The Republican National Convention is set to convene in Tampa this week, natural disasters notwithstanding. And while the formal job of the convention is to set a platform and nominate a presidential candidate, somehow the party is going to have to manage the deepening split between the hard right Tea Party activists and establishment Republicans. An early look at speakers and the party platform shows the Tea Party activists are winning.
To start, the party is set to adopt the most conservative platform in modern history. Notable policy positions include a constitutional amendment granting personhood to embryonic cells and banning abortion without exception while giving a high-five to those states who have adopted perverse “informed consent” laws that mandate transvaginal ultrasounds prior to an abortion. The platform also explicitly denies statehood to Washington D.C. while loosening gun restriction in the District, explores a return to the gold standard and bans women from serving in combat and protects against the ever-increasing threat of sharia law.
Republicans also endorsed a broad replication of anti-immigration laws modeled after Arizona’s SB1070 and refuses to recognize same-sex couples.
The exact language of the platform has not been released yet, and delegates were slated to approve it on Monday, but that was before the first day of the convention was postponed due to Hurricane Isaac. And the speakers lined up to warm up the crowd Monday included former Arkansas governor and rape apologist Mike Huckabee, Sen. Rand Paul, House Speaker John Boehner and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a sure sign the party planned to start hard to the right and not come back.
Other notable speakers lined up include former candidate Rick Santorum, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
And don’t forget the video tribute to Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).
If you’re noticing a lack of a strong female presence at the convention, that would be because early reports indicate other than Ann Romney, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Condoleezza Rice, the convention will be dominated by aging, angry white men.
Most importantly from conservatives’ point of view, this is the make it or break it moment for their presumptive nominee. Mitt Romney will need to capture both the blood-thirsty racist, misogynistic base and appeal to any independent voters who happen to tune in. Can Romney juggle both? So far the answer has clearly been no.
Photo from DonkeyHotey via flickr.