TAMPA, Fla. — Republicans emphatically approved a toughly worded party platform at their national convention Tuesday that would ban all abortions and gay marriages, reshape Medicare into a voucher-like program and cut taxes to energize the economy and create jobs.
The document opens by warning that while the American Dream has long been of equal opportunity for everyone, “Today that American Dream is at risk.” It pledges that the GOP will “begin anew, with profound changes in the way government operates; the way it budgets, taxes and regulates.”
Both parties routinely approve platforms at their conventions every four years, meant to encapsulate their principles and goals. Much of their details are customarily ignored when it comes to actually governing.
Even so, a poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found more people interested in the GOP platform than in the upcoming acceptance speeches by presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan. The survey found that 52 percent said they were interested in learning about the Republican platform, compared to 44 percent interested in Romney’s speech and 46 percent interested in Ryan’s.
“This ambitious blueprint projects a sea change in the way that government works,” said Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who led the party’s platform committee. “It offers a solution for workers without jobs, families without savings and neighborhoods without hope.”
Democrats lambasted the platform and immediately sought to tie it to Romney, who has differed from some of its details. For instance, he has said he would allow abortions in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is threatened.
Here are some of the key elements of the GOP platform:
• JOB CREATION: It states that the best jobs program is economic growth. “We do not offer yet another made-in-Washington package of subsidies and spending to create temporary or artificial jobs.”
• SMALL BUSINESS:
The GOP pledges to reform the tax code to make it easier for businesses to generate more capital and create more jobs.
“We reject the use of taxation to redistribute income, fund unnecessary or ineffective programs or foster the crony capitalism that corrupts both politicians and corporations.”
It says a GOP administration would extend the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, pending reform of the tax code. It says the party would strive to eliminate taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains altogether for lower- and middle-income taxpayers. It also would work to repeal the estate tax and the alternative minimum tax.
The platform affirms the rights of states and the federal government not to recognize same-sex marriage. It backs a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
• VOTER INTEGRITY:
“Voter fraud is a political poison,” the platform says. It praises legislation to require photo identification for voting and to prevent election fraud.
• GUN CONTROL:
The party says it opposes legislation intended to restrict Second Amendment rights by limiting the capacity of clips or magazines or otherwise restoring the assault weapons ban passed in 1994.
The party opposes using public revenue to promote or perform abortion or to fund organizations that perform or advocate abortions. It says the party will not fund or subsidize health care that includes abortion coverage.
The party is committed to domestic energy independence and an “all-of-the-above” energy policy, backing the development of the Outer Continental Shelf and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. It supports new coal-fired plants that will be low-cost, environmentally responsible and efficient.
It calls on Congress to prohibit the EPA from moving forward with new greenhouse gas regulations “that will harm the nation’s economy and threaten millions of jobs over the next quarter century.”
• MEDICARE and MEDICAID:
The platform supports a Medicare transition to a premium-support model with an income-adjusted contribution toward a plan of the enrollee’s choice. Age eligibility in Medicare must be made more realistic in light of longer life spans.
Medicaid services for low-income people would be transformed into a block grant program in which the states would be given the flexibility to determine the best programs for their residents.
The platform makes clear that “we oppose any form of amnesty for those who, by intentionally violating the law, disadvantage those who have obeyed it.” It says federal funding should be denied to universities that provide in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants. It advocates making English the official national language.
• HEALTH CARE:
It states that a Republican president would use his waiver authority to halt progress in implementing the health care act pushed through by President Obama. It proposes a free-market-based plan that gives consumers more choice.
Republicans support consumer choice, including home schooling, local innovations such as single-sex classes, full-day school hours and year-round schools.
The platform criticizes the current administration for its weak positions toward such countries as North Korea, China and Iran and its cuts in military spending. The Republican national military strategy “restores as a principal objective the deterrence using the full spectrum of our military capabilities.”