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Republican platform: A sinking ship

Local Commentary . Election 2008-Democratic Voices

Posted: August 4, 2008 6:05 p.m.
Updated: October 6, 2008 5:01 a.m.
 

For some of you who have just returned from an alternate universe, we are holding our national elections this coming November.

Some have said that this election is about deciding which person will be the leader who will embody our vision of America.

Others say that the November contest is not about leadership, but a war of political perspectives and ideas - of Red versus Blue, of the righteous right against the progressive left.

Both positions are true. Not only will the personal actions and views of our next commander-in-chief reshape our national purpose, but the political party that accompanies him will deeplt impact all our lives.

Through "the party platform," political parties present their visions and their agendas. That is why, days before the newest Republican Party Platform, I hope that you examine the last election's Republican Party Platform.

Perpetuating myths

The 2004 Republican Party Platform begins with some historical context: "Every day, we strive to fulfill Lincoln's vision: a country united and free, in which all people are guaranteed equal rights and the opportunity to pursue their dreams."

Abraham Lincoln may be "remembered" for fighting for the cause of freedom and equal rights. But the fact is that Lincoln was the first president to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, and he halted our system of checks and balances, protections under the Bill of Rights, and due process.

Lincoln also opposed a woman's right to vote. He campaigned to support the preservation of slavery in the Southern states. His bid to offer freedom to slaves was but an afterthought more than a year after the Civil War began.

Without judging whether or not the Civil War was justified, one can say that Lincoln is not the best example of supporting "freedom" and the protection of guaranteed rights.

Perpetuating the myth of Lincoln as a fighter for freedom's cause is not a great way to start a platform. But of course, the 2004 Republican Platform deteriorates from there.

The platform continues: "Working with Congress, the president drew up plans to take the fight to the enemy, vowing to bring the terrorists to justice, or bring justice to the terrorists."

Bush not only sent ill-equipped troops into Iraq, but authorized a meager 180,000 to invade, then refused to send more when teh Iraqi security situation was lost. And of course, we all know "the enemy" was never in Iraq, but is in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Bush has suspended habeas corpus, denied legal representation, cast aside due process, and authorized illegal wiretapping. He has "subcontracted" torture. He has allied himself with dictators, Islamic fanatics and drug suppliers.

Even allied with the Pakistan Intelligence Agency, whom the CIA linked to funding the very terrorist groups we pursue, Bush is complicit in perpetuating the very enemy we want to destroy.

"And together, the president and Congress took steps to help the wounded, honor the dead, and secure our homeland."

The Bush administration has denied veteran benefits to those who are no longer fit for duty as a result of battle. It cut on-going medical care for thousands of Iraq and Afghan war vets diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. While no-bid contracts make the rich richer, military services and hospitals have suffered.

The Republican platform continues: "The president's leadership has also been bold and visionary at home.

When the president came to office, our economy was faltering ..."

So if eight years ago the economy "was faltering," what would we call the economy now? Bush started with a $79 billion surplus.

Bush and the Republican Congress have now pushed us past a $482 billion deficit, plus another $80 billion for Iraq.

I guess we should ignore record personal bankruptcies and home foreclosures, that a tank of gas is $100, and that our economy is in a recession.

Maybe Republicans gauge prosperity by the big boys like home loan scammers, Halliburton, Shell and Exxon.

Accountability

Of course, these same promises of promoting home ownership, spreading freedom, making us safe, preserving the family, and cutting taxes will be vigorously restated by McCain after he is confirmed as the Republican nominee.

Given that virtually no Republican commitments were achieved, are you stupid enough to believe them again in 2008?

Virtually nothing in the last Republican Platform was true or came true, whether by incompetence or by promoting deception.

Please, people, either hold your party accountable or change your party affiliation. If the last shipbuilder sold you a ship that sank, do you really want to have him build the next one?

Jonathan Kraut is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal. "Democratic Voices" appears Tuesdays in The Signal and rotates among several Democratic activists.

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