Tuesday, 26 February 2008
For the first time in modern history the Tulsa County Republican Party Platform Committee last Saturday forwarded to the general convention a Minority Report supported by over 20 percent of voting members as an alternative to the traditional platform. The Report was described by proponents as “removing minutia that divides us to focus on foundations that unite us.”
Debate was killed by parliamentary procedure rather than the typical discussion and vote on the merits. According to opponent Craig Davidson, the Minority Report was “in opposition to the adopted platform since details are specific points for which the Republican Party stands – points for which the Minority Report does not stand.”
Supporters believed that every significant point within last year’s platform was covered by the new abbreviated verbiage. “We were outmaneuvered,” proponents admitted. Calls from the floor throughout the room at the time charged, “This is not democracy,” and “This is not Republican.”
The Minority Report included broad principles of government that proponents asserted would be more effective in communicating with unregistered voters why they should become Republicans. It was one page of text compared to the more traditional eight pages of detailed positions many felt were beyond the proper scope of the Tulsa County Party and less than helpful to Republican elected officials.
The text of that report follows:
We believe in equal rights, justice and opportunity for all human life regardless of race, creed, age, sex or disability. We believe the strength of our constitutional republic lies with the individual and that each person’s dignity, freedom, ability, liberty and responsibility must be honored.
We welcome legal immigration and recognize the tremendous benefits new immigrants have contributed to America. We oppose illegal immigration. We believe the federal government has an immediate duty to hold secure our national borders.
We believe the proper role of government is to provide for the people only those critical functions that cannot be performed by individuals or private organizations and that the best government is that which governs least.
We believe the most effective, responsible and responsive government is government closest to the people. State and local governments should be encouraged to address challenges with creativity and without undue federal influence, regulation or restriction.
We recognize that America is now under attack by a worldwide network of highly educated, well-financed, and dedicated fanatics. These enemies work daily to destroy the economic, political, and religious liberty enjoyed by modern societies. Government’s first priority is to keep the country safe from and to pursue active enemies until they are defeated. Such self-declared active enemies must not be allowed any safe base of operations from which to launch attacks against America – ever again.
We reject the European Union model of abdicating national sovereignty to gain economic success. We recognize that the United Nations is failing and in specific cases has degenerated into harmful ineffective bureaucracy that must immediately be reformed or rejected as an agent for world peace. We believe America should continue efforts to extend peace, freedom, individual liberty and human rights throughout the world.
We believe individual initiative in free enterprise provides opportunity, economic growth and prosperity. We oppose socialism in general and specific entitlement programs lacking incentives to grow personal productivity. We believe government must practice fiscal responsibility by reducing spending and the total tax burden on all citizens.
We believe the Republican Party is the best vehicle for translating these ideals into positive and successful principles of government.
Proponents of the Minority Report met after the vote and pledged to continue efforts to bring such a “foundational platform” in some form forward at next year’s convention. They note instructions from the chairman of the convention restricted the wording allowed in the introduction to only describing how it came forward. In so doing, the “reason” and “need” for the change never got a hearing at the convention.
Members of the 2008 Platform Committee continue to share differing opinions by e-mail both on the Minority Report and the procedure by which debate was killed. Some suggest that the “letter of the law killed the spirit of the convention.”
Requesting anonymity, one proponent was brutally straightforward: “No elected official of either party has ever served in office constrained by county party platform planks, so why include planks that serve as nothing more than springboards for extremists to dive into deep dispute and division? A platform should be something that could be distributed, for example, at the Tulsa State Fair so that undecided voters could quickly and clearly see the foundations on which the Republican Party stands.”
A cynic not involved in the debate suggested that the platform serves primarily to allow fanatics to get their pet foolishness on a record no one else cares to read. Supporters answer, yes, but those who can stay awake long enough to read it are less inclined to become, support, or fund republican candidates so is it truly worth allowing pet planks a permanent home?
The Tulsa County Republican Platform is available by clicking here.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 26 February 2008 )