Tempest over GOP convention, platform

I was a delegate at the Republican convention last weekend. Let me tell you what actually happened there.

A motion to adopt a substitute platform was on the floor, but virtually nobody even knew what was in it. There were only a few printed copies of this dense, four-page (I think) document available. I got one, glanced at it briefly and passed it on.

Part of the document was displayed on the screen, but the print was so small that I found it impossible to read. The whole thing was read aloud from the podium, but very rapidly — the material was really too dense to follow. There was no discussion of the contents of this document: Opponents and proponents discussed whether or not it was appropriate to bring the document to the floor, but nobody discussed the specific items.

After a while, as lunch time neared, somebody moved the question, and this document, unavailable to most of us and totally undiscussed, was adopted by the majority. I certainly wasn’t part of it.

I voted against it, because I knew it would be interpreted as being the considered beliefs of the Maine Republican Party. It isn’t anything of the kind — I’m sure very, very few Republicans have considered opinions on “Austrian economics,” the U.N. treaty on the law of the sea, and other obscure matters. To find the considered opinions of the Maine GOP, one has only to read the original report prepared by the Platform Committee and printed in the convention program.

While I don’t think adopting the rather bizarre substitute platform did my party any good, I must admit that I admire the spirit, energy and considerable intelligence behind the document. There are many things in it worth discussing. It’s just too bad that no discussion actually took place.

Your columnist, Greg Kesich, got it partly right when he talked about “parties” and “fun” in his May 12 column. I look at the adoption of this substitute platform as a high-spirited party prank by most of the people in the audience, somewhat in the spirit of “Let’s really shake things up, and then let’s go to lunch.”

Tom Carnicelli


One thing you can say about Wednesday’s Bill Nemitz column (“Call it class struggle: How politics went too far”), it was a colossal waste of space. The resident left-wing ideologue was in good form as he trashed the Knox County Republicans, the tea party movement and conservative thought (it’s from another planet, you see).

His vitriol was unleashed because a few people acted badly. Question: When radical Muslims flew planes into the towers and people were dancing in the streets in some Muslim countries, did Mr. Nemitz condemn the whole Muslim world?

I don’t think so. But the Knox County Republicans and the tea party movement do not get the same consideration. In fact, Mr. Nemitz refers to the Knox County folks as “insurgents.” When someone uses that term we think of people who sneak into Iraq and try to kill our soldiers. Over the line, Bill!

Apparently Mr. Nemitz doesn’t believe that citizens have a right to object to something they see in a classroom. Hey Bill, if some good old “rank-and-file” Democrat saw a Jesus poster (gasp) in a classroom and started making phone calls, would you write another hard-hitting story for us? If I knew any of the folk who messed with the teacher’s classroom, I would give them an earful for being so dumb. Clearly Mr. Nemitz has used this rather insignificant event as an opportunity for another “Republicans (conservatives) are evil” diatribe.

I’m pretty sure that the Press Herald can make better use of its newsprint, front page no less.

Lewis Tibbetts


I looked in vain for the April Fools line on Bill Nemitz’s column Wednesday. I didn’t find one.

I hope that the Republican Party has not fallen so far that they feel the need to take down posters that they find objectionable. Especially when they are guests in another community’s school.

It is frightening to think that these folks can’t handle the idea that our children should be exposed to all sides of an issue and then be asked to think for themselves.

As a resident and taxpayer of Portland, I hope that the City Council and School Commmitee send letters of protest to the Republican Party and ask for an official apology.

I would hope also that any future users of our facilities understand that they are welcome here, but taking things that they don’t agree with is not OK.

Kevin Dagnese


What an absolute shame that the “socialist” studies teacher at King Middle School lost his favorite propaganda poster. How will he ever indoctrinate these young minds to accept his political ideology?

Maybe he could invite some of the president’s good friends to come and lecture (Andy Stern of the SEIU or Bill Ayers, the domestic terrorist) or maybe take a field trip to Greece to see how well socialism is working for them?

Of course, if its agitation he is trying to depict in society, a field trip to the borders of Arizona might be a lesson in law-breaking, violence and corruption being dumped on its citizens — and the flak they are taking for trying to enforce a federal law!

Isn’t it time for educators to get over themselves, leave their bias and political opinions at home and actually teach a subject rather than pushing their personal agendas onto young minds?

And one word of advice to the GOP guys: If you want to acquire something worthwhile, concentrate on the November elections.

The only way to revive truth, values and principles in our wavering society is to live by the rules and fix the mess created by those who seem to think the American flag is a symbol of arrogance, that worshipping God might offend an atheist or a Muslim, that the Constitution should be interpreted to suit their plan, and that the laws, values, truths and principles that this country was founded on are obsolete.

So just give the poor guy his poster and work on getting elected in the fall. This country is screaming for new leadership.

Rae Corliss


The newly adopted platform of the Maine Republican Party is about as loony a document as could be imagined. I think all Republicans now in office — particularly our two “moderate Republican” senators — and those running for office this year should be required to answer the question of whether or not they endorse it and plan to run on it.

Maine voters deserve to know the answer to that question.

Tim McEnroe


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