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Saturday, June 12, 2004

The wackjobs of Texas

They're his people

An article in Salon covers the Republican Party of Texas. Now, most documents of this sort are never read by anyone but poly sci majors and politcal reporters. But this is such a document of wackjobbery that it is stunning to read.

Preserving American Freedom
Limiting the Expanse of Government Power
State Sovereignty/States Rights – The Party supports state sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment which reserves to the states or the people all powers not specifically delegated in the Constitution to the federal government and opposes the institution of mandates that are beyond the scope of federal authority

Didn't we have a civil war about this issue? No?

Judicial Restraint – The Party supports the principle of judicial restraint, which requires judges to interpret and apply rather than make the law. We encourage the support of judges who strictly interpret the law based on the law’s original intent. The Party stands strongly against activist judges.

Like the ones which protects the rights of Meskins.

Law Enforcement– According to Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution, federal law-enforcement powers have criminal jurisdiction limited to the high seas, federal installations, and counterfeiting operations.The Party believes that most crime is local and that the states, according to the Tenth Amendment, reserve law enforcement authority. Implementing this policy would effectively eliminate the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which we would applaud. Many citizens have become concerned about the expansion of federal law enforcement authority and the use of military personnel and equipment against its citizens. The rights of American citizens must be respected.

My guns, my guns, my guns.
District of Columbia – The Party strongly opposes all efforts to make the District of Columbia the fifty–first state in the United States of America.

Them coloreds should be happy to pay taxes and have Congress run their lives

Constitutional Convention – The Party opposes a Constitutional Convention or “Conference of the States” to rewrite the United States Constitution. Furthermore, we urge the Texas Legislature to immediately rescind the State’s 1977 vote sent to the United States Congress calling for a Constitutional Convention. We also call upon other states to rescind their votes for a Constitutional Convention.


Personal Confidentiality – The Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizure and that this right shall not be violated. The Party directs that legislation be introduced in both the United States Congress and the State of Texas to repeal existing statutory requirements to end the ever increasing, incessant, recurring, and calculated gathering, accumulation, and dissemination of finger prints, Social Security numbers, financial and personal information of law-abiding citizens by business and governments, the use of which are contrary to and destructive of our individual and collective freedom. Such legislation shall provide remedy and redress to any individual denied service for refusing to provide the above–mentioned information.

OK, but read on

Restoring Integrity to Our Elections

Protecting Union Member’s Dues – The Party supports legislation requiring labor unions to obtain the consent of the individual union member before that member’s dues can be used for political purposes.

Why not extend this right to corporate, non-union workers as well

Voter Registration – The Party supports needed legislation to restore integrity to the voter registration rolls and to reduce voter fraud. Furthermore, we support the repeal of all Motor Voter laws and urge re–registering voters every four years and requiring first time registrants to produce photo identification, proof of residency and citizenship, along with voter registration application. We support the retention of the 30-day registration

Keep them Meskins from voting. Where has there been an epidemic of voter fraud? In their minds.

Honoring the Symbols of Our American Heritage

American English – The Party supports the immediate adoption of American English as the official language of Texas and of the United States of America, while encouraging fluency in additional languages by all citizens.

American English? So if I speak Australian English, do they deport me?

Promoting Individual Freedom
and Personal Safety

Preserving Our Constitutional RightsM

Right to Keep and Bear Arms – The Party calls upon the Texas Legislature and the United States Congress to repeal any and all laws that infringe upon the right of individual citizens to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution; and to reject the establishment of any mechanism to process, license, record, register or monitor the ownership of guns. We urge the Legislature to clearly declare that it has the exclusive authority to determine where firearms may or may not be legally carried in the State of Texas, and that no other state governmental entity and no local governmental entity may regulate or prohibit the possession of firearms. We believe it is the responsibility of all gun owners to safely store and operate their firearms.

Damn federals, keeping me from owning an M2 Browning. I need to protect the border, dammit.

Christian Nation – The Republican Party of Texas reaffirms the United States of America is a Christian nation, which was founded on fundamental Judeo-Christian principles based on the Holy Bible. We also affirm the right of each individual to worship in the religion of his or her choice.

Wrong. Read your constitution, Christians. Their first sentence contradicts their second.

Religion – The Party acknowledges that the church is a God–ordained institution with a sphere of authority separate from that of civil government; thus, churches, synagogues and other places of worship, including home Bible study groups, should not be regulated, controlled, or taxed by any level of civil government, including the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service. We reclaim freedom of religious expression in public on government property, and freedom from governmental interference.

Yeah, why should they interfere with God?

Free Exercise of Religion – The Party believes all Americans have the right to practice their religious faith free of persecution, intimidation, and violence. We call on Congress to sanction any country that is guilty of persecuting its citizens because of their religious beliefs. Our Party pledges to do everything within its power to restore the original intent of the First Amendment of the United States and dispel the myth of the separation of Church and State. We support the right of individuals and state and local governments to display the Ten Commandments on public property subject to their control.

Uh, no Wrong again theocrats.

What is stunning in this bit of wackjopbbery is its relevance to daily life in Texas. The Salon article has a wonderful quote:

The values and world vision of the movement today can be found enshrined in the 24-page party platform. It's a fearful, twilight looking-glass world, beset by enemies, where the purity of the culture, under constant siege, must be protected from threats both internal and external. The platform makes short work of the federal government, calling for the abolition of everything from the U.S. Department of Education to the Internal Revenue Service, along with most taxes. Aliens without proper identification are to be summarily deported. Illegal immigrants should not be granted drivers' licenses. Voter registration is to be made more difficult. "American English" is the official language of the state, and "the Party supports the termination of bilingual education programs in Texas." A plank titled "equality for all citizens" urges the repeal of hate crimes legislation. Another one states: "We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values." Since the Bible is the literal truth, teachers should have the right to instruct their public school students in "creation science." The Ten Commandments are the foundation of the legal system. And lest anyone forget, "America is a Christian nation."

When asked by reporters for comment, Texas Democratic Party chairman Charles Soechting called the state GOP's platform "the longest political suicide note in modern Texas history." While Soechting flagged the Republicans' extremism, the internal fight in San Antonio over the platform's planks revealed a party still struggling to make the transition from insurgency to leadership. A lack of statewide races on the ballot this year combined with overwhelming support for President Bush, who will certainly carry the Lone Star State, has deprived the party faithful of a unifying electoral challenge. In its absence, divisions and political ambition are moving front and center.

The hot-button issues at the convention were gambling and school vouchers. Both pitted the Republican elected leadership and their financial backers squarely against much of the grass-roots. Instituting a voucher program that will be a model for the nation has been a burning priority for certain Texans.

In particular, during the 2002 election cycle, a San Antonio hospital bed magnate named James Leininger invested $624,774 mostly in GOP candidates, according to campaign watchdog Texans for Public Justice, apparently with the goal of establishing a voucher program in Texas. From 2000 to 2004, Leininger's entire family gave $2,497,250 to state candidates, which does not include the contributions of numerous companies in which he owns sizable interests. This past February, Leininger and his wife joined Texas Gov. Rick Perry and his wife along with anti-tax guru and Washington lobbyist Grover Norquist, among others, on a private cruise in the Bahamas to "talk about school finance."

A month later, the governor called the Legislature into an unscheduled special session on the subject, which fizzled because of Republican bickering. Vouchers could soon become a policy reality. Perry has declared himself open to a voucher program as part of any eventual school finance package. But many of the faithful seem to be having second thoughts -- because they see vouchers as a Trojan horse for the federal government.

The GOP is so rent with ideological battles and bigotry, they have no solutions to real issues. This is like watching Trotskyites and Maoists battle each other over meaning in their self-created fantasy world.

posted by Steve @ 12:25:00 AM

12:25:00 AM

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