The Washington State Republican Party adopted an aggressive new platform over the weekend. There are some key differences between the new platform and the stances of the party's presidential candidates, especially that of presumed nominee Sen. John McCain.
The new Republican platform isn't entirely different from the one they adopted in 2006, but there are a few interesting differences. The new platform calls for a constitutional amendment banning abortion and a reexamination of federal tax law, including opposition to the constitutional amendment that allows for the imposition of a federal income tax. Still, the most controversial resolutions seem to be items also included in the party's 2006 platform, including a resolution that opposes automatic citizenship for children born to illegal immigrants (this one would – hold your breath – call for repeal of the 14th Amendment, too).
From The Seattle Times:
[Party Chairman Luke] Esser noted that prohibiting citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants could 'require a change in the U.S. Supreme Court interpretation of the 14th Amendment, so, obviously, if that's the case it will be difficult to ever accomplish.'
Also included in both the new platform and the old were calls for a new constitutional amendment defining marriage as an institution between "a man and a woman," along with a repeal of the state's Growth Management Act.
It's unclear whether these issues are consistent with the GOP's current national platform, not to mention the stances of John McCain, Mike Huckabee, and Ron Paul. Take gay marriage, for instance. John McCain voted against continuing discussion of the Marriage Protection Amendment that would have outlawed marriage between homosexual partners in 2006. He was also fairly ambiguous in his reaction to the recent ruling by the California State Supreme Court for gay marriage, and in the past he has said that he supports same-sex couples being afforded equal rights as married couples. But even with McCain's people holding the majority of delegates at the state convention, the resolution for an amendment outlawing gay marriage passed.
The inconsistencies don't stop there.
Everyone expected a strong showing from Ron Paul's supporters, and they showed up in droves (but after receiving only a disappointing four delegates versus McCain's 33 – one concludes that the pseudo-libertarian's support was overestimated). Weight-watcher Huckabee's followers also came to play ball, but they netted only three delegates – less than Paul. Some of Paul and Huckabee's stances are evident in the new platform. Both Paul and Huckabee are firm believers in repealing the constitutional amendment that automatically gives citizenship to all people born in the U.S. – including the babies of illegal immigrants – but McCain isn't. That's right. McCain is supposedly the "most friendly to immigration of all the Republican candidates." Then why, with the McCain majority at the convention, did the resolution pass? It turns out that there wasn't even debate about the issue. According to Times article, the issue was never bridged.
Incidentally, the Republican's national platform from 2004 doesn't mention the 14th Amendment (or citizenship birthrights) – so, it's safe to say that the Washington State GOP went out on a limb there. The 2004 national platform also doesn't really line up against income tax law, though both platforms agree that the taxes should be scaled back.
But the biggest difference, again, comes back to the 14th Amendment. Now, in 2004, the GOP's national platform resolved to outlaw abortion, citing the "original intent" and "full scope" of the 14th Amendment (i.e., "it starts at conception") as the pre-existing legal grounds for banning abortion. Which is ironic, because the state GOP voted strongly to repeal that same amendment based on the immigration issue.
Speaking of skirting issues, the war in Iraq seemed like it would be a Big League talking point at the convention, but the GOP balked – sort of. It's not that the war wasn't mentioned. But it definitely wasn't debated. Instead, McCain's troops pushed through a head count of delegates that kept his notion of supporting the military at a time when the nation faces "a variety of external threats ranging from Jihadist terrorism, the proliferation of nuclear weapons and emerging regional powers" in the party's platform. The vote killed any chance for Paul supporters to debate pulling out of Iraq. McCain, as we know, wants a long-term base in Baghdad but the troops outta there by 2013. Ron Paul is for immediate exit. And Huckabee says we should stay there till it ain't broke.
So, why did the GOP avoid the issue? Was it to avoid beating around the Bush? My guess is that Esser and company wanted to stick with topics that had sure-fire solutions and that wouldn't incite riots between candidate camps. But then that brings us back to the question of automatic citizenship for illegal immigrants' children. Why would they pick a platform that wasn't in line with McCain's position about immigration?
There seem to be inconsistencies between the Republican candidates' stances on the issues and those adopted by the state GOP. Luke Esser and the Republican party won't be available for comment until tomorrow (Can you say post-convention hangover, anyone?), but the pressing question seems to be: Why is the state GOP adopting such an aggressively conservative stance – one that's significantly more aggressive than the presumed Republican presidential nominee – in a year when all signs indicate a possible liberal landslide?