Have you ever read a political platform? While some can be interesting, in large they're sleep-inducing documents that are read by only the most committed party loyalists and the most committed party opponents. I think they can be more -- there's no law that says they can't actually say what the members of the party actually think.
I got myself "selected" as a delegate to the Idaho Democratic Party State Convention next month. (I went to my county caucus and volunteered, and there were many fewer volunteers than spaces available.) They said that one of the things the convention would do was write the new state party platform. I had actually read platforms of both state parties in 2010, and while the Republican platform had several idiotic planks, it wasn't boring. The platform for the Democrats, however, was full of platitudes and very short of specifics -- it's as if Idaho Democrats were afraid to put what they were really thinking on paper. (The last time the Idaho Democrats said something remotely interesting in their platform was in 2006, when I made fun of it.)
Although my politics are probably still closest to Bush (41) among recent Presidents (although I have much more of a "get the government out of our personal decisions" libertarian-type bent), the way the Idaho GOP has shifted to the right, people of my belief set are clearly most closely aligned with the Idaho Democratic Party. (For example, I would say that I'm more liberal than the last Idaho Democrat elected to Congress, who lost his bid for re-election in 2010.)
Anyway, if I'm going to be voting on the platform, I figured I'd make some edits to the last one to include some items I'd like to see. Here's what I came up with. Some of the changes and additions are highlighted here:
Idaho Democrats believe that adopting pragmatic solutions to economic and social issues will continue to make Idaho a great place to live. We are focused on solving the problems of the 21st century in a forward-looking manner, and not, as Idaho Republicans seem to want, returning to the policies that existed in the 1850s.
Idaho Democrats support laws that eliminate lifetime catastrophic medical insurance caps, allow young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance policies through age 26, and require insurance companies to cover those with pre-existing conditions and prohibits them from dropping people just when they need insurance most. We recognize that, other than Medicare For All, the only economically feasible method of supporting those goals is an individual mandate as contained in the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Unlike the Idaho Republican Party, we recognize that the attempted “nullification” of federal laws by state legislatures is a major step on the road to secession. We support the existing method of letting the courts decide regarding disputes between the states and federal government. Idaho Democrats oppose any efforts to secede from the United States of America.
Unlike the Idaho Republican Party, we support the right of citizens to vote directly for their U.S. Senators, and oppose efforts to repeal the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Idaho Democrats realize that the same dynamics that led to the adoption of the Amendment (states going without representation for years when the two houses of a state legislature were controlled by different parties, corporations willing to bribe legislators to get their favored candidate elected) still exist, so taking away the rights of citizens to vote directly for their Senators would cause numerous unneeded problems and solve none.
Unlike the Idaho Republican Party, we oppose legislation to abolish the Federal Reserve Bank and institute a unilateral change to gold- and silver-backed money. Idaho Democrats have an actual understanding of how the world economy works, and recognize that the total value of all the gold and silver ever mined and available for commodity use (let alone what the U.S. government owns) is significantly less than the size of the U.S. economy. A unilateral move to the precious metal standard would result in severe deflation and a tightening of the money supply as overseas investors hold onto their dollars (the world’s only sure inflation hedge) and foreign owners of government bonds cash them in and redeem them for our gold, leaving us with no money in circulation and no gold and silver and reduced to a bartering economy. Idaho Democrats, unlike Idaho Republicans, do not advocate economic suicide in support of a misguided theory that used to kind of work (the Panics of 1819, 1837, 1857, 1873, 1890, 1893, 1907, and the Great Depression notwithstanding) only because the entire world was on the system and there were vast new deposits of gold and silver being discovered and vast quantities of cheap land available to support expansion. As none of these conditions exist today, the Idaho Republican’s support for destroying our economy based on their pet theory is absolute lunacy.
Unlike the conspiracy theorists of the Idaho GOP Central Committee, we support efforts like “Project 60” to bring in foreign investment that provides good-paying jobs to Idaho, and recognize that in the real world -- the one not dominated by the rhetorical black helicopters some Idaho Republicans think are all around them -- such businesses would be subject to all applicable local, state, and national laws, and are not a threat to Idaho’s sovereignty; they are a means of bringing dollars into the state.
We oppose the 2011 state education reforms, and believe that increasingly scarce Idaho education dollars should stay in Idaho and not be sent out of state to buy overpriced computer hardware from contributors to the campaigns of Idaho Republicans. We support the November 2012 ballot initiatives to repeal the “Luna Laws”.
We support the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Section 10 of the Idaho Constitution guarantees of the rights of the people to peaceably assemble, and oppose any laws adopted clearly for the purpose of limiting or eliminating the rights of any groups of people to peaceably assemble and petition their government.I also added a section to the 2nd Amendment support plank indicating that we don't believe in a Constitutional right to shoot politicians you think are oppressing you, but I'll probably take that out because the Idaho GOP hasn't officially made "the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of tyrants" or "2nd Amendment remedies" part of their platform (yet). Well, what do you think? Too harsh? I'm thinking that if the Idaho Democratic Party wants to get any attention at all, we need to make a splash, and forcing the Republicans to own their idiotic "return to the Gold standard" and "repeal the 17th Amendment" planks is just the way to do it, especially a week before their convention. The Idaho GOP is on the verge of fracturing as it is (Reasonable "RINOs" vs. TEA Party vs. Ronulans), and we should do what we can to push it along.
Anyway, I've sent my proposals to the Platform Committee, and hopefully they'll agree with me; if not, I'm perfectly comfortable with waging a floor fight to put some teeth into the platform. Who's with me?