August 30, 2012 at 11:46 am EDT | by Peter Rosenstein
The proof is in the platform

It would have been funny if it weren’t so sad as we waited last weekend for the convergence of two storms as Republicans prepared for their convention. The God-made Hurricane Isaac missed a direct hit on Tampa but the impact of the abortion storm of their own making will be felt through the election. Rep. Todd Akin, the GOP Senate candidate in Missouri, refused to go away even after Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan themselves asked him to drop out. They claim to be appalled at what he said about “legitimate” rape while at the same time approving a harsh stand on abortion in their platform now dubbed the “Akin plank.”

Romney’s ever-changing views on abortion now include favoring an exception for rape, incest and the health of the mother. His hand-picked running mate, Paul Ryan, has repeatedly sponsored legislation with Akin strongly arguing that there should be no exceptions including for either rape or incest. Now, as Ryan’s ambition trumps his so-called principles, he says Romney is the leader so he goes along calling it progress. Ryan said in a recent interview that in essence rape is just another method of conception. So my question to Republicans would be why are you so upset with Akin when your pick for vice president — and your platform — support his basic views?

Most people agree with President Obama, “Rape is rape.” It is indefensible and an assault no matter what qualifier you put in front of it. A majority are thankful for the Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, which ensures that abortion is legal in this country.

If you are still mulling over whether to vote Democratic or Republican, just remember the next president and Congress will determine who is nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court. If you believe among other issues that we need to protect a woman’s right to choose you have only one choice in this election and the Republican convention made that very clear.

Some Republicans, including members of the Log Cabin Republicans, have twisted themselves into a pretzel trying to justify that one line inserted into the platform “We embrace the principle that all Americans have the right to be treated with dignity and respect” means something. This is a cruel joke they are playing on themselves and others.

A party whose platform that denies women control over their own bodies, supports a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, reaffirms DOMA as the law of the land, says abstinence is the only type of “family planning” education that should be funded by the government for teenagers and states the Congress should continue to control important decisions impacting the lives of the people of the District of Columbia is surely not a party that believes that all Americans should be treated with dignity and respect.

If you stood on the battle lines fighting for civil and human rights for African Americans, women, or the LGBT community you cannot but think to yourself, “My God, do we have to fight some of these fights all over again?” Many in the younger generation most likely didn’t even understand the graphic of the coat hanger accompanying the story in the Huffington Post on the Republican position on abortion. That is how long ago most of us even thought about back-alley abortions.

The Republican Party calls for ending Medicare as we know it so we become the only civilized nation in the world without a guarantee of healthcare for our seniors. Romney calls for adding $700 billion back into the Medicare budget to increase payments to providers without recognition that the one thing that President Obama and Paul Ryan agreed on was that amount had to be cut. They disagreed on how to get those savings but agreed that to keep the program viable in any form they had to be made. Romney ignores that providers agreed to those cuts in the Affordable Care Act because it will insure millions more Americans have private insurance allowing them to make up any revenue they would lose from Medicare.

Some say party platforms mean nothing yet they are the set of principles that the party’s candidates run on and a set of beliefs affirmed by those who control the party.  This Republican platform is a statement of principles and beliefs better suited to the 18th century than to the 21st.

There are nine weeks until the election. Everyone needs to be aware of the principles enunciated in both party platforms before they vote. I am betting that when people fully understand the principles and beliefs on which the Republican Party is running, that President Obama will be reelected.


    Almost all commentary in the mainstream media about the Republicans in the 2012 election coverage vis-a-vis gay civil rights policy has focused on the issue of marriage equality. I would like to suggest that citizens and reporters instead ask Romney and Ryan at every opportunity whether they support ENDA? In other words, do they think there should be federal civil rights protection to prevent LGBT citizens from being fired and denied housing and public accomodations because of their sexual orientation or gender identity? Most Americans, gay and straight, erroneously believe we have such federal protection, but of course we do not. Asking the GOP candidates this question would doubtless peel away some of their supporters because Romeny and Ryan do not support ENDA whereas the public is overwhelmingly behind the idea that discrimination based on sexual orientation should not be allowed. Asking the candidates and their surrogates this question would also educate the public about our almost total vulnerability vis-a-vis federal government protection.

    David Carter
    New York City

  • Well said Peter
    I can only wonder how gay republicans feel when they hear or read some of what the big GOP members say!

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