The Party is Over, Platforms 2012 Part 1

First, while I am looking through the lens of history at the two parties that shape our political conversation every four years, it is the Silly Season and both have now released their official Platforms. It would be remiss of me if I completely ignored this event, stuck my fingers in my ears and shuttered my eyes pretending the Platforms of the parties did not matter today. Some would have you believe they do not, but in fact, the Platforms do matter, they matter a great deal. The Candidates shape the platforms along with party leadership, these statements of purpose and intent define Philosophy and how the Candidate, Presidential and others intend to govern the nation if elected.

Ignoring the meat and potatoes of the Party Platforms is a mistake, one that we cannot afford to make as citizens. Let me just say this year, more so than many years I have read thus far the two parties spent much of their time taking swipes at the other side within the context of building their own argument, it was a bit disconcerting. I believe this quote is perfect for the season:

“People never lie so much as before an election, during a war, or after a hunt.”
― Otto von Bismarck

Are both sides in the game liars? Sure they are. I can honestly say I am disappointed in some of the DNC Platform this year, not entirely because of what is there but rather in some cases because of what isn’t there. I am also extremely disappointed the DNC used their opportunity to communicate their roadmap for the future to ‘Bash’ the opposition. I want to know, from both sides, what are your plans and how will you govern in black and white! I don’t care what you think of the other side; in fact, I already have a good idea of what you think of them by now, just tell me what you will do differently.

This being said, let’s take a walk on the wild side, shall we?

DNC

GOP

Immigration: Democrats know there is broad consensus to repair that system and strengthen our economy, and that the country urgently needs comprehensive immigration reform that brings undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and requires them to get right with the law, learn English, and pay taxes in order to get on a path to earn citizenship. We need an immigration reform that creates a system for allocating visas that meets our economic needs, keeps families together, and enforces the law. Immigration: State efforts to reduce illegal immigration must be encouraged, not attacked. The pending Department of Justice lawsuits against Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, and Utah must be dismissed immediately. The double-layered fencing on the border that was enacted by Congress in 2006, but never completed, must finally be built. In order to restore the rule of law, federal funding should be denied to sanctuary cities that violate federal law and endanger their own citizens, and federal funding should be denied to universities that provide in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens, in open defiance of federal law.
There is of course more on both sides. The DNC has pushed for the Dream Act for young people brought to the US as children, the GOP rejects out of hand and under all circumstances the Dream Act calling even these children criminals. In 2008 the RNC position on H1B Visa’s was to increase the numbers, further. Both sides continue to support this position while Americans continue to be unemployed or underemployed in key white-collar fields.
Veterans: continue to prioritize support for wounded warriors, mental health, and the well-being of our military families and veterans. We will keep working to give our veterans the health care, benefits, education, and job opportunities that they have earned. That’s why the President and the Democratic Party supported the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill to provide opportunities for military personnel, veterans, and their families to get a better education. That’s why the President has launched partnerships with the private sector to help veterans transfer their experience into skilled manufacturing jobs, and why the President has proposed a new Veterans Jobs Corps to put veterans to work as first responders. That’s why the President signed an executive order making it harder for for-profit colleges to prey on veterans. That’s why we enacted the Returning Heroes Tax Credit and the Wounded Warrior Tax Credit to give companies incentives to hire vets. Veterans: is essential to meet our obligations to them: providing health, education, disability, survivor, and home loan benefit services and arranging memorial services upon death. All its branches in those various fields must be made more responsive, moving from an adversarial to an advocacy relationship with veterans. To that end we will consider a fundamental change in structure to make the regional directors of the Department presidential appointees rather than careerists.We urge immediate action to review the automatic denial of gun ownership to returning members of our Armed Forces who have had representatives appointed to manage their financial affairs
Both the GOP and DNC have peppered this section with platitudes. The GOP do not recognize that many of the programs they support have already been enacted. Unfortunately, much of the discussion by the GOP in their Troop support and Veteran support was a Faith based such as the discussion of their support of DOMA, which can be found in great detail elsewhere in the Platform. The GOP in their Platform is against the Veteran Jobs Corps, though this is buried in a very long paragraph, along with their support of the proposed Tax Credit incentives for hiring Veterans.
Civil Rights We are committed to protecting all communities from violence. We are committed to ending racial, ethnic, and religious profiling and requiring federal, state, and local enforcement agencies to take steps to eliminate the practice, and we continue to support enforcement of Title VI.We are committed to equal opportunity for all Americans and to making sure that every American is treated equally under the law. We are committed to ensuring full equality for women: we reaffirm our support for the Equal Rights Amendment, recommit to enforcing Title IX, support the Paycheck Fairness Act, and will urge ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Civil Rights Nothing within the platform
Health Care We remain committed to eliminating disparities in health and will continue to make sure families have access to mental health and substance abuse services. We will strengthen Medicaid and oppose efforts to block grant the program, slash its funding, and leave millions more without health insurance. We will continue to invest in our public health infrastructure – ensuring that we are able to respond to emergencies and support community-based efforts to prevent disease. Health Care

  • Repeal Affordable Healthcare Act (ObamaCare)
  • Protect Faith Communities and Provider Choice. This means ensure no care provider, no employer, no doctor or nurse, no pharmacist will have to provide care or transportation even if the care you, the individual needs, goes against their personal ‘faith’.
  • Tort reform, to protect the medical provider from ‘frivolous malpractice’ suits and
  • Return healthcare to the Private Insurance Provider
  • Make costs transparent so you, the unhealthy individual can decide not to seek care given the high cost to both you and your health insurance plan

Well that is it for today; I thought those were some fun highlights. Tomorrow I am going to take on some of the economic issues within both platforms. Both the DNC and the GOP are rhetoric heavy and rather light on facts, figures and just plain bottom line. I have slogged through both of their Platforms countless times now, some of it makes me weep, some makes me so angry I could spit nails into concrete.

Anyone who reads me regularly knows where my heart lies; I seem unable to hide my light under a rock. I am an old hippie at heart, a social liberal to my last poor aging bone. I suppose the difference between me and many of

Special thanks to Google for supplying the photo

my contemporaries who sorta made it, meaning who learned how to earn a dollar instead of a dime; my personal ethos didn’t change with the adjustment in my income level and tax bracket. I haven’t forgotten where I came from; I haven’t forgotten my personal struggles or those who reached out to help me when I was at my lowest, those who held the door open so I could walk through and achieve my dreams. Perhaps my struggles are why I remain so very much committed to the American Dream being a real Dream for all of us.

I swore I would remain pragmatic and fair in my reading of the Platforms. I am trying my best to do so, the tax and economic issues are tough though. Let us all hope I can keep my cool.

http://whitehouse12.com/republican-party-platform/

http://www.democrats.org/democratic-national-platform#moving-america

Ideologies or are they, 1900

One hundred and twelve years ago things were a bit different in this nation of ours. Women couldn’t vote, some states were still territories, Hawaii had only been annexed recently, Poll Taxes were still all the rage, child labor was an accepted standard throughout the land. The nation was very different indeed. Before I posit you some nuggets from the platforms of the two parties, let us take a look at what the administration and Congress were busy with leading up to the turn of the century and our first election year.

1898 – Spanish American War

President William McKinley ( R )

Both houses of Congress majority led Republican in the 55th Congress.

Senators were still selected by State senate’s rather than direct vote; this would not change until the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment to the US Constitution in 1913.

These are the key facts leading to the creation of the Democratic and Republican Platforms of 1900. Key legislation enacted by the 55th Republican led Congress were the following:

Dingley Tariff, imposed duties on woolens, hides, silks, china and sugar. The Dingley Tariff remained in effect until 1909 when the Payne-Aldrich Tariff was passed. During its effective period average tariffs on items it covered were 47%.

Erdman Act provided for mediation between railroads and workers. The most significant provision of the Erdman Act was the section prohibiting railroads from demanding workers not join a union as a condition of their employment. The act covered workers who on moving trains because of the interstate clause but not those who worked in the yards or offices.

Annexation of Hawaii, statehood would come later but this was the first step.

Rivers and Harbors Act, made it illegal to dump refuse in any harbor or navigable water. While the act goes much further than this the River and Harbors Act is the oldest environmental law in the United States.

Bankruptcy Act, provided corporations protection from creditors.

Gold Standard Act, established the value of a dollar at 23.22 grains of gold at 20% purity and as the only standard redemption value for paper money. This established the Gold Standard and stopped bimetallism.

Now to the platforms of the election year, I think if will be fun to post some of the key platform issues from each of party. I am not going to tell you which party they come from, you guess.

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# 1:

Corporations should be protected in all their rights and their legitimate interests should be respected, but any attempt by corporations to interfere with the public affairs of the people or to control the sovereignty which creates them, should be forbidden under such penalties as will make such attempts impossible.

We favor an amendment to the Federal Constitution, providing for the election of United States Senators by direct vote of the people, and we favor direct legislation wherever practicable.

We are opposed to government by injunction; we denounce the blacklist, and favor arbitration as a means of settling disputes between corporations and their employees.

We are proud of the courage and fidelity of the American soldiers and sailors in all our wars; we favor liberal pensions to them and their dependents, and we reiterate the position taken in the Chicago platform of 1896, that the fact of enlistment and service shall be deemed conclusive evidence against disease and disability before enlistment.

In the interest of American labor and the uplifting of the workingman, as the cornerstone of the prosperity of our country, we recommend that Congress create a Department of Labor, in charge of a secretary, with a seat in the Cabinet, believing that the elevation of the American laborer will bring with it increased production and increased prosperity to our country at home and to our commerce abroad.

We denounce the failure of the <someone> to carry out its pledges to grant statehood to the territories of Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma, and we promise the people of those territories immediate statehood and home rule during their condition as territories, and we favor home rule and a territorial form of government for Alaska and Porto Rico.

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# 2:

We recognize the necessity and propriety of the honest co-operation of capital to meet new business conditions and especially to extend our rapidly increasing foreign trade, but we condemn all conspiracies and combinations intended to restrict business, to create monopolies, to limit production. or to control prices; and favor such legislation as will effectively restrain and prevent all such abuses, protect and promote competition and secure the rights of producers, laborers, and all who are engaged in industry and commerce.

We renew our faith in the policy of Protection to American labor. In that policy our industries have been established, diversified and maintained. By protecting the home market competition has been stimulated and production cheapened. Opportunity to the inventive genius of our people has been secured and wages in every department of labor maintained at high rates, higher now than ever before, and always distinguishing our working people in their better conditions of life from those of any competing country. Enjoying the blessings of the American common school, secure in the right of self-government and protected in the occupancy of their own markets, their constantly increasing knowledge and skill have enabled them to finally enter the markets of the world. We favor the associated policy of reciprocity so directed as to open our markets on favorable terms for what we do not ourselves produce in return for free foreign markets.

In the further interest of American workmen we favor a more effective restriction of the immigration of cheap labor from foreign lands, the extension of opportunities of education for working children, the raising of the age limit for child labor, the protection of free labor as against contract convict labor, and an effective system of labor insurance.

The Nation owes a debt of profound gratitude to the soldiers and sailors who have fought its battles, and it is the Government’s duty to provide for the survivors and for the widows and orphans of those who have fallen in the country’s wars. The pension laws, founded in this just sentiment, should be liberally administered, and preference should be given wherever practicable with respect to employment in the public service, to soldiers and sailors and to their widows and orphans.

We favor home rule for, and the early admission to statehood of the Territories of New Mexico, Arizona, and Oklahoma.

We congratulate the women of America upon their splendid record of public service in the volunteer aid association and as nurses in camp and hospital during the recent campaigns of our armies in the East and West Indies, and we appreciate their faithful co-operation in all works of education and industry.

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Okay, you guess whose platform for the election year 1900 was #1 and whose was #2? No cheating, no peeking! I didn’t take all of them and you might note some were interestingly close in their intent. They were also civil in their writing of their party platforms, very focused on the business of governing. While each take a couple of small potshots at the other, within the body of the platform there is nothing like you see today.

One thing you will not see is any mention of God! No mention of Church or of taking our nation back.

The winner of the election, by the way: William McKinley who was assassinated in 1901 and succeeded by Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, President 1901 – 1909

Reference sites:

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29630

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29587

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