October 8, 2012
As if on cue, various members of the left are getting themselves all worked up over the GOP’s new platform. ThinkProgress published a short piece, written by Ian Millhiser, warning that the “GOP platform declares Medicaid unconstitutional.” But this really need not concern progressives, since the party platforms are nothing more than formal campaign promises, they mean nothing in reality.
The platforms, for all of the drama and parliamentary bickering that goes into forming them, function only to spark fires under the party’s base. The more noteworthy portions of the platforms, such as the one about Medicaid, will no doubt be red meat for self-described fiscal conservatives and advocates for limited government. Tea Partiers will surely be happy to see such additions and may be more inclined to vote for Romney/Ryan if such language is included in the written part of the campaign.
Sadly though, for anyone who takes the 10th Amendment seriously, who would prefer a return to federalism, such changes are unlikely to come from the GOP. The spirit of this limit on federal power is too often left with the trampled confetti and withering balloons after election day celebrations. If it’s not thrown out completely come inauguration day, the platform is long forgotten, wadded up with the campaign banners and leftover bumper stickers. The only chance it has to see the light of day is when some party intern pulls it from the closet four years later and gets it ready for another hollow convention.