Dana Milbank
Dana Milbank
Opinion Writer

The Republicans walk the planks

Let us give thanks to our Judeo-Christian God for the Republican Party. It is the only thing standing between us and the triumph of sharia in our land.

Some people may not realize just how close the nation is to succumbing to this puritanical form of Muslim fundamentalism. In fact, we only recently learned that our leaders engaged in a drunken swim, one of them without clothing, on a “fact-finding” mission by Republican lawmakers to the Holy Land.

Dana Milbank

Dana Milbank writes a regular column on politics.

Archive

Gallery

Video

Ann Telnaes animation: Romney reveals his inner Palin.

Ann Telnaes animation: Romney reveals his inner Palin.

But the clear-eyed patriots who drafted the Republican Party platform can see a threat that myopic Americans have missed. The GOP platform committee, meeting in Tampa in advance of the convention, approved language banning U.S. courts from considering foreign legal traditions. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the brains behind several hard-line statutes on immigration, came up with the idea.

“In cases involving either spousal abuse or assault or other crimes against persons, sometimes defenses are raised that are based in Shariah law,” Kobach warned, according to Talking Points Memo.

This is just one of many policy innovations to appear in the Republican platform. The most discussed one, following the Todd Akin flap over his comments on rape, has been the antiabortion language: no exceptions, no way, no how. Just for kicks, the drafters tossed in a “salute” to states that have informed-consent abortion laws such as Virginia — the state (led by Gov. Bob McDonnell, who also led the platform committee) that brought transvaginal ultrasound into the national discourse.

But there is also a plank calling for a study of whether to return to the gold standard, a call for auditing the Federal Reserve, positions denying statehood to the District but seeking to introduce more guns onto its streets, a provision denying women a role in combat, and others calling for a constitutional amendment that makes tax increases a thing of the past and for a spiffy new border fence — with two layers!

And those are the ones that got approved. The Post’s Rosalind Helderman, who covered the proceedings, recounted to me how one committee member pushed for a provision abolishing the federal income tax. Another sought to have voting fraud labeled “political terrorism.” Several members tried to push for an anti-Palestinian provision that exceeded even the position of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Taken as a whole, the platform makes the Republican Party appear angry, inward-looking and more than a little paranoid. No less a Republican than Reince Priebus, the national committee chairman, tried to insulate the party’s nominee from the GOP’s own policies. “This is the platform of the Republican Party,” he told MSNBC. “It’s not the platform of Mitt Romney.”

Officially, the platform writers proclaimed themselves proud of their policy compendium. “This is a document that the majority of the American people are going to find that they agree with,” announced Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, a platform co-chair.

Their actions suggest otherwise. The Republican National Committee won’t release until Monday the full text of its platform, so the few reporters covering the platform debate, including Helderman, had to piece together what was happening based on committee members’ comments.

Even under those restrictions, reporters there were able to learn of the plight of Jackie Curtiss. A 22-year-old, pro-life platform delegate from Alabama, she tried unsuccessfully to persuade her fellow Republicans to alter the platform language so that it did not appear to be banning the morning-after pill and so that it did not endorse abstinence-only sex ed.

“We’re pro-life and we don’t want to compromise our principles,” she said later. “But we do want to be more realistic.”

Realism, however, was not a platform plank. Ideological purity was. “The platform appears to be the most conservative platform in modern history,” committee member Russ Walker boasted to the Washington Times.

There can be no dispute about this. When one platform-committee member tried to tone down the Republicans’ opposition to gay marriage, Kobach objected, likening gay people to drug users and polygamists.

The platform also specifies that Republicans seek a “transition to a premium-support model for Medicare” from “an unsustainable defined-benefit entitlement model.”

Though Romney has been reaching out to Latinos, the platform makes clear that state laws such as Arizona’s immigration crackdown “must be encouraged,” that illegal immigrants should deport themselves and that those who immigrated illegally as children should be denied in-state tuition at state universities. “These positions are consistent with the Romney campaign,” Kobach argued.

For the Republican nominee, this has more truth than he’d like to admit.

danamilbank@washpost.com

 
Read what others are saying