The California Republican Party's current platform was last revised four years ago under my predecessor. It runs about 12 pages, and outlines where the state Republican Party stands on an array of issues. The national party platform is about 81 pages, single spaced.
The process for adopting a state party platform is designed so all segments of the party are heard during its development. It's quite rigorous: the members of the party elect the platform committee from different segments within the party. The platform committee then elects a drafting committee, also with various segments of the party represented. The drafting committee held two field hearings, one in the North and one in the South, and will meet for the first time on Friday of the convention to consider options for presenting a draft to the full platform committee, which will meet the next day.
During this process, different people have raised different issues. Some focus on length and style, while others focus on content. By definition, the process is designed to produce the kind of debate and discussion we see now, which is good and healthly for a large, democratically governed body like the California Republican Party.
Some will cast differences as "division," a charactierization I see as short sighted. Instead, the disucssion reflects the diversity and strength of the California Republican Party as a broad-based, major party. "Diversity" is a word often invoked by the political left, but it applies to our party in every sense. We are the party of Northern Califronia ranchers, and Southern California city dwellers. We represent suburbia and the Central Valley. Whether it's San Francisco's East Bay, or San Diego's East County, Republicans are there. Naturally, such a broad party will have people with an array of opinions on our platform's style and substance.
My responsibility as chairman is to ensure the deliberative process moves forward, fairly and evenhandedly, and that we arrive at a result that meets with the approval of the party's members. Within that, there is a consensus on both style and substance -- our challenge is to identify where that is, and drive to that end.
The principles at the core of our party are right both for America, and for California. We can be boldly confident in those principles because of their success when applied at home, and the failures of the big-government model that we have witnessed around the world. How we choose to articulate those principles and their application in the form of a platform is up to the members of our party to determine in the days ahead.