- The Washington Times - Monday, August 25, 2008

MINNEAPOLIS | The Republican Party will maintain its call for a constitutional ban on abortion and opposition to same-sex marriage if its platform-writing committee approves a staff-written draft during its formal meetings here on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The 112-delegate platform committee — two from each state and territory delegation — met informally Monday night and were given copies of the draft. The committee is headed by Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California and Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina.

Mr. McCarthy noted that the platform committee had asked Americans nationwide to suggest ideas for inclusion at www.gopplatform2008.com.

“I’m confident that together, this committee will produce a forward-looking platform that all Republicans will enthusiastically support,” he said.

John McCain, who is pro-life and has come to oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants, will run on the final version of the platform after his expected nomination and approval by the full Republican National Convention here next week.

The platform is about half the length of the current platform approved at the 2004 platform committee meeting in New York and then by the full Republican National Convention that re-nominated President Bush.

The draft platform also retains tough language against illegal immigration and a flat statement of opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Israel is singled out for strong support, and the United Nations’ “discrimination against Israel is unacceptable,” the platform draft states.

The draft states that the United Nations must “reform its scandal-ridden and corrupt management” and demands reform, saying the U.S. will pay its “fair but not disproportionate share” of dues to the U.N.

The proposed 2008 platform implies an endorsement of the partial privatization (the word “privatization” is not mentioned) of Social Security by calling for worker control over retirement savings and a “fair” return on investment.

As in the past, the platform condemns what it calls “judicial activism” by federal judges and the Supreme Court, taking into account decisions and actions since the 2004 document was written.

For example, it condemns “the Supreme Court’s disregard of homeowners’ property rights in its Kelo decision and deplores the [Supreme] Court’s arbitrary extension of Americans’ habeas corpus rights to enemy combatants held abroad.”

It also objects to the high court’s “unwarranted interference in the administration of the death penalty in this country for the benefit of savage criminals whose guilt is not at issue.”

Taking into account the current home mortgage crisis, the draft states that homeownership — key to the American dream — remains crucial to creating an “opportunity society,” a term that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich coined as a backbencher in the early 1980s.

The Republican proposed plank would support “timely and carefully targeted aid to those hurt by the housing crisis so that affected individuals can have a chance to trade a burdensome mortgage for a manageable loan that reflects their home’s market value.”

But it also asserts that government action “must not implicitly encourage anyone to borrow more than they can afford to repay. We support energetic federal investigation and, where appropriate, prosecution of criminal wrongdoing in the mortgage industry and investment sector.”

The draft repeats the current platform’s support for a constitutional ban on abortion and notes progress made by the Supreme Court’s upholding federal law against partial birth abortions and the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which guarantees that every infant born alive enjoys full legal rights under federal law, regardless of his or her stage of development or whether the live birth occurred during an abortion.

The draft also asserts “a moral obligation to assist, not to penalize, women struggling with the challenges of an unplanned pregnancy.”

“We salute those who provide them alternatives, including crisis pregnancy centers, and we take pride in the tremendous increase in adoptions that has followed Republican legislative initiatives,” the proposed platform states.

Interest groups will try to amend the draft to suit their constituents’ needs and desires. A final committee vote will come on Wednesday.