Thursday, February 22, 2007

Confession: I am Not a Platform Republican

A friend told me that Ash Wednesday services were rather uncomfortable this year. The priest was dogmatic and on a tirade, demanding that everyone behave just like 50 years ago or don't bother at all. My friend was expecting the priest to tell them all, "If you're not a Platform Catholic, you can just get out." I started howling with laughter.

The term, Platform Republican, is the latest by which some conservatives identify themselves. The problem is that platforms don't create Republicans; Republicans create platforms. A platform is not a dicta telling Republicans what to think; it is a quadrennial effort by Republicans to tell the public in general terms what they think. (Of course, the same device is used by almost all parties, major and minor. For the purpose of this article I'm only concerned with Republican platforms).

When drafting a platform, usually not even all members of the drafting committee agree with every tenet of the final product. Are they all heretics? And if the platform they draft is, in any particular, different from the platform it replaced, aren't they heretics for not having given fealty to the previous platform? And which platform are we supposed to worship, the state or the national one? In areas in which the two platforms are not in conformity are we in schism?
When the old Illinois Republican platform approved of abortion, but merely opposed taxpayer funding of it, was I obliged to agree or get out? If the next platform reverts back to the same language I might not cease to be a Republican, but I sure won't cease to be pro-life. If the next platform adopts some moderate, or even leftist, clauses, will the people who style themselves 'Platform Republicans' suddenly become born-again moderates?

Of course these are absurd questions - but only because the term, Platform Republican, is based on an absurd premise. Each Republican will continue to think for himself and try to elevate some of that thinking into successive versions of the platform, which attempt to portray contemporaneous Republican thinking, not command it.

I AM a Platform Catholic, but am only a conservative Republican, which I shall remain whatever any current or future version of the platform has to say on the matter. So if you are not a Platform Republican, don't get too exorcised over it. Neither am I. And the punishment, much as some elements might prefer otherwise, is not excommunication.

Cross Posted at Illinois Review


Levois 7:09 PM  

Does this mean Republicans or anyone else should have absolutely no use for the term RINO?

Charlie Johnston 7:36 PM  

Heh heh...a few years ago when we conservatives were regularly slamming each other on the old Illinois Leader, a friend bet me that no matter how much I aggravated some conservatives, I could never get them to call me a RINO. I thought it would be a piece of cake - I thought some folks are eager to call anyone who disagrees with them a RINO. Under the terms, I had three days. I could not make some phony provocative position just to encourage it, had to stick with my authentic beliefs.

I couldn't believe it. I had people calling me everything, including a Topinka Toady, but none of them ever said the magic word. I lost the bet. I still think it was just coincidence because they called me just about everything but RINO. But maybe I'm wrong - maybe there is some basic standard there for people who like to toss that term around.

Bill Baar 8:11 AM  

The interesting politicans (I was going to type great but I don't get into disbutes here) are the pols who build new platforms and the new coalitions to push them. Pols like Cermack, FDR, and Reagan.

One of my Dad's favorite sayings was to call someone a a builder. Tony Cermack was a builder. We'd drive past Churches and he'd tell me Cardinal Mundelin was a builder. He don't always agree with people, or share their faith or ideas, but if you were a builder it was a usually a pretty good thing.

So people fussy with labels and inclined to call out DINOs and RINOs don't have much appeal to me. Show me the builders. They're usually far more interesting folks.

Anonymous,  1:02 PM  

What's amazing about this post is CJ thinks people are talking about him, and wondering what is position is and how he fits into the party. Like CJ is dominating the discussion around the dinner's sad.

CJ, no one cares..I'm sorry, that has to be hard to hear given how much you love to talk about yourself and how much you think you contribute to Republican politics.

You should go pick up a hobby, travel, anything but work on/run campaigns, because you know, some people just aren't good at what they do.

Milton 4:01 PM  

Keep your religion out of my state and my life.

"no law should mandate family communication."


--- Prof. Leland Milton Goldblatt

I supports universal health care and opposes free trade, which deprives American workers now even white-collar workers of their jobs while exploiting foreign workers in sweatshop factories. The US Government shall be a supporter of progressive healthcare and science (i.e., stem cells.)

Anonymous,  1:02 PM  

How can CJohnston keep on defending McKenna when he oversaw the worse defeat since Little Big Horn?

Do Illinois Dem politicians have the audacity to take communion (for those who are Catholic)

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