PHILADELPHIA – Maryland delegates helped reinforce the Republican Party’s desire for unity, approving a conservative platform during Monday’s opening session of the Republican National Convention, even though some delegates said they don’t support every single plank.
Patricia Anne Faulkner, of Burtonsville, said she supports the platform overall, even though she quibbled with portions of it.
“You don’t get everything you want in a platform,” Faulkner said. “It’s a consensus.”
Michael Steele, first vice chairman of the Maryland party, agreed.
“Is everybody beholden to every word? No,” Steele said.
When Steele is called on to answer questions from the community about the platform, he said he intends to tell them that it serves as a good guidepost for the party by laying out its ideology.
In the past, Steele said, the platform was not used well. Party members focused on “hot button” issues, such as abortion. This year’s document gives the party’s opposition to the issue less of a spotlight, tucking it in a section titled: “Renewing Family and Community.”
Steele is running for chairman of the Maryland Republican Party. If elected, he would become the first black chairman of a state Republican Party.
Steele said he spends a lot of time telling people that the Republican Party has changed and progressed.
“I tell people that the Republican Party is not a bunch of horned devils running around, trying to ruin their lives,” he said.
Wisconsin Gov. Tommy G. Thompson introduced the platform to the full convention by calling it “positive, uplifting and visionary.”
The platform was approved by a voice vote of the delegates, with no apparent dissension.
The title of the platform, “Renewing America’s Purpose. Together,” demonstrates the open atmosphere in which the party created the platform, Thompson said.
“We had good, serious discussion on a whole range of issues,” Thompson told the crowd.
State Sen. Christopher McCabe, R-Howard, served on the platform committee and said discussions about the platform specifics were spirited, but not hostile. The abortion issue caused some disagreement, McCabe said, but ultimately committee members agreed the party would maintain its pro-life stand.
The platform says the party believes that “the unborn child has a fundamental, individual right to life which cannot be infringed.”
Other issues in the platform include:
— Education reform and an effort to raise academic standards;
— Tax code revision, reducing the five current tax brackets to four;
— Tougher criminal laws and no frills prisons;
— A traditional concept of marriage to mean one man and one woman
McCabe said the Republican Platform 2000 reflects the imprint of George W. Bush’s position on the issues, such as charter schools and a strong defense.
“It reflects his policies and principles.”