I wasn’t at the Maine Republican Party Convention this weekend, so it’s hard for me to comment on what occurred. From the accounts I have read, it appears that some of the constitutionalist wing of the Republican Party (Ron Paul supporters, mostly) — including some Tea Party activists — felt unrepresented at the previous Maine Republican Party Convention and planned to make themselves a known quantity at the Convention this weekend.
They did so by organizing in advance. Several of them made it onto the Platform Committee and several others had proposed changes to the platform that would strike moderate phraseology and replace it with more hard-line stances. I commend these activists for actually working to change the Republican Party from within. That’s the mission of the Republican Liberty Caucus!
About 1,800 folks attended the Convention, so for the Ron Paul faction of the party to have any impact at all shows just how much influence Ron Paul and the Tea Parties have had over the Republican Party in the past two years.
The platform now features:
- A declaration of state sovereignty
- A call for the passage of “read the bill” legislation
- Opposition to the fairness doctrine
- Opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act
- Investigation of global warming shenanigans
- Balancing the federal budget and paying off debt
- A call for Auditing the Federal Reserve
- Rejecting cap and trade
- Freezing future stimulus payments
- Institute zero based budgeting
- A statement that health care is not a right
- Eliminating the Department of Education
- Prohibiting funding for ACORN or like organizations
- Opposition to any and all treaties with the United Nations
- The passage of a Congressional reform act, including:
….. o 12 year term limits for all members of Congress
….. o Removal of Congressional pensions
….. o Forcing Congress to participate in Social Security and health care (the same system we use)
- “Freedom of religion does not mean freedom from religion”
- Nativist anti-immigrant language, including the removal of Maine’s “sanctuary state” status
- A declaration to “Seal the Borders”
- a statement that marriage should be between a man and woman
- “Return to the principles of Austrian economics”
- Resisting the creation of “one world government”
At first glance, this seems like a major victory, but hold on.
Republican Liberty Caucus of Maine Chairman Ken Lindell and former RLC National Committeeman Matt Gagnon (who hails from The Pine Tree state) both find several problems with the platform overhaul. I do, too.
According to Lindell, a former Maine State Representative, “There is a whole lot of stuff in the new platform that I really like and really dislike. It would have been better if the Platform Committee had done its job and taken the proposals for changes to the platform seriously. The end result would have been better written and more presentable.” Although he does conclude, “I think that it is a very positive development that activists who are new to the party have been able to succeed where earlier they were simply ignored and dismissed.”
Says Gagnon: “It is very obviously slapped together, and almost entirely Federally focused in nature. I do not believe this platform gives very many reasons at all for Maine voters to vote for the Republican Party.”
I agree with my colleagues.
But more importantly, when did gay-bashing, a fence along the border, or religious dogma become part of the movement for less government and more freedom?
Ron Paul supporters should respect Ron Paul’s original positions on these issues:
1) Homosexuals are fellow human beings who should be afforded equality under the law.
2) Immigrants should be respected with the same dignity we afford other Americans; people should be free to seek out better lives for themselves and their families; the problem is with the entitlement society that has been fostered by decades of government dependency.
3) Religion is a private matter that should be kept out of government.
I would have preferred the platform without the last six points mentioned above. I don’t know how returning to Austrian economics is possible when our country has never been guided by Austrian economics.
Overall, the platform is a step in the right direction, but it still not a libertarian document.