A Texas Platform for the GOP
As the 2004 national GOP convention begins Monday, we should be prepared to hear a Republican agenda that sounds more like FDR or Woodrow Wilson than Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan. A party that once defined itself by the fundamental conservative principle that government power should be used sparingly and judiciously, now supports a program of bigger government at home, more militarism abroad, and less respect for constitutional freedoms. An examination of the Texas state GOP platform reveals just how far the national Republican party has strayed from true conservative principles and the ideal of limited constitutional government.
First and foremost, the Texas GOP is serious about reducing the size and scope of government. The party platform calls for strict congressional adherence to the 10th amendment, and the abolition of all federal agencies not authorized under a strict interpretation of the Constitution. It urges a return to truly republican government, based on limited federal powers and states rights. The language of the platform is refreshingly frank, with quotes like "We believe that government spending is out of control and needs to be reduced" and "We respect our Founders' intent to restrict the power of the federal government over the states and the people." In fact, whole sections of the document are devoted to worthy subjects like "Limiting the expanse of government power." Contrast these words with what you'll hear this week from the big spending, big government Republicans from Washington.
The Texas party platform is similarly bold when it comes to terrorism, civil liberties, and privacy. Rather than promoting the current mantra that security is our ultimate goal, the platform reminds us that liberty is our most important value. The platform calls for repealing portions of the Patriot Act, calls for less information gathering by government, opposes property seizures without due process, and opposes the creation of a national ID card. The platform asserts that "A perpetual state of national emergency allows unrestricted growth of government," and "We believe the current greatest threat to our individual liberties is overreaching government controls established under the guise of preventing terrorism." You won't hear this kind of language at the national Republican convention.
The Texas GOP platform also calls for a congressional audit of the Federal Reserve Bank, and demands full public access to the written minutes from Fed board meetings. Such an audit could at the very least serve to educate the American people about Fed inflation and the dangers of fiat currency. In Washington, the Federal Reserve system is virtually never discussed by Congress or the administration, despite its enormous impact on our economic well-being. Monetary policy is simply off the table as a political and policy matter for both national parties, but the Texas GOP recognizes the importance of sound money.
When it comes to 2nd amendment rights, the Texas GOP platform is uncompromising. It calls for outright abolition of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. It also calls for repeal of all laws infringing upon 2nd amendment rights. This is another example of grassroots conservatives in Texas taking a position that Republicans in Washington lack the courage to endorse.
Education? The Texas GOP platform calls for the abolition of the Department of Education. Taxes? Texas Republicans urge the repeal of the 16th amendment and the abolition of the IRS, an agency the platform says is "Unacceptable to taxpayers." On dozens of other issues, from abortion to activist judges to religious freedom, the Texas Republican party promotes true conservative values and strict adherence to the Constitution. Real conservatives should demand the same from the national Republican Party this week in New York.