And, the pro-life plank?
Members of the GOP platform committee meeting in Minneapolis appear to be putting John McCain’s campaign priorities above some of their pet issues, including drilling for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and denying citizenship to the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants as reported by AP.
Sparks reportedly were flying as the committee members endeavored to iron out divisive wrinkles and put a unified face on a Republican party led by a moderate who has inflamed the conservative base of his party. McCain’s leadership role in the Comprehensive Immigration Reform debacle, from which he is, for the time being, attempting to distance himself, has driven a wedge through his home state. A border state, Arizona is ground zero in illegal immigration woes, as it struggles to deal with the skyrocketing costs of educating the estimated 140,000 non-English speaking students, the enormous impact on the criminal justice system and spiraling health care costs, encumbering the taxpaying citizens.
Although the debate was filled with words such as a “friendly debate” and “respectful disagreement” it was clear that behind the affable terminology there was real dispute among the members, especially when dealing with the thorny issue of illegal immigration, according to this FOX News report.
Some delegates wanted the words “We oppose amnesty” included in the party platform, while others targeted the phrase “Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” seeing it as code words for amnesty. This sparked a heated discussion between members who said that the Republican Party is a “not a xenophobic party, not an intolerant party. We are a compassionate party that insists on the rule of law and endorses federal law.”
Delegates debated embryonic stem cells – another area where many differ with McCain, who supports relaxing federal restrictions on the funding of such research. They voted to ban human cloning and “the creation of or experimentation on human embryos for research purposes.”
McCain has unequivocally stated that he “wants to go back to the platform of 1980 – 84,” which was prior to the Pro-Life plank inserted during the Reagan years.
The platform goes before the full Republican National Convention in St. Paul on Monday.