House Speaker Says “No One Reads GOP Platform”

Last week, prior to the Republican National Convention, the Platform committee hammered out the GOP’s platform for 2012. Cynthia Kennedy, who was a part of that process, reported on that effort for us and you can read that piece here. The platform contained plenty of planks that the party has traditionally held and a few new ones. Sadly, Speaker of the House John Boehner says that no one really pays attention to the platform.

Michael Tennant writes,

Amid all the cheers and jeers for the 2012 Republican Party platform, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) let slip the truth about that document: He hasn’t read it, and he doesn’t know anyone who’s ever read it or any other platform.

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At a Christian Science Monitor breakfast August 27, Human Events’ John Gizzi asked Boehner about his comfort level with the recently drafted GOP platform.

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“The Republican platform is circulating about in different copies, online, in print,” said Gizzi. “Based on the reports you’ve seen, is this a good document to run on fully, and in particular, the parts about auditing the Federal Reserve, number one, and the review of government agencies as to their efficiency without calling for shutting them down. Are those things you feel that Republican House members can run on comfortably?”

Boehner’s response: “Well, I have not seen the platform, but from every indication that I’ve heard I don’t see any major changes in this platform from what we have had in the past. And if it were up to me I would have the platform on one sheet of paper. Have you ever met anybody who read the party platform? I’ve not met ever anybody.”

The obvious question is this: If no one reads the platform, then (a) Do GOP candidates have to abide by and support that platform and (b) why even go through the process of establishing a platform if no one knows what it says or if they are going to be accountable for it? Something seems amiss here.

This seriously has to be a slap in the face to any person who thought and talked about these things for months and then attended the committee just to put these things forward, only to be told, “Eh, it doesn’t really matter, we don’t read that stuff anyway.”

As Tennant goes onto state,

It exists to convince the grassroots that the party leadership is listening to their concerns and intends to use them as a guide for formulating policy. In practice, however, it is largely ignored.

An example of this is the party platform of the preservation of human life. Every GOP platform since 1980 has called for this and yet in that time since Congress has not passed any measures even close to that. The federal government continues to fund Planned Parenthood and grant generous subsidies to them, including $2.5 billion during six years of George W. Bush’s two terms, who claimed to be pro-life. By the way, during those six years the GOP controlled one or both houses of Congress.

Boehner is on record as saying that he wished the platform was only one page and then maybe people would read it. I wonder if he thinks that way about new bills that are put forth. Maybe that’s why Congress doesn’t read the bills it passes. He said, “I was on this kick about, oh, I don’t know, at least 8 or 12 year ago.” According to Boehner if it were only one page then more Americans “might be willing to read it.”

Sadly you can have a look at the platform and you’ll notice that the Preamble of the platform takes up more than a page by itself!

The issue is many Americans take time to read some of these things that we have elected representatives to do. We did not send representatives to Washington to ignore us or neglect their duties and pass stupid silly laws and conduct themselves in any manner they see fit. We sent them there with a job to do and part of that job is understanding their party platform, reading bills that come before them and voting appropriately and constitutionally on those bills.

I suppose at least Boehner is being honest about the matter, which tells me that his constituency should oust him and put someone better suited for the job in his place.

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