GOP 2016: Drop Anti-SSM Plank or Drop Party Platform Entirely?

 

platformAt Hot Air yesterday, Noah Rothman asked: “Will opposition to gay marriage disappear from the GOP’s party platform?” Rothman claims that only “vicious partisans” on either side of the aisle care about platforms. I don’t know about vicious, but he’s right to say the whole platform process is outdated.

In national election years, the candidate at the top of the ticket becomes the embodiment of the party platform. Who cares about the student government-like exercise of delegates voting on an official statement of principles? Its sole purpose has become putting a social issues face on the punching bag for media coverage. The prelude to convention coverage becomes a series of divisive stories about how Republicans continue to be out of touch with young voters and emerging trends (as defined by MSM reporters). I do so hate it when they’re right.

Rothman cites polls indicating that voter sentiment on same-sex marriage is trending away from the traditional view, even among Republicans in states like New Hampshire and South Carolina. Younger voters with strong views about personal freedom are clearly leading the charge. So why not cancel the scheduled media event of a party platform debate on SSM? Isn’t the convention mostly just a kick-off event for the fall campaign anyway? Won’t social issues be pushed enough by the liberal press without Republicans themselves initiating the blood-letting?

In the age before conventions were televised, party platforms had great meaning. You can look it up. In 1860, the Republican Party platform said, “we deny the authority of Congress, of a territorial legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in any territory of the United States.” Now that was a platform — and a winning one thanks to the standard bearer, Mr. Lincoln.

Today, the acceptance speech of the candidate on national television is the de facto party platform. Whichever candidate we choose will want to frame that speech and the issues in the most inspiring, elevating, and unifying terms.

I can’t see how an anti-SSM plank would help the candidate win in November. Wouldn’t dropping the entire platform-by-committee process help to avoid internal conflict, and brand Republicans as newly forward-focused in prioritizing important issues?

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  1. viruscop Member
    viruscop
    @Viruscop

    Jim Kearney:

    I can’t see how an anti-SSM plank would help the candidate win in November. Wouldn’t dropping the entire platform-by-committee process help to avoid internal conflict, and brand Republicans as newly forward-focused in prioritizing important issues?

    Probably.

    • #1
  2. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @

    I can’t imagine the GOP dropping it just yet. It would surely get a huge amount of press and would likely anger the Christian conservatives. I guess that it’ll drag out for another cycle or two and go out with a whimper, rather than a bang.

    • #2
  3. user_409996 Inactive
    user_409996
    @EdwardSmith

    VirusCop endorses the idea.  It must be brilliant.

    • #3
  4. viruscop Member
    viruscop
    @Viruscop

    Edward Smith:VirusCop endorses the idea. It must be brilliant.

    Do you feel strongly about the platform-by-committee process?

    • #4
  5. user_409996 Inactive
    user_409996
    @EdwardSmith

    viruscop:

    Edward Smith:VirusCop endorses the idea. It must be brilliant.

    Do you feel strongly about the platform-by-committee process?

    I feel strongly about not following you into the reeds of any discussion.  You are a one trick pony, and that one trick ain’t all that impressive once you’ve seen it the second time.

    • #5
  6. user_409996 Inactive
    user_409996
    @EdwardSmith

    Dissolve all Marriages.  Make Marriage a relic of the Bigoted Past.  Require all couples, whether they’ve just met or have been together 100 years, fill out 7″ worth of paperwork, all concerned parties (including children) signing  and initializing every page.  Require that every page be Notarized.  Also that a full video of each and every page being signed is available.

    I look forward to see a cow with a Bic pen in its cloven hoof signing off on a Blanket Paternity Test Approval with a dairy farmer on YouTube.

    Rescind all legal privileges for all Shuls, Synagogues, Churches, and houses of worship of any kind, whether it be tax-exempt status or a reserved parking space on Sunday.  See to it that they all have nothing to offer except the opportunity to gather together and Praise God.

    Enough of this nonsense!

    If the GOP was a party whose Manhood was not so Discounted as to be in the Bargain Basement, if even 1/10th of People of Faith actually had Faith this conversation would not be happening.

    • #6
  7. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @Manny

    If the GOP dropped the anti SSM plank, which is I assume the same thing as being for traditional marriage, it would lose a heck of a lot of conservative voters.  Probably me.

    • #7
  8. user_2505 Contributor
    user_2505
    @GaryMcVey

    It should have dumped the plank years ago. It’s about time. Also, it is true that the traditional “platform” is more and more a museum piece, meant in both parties to give partisans something harmless to do. The problem is there are no more cost-free ways of buying off partisans; red meat will cost you now. In this particular case, I don’t even agree with the plank, but even its fans ought to add up what it costs the party, as well as what it brings to it.

    • #8
  9. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Gary McVey:It should have dumped the plank years ago. It’s about time. Also, it is true that the traditional “platform” is more and more a museum piece, meant in both parties to give partisans something harmless to do. The problem is there are no more cost-free ways of buying off partisans; red meat will cost you now. In this particular case, I don’t even agree with the plank, but even its fans ought to add up what it costs the party, as well as what it brings to it.

    I disagree.  I believe a party platform is what defines a party, and to drop the platform means Republicans are afraid to say what their principles really are.  Sure, no candidate can meet every plank in the platform, but at least he knows where the party stands . . .

    As for same-sex marriage, I’m against dropping the plank for two reasons:

    1.  It’s morally wrong.  Marriage has a definition, and it’s male and female.

    2.  Most Republicans want to drop it just for expediency’s sake.  If this is true, then why take a stand on any issue perceived as “we can’t win on this?”  When will Republicans take a stand?  I want to vote for someone who will fight for what I believe in.

    • #9
  10. Jim Kearney Contributor
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    Gary McVey:there are no more cost-free ways of buying off partisans; red meat will cost you now. In this particular case, I don’t even agree with the plank, but even its fans ought to add up what it costs the party, as well as what it brings to it.

    Yes, so if there’s no platform, there’s nothing to be used against us by the opposition. Dropping the SSM plank is not the same as being against traditional marriage, it’s just saying we don’t want our national brand defined by social issues in all places. Dropping the party platform entirely makes the divisive public internal debate go away, or at least go to where it belongs: Ricochet!

    My view is it’s best to leave the party branding to local candidates for their electorates, with the national nominee setting out his or her own platform as an action plan.

    That way we can run lesbian Republicans in Silverlake, Log Cabiners in Palm Springs, anti-war libertarians in Liberal Kool-Aid College towns, hardliners of the Phil Robertson variety out in Stix Nix country, fat moderate loudmouths in Jersey, and electable fiscal conservatives with understated views on social issues in purple suburbia.

    • #10
  11. user_409996 Inactive
    user_409996
    @EdwardSmith

    Jim Kearney:

    Gary McVey:there are no more cost-free ways of buying off partisans; red meat will cost you now. In this particular case, I don’t even agree with the plank, but even its fans ought to add up what it costs the party, as well as what it brings to it.

    Yes, so if there’s no platform, there’s nothing to be used against us by the opposition. Dropping the SSM plank is not the same as being against traditional marriage, it’s just saying we don’t want our national brand defined by social issues in all places. Dropping the party platform entirely makes the divisive public internal debate go away, or at least go to where it belongs: Ricochet!

    My view is it’s best to leave the party branding to local candidates for their electorates, with the national nominee setting out his or her own platform as an action plan.

    That way we can run lesbian Republicans in Silverlake, Log Cabiners in Palm Springs, anti-war libertarians in Liberal Kool-Aid College towns, hardliners of the Phil Robertson variety out in Stix Nix country, fat moderate loudmouths in Jersey, and electable fiscal conservatives with understated views on social issues in purple suburbia.

    Maybe I am too pessimistic here, but I get the distinct feeling that having a Strategy session for the GOP as it stands right now is still too much like McClellan meeting with his strategists to discuss what to do with the army he doesn’t plan on using.

    • #11
  12. tabula rasa Member
    tabula rasa
    @tabularasa

    I say we should keep it.

    But even if the party goes neutral on the policy issue, it should hang tough on the idea that the definition of marriage is a state issue.

    Sadly, I expect that the Supreme Court will overreach on this issue in the same way it did on abortion in Roe v. Wade.  Sigh!!

    • #12
  13. Jim Kearney Contributor
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    Stad:

    As for same-sex marriage, I’m against dropping the plank for two reasons:

    1. It’s morally wrong. Marriage has a definition, and it’s male and female.

    2. Most Republicans want to drop it just for expediency’s sake. If this is true, then why take a stand on any issue perceived as “we can’t win on this?” When will Republicans take a stand? I want to vote for someone who will fight for what I believe in.

    1. “Morally wrong” by your definition, not mine. For some loving same sex couples, a decision to make a permanent commitment is a highly moral thing to do. Besides, what kind of 21st century political party defines itself by imposing moral judgments on the personal behavior of law-abiding people? Not the kind of party which attracts young voters!

    2. “we can’t win on this” is a crucial consideration in politics, “the art of the possible.” We can win on rejecting the economic, health care, and foreign policy agenda of the Obama/Clinton party.

    To “win” on SSM, you needed a constitutional amendment defining marriage back in the DOMA days when that view was shared by enough people to pass it, right? Didn’t those amendments fail partly because moral hard liners refused to agree on wording to permit civil unions?

    Instead of building a constitutional fortress around traditional marriage, 1990’s Republicans spent their energy impeaching WJC for lying about sex. So Republicans got defined as sex-obsessed religious moralists, with time (and court decisions) proving that they didn’t anticipate the trend to ethical pluralism in time to adjust their political calculus.

    • #13
  14. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Stad:

    Gary McVey:It should have dumped the plank years ago. It’s about time. Also, it is true that the traditional “platform” is more and more a museum piece, meant in both parties to give partisans something harmless to do. The problem is there are no more cost-free ways of buying off partisans; red meat will cost you now. In this particular case, I don’t even agree with the plank, but even its fans ought to add up what it costs the party, as well as what it brings to it.

    I disagree. I believe a party platform is what defines a party, and to drop the platform means Republicans are afraid to say what their principles really are. Sure, no candidate can meet every plank in the platform, but at least he knows where the party stands . . .

    As for same-sex marriage, I’m against dropping the plank for two reasons:

    1. It’s morally wrong. Marriage has a definition, and it’s male and female.

    Is this ^ a moral argument?  Because it looks like a semantic one.

    • #14
  15. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Maybe the candidate can get by with saying “The SSM horse has left the barn, it’s up to the courts and marriage is a state issue anyway.” Whatever the candidate says, he or she needs to anticipate he or she will be asked about it constantly, and must practice an answer until he or she can give it seamlessly and segue off to another subject. Like national security.

    What I want to know is what the candidate is going to do about national security?

    • #15
  16. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Jim Kearney:I can’t see how an anti-SSM plank would help the candidate win in November. Wouldn’t dropping the entire platform-by-committee process help to avoid internal conflict, and brand Republicans as newly forward-focused in prioritizing important issues?

    Apparently a lot of Republicans think it’s an important issue worth prioritising.

    Also – people are somewhat painted into a corner by now.  Studied ambiguity probably won’t be plausible.

    • #16
  17. Jim Kearney Contributor
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    Nick Stuart:“The SSM horse has left the barn, it’s up to the courts and marriage is a state issue anyway.”

    Yes, or as they say in Portland, the free range organic chicken has flown the coop.

    • #17
  18. Guy Incognito Member
    Guy Incognito
    @

    The idea that dropping it from the platform will make the issue go away ignores the fact that the other side gets a turn.

    Reporters will still hound the GOP politicians to pin them down to a side.  And dropping it from the platform will make it a major issue, so they’ll be justified in their hounding.

    Personally, I don’t really care either way, but it would probably be bad politically to do it now.

    • #18
  19. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    I know.  Let’s give in whenever we encounter pressure.  That way we can run cop-killers in Compton, heroin addicts in Hoboken, syphilitic prostitutes in St. Paul,  meth-heads in Mecklenburg, and Bolsheviks in Boston.

    Brilliance!  Only a fool would object.

    • #19
  20. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    But without party platforms, how would we get to watch Anthony Villaraigossa declare a voice vote was in favor of a plank recognizing God and supporting Israel, when the actual vote was obviously overwhelming against?

    • #20
  21. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Ball Diamond Ball:I know. Let’s give in whenever we encounter pressure. That way we can run cop-killers in Compton, heroin addicts in Hoboken, syphilitic prostitutes in St. Paul, meth-heads in Mecklenburg, and Bolsheviks in Boston.

    Brilliance! Only a fool would object.

    From the back of the room, a horrified voice:  “Meth-heads in Mecklenburg???”

    • #21
  22. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    The problem with modern party platforms is that they’ve becomes statements of belief more than statements of policy priorities.

    If we’re going to have platforms, they should be short and contain fewer than a dozen, concrete items.

    • #22
  23. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Ball Diamond Ball:I know. Let’s give in whenever we encounter pressure. That way we can run cop-killers in Compton, heroin addicts in Hoboken, syphilitic prostitutes in St. Paul, meth-heads in Mecklenburg, and Bolsheviks in Boston.

    Brilliance! Only a fool would object.

    Point for alliteration.  That’s my new goal in Ricochet posts too.  Use alliteration whenever possible!

    • #23
  24. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Jim Kearney:

    Stad:

    As for same-sex marriage, I’m against dropping the plank for two reasons:

    1. It’s morally wrong. Marriage has a definition, and it’s male and female.

    2. Most Republicans want to drop it just for expediency’s sake. If this is true, then why take a stand on any issue perceived as “we can’t win on this?” When will Republicans take a stand? I want to vote for someone who will fight for what I believe in.

    1. “Morally wrong” by your definition, not mine. For some loving same sex couples, a decision to make a permanent commitment is a highly moral thing to do. Besides, what kind of 21st century political party defines itself by imposing moral judgments on the personal behavior of law-abiding people? Not the kind of party which attracts young voters!

    2. “we can’t win on this” is a crucial consideration in politics, “the art of the possible.” We can win on rejecting the economic, health care, and foreign policy agenda of the Obama/Clinton party.

    To “win” on SSM, you needed a constitutional amendment defining marriage back in the DOMA days when that view was shared by enough people to pass it, right? Didn’t those amendments fail partly because moral hard liners refused to agree on wording to permit civil unions?

    Instead of building a constitutional fortress around traditional marriage, 1990′s Republicans spent their energy impeaching WJC for lying about sex. So Republicans got defined as sex-obsessed religious moralists, with time (and court decisions) proving that they didn’t anticipate the trend to ethical pluralism in time to adjust their political calculus.

    1.  My definition of what is “moral” is mine, but the societal definition of marriage is under assault.  I should have clarified that.

    2.  I agree, but social issue voters want to know where a candidate stands on social issues, and what they will do.  As for moral hard liners, more people today (IMHO) are willing to go along with civil unions, if it will protect the definition of marriage as one man and one woman.  Things would be better if gays accepted civil unions, but the militant among them want to force a new definition of marriage on society, then beat people over the head with it.

    As for impeaching WJC, he deserved not only impeachment, but conviction.  It’s one thing to lie to protect government secrets, but lying to a grand jury about an unrelated civil matter (regardless of whether or not it had to do with sex) is serious.  The Republicans back then had a civic, legal, and moral responsibility to impeach WJC, political “calculus” be damned . . .

    • #24
  25. Jim Kearney Contributor
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    Stad:

    Jim Kearney:

    Stad:

    As for same-sex marriage, I’m against dropping the plank for two reasons:

    1. It’s morally wrong. Marriage has a definition, and it’s male and female.

    2. Most Republicans want to drop it just for expediency’s sake. If this is true, then why take a stand on any issue perceived as “we can’t win on this?” When will Republicans take a stand? I want to vote for someone who will fight for what I believe in.

    1. “Morally wrong” by your definition, not mine. For some loving same sex couples, a decision to make a permanent commitment is a highly moral thing to do. Besides, what kind of 21st century political party defines itself by imposing moral judgments on the personal behavior of law-abiding people? Not the kind of party which attracts young voters!

    2. “we can’t win on this” is a crucial consideration in politics, “the art of the possible.” We can win on rejecting the economic, health care, and foreign policy agenda of the Obama/Clinton party.

    To “win” on SSM, you needed a constitutional amendment defining marriage back in the DOMA days when that view was shared by enough people to pass it, right? Didn’t those amendments fail partly because moral hard liners refused to agree on wording to permit civil unions?

    Instead of building a constitutional fortress around traditional marriage, 1990′s Republicans spent their energy impeaching WJC for lying about sex. So Republicans got defined as sex-obsessed religious moralists, with time (and court decisions) proving that they didn’t anticipate the trend to ethical pluralism in time to adjust their political calculus.

    1. My definition of what is “moral” is mine, but the societal definition of marriage is under assault. I should have clarified that.

    2. I agree, but social issue voters want to know where a candidate stands on social issues, and what they will do. As for moral hard liners, more people today (IMHO) are willing to go along with civil unions, if it will protect the definition of marriage as one man and one woman. Things would be better if gays accepted civil unions, but the militant among them want to force a new definition of marriage on society, then beat people over the head with it.

    As for impeaching WJC, he deserved not only impeachment, but conviction. It’s one thing to lie to protect government secrets, but lying to a grand jury about an unrelated civil matter (regardless of whether or not it had to do with sex) is serious. The Republicans back then had a civic, legal, and moral responsibility to impeach WJC, political “calculus” be damned . . .

    I think we’re tilting toward agreement on more of this than expected.

    What Clinton deserved isn’t my point. Advantaged by 20/20 hindsight I was just noting that the Republican Party brand got as stained by the whole mess as Monica’s dress.

    Also in clear-eyed retrospect, it seems one only gets to expend one’s impeachment lode once per generation. Clearly we should have saved ours for a true tyrant willing to subvert constitutional processes with seeming glee, and trample the separation of powers. Oh, and abuse the IRS for political ends, which I believe was one of the counts against Nixon.

    • #25

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