For the most part, political conventions today are carefully scripted affairs, the platform hammered out in advance, the nominations a foregone conclusion. More than anything it is a festive gathering for thousands of partisans being rewarded for years of financial contributions, door-knocking, and phone-banking. Rarely do we see such drama as the contested Republican nomination of 1976 between Ford and Reagan, and certainly nothing like the 1912 Republican convention where the Roosevelt and Taft contingents were so bitterly divided that barbed wire lined the stage under the bunting.
The 2012 GOP convention was meant to let voters see the personal side of Mitt Romney, a man tight-lipped about his private life, religion, and charitable endeavors, painted as a ruthless businessman who cares only for profits. While toned down, it largely succeeded in its goals. Beyond that, Republicans lauded the greatness of the American entrepreneurial spirit that built this country, and rejected the idea that government gets credit for all we have.
The Democrat National Convention, on the other hand, turned into a freak show of radicals panting breathlessly about evil Republicans and the coming holocaust if Romney gets elected. It was a celebration of taxpayer funded abortions, government dependency until death, calls to steal more from the producers to give to the slothful, plus a tribute to their messianic figurehead, Barack Obama.
Unlike many on the political right (arguably) in America, I’m not going to argue for Todd Akin to drop out. In fact, I am going to argue that he should stay in his Missouri Senate race, as a sort of painful yet absolutely necessary medication for the Republican Party.
Akin, as I’m sure you are aware, is the bozo who went on the radio and said that in cases of “legitimate” rape, a woman’s body would shut down the pregnancy, thus abortion should be illegal. It has got to be the dumbest thing said in politics over the past ten years, if not the past fifty. Nevermind that there is no way for a woman’s body to know that it is being raped, and then determine it must abort on its own (I don’t even think a woman’s body can abort pregnancies like that), you just don’t put “legitimate” and “rape” in the same sentence, period, unless there is a “not” between them.
In any case, despite the national party disavowing the fool, and numerous calls from conservative leaders and conservative media outlets, Akin has decided to remain in the race. (He’s even attacked Mitt Romney for calling for him to step down.) Despite this monumental tomfoolery, I believe it would be good for the GOP to have Akin remain in the race…
…and then lose disastrously in November.
Ron Paul’s delegate strategy may be the worst kept secret in Republican circles. And while most observers are treating Mitt Romney as the presumptive nominee, it looks as though Republicans are getting nervous that they may have a floor fight at their convention in Tampa:
Paul supporters swept this weekend’s state GOP conventions, picking up 21 of 24 RNC delegates in Maine and 22 out of 28 delegates in Nevada. The twin victories come on the heels of Paul’s surprise delegate wins at district caucuses and state conventions in Missouri, Minnesota, Colorado, and Louisiana, as well as a Paul-friendly takeover of the Alaska GOP.
Paul supporters have managed to stage these state-level coups despite significant resistance from local Establishment Republicans, many of whom are predictably reluctant to relinquish their power to the insurgents. So far, however, the Paul campaign has attributed most of the Establishment’s “shenanigans” to local animosities.
But there is growing evidence that the Romney camp — and the national GOP — are stepping up their efforts to prevent an embarrassing Ron Paul uprising on the floor of the Republican National Convention.
In Maine, for example, the Romney campaign dispatched its top lawyer, Benjamin Ginsberg, to oversee the state convention proceedings this weekend. (It’s worth noting that Ginsberg is best known for his work for George W. Bush during the 2000 Florida recount.)
Even if the nomination is not in play, an army of Paul delegates could cause significant problems for the presumptive nominee, who needs a smooth convention to assuage concerns about his ability to unite and energize the Republican base.
There has been an image going around on new media sites recently noting that the language supporting civil liberties in the 2008 Democratic Party platform — including specific lines calling for revisiting the PATRIOT Act, reining in executive power, and the surveillance state — is now missing from the current platform. Christina Lopes and Tom Knighton have already noted civil liberties have fallen to the side, and the frustration from advocates of the issue toward President Barack Obama.
In yesterday’s Cato Daily Podcast, Caleb Brown chatted with Julian Sanchez about the omission of civil liberties from the Democratic Party’s platform, President Obama’s record on the issue, and the silence from many of those who previous called for curtailing government overreach on civil liberties:
As the Democratic Party stops being the party of John Kennedy and Bill Clinton, their new platform is as radical is ever.
Guess what? God’s name has been removed from the Democratic National Committee platform. This is the paragraph that was in the 2008 platform: “We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values, and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.”
Now the words “God-given” have been removed. The paragraph has been restructured to say this:
“We gather to reclaim the basic bargain that built the largest middle class and the most prosperous nation on Earth – the simple principle that in America, hard work should pay off, responsibility should be rewarded, and each one of us should be able to go as far as our talent and drive take us.”
I suppose someone could argue God should not be mentioned by political parties. But with our laws and society founded on Judeo-Christian principles, it is quite historic and astonishing to watch 1 of 2 of our major political parties avoid even a passing mention of natural rights or the Almighty.
And as the Weekly Standard notes, the word “Jerusalem” was removed from the platform, which fits well with President Obama’s foreign policy:
In the 2008 Democratic party platform, there was this language on Jerusalem, Israel:
Ahead of delegates gathering in Tampa next week for the Republican National Convention, some GOP delegates are busy this week putting together the party’s platform. To many this process can be uninteresting, but many Tea Party activists saw it as an opportunity to make the Republican Party more friendly to its ideas. And, according to Kristina Ribali of FreedomWorks notes, it looks like they were successful.
FreedomWorks put together 12 economic/limited government issues to be considered for the GOP platform, ranging from repealing ObamaCare and preventing tax hikes to energy independence, opposition to cap-and-trade, and auditing the Federal Reserve. Dean Clancy, Vice President of Health Policy at FreedomWorks, explained (via Ribali) that the only the plank calling for the elimination of the Department of Education was rejected:
We did not secure approval for ‘Eliminate the Department of Education’ – which, to be honest, was always the plank we regarded as most difficult to achieve. But the document’s education section does contain good language on the need for local control and a very strong endorsement of school choice, including vouchers. So we rate this section as a partial victory.
Ribali also notes that the plank calling for a “flat tax” wasn’t fully achieved, though the Republican platform will call for a “flatter tax.” That’s an opportunity missed, unfortunately, since the need for tax reform is so great.