Politics

Economic and internet freedoms, strong defense mark GOP platform

Economic and internet freedoms, strong defense mark GOP platform
Virginia's Gov. Bob McDonnell is chairman of the Republican platform committee

TAMPA, Fla. — The Republican platform, released Tuesday afternoon, is a solidly conservative platform on social, economic and national security issues and one that many we spoke with at the convention said virtually all Republicans would embrace.

“I haven’t read all of the platform, but the parts I read, I liked,” Newt Gingrich told Human Events. The former House speaker specifically cited the document’s expected support for an audit of the Federal Reserve Board as “something that will please and rally many conservatives.”

Along with reiterating the party’s commitment to marriage and its pro-life plank (virtually unchanged from the last several platforms) the document draws a sharp line on GOP support for lowering tax rates and encouraging economic freedom and bringing an end to the Obama administration’s big government agenda.

The platform can be found here, on the official GOP website.

A preamble, signed by platform committee chairman Bob McDonnell, governor of Virginia, discussed the Republicans’ need to restore “the American dream” following the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

“Providence has put us at the fork in the road, and we must answer the question: If not us, who? If not now, when?” the introduction declares.

It urges Republicans to take the Constitution as guide and promote freedom and democracy at home and abroad, with the soon-to-be Republican presidential ticket at the helm.

“Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan understand these great truths. They share a positive vision for America – a vision of America renewed and strong. They know America’s best days lay ahead. It will take honest results-oriented, conservative leadership to enact good policies for our people,” the platform reads. “They will provide it.”

Members of the Human Events staff analyze various portions of the platform, below.

Economy & Budget

The issue most important to Americans these days is the economy. And when comes to economics, the Republican platform focuses on long-held conservative reform ideas. From easing the regulatory burden on small businesses to reforming entitlements to the simplifying the tax code — a flatter code with exemptions for charitable donations — to supply-side pro-growth policies.

The GOP also supports a “transparent and accountable” budget. The way Republicans propose to do this is by implementing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, which is not new to the platform.

What is new to the platform is a call for the implementation of a “super-majority for any tax increase with exceptions for only war and national emergencies.” The GOP also proposes a cap to limit federal spending to the historical average percentage of GDP, which is around 20 percent. This way, the platform argues, Washington would not be tempted, as they often have been, to raise taxes as a way to balance the budget.

– David Harsanyi

Health Care

The 2012 GOP platform targets the president’s keystone legislative achievement, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The platform calls for full repeal of the healthcare reform law by the next Congress and promises that President Romney will use his executive authority to stop the PPACA in bureaucratic tracks until the repeal legislation reaches his desk for signature.

“ Obamacare was never really about healthcare, though its impact upon the nation’s health is disastrous. From its start, it was about power, the expansion of government control over one sixth of our economy, and resulted in an attack on our Constitution, by requiring that U.S. citizens purchase health insurance,” it said.

If the PPACA was fully implemented, it could not function, it said. “Republican victories in the November elections will guarantee that it is never implemented.”

“Then the American people, through the free market, can advance affordable and responsible healthcare reform that meets the needs and concerns of patients and providers,” it said.

In place of Obamacare, the platform proposes serious changes in federal law designed to liberate market forces to improve quality and decrease costs.

Most significant among the proposed reforms is the platform’s call to allow insurance companies to compete across state lines. The platform also calls for the federal government to promote the use of Health Savings Accounts and Health Reimbursement Accounts. Specifically, it says HSA’s and HRA’s should be used for insurance premiums and should encourage the private sector to rate competing insurance plans.

Seeking to put abortion in a different context, the platform addresses it and moves on. “Through Obamacare, the current administration has promoted the notion of abortion as healthcare. We, however, affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human life. Numerous studies have shown that abortion endangers the health and well-being of women, and we stand firmly against it,” it said.

Other healthcare highlights in the platform include nods to restructuring the Food and Drug Administration, protecting the conscience rights of healthcare professionals and attacking predatory litigation that promotes defensive medicine and has caused severe shortages of critical specialties in rural  communities.

– Neil W. McCabe

Defense & National Security

On National Security, the platform trumpets President Ronald Reagan’s mantra (now adopted by Romney) of  “peace through strength,” deploring cuts to military funding through sequestration and the attenuation of troop strength with the Afghanistan drawdown.

The Obama administration is called to task for taking a weak approach to leadership in the world through a naivete that assumes good intentions and common goals, and a wrongheaded view of security priorities–for example, listing climate change as a “severe threat” to the nation.

“The word ‘climate’ in fact, appears in the current president’s strategy more often than Al Qaeda, nuclear proliferation, radical Islam, or weapons of mass destruction,” the platform reads.

The platform also gives attention to cyber and nuclear threats, urging a collaborative approach between government and the private sector on cybersecurity–rather than Obama’s restrictive top-down approach—and castigating the administration for allowing the U.S. to become “the only nuclear power not modernizing its nuclear stockpile.”

The strongest invective in this portion of the platform is reserved for the administration’s alleged leaks of national security information, which are termed “contemptible” conduct that betrays the national interest.

In foreign affairs, the platform cuts a wide berth for Romney, who has appeared hesitant to discuss his strategy in detail. Iran receives minimal mention, while Syria merits only a passing reference. Russia, called by Romney “our number one geopolitical foe” is deprecated for its bullying of weaker nations and friendship with dictatorships, and friendship and support of Israel is emphatically reiterated. The platform also plays to Romney’s strengths, saying a strong nation is supported foremost by a strong economy.

“We must therefore rebuild our economy and solve our fiscal crisis,” the platform reads. “In an American century, America will have the strongest economy and the strongest military in the world.”

– Hope Hodge

Energy & Environment

Energy independence should be advanced through a free market, as opposed to gambling with taxpayer dollars to support risky businesses, as was the case with the failed Solyndra solar panel plant.

“In assessing the various sources of potential energy, Republicans advocate an all-of-the-above diversified approach, taking advantage of all our American God-given resources,” the platform said.

The Republican Party had particularly harsh words for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which it described as an out-of-control bureaucracy costing consumers and businesses tens of billions of dollars in new regulations.

The platform calls on Congress to take quick action to prohibit the EPA from moving forward with new greenhouse gas regulations it says will harm the nation’s economy and threaten millions of jobs over the next quarter century.

“The most powerful environmental policy is liberty, the central organizing principle of the American Republic and its people. Liberty alone fosters scientific inquiry, technological innovation, entrepreneurship, and information exchange. Liberty must remain the core energy behind America’s environmental improvement,” the platform said.

It calls on a “reasoned” approach to explore offshore energy on the East Coast, opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for oil and natural gas production, and approving the Keystone XL pipeline.

The private sector is encouraged to develop new technology for coal-fired plants that produce electricity that is low-cost, efficient and environmentally responsible.

“We will end the EPA’s war on coal and encourage the increased safe development in all regions of the nation’s coal resources, the jobs it produces, and the affordable, reliable energy that it provides for America,” the platform said.

Republicans will oppose “any and all” cap and trade legislation, and efforts by the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to expand its jurisdiction over water “that is clearly not navigable.”

“The Republican Party supports appointing public officials to federal agencies who will properly and correctly apply environmental laws and regulations, always in support of economic development, job creation, and American prosperity and leadership. Federal agencies charged with enforcing environmental laws must stop regulating beyond their authority. There is no place in regulatory agencies for activist regulators,” the platform said.

– Audrey Hudson

Technology

As previously noted by Human Events, the GOP platform includes an “Internet Freedom” plank that rebukes the “Net Neutrality” regime of price controls on Internet bandwidth. The GOP vows to remove regulatory barriers against innovation and competition, resist taxation and control of online resources by international bodies, and protect personal data from intrusive security measures by both government agencies and private sector security operations. The platform also criticizes regulatory overreach by the Federal Communications Commission, and promises to update outmoded telecom regulations.

The GOP platform also includes a commitment to crack down on all forms of pornography, which will certainly have ramifications for the Internet, since it has become one of the primary vehicles for transmitting pornographic content. This may cause some tension with the platform’s commitment to Internet freedom, although it is possible to walk a narrow path of opposing pornographic content while simultaneously respecting the principles of regulatory restraint and individual privacy.

– John Hayward

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