Comparing the Two Party Platforms
It’s unclear why Bill Clinton started his post-Convention campaign in Cape Girardeau, the home of Rush Limbaugh, but Rush said it best when he described Clinton’s acceptance speech as an umbilical cord to the future (rather than a bridge, as Clinton called it). The headlines proclaimed the boast that the era of big government is over, but the fine print of Clinton’s speech and his Party Platform proclaimed that the era of the Government Nanny is starting.
The Nanny State isn’t “big” government in the sense of starting a new grandiose project like sending a man to the moon or breaking the bank with another middle-class entitlement. But the cumulative costs of all those items about which Clinton wants us to believe that “he feels our pain” add up to very big government, indeed.
The Democratic Platform promises “a final rejection of the misguided call to leave our citizens to fend for themselves.” Bill Clinton’s vision is to shield us from life’s daily annoyances.
Most of the promises in the Democratic Platform concern matters that are not properly presidential or federal issues, but which should be left to state or local governments, or to families, or to the private sector. Bob Dole, bring out that copy of the Tenth Amendment you keep in your pocket! We really need it now.
Gone is the notion that each of us should build our own life as we wish. Instead, we get a hug from Bill Clinton and the promise that Hillary’s “village” will never leave us “to fend for ourselves.”
The Platform assures us that two-year-olds will get their immunizations and that five-year-olds will continue to see Big Bird. Big Bird is hardly an endangered species. Big Bird’s program, Sesame Street, makes almost a billion dollars a year in merchandising and related revenues, and pays its top executives over a half-million dollars a year.
The Democratic Platform promises that “every child should be able to read by the end of the third grade.” This meshes with Clinton’s $2.75 billion literacy project, which he announced while on his campaign train heading toward Chicago. This is a crude ploy to double-bill the taxpayers for a goal that is a cheat on children, parents, and taxpayers. All children should be reading by the end of the first grade and, if they can’t, the schools must have been merely baby-sitting kids in grades 1 and 2, so they should refund to the taxpayers the $5,000+ per child per year they already collected.
Teaching children to read is not a federal responsibility anyway; it’s the job of local schools with state and local funding. The Clinton and Platform rhetoric assumes that the voters are too illiterate to know the difference.
The Democratic Platform marches to the tune of more and more federal control over local schools through Goals 2000. Big Brother Bill even wants to give us school uniforms, curfews, and better enforcement of the truancy laws.
The Platform doesn’t call for socialized medicine, but most of what it says about health care would achieve the same result incrementally. The Platform promises that Americans will have access to quality health care, that the elderly will be given long-term care, that there will be full coverage for mental health, and that Clinton will give us a cure for AIDS and breast cancer.
The Platform promises to set up a 24-hour hotline for women to phone if their boyfriends or husbands get violent. If there ever were a non-federal issue, that’s it; but no doubt Janet Reno will try to justify it as “interstate commerce.”
The Platform promises that the government will take on the awesome task of supervising corporations to require them to provide their employees with education, a safer workplace, and opportunities for greater involvement in company decision-making and ownership. The Platform promises to get employers to adopt work schedules so parents can attend parent-teacher conferences, take their children to the doctor, and have more time with their families. Such micromanaging of business certainly doesn’t sound like the end of big government.
The Democrats will give us tax deductions only if we spend our money for purposes designated by the Nanny State. That’s very different from the Republicans’ promise to cut taxes so we can spend our money as we choose.
The Platform’s determination to make sure thatgovernment doesn’t leave us “to fend for ourselves” extends even to telling parents how to raise their children. It admonishes every parent “to put their children first, to help them with their homework, to read to them and to teach them right from wrong.”
Stop for a minute and think. Can anyone imagine George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, or even Franklin D. Roosevelt or John F. Kennedy, saying that it was the government’s responsibility to tell parents to do these things?
Louis Rukeyser accurately summed up the theme of the Democratic Convention: Clinton is running for Nanny-in-Chief instead of Commander-in-Chief.
How the Party Platforms Differ
|Oppose tax cuts. Support a few tax deductions if you spend money the way Clinton wants you to spend it.||Support a 15% cut in tax rates, a 50% cut in capital gains rate, and lower taxes on Social Security benefits.|
|End of Big Government|
|Oppose abolishing any government program. Continue taxpayer funding of federal arts grants and Public Broadcasting. Start costly new government programs.||Abolish Departments of Education, Commerce, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development. Defund or privatize National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Legal Services Corporation.|
|Support Goals 2000 and higher federal spending. Oppose school choice.||Get the federal government out of school curriculum. Abolish Department of Education. Repeal Goals 2000 and School-to-Work Act. End Outcome-Based Education.|
|Support incremental steps toward national health care.||Allow all Americans to own their own health insurance through Medical Savings Accounts.|
|Support it. “Mend it, not end it.”||Support equal rights without quotas or preferential treatment. Endorse California Civil Rights Initiative.|
|Support abortion in all circumstances plus taxpayer funding of abortions for poor women. Support the Equal Rights Amendment.||Support legal protection for “the fundamental individual right to life” of the unborn baby. Oppose tax funding of abortions.|
|Support efforts “to end discrimination against gay men and lesbians and further their full inclusion in the life of the nation.”||“Reject the distortion” of civil rights laws that would “cover sexual preference.”|
|Require local communities to admit the children of illegal aliens to public schools.||Permit local communities to exclude children of illegal aliens from public schools.|
|Reject the Strategic Defense Initiative.||Build the Strategic Defense Initiative.|
|“Strengthen the global progress toward peace and democracy.”||Oppose subordinating U.S. to any international authority. Oppose sending U.S. troops to U.N. “peacekeeping” operations under foreign commanders or wearing foreign uniforms or insignia.|
Excerpts from the 1996 Republican Platform
Building a Better America
. . . We can best improve the standard of living in America by . . . cutting the near-record tax burden on Americans; reducing government spending and its size. . . .
Federal, state, and local taxes take more than 38 cents out of every dollar the American family earns. The federal tax burden alone is now approaching a record 25 percent of family income. . . . We will not tolerate attempts to impose taxes by federal judges. . . .
Republicans support free and fair trade. . . .
Republicans will stop subsidizing socialism in the less developed nations. Republicans will not allow the World Trade Organization to undermine United States sovereignty and will support a World Trade Organization oversight commission. . . .
Changing Washington from the Ground Up
We will restore the force of the Tenth Amendment. . . .
As a first step in reforming government, we support elimination of the Departments of Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Education, and Energy, and the elimination, defunding or privatization of agencies which are obsolete, redundant, of limited value, or too regional in focus. Examples of agencies we seek to defund or to privatize are the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Legal Services Corporation. . . .
We will end welfare for lobbyists. Every year, the federal government gives away billions of dollars in grants. Much of that money goes to interest groups which engage in political activity and issue advocacy at the taxpayers’ expense. This is an intolerable abuse of the public’s money. . . . Our goal is . . . the enactment of a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget. . . .
We will stop the runaway growth of entitlement spending — the programs which automatically grow without any action required by Congress or the President. This spending has jumped 11-fold since 1970 and consumes more than half the federal budget. . . .
The American people have lost faith in their courts, and for good reason. . . . They make up laws and invent new rights as they go along, arrogating to themselves powers King George III never dared to exercise. They free vicious criminals, pamper felons in prison, frivolously overturn State laws enacted by citizen referenda. . . .
We . . . reject calls for statehood for the District. . . .
Individual Rights and Personal Safety
We are the party of the open door. As we approach the start of a new century, the Republican Party is more dedicated than ever to strengthening the social, cultural, and political ties that bind us together as a free people, the greatest force for good the world has ever seen. While our party remains steadfast in its commitment to advancing its historic principles and ideals, we also recognize that members of our party have deeply held and sometimes differing views. We view this diversity of views as a source of strength, not as a sign of weakness, and we welcome into our ranks all Americans who may hold differing positions. We are committed to resolving our differences in a spirit of civility, hope, and mutual respect. . . .
We also oppose indoctrination in the classroom. . . .
We oppose discrimination based on sex, race, age, creed, or national origin and will vigorously enforce anti-discrimination statutes. We reject the distortion of those laws to cover sexual preference. . . . Because we believe rights inhere in individuals, not in groups, we will attain our nation’s goal of equal rights without quotas or other forms of preferential treatment. . . . We likewise endorse this year’s Proposition 209, the California Civil Rights Initiative, to restore to law the original meaning of civil rights. . . .
We oppose the non-consensual withholding of health care or treatment because of handicap, age, or infirmity, just as we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide. . . .
The unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make 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. . . .
We defend the constitutional right to keep and bear arms…
We will vigorously implement the Supreme Court’s Beck decision to ensure that workers are not compelled to subsidize political activity, like the $35 million slush fund extorted this year from rank and file members by Washington-based labor leaders. . . .
A Sensible Immigration Policy. As a nation of immigrants, we welcome those who follow our laws and come to our land to seek a better life. . . . We must set immigration at manageable levels, balance the competing goals of uniting families of our citizens and admitting specially talented persons, and end asylum abuses. . . .
We . . . will continue to reform and enforce our immigration laws to ensure that they reflect America’s national interest.
We also support efforts to secure our borders from the threat of illegal immigration. Illegal immigration has reached crisis proportions, with more than four million illegal aliens now present in the United States. . . .
Illegal aliens should not receive public benefits other than emergency aid, and those who become parents while illegally in the United States should not be qualified to claim benefits for their offspring. Legal immigrants should depend for assistance on their sponsors, who are legally responsible for their financial well-being, not the American taxpayers. Just as we require “deadbeat dads” to provide for the children they bring into the world, we should require “deadbeat sponsors” to provide for the immigrants they bring into the country. . . .
The use of English is indispensable to all who wish to participate fully in our society and realize the American dream. . . . We support the official recognition of English as the nation’s common language. . . .
Families and Society
Congressional Republicans have . . . passed the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines “marriage” for purposes of federal law as the legal union of one man and one woman and prevents federal judges and bureaucrats from forcing states to recognize other living arrangements as “marriages.” Further, they have advanced the Family Rights and Privacy Act — a bill of rights against the intrusions of big government and its grantees. . . .
Republicans have championed the economic rights of the family and made a $500 per child tax credit the centerpiece of their reform agenda. . . .
We urge State legislators to review divorce laws to foster the stability of the home and protect the economic rights of the innocent spouse and children. . . .
Improving Education. . . . The American people know that something is terribly wrong with our education system. The evidence is everywhere: children who cannot read, graduates who cannot reason, danger in the schoolyards, indoctrination in classrooms. . . .
The federal government has no constitutional authority to be involved in school curricula or to control jobs in the work place. That is why we will abolish the Department of Education, end federal meddling in our schools, and promote family choice at all levels of learning. We therefore call for prompt repeal of the Goals 2000 program and the School-to-Work Act of 1994, which put new federal controls, as well as unfunded mandates, on the States. We further urge that federal attempts to impose outcome- or performance-based education on local schools be ended.
We know what works in education, and it isn’t the liberal fads of the last thirty years. It’s discipline, parental involvement, emphasis on basics including computer technology, phonics instead of look-say reading, and dedicated teaching. . . .
We support educational initiatives to promote chastity until marriage as the expected standard of behavior. . . . We oppose school-based clinics, which provide referrals, counseling, and related services for contraception and abortion. . . .
Improving America’s Health Care. . . . Let individuals set up tax-free Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs), so they can plan for their own medical needs instead of relying on government or insurance companies. Republicans believe that Medicare and Medicaid recipients should also have the option to utilize Medical Savings Accounts, which would result in huge savings for the American taxpayers. . . .
Renewing Hope and Opportunity. . . . The current welfare system has spent $5 trillion in the last thirty years and has been a catastrophic failure. . . .
The key to welfare reform is restoring personal responsibility and encouraging two-parent households. . . . All able-bodied adults must be required to work. . . . Illegal aliens must be ineligible for all but emergency benefits. And a firm time limit for receipt of welfare must be enforced.
Because illegitimacy is the most serious cause of child poverty, we will encourage States to stop cash payments to unmarried teens and set a family cap on payments for additional children . . . . About half the children of today’s teen welfare mothers were fathered in statutory rape. . . .
Restoring American World Leadership
We are the party of peace through strength. Republicans put the interests of our country over those of other nations — and of the United Nations. . . .
Americans do not realize our country has no defense against long-range missile attack. . . .
The Republican Party is committed to the protection of all Americans . . . against missile attack. We are determined to deploy land-based and sea-based theater missile defenses as soon as possible, and a national system thereafter. We will not permit the mistakes of past diplomacy, based on the immoral concept of Mutual Assured Destruction, to imperil the safety of our nation, our Armed Forces abroad, and our allies. . . .
Republicans are committed to ensuring the status of the United States as the world’s preeminent military power….
Protecting American Interests. . . . We scorn the Clintonite view that soon “nationhood as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single global authority.” This is nonsense. . . .
Republicans will not subordinate United States sovereignty to any international authority. We oppose the commitment of American troops to U.N. “peacekeeping” operations under foreign commanders and will never compel American servicemen to wear foreign uniforms or insignia. . . . We support the passage of the Prohibition on United Nations Taxation Act of 1996 to preserve America’s sovereignty. . . .
A Republican president will withdraw from Senate consideration any pending international conventions or treaties that erode the constitutional foundations of our Republic and will neither negotiate nor submit such agreements in the future. We will ensure that our future relations with international organizations not infringe upon either the sovereignty of the United States or the earnings of the American taxpayers. . . .
We oppose Bill Clinton’s assault on the culture and traditions of the Armed Forces, especially his attempt to lift the ban on homosexuals in the military. We affirm that homosexuality is incompatible with military service. . . .
We reaffirm our support for the exemption of women from ground combat units and are concerned about the current policy of involuntarily assigning women to combat or near-combat units. . . . We endorse the efforts of congressional Republicans to halt the sale, in military facilities, of pornographic materials. . . .