Examining the Republican Platform Part III: “Reforming Government to Serve the People”

This is continued from Parts I and II of my examination of the Republican Platform. Don’t worry, I am making progress and I fully expect to make good on my pledge to put up two more examinations tomorrow.

Onward to the Republicans’ Part II, “Reforming Government to Serve the People”, and if you’re skeptical about one of the major parties reforming the government they’re knee-deep in I don’t blame you.

The American people believe Washington is broken … and for good reason.  Short-term politics overshadow the long-term interests of the nation.  Our national legislature uses a budget process devised long before the Internet and seems unable to deal in realistic ways with the most pressing problems of families, businesses, and communities. Members of Congress have been indicted for violating the public trust. Public disgust with Washington is entirely warranted.

Republicans will uphold and defend our party’s core principles: Constrain the federal government to its legitimate constitutional functions. Let it empower people, while limiting its reach into their lives. Spend only what is necessary, and tax only to raise revenue for essential government functions.  Unleash the power of enterprise, innovation, civic energy, and the American spirit – and never pretend that government is a substitute for family or community. 

The other party wants more government control over people’s lives and earnings; Republicans do not.  The other party wants to continue pork barrel politics; we are disgusted by it, no matter who practices it.  The other party wants to ignore fiscal problems while squandering billions on ineffective programs; we are determined to end that waste.  The entrenched culture of official Washington – an intrusive tax-and-spend liberalism – remains a formidable foe, but we will confront and ultimately defeat it.

To be fair, Republicans have always had a reputation, at least, of being the party of small government, but boy, that government was really tiny from 2001-2006 when Republicans controlled the Presidency and both houses of Congress, wasn’t it? But based on what I’ve already seen in the Democratic platform, some of those shots at “the other party” in the last paragraph kind of cut close to the bone. Still, you’d think there were no Republicans in “official Washington” at all.

“Washington’s Failure: The Scope of the Problem”: The government collects $2.7 trillion a year from the American people! Shock! Worse, it spends $3 trillion a year! Shock!

Why? Largely because those who created this bloated government will not admit a single mistake or abolish a single program.  Here are some staggering examples of the overall problem:

  • Recent audits show that 22% of all federal programs are ineffective or incapable of demonstrating results.
  • 69 separate programs, administered by 10 different agencies, provide education or care to children under the age of 5.
  • Nine separate agencies administer 44 different programs for job training.
  • 23 separate programs, each with its own overhead, provide housing assistance to the elderly.

With so many redundant, inefficient, and ineffective federal programs, it is no wonder that the American people have so little confidence in Washington to act effectively when federal action is really needed.

Well, the last bullet point can be taken care of by merging all of the programs; I can think of reasons why so many different programs would exist for the middle two, but consolidation of agencies might still be possible. But how can we be sure Republicans will “admit a single mistake or abolish a single program” and won’t just perpetuate the problem?

“The Budget Process – A Fraud that Guarantees Runaway Spending”:

For more than three decades – since enactment of the Budget Act of 1974 by a Democrat-controlled Congress – the federal government has operated within a rigged system notable for its lack of transparency. The earlier approach – annual passage of the appropriation bills, amended and voted up or down, with the numbers there for all to see – had its flaws and generated much red ink.  But its replacement, the current budget process, only worsened the money flow and came to rely on monstrous omnibus spending bills.  The results are adverse to all seeking to limit government’s growth.

Wow! Tell us what you really feel! But I have a feeling this is going to veer off into esoterica that no one can even comprehend. Examples in original:

  • “The budget process assumes every spending project will be on the books forever, even if the law says the spending will expire – but it assumes tax relief will be temporary.” A fair point.
  • “It treats well-deserved tax cuts as a kind of spending, so that letting Americans keep more of their earnings is considered the same as more spending on pork projects.” Ties in with the following:
  • “It fails to recognize the positive impact that lowering tax rates has on economic growth.” That might be a fair point, but the budget process is designed with the federal government in mind, and as far as the government is concerned tax cuts ARE a sort of spending unless it actually increases revenue.
  • “In its deceptive and irresponsible accounting, an increase in a program’s funding is actually a decrease if it is less than the rate of inflation.” Um, yes. That’s what inflation is. That’s not “deceptive and irresponsible accounting”, that’s honest and responsible accounting.
  • “Once a budget is produced under that system, the budget law itself limits the time Congress can consider it before voting.” Already no budget gets completely passed before the date it’s supposed to go into effect; you want to lengthen that time?

“Moreover, the budget’s review process is a sham.  Of the $3 trillion spent annually, only one-third is reviewed each year during the budget and appropriations process.  The remaining $2 trillion automatically goes to interest on the national debt or entitlements.” What, in this sense, are “entitlements”? And from a fiscal perspective, doesn’t it make sense to pay down the national debt? “And because the budget process assumes an automatic increase in spending, the debate on the remaining one-third is only over how much more spending to approve.” An “automatic increase in spending” adjusted for inflation, or unadjusted for inflation? If unadjusted for inflation, I think it’s fair to factor in inflation in the budgeting process. “Finally, while government requires corporations to budget for future pension and health care costs, our government ignores those requirements.  No family or private sector business could keep its books the way Washington keeps ours.” Another fair point.

A Plan to Control Spending Republicans will attack wasteful Washington spending immediately.  Current procedures should be replaced with simplicity and transparency.  For example:

  • We favor adoption of the Balanced Budget Amendment to require a balanced federal budget except in time of war.” We haven’t had a congressionally-declared war since World War II, and the War Powers Act pretty much guarantees we’ll never have another. Any sane judge would say a Constitutional amendment would use the Constitutional definition of “war”, so unless you start having Congress declare war again (or make the Founding Fathers turn in their graves by giving that power explicitly to the President), your war exemption is meaningless and practically, you won’t be able to spend like you need to in time of war. Also, most economists say deficits are natural and necessary in recessions as tax revenue goes down and government services are used more, and should be exacerbated by tax cuts and infrastructure investment, so without an economic-downturn exemption this sounds like a recipe for disaster that will force you to take steps that would exacerbate the recession.
  • “Earmarking must stop.  To eliminate wasteful projects and pay-offs to special interests, we will impose an immediate moratorium on the earmarking system and reform the appropriations process through full transparency.  Tax dollars must be distributed on the basis of clear national priorities, not a politician’s seniority or party position.” I can’t think of a good reason for earmarks to even exist, but how can I trust the Republicans to follow through on this?
  • “Government waste must be taken off auto-pilot.  We call for a one-year pause in non-defense, non-veterans discretionary spending to force a critical, cost-benefit review of all current programs.” Why “non-veterans”? Why not non-education? And if you eliminate all spending of that sort, especially in a recession, you deprive people of a LOT of vital services, redundant though they may be. And who will perform this review, and if it’s an independent auditor, how can I trust the Republicans to follow through on his recommendations? 
  • “We call for a constitutionally sound presidential line-item veto.” That would allow for the President to get rid of specific items in a spending bill without vetoing the whole thing. Because when the President wants more power, he usually gets it, this might actually happen.
  • “If billions are worth spending, they should be spent in the light of day.  We will insist that, before either the House or Senate considers a spending bill, every item in it should be presented in advance to the taxpayers on the Internet.” Same as for the “accountability” measures the Dems proposed for things like pension funds: no one will be able to sit through it except for watchdog groups and freaks like me who run point-by-point examinations of party political platforms. J
  • “Because the problem is too much spending, not too few taxes, we support a supermajority requirement in both the House and Senate to guard against tax hikes.” Sounds like that’ll make it more difficult for your balanced budget amendment to work. Republicans love tax cuts, so they’ll probably follow through on this, but it almost certainly will require a constitutional amendment and people who think government has a vital role will complain that “it takes a supermajority to raise taxes but a majority to lower them”.
  • “New authorizations should be offset by reducing another program, and no appropriation should be permitted without a current authorization.” You really are the small-government type. This could create a tight space for the important services government provides, and it needs to be able to account for inflation. And I doubt you’ll do it anyway.
  • “Congressional ethics rules governing special interests should apply across the board, without the special exemptions now granted to favored institutions.” Sounds good, but what are these “favored institutions” and why are they “favored”?
  • “We support the Government Shutdown Protection Act to ensure the continuance of essential federal functions when advocates of pork threaten to shut down the government unless their wasteful spending is accepted.” Sounds like a good way to undermine your “spending freeze”, er, “pause”, and it’s sure to become a target for loopholes that allow every wasteful, porkful program to keep getting funding and render a “government shutdown” meaningless.
  • “We will insist that the budget reasonably plan for the long-term costs of pension and health care programs and urge the conversion of such programs to defined contribution programs.” Sounds good, but a lot of foreign language.

“Empowering the States, Improving Public Services”:

The long term solution for many of Washington’s problems is structural. Congress must respect the limits imposed upon it by the Tenth Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

We look to the model of Republican welfare reform, which, since its enactment in 1996, has accomplished a major transfer of resources and responsibility from the federal government back to the states – with an accompanying improvement in the program itself.  Applying that approach to other programs will steer Congress back into line with the Constitution, reversing both its intrusion into state matters and its neglect of its central duties.

Well, the “model of Republican welfare reform” serves to reassure me – and, presumably, others – that the Republicans can, indeed, be trusted to reduce the size of government, and that moving some programs to the states is indeed the answer.

(Note: For the first time I’m struck by the remarkable small-government implications of the Tenth Amendment. It effectively says the government literally cannot do anything unless the Constitution explicitly or implicitly allows them to, or says the states can’t. I’m planning a series of posts on that next year, but if the Congress has really gone afoul of the Tenth Amendment, isn’t the real problem that the Supreme Court hasn’t called them on it?)

To aid in the fulfillment of those duties, we propose a National Sunset Commission to review all federal programs and recommend which of them should be terminated due to redundancy, waste, or intrusion into the American family. The Congress would then be required by law to schedule one yea or nay vote on the entire sunset list with no amendments.

This would be nonpartisan and not influenced by political manipulation, and can’t be used to get particular powerful people’s wishes ramrodded through without a chance to be amendmented out, right? Oh, you talk about “intrusion into the American family”, it’s already influenced by political manipulation.

“Additionally, as important as returning power to the states is returning power to the people.  As the Declaration of Independence states, our rights are endowed to us by our Creator and are inalienable: rights to life, liberty, and property.” Actually, the Declaration talks about “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”… “Government does not confer these rights but is instituted by men to protect the rights that man already possesses.   The Republican Party strongly affirms these rights and demands that government respect them.” Empty platitudes that sound good but mean less than nothing.

“Congress Must Improve Oversight of Government Programs”: “Congress has a fundamental duty to conduct meaningful oversight on the effectiveness of government programs, not use every hearing as an opportunity for political grandstanding.” Well, that certainly rings true from what I’ve seen. With that in mind:

  • “We urge every congressional committee to reserve at least one week every month to conduct oversight of the nearly 1,700 separate grant and loan programs of the federal government.” That’s almost micromanagement, and it does nothing to stop “political grandstanding”.
  • “To prevent conflicts of interest, a Truth in Testimony mandate should require all committee witnesses to detail the amount of federal funding they and their employer currently receive and, in the case of associations, how much federal money their members would receive from the proposed legislation.” Sounds reasonable, if subject to the same problems as other “accountability” measures, but why would only “associations” have to declare how much money they would receive?
  • “Because official Washington does not even know how much land it owns, we call for a national audit of all federally-owned properties as a first step toward returning unnecessary properties to the American people or to state and local government for public use.” Again, sounds reasonable.

“Improving the Work of Government”: A good chunk of the federal workforce and most of its managers are about to retire, and the Republicans see in that “a[n]…opportunity…
to gradually shrink the size of government while using technology to increase its effectiveness and reshape the way agencies do business.”

Each agency must be able to pass a financial audit and set annual targets for improving efficiency with fewer resources.  Civil service managers should be given incentives for more effective leadership, including protection against the current guilty-until-proven-innocent grievance procedures which disgruntled employees use against them to thwart reform.  Due process cannot excuse bad behavior.

What happens if and/or when an agency can’t improve its efficiency any more? The first sentence sounds good but the rest almost seems to come out of left field. I’d like to know more about these “grievance procedures” and verify whether or not “protection against” them would result in more bad apples among “civil service managers” less able to be disciplined.

“We will provide Internet transparency in all federal contracting as a necessary step in combating cost overruns.” A good – nay, excellent – idea, especially in light of some of the headlines of the past eight years, but like all such “transparency” measures, who’s reading it? “We will draw on the expertise of today’s successful managers and entrepreneurs in the private sector, like the “dollar-a-year” businesspeople who answered their country’s call during the Second World War, to build real-world competence and accountability into government procurement and operations.” How do we know they won’t be more like the “party-a-bankruptcy” businesspeople at companies like AIG? That sounds like a recipe for a bunch of charlatans to come in, loot the government for personal gain and leave it in shambles, and leave.

“Domestic Disaster Response”: “Americans hit by disaster must never again feel abandoned by their government.  The Katrina disaster taught a painful lesson: The federal government’s system for responding to a natural calamity needs a radical overhaul.  We recognize the need for a natural disaster insurance policy.” That sounds like a fantastic idea. Of course, Katrina happened under a Republican President and a Republican Congress, but it sounds like a great idea and should motivate the government to protect people from natural disasters, especially with the climate potentially going out of whack in coming years.

“State and local cooperation is crucial, as are private relief efforts, but Washington must take the lead in forging a partnership with America’s best run businesses to ensure that FEMA’s Emergency Operations Centers run as well as any Fortune 500 Company.” Oh great, another “let’s privatize it all!” suggestion. To be fair, the Republicans talk about “best run businesses”, but even there that’s going to lead to ruthless cost-cutting and the lowest levels of service FEMA can get away with (not to mention possibly irrelevant advice), and how do we know it really is going to be the “best run businesses” Republicans take a cue from? And it’s a “partnership”, so how do we know there won’t be any conflicts of interest? About the only part of this sentence that I like is the bit about “state and local cooperation”.

“We must make it easier for both businesses and non-profits to act as force-multipliers in relief situations.” Agreed in theory, especially for non-profits, but at the same time we can’t just hand it over to big business and trust them not to join the looting. “We believe it is critical to support those impacted by natural disasters and to complete the rebuilding of devastated areas, including the Gulf Coast.” Again, agreed.

“Restoring Our Infrastructure”:

The American people can have safer roads and bridges, better airports and more efficient harbors, as long as we straighten out the government’s spending priorities.  The politics of pork distorts the allocation of resources for modernizing the nation’s infrastructure.  That can leave entire communities vulnerable to natural disasters and deprive others of the improvements necessary for economic growth and job creation.  We pledge a business-like, cost-effective approach for infrastructure spending, always mindful of the special needs of both rural and urban communities.

The bit about disaster response is more out-of-place in this part than infrastructure, because infrastructure improvements tend to be the target of pork. Once again, “run the government like a business”. I don’t even know what this means or how you would change anything.

We support a level of investment in the nation’s transportation system that will promote a healthy economy, sustain jobs, and keep America globally competitive.  We need to improve the system’s performance and capacity to deal with congestion, move a massive amount of freight, reduce traffic fatalities, and ensure mobility across both rural and urban areas. We urgently need to preserve the highway, transit, and air facilities built over the last century so they can serve generations to come.  At the same time, we are committed to minimizing transportation’s impact on climate change, our local environments, and the nation’s energy use.  Careful reforms of environmental reviews and the permitting process should speed projects to completion.

It sounds like your heart’s in the right place, and if you want to “deal with congestion”, “reduce traffic fatalities”, and “minimiz[e] transportation’s impact on…energy use”, mass transit would be a good place to start, especially for the last. Would those “reforms of environmental reviews and the permitting process” potentially get rid of important aspects of either?

Safeguarding our transportation infrastructure is critical to our homeland security.  An integrated, flexible system – developed and sustained in partnership between state and local governments and the federal government – must also share responsibilities with the private sector.  We call for more prudent stewardship of the nation’s Highway Trust Fund to restore the program’s purchasing power and ensure that it will meet the changing needs of a mobile nation.

“Privatize! Privatize! Privatize!” Pretty much all covered before. Oddly, this might mean getting the private sector involved in securing the nation’s infrastructure, but not in building it like the Democrats. Last sentence… not sure what to make of it, really. No reference to non-transportation infrastructure in the whole thing.

“Entitlement Reform”: So this is what “entitlements” are: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which are typically isolated from the rest of the federal budget. “The job of modernizing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid calls for bipartisanship, not political posturing.  Through the last four presidential terms, we have sought that cooperation, but it has not been forthcoming.  The public demands constructive action, and we will provide it.” Really means little until we hear more in the next two paragraphs.

Social Security
We are committed to putting Social Security on a sound fiscal basis.  Our society faces a profound demographic shift over the next twenty-five years, from today’s ratio of 3.3 workers for every retiree to only 2.1 workers by 2034.  Under the current system, younger workers will not be able to depend on Social Security as part of their retirement plan.  We believe the solution should give workers control over, and a fair return on, their contributions.  No changes in the system should adversely affect any current or near-retiree. Comprehensive reform should include the opportunity to freely choose to create your own personal investment accounts which are distinct from and supplemental to the overall Social Security system.

So no hiking the retirement age, “give workers control over…their contributions”, and “personal investment accounts which are distinct from” Social Security proper. This might be what some Democrats are talking about by Republican plans to “privatize” Social Security, and notice that it’s rather short on details. The bit on “Medicare and Medicaid” refers to the later discussion of the Republican health care plan, which will involve “rewarding quality care, promoting competition, eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse, and giving patients and providers control over treatment options.  We envision a new Medicaid partnership with the states, improving public health through flexibility and innovation.” More reducing the size of government by passing it off to the states. “Improving public health through flexibility and innovation” seems like an empty platitude for now.

“Appointing Constitutionalist Judges for the Nation’s Courts”:

Judicial activism is a grave threat to the rule of law because unaccountable federal judges are usurping democracy, ignoring the Constitution and its separation of powers, and imposing their personal opinions upon the public.  This must stop.

We condemn the Supreme Court’s disregard of homeowners’ property rights in its Kelo decision and deplore the Court’s arbitrary extension of Americans’ habeas corpus rights to enemy combatants held abroad.  We object to the Court’s unwarranted interference in the administration of the death penalty in this country for the benefit of savage criminals whose guilt is not at issue.  We lament that judges have denied the people their right to set abortion policies in the states and are undermining traditional marriage laws from coast to coast.  We are astounded that four justices of the Supreme Court believe that individual Americans have no individual right to bear arms to protect themselves and their families.

Republicans will insist on the appointment of constitutionalist judges, men and women who will not distort our founding documents to deny the people’s right to self-government, sanction federal powers that violate our liberties, or inject foreign law into American jurisprudence.

I’m withholding judgment until I read the Democratic platform’s discussion of this issue. Suffice to say I suspect none of these cases are as black and white as the Republicans indicate. The line about “sanction[ing] federal powers that violate our liberties” actually surprises me a little because it suggests the Republicans at least want to give the appearance that they want to control the abuse that one of their own, Bush, has been accused of. I’m curious what cases the Republicans think “inject[ed] foreign law into American jurisprudence”.

The Republicans “oppose stealth nominations to the federal bench, and especially to the Supreme Court, whose lack of a clear and distinguished record leaves doubt about their respect for the Constitution or their intellectual fortitude.” That’s out of left field; certainly it’s a fair point, but is it based on something in the Democratic platform or something? Because otherwise it would seem to refer to their own president’s nominations.

“We reject the Democrats’ view that judicial nominees should guarantee particular results even before the case is filed.  Judges should not be politicians.  Jurists nominated by a Republican president will be thoughtful and open-minded, always prepared to view past error in light of stare decisis, including judicial fiats that disenfranchised the American people.” WHAT? You just said you object to the Supreme Court making decisions you didn’t like, and now you’re trying to claim justices should be free of political pressure?

No qualified person should be denied the opportunity to serve on the federal bench due to race, ethnicity, religion or sex.  In affirming Article VI of the Constitution – that no religious test shall ever be required for any office – we insist that the Senate should never inquire into a nominee’s religious convictions and we condemn the opposition, by some members of the Democratic Party, to recent judicial nominees because of their ethnicity or religion.

I agree, but I’ve heard nothing about this. Presumably “inquir[ing] into a nominee’s religious convictions” is part of determining, say, how those convictions might affect how they rule. It’s appropriate, and in line with your ranting against judicial activism, to determine if someone’s religious convictions will unduly affect how they rule, which applies regardless of specific religion.

“Protecting the Right to Vote in Fair Elections”: It’s so hard for members of the military to vote in the election! We need “expedited mail delivery to bring ballots to and from our troops abroad, including those serving in areas of conflict, while completing work on an electronic ballot delivery system that will enable our military personnel to receive and cast their ballots in a secure and convenient manner”! What about those screwy voting machines that made such a difference in 2000?

We oppose attempts to distort the electoral process by wholesale restoration of the franchise to convicted felons, by makeshift or hurried naturalization procedures, or by discretionary ballot-reading by election boards.

Preventing voting fraud is a civil rights issue.  We support the right of states to require an official government-issued photo identification for voting and call upon the Department of Justice to deploy its resources to prevent ballot tampering in the November elections.  We support efforts by state and local election officials to ensure integrity in the voting process and to prevent voter fraud and abuse, particularly as it relates to voter registration and absentee ballots.

That all sounds well and good, but there have been reports of voting fraud cases used for political purposes to disenfranchise poor voters, and concern that requiring photo ID for voting either will disenfranchise more poor people or result in the basis of Orwellian tracking.

“The rights of citizenship do not stop at the ballot box.  They include the free-speech right to devote one’s resources to whatever cause or candidate one supports.  We oppose any restrictions or conditions upon those activities that would discourage Americans from exercising their constitutional right to enter the political fray or limit their commitment to their ideals.” It sounds good but what does it really mean? Does it mean weakening campaign finance legislation?

“Guaranteeing a Constitutional Census in 2010”:

The integrity of the 2010 census, proportioning congressional representation among the states, must be preserved. The census should count every person legally abiding in the United States in an actual enumeration.  We urge all who are legally eligible to participate in the census count to do so; at the same time, we urge Congress to specify – and to constitutionally justify – which census questions require a response.

What the hell is this all about? It sounds good but I have no idea what it’s talking about.

“Working with Americans in the Territories”: “We appreciate the extraordinary sacrifices the men and women of the territories are making to protect our freedom through their service in the U.S. Armed Forces.” That’s basically everything you said about the “Armed Forces” in the previous part, only with “of the territories” added.

We welcome greater participation in all aspects of the political process by Americans residing in Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Northern Marianas, and Puerto Rico.  We affirm their right to seek the full extension of the Constitution, with all the political rights and responsibilities it entails.

Wait, does this mean you support statehood for all of them? Why am I surprised? “We recognize the valuable contributions made by the people of the United States Virgin Islands to the common welfare of the nation, including national defense, and their contributions to the federal treasury in the form of federal excise taxes paid on products produced in the territory.” Why a shout-out specifically to the Virgin Islands for this?

“We support the Native American Samoans’ efforts to protect their right to self-government and to preserve their culture and land-tenure system, which fosters self-reliance and strong extended-family values.” Calling them “Native American Samoans”, which makes them sound like what we call Indians, might not sit well with them. Still, you are showing cultural sensitivity. “We support increased local self-government for the United States citizens of the Virgin Islands, and closer cooperation between the local and federal governments to promote private sector-led development and self-sufficiency.” So are you trying to grease a path to independence?

We recognize that Guam is a strategically vital U.S. territory, an American fortress in the western Pacific.  We affirm our support for the patriotic U.S. citizens of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to achieve greater self-government, an improved federal territorial relationship, new economic development strategies, a strong health care system that meets their needs, and continued political self-determination. We support a review to determine the appropriate eligibility of territories as well as states for Supplemental Security Income and other federal programs.

Once again, it sounds like you’re moving towards something resembling independence, but this time you still want to keep them as “strategically vital U.S. territor[ies]”. All of this, by the way, sounds like perfectly good things, but this in particular makes me scratch my head at the Republicans’ small-government reputation.

We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state after they freely so determine.  We recognize that Congress has the final authority to define the constitutionally valid options for Puerto Rico to achieve a permanent non-territorial status with government by consent and full enfranchisement.  As long as Puerto Rico is not a state, however, the will of its people regarding their political status should be ascertained by means of a general right of referendum or specific referenda sponsored by the U.S. government.

So you’re okay with Puerto Rico becoming a state, but you don’t want Congress defining so, you want the people to choose from the options Congress provides. As written by the Republicans, this seems reasonable.

“Preserving the District of Columbia”:

The nation’s capital is a special responsibility of the federal government.  Yet some of the worst performing schools in the country are mere blocks from the Department of Education, and some of the most crime-ridden neighborhoods in the country are blocks from the Department of Justice.  Washington should be made a model city. Two major Republican initiatives – a first-time D.C. homebuyers credit and a landmark school choice initiative – have pointed the way toward a civic resurgence, and a third piece of GOP legislation now guarantees young D.C. residents significant assistance in affording higher education.

Sounds good, but sounds like Democratic proposals. Although “school choice” might be a little more Republican. Still, once again casts doubt on your “small government” reputation.

Because Washington’s buildings and monuments may be top targets of terrorist groups, the federal government must work closely with local officials to improve security without burdening local residents. We call on the District of Columbia city council to pass laws consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision in the Heller case.  We honor the contributions of the residents of the District of Columbia, especially those who are serving honorably, or have served, in our Armed Forces.

Again, sounds good, but I notice there was no mention of the call by DC residents for true voting representation in Congress.

Hmm. At this rate, I’m going to need to devote a part to each and every part of the Republican platform from here on out unless some of them get really short. Can I get through them all before the election???

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