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Ralph Nader > In the Public Interest > “The Platform is the Party’s contract with the people.”

“The Platform is the Party’s contract with the people.” This noble sentiment has been used by both Republicans and Democrats in characterizing their state and national party Platforms over the decades. It can become an embarrassing yardstick for any Party that lives a double life.

Consider President Bush and his Texas State Republican Platform of 2002

which is still in effect. The authors and endorsers of this lengthy

document were taking no chances. It says crisply that each “Republican

candidate for a public or Party office shall be provided a current copy

of the Party platform at the time of filing. The candidate shall be

asked to read and initial each page of the platform and sign a

statement affirming he/she has read the entire platform.”

Signing on the dotted line is connected with the Party giving the candidate financial and other support.


follows policy after policy of great specificity in direct opposition

to what the Bush Administration is doing and not doing. For example,

the Texas Republican Party demands that Washington repeal NAFTA and

GATT and get out of the World Trade Organization and the United

Nations. It is adamant against any gathering, accumulation and

dissemination of personal data and information on law-abiding citizens

by business and governments. It wants “all citizens” to be free from

government surveillance of their electronic communications.

In a

slam against Attorney General John Ascroft, the Texas Party believes

that “the current greatest threat to our individual liberties is

overreaching government controls established under the guise of

preventing terrorism.”

Remember, this is the Texas state

Republican Party. It is President Bush’s Party — the organization that

launched his political career to the Governorship and beyond. His

friends and political allies run this Party.

So it is remarkable

to read that the Platform demands the “elimination of presidential

authority to issue executive orders, presidential decision directives.

. . .and a repeal of all previous executive orders and administrative

mandates.” This policy would handcuff both George W. Bush and John


In opposition to President Bush, his state Party

insists that social security funds “should not be commingled or spent

with general revenues or invested in private or public corporate

stock.” And it adds, Social Security benefits should “be non-taxable,”

until private pensions replace social security.

Talk about

abolishing government! The Texas Republican Party wants to terminate

the U.S. Department of Education, (there goes Bush’s Leave No Child

Behind hoax), the Internal Revenue Service, along with the elimination

of the personal income tax, inheritance tax, corporate income tax,

payroll tax and the minimum wage. That is not all. The Party wants to

close down the Department of Health and Human Services, Commerce,

Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol,

Tobacco and Firearms, and for good measure, the “position of Surgeon


The Platform has one demand that is quite sensible —

namely “The Party does not support governmental subsidies, tariffs,

bailouts, or other forms of corporate welfare [including sports

stadiums] that are used to protect and preserve businesses or

industries that have failed to remain relevant, competitive, and

efficient over time.”

President Bush made his fortune by getting

Texas taxpayers to pay for the Texas Rangers’s new baseball stadium.

His government now expandscorporate welfare on the backs of individual

taxpayers, while allowing huge tax escapes for large multinational


If you want to read more, long onto But if you’ve read this

far, you may be asking how did this astonishing Texas GOP vs. Bush come

about. It has to do with the double life of the Republican Party — the

main party dominated by corporatists and the adjunct Party relying on

conservatives and libertarians to produce the margin of votes for

victory in elections.

The corporatist Republicans give the

platforms and the core ideological issues to the conservatives, pat

them on the back at convention time and then move into office with the

welcome mat for Big Business lobbyists and their slushfunds.


duplicity is illustrated by the large contributions that the national

Republican Party takes from the gambling industry in return for

political support. In contrast, the Texas Party Platform states that

“gambling has had a devastating impact on many Texas families” and

opposes “any further legalization, government facilitation, or

financial guarantees relating to any type of gambling. . . “


a letter to President Bush, I called on him to engage in

truth-in-advertising and let the voters of this country know which

provisions of his own state Party’s Platform he endorses and which ones

he opposes. For all its faults, the media does not like forked tongues

and will sooner or later demand “clarification.”

As for the

Democratic Party, why didn’t it make hay with this Platform, as the

Republicans surely would have if the shoe was on the other foot. Why?

Because the Democratic Party IS hay.