Thursday, August 23, 2012

RNC Platform Draft Eviscerates Center (Thursday LINKS)

Let me say this up front: The Republican ideal is an appealing, romantic, and common-sense approach to the basic question "What should the government's role be in our daily life?"  I sincerely believe if you asked the average American, as many polls have done, "Do you want more government or less government?" 80% - 90% polled (regardless of their self-interest) would say "less".  Government is not trusted to do the job well and bureaucracies have discouraged the American public from thinking the Government can do anything important.  You can spend all day discussing the Federal Highway system, the success of Medicare (pre-boomers), and what the endorsement of the sciences has done for our world, and you are still not going to change the answer to that question -- "Less".

Early word out of the RNC in Tampa is that Republican leaders are diluting the relevance of such a question.  The draft RNC platform seemingly narrows the planks upon which voters can stand.  It includes:
To be fair, this is a draft, I have not been able to find a copy of the document passed by subcommittee (just news analysis), and Mitt Romney will not be held to this platform during the 2012 race.  Furthermore, many of these planks are not new.  Previous RNC Platform statements included identical language regarding abortion and same-sex marriage.

But I think the real question is whether the DNC is going to have language that is similarly inflammatory to some of the core values of Centrist voters.

I found John Cassidy's post on the subject to hit a lot of the right notes, while coming from a far-left bent.  What I found most interesting was his argument that President Obama really should not be leading in the polls:

Like all political campaigns, Obama 2012 has been plagued by missteps, miscalculations, and internal rivalries. If Axelod/Messina/et al. were going up against a stronger candidate representing a more attractive party, reporters might well be writing stories about the disastrous mistakes they and their boss had made. (Where is Obama’s positive message? How did the White House miss the rise of the Super PACs? Why did the President go out of his way to alienate businesses large and small?)

And have no doubt that those on the right will say that his slippery lead is the result of media bias, fawning over the President and his jump-shot.  My opinion?  Voters are just uncomfortable with the Republican party.  They want "less", but then the Republicans put cheese on it.  Less government...with a side of anti-abortion laws!  Less government...with a side of religious doctrine!

Coalition building is hard work and the RNC can create whatever platform it wishes.  We also should not be surprised to see a radical document emerge for a group of party stalwarts brought together and asked "What do we believe?"  But the practical question is - "Does that turn off voters?"  

A week from now, this Platform debate will be long forgotten.  Chris Christie is going to be the talk of town (old crushes die hard) and Paul Ryan will charm the nation to its knees.  But then, slowly, and without warning, the Platform is going to rise back up out of the swamp and ask voters "Are you ready to vote for me?"


It made my day to see Sun Food Columnist Richard Gorelick post about our efforts to hold a Main Street Appreciation Night this weekend.  When I wrote him to thank him for the reference, he told me that the restaurant owners have taken this on and are working together to make this a "thing".  Stay tuned!

The more you hear about the train derailment, the weirder it is.  If you don't read anything, the answer is "Oh, the train tried to brake when it saw the girls and went off the track."  But then you open the paper and see that the emergency brake was triggered without intervention by the engineers, both of which had no idea that there was anyone on the track.  It would seem all the more tragic if this was all a coincidence, but my mind just doesn't seem able to accept that just yet.

Baltimore City will be using a $4 million federal grant to build a Greyhound bus terminal off Russell street near the two sports stadiums.

Lindsey McPherson notes that Ellicott City will use a new parking management system to help allocate spots along main street and in the various parking lots.  WB has more on that system, with pictures, here.

Featured Blog Post(s) of the Day: WB and HowChow are both on board for Main Street Appreciation Day/Weekend (don't mind the semantics, get down there!).  If you want to try something new, check out the comments on HowChow's post for reader recommendations.

That's all for today.  This has been an amazing week.  Have a great Thursday doing what you love!