Civil Liberties

Confused? Stop Reading the Republican Platform!

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In my column last week, I noted that the Texas GOP urges voters to "Vote Republican" if they've "Had Enough." This message is especially problematic as a reason for sending Republicans to Austin, since they already control the state legislature and the executive branch. The state party's 2010 platform (PDF) does not enhance their case. It declares that Americans have "the right to be safe in their homes"—but not from police enforcing anti-sodomy laws, which the Texas GOP supports (a position that also conflicts with "Limiting the expanse of Government Power"). It advocates "a free enterprise society unencumbered by government interference" yet demands "legislation to prohibit all pornography." It urges "Strict adherence to the Declaration of Independence and U.S. and Texas Constitutions" but condemns judicial review to enforce said adherence. "We urge Congress to withhold Supreme Court jurisdiction in cases involving abortion, religious freedom, and the Bill of Rights," the platform says.

There is some good stuff in there too, including support for gun rights, opposition to eminent domain abuse, concern about the impact of the PATRIOT Act on civil liberties, a demand for the abolition of constitutionally unauthorized federal agencies, and criticism of federal laws that run afoul of the 10th Amendment. But the party's opposition to judicial review means it would have to condemn any Supreme Court decision that advanced these causes. It seems like an ideological muddle to me. Maybe you'll have more luck discerning the thread of consistency.

[Thanks to Sam Rosenstein for the link.]