TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Republicans emphatically approved a toughly worded party platform at their national convention Tuesday that would ban all abortions and gay marriages, reshape Medicare into a voucher-like program and cut taxes to energize the economy and create jobs.
The document opens by warning that while the American Dream has long been of equal opportunity for everyone, “Today that American Dream is at risk.” It pledges that the GOP will “begin anew, with profound changes in the way government operates; the way it budgets, taxes and regulates.”
Both parties routinely approve platforms at their conventions every four years, meant to encapsulate their principles and goals. Much of their details are customarily ignored when it comes to actually governing.
Even so, a poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found more people interested in the GOP platform than in the upcoming acceptance speeches by presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan. The survey found that 52 percent said they were interested in learning about the Republican platform, compared to 44 percent interested in Romney’s speech and 46 percent interested in Ryan’s.
“This ambitious blueprint projects a sea change in the way that government works,” said Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who led the party’s platform committee. “It offers a solution for workers without jobs, families without savings and neighborhoods without hope.”
Democrats lambasted the platform and immediately sought to tie it to Romney, who has differed from some of its details. For instance, he has said he would allow abortions in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is threatened.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is among several Democrats in Tampa trying to get their party’s views heard, called the platform’s stances on abortion and immigration “draconian” and “extreme” and blamed Romney. “What you have seen from him is that he does one thing, he says another,” Villaraigosa said. “He has taken one position after another, time and again you know, and you can’t have it both ways.”
Here are key elements of the Republican platform:
“We reject the use of taxation to redistribute income, fund unnecessary or ineffective programs or foster the crony capitalism that corrupts both politicians and corporations.”
It says a Republican administration would extend the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, pending reform of the tax code. It says the party would strive to eliminate taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains altogether for lower- and middle-income taxpayers. It also would work to repeal the estate tax and the alternative minimum tax.
The party backs constitutional amendments to balance the federal budget and require a super majority for any tax increases.
It states that a Republican president on his first day in office would use his waiver authority to halt progress in carrying out the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) and that Republican victories in November would guarantee that PPACA is never implemented. It proposes a Republican plan based on improving health care quality and lowering costs and a system that promotes the free market and gives consumers more choice.
MEDICARE and MEDICAID:
The platform pledges to move both Medicare and Medicaid away from “the current unsustainable defined-benefit entitlement model to a fiscally sound defined-contribution model.” It supports a Medicare transition to a premium-support model with an income-adjusted contribution toward a health plan of the enrollee’s choice. Age eligibility in Medicare must be made more realistic in light of longer life spans.
Medicaid services for low income people would be transformed into a block grant program in which the states would be given the flexibility to determine the best programs for their residents.
The platform affirms the rights of states and the federal government not to recognize same-sex marriage. It backs a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
It states that the best jobs program is economic growth. “We do not offer yet another made-in-Washington package of subsidies and spending to create temporary or artificial jobs.”