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Republicans in Tampa: What Parents Need to Know

I think it’s safe to assume that not a lot of parents will be focused on the Republican and Democratic National Conventions this week and next — it’s the end of summer and families are either juggling the end of vacations, back-to-school shopping or actually getting their kids on school buses and off for a new learning year.

But here we are with both political parties each putting on what I’m calling their Politcal-Paloozas to officially nominate their respective candidates. While much of what goes on is just for show (because there really is no legal reason the parties have to throw week-long shindigs to get their candidates on the ballot), the political parties themselves put together their official platforms that constitute the last word on what each party stands for, regardless of whether the candidates themselves support each and every plank.

So what is the Republican party endorsing this year during their time in Tampa?

I’m not going to give you spin. I’m going to highlight some of GOP’s own language for you and you can decide (and I’ll do the same for the Democrats when they convene in Charlotte) how you feel about their issues. While the official platform won’t be published until after the convention closes (and it exists only as a draft at the moment), here are some highlights:

1. Health care – The Republican party would repeal what’s come to be known as Obamacare. “Our goal is to encourage the development of a healthcare system that provides higher quality care at a lower cost to all Americans while protecting the patient-physician relationship based on mutual trust, informed consent, and privileged patient confidentiality.”

2. Education – “Parents are responsible for the education of their children. We do not believe in a ‘one-size fits all’ approach to education and support providing broad education choices to parents and children at the State and local level.” The platform doesn’t talk specifically about No Child Left Behind or Race to the Top.

3. Human life – “Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. …  We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”  The platform provisions that apply to abortion make no exceptions to the GOP stance for rape or incest. The platform opposes federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. It is unclear how these positions will impact the party’s views on in vitro fertilization.

4. Gay Marriage – “We reaffirm our support for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

5. Immigration – “We support changing the way that the decennial census is conducted, so that citizens are distinguished from lawfully present aliens and illegal aliens. In order to preserve the principle of one-person, one-vote, the apportionment of representatives among the states should be according to the number of citizens.”

6. Medicare – The party supports a Paul Ryan-like system in which Medicare would be changed to a voucher system and that would raise retirement age. “We will save Medicare by modernizing it, by empowering its participants, and by putting it on a secure financial footing. … The first step is to move the two programs away from their current unsustainable defined-benefit entitlement model to a fiscally sound defined-contribution model.”

7. Military – “We support the advancement of women in the military…[and] We support women’s  exemption from direct ground combat units and infantry battalions.”

8. Higher Education -The GOP would  cut all federal funds to colleges and universities that allow undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition.

9. Expand Home Ownership – “We must establish a mortgage finance system based on competition and free enterprise that is trans-parent, encourages the private sector to return to housing, and promotes personal responsibility on the part of borrowers.”

10. Military Families – “The families of our military personnel currently serving, retired service members, and veterans must also be assured of the pay, health care, housing, education, and overall support they have earned. We will ensure that the federal government keeps its commitments to those who signed on the dotted line of enlistment with the assurance that those promises would be kept.”

Of course, these are just small summaries of the 62-page GOP Platform. But they should give you a flavor for the positions the party is promoting, and I’d definitely encourage you to read more about these positions if you’re interested. And you can leave your comments for the RNC about these and other platform issues here.

Stay tuned for more posts about the conventions and the upcoming election!

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Image via Republican National Convention official site

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