Back during the Democratic National Convention, we did a post on the Democratic platform, promising that we would do the same for the Republican platform. I never quite got around to that at the time, and we just have a few days before the election, so I realize I had better get that done. I know that people say party platforms don’t really matter, but I do think they show us something about the parties and their ideology, as well as what tenets the wide range of party members can agree to.
So here is the Republican Platform, entitled We Believe in America. It defies excerpting, but here are the major headings, which you can read via the links.
- Restoring the American Dream:Rebuilding the Economy and Creating Jobs
- We The People: A Restoration of Constitutional Government
- America’s Natural Resources: Energy, Agriculture and the Environment
- Reforming Government to Serve the People
- Renewing American Values to Build Healthy Families, Great Schools and Safe Neighborhoods
- American Exceptionalism
- The Platform Committee
The Democratic Platform is entitled Moving America Forward. It has the following headings:
- Putting Americans Back to Work
- The Middle Class Bargain
- Cutting Waste, Reducing the Deficit, Asking All to Pay Their Fair Share
- Economy Built to Last
- Wall Street Reform
- 21st Century Government: Transparent and Accountable
- Lobbying Reform and Campaign Finance Reform
- Responsibly Ending the War in Iraq
- Disrupting, Dismantling, and Defeating Al-Qaeda
- Responsibly Ending the War in Afghanistan
- Preventing the Spread and Use of Nuclear Weapons
- Countering Emerging Threats
- Strengthening Alliances, Expanding Partnerships, and Reinvigorating International Institutions
- Promoting Global Prosperity and Development
- Maintaining the Strongest Military in the World
- Advancing Universal Values
I present both of these platforms as a public service to aid in your voting decisions.
How would you characterize the underlying assumptions of each document? What does each platform tell us about the ideology and the preoccupations of each party?
I would just like to observe that, whatever the merits of each governing philosophy, both platforms are depressingly utopian. Whether government will solve all of our problems or whether the free market will solve all of our problems, both assertions are way too optimistic. I wish a party would put forward more modest promises and agendas (e.g., No one in our administration will go to jail for misuse of public funds. We will follow the law. We will acknowledge our limitations.) Both platforms are just different variations on Pedro’s platform for student body president in Napoleon Dynamite: “Vote for me, and all your wildest dreams will come true.”