June 26, 2010
The Texas GOP Is A Grand Old Piece of Work
The Texas Republican Party, that bastion of tolerance, goodwill and forward thinking, just released its policy platform. I can't say I was surprised by the contents therein, but nevertheless, I was taken aback by the stunning absurdity emanating from a "mainstream" political party. And they run the state! Of course, these were the folks who gave us the revamped Texas Board of Education, with its textbook whitewashing of the slave trade, and its crimes against truth and reason masquerading as legitimate curriculum changes.
So, in its 25-page manifesto, the Texas GOP really provides a clear sense of its convictions. Some of the positions in the platform are mundane and without distinction, but the devil is in the details. And for people who claim to be Christians, there's little Christ and a lot of devilishness in there.
With regard to government power, the platform calls for the elimination of all executive orders, and the repeal of all previous executive orders. It strongly rejects D.C. statehood and "adding unconstitutional voting Congressional members," and supports non-participation in the census. Further, the Texas GOP platform opposes affirmative action and reparations based on "discriminatory criteria." And the party is against nationalization of land for protecting endangered species or conservation.
In the area of voting rights and elections, the party advocates for the repeal of motor voter laws, re-registering voters every four years, and felon disenfranchisement -- a Jim Crow remnant.
Not surprisingly, the Texas GOP supports public displays of the Ten Commandments, and penalties for desecrating the American flag, and the restoration of some Confederate plaque that was removed from the state's Supreme Court building.
Now here is where it gets really interesting, and Talibanic, dare I say, as if what you've already heard was not sufficiently out of pocket. On the issue of family values, whatever that means, the Republican's policy paper condemns homosexuality and opposes the legalization of sodomy and supports a prohibition on all pornography and strip clubs. Further, they would make it a felony to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple, or for a civil official to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony. Of course, the platform is solidly anti-abortion and anti-reproductive rights for women. And it supports lifting the bureaucratic restrictions on corporal discipline for foster children, because foster kids really need more beatings in their life.
Social security would be eliminated under the Texas GOP plan, as would what they euphemistically call "ObamaCare."
Apparently, sex education is a no no, other than the teaching of abstinence before marriage. And the teaching of multiculturalism is out because Martin Luther King, Jr., a Republican, would have wanted it that way.
To round out an astonishing set of policy positions, the Texas Republicans are against any regulations on gun ownership. Oh yeah, and they declare that this is a Judeo-Christian nation. And there should be capital punishment for rape convictions (like the good old days). Deep water oil drilling should resume in the Gulf of Mexico, employers should be able to discriminate, and the minimum wage law should be repealed, they say. No more birthright citizenship -- citizenship by birth would be limited to those born to a U.S. citizen. Finally, the Texas GOP assert that the U.S. should get out of the United Nations.
Meanwhile, one of the standard bearers of the Texas conservatives, Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX), recently created some controversy when he apologized to BP for Obama hooking up that $20 billion fund to pay for damages related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. In fact, Barton called the fund a "shameful... shakedown." Other Republicans such as Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Tea Party poster boy Rand Paul expressed their opposition to the fund.
Barton and the Texas Republican Party appear to have a great deal of compassion for the plight of poor behemoth oil companies who wreck the Earth, with oil spills of biblical proportions through corporate malfeasance. Ultra-conservatives reserve their outrage for the times when they believe the rights of large corporations are infringed. And they seek to criminalize homosexuality and those who are different. Yet the Lone Star GOP is not outraged by the crimes committed against the environment, against God's creation, about which these so-called Christians seem to care jack.
This policy paper represents the culmination of bad political decisions that have turned the Republican Party into the hot mess it has become. The Texas case is just an extreme example of the problem. Nationally, the Republicans hitched their wagon to a Southern Strategy that depended on the scapegoating of black people and manipulating white fears for votes. Fundamentalist Christian conservatives and the religious police were a part of the mix, as were pro-business, anti-tax, anti-regulation right-wingers. Moderate whites fled the party, as did all but a few token people of color. So what remains of the base -- for the most part -- is a dwindling coalition of white nationalists, the morality police and the exceptionally greedy.
Texas -- good barbecue, hot weather, and a brutal history of racial violence. We can add to that one of the most egregious public policy documents in recent memory. Blue Texans, as you know, your work is cut out for you.