Of Party Platforms and Politics; Campaigns Set by Convention Documents

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Perkins, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Every four years, America's two major political parties gather separately for what easily can be dismissed as political pageantry. In the midst of speeches and soirees, each party sets a standard to which it will aspire and by which it will or should be judged.

As long as there have been political parties and political conventions, there has been a need for political platforms. They give the candidates a clear political position with which they can campaign. In a sense, the platform is a party's wish list that explains what, in a perfect situation, the party would like to accomplish. For outside organizations such as the Family Research Council (FRC), the platform provides a standard that can be used to measure candidates and elected officials. This is a standard ignored far too often, but effective when lobbying on various issues.

For the past two conventions, I worked with my colleagues at FRC Action, along with Phyllis Schlafly and her team, to help shape the platform. This year, however, because of concerns that the GOP might drift from its conservative principles, I served as a delegate from Louisiana on the platform committee.

The draft platform assembled under the leadership of Gov. Bob McDonald, the Republican National Committee and Mitt Romney's campaign was well-done. What my fellow delegates and I did was make a good document even better. On the issue of marriage, the plank was rewritten to make clear that marriage between one man and one woman is the foundation of civil society. Thanks to the research in FRC's MARRI project, I was well-equipped to point out that the best social program we can promote is a healthy marriage. Government policy shouldn't be formed that redefines what works.

Thanks to the hard work of Elaine Donnelly from the Center for Military Readiness, the Republican platform reflects the great debt we owe our nation's men and women in uniform. …