Note from Stewart: You may have heard that the 2008 Nevada State Republican Party Convention ended in a controversial manner, with a surprise "recess" at 6pm, just when us state delegates were about to finish voting for our national delegates. I will have a few things to say on that soon, but first I'd like to point out one very positive outcome of the Convention - the Nevada State Republican Party Platform for 2008-2010. Before the controversial recess, the delegates at the State Convention voted to accept the platform as written and proposed by the platform committee. That vote was overwhelming. And that platform is beyond a doubt the most liberty friendly, constitutionalist state Republican Party platform in the entire nation. No doubt it is not perfect, but it is most certainly the very best that can be expected at a Republican Party convention during the Bush Administration, with John McCain as the presumed nominee of the party (this platform attacks sacred cows of Bush - the Patriot Act and Military Commissions Act, and sacred cows of McCain - McCain/Feingold).
But I want to make it clear that it was not "Ron Paul people" who wrote that platform. It was CONSERVATIVES. I was on the platform committee and I can tell you that us Ron Paul supporters were not anywhere near a majority (maybe 1/4, if that) on the committee. I know for a fact that there were people on the platform committee who were not Ron Paul people, who in particular disagreed with Ron Paul on the war, but who still believed in core conservative ideals like obeying the Constitution, smaller government, and US sovereignty. It was a great experience to see those kind of people do the right thing, and it gives me hope for our nation, and made me actually proud to be a Republican again after years of disappointment.
I hear through the grapevine that the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee are livid with outrage over this platform. Good! Serves them right for abandoning traditional conservative Republican principles, like obeying the Constitution. I'm proud to have played a small part in pissing them off. Now maybe they'll take a moment to reflect on just exactly what about this platform makes them so angry. Is it too conservative? Too constitutionalist? Too much in favor of limited government? And what does that make them? Well, as for the McCain people, maybe it was plank #11 - "We demand the repeal of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 ..." That is McCain-Feingold! Ah well, that's what they get for trying to push a fake conservative on us.
I'll give some more of my thoughts down below, after the text of the platform. But without further ado, here is the 2008-2010 Nevada State Republican Party Platform in its entirety:
Nevada State Republican Party Platform 2008 - 2010
We believe that government is instituted solely to secure the life, liberty and property of the citizens of the country, that the Declaration of Independence defines the philosophical foundation of the country, that the Constitution of the United States is the basic law governing the existence and operation of the U.S. Federal Government and the first ten amendments describe its limits, and , as Thomas Jefferson said, that the government that governs least governs best.
Federalism & Limited Government
1. We support less government, less taxes, less regulation and more self determination.
2. All legislation, Federal Agencies, and public servants must adhere to a literal interpretation of the U.S. Constitution and as instructed by the Tenth Amendment, in conjunction with Article I, Section 8.
3. We recognize the importance of the national values expressed by our flag, anthem, pledge-of-allegiance and other patriotic symbols that define us as a nation and we believe that the words, “in GOD we trust,” should remain on our currency and the words “under God” should remain in our Pledge of Allegiance.
Taxes and Government Spending
4. We support reform of Social Security, including establishment of private retirement accounts and prohibiting use of its funds for any other purpose. All citizens shall have the right to opt out of the system, but the government must honor its commitments to those who have paid, are legally in the U.S., and remain in the system. We propose the abolishment of the Windfall Elimination Tax when computing Social Security Benefits. We oppose Nationalization of Healthcare.
5. We urge the Nevada Legislature to cut spending and avoid new taxes to encourage strong economic growth. We support the Nevada Constitutional Requirement of a 2/3 majority legislative vote to raise state taxes. We support balanced state, local and federal budgets. We oppose unfunded mandates, Riders, Ear-marks and Set-asides at both the state and national level. We support the permanent elimination of the Federal Death Tax.
6. We support a strong private minerals industry. We support the Nevada Mining Association endorsed reform of the 1872 mining law and strongly oppose any laws, regulations, ordinances or any other legally binding actions that diminish the ability of the minerals industry to discover and or access minerals and mine them.
7. Fires are increasing because of the lack of livestock grazing. Therefore, livestock grazing shall be increased immediately on Federal Lands.
8. We support a parent’s right to choice in education including vouchers, charter schools, and home schooling. We also support the elimination of the U.S. Dept. of Education. We further oppose requiring licensure for parents who choose to home school. We support the elimination of the No Child Left Behind law and require the State of Nevada to replace the No Child Left Behind concept.
9. We affirm the sanctity of human life and the inherent dignity of each human being from conception to death and oppose cloning complete human beings. We support the private development of adult stem cell research and we support all efforts to stop human trafficking. We support the definition of marriage as only between one man and one woman.
10. We support initiatives to maximize the development of America’s domestic oil, gas, coal, solar, wind, geothermal, and nuclear resources, and the development of alternative sources of energy to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. We support granting local government more authority in decision-making regarding water rights within their jurisdiction.
11. We demand the repeal of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 and reaffirm the right of free political speech. We support legislation to require full disclosure of all donations made to political candidates.
12. We support the repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and the return of the power of minting and coining money to the Congress of the United States as so stated in the Constitution. In addition we demand a return to a gold and/or silver backed currency as provided for in the U.S. Constitution.
13. We demand that electronic voting only be allowed when uniquely numbered receipts are provided to the voter and results are made publicly available showing simultaneously all votes comprising the total by receipt number.
The Litigation Crisis
14. We believe in informing juries that it is their power and duty to decide on both the law and the facts as they apply to each case so that justice is the main priority. We support election of judges.
15. We welcome legal immigrants from all nations, cultures and races. We demand strict enforcement of all immigration laws by all levels of government. We demand that the federal government secure our borders. We do not support amnesty, government benefits or other special treatment for aliens who have or will enter the United States illegally. We support English as the official language of the United States and the printing of government materials in English only.
National Defense and Veteran's Affairs
16. We support all of our men and women in the military who are serving both in the United States and around the world and the missions of all U.S. troops around the world. Be they active duty, National Guard, or reservist, they have our highest admiration and respect. We support honoring veterans with education benefits and we support a strong Veterans Administration subject to strong oversight and audit, to assure veterans and families receive the care and support as promised.
Constitution, Bill of Rights and Protection of Rights
17. We believe that the First Amendment to the Constitution was intended to prevent a state-sponsored religion rather than a separation of God from public life. We affirm that the Second Amendment protects an individual right which should be enforced as strictly as the rights protected by the First Amendment.
18. We support repealing the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act. We support repeal of the federal act requiring a national ID card or other required identity papers providing government with “big brother” intrusion into constitutional freedoms.
US Sovereignty & trade
19. We support the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations. We demand that Nevada join Montana, Idaho, Utah and other states in opposing the North American Union (NAU) in withdrawing from the Security & Prosperity Partnership (SPP), withdrawing from North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and that Congress resume their duty of regulating Commerce with Foreign Nations.
20. We oppose Federal legislation regarding public lands including wilderness in Nevada counties unless approved by the county.
More comments from Stewart:
Well, there ya go. That is the kind of platform you get with a room full of Nevada Goldwater Conservatives who were in about 95% agreement with us Ron Paul folks. The only real point of disagreement was the Iraq war.
Sure, there were a couple of "pragmatist" neocons who really had no respect for the Constitution, but they were vastly outnumbered by people who DID care about the Constitution and who could be convinced of the proper constitutional position, and once they agreed, they had no problem at all with voting for a staunch constitutionalist plank.
Jury power is just one example. Some of the folks there had just never heard of the full power of a jury to judge the law as well as the facts, but after I explained the history of the jury to them, which has always had the power to "nullify," they understood and supported it. And I got crucial back-up from another lawyer on the committee who, while he disagreed completely on Iraq, was 100% in agreement on jury nullification.
And the same went for repealing the Federal Reserve Act, for getting out of the U.N., NAFTA, the SPP, etc. Most folks on the committee were in complete agreement on all of those issues, and I believe they were a good representative sample of the convention as a whole.
So, those are not "Ron Paul planks." Those are "constitutionalist planks." It was a group of constitutionalists on the committee who first voted for them, and then a bunch more constitutionalists in the rank and file at the convention who overwhelmingly voted for the whole platform.
I have no doubt that Ron Paul's campaign has educated many people on crucial conservative positions, and that education aspect is starting to really have an affect (that the party elites cannot control) but it seemed to me that the rank and file conservatives in Nevada were already pretty well versed in core constitutionalist positions. Us Ron Paul people did not have to do much "convincing" at all.
On the committee, I certainly did not have to do much. Committee members had already expressed support for each of those planks - I just explained a few questions folks had on the Constitution, told them the history of jury nullification, said a bit on the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act (and how it applies its definition of "unlawful combatant" to citizens too), and helped a bit to remind them that being a conservative means being a constitutionalist. Not a very tough job, really, as they were already about 90% there. Truly Salt-of-the-Earth conservatives. A great bunch of people.
And for the record, Las Vegas lawyer Richard Scotti was fantastic as the fill-in chairman of the committee. A sincere constitutionalist and patriot, willing to listen and open to hearing new ideas, very fair, and very much interested only in doing what was right. His leadership was crucial. He deserves the praise of all Americans, as do the rest of the committee. Now if we can just get the rest of the GOP up to speed!