“Have you ever met anybody who has read the party platform?” said the Republican House Speaker John Boehner at a Republican Convention lunch in Tampa on Monday.
Boehner's point was that the Party's platform document, like its Convention, is too long. Fair point.
But this year the Party seemed to go out of its way to make sure even fewer people read the manifesto.
If fact it waited until Tropical Storm Isaac was steaming up the Florida panhandle towards New Orleans, and until its stars were revving up the Convention in Tampa, before it posted the document online.
Perhaps it was concerned that reporters could not be relied upon to ignore the document as thoroughly as usual this year. (And as thoroughly as Party members do once elected.) A poll found — yes, Pew Research bothered polling this — that more people were interested in learning about the platform (52 per cent) than hearing candidate Mitt Romney's speech (44 per cent).
An unkind view would be that this has something to do with Romney's star power, but it is also because of the attention drawn to the platform by Todd Akin, the Missouri Senate candidate who excited liberals last week by suggesting that women don't get pregnant in cases of “legitimate” rape.
This prompted people to look into Akin's views on abortion. He believes it should be banned without exception. Even as Romney was busy distancing himself from Akin the following day, the GOP's platform committee voted on the issue. Turns out that it shares Akin's view.
So what else is in the Republican platform? Well, generally the RNC has shifted to the right, reflecting current strength of religious and economic conservatives in the party.
The platform recognises that "the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed," thus opposing abortion in any circumstances. It opposes government support for organisations that perform or advocate abortions.
The platform calls for the federal government to abandon lawsuits against states that have introduced tough anti-immigration laws such as Arizona and Alabama and opposes any amnesty for illegal immigrants or their children. It advocates making English the national language.
The GOP has not been moved to restrict the sale of guns or ammunition by the recent mass shootings. “We oppose legislation that is intended to restrict our Second Amendment rights by limiting the capacity of clips or magazines or otherwise restoring the ill-considered Clinton gun ban.”
The platform backs a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman and affirms the rights of states not to recognise gay marriage. It condemns the persecution of traditional marriage advocates by hate groups that support gay marriage: “We condemn the hate campaigns, threats of violence, and vandalism by proponents of same-sex marriage against advocates of traditional marriage and call for a federal investigation into attempts to deny religious believers their civil rights."
"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."
The party supports the immediate abolition of Obamacare and the conversion of the limited public health insurance that exists for the elderly and poor into a voucher system.
The party has extended its defence of the protection of individual rights to include digital data. “We will ensure that personal data receives full constitutional protection from government overreach and that individuals retain the right to control the use of their data by third parties; the only way to safeguard or improve these systems is through the private sector.”