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What makes the Texas Republican Party special

There's nothing quite so amazing in electoral politics as the official platform of the Texas Republican Party.
A Texas delegate at the Republican National Convention, Aug. 30, 2012, in tampa, Fla.
A Texas delegate at the Republican National Convention, Aug. 30, 2012, in tampa, Fla.
Looking back over the last several years, there's always been something truly hysterical -- in more ways than one -- about the official platforms adopted by the Texas Republican Party. Year in and year out, it's consistently one of the more astounding documents one will find in 21st century American politics.
This year's platform will keep the tradition alive.

The Texas Republican Party would endorse psychological treatment that seeks to turn gay people straight under a new platform partly aimed at rebuking laws in California and New Jersey that ban so-called "reparative therapy" on minors. [...] Under the new proposed plank, the Texas GOP will "recognize the legitimacy and efficacy of counseling, which offers reparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle."

In case there are any doubts, let's go ahead and note that "reparative therapy" on gay people of any age is a cruel, offensive, and potentially dangerous joke. The idea that someone's sexual orientation can be changed through "counseling" is demonstrably ridiculous and has been thoroughly discredited by experts.
And yet, it will be the official position of the Texas Republican Party that such "therapy" is both legitimate and effective. Why? Because the Texas Republican Party says so.
But that's not all they're saying. The Texas GOP's platform will also call for the complete elimination of the Voting Rights Act; policymakers at all levels should deliberately "ignore" climate change; public schools should end sex-ed and start promoting Christianity; abortion should be banned; English should be the official language of Texas and of the United States; open-carry laws should apply to gun owners statewide; and finally, "We support the establishment and maintenance of a volunteer Constitutional State Militia with assistance from County Sheriffs." (To appreciate why that last one is important, watch this segment from April.)
The good news is, some of the crazy stuff that used to be included in the Texas Republican Party's platform has been quietly forgotten. The bad news is, it's been replaced with equally crazy stuff.
Long-time readers may recall that back in 2010, the Texas GOP platform, after investing an inordinate amount of time talking about how much the party doesn't like gay people, called for the repeal of the 16th Amendment, the elimination of Social Security and the federal minimum wage, a U.S. foreign policy towards Israel based on the Republican Party's interpretation of the Bible, and assorted policy responses to the Fairness Doctrine, the formation of a "North American Union," and "the implementation of one world currency" -- none of which are real.
Going back a few more years, the Texas Republican Party's official platform also used to call for a return to the gold standard, prohibiting the Supreme Court from deciding cases regarding the Bill of Rights, taking back the Panama Canal, and withdrawing from the United Nations.
Remember, we're not talking about some talking points thrown together by some obscure Tea Party outfit or fringe activists, far from the American mainstream. We're talking about the Republican Party of Texas -- home to George W. Bush, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, John Cornyn, Tom DeLay, Dick Armey, and in the recent past, Karl Rove.
Look for more on this on tonight's show.