The 2012 Texas Republican Platform has been released, and reading briefly through it there is an interesting mixture of solid conservative thought, some common sense points, and at least two of what appears to be a complete and utter disconnect from even manufactured reality. As Houston Press's resident anal-retentive poker of holes in claims and declarations, I thought I'd walk readers through the more ridiculous tenets.
1. Limited Federal Powers - We strongly support state sovereignty reserved under the Tenth Amendment and oppose mandates beyond the scope of federal authority, as defined in the U.S. Constitution. We further support abolition of federal agencies involved in activities not originally delegated to the federal government under a strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.
Presumably this would mean the ending of NASA, a constant source of pride to Texans and Houstonians in particular. It was founded in 1958 by President Eisenhower, and though it is an independent civilian agency it was created by Congress, who must also approve the head of NASA that the president selects. Perhaps if NASA had been founded as a direct branch of the US military it would be strictly constitutional, but it otherwise isn't.
Of course, later down in the platform you get this...
NASA - We strongly encourage the federal government and NASA to work with American citizens and American businesses to research and develop a new vehicle to continue human space flight and maintain American's leadership in space exploration.
This despite the fact that NASA pretty plainly falls under the heading of not a constitutional agency, and that in other parts of the platform they "decry the appointment of unelected bureaucrats," which obviously includes the head of NASA.
According to the first entry, the GOP wants a strictly literal interpretation of the 10th amendment, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." So I guess that means they want Texas to control NASA, but for the federal government to pay for it?
2. If It's Good Enough For Us It's Good Enough for Them - The Government shall not, by rule or law, exempt any of its members from the provisions of such rule or law.
The idea that members of the government make themselves immune to their own laws has been so thoroughly debunked that it pains me to continue. Still here we go...
Article 1, Section 6, of the US Constitution, regarding members of Congress, reads, "They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place."
This was put in place because the founders were afraid the president would try arresting his political enemies like Charles I did in 1642 England, not so Congress would be immune to the law. In fact, if you read this carefully you see it only applies only during sessions, or for being arrested because of things they say. It's not in any way, shape, or form blanket protection.
That being said, in 1995 they passed the Congressional Accountability Act, which basically stated that members of Congress had to abide by the same rules and regulations of any other workplace, for instance sexual harassment guidelines. And yes, they pay into social security -- have since 1984 -- and they have to follow the recently upheld Health Care Act just as everyone does. Their insurance is a pretty sweet deal, no doubt, but it's no different than most other federal employees.