“One delegate warns that platform provisions may scare off independents needed to win elections.”By ETHAN WILENSKY-LANFORD Kennebec Journal
In a move that seemed to surprise many members of Maine's Republican Party, a group of tea party-style activists redefined the party platform at the convention Saturday.
Related DocumentsRevised GOP Platform
READ THE original platform proposal:
www.mainegop.com/PlatformMission.aspx (posted below)
After the vote, in which a vocal majority supported a wholesale replacement of language worked on by the party establishment since at least January, a string of delegates congratulated Horatio "Ted" Cowan III, a retired marine electrician from Rockland who wrote the adopted amendment.
"This is the first Republican organization to get realigned back to constitutional conservative values," said Blaine Richardson. "To me, as Maine goes, so goes the rest of the nation. With the national Tea Party Movement, more states will follow Maine's lead."
Rep. Stacey Fitts, an incumbent Republican from Pittsfield, made a failed motion to stop the reading of the amendment because, he said, a debate on the platform would take time away from the gubernatorial candidates. The crowd booed his motion.
One delegate from Portland, Robert Hains, used the phrase "political suicide" while the amendment was being voted on.
"I believe that there are provisions in there that will scare off many independents who you need to win elections," he said afterward. "It will make it very difficult for the majority of Republicans to win."
The movement to introduce the fundamentalist platform, which now officially states the party's priority as pledging allegiance "not to a political party, but to the Constitution of the State of Maine and the Constitution of the United States of America," began about 18 months ago when Cowan and other members of the Knox County Republican Committee began drafting a version of the platform.
Cowan said a draft of the platform was presented to a subcommittee of the State Republican Committee charged with drafting an official version of the platform for convention review. It was rebuffed, Cowan said.
Senate Minority Leader Kevin Raye, R-Perry, who was at the January meeting, said Saturday that he did not recall the draft being presented to the committee, and said he first learned about it at the convention.
One highlight of the official platform that was adopted maintains that "state sovereignty must be regained and retained on all issues specifically relegated to the states by the Constitution."
Cowan said that this referred primarily to state mandates under the national health care plan approved this spring.
Other elements of the state Republican platform include several initiatives that could only be pursued at the federal level, including imposing congressional term limits -- apparently a veiled jab at Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, who gave a keynote address at the convention.
When asked about the evident rise of the Tea Party Movement in Maine, Snowe said that it was important for the state's Republican Party to work together.
"People are angry, and understandably so," she said. "The question is how do you channel that anger to be effective and successful at the polls?"
Snowe and other veteran Republicans at the convention said that the platform itself did not drive campaigns and instead represented a set of values and principles that candidates could pick and choose from.
"Nobody is going to agree chapter and verse with the party platform," Snowe said.
The official platform includes lines that encourage the party to "discard political correctness," "seal the border and protect U.S. citizens along the border and everywhere," pass and implement a bill introduced by Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, intending to end the Federal Reserve, "defeat Cap and Trade (sic)," "clarify that health care is not a right," and "repeal and prohibit any participation in efforts to create a one world government."
The platform also states the party will support an initiative to legally require lawmakers to read all bills before them in the Legislature.
Ironically, many delegates, lawmakers and at least one gubernatorial candidate said they had not read the amendment before it appeared on screen and was voted on, although Cowan said that he provided convention organizers with a copy of the amendment Friday morning.
Maine Republicans are united in our guiding principles. Our strength lies in knowing that Republican ideals will maintain our country as the strongest nation on Earth. Our tenets include respect for the U.S. constitution, personal responsibility and accountability, peace and prosperity through strength, and limiting federal and state government power to only those functions they can administer better than the private sector can.
Republicans believe in less government, lower taxes and a responsible fiscal policy that is able to protect our neediest citizens, maintain the Maine quality of life and balances jobs and the economic growth with responsible environmental practices.
The mission of the Maine Republican Party is to help Republican candidates win elected office from the school board to the White House to ensure that our children and their children continue to live in a state and a nation of opportunity.
Platform of the Maine Republican Party
Adopted by the Maine Republican State Convention on May 8, 2010
In the course of a nation’s history, it is natural that political philosophies will evolve which run contrary to the original principles evident at the time of that nation’s founding. A nation founded in tyranny will by its nature spawn sentiment in direct opposition to that tyranny. Conversely, a nation which is dedicated to protecting the rights of its people, and seeks to bind the excesses of power which naturally accrue to governments, is subject to the evolution of factions which strive to throw off those shackles of restraint and gather power and influence over the people. Freedom is not a pre-existing condition into which everyone is delivered. Freedom and personal liberty are conditions of existence which are hard fought for and once won, must be maintained. Each generation must be taught anew the importance of eternal vigilance against those who would disregard the limits imposed on government, and usurp powers not granted to them by the people.
Today this state and the nation are in crisis precisely because we as a people have failed to maintain that vigilance. We have failed to pass down from one generation to another the critical knowledge and lessons that history provides. We have let rot from within, the foundation upon which freedom and prosperity must be built for it to survive.
This election cycle is unique in the history of both this state and our nation. We are presented with a situation in which WE THE PEOPLE, must re-educate ourselves and our neighbors, and put the knowledge of liberty to work in the elections this November. Years of neglect have allowed factions detrimental to the core principles of this nation, to entrench themselves in both political parties, and undermine the education of Constitutional principles vital to the survival of the republic.
The Tea Party movement is reminiscent of the principled revolt that led to the birth of the Republican Party in 1854. In June of that year, Horace Greeley referred to the newly formed Republicans as “…united to restore the Union to its true mission of champion and promulgator of Liberty…". This year it is incumbent upon those Republicans who strive to protect and defend our Constitution, to reclaim that heritage.
It is within this context that We, the citizens of Maine united by free association as Republicans, dedicated to seeing the principles which brought forth the birth and ascendance of this State and these United States once again made dominant and pledge our unwavering allegiance, not to a political party, but to the Constitution of the State of Maine and the Constitution of the United States of America. The Republican Party is the vehicle through which we seek to better unify and promote those in pursuit of these goals.
The principles upon which the Republican Party was founded, to which we as Citizens seek return, and to which we demand our elected representatives abide, are summarized as follows:
- The Constitutions, both State and Federal, are the framework to which any and all legislation must adhere.
- State sovereignty must be regained and retained on all issues specifically relegated to the States by the constitution.
- National sovereignty shall be preserved and retained as dominant over any attempted unconstitutional usurpations of such by international treaty.
- It is the responsibility and duty, of “We the People”, to educate both ourselves and others; to demand honest elections free of corruption, and to hold our elected officials to the highest standards of honesty, integrity and loyalty to the constitution.
In pursuit of these principles we endorse and shall promote the following initiatives.
I. To Form a More perfect Union
a. All legislation must adhere to the restrictions outlined in the Constitution to protect the individual from intrusive government.
b. Direct the State of Maine to join with other states in asserting our 10th amendment sovereignty rights which protect us from unconstitutional federal government intrusions.
c. Insist on strict adherence to our 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms.
d. Pass a “Read the Bill” act, to insure clarity, and eliminate the corruption associated with side issues, earmarks, pork or riders.
e. Oppose “Localism and Diversity”, the Fairness Doctrine or whatever else such attempted restrictions are labeled. Any restriction on speech is by definition NOT free speech.
f. Reject the Employee free -choice Elimination- act, as an unconscionable affront to the right to a secret vote.
g. Restore integrity to the electoral process:
i. Prohibit any public funding of advocacy groups such as ACORN, no matter what it or its affiliate organizations rename themselves; New York Communities for Change, New England United for Justice etc.; Conduct thorough investigation of their activities and voter fraud and prosecute violations.
ii. Eliminate motor voter and other voter fraud mechanisms; institute secure voter registration and identification systems.
iii. Reject any effort to give foreign citizens the right to vote in the US in any situation or capacity.
h. Oppose any and all treaties with the UN or any other organization or country which surrenders US sovereignty. Specifically:
i. Reject the UN Treaty on Rights of the Child.
ii. Reject “LOST” the Law Of The Sea Treaty.
iii. Reject any agreement which seeks to confiscate our firearms.
i. Restore the process of assimilation of immigrants to preserve the benefits of an advanced educated and prosperous society. Rescind Maine’s sanctuary State status. No amnesty, no benefits, no citizenship -ever- for anyone in the country illegally. Arrest and detain, for a specified period of time, anyone here illegally, and then deport, period.
j. Pass a Congressional reform act which includes the following provisions:
i. Term Limits: 12 years only, in any capacity.
1. Two Six year Senate terms
2. Six Two year House terms
3. One Six year Senate term and three Two Year House terms
ii. No Pension
iii. Congress participates in Social Security under the same rules as the general public.
iv. Congress can no longer vote themselves a pay raise.
v. Congress participates in the same health care plan as the general public. No preferential plans or treatment.
vi. Congress is subject to and must abide by all the laws they impose on the general public.
II. To Establish Justice:
a. Restore “Constitutional law” as the basis for the Judiciary.
b. Reassert the principle that “Freedom of Religion” does not mean “freedom from religion”.
III. To Insure Domestic tranquility:
a. Promote family values.
i. Marriage is an institution between a man and a woman.
ii. Parents, not government, are responsible for making decisions in the best interest of their children, whether disciplinary, educational, or medical.
iii. We recognize the sanctity of life, which includes the unborn.
IV. To Provide for the Common Defense:
a. Discard political correctness, make public the declaration of war (Jihad), made against the US on 23 Feb 1998, and fight the war against the United States by radical Islam to win.
b. Seal the border and protect US citizens along the border and everywhere, as is the prime directive of the Federal Government.
V. To Promote the General Welfare:
a. Return to the principles of Austrian Economics, and redirect the economy back to one of incentives to save and invest.
b. Cut spending, balance the budget, and institute a plan for paying down debt. Proclaim that generational debt shifting is immoral and unconscionable and will not be tolerated!
c. Pass and implement Fed bill #1207 (Introduced by Ron Paul), to Audit the Federal Reserve, as the first step in Ending the Fed.
d. Return to transparent and honest reporting of economic statistics free of gimmicks and distortions.
e. Require the government and all its agencies adhere to the same GAAP accounting rules that businesses must follow.
f. Restore the provisions of welfare reform removed with the stimulus bill.
g. Defeat Cap and Trade, investigate collusion between government and industry in the global warming myth, and prosecute any illegal collusion.
h. Freeze current stimulus funds, prohibit any further stimulus bills, and apply all unspent funds towards the debt they created.
i. Promote energy independence aggressively by removing the obstacles created by government to allow private development of our resources; natural gas, oil, coal, and nuclear power.
j. Institute Zero based budgeting on all programs.
k. Espouse and follow the principle: It is immoral to steal the property rightfully earned by one person, and give it to another who has no claim or right to its benefits.
l. Clarify that healthcare is not a right. It is a service. As a compassionate society we will aid those in need. However, the government takeover of healthcare is not only unconstitutional, but detrimental to the entire healthcare system. Only market based solutions will solve the problems.
i. In the state of Maine:
1. Remove the restrictions on health providers, (as was done in New Hampshire), to increase competition, drive down the costs, and increase the options available.
a. Bring Maine standards in line with national average.
b. Allow purchase of insurance across state lines. LD 290
c. Enact tort reform as exemplified by Texas.
d. Eliminate Dirigo
VI. To Secure the Blessings of Liberty:
a. Restore a vigorous grounding in the history and precepts of liberty, freedom, and the constitution to the educational process. As Thomas Jefferson said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”
i. Eliminate the Department of Education and restore schools to local control as specified in the constitution.
b. Repeal and prohibit any participation in efforts to create a one world government.