As the Democratic and Republican National Conventions draw closer, each party has been hard at work preparing their official policy platforms. For the DNC, that has meant endorsing positions that have the support of an ever-growing majority of Americans - including most in the Jewish community. For Republicans, however, it has meant that the ever-widening chasm between their party and mainstream Americans has become even starker. In The New York Times, the editorial board took Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee to task for the “mean-spirited and ignorant” positions that the party is now adopting into their own orthodoxy.
The editorial board wrote:
The Republican Party has moved so far to the right that the extreme is now the mainstream. The mean-spirited and intolerant platform represents the face of Republican politics in 2012. And unless he makes changes, it is the current face of the shape-shifting Mitt Romney.
The draft document is more aggressive in its opposition to women’s reproductive rights and to gay rights than any in memory. It accuses President Obama and the federal judiciary of ‘an assault on the foundations of our society,’ and calls for constitutional amendments banning both same-sex marriage and abortion.
In defending one of the last vestiges of officially sanctioned discrimination - restrictions on the rights of gay men and lesbians to marry - the platform relies on the idea that marriage between one man and one woman has for thousands of years ‘been entrusted with the rearing of children and the transmission of cultural values…’
The draft attacks President Obama for not defending in court the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages. It calls that decision a ‘mockery of the President’s inaugural oath,’ when in fact Mr. Obama would have been wrong to ignore lawyers who concluded that the law is unconstitutional.
In passages on abortion, the draft platform puts the party on the most extreme fringes of American opinion. It calls for a ‘human life amendment’ and for legislation ‘to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.’ That would erase any right women have to make decisions about their health and their bodies. There are no exceptions for victims of rape or incest, and such laws could threaten even birth control.
The draft demands that the government ‘not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage,’ which could bar abortion coverage on federally subsidized health-insurance exchanges, for example.
The platform praises states with ‘informed consent’ laws that require women to undergo medically unnecessary tests before having abortions, and ‘mandatory waiting periods.’ Those are among the most patronizing forms of anti-abortion legislation. They presume that a woman is not capable of making a considered decision about abortion before she goes to a doctor. The draft platform also espouses the most extreme Republican views on taxation, national security, military spending and other issues.
Over all, it is farther out on the party’s fringe than Mr. Romney ventured in the primaries, when he repudiated a career’s worth of centrist views on issues like abortion and gay marriage. But the planks hew closely to the views of his running mate, Paul Ryan, and the powerful right-wing. Mr. Romney has a chance to move back in the direction of the center by amending this extremist platform. It will be interesting to see if he seizes it.
Click here to read the entire editorial.
A closer look at the RNC’s platform reveals just how extreme the Republican Party has become. The Tampa Bay Times obtained an advance copy of the platform, and, as they put it, “it doesn’t disappoint.” The platform includes a number of positions that are antithetical to the views and values of most Jews, including being anti-choice, anti-marriage equality, and anti-separation of church and state:
Human life amendment
‘We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize heath care which includes abortion coverage.’ There is no explicit exception for rape or incest.
Undocumented workers don’t count
‘We support changing the way that the decennial census is conducted, so that citizens are distinguished from lawfully present aliens and illegal aliens. In order to preserve the principle of one-person, one-vote, the apportionment of representatives among the states should be according to the number of citizens.’
Gay marriage? No way
‘We reaffirm our support for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.’
Freedom of (some) religion
‘We support the public display of the Ten Commandments as a reflection of our history and our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage, and we affirm the right of students to engage in prayer at public school events in public schools and to have equal access to public schools and other public facilities to accommodate religious freedoms in the public square.’
Click here to read the full article.
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