By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Bland though it may be, the Republican Party platform for 2004 offers a glimpse of the future should Bush be re-elected. Some main points:
Foreign policy: Neoconservatives are alive and well. The party dedicates itself to carrying out independent, pre-emptive military actions abroad to fight the war on terrorism. And there's a crusader-like tone in a promise to assure "religious freedom" abroad:
We affirm America's role in leading the world toward greater freedom, opportunity, and prosperity. Our efforts to expand the reach of economic and political freedom are complemented by our work in fostering religious liberty. Republicans will continue to make the protection and promotion of religious freedom abroad a cardinal principle of our foreign policy.
Taxes: Conservative Republicans often argue for an end to the income tax. In the platform, the party moves in that directionstopping only to throw in a shot against the U.N. and push again for special protection of "faith-based" charities:
Replace the tax code with a system that is simpler, provides more freedom to our citizens, is pro-growth, boosts the economy, and encourages savings and investment. A code that provides several definitions of a child is a code that needs to be reformed. We support legislation requiring a super-majority vote in both houses of Congress to raise taxes. We will prohibit retroactive taxation and will not tolerate attempts by federal judges to impose taxes. We oppose all attempts by the United Nations to impose a global tax and reject any claims of authority by United Nations to do so. Because of the vital role of religious and fraternal benevolent societies in fostering charity and patriotism, they should not be subject to taxation.
Stem-cell research: The language is harsh, what with "destruction" and all:
We strongly support the President's policy that prevents taxpayer dollars from being used to encourage the future destruction of human embryos. In addition, we applaud the President's call for a comprehensive ban on human cloningand on the creation of human embryos solely for experimentation.
Energy: More drilling in the U.S., plus a gas pipeline from Canada:
. . . We have already wasted precious time . . .
Gay marriage: No
Gay civil unions: No
Heterosexual marriage: Yes, and nothing else:
We strongly support President Bush's call for a Constitutional amendment that fully protects marriage, and we believe that neither federal nor state judges nor bureaucrats should force states to recognize other living arrangements as equivalent to marriage. . . . President Bush will also vigorously defend the Defense of Marriage Act . . .
Abortion: What do you think?:
. . . We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make it clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children. Our purpose is to have legislative and judicial protection of that right against those who perform abortions. We oppose using public revenues for abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life . . .
Social Security: Privatize it. Let your friendly stockbroker handle it:
Personal retirement accounts must be the cornerstone of strengthening and enhancing Social Security. . . . Today's financial markets offer a variety of investment options, including some that guarantee a rate of return higher than the current Social Security system with no risk to the investor.