Is This the Most Conservative GOP Platform Ever? Hah!

Is This the Most Conservative GOP Platform Ever? Hah!

Is This the Most Conservative GOP Platform Ever? Hah!

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 29 2012 2:11 PM

Is This the Most Conservative GOP Platform Ever? Hah!

TAMPA -- Nagourney, Rutenberg, and Zeleny cast the Wayback Machine to 1992, the year of Pat Buchanan's "cultural war" speech. It was a sop to a protest candidate who won zero primaries. It was, immediately, one of the most pilloried speeches given at that level of politics. But what does it mean?

Beverly Caley, a delegate from Kansas, described the platform — in particular, its strictures on abortion — as the most conservative in her party’s history. There is such a consensus within the party on opposition to abortion rights and same-sex marriage and the importance of faith in public life, she suggested, that raising them this year has created neither surprise nor backlash.
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Good for Beverly Caley, I suppose, but is this really more conservative than -- let's pick an example at random -- the 1992 platform? It's online. We can check.

Elements within the media, the entertainment industry, academia, and the Democrat Party are waging a guerrilla war against American values. They deny personal responsibility, disparage traditional morality, denigrate religion, and promote hostility toward the family's way of life. Children, the members of our society most vulnerable to cultural influences, are barraged with violence and promiscuity, encouraging reckless and irresponsible behavior.

Okay, then. Later, we get a not-by-name denunciation of rap music ("the advocacy of violence against law enforcement officers"), a ban on porn, support for the Pornography Victims Compensation Act, and "any legislation or law which legally recognizes same-sex marriages and allows such couples to adopt children or provide foster care." The new GOP platform does not mention gay adoption. By what measure is it "the most conservative"? One theory: It isn't the most conservative, but saying it is fulfills the "scary, Akin-alike Republicans" storyline.

David Weigel is a reporter for the Washington Post.