Open Thread: A Shaky (& Deeply Dishonest) GOP Platform

Lest you start to think only Democratic platform architects are being harassed by cranky outsiders from their left, here’s Ed Kilgore at NYMag:

For a political party known until quite recently for its virtually unanimous support for the dictates of conservative ideology, the GOP has got some shockingly large divisions on issues today, thanks to Donald Trump… There is no way to identify a single inch of common ground between Trump’s attacks on globalization as the source of all evil and the views of the Republican-leaning U.S. business community (see this angry op-ed by U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Thomas Donahue). Slightly less heated but still important are Trump-GOP differences over social security and Medicare, treated by Trump as part of an inviolable social contract and by most Republicans as sacred cows that need to be slaughtered to bring federal spending under control. Immigration, of course, has created its own well-known intra-party fault lines. And there’s trouble all over the national-security landscape, beginning with Trump’s skepticism about NATO and his non-interventionist instincts, in a party where there’s a lot of lusty desire for Middle Eastern wars or maybe a nostalgic dustup with Russia.

All these divisions make the drafting and adoption of a party platform — normally a chore so routine and boring you don’t even hear about it beyond marginal arguments over the precise language of planks on abortion or guns — perilous. It would be natural for Team Trump to want to place the mogul’s personal stamp on the party’s statement of principles and proposals. And it would be tempting for those resisting Trump’s takeover of the GOP to start a platform fight at the convention.

How to avoid trouble? Well, two distinguished conservatives (one the president of Hillsdale College, the other a member of the actual platform committee) writing at the Washington Examiner have an idea: Make the platform so abstract and brief that none of the divisions even appear…

The gentlemen who wrote the Examiner article hark back to Lincoln’s 1860 platform, written in the succinct and beautiful language of principle”. They admire his avowal of “‘the maintenance of the principles promulgated in the Declaration of Independence and embodied in the Federal Constitution’,” and discretely ignore the stern reality in the second half of the same sentence — Lincoln was announcing that the would-be secessionists would not be permitted to tear the country in half if they could not force the rest of the citizenry to live under their antediluvian social mores: “‘the Federal Constitution, the Rights of the States, and the Union of the States, must and shall be preserved.'”

In place of such direct force, they propose a wishlist of gauzy nothings:

The federal government has become too centralized and many powers should be checked or returned to the states. The American people have the right to decide who joins them in citizenship. The military should be strong in defense of our nation and its interests. War should be undertaken cautiously, but when undertaken it should be fought fiercely and with the utmost speed. All agreements with other nations should be made in the interest of the American people. The social safety net, built at vast expense, should be made and kept secure.

One can find sanction for all of these opinions in the writings of Abraham Lincoln, and for many in that early Republican platform. One can also find general agreement in the likes of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, Mike Lee and Tom Cotton, Mitt Romney and Ben Sasse…

… All six of whom, on their best days, could not in combination have approached President Lincoln’s talents on his worst. Oh asses dressed in lion’s skin!

92 replies
  1. 1
    lollipopguild says:

    Remember the Maine, Plymouth Rock and The Golden Rule! Ya got Trouble right here in Cleveland!

  2. 2
    Ian says:

    The American people have the right to decide who joins them in citizenship

    As opposed to how we are currently doing it?

    The social safety net, built at vast expense, should be made and kept secure.

    Wait are we still talking about the Republican platform here?

  3. 3
    MattF says:

    But… reliance on the collective intelligence of the Republican Party is a dubious strategy. To say the least.

  4. 4
    Groucho48 says:


    In rightwingspeak, “made and kept secure” means privatized and eviscerated.

  5. 5
    Wag says:

    And so the great flim-flam continues. Or, in the immortal words of David Byrne, they’re ” talking a lot, but not saying anything”

    When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed. Trump and his minions will never learn that lesson.

  6. 6
    bago says:

    Listen to Juno Reactor Transmissions tonight
    while listening for the Juno probe’s transmissions

    Thank you taxes!

  7. 7
    Emma says:

    It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch. They should have a large store, and whatever people ask for they shouldn’t have, and what they have nobody should want.

  8. 8
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Drafting the platform takes 7 words — “We hate the same people you hate.”

    That was easy.

  9. 9
    sigaba says:

    @Groucho48: Not necessarily. Often what it means is “for every dollar we allocate to direct welfare benefits, we must spend twenty dollars to make sure the Wrong People aren’t spending that dollar on the Wrong Things.”

    The goal of the “social safety net” isn’t to actually, like, put money in people’s pockets, it’s to humiliate them. That’s what they mean by “keep it secure.”

  10. 10
    JPL says:

    Social Security and Medicare were a nice experiment, but we can no longer afford to keep our promises.

    They don’t even pretend anymore.

  11. 11
    Tony J says:

    Some of Lincoln’s speeches are pretty much So-She-List in their contempt for Big Money/Business and his belief that Government should work for the people who, y’know, work for a living. He was pretty insistent about it, and was getting more insistent about it before a White Supremacist murdered him.

    The modern GOP’s affinity for Lincoln starts, stops and goes no further than the fact he is acknowledged as pretty great and was the first Republican President. Anything about the man or the politician beyond that offends everything they have chosen to become.

  12. 12
    Calouste says:

    Well, I see that the GOP and its prospective nominee don’t agree on a lot of things, but at least they agree on white supremacy, although one quite vocal and the other more hush-hush. That must count for something, right? Maybe it’s the only thing that binds them together.

  13. 13
    bystander says:

    I’m looking forward to the next Moanin’ Joe debate whether promoting racist policies and smearing whole groups of people based on their race and religion make you a racist. The jury is still out.

  14. 14
    Elizabelle says:

    I would love if a front pager spotlighted a recent NY Times article. Why be consumed with the awfulness that is the GOP? It’s swimming in a sewer. Let’s appreciate the final (secure!) months of the Obama presidency.

    Obama After Dark: The Precious Hours Alone

    Mr. Obama calls himself a “night guy,” and as president, he has come to consider the long, solitary hours after dark as essential as his time in the Oval Office. Almost every night that he is in the White House, Mr. Obama has dinner at 6:30 with his wife and daughters and then withdraws to the Treaty Room, his private office down the hall from his bedroom on the second floor of the White House residence.

    There, his closest aides say, he spends four or five hours largely by himself.

    … The president also watches ESPN, reads novels or plays Words With Friends on his iPad.

    … By 8 p.m., the usher’s office delivers the president’s leather-bound daily briefing book — a large binder accompanied by a tall stack of folders with memos and documents from across the government, all demanding the president’s attention. “An insane amount of paper,” Mr. Kass said.

    Mr. Obama often reads through it in a leather swivel chair at his tablelike desk, under a portrait of President Ulysses S. Grant. Windows on each side of Grant look out on the brightly lit Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial.

    Other nights, the president settles in on the sofa under the 1976 “Butterfly” by Susan Rothenberg, a 6-foot-by-7-foot canvas of burnt sienna and black slashes that evokes a galloping horse.

    “He is thoroughly predictable in having gone through every piece of paper that he gets,” said Tom Donilon, Mr. Obama’s national security adviser from 2010 to 2013. “You’ll come in in the morning, it will be there: questions, notes, decisions.”

    … To stay awake, the president does not turn to caffeine. He rarely drinks coffee or tea, and more often has a bottle of water next to him than a soda. His friends say his only snack at night is seven lightly salted almonds.

    “Michelle and I would always joke: Not six. Not eight,” Mr. Kass said. “Always seven almonds.”

    I want to shout out about a true patriot, and not get consumed with the tin horns and detritus our late stage capitalism/very sick political system dredges up.

    It’s enervating.

  15. 15
    Elizabelle says:

    Oh, and happy 4th to you all. Hear that DC’s fireworks might be rained out; it’s very soggy there.

    Enjoy the booms. Dogs: start your thundershirts.

    Loved the snark about countries that have declared their independence from the UK. Think it’s an odd day for David Cameron. Oh well.

  16. 16
    The Dangerman says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Drafting the platform takes 7 words — “We hate the same people you hate.”

    I can make it shorter still:


  17. 17


    Wait are we still talking about the Republican platform here?

    Sure. The point is to make the platform sufficiently vague than anyone can claim it supports their position. People who like the safety net can claim this will protect it, while those who want to slash the safety net can claim that it’s too expensive, and the only way to protect it and make it secure is to cut it radically. That might actually work, given that modern platforms are intended to be a way of expressing aspirational principles rather than serious policies, but it does nothing but paper over the serious differences that are dividing the party.

  18. 18
    maya says:

    We, the Republican Party, in this_____ year of our one and holy Lord_________, do ordain and establish this contract_____America, in which we, the Republican Party, promise______, _______, and ________, and will never do _______, ______, or_______ for the remainder of______ or ______, whichever comes first.

    Any breaches of this contract will be decided by arbitration only.

    The new Ad Con platform form.

  19. 19
    burnspbesq says:

    The Democratic platform is turning into a dog’s breakfast, with all the silly and/or trivial concessions to the Berniacs.

    No dog I’ve ever known would do anything but walk away from the Republican platform.

  20. 20
    Poopyman says:

    @Elizabelle: Most of the rain’s cleared out now, with a weak wave maybe coming through in an hour or so. Damp indeed, but not raining. Humidity’s about 100%, but it’s only 70 degrees!

    Bring your own chair, and it may be a fine night on the Mall.

    (I’m staying snug at home, TYVM. And now to start ironing….)

  21. 21
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    I have truly enjoyed these 8 years with a man that I trust in charge. I’m hopeful that a fair election and an orderly transition will leave us with a new President that I can trust as much.
    Obama’s been good to us and great for our country’s progress. We owe him a lot for what he went through for the privilege of leading.

  22. 22
    MattF says:

    Does anyone actually believe that Trump would make even the smallest alteration in anything he says or does because of an approved ‘plank’ in the Republican platform? It’s completely meaningless.

  23. 23
    Kathleen says:

    @bystander: Mika: “Well, ‘some say’ that Obama is the real racist so both sides.”

  24. 24
    Kathleen says:

    @The Dangerman: That’s a great marketing slogan. That will take their brand to the next level.

  25. 25
    Baud says:


    To stay awake, the president does not turn to caffeine.

    This is why I’ll never be a success. I have at most three useful hours in a day when I’m not dead tired.

  26. 26
    Kenneth Kohl says:

    @Tony J: Well done. Party of Lincoln, indeed…

  27. 27
    Glidwrith says:

    Hmmm….differences between Dumpster and the ‘Thugs?

    Yes, the difference between the mask and the hideous monster that lies beneath.

  28. 28
    gogol's wife says:

    I was hoping that after three straight days of fireworks, maybe we could have some peace tonight? I guess not.

  29. 29
    Baud says:

    @MattF: So is the Dem platform for that matter. Platforms used to matter in the old days when parties were real organizations, but that ended with FDR, I believe.

  30. 30
    NotMax says:

    The platform will be yuuge. You won’t believe how yuuge it will be.

    Also kkklassy. And paid for by the Platformistanis.

  31. 31
    Ryan says:

    It will be beautiful language, just tremendous, you won’t even believe them. Trump has the best words, bigly words!

  32. 32
    Baud says:


    The percent of American households owning guns is at a near-40 year low in the latest CBS News poll released this month.

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The blind obedience to reactionary ideology as opposed to pragmatic policy decisions is the doom of the fucktards of the GOP, who have totally forgotten that FDR saved them from firing squads in the 30’s.

    Fuck them. No such luck in the future.

  34. 34
    Tony J says:

    @Kenneth Kohl:

    Well, he did wage an unprovoked and genocidal war against the peaceful ancestors of the current GOP base, didn’t he? That’s what they think, or pretend to think, and the most they’ll accept is waving his severed head as a cynical (underline cynical there) banner the MSM can fix on instead of looking at what the Party he represented has become.

    If he’d lived, hell of a different country you might have had.

  35. 35
    EBT says:

    @lollipopguild: they got problems right their in Cleveland city. That starts with P and rhymes with T and that stands for Trump. I might be a music nerd.

  36. 36
    Baud says:


    How can you go off topic in an open thread?

    It takes skills.

  37. 37
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    That starts with P and rhymes with T and that stands for Trump.

    You got Trumple
    Right here in River City

  38. 38
    Elizabelle says:

    @Poopyman: That’s good to hear. Mall is going to be a mess.

    Enjoy the ironing.

  39. 39
    NotMax says:

    Looking at the right’s dire prognostications on Obergefell v. Hodges, one year later.

    Yet these people’s utterances are still reported on as if they have validity.

  40. 40
    MattF says:

    @efgoldman: Some of us can manage to do that.

  41. 41
    rikyrah says:

    @The Dangerman:
    So simple, yet so true.

  42. 42
    Ryan says:

    @Baud: Good, concentrate the ownership. It’ll make them easier to confiscate! MWHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  43. 43
    lollipopguild says:

    @EBT: Ya think?

  44. 44
    debbie says:


    I have zero luck with the search function here, but I believe rikryah first posted that article when it came out and it was then front paged.

    By the way, I trust the Chamber of Commerce as much as I trust ALEC or the NRA.

  45. 45
    lollipopguild says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Lake Erie City.

  46. 46
    max says:

    Lest you start to think only Democratic platform architects are being harassed by cranky outsiders from their left, here’s Ed Kilgore at NYMag:

    Ed has a fairly astounding comment section over there. And people complain about this place.

    In place of such direct force, they propose a wishlist of gauzy nothings:

    Bah. The Forever Republican Platform:
    2) See #1

    Oh, wait.

    [‘Good for all elections from 1968-20jeezreally?’]

  47. 47
    Baud says:


    And people complain about this place.

    Those people are losers.

  48. 48
    cmorenc says:

    @Tony J:

    The modern GOP’s affinity for Lincoln starts, stops and goes no further than the fact he is acknowledged as pretty great and was the first Republican President. Anything about the man or the politician beyond that offends everything they have chosen to become.

    The same is also true of the modern GOP’s affinity for claiming Teddy Roosevelt proudly as one of their own – when his domestic policies and accomplishments are anathema to current GOP conservative ideology, particularly his tackling of corrupt monopolistic big business and passionate embrace of conservation ethics.. His imperialistic foreign policy they are more comfortable with, however.

  49. 49
    Poopyman says:

    @Elizabelle: Done! I just pulled up Youtube with some of my growin’-up songs from the 70s & steamed away.

  50. 50
    Central Planning says:

    @efgoldman: Wow. They are insane.

    Although I do agree with the “We support allowing consumers in Texas to be able to purchase cars directly from manufacturers” plank.

  51. 51
    debbie says:


    Remember the Maine, Plymouth Rock and The Golden Rule! Ya got Trouble right here in Cleveland!

    Forget Cleveland. Howsabout Avon, Ohio? As the video will show (takedown starts at about 1:00), the cops absolutely manhandled an UAE tourist because the desk clerk thought he was talking to ISIS “or something” on his cellphone.

  52. 52



    Wait; that can’t be right. Sex that’s only between boys is icky. There’s definitely something wrong with this part.

  53. 53
    Peale says:



    Keep reaching for that rainbow, GOP.

  54. 54
    Central Planning says:

    @Roger Moore: Time for The Onion’s article on Why do all these homosexuals keep sucking my cock?

  55. 55
    JPL says:

    @Ryan: And splodey heads will keep sploden.
    Sarah Palin

  56. 56
    Baud says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Sex that’s only between boys is icky.

    Only if it’s done right.

  57. 57
    Peale says:

    The American people have the right to decide who joins them in citizenship.

    Seriously, what is even actionable about that?

    ETA: Weekly votes on the “Immigrants got Talent” reality show?

  58. 58
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore: They never think this shit through. Ever.

  59. 59
    Elizabelle says:

    @debbie: good to hear. and happy 4th

  60. 60
    EBT says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: It’s enough to cause a rampage.

  61. 61
    Suzanne says:

    The GOP platform: a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

  62. 62

    With apologies to The Bard, it sounds like it’s not just an idiot but a whole cast full of them.

  63. 63
    Suzanne says:

    @efgoldman: Well, as@Roger Moore: points out, it’s really a tale told by a bunch of idiots, full of sound and fury (a whole shit-ton of fury), signifying nothing.

    Fuckers are meaningless and their bullshit ideology will disappear from the earth in time, just like smallpox. Buh-bye.

  64. 64
    Kay says:

    My husband is in kind of a “serious” tennis group in Michigan- they’re basically better-off people and most of them are “moderate” Republicans. They had their tournament this weekend and he says they’re all sighing and saying they have to vote for Clinton. They have no choice, poor babies :)

    They all probably VOTE too.

  65. 65
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Peale: What they mean is “White Christian Male Straight Americans, alone, shall decide who is allowed inside our borders or not.”

  66. 66
    Tony J says:


    I think it’s been said here before but it’s always worth saying again, for clarity. The modern GOP/Conservative/Whatever movement’s heroes and patriarchs aren’t Washington or Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt, however much they may lie about it. Two of those three would definitely have chinned them for suggesting it, two would have definitely shot them.

    When it comes to who and what inspires them you have to look back to their real spokesmen. Jefferson Davis, Calhoun, Nathan Bedford Forrest, David Stephenson, William Simmons, D W Griffith, Etc, etc. The angry losers of American history. Stamping their feet and slapping their foreheads and failing more often than they succeed.

    November is just another battlefield, in a war they are gradually losing. And they both know and deeply dislike that taste.

  67. 67
    Baud says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Aka Real® Americans.

  68. 68

    @Baud: No, pretty sure you have that backwards.

  69. 69
    Baud says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    I had a 50/50 chance.

  70. 70
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Tony J: No longer the party of Lincoln. They are the party of the traitor, Jefferson Davis.

  71. 71
    Kay says:

    Mr. Trump, who is skeptical of TV ads and short on campaign cash, has not bought any general election ads in the state. The first ad supporting him from an outside group, the National Rifle Association, featuring a survivor of the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, was just rolled out.
    “I’ve gotten to the point where I feel so much of this is on the Trump campaign,” said Matt Borges, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party.
    He said Mr. Trump recently called him after reading that Mrs. Clinton was far ahead in hiring field staff members in Ohio.

    I love that Trump’s first contact was when he read Clinton was hiring field staff :)

  72. 72
    hovercraft says:

    Republican Platform 2016
    – Cut Taxes for the poorly educated.
    – No brown people immigration
    – Tax free repatriation of profits
    – Drill baby drill
    – No freedom to criticize any GOP president
    – New libel and slander laws
    – No protesting against the GOP president
    – All federal government conferences must be held at Trump properties
    – If the president says it’s legal it is, any dissent is treason

    Edit: No. 1, not really just say it but don’t actually do it.

    What else?

  73. 73
    Ruckus says:

    The chamber only works when it’s members are doing at least nominally well. They have nothing to sell other than “Hey everything is great, come shop in our town.” ALEC and NRA have products that are far more harmful to many people. Now that said my dealings with the CoC as a small business owner were useless at best. They asked me to come speak once because their prior speaker ended up not being able. Then they tried to charge me to speak because the meeting wasn’t about transit issues as I was told but was supposed to be a sales pitch for my business. After I got done telling them where they could put their invoice they had no doubt as to my feelings for the CoC. Maybe it’s just that they are locally bad rather than pure evil.

  74. 74
    Suzanne says:

    @Tony J: Yes, they are losing. As the world grows ever more connected, their politics of division becomes ever more anachronistic. At some point, after losing enough times, it may become clear to them that, for no abstract or philosophical reason but really just for the stability of the entire enterprise, government has to make more people’s lives better. And they have been standing in the way of that, trying to fool people.

  75. 75

    @Baud: This is why you lost. Things like this.

  76. 76
    debbie says:


    Happy 4th to you too! How’s sunny Spain?

  77. 77
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @NotMax: Well we all know it will be kkklassy. Very kkklassy because Trump is KKKerrific. I’m still laughing that he and his supporters are trying to defend his Star of David attack on Secretary Clinton but don’t explain why his campaign decided to alter it if it was so innocent. This is a man who doesn’t believe in apologies.

  78. 78
    hovercraft says:

    This has been going on for a couple of decades now, less people with guns but more guns for those who do have them. Maybe Darwin is being proven true as those with gun fetishes are slowly thinning their own ranks. Unfortunately too often the guns escape from those dwindling house holds and cull the rest of us out here.
    To any gun owner I’m aware of your 2nd amend. rights.

  79. 79
    debbie says:


    Here, the CoC runs ads for Rob Portman and other GOPers that are so dire, when they say the ads are sponsored by The Chamber, I think of the Star Chamber. In the sense of their political efforts, they do belong with ALEC and the NRA.

  80. 80
    hovercraft says:

    What are people marrying their turtles ?

  81. 81
    cmorenc says:

    @Tony J:

    November is just another battlefield, in a war they are gradually losing. And they both know and deeply dislike that taste.

    Many within the GOP recognize that the 2016 through 2020 elections may likely be their last chance to gain sufficient control over all three branches of the federal government to fundamentally restructure both the electorate and the government, before they are irreversibly overwhelmed and defeated by the changing demographics and values of America. But it’s just as important for we progressives to recognize from the example of the aftermath of the 2010 off-year elections that IF the GOP does succeed for winning control during that small window, they fully intend to use that opportunity to do two things: 1) build even more formidable barriers to frustrate enough of the “wrong” kinds of people from voting (enough to retain control of the federal level for another decade or two at least) – AND ALSO 2) to destroy the foundations of every progressive accomplishment via government going back to the New Deal and to make it structurally impossible for several decades at least to even begin to rebuild it. They have an ideological passion to destroy social security and convert medicare to a private insurance voucher system and tax credit scheme, and they will be able to install a Supreme Court majority that makes even the current five conservative majority look like the Warren Court by comparison – we could see a return to Lochner-like substantive due process type of invalidation of much of the potential regulatory reach of both federal AND state governments.

  82. 82
    Mnemosyne says:


    They want to go back to the post-WWI good ol’ days of explicitly restricting immigration by ethnic group.

    When you think about it, it’s a little appalling how little our US history classes mentioned that the fabled “Roaring Twenties” had a huge upsurge of racist, xenophobic, and nativist legislation. They act like the fascist movement came out of nowhere when it was a worldwide insanity that the US was by no means immune from.

  83. 83
    Ruckus says:

    My main dealings were with the CoC in a county in CA which is over 80% democratic. They are a not quite up to being a gop add agency. My memories of OH CoC on the other hand……
    And I did say they were bad, just not pure evil. That is of course subject to change depending on your local politics.

  84. 84
    Baud says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I thought it was because I didn’t bother to get on any ballots.

  85. 85
    hovercraft says:

    That is what you get when you advocate racial profiling, the rubes in places where they are not used to seeing ‘moslems’ react with paranoia whenever they encounter anyone who ‘looks’ muslim. If you tell people all muslims are scary this is the result.

  86. 86
    rmgosselin says:

    There are no freak shows in America as loony as these Tenth Amendment extremists claiming Lincoln as their grandpappy, unless it’s claiming Frederick Douglass as their uncle, which they’ve also done.

  87. 87
    AnotherBruce says:

    @Baud: So you’re complaining about the losers who complain here?

  88. 88
    Davebo says:


    That and a write in campaign is a real bitch for a anonymous candidate.

  89. 89

    @Baud: Come on, votes don’t matter. Dem delegates aren’t legally bound to do anything, after all. And everybody knows that superdelegates don’t vote until the convention!

  90. 90
    Jeffro says:

    Eugene Robinson starts off hot and then leaves me cold with his latest. Gene, it’s op-Ed and not traditional reporting for a reason

  91. 91
    No One You Know says:

    @maya: Dang, I have such a hard time playing Mad Libs without the prompts. Although FSM is clearly the deity…

  92. 92


    What are people marrying their turtles ?

    Well, Mitch McConnel is married to a human, so at least some people are marrying turtles.

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