can exploit in order to break apart what seems to be a monolithic GOP.

Posted by praktike at October 9, 2003 07:50 AM

I find Calpundit's post spot on, and some of these followup comments asinine, especially those trying to marginalize the TX GOP platform by comparing Berkeley's and Madison's.

If--and it'll be when Hell freezes over--the views of two or three small city councils and the ONLY avowed Socialist in the U.S. Congress were adopted as the official view of a state or the Democratic National Committee, then we may have a real possibility of a socialist government. But no amount of imagineering can deflect the reality that the platform of one of the top four U.S. states (by population) is so far out there, and ironically so far right of most Americans' views. This truly is scary, including the fact that GOP candidates in TX must actually read and initial the thing. And let's not forget that W., Rove, DeLay, and several other really vicious politicians running things came out of this place and this mindset. If CA and TX are the harbingers of things to come for the rest of the country, then I strongly argue, from the viewpoint of a middle-aged, career government analyst and planner with a family, a job, and a church lady wife from AL, that the center is falling apart faster than even my darkest moments have allowed me.

Is it time for political moderates to hang it up and emigrate?

Posted by Steve at October 9, 2003 07:54 AM

Also, it's important to realize that Rove does indeed fixate on wining elections, and Bush has one coming up.

A platform like this truly does raise questions of how Bush might govern if he didn't have to present a "compassionate conservative" image to the crucial swing voters in the electorate -- whome, I take for granted, would never sign off on this agenda.

Posted by Gregory at October 9, 2003 07:55 AM

"Arnold's recent ascendance proves that liberal Republicans can and do get elected in such places as California, New York, et al."

Arnold would never have been nominated by the state republican party in a normal election.

Posted by raj at October 9, 2003 07:55 AM

Kevin,

You are my hero.

Posted by newly anonymous at October 9, 2003 07:59 AM

Individual, as well as, economic Liberty are what made this country great, not big government. While I agree that the Religious agenda is scary, as well as, the Panama Canal proposal, I agree with most of the rest, all of which are right in line with what this country was supposed to be about.

This is a perfect example of the ridiculousness of the Left vs. Right battle. Instead of debating each individual proposal on it's own merits, you despise them all simply because you despise their messenger. I agree with some of these proposals and disagree with others based on a consistent adherence to the principles of the original Constitution and what Ive discovered to be the original intent of the wise men who started this country, and also my own objective understanding of the basic priciples it was built on.

What I despise is this absurd two-party system, as well as, anyone who stands vehemitely on one side or the other regardless of each individual issue. Each side is simply fighting over which one gets to use the ever increasing abusive power of the government to shove it's particular beliefs down everyone elses throat.

I think that many of these issues can easily be backed up by, or knock down by simple constitutional application, even so, I would be open to listening to reasoned arguments. Unfortunately, to get at the truth takes an open mind, not one that's entrenched on a particular side, and I must say that I've never met anyone who was beholden to the left or the right that was open to a reasoned debate on any issue.

Thanks for listening,

pool

Posted by pool at October 9, 2003 08:00 AM

Raj:

That's because of the radicalizing effect that party primaries have. I'm really in favor of eliminating primaries and instituting non-partisan, first-past-the-post general elections.
I've posted on this at length on Roger Simon and Michael Totten's sites, among others.

Still, it is possible to elect liberal Republicans even within the primary system--it's been pretty commonly done in the Northeastern U.S and New Jersey--but the the NE is a stronghold of liberal and moderate Republicanism, far differnet from TX.

Posted by Daniel Calto at October 9, 2003 08:00 AM

You all need to take a step back and realize THIS ALREADY HAPPENED TO CALIFORNIA! Instead of electing moderate Democrats to the legislature Californian's elected left-wing radicals. Why did this happen? Because the Democratic party in CA had the vision that they could make this left-leaning state the gold standard for liberal ideals and beliefs. Everytime a Republican would go up against a Democrat people would automatically vote for the them, because that's who they thought held the same moderately liberal principles. What the voters didn't realize, because they were too concerned about not electing a pro-lifer, is that the candidates they were voting for weren't just Democrats, but they were leftists.

What you see happening in Texas is exactly what happened in CA, but at the other end of the spectrum. Conservatives should take note of how it is ending for liberals in this state, and how it could potentially end for conservatives in Texas.

CA isn't going ultra-conservative anytime soon, but it's definitely going to veer to the right a little bit over the next couple years. Especially, if Arnold has some success.

-Indie

Posted by Indie Pundit at October 9, 2003 08:03 AM

Reg, the Minnesota Republican Party is probably the most liberal in the country. It's far from typical. Right now the Oregon Republican Party, the one I know best, is closer to the Texas Republicans, though control of the party has been contested for over a decade.

Jay, assertions and huffing and puffing don't get you anywhere. NOT EVEN ALL CAPS! I think that the Texas platform is a pretty good representation of the goals of the right wing of the Republican party (as I said, certainly it is here in Oregon). They haven't attained those goals yet (that's why they're goals!) and they may never attain all of them, but it tells us what they're trying to do.

I came to the same conclusions as Kevin without ever seeing that platform. Just look at at the track record and public statements of Rove, Ashcroft, DeLay, Lott (still a leader), Limbaugh, Pat Robertson, Norquist, and also George W. Bush himself, and you'll get the idea.

But if your only political bottom line is not to be a Democrat no matter what, you won't do that, You'll just say "Here's a clue: THERE IS NO ARGUMENT" as if that meant something.

Posted by Zizka at October 9, 2003 08:04 AM

John:
I mean, to be quite honest, Bush has hardly pursued any of these objectives during his time in office.

That's because he still has to get re-elected.

Just wait for the 2nd term.

Posted by newly anonymous at October 9, 2003 08:05 AM

Instead of debating each individual proposal on it's own merits, you despise them all simply because you despise their messenger. I agree with some of these proposals and disagree with others based on a consistent adherence to the principles of the original Constitution and what Ive discovered to be the original intent of the wise men who started this country, and also my own objective understanding of the basic priciples it was built on.

Guess what: the founding fathers didn't know everything. Yes, they did some wise things, but the Constitution was birthed in compromise, not as some sort of dream revelation. For instance, the idea of a bicameral legislature was a compromise between large and small states. Remember how a slave was counted as 3/5 of a person? Was that wise?

Things change. That's why we still have a legislature--because we learn new things, we need to pass new laws. Do you want to go back to the 19th century, before a social safety net, before environmental protection, before child labor laws, before anti-trust legislation, before the SEC, etc.? Because that is what the Texas GOP wants.

Posted by praktike at October 9, 2003 08:10 AM

"Still, it is possible to elect liberal Republicans even within the primary system--it's been pretty commonly done in the Northeastern U.S and New Jersey--but the the NE is a stronghold of liberal and moderate Republicanism"

It has happened here in Massachusetts, as well. But the CA Republican party, while not as virulently right wing as TX's, appears to be almost. At least among those who vote in the party's primaries.

Posted by raj at October 9, 2003 08:12 AM

Jay, there is a hint of truth in your post, to be sure. I don't think that all Republicans support this kind of platform, in fact, I would bet that 90% or more of all voters would not agree with it. But that's not the point, the point is that this was written by party leaders, the people who directly shape the direction of how the state is actually run. These aren't wingnuts like Chomsky that bluster to try and influence party leaders, they are party leaders. And not just wingnut party leaders from a place like Wyoming, they're from the second biggest state in the country and that's a lot of House and electoral vote influence.

And anyone that says Kevin is being disingenuous isn't paying attention. Kevin did an apples-to-apples comparison by offering up the California Democratic state platform. No such wingnuttery there.

A lot of rather moderate friends of mine describe their Republican affiliation as a choice of the lesser of two evils. They acknowledge, as you do Jay, that both sides have wingnuts, but seem to have concluded that the Democratic party is more controlled by its wingnuts than the Republican party. However, comparing the Republican party platform from perhaps the most conservative state to the Democratic party platform from perhaps the most liberal state seems to indicate that their impression about whose wingnuts are in control is all wrong.

And as for this: "If you listen to many hard core Republicans, they'll have people believing that the Democratic Party wants to resurrect Marx himself and re-write the US Constitution in the vein of the Communist Manifesto."

You're right, but the difference is that they can't find any mainstream party statements that indicate this. We obviously can.

Question for others, particularly those in the midwest or south: How out there is this platform? Knowing the Republicans you know, is this a fringe thing, or would this platform be embraced by GOP'ers in Alabama, Arizona, Missouri and Montana. I'm from Colorado and think this would spook most Suburban Denver Republicans (at least parts of it would), but my sense is the folks in Wyoming and Utah would jump on board. Is this really as much of a fringe platform as SPC or Reg would have us believe? I don't think so.

Posted by Doug-E-Fresh at October 9, 2003 08:14 AM

raj is first

The federal government has no power over at least cases involving religious freedom, and all rights guaranteed under the Bill of Rights?

The Constitution says that we have freedom of religion, if someone takes away your freedom of religion then yes you have a court case. But the courts "grow" powers into the Constitution that do not exist. That is my objection.

I'm not sure, but I suspect that you mean 11 instead of 10... On that assumption, one would assume that you have never heard of the "provide for the general welfare" provision of Article 1, section 8.

Dang, a miscount, you are correct 11. The "provide for the general welfare" clause is window dressing, I believe that is addressed in Federalist 43 (or right around there, there was another of Kevin's post titled Small Government in August where this was discussed in detail). The enumeration of powers is the functional part, and these agencies are not enumerated.

What is going to pay for the bloated defense budget?

I realize that some method of appropriation will be necessary for the maintenance of an armed forces.

And I'm not going to defend the teaching of Creation in science class, because then I would be infringing on athiest/agnostics, and they have rights too. But a lot of the reaction I see from the left on religious issues borders on paranoia. When visiting other countries I have never been offended by dispays of Buddhism, or Hinduism, or Islam, or anything else. I don't think a few displays of Christianity in a largely Christian country should be any problem.

And Maureen
Yes there is something to fear from theocracies. I am in no way advocating that, but even Judge Moore's rock in Alabama did not create a theocracy. (It was over the top, however, let's not argue that case here)

To all: I understand that we are going to disagree here, but this is not some stone-age reactionary document. It advocates following the procedures that built us into the most prosperous nation on Earth.

Posted by Ron at October 9, 2003 08:14 AM

Simply amazing, excellent post

Posted by Scott at October 9, 2003 08:17 AM

doc Russia :
Perhaps the most striking example you give is the teaching of biblical creationism; You paint this picture that we want to throw out the theory of evolution so that we can start to attack the idea that the world is round, and then move to attacking the heliocentric view of the universe. Look at what it actually states: Teachers are allowed to also teach creation theory.

This call for fair and balanced "tolerance" sounds like you (who is "we", BTW ?) would also accept if teachers are allowed to teach flat-earth theories and an earth-centric view of the universe. In biology, Creation-"science" is at the same level of seriousness.

On the topic of why people vote for the far right, alternet has an interesting article: http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=16885

Greetings
Karl Heinz

Posted by khr at October 9, 2003 08:17 AM

California is probably the most liberal state in the country

Or not.

I'll stipulate that non-Californians may not understand California. This lack of understanding is exceeded only by the lack of understanding people on the coasts, in both parties, have of the midwest and non-urban east.

Liberal is a pretty broad concept. Bernie Sanders is not representing California, Paul Wellstone did not represent California, Tammy Baldwin is not representing California, California was not the first state to protect the rights of gays and lesbians in its constitution.

Parts of California, like parts of Minnesota, parts of Wisconsin and parts of Iowa can be pretty conservative. And other, signigficant, parts of all these states (and others) can lay claim to the "most liberal" in a real sense.

Madison would fit into California pretty well, so would Iowa's university towns. Politically, liberal California would fit pretty well into Dane County or Milwaukee County.

Posted by Rick at October 9, 2003 08:18 AM

Right on, Kevin. These people are psychos who must be stopped at any cost. And trust me, I'm doing my part.

Posted by zridling at October 9, 2003 08:22 AM

Knowing the Republicans you know, is this a fringe thing,...

One thing that has greatly changed in our nation is that we have grown soft. And that is a good thing, it is wonderful to live in a society where we can take the good life for granted.

I know there is a spread of "economic advantage", but folks, I've been to 3rd world countries and we don't have any of that here. I like it.

But as was mentioned by pool earlier Individual, as well as, economic Liberty are what made this country great, not big government. Strong individuals make a strong country, and I think we need to reinforce that.

Posted by Ron at October 9, 2003 08:23 AM

Ron,

You skipped me.

Posted by bardp at October 9, 2003 08:24 AM

As a film enthusiast, I feel compelled to note that George W. Bush has already been vividly portrayed -- by Martin Sheen, no less -- in David Cronenberg's excellent 1983 film of THE DEAD ZONE. Watch it and fear for the future.

Posted by Hozee at October 9, 2003 08:32 AM

one comment I wanted to address:

"Teachers are allowed to also teach creation theory."

If you are comfortable with science teachers teaching your children something that is demonstrably false, have at it. I want my kids to learn the truth. Evolution is a FACT. Natural selection is the theory that explains how evolution works, and the specifics are in question but no reputable scientist questions the validity of speciation via evolution.

Posted by Norsecats at October 9, 2003 08:32 AM

The "provide for the general welfare" clause is window dressing

wait. we can pick and choose the sections that we like?

Posted by ChrisL at October 9, 2003 08:34 AM

Just for comparison's sake, here's the California Republican Party platform. Conservative, yes, but mostly well within the "sane" category.

Meanwhile, over in the non-sane column, we have Indie Pundit (oh, those wacky *Pundit folks!):

Instead of electing moderate Democrats to the legislature Californian's elected left-wing radicals. [...] What the voters didn't realize, because they were too concerned about not electing a pro-lifer, is that the candidates they were voting for weren't just Democrats, but they were leftists.

Man, why do conservatives think voters are stupid? I thought that's what they're supposed to say about liberals: That we think people are stupid.

--Kynn

Posted by Kynn at October 9, 2003 08:37 AM

I heartily agree with Kevin that this document deserves wide distribution and needs to see the light of day. It holds little shock value for us here in Texas but, if these posts are any indication, it could be a real eye-opener elsewhere. These are the images conjured in my mind when Republicans are mentioned, not the Romneys, Rockefellers, Scrantons or Margaret Chase Smiths. The entire liberal Republican tradition, socially progressive and fiscally conservative, now lies totally within the confines of the Democratic party. Perhaps we should bother to inform the electorate...

Posted by jim in austin at October 9, 2003 08:40 AM

Did Indie just say that idiots elected Arnold? Or did they suddenly become wise now that somone with an R won? And did they get stupid when Wilson lost?

Posted by Rob at October 9, 2003 08:41 AM

Carl,

I don't know about secession in the Texas constitution, but I do know (as was verified by a poster on another blog) the state can divide itself into as many as five, thereby getting probably two or three more reps and up to eight more senators.

Posted by Mellifluous at October 9, 2003 08:41 AM

bardp
A thousand pardons, I missed it. And thank you for pointing it out, I did not miss it intentionally.

I am aware of the wording in Jefferson's letter. There are enough references to God in the works of the Founding Fathers to indicate that they thought religion an integral part of individual life, they just didn't want a government founded on religion. And this is beyond proving, but I think if Jefferson knew the problems he was going to cause by that phrase he never would have phrased it that way.

As to the Treaty of Tripoli, the Constitution says the government shall not establish a religion, and the Treaty says we were not established on a religion. I fail to see the importance of bringing this up.

We don't want the government telling us which magical being to worship, and how and when to do it. I thought the Republicans were the party of personal freedom? Ron, why wouldn't you have a problem with this?

I don't have a problem with religious freedom, I have no intent in forcing anyone to convert to Christianity any more than I have intent to force people to convert to Druidism. I do not see the (limited) use of Christian phrases and symbols to be a problem. As I mentioned in an earlier post, symbols of Buddhism cause me no problems. I guess my question is why symbols of Christianity cause anybody else problems.

Posted by Ron at October 9, 2003 08:42 AM

Great Myth Ron, promoted by libertarian republicans all over. But you forget all about the economic impact of such "big government" programs as:

The building of roads and canals in the early 19th century East.
The Homestead Act.
Federal subsidies for railroad development.
Federal programs for water storage making the West inhabitable.
The growth of modern big-city, big government which enabled industrialization.
Government support of the development of the telegraph, telephone, radio and TV.
Government roadbuilding which subsidized the development of the automobile.
World War 2.
The Interstate highway system which opened up our nation in terms of internal trade.
Federal spending on defense and space programs in the mid 20th century.
Federal development of computer technology in the late 20th century.

All of these big government programs were huge contributors to the economic growth of our nation. Individual initiative is an important part of our system and has contributed mightily to our growth and development, but its a myth that we are a nation of rugged capitalistic individualists forging our way despite government. In fact, at every point where this nation took great leaps forward in economic, technological and scientific terms, it is almost always as a result of an interaction of private initiative and big government subsidy.

The Frontier Thesis was discredited academically over a century ago, but it still remains a very powerful part of the Republican myth.

Posted by Doug-E-fresh at October 9, 2003 08:43 AM

You know, if you are going to criticize the Texas GOP's platform, it might help to actually cite the actual GOP platform, rather than a proposed GOP platform that was compiled by a fringe group in the Republican Party.

The link that you have is not the actual Texas GOP's platform, it's a proposed platform of the Republican Leadership Council, an uberconservative organization that most mainstream Republicans disown.

Anyone interested in seeing the actual platform of the Republican Party of Texas can access it off their website at texasgop.org, not from the website of the RLC.

Sincerely,
Adam Groves

Posted by Adam Groves at October 9, 2003 08:55 AM

Kevin,

What about the planks calling for the return of corporeal punshment to the classroom? Why exclude that?

Posted by taktile at October 9, 2003 08:56 AM

Ron,

My point in bringing up the Treaty of Tripoli goes back to your "intent" comment. The treaty was signed by John Adams and passed through Congress without any problems. Had John Adams forgetten about their intent?

Not to start a quote war, but:

I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved -- the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!

-John Adams (letter to Thomas Jefferson, Sept. 3, 1816)

What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not.

-James Madison (from Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments, 1785)

It doesn't sound like they thought religion was really important.

Posted by bardp at October 9, 2003 08:57 AM

ChrisL
No, we don't get to pick and choose. Picking and choosing is what I am arguing against. I worded that phrase rapidly since I have already covered this ground in another post.

However, my memory was slightly faulty, the previous post titled Small Government was on Sept 16 and the relevant section was from Federalist Paper #41

It has been urged and echoed, that the power "to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States," amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction...For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power?

Doug-E-Fresh
You mean things have changed since 1784? It may come as a surprise to you but I know that. And if I know that, then you can rest assured that other conservatives know that.

I will even allow that given the changes in the last 200+ years that the Constitution should reflect that. But the Constitution is a limit on the power of government. With all the yelling about all the harm Bush is doing, surely you recognize that limits on government power are a good thing.

Free enterprise and individual responsibility are wonderful things. But neither come without problems, and I do not oppose addressing problems; but I do not want free enterprise and individual responsibility thrown out because of those few problems. They still beat any alternative.

Posted by Ron at October 9, 2003 08:57 AM

Kevin is precisely right, and it's no mystery why.

Fanatics always end up in one of two positions:

As fringe lunatics no one cares about (like ELF), which is probably the most common, or,

As the spearhead of the larger groups they are associated with.

The insane Republicans are the spearhead of the larger conservative/republican movement. It's fueled by talk radio which is insane, it's fueled by craven cowards willing to play the dirtiest like DeLay.

Kevin is exactly right and, frankly, any "conservative" who spends his time posting on blogs about how we need to have all schools privatized or the market doesn't need regulation or the government "eats" money, etc., etc., is a goddamned fool to argue otherwise.

Look in the mirror Ron, spc, Matt, etc., anytime something insane is pointed out you try to argue "that's not how it is" and then go on to argue that all of your ideas, like supply-side economics actual work, are self-evidently true- as if there's a difference between faith-based economics and anything else "insane".

What makes these insane people the spearhead is the fact that modern day, self-proclaimed "conservatives" largely vote along personality lines (funny, I wrote about this in my blog last night).

The Republican party used to be the party of rich people, now it's the party of arrogant assholes with purely self-centered political views.

Posted by Tim at October 9, 2003 09:00 AM

People like Kevin Drum need to visit Texas. The radical right does not dominate Republican politics.

Maybe in your alternate universe it doesn't. But here in the real state of Texas the right-wing loonies are in charge -- from Governor Rick ("Good Hair") Perry on down, as you'd find out if you came down here to watch our Legislature in action. Or maybe you think the state legislator who complained that public education is the spawn of godless Communist Russia was off on a frolic and detour of her own?

The state platform is their manifesto and they are serious about getting it enacted.

Posted by Basharov at October 9, 2003 09:02 AM

I do not see the (limited) use of Christian phrases and symbols to be a problem. As I mentioned in an earlier post, symbols of Buddhism cause me no problems. I guess my question is why symbols of Christianity cause anybody else problems.

Ron, are you asking this question because you seriously want to understand someone else's view, or are you asking this rhetorically to mock anyone who would be concerned?

I'd give you an honest answer -- as a Christian and a liberal -- but I'm suspecting you'll just tell me my reasons are stupid and I'm "scared" of religion.

--Kynn

Posted by Kynn at October 9, 2003 09:03 AM

Jay,

Thanks for the reply. You state that Kevin has no argument and therefore you cannot offer a counter-argument. You then admonish me to, "for once", think outside of the box. Jay, I wasn't aware that you and I had had enough discourse here or elsewhere for you to make that last jab, but if ad hominen attack is your default modus operandi, so be it.

As to Kevin not having an argument, we will have to agree to disagree. I suspect that just as you cannot see even an argument in Kevin's post, I don't see your Goldwater comparison as workable analogy; it seems like misdirection to me.

At the end of the day, at least two of the most powerful people in your national party are Texas Republicans who signed off on the Texan Manifesto. To say that that has no bearing on the course of national politics is one way to avoid discussing the several points in Kevin's post.

Posted by Jeff Boatright at October 9, 2003 09:05 AM

They acknowledge, as you do Jay, that both sides have wingnuts, but seem to have concluded that the Democratic party is more controlled by its wingnuts than the Republican party. However, comparing the Republican party platform from perhaps the most conservative state to the Democratic party platform from perhaps the most liberal state seems to indicate that their impression about whose wingnuts are in control is all wrong.

Doug, first of all, let me say that I appreciate your level-headed response.

However, simply looking at a platform and concluding that is what direction the party is going to take the state or the country based on that document just doesn't hold water.

I'm not sure what your definition of a wingnut is, but if the Democrats take control of the Houes of Representatives, the following people would control some of the most powerful committees in that body:

John Conyers - Judiciary
Henry Waxman - Government Oversight
Charles Rangel - Ways and Means
David Obey - Appropriations
George Miller - Education and Workforce

These aren't just your average Democrats. They are extreme left wingers. In addition, you would have members like Maxine Waters, Jerry Nadler, etc. to add to the list that would be part of it.

I don't know about you, but if Charles Rangel starts authoring tax laws, hold on to your wallet.

You're right, but the difference is that they can't find any mainstream party statements that indicate this. We obviously can.

Not true. You have over 50 members of the House of Representatives that are affiliated with the Democratic Socialists of America which is the domestic branch of the Socialist International Party. Do some research into the 'Progressive Caucus', a misnomer if there ever was one.

Zizka, if you're doing to debate the issue, please don't insult my intelligence by trotting out Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh as viable examples.

You said:

They haven't attained those goals yet (that's why they're goals!) and they may never attain all of them, but it tells us what they're trying to do.

And like I said, these dire warnings about what Republicans want to do with the country have been around for decades. Please point me to one item on that list, where they have come even marginally close to attaining it. Just one.

You have to provide some substantial evidence that the platform isnt anything more than a tool used to whip up the party faithful during election time.

Posted by Jay Caruso at October 9, 2003 09:05 AM

Just checking, anybody read the NATIONAL Republican platform yet, so we have a reasonable basis for commencing a discussion? No? I am shocked, shocked! (apologies to Casablanca)

Posted by spc67 at October 9, 2003 09:06 AM

You know, I wish I'd never said that. It has been run into the ground.

Posted by Claude Raines at October 9, 2003 09:08 AM

But you forget all about the economic impact of such "big government" programs as:

and... rural electrification.

Posted by SK Bubba at October 9, 2003 09:08 AM

Oh yeah, that's not to call specific people "assholes". What I'm getting at is assholes, complete fucking assholes are leading the movement. Most of the people who join in are just supremely selfish and self-absorbed. There's no wonder why most of the "conservatives" here just argue libertarian causes, which, as Ayn Rand so kindly pointed out, are all centered around supreme selfishness.

I mean, why the hell else would someone want to dismantle social security? Or "privatize" it so that their money stays in their account, because isn't it just so awful when your money is used in some way by someone that isn't you!?

Taxation is criminal! I mean, I don't want my money to go to welfare moms! Why must the government torture me so?!!?

Posted by Tim at October 9, 2003 09:09 AM

bardp
I see that you have discussed this topic before :)

I have no response to the John Adams letter. It is short enough that I hope some context was lost. But it is clear to me that, in general, the Founding Fathers were religious individuals, but that they opposed religious governments.

And as to the James Madison letter, he was stating that religion based governments were bad.
...a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority...upholding the thrones of political tyranny...
Finding more quotes indicating that the state should not establish a religion is not advancing anything. We agree there.

It doesn't sound like they thought religion was really important.
I don't need (at least I hope I don't need) to bring out all my quotes, they're on your money, they're in the Declaration of Independence, they are on the walls of the Supreme Court,...

Posted by Ron at October 9, 2003 09:09 AM

spc67, the point is not what the Republican party platform is now, but rather what it may become in the future. That is why the title of this post is "The New Model Republican Party."

You seem to refuse to understand this distinction.

--Kynn

Posted by Kynn at October 9, 2003 09:10 AM

Ron at October 9, 2003 08:14 AM

>The Constitution says that we have freedom of religion

No it doesn't. The constitution says that congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or infringing the free exercise thereof. It doesn't say that you have freedom of religion. There is a big difference.

And the courts have recognized that the right not to have state and local gov'ts make such laws is one of the privileges and immunities conferred through the 14th amendment.

This means that no gov't at any level may proselytize on behalf of an establishment of religion. Nor may they provide a benefit to an establishment of religion, including providing an exemption for generally-applicable laws and regulations.

>The enumeration of powers is the functional part, and these agencies are not enumerated.

The Patent Office isn't enumerated either. Are you suggesting that Congress can't establish a Patent Office?


>I don't think a few displays of Christianity in a largely Christian country should be any problem.

What makes you believe that display of christian symbols, in the abstract, is objectionable? As long as it is clear that government is not sponsoring the display, favoring display of christian symbols as opposed to display of other symbols (religious or otherwise), or suggesting proselytizing on behalf of christianity? Generally, the problem is that government is doing one of these. This was certainly the case with Roy's Rock. He could have his rock, provided he allowed display of other symbols with a similar degree of prominence. Roy's Rock was often defended on the ground that the US Supreme court also has a display of the 10 commandment symbol. But what the defenders generally ignored was the fact that that was part of a display that included a number of other symbols, and they were given equal prominence. But Roy would not permit that, as anyone who read the appeals court decision in the case would know. So Roy's display was unconstitutional.

Posted by raj at October 9, 2003 09:13 AM

"this is not some stone-age reactionary document. It advocates following the procedures that built
us into the most prosperous nation on Earth."

And that is the 'theology' at the core of this fanaticism. It is held more as a religious belief than as a political theory or an interpretation of history.

Posted by obe at October 9, 2003 09:17 AM

Gregory this bares repeating...over and over again....we can miss the real point of this discussion and find the issues becoming single issues instead of putting this to those who lead this country now and either get them to accept it or denounce it!!

"Kevin's last paragraph has, I think been overlooked, but it's one of the most crucial.

There's really a very simple solution to all this speculation. This platform needs to be waved from every rooftop and, just as the Texas GOP would have it, politicians should be made accountable to publicly endorse or reject it.

President Bush should be presented with this platform by a reporter and asked whether he embraces it. His response will, I'm sure, be illuminating. "

Posted by Jon at October 9, 2003 09:19 AM

Jay,

Thanks for illustrating Kevin's point so very well.

Henry Waxman is an "extreme left winger"?

See, here's how these folks can argue their party isn't extreme compared to the days of yore...

Far right conservatism has taken over the mainstream, leaving only the fringe to represent the "far" right. Norquist was far-right 15-20 years ago, now he's the foremost unofficial spokesman for the party and his ideas, considered extreme 15-20 years ago, are now gospel for probably every conservative that visits here.

Everything going right means Henry Waxman, being liberal, is now on the fringe with groups like ELF or ANSWER.

It's insane. Kevin hit the nail on the head.

Posted by Tim at October 9, 2003 09:20 AM

spc67, the point is not what the Republican party platform is now, but rather what it may become in the future. That is why the title of this post is "The New Model Republican Party."
You seem to refuse to understand this distinction.

--Kynn

To quote Kevin "it {the Republican Party} has become completely unhinged." Notice the verb tense please. He is not speaking of the future.

I am shocked...ah hell Claude, you're right.


Posted by spc67 at October 9, 2003 09:20 AM

Duck Soup is still my touchstone in debates like this.

Shorter non-Bush-supporters: "But I saw [your state's platform] with my own eyes!"

Shorter Bush-supporters: "Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?"

Posted by V / VJ at October 9, 2003 09:23 AM

Things change. That's why we still have a legislature--because we learn new things, we need to pass new laws. Do you want to go back to the 19th century, before a social safety net, before environmental protection, before child labor laws, before anti-trust legislation, before the SEC, etc.? Because that is what the Texas GOP wants.

This coment is spot-on. The Texas GOP platform -- which Kevin has identified, and IMO no one successfully refuted, as the defining ideology of some of the most influential members of the party, including its titular head* and some of the top Congressional leadership -- all but explicitly call for a return to the "good old days" of the Gilded Age.

Go read The Jungle and tell me you think that's your idea of utopia. For the Texas Republican party, it is, with a heaping helping of state endorsement of religion on the side.

And no, Ron, the Constitution does not actually say we have freedom of religion. Rather, it prohibits laws that effect an establishment of religion. Long Supreme Court tradition holds that government must take a neutral stance toward religion, not endorse it and certainly not use the public schools to indoctrinate children.

Religious people and organizations are, of course, not bound by the same strictures. But the Constitution says that the state can not establish a religion, the Supreme Court has long backed this view, and that -- I presume -- is why the Texas GOP seeks to remove what they see as an obstacle to doing so.

*If you think Bush doesn't agree with this platform, I'm all for giving Bush an opportunity to publicly disavow it.

Posted by Gregory at October 9, 2003 09:25 AM

Jay, you may be too pure to pay any attention to Limbaugh and Robertson, but they are powers in the Republican Party and you aren't. I get this bullshit from conservatives all the time. "I don't pay any attention to those guys -- why do you?"

I pay attention to them because they're important, but I have no idea why I pay any attention to you.

Posted by Zizka at October 9, 2003 09:29 AM

"I don't have a problem with religious freedom, I have no intent in forcing anyone to convert to Christianity any more than I have intent to force people to convert to Druidism. I do not see the (limited) use of Christian phrases and symbols to be a problem. As I mentioned in an earlier post, symbols of Buddhism cause me no problems. I guess my question is why symbols of Christianity cause anybody else problems."

Ron, I suspect that this may be because you've never lived in a society ruled by those of a religion different from yours. Overt symbols are merely a symptom of a larger pattern of privileging the habits and rituals of the majority religion over those of smaller ones. And it can be oppressive.


-l.

Posted by LauraJ.Mixon at October 9, 2003 09:31 AM

Nice response Jay, and as usual, our differences mainly lie in who we're more scared of, extremists left or right. Right scares me more, Left scares you more. I guess in the end, I think our country has better inherent brakes that would stop a procipitous slide to the far left than the far right, but this is a debatable proposition either way. All I know is that, as a Democrat, I know very few people outside of a handful of campus radicals that take Marxism very seriously or have any interest in dismantling our capitalist system. They do believe in moderately regulating capitalism in order to deal with the numerous social problems that laissez-faire has a history of creating and also believe in a mild form of redistribution to provide a social saftey net to those who need it, but they also believe that capitalism is the most efficient way to create wealth and also believe in using government as an economic primer at times to give capiltalism a boost. But none of them are truly "radical" in my book. I find the Bush administration agenda to be far more "radical" in terms of the amount of things they wish to roll back. And I also am less inclined to believe that what they tell me is their agenda is truly their agenda.

However, I do question your statement that there are:

"over 50 members of the House of Representatives that are affiliated with the Democratic Socialists of America which is the domestic branch of the Socialist International Party."

First, I'm not convinced that that's true in the first place, do you have any reference for that? Second, as a debater, you are getting awfully close to red-baiting. The cold war ended almost 15 years ago, why do conservatives seem so attached to it, as far as I can tell mainstream liberals gave it up 50 years ago.

Posted by Doug-E-Fresh at October 9, 2003 09:31 AM

Doug-E,

Good list, but let's add a couple of items:

Rural electrification, including TVA..

Land-grant universities, as well as much broader support of higher education over the years.

It's interesting that the areas of the country that benefitted the most from many of these programs are now the home of rabid antigovernment sentiment.

Posted by Bernard Yomtov at October 9, 2003 09:34 AM

Ron,

Yeah, I've hashed over this a few times. The first three presidents were Deists, and not Christians. Thomas Jefferson spent his free time editing out what he considered the supernatural nonsense of the bible and making his own (it's still available, go to Amazon and search "The Jefferson Bible.") He spoke of separating the good parts from bad as picking out "diamonds from dunghills".

The Declaration of Independence:

Written before the Constitution, it does not represent any law of the U.S. It was written by Jefferson, who was not a Christian (his beliefs were closer to Deism); the author of the Separation of Church and State was not referencing the Christian God. In his letters to Adams he's pretty clear about what he meant by the Separation of Church and State and why. The Jefferson Memorial has an inscription at its base that talks of his commitment to fighting tyranny. What most people don't know is that he was speaking about the tyranny of the clergy.


Money & The Supreme Court:

Are you kidding? Those were added in the 50's by people scared of the the godless communists, not by the Founding Fathers.

This is all moot really, what I wanted to know was: If it is so terrible for the government to have a say over the water quality and public schools of its citizenry, why don't you have a problem with them having a say in their religious beliefs?


Posted by bardp at October 9, 2003 09:35 AM

What would be rather amusing is if Adam Groves' post just above is correct. If it proves out, Kevin will have to consume a huge portion of crow. As Gilda Radner used to say, "Never mind".

If Mr. Groves is incorrect, well, since I find both parties largely populated with intellectually dishonest thugs, my view of them can hardly be lowered.

Posted by Will Allen at October 9, 2003 09:35 AM

what I wonder about is the growth of the hard-core Republican base, i.e., people who will vote for anyone/ anything that Rush, Hannity and the other message bearers of the party tell them to. The GOP has shown that block voting in the House effectively locks out any moderates and any opposition, and that they are not afraid to go after moderate members of their own pary.

Add the big corporate money and it seems that the party is more and more of a top-down organization that rewards/ punishes members based on lock step following of the leadership. See the recent House proposals to cut funding to all democratic and moderate republican districts, something that even DeLay has admitted is new to american politics.

There is a significant disconnect between many of the GOP policies and the self-interest of their voters. I mean, if you work for under $40,000 a year somewhere in middle america, healthcare, social security, strong pension laws and strong corporate governance are in your best interests. This can partially be explained by the party's strong Christian message, but I think the more effective message is anger.

Just listen to talk radio. A whole group of "pundits" or ordinary fed-up Americans as they like to style themselves, going on about socialists (what socialists?), big government spending (hello, who's in charge of government spending now?), Clinton's sex life (but Arnolds was left-wing attack politics), teacher unions and lawyers running the democratic party (never mind all the big-business money flowing into the GOP) and whatever hot butttons they can find to convice people that they are getting the short end of the stick and "ITS TIME FOR A CHANGE / YOU CAN'T TRUST THOSE OTHER BASTARDS."

It's been effective. I just wonder if people will change their minds eventually, or if the amount of money that the GOP now controls (aiming for $200 million for the next presidential campaign) will buy them enough air time to drown out any opposition.

Posted by jjj at October 9, 2003 09:36 AM

Raj and I were obviously thinking along the same lines.

And Jon, thanks for the nod.

Spc67, Jay, etc. etc., the solution really is very simple. Here we have a series of ideas that may or may not represent the goals of the Republican leadership. Your argument, as I take it, is that they do not in fact hold these goals.

The solution is simple and elegant: Have them declare, publicly, whether they do in fact embrace or reject it.

And let the chips fall where they may.

If the Democrats don't brings this document up -- say, during a Presidential debate -- and challenge Bush to declare where he stands, they're fools.

Posted by Gregory at October 9, 2003 09:41 AM

These are mostly state issues, and I'm glad I'm not in Texas. - reg

Reg, the Minnesota Republican Party is probably the most liberal in the country. It's far from typical. - zizka

Zizka, you've been out of the state too long. The right-wing loonies have been in assent ion since they nominated Grunseth over Carlson, and now they're wholly owned subsidies of MCCL (one of the nations largest anti-abortion lobbies) and MN Taxpayers League, a group that works verbatim from Grover Nordquist's wildest dreams. And to make our little circle complete, we can't leave out our very own Republican Rep. Arlon Linder:

""I was a child during World War II, and I've read a lot about World War II," he said. "It's just been recently that anyone's come out with this idea that homosexuals were persecuted to this extent. There's been a lot of rewriting of history."

A real piece of work, he's also been very influential regarding dropping gays from any and all states equal rights protections. In Minnesota. Land of your father's moderate Republicans.

BTW - Rep. Linder is also from Texas. Huh, imagine that.

Posted by Thumb at October 9, 2003 09:41 AM

RESPONSE TO ADAM GROVES:

Adam Groves post is hilarious. He dismisses the platform cited by Kevin as the platform proposed by a luntatic "fringe group." However, ever piece of the platform criticized by Kevin (except for the return to the Gold Standard and abolishment of the FRB) appears in the 2002 Platform linked by Groves.

Abolishing judicial enforcement of the Bill of Rights is on p. 5. Abolishing the separation of church and state is on p. 6 (an additional plank establishing the U.S. as a Christian Nation is also included). Gay sex is criminalized on p. 8. Abortion is outlawed on p. 9. Gay adoption is abolished on pages 8 and 10, although the language equating them to child molesters does not appear. Creationism is encouraged on p. 13, 14 although in more subtle language. Social security is abolished on p. 11. The IRS and income tax is abolished on p. 15. The minimum wage is abolished on p. 16. All useful federal agencies are abolished on pages 2, 12 and 17. We withdraw from the U.N. on p. 21. We also take back the Panama Canal on p, 21.

Kevin may need to update the post, but Adam should have read the platform before conceding it is lunacy.

Posted by Chuck Smith at October 9, 2003 09:43 AM

Kevin,

Think you should have credited Ted Barlow with digging up the Texas GOP platform (http://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/000444.html)

Posted by Tom at October 9, 2003 09:44 AM

Just because the leftists in CA aren't stupid enough to publish their far left-wing agenda like the ultra-conservatives in Texas, doesn't mean they don't have a far left-wing agenda.

I didn't say that Californians are stupid. I believe they are often uninformed due to their apathy for politics. There are a lot of single issue voters out there, and the Democrats have done an effective job of demonizing Pro-life Republicans over the years.

Given the fact that many of you believe the Democrats take the high-ground on political campaigning, which is so obviously not the case, I'm not surprised that you disagree with me on this point. I guess I can't stop you from deluding yourselves.

-Indie

Posted by Indie Pundit at October 9, 2003 09:53 AM

Yes, I believe everyone should follow Adam Groves' advice and go to texasgop.org. However, I'm pretty sure he just read the preamble. The entire platform is downloadable as a pdf file, and contains all of the elements Kevin refers to.

Other parts are instructive as well, such as the juxtaposition of a plank against corporate welfare for businesses which have "failed to remain relevant, competitive and efficient over time" (p16) followed almost immediately by a plea for support for the domestic energy industry (p17).

Posted by Issa at October 9, 2003 09:54 AM

"Did Indie just say that idiots elected Arnold? Or did they suddenly become wise now that somone with an R won? And did they get stupid when Wilson lost?"

Posted by Rob at October 9, 2003 08:41 AM

Rob, you have no reading comprehension.

-Indie

Posted by Indie Pundit at October 9, 2003 09:58 AM

"over 50 members of the House of Representatives that are affiliated with the Democratic Socialists of America which is the domestic branch of the Socialist International Party."

I've seen this before. Freepers love to post stuff like this, along with links to endless lists of Democrats who signed on to some piece of legislation they don't like. Or are members of a caucus devoted to some leftie cause (like the Progressive Caucus). Therefore, they are undercover Soviet agents who are trying to sap your prescious bodily fluids.

Yet they almost always leave BERNIE SANDERS off the list. Yes, that Bernie Sanders, the actual Socialist Congressman who, when asked what his politics are, says "I'm a Socialist". The people of Vermont have so far managed to escape the Gulag State of the dreaded International Socialist Party. Which is probably five guys in someone's mom's basement.

I love all the Republicans here claiming that the Texas GOP platform in no way represents GOP views, even though it was drafted by Republicans, voted on by Republicans, is a public document, and many of the top people in the Government today are Texas Republicans.

I am not aware of any state Democratic platform that any of the Dems here would disavow in that way.

Posted by MC Hawking at October 9, 2003 09:58 AM

Perhaps the most striking example you give is the teaching of biblical creationism; You paint this picture that we want to throw out the theory of evolution so that we can start to attack the idea that the world is round, and then move to attacking the heliocentric view of the universe. Look at what it actually states: Teachers are allowed to also teach creation theory.

Try this on: Look at what it actually states: Teachers are allowed to also teach astrology alongside astronomy. What's so bad about that?

Posted by Cg at October 9, 2003 10:00 AM

I'd really like to see someone sit down with Tom Delay and George Bush and simply ask them point blank how much of that they agree with--they are both Texas Republicans aren't they?

Based on what I've heard from him, I wouldn't be surprised if Delay endorses most of it, and he'll likely be around much longer than Bush. Sure, there's a lot of moderate Republicans in Texas, but someone's voting for this guy.

Posted by Ringo at October 9, 2003 10:02 AM

Because the Democratic party in CA had the vision that they could make this left-leaning state the gold standard for liberal ideals and beliefs. Everytime a Republican would go up against a Democrat people would automatically vote for the them, because that's who they thought held the same moderately liberal principles.

Somebody listened to Rush yesterday.

I concur with whomever it was (too lazy to check) that said these sort of radical goals may be consistent with the grassroots, but not with the leadership, in that the leadership realizes that the ultra-conservative grassroots, for all their blusterous claims to represent the mainstream, actually represent a fairly small minority within the Republican party as a whole.

Oh, and by the way, here in central Pennsylvania, the entirity of the official Texas GOP party line would be wholeheartedly embraced by social conservatives, who have dedicated themselves to trying to achieve the same thing here.

Point is, however, that while they may consitute a minority, their activism and willingness to support the party financially makes them a powerful bloc, and the leadership realizes it has to throw a bone every now and then - perhaps, say, by kicking off a campaign at Bob Jones University.

What I wonder is how much longer this uber-conservative grassroots activism will remain happy merely getting a bone or two every now and then before demanding substantive return on their investment - or, best case scenario, realizing that in the world of realpolitik, they can never achieve radical goals thorugh an organization that necessarily has to appeal to moderates in order to win national elections, so they break away.

Posted by Gil Smart at October 9, 2003 10:02 AM

Just because the leftists in CA aren't stupid enough to publish their far left-wing agenda like the ultra-conservatives in Texas, doesn't mean they don't have a far left-wing agenda.

Good God.

Are you joking?

If they are far-left, what's your evidence apart from your own assertion?

And, what makes your assertion hold as much weight as the actual, tangible, scripted platform of the texas GOP?

Are you special in some way we should all be aware of?

Posted by Tim at October 9, 2003 10:04 AM

THIS IS MY FAVE ARGUMENT OF ALL TIME:

"Just because the leftists in CA aren't stupid enough to publish their far left-wing agenda like the ultra-conservatives in Texas, doesn't mean they don't have a far left-wing agenda."

So:

- Texas Republicans have a radical agenda, which we have proof of. The proof consists of their own documents on their own website.

- There is no proof that California Democrats have an equally radical agenda. THEY MUST BE DOING IT IN SECRET. IT MUST BE TRUE. NOT HAVING PROOF JUST PROVES IT MORE.*

[Cue X-Files music]


* This is the current Administration position on Iraqi WMDs.

Posted by MC Hawking at October 9, 2003 10:07 AM