The Republican Party???s platform on which Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and other office-seekers will campaign this fall is a document that genuinely reflects conservatism in terms of foreign, economic, and cultural policy. But, as the 111 members of the Platform Committee concluded their meeting in Tampa, Florida Wednesday night, one fact was obvious about the party document they will unveil shortly before the Republican National Convention opens in the same city Monday: all factions of the GOP were firmly united behind the party???s platform, and press talk of ???dissension in the ranks??? turned out to be spurious.
???It was a broad policy statement and one of principles and not tactics. (The full committee) agreed on it without dissension, and we had unity of purpose: we all want Mitt Romney elected,??? said Andrew Puzder in an interview with Human Events. Puzder is CEO of CKE Restaurants Inc., which owns Carl's Jr and Hardee's restaurants, and also serves as chairman of the Republican Platform Subcommittee on Job Creation and Debt.
Puzder noted that the full committee included ???supporters of Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and tea partiers. But I honestly couldn???t tell you who was who. It was a lie - a lie - to say this party couldn???t come together.??? In approving the final language of the platform, he added, the committee members ???expressed no protests.???
As Indiana GOP National Committeeman James Bopp, Jr. and other Platform Committee members predicted to Human Events last week, the party document is a conservative one. Sources told us that it calls for extending the Bush tax cuts, for example, but, at the same time, it contains a call for more comprehensive reform of the tax code. It also, in Puzder???s words, ???draws a distinction between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on several issues: job creation, support for the Keystone XL pipeline, the ???all of the above??? energy plan before Congress, and lowering the tax rates.??? He also emphasized that there is particularly strong language about national defense and support for American veterans in the platform.
The foreign policy plank also spells out differences between Obama and Romney, and underscores the party???s strong commitment to Israel.
In terms of cultural issues, the platform reaffirms the party???s commitment to traditional marriage and to right-to-life policies. For all the flap over remarks on abortion by Missouri Rep. and Senate candidate Todd Akin, sources told Human Events that the party???s strong pro-life plank, which has been in GOP platforms since 1980, remains virtually unchanged from previous years except for not specifying a Human Life Amendment to support.
???There was very little discussion on this and it didn???t raise any dissent,??? said Puzder.
One area that received particular attention by old platform-watchers was whether or not the GOP would restore its call for abolishing the U.S. Department of Education that was in platforms from 1980 until 2000 - when it was removed, reportedly at the insistence of then-presidential nominee George W. Bush. Shutting down the department was not restored, sources said, but there was a strong call for greater autonomy in education by states and localities and for reducing the size and scope of the federal government???s role.
Ron Paul supporters were pleased, however, that the platform includes a solid call for auditing the Federal Reserve Board - something Congress has voted for and Romney also supports.
So don???t look for any outbursts or surprises when the GOP platform is unveiled Monday. This is a document of conservatism, and one conservatives are united behind.