Recently, it’s been next to impossible to browse news sites without running across a story about the 2012 Texas Republican Party platform’s Orwellian opposition to the teaching of critical thinking in schools.
While peculiar, that’s far from the only interesting aspect of the Texas GOP platform. As I read through the platform, I was struck by how significant portions bear a striking resemblance to Ron Paul’s platform. When I say ‘striking,’ I don’t mean that they’re just similar; parts of the two platforms are almost identical.
The Texas GOP platform has this to say about the Federal Reserve and the gold standard:
We believe Congress should repeal the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. In the interim, we call for a complete audit of the Federal Reserve System and an immediate report to the American people.
Our founding fathers warned us of the dangers of allowing central bankers to control our currency because inflation equals taxation without representation. We support the return to the time tested precious metal standard for the U.S. dollar.
According to Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign site, his stances on the Federal Reserve and the gold standard are quite similar to those of the Texas Republicans.
He served on the House Banking committee, where he was a strong advocate for sound monetary policy and an outspoken critic of the Federal Reserve’s inflationary measures. He also was a key member of the Gold Commission, advocating a return to a gold standard for our currency…
Ultimately, he will lead the charge to end the dishonest, immoral, and unconstitutional Federal Reserve System, enabling America to take a giant step toward economic security, financial responsibility, and lasting prosperity.
On the topic of taxation, the GOP platform says:
We recommend repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, with the goal of abolishing the I.R.S and replacing it with a national sales tax collected by the States. In the interim we urge the income tax be changed to a flatter, broader, lower tax with only minimal exemptions such as home mortgage interest deductions.
Ron Paul has this to say about taxation:
As President, Ron Paul will support a Liberty Amendment to the Constitution to abolish the income and death taxes. And he will be proud to be the one who finally turns off the lights at the IRS for good.
(For a discussion of the potential economic consequences of these policies, I highly recommend reading “The Terrifying Texas GOP Platform” by John Harvey, a Professor of Economics at Texas Christian University.)
The similarities don’t end here, either. Ron Paul’s platform and the 2012 Texas Republican Party platform also bear a striking resemblance on education, health care, and immigration. Both call for the repeal of the Department of Education and the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), as well as imposing more restrictive immigration regulations.
This is not to suggest that Ron Paul and the Texas Republicans agree on everything. There are several notable differences, including Paul’s stances on civil liberties and the drug war.
The question is how the similarities between the Texas GOP platform and Ron Paul’s platform arose. Are Ron Paul’s policies a reflection of Texas Republicanism, or is the Texas GOP platform a reflection of Paul’s newfound influence on the Texas Republican Party after his respectable showing at the Texas convention?
A look at the Texas Republican Party’s 2008 and 2010 platforms shows that the 2012 Texas GOP stances on the Federal Reserve and the gold standard are new. The 2008 platform makes no mention whatsoever of either of these issues, while the 2010 platform mentions the Federal Reserve but not the gold standard.
Both platforms do, however, recommend the abolition of the income tax and the I.R.S. Both platforms also say, “The primary purpose of public schools is to teach critical thinking skills.”
Apparently the Texas Republican Party platform has changed a lot in just two short years.
It’s not a huge stretch to imagine that, as a Texas Republican Congressman, Ron Paul has been influenced by the Texas GOP platform. However, Paul has advocated the repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and return the gold standard since long before 2008. The introduction of these policies into the 2012 GOP platform suggests that Paul is having some success in his plan to influence the Republican Party platform, at least at the state level.
Of course, Paul’s success at getting his ideas onto the Texas GOP platform may not translate to success at a national level. It will be interesting to see if Paul has managed to acquire enough delegates to have a significant influence on the party platform at the Republican National Convention in August.