What does a political party believe?
That’s a tough question to answer, especially in the era of candidate- and personality-driven elections. Does who a party elects as their presidential nominee reflect their policy stances? What about a state party’s candidate for Governor or Senate? Or is it the collection of diverse individuals who vote for a party, who certainly don’t all adhere to the same stand on every single issue?
The traditional way a party expresses its core beliefs is through its party platform. Those platforms’ influence was waned over the decades, but it’s still an important document.
Unfortunately for Republicans in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, their current proposed platform is pretty nuts. Constant references to the U.N’s Agenda 21, calls to repeal any and all protections and rights for LGBT Iowans, anti-vaxxer language and an end to birthright citizenship are just a few highlights.
Iowa Republicans meet tomorrow for their district conventions, the third step in the caucus process. The platform planks include ideas that were first proposed on caucus night and then passed along at the county conventions. Typically only the most devoted or ideological activists stick around to the end of the caucus to discuss platform planks. Judging by the 3rd District’s proposals, they had some pretty interesting characters submit their ideas.
I would expect some of the weirder planks to get struck out before they go on to the state convention to get ratified into the Republican Party of Iowa’s official platform. But not all will, and some of their candidates may get tied to some of the more extreme and hateful beliefs laid out in the current proposals. And this does reflect their party to some extent, considering it’s their members who are proposing and voting on these ideas. Even if some candidates obviously don’t adopt these ideas as their own, a voter may wonder if they’re really comfortable standing next to some of these Republican activists at events if this is what they think.
Let’s take a look at some of the crazier proposals.
One of the bigger issues that jumps out is gay marriage and the rights of LGBT Iowans. It’s probably no surprise that Republican activists want to repeal the gay marriage decision, though they make extra effort to ensure those transgendereds don’t find a way in:
6.4. We support an amendment to both the U. S. and Iowa constitutions that states that all marriages shall be traditional one male and one female, omitting transgendered.
They also seem to reject the idea that the Iowa Supreme Court’s Varnum decision was legally-binding, dismissing it only as an “opinion”:
6.13. We support the current Iowa code Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and strongly oppose the Iowa Supreme Court OPINION in the case of Varnum vs. Brien (2009) being taken as rule of law overriding the DOMA law currently on the books.
And they want a special order by the Governor to immediately stop gay marriage in Iowa:
10.30. We call upon the Governor to uphold the laws of the State of Iowa by placing a stay on the issuance of licenses for gay marriages until the legislature addresses the issue.
Plus they’re also against:
6.7. We oppose civil unions.
Actually, on the topic of marriage, they also want to end no-fault divorce:
6.3. We believe no-fault divorce laws should be revised and believe there should be good cause in order to get a divorce.
But it’s not just the right to marry these Republican activists are targeting. They’re calling for a wholesale assault on any protections for LGBT Iowans:
6.9. We call for the repeal of sexual orientation in the Iowa Civil Rights Code.
6.8. We believe no group or individual should be accorded “minority” or protected class status, or given the existing statutory benefits that come with the designation, based solely on sexual orientation.
They also take aim at protections for LGBT kids in school:
4.12 We oppose the “School Anti-Bullying and Anti-Harassment Act” of 2007. We assert that it is the individual school’s responsibility to police these matters, not the state’s. We also assert that students have the right and responsibility to stand up for themselves
Along with a specific focus on transgendered kids:
4.28. Public restrooms and locker facilities in Iowa: If born male, use male facilities; if born female, use female facilities.
They’d also you rather not know about what I’m guessing they define as homosexuality, or attend events related to them (probably the Governor’s anti-bullying conference).
4.11. We demand the teaching of all deviant sexual behavior be eliminated from the curriculum. We affirm that the authority of school officials not be expanded outside school-regulated events, online or otherwise.
Also, no multiculturalism either:
4.6. We oppose teaching multicultural based curriculum.
Nor do they believe gay people should be able to adopt children:
6.2. We support non-familial adoption only by heterosexual married couples consisting of one man and one woman, and believe that no law should infringe on faith-based adoptive service agencies who offer their services in accordance with their beliefs.
So that’s most of the anti-gay proposals.
There’s a number of other interesting ideas that stood out, like the constant references to the U.N. and Agenda 21 conspiracy theory (I guess Rand Paul’s supporters hung around after caucus):
7.44. We call for the Iowa legislature to repeal SF2389 which mandates regional planning for central Iowa through the “Tomorrow Plan”, which is a by-product of Agenda 21.
They also had some anti-vaxxers show up:
8.13. We call for the Iowa Department of Health to recognize a philosophical exemption to vaccines for the purpose of public school attendance.
And there’s this immigration proposal (fittingly under section 9.11) that I hadn’t heard of before that requires each immigrant to have a sponsor:
9.11. We call for each immigrant to again be required to have a sponsor for at least two years to assist them in assimilating into the culture and for them to become fluent in the English language. During that period they could not become eligible for any welfare assistance but instead would be the responsibility of the sponsor.
In case you think butterflies should have more rights than humans, Republicans want to make sure theirs isn’t the party for you:
12.1. We should maintain an environmental policy that protects the rights of humans before animals, insects, and other creatures. We deplore extremist scare tactics not based on scientific evidence.
Do Republicans not like the AARP or something? Odd to see them wedged between Planned Parenthood and ACORN (does that organization even still exist?):
13.20. We strongly oppose government monies be given to private organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, AARP, ACORN and other citizen groups.
However, there did seem to be a lot of pro-renewable fuel and clean energy folks show up at the caucus prepared. There’s quite a few proposals sprinkled throughout that call for a move away from oil and their subsidies and to clean and renewable energy:
12.13. All alternate sources of energy, especially ethanol, wind, and geo-thermal, should be encouraged to free us from dependence on foreign oil.
Among a host of other fun topics I noticed:
- Teach Creationism in public schools and insist that teachers emphasize that Darwinism is only a theory
- Ban college students from being able to vote at the college they live at
- Allow the use of the Bible as a textbook in public schools
- Allow trained school staff to carry concealed weapons in the school
- Calls climate change “junk science”
- Repeal OSHA
- Any candidate for President must produce their birth certificate
- Oppose affirmative action
- Abolish the Motor-Voter Law and ban voter registration drives at schools and retirement homes
- Get rid of the Iowa Lottery
- Calls on Iowa to break off all ties with the U.N. and continually insists Iowa reject the U.N.’s policies, cites Agenda 21 multiple times
- Support laws to allow doctors to not give advice that violates their religious beliefs
- Parents should determine which vaccinations their children need
- Iowans should be able to buy raw milk if they want to
- Drug test everyone on public assistance
- End birthright citizenship under the 14th Amendment
- Repeal the Patriot Act
- Eliminate job training for prisoners
Anyway, good luck Republicans serving on the platform committee. You’ve got a fun time in store for yourselves sorting out this mess.
by Pat Rynard