Walking the Planks

The Iowa Republican Party is getting some attention today for a draft state party platform that proposes requiring candidates for federal office to supply proof of citizenship. The chairman of the committee that drafted this and other provisions went out of his way to let reporters know this was intended as a challenge to President Obama’s legitimacy, in case anyone was wondering.

But if you take a look at the document as a whole, the birth certificate requirement is far from the crankiest of provisions. It calls for the abolition of the federal Departments of Agriculture, Education, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Energy, Interior, Labor, and Commerce. It demands a phase-out of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and immediate provisions to make Social Security voluntary. Though it’s a bit confusing on this point, it seems to call for the abolition of public education, or, as it often refers to them, “government schools.” It calls for U.S. withdrawal from the United Nations and the repeal of all hate crimes and non-discrimination legislation. It endorses a Fetal Personhood Amendment. It demands permanent restriction of total federal spending to 10% of GDP (the draconian right-wing Cut, Cap and Balance Act would limit it to 19.9% of GDP), and reversal of the Supreme Court precedents that made possible the New Deal and civil rights laws.

The Crazy goes on and on and on, far more than in the Iowa Republican Platform that I mocked way back in the day, in 2010, which I thought was pretty nutty then.

It’s true, of course, that these documents don’t mean all that much, and it’s also true the specific Iowa draft platform was prepared under the influence of the recent takeover of much of the state party apparatus by Ron Paul supporters. But you better believe if any group of two or more Democrats wrote up anything remotely this extreme, alarms would go up from coast to coast. I wish at a minimum Republican candidates for major offices in Iowa had to comment on this document one way or another. Walking those planks would do them a world of good in coming to grips with what’s happened to their party.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.