Ghost Busters Fighting Phantoms

Ghost  There was a “fight for the soul of the Nevada Republican Party” this week.  We might be tempted to call it fisticuffs between the Realists and the Ghost Busters.  The Ghost Busters won. Or, “There’s (sic) a lot of us in the grassroots who don’t care. We care about the principles of the party.” [LVSun] Are those the “principles” in the 2012 Nevada GOP Platform?

“We strongly support a balanced Federal budget amendment without raising taxes that also reduces and eliminates the national debt. If a balanced budget is not approved by October 1 of any given year, federal legislators, the President, cabinet members, czars or their staff should not be paid until a balanced budget is passed, with no retroactive pay.”

Here’s the problem — Great Ghost Number One is that national debt.   The federal debt level is problematic when bond yields are forced upwards such that this impedes economic growth.  So far that hasn’t happened, it’s a specter.  Somehow, in this fantasy land the debt as it stands can be magically reduced by not raising any more revenue, and “balancing the budget.”  Good luck with that formula.  If we must revert to the horrifically inappropriate Family Budget analogy — when has any family argued it could reduce it’s level of indebtedness if only the breadwinners would agree to bring in lower paychecks?

However, if the Ghost Busters have retained control of the Nevada GOP we can expect more of this unrealistic, and ultimately unhelpful, rhetoric from them.

And, there’s more, Great Ghost Number Two: “We expect our elected representatives and the courts will interpret the Constitution using original intent and context.”  That  Originalism is both unworkable and ultimately unrealistic isn’t a concern for Ghost Busters, nor do the Ghost Busters seem to have any problems with the logical inconsistencies associated with the Originalists thinking.  [More from Commonweal]

Now the Religionists weigh in with Great Ghost Number Three:

“We believe the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was intended to prevent a state sponsored religion rather than a separation of God from government. Religious freedom is the first of our constitutionally protected rights. Attempts to force religious institutions to violate their conscience are contrary to the Constitution.”

There should be no separation of morality and government.  What the Founders (if we are going to be Originalists) were disturbed by was the factionalism created in the English Civil War(s) in the 17th century during which the Royalists, the Reformers, and the Independents tore that nation apart, each fragment demanding the Church of England conform to its version of True Worship.  There was also the not so small matter of how to get Puritan (Reformer) John Adams to agree with High Church delegates from Virginia, Dutch Reformed delegates from Delaware, Catholic representatives from Maryland, Presbyterians and Quakers from Pennsylvania, and the variety of views present in Rhode Island.

However, as the last sentence indicates, this isn’t about religion — it’s about contraception and abortion.   It’s about whether or not, in the state of Nevada, an employer can refuse to offer a health insurance plan that covers contraception prescriptions.   It’s about whether or not a pharmacist can refuse to fill a birth control prescription, duly authorized by a licensed physician, for a customer.  No matter what the medical symptoms are presented which indicate that the prescription might be necessary.

The Ghost Busters have glommed onto the Specter of a God-Less America.  There is no God-Less America, there really can’t be when only 4% of Americans describe themselves as either atheist or agnostic.  78.4% of Americans self identify as Christian, but the problem for the anti-choice Ghost Busters is that this fragments into evangelical, main line, historically Black churches, Catholic (of at least 3 varieties) and others almost immediately.  Jewish, Buddhist, and Muslim Americans constitute another 4.7% of the population.

If the “government” institutes anti-contraception or anti-abortion policies, does this not validate only one version of True Worship? Our present system simply sidesteps the issues that bedeviled our ancestors — don’t want to fight about religion? Then just take the topic off the table.

The Ghost Busters are also struggling in combat with the gun grabbers, wherein we find Great Ghost Number Four?

“We strongly affirm the Second Amendment that guarantees the individual’s right to keep and bear arms, without infringement.

We support reciprocity laws with all states to carry concealed weapons across state lines.”

Without any infringement? I, for one, am not enamored of the idea that my neighbor should be acquiring shoulder fired missile launchers.   I don’t see any particular reason, other than bringing down annoying aircraft, why a person would need a .50 sniper rifle.  I do believe that we have an epidemic of gun violence in this country, and I’d prefer not to see the re-enactment of another IHOP tragedy in this state.   However, the Ghost Busters see it differently — they see any common sense regulations, even extending background checks, as inordinate “infringement” on their liberties.   The horror of this Specter is evident in this segment of the GOP platform of 2012:

“We support the understanding that the limits on the authority of the Federal Government are determined by the United States Constitution and not by its own discretion. As such, we support the striking from the Constitution of the State of Nevada Article 1, Section 2, which grants the Federal Government authorities to employ armed force against the people of the State of Nevada in compelling obedience to its sole discretion.”

Are these people really fearful of the Specter of an Invasion? Really?

Now we get into the Ghost of Government Interference With Free Enterprise, or Great Ghost Number Five:

“We support the immediate defunding and repeal of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148). […] We support restoring full funding to Medicare.”

I hope this isn’t the first time the point has been made, but it was the ACA that guaranteed the solvency of the Medicare program until 2029.

The Ghost Busters go further:

“We support eliminating the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Education (ED), Department of the Interior, (DOI), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other bureaucracies that have consistently demonstrated wasteful spending and operational inefficiencies. We believe these functions, where needed, should be relegated to the States as defined by the Tenth Amendment.”

Let’s risk summarizing this bit of Ghost Busting by saying that they are opposed to regulating nuclear energy (the origin of the DoE), opposed to student loan programs, opposed to Housing development financing, and opposed to Clean Air and Water.  Return the regulation of nuclear energy to state and local governments?  Should something go wrong — think Three Mile Island and Fukushima — is the state going to be paying for the clean up?  The Tenth Amendment is a lovely thing, until it comes time to pay for the aftermath of a nuclear power plant leak, rising student loan interest rates that decimate middle class opportunities for college educations, and a toxic spill into the Great Lakes.

Assuming here that those who drafted and approved the 2012 platform for the Nevada Republicans will retain control of the party hereafter, then we’re looking at yet another collection of Ghost Busters charging into the fray seeing the Great Ghosts of the 21st Century — cooperation, toleration, and assimilation — before them. Little wonder the Establishment Types aren’t enamored of their utility.

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