Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A "Radical Moderate"™ Proposal

[Note to my regular readers: This is an Idaho politics post for which I'm using my blog as a means to disseminate to the Idaho political community.]

Have you ever read a political platform? While some can be interesting, in large they're sleep-inducing documents that are read by only the most committed party loyalists and the most committed party opponents. I think they can be more -- there's no law that says they can't actually say what the members of the party actually think.
I got myself "selected" as a delegate to the Idaho Democratic Party State Convention next month. (I went to my county caucus and volunteered, and there were many fewer volunteers than spaces available.) They said that one of the things the convention would do was write the new state party platform. I had actually read platforms of both state parties in 2010, and while the Republican platform had several idiotic planks, it wasn't boring. The platform for the Democrats, however, was full of platitudes and very short of specifics -- it's as if Idaho Democrats were afraid to put what they were really thinking on paper. (The last time the Idaho Democrats said something remotely interesting in their platform was in 2006, when I made fun of it.)

Although my politics are probably still closest to Bush (41) among recent Presidents (although I have much more of a "get the government out of our personal decisions" libertarian-type bent), the way the Idaho GOP has shifted to the right, people of my belief set are clearly most closely aligned with the Idaho Democratic Party. (For example, I would say that I'm more liberal than the last Idaho Democrat elected to Congress, who lost his bid for re-election in 2010.)

Anyway, if I'm going to be voting on the platform, I figured I'd make some edits to the last one to include some items I'd like to see. Here's what I came up with. Some of the changes and additions are highlighted here:
Idaho Democrats believe that adopting pragmatic solutions to economic and social issues will continue to make Idaho a great place to live. We are focused on solving the problems of the 21st century in a forward-looking manner, and not, as Idaho Republicans seem to want, returning to the policies that existed in the 1850s.
Idaho Democrats support laws that eliminate lifetime catastrophic medical insurance caps, allow young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance policies through age 26, and require insurance companies to cover those with pre-existing conditions and prohibits them from dropping people just when they need insurance most. We recognize that, other than Medicare For All, the only economically feasible method of supporting those goals is an individual mandate as contained in the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Unlike the Idaho Republican Party, we recognize that the attempted “nullification” of federal laws by state legislatures is a major step on the road to secession. We support the existing method of letting the courts decide regarding disputes between the states and federal government. Idaho Democrats oppose any efforts to secede from the United States of America.
Unlike the Idaho Republican Party, we support the right of citizens to vote directly for their U.S. Senators, and oppose efforts to repeal the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Idaho Democrats realize that the same dynamics that led to the adoption of the Amendment (states going without representation for years when the two houses of a state legislature were controlled by different parties, corporations willing to bribe legislators to get their favored candidate elected) still exist, so taking away the rights of citizens to vote directly for their Senators would cause numerous unneeded problems and solve none.
Unlike the Idaho Republican Party, we oppose legislation to abolish the Federal Reserve Bank and institute a unilateral change to gold- and silver-backed money. Idaho Democrats have an actual understanding of how the world economy works, and recognize that the total value of all the gold and silver ever mined and available for commodity use (let alone what the U.S. government owns) is significantly less than the size of the U.S. economy. A unilateral move to the precious metal standard would result in severe deflation and a tightening of the money supply as overseas investors hold onto their dollars (the world’s only sure inflation hedge) and foreign owners of government bonds cash them in and redeem them for our gold, leaving us with no money in circulation and no gold and silver and reduced to a bartering economy. Idaho Democrats, unlike Idaho Republicans, do not advocate economic suicide in support of a misguided theory that used to kind of work (the Panics of 1819, 1837, 1857, 1873, 1890, 1893, 1907, and the Great Depression notwithstanding) only because the entire world was on the system and there were vast new deposits of gold and silver being discovered and vast quantities of cheap land available to support expansion. As none of these conditions exist today, the Idaho Republican’s support for destroying our economy based on their pet theory is absolute lunacy.
Unlike the conspiracy theorists of the Idaho GOP Central Committee, we support efforts like “Project 60” to bring in foreign investment that provides good-paying jobs to Idaho, and recognize that in the real world -- the one not dominated by the rhetorical black helicopters some Idaho Republicans think are all around them -- such businesses would be subject to all applicable local, state, and national laws, and are not a threat to Idaho’s sovereignty; they are a means of bringing dollars into the state.
We oppose the 2011 state education reforms, and believe that increasingly scarce Idaho education dollars should stay in Idaho and not be sent out of state to buy overpriced computer hardware from contributors to the campaigns of Idaho Republicans. We support the November 2012 ballot initiatives to repeal the “Luna Laws”.
We support the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Section 10 of the Idaho Constitution guarantees of the rights of the people to peaceably assemble, and oppose any laws adopted clearly for the purpose of limiting or eliminating the rights of any groups of people to peaceably assemble and petition their government.
I also added a section to the 2nd Amendment support plank indicating that we don't believe in a Constitutional right to shoot politicians you think are oppressing you, but I'll probably take that out because the Idaho GOP hasn't officially made "the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of tyrants" or "2nd Amendment remedies" part of their platform (yet). Well, what do you think? Too harsh? I'm thinking that if the Idaho Democratic Party wants to get any attention at all, we need to make a splash, and forcing the Republicans to own their idiotic "return to the Gold standard" and "repeal the 17th Amendment" planks is just the way to do it, especially a week before their convention. The Idaho GOP is on the verge of fracturing as it is (Reasonable "RINOs" vs. TEA Party vs. Ronulans), and we should do what we can to push it along. 

Anyway, I've sent my proposals to the Platform Committee, and hopefully they'll agree with me; if not, I'm perfectly comfortable with waging a floor fight to put some teeth into the platform. Who's with me?


Blogger Buck said...

Love this!

Due to the way things work, each party picks a candidate, sets the agenda, pays for the makeover and has Madison Avenue polish up the delivery. Then the voters get to rubber-stamp the party choice.

The only real way for a citizen to /influence/ the choice of candidate or platform or policy, is to be part of the process that chooses them.

Those not on a committee are left to simply approve (or grumble about) what those in the committees decided to do.


5/25/2012 11:26 AM

Blogger fortboise said...

I endorse your goal, and wish you all the best. The problem with "the platform" as a literary (or political, either way) form is that it is, by definition, designed by committee.

I'm not saying committees can't, or haven't come up with good things from time to time, but I am saying it ain't easy. I have been there, and I have done that, and it's way I had the good sense to leave my caucus before the delegate selection got underway.

Everyone should try it at least once. No one should have to do it time after time.

5/25/2012 2:59 PM

Blogger fortboise said...

I move to amend my previous remark,
"'s why I had the good sense..." (Opinions regarding my "good sense" may of course differ.)

5/25/2012 3:00 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

Of all aspects of political life, platform writing is the least important. One should fret on the subject only after your iTunes library is perfectly arranged, your garage flawlessly stowed, and your lawn absolutely weed free. The platform-writing committee is where intelligent campaigns park their wingnuts to keep them off the street and away from screwing up the campaign.

The essence of the campaign side of politics lies in exactly the opposite direction: pick three themes you're going to hammer regardless the distractions and avoid at all costs taking positions or making meaningful statements that could cost votes. The platform is there to make happy those who were going to vote for you anyway.

The simple truths of election politics are that the electorate is dimly aware of its own existence, follows set patterns and votes one way regardless of the issues or candidates, usually doesn't focus on any race until days or hours before voting, and then pays attention to only one or two of the races on the ballot. Your position on a return to Glass-Steagall and the rest of the arcania in it is white noise to 99.99999% of those who actually vote.

The candidate's job is not to expatiate on all the issues (the platform's realm) but rather to make people aware that there is an election, that he or she is running for some office, and usually where that office is ("No no. I'm running for Congress, the House of Representatives. It's in Washington. You know, that big white building with the dome.") The candidate's second job, if elected, is to totally forget about the platform and hope everyone else does too.

Finally, there are two philosophical schools on election politics, the amateurs and outsiders who focus on all the factors and positions that bear on what a candidate should do in office ... and the professionals, who focus on getting the candidate elected in the first place. Platforms and platform writing are part of the paraphenalia of the first school. Platform writing is where spirits go to be lost.

5/26/2012 4:21 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

@rd - I agree that what you say is mostly true, with the exception of Idaho right now. The Idaho Republican Party is in the middle of a huge battle for its very soul, and the "insurgent" group of Ronulans and extreme TEA Partiers (I call them "National Treasure Republicans" because they're forever searching written documents for some sort of proof of their rightnesss) actually believe that platforms mean something. The purpose of my proposal is to play into that, and to speed up the disintegration of the Idaho GOP. And a Democratic platform put out a week before their convention is something they'll read and act on.

5/26/2012 8:44 AM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

Your platform planks are very good. I am a local POL in Blue CT and I could run on your platform proposals. However, RD is correct that only the party faithful pay any attention to a platform. I am sure that local politics in Idaho is similar - lots of door knocking and flyer handouts to folks who are surprised there is an election coming. Have fun at your platform committee meeting and the state convention. It is nutty but democracy with a small d in action.

5/26/2012 1:15 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

Joel: Were Will Rogers alive today, his statement would be "I don't belong to an organized political party. I'm a Republican."

Attributed to Napoleon: ‘Never interfere with an enemy while he’s in the process of destroying himself.’

To attempt to reform or even throw logic at Idaho's Rs is to entertain loons.

5/26/2012 4:40 PM

Blogger Jay said...

The problem with being a Democrat anywhere these days is you have to join forces with Nancy Pelosi and a handful of left-wing nuts who actually do control THAT party nationally. This is why Southern Dems abandoned them. I guess locally, there are some state GOP's that can be taken over by Paulheads. Tea Partiers in the rest of the country aren't as nutty, being focused mainy on runaway spending and the repeal of Obamacare.

Anyway, I understand your pain a not wanting to associate too much with the gold standard crowd at the state level, as you realize it comes with some serious national baggage.

5/28/2012 8:56 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

The reason Southern Dems abandoned the party is because it would not continue its racist ways. Nixon's law and order push and other wink/nods to the white supremacists made it easy for them to see the beauties and wonders of the Rs.

5/28/2012 2:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joel, a Democrat might be a moderate in Ohio but that is not the case in DC.

Your pols have to vote with the party when they get there. Have you ever asked any of them how they reconcile that? Do you have an opinion on it?

5/28/2012 9:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I strongly recommend against contrasting your positions against those of other parties. It makes you look weak, like your ideas can't stand on their own merit.

5/29/2012 3:02 PM

Blogger Mark Balzer said...


having attended the last 5 republican conventions I can tell you the platform committee is a place to store all the moon-bats until the floor session.

I do agree with anon 302 don't include references to another party in your planks let them stand or fall on their own merit then you will look to reasonable individuals as taking a principles stance not just pointing fingers and saying "we aren't those guys"

I would love to have lunch with you when I get to Boise again I think we could have some very interesting conversations.


5/30/2012 4:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two comments:

1. You mention the republicans way too many times. In fact, you shouldn't mention them at all. The stance of the democrats can stand on its own, and mentioning the other guy just draws attention to them.

2. I find it interesting you want a hands off approach, but support insurance laws that will raise prices for everyone by dictating that they have to pay for "children" to 26, have to insure high risk patients, and can't cap benefits. Insurance is a service, not a right. Like any service, they can choose to deny customers. We have too high of an expectation for full coverage... my auto insurance doesn't cover oil changes and replacing flat tires, so why should we expect medical insurance to cover annual checkups or medicine for simple acute illness?

5/31/2012 4:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

çerkeş haberleri

6/02/2012 4:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stand on your own - and don't open every plank with "unlike Rs.." We already know there is no comparison between a D and an R. What we really need are more (r).

Read "The Creature from Jeykll Island" and get back to me. Not a state issue anyway.

George Washington was working as a surveyor in the vast untamed outback of West Virginia at age 12 - not living in his parents basement, pissing away school loans (for a degree in "Diversity Studies") and free healthcare (and other) entitlements that are bankrupting a once great nation - through graft, greed, corruption and political pay-o-la. Where are the men of principle and honor in either party these days?

At any rate, keep the teet in the mouth of your Sheeple. It makes them content... but will grow your flock to an unmanagble size like the one in China.

And ultimately - who "pays" for all your great planks?


6/15/2012 11:26 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home