A Platform of Lies

I have read the Republican Party platform so you don’t have to.

While doing some research on the Republican Party for yet another article on the failures of the Republicans, I ended up reading the most recent Republican Party platform that was adopted at the party’s convention in Cleveland in 2016.

What a platform of lies.

Throughout their platform, the Republicans refer to the Constitution as if they actually considered it to be their authority. “We are the party of the Constitution,” they say. It is an “enduring covenant.” “All legislation, regulation, and official actions must conform to the Constitution’s original meaning as understood at the time the language was adopted.” Republicans say they believe in and reaffirm the fundamental principles of our constitutional system: limited government, separation of powers, individual liberty, the rule of law, federalism, and the rights of the people.

Republicans acknowledge that “federalism is a cornerstone of our constitutional system.” The Constitution “gives the federal government very few powers, and they are specifically enumerated; the states and the people retain authority over all unenumerated powers.”

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The federal government should be subservient to the American people, the Republicans reiterate. The government should work for the people, “rather than the other way around.” The people, “not the government, are the best stewards of our country’s God-given natural resources.”

The Republican platform maintains that “in a free society, the primary role of government is to protect the God-given, inalienable rights of its citizens.” Americans’ First Amendment rights “are not given to us by the government but are rights we inherently possess.”

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The responsibilities of the federal government need to be reduced, improved, replaced, and “much needs to be done away with or returned to the states.”

Too bad the Republicans don’t believe a word of what’s in their platform.

Don’t believe me? Let’s see what the Republican platform says about a number of issues: discrimination, gun control, planned parenthood, federal lands, foreign policy, free trade, housing, education, the federal workforce, the TSA, Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security, the budget, the national debt, spending, surveillance, states’ rights, government regulation, and criminal justice.

Republicans “denounce bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic prejudice, and religious intolerance.” Good. So do I. So do most decent people. But because these things are bad, the Republicans “oppose discrimination based on race, sex, religion, creed, disability, or national origin and support statutes to end such discrimination.” They maintain that “the federal government has a legitimate role in enforcing non-discrimination laws.” Do Republicans cite a section in the Constitution where the federal government is given this role? Of course not.

Republicans claim that they “uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a natural inalienable right that predates the Constitution and is secured by the Second Amendment.” They support “firearm reciprocity legislation” and “constitutional carry statutes.” They oppose “ill-conceived laws that would restrict magazine capacity or ban the sale of the most popular and common modern rifle,” “any effort to deprive individuals of their right to keep and bear arms without due process of law,” and “federal licensing or registration of law-abiding gun owners, registration of ammunition, and restoration of the ill-fated Clinton gun ban.” Does this mean that Republicans seek the repeal of all unconstitutional federal gun laws and the elimination of the unconstitutional National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)? Of course not.

Republicans “oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare.” Does this mean that Republicans oppose the unconstitutional federal funding of Planned Parenthood and other private organizations with taxpayer dollars? Of course not.

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Republicans acknowledge that “the federal government owns or controls over 640 million acres of land in the United States.” They even state that “federal ownership or management of land also places an economic burden on counties and local communities in terms of lost revenue to pay for things such as schools, police, and emergency services.” They think it “absurd” to think that “all that acreage must remain under the absentee ownership or management of official Washington.” Does this mean that Republicans support the federal government selling or turning over all of its land holdings to the states? Of course not.

Republicans “affirm the wisdom of President George Washington’s warning to avoid foreign entanglements and unnecessary alliances.” They “oppose the adoption or ratification of treaties that would weaken or encroach upon American sovereignty or that could be construed by courts to do so.” Does this mean that Republicans believe in an America First foreign policy? Of course not. Does this mean that Republicans want to withdraw from NATO? Of course not.

Republicans claim that “international trade is crucial for all sectors of America’s economy.” They “envision a worldwide multilateral agreement among nations committed to the principles of open markets.” They want “fair” trade and “better negotiated trade agreements that put America first.” Does this mean that Republicans want real free trade? Of course not.

Republicans say that “we must scale back the federal role in the housing market, promote responsibility on the part of borrowers and lenders, and avoid future taxpayer bailouts.” Does this mean that they want to shut down HUD, the FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac? Of course not.

Republicans maintain that the Constitution gives the federal government “no role in education.” The federal government “should not be in the business of originating student loans.” Does this mean that Republicans want to abolish the Department of Education and stop giving students student loans? Of course not.

Republicans acknowledge that “the federal workforce is larger and more highly paid than ever.” Federal employees “receive extraordinary pension benefits and vacation time wildly out of line with those of the private sector.” Does this mean that Republicans want to shut down every unconstitutional and illegitimate agency and department of the federal government and lay off all of their bureaucrats? Of course not.

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Republicans decry the unionization of the TSA. They are adamant that “unacceptably long lines at security checks” are not acceptable. Does this mean that they want to abolish the TSA and let the airports and airlines handle their own security? Of course not.

Republicans acknowledge that “more than 100 million Americans depend on Medicare or Medicaid for their healthcare.” They “intend to save Medicare by modernizing it, empowering its participants, and putting it on a secure financial footing.” Does this mean that Republicans ever intend to eliminate two of the cornerstones of the welfare state? Of course not.

Republicans “accept the responsibility to preserve and modernize a system of retirement security forged in an old industrial era beyond the memory of most Americans.” All options “should be considered to preserve Social Security.” Does this mean that Republicans ever intend to eliminate the chief cornerstones of the welfare state? Of course not.

Republicans believe that the “path to fiscal sanity and economic expansion begins with a constitutional requirement for a federal balanced budget.” Does this mean that Republicans ever intend to have a balanced budget? Of course not.

Republicans maintain that “our national debt is a burden on our economy and families.” The huge increase in the national debt under President Obama (when the Republicans controlled the House for four years and both Houses of Congress for two years) “has placed a significant burden on future generations.” Does this mean that Republicans ever intend to reduce the debt? Of course not.

Republicans maintain that they will “prioritize thrift over extravagance and put taxpayers first.” They proposed the following test: “Is a particular expenditure within the constitutional scope of the federal government? If not, stop it.” Does this mean that Republicans actually intend to follow the Constitution? Of course not.

Republicans “oppose any attempts by government to require surveillance devices in our daily lives, including tracking devices in motor vehicles.” Americans “must retain the right to communicate with one another free from unlawful government intrusion.” Does this mean that Republicans are opposed to NSA domestic surveillance programs? Of course not.

Republicans “pledge to restore the proper balance and vertical separation of powers between the federal government and state governments.” The refer to the Tenth Amendment. They maintain that “every violation of state sovereignty by federal officials is not merely a transgression of one unit of government against another; it is an assault on the liberties of individual Americans.” Does this mean that Republicans want to end the unconstitutional federal war on drugs and leave all drug laws up to the states? Of course not.

Republicans insist that “over-regulation is the quiet tyranny of the ‘Nanny State.’” Over-regulation “hamstrings American businesses and hobbles economic growth.” The “federal regulatory burden has been a major contributor” to economic stagnation.” Does this mean that Republicans want to end the nanny state? Of course not.

Republicans recognize that “Congress and federal agencies have increased the number of criminal offenses in the U.S. Code from 3,000 in the early 1980s to more than 4,500 today.” They acknowledge that “the over-federalization of criminal justice is one of many ways in which the government in Washington has intruded beyond its proper jurisdiction.” Does this mean that Republicans want to eliminate all laws against victimless crimes? Of course not.

Like I said, what a platform of lies.