New York Times reporter Michael Cooper has a revealing article today, “Platform’s Sharp Turn to Right Has Conservatives Cheering.” It shows just how far to the extreme fringe the GOP has raced since it nominated Ronald Reagan in 1980:

 One party platform stated that Hispanics and others should not “be barred from education or employment opportunities because English is not their first language.” It highlighted the need for “dependable and affordable” mass transit in cities, noting that “mass transportation offers the prospect for significant energy conservation.” And it prefaced its plank on abortion by saying that “we recognize differing views on this question among Americans in general — and in our own party.”

The other party platform said that “we support English as the nation’s official language.” It chided the Democratic administration for “replacing civil engineering with social engineering as it pursues an exclusively urban vision of dense housing and government transit.” And its abortion plank recognized no dissent, taking the position that “the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.”

No, they are not the platforms of the Democratic and Republican Parties. They are both Republican platforms: the first from 1980, at the dawn of the Reagan revolution, and the second the 2012 Republican platform that was approved on Tuesday afternoon in Tampa, Fla.

There are those who are tempted to write this off by saying that platforms do not matter an no one reads them. However, that may be wishful thinking:

But some political scientists say that party platforms do matter. Gerald M. Pomper, a professor emeritus of political science at Rutgers University, studied meaningful platform pledges from 1944 to 1976 — and later updated his work by looking at the 1990s — and found that winning political parties try to redeem roughly 70 percent of their concrete platform pledges. Mr. Pomper said his work found that contrary to popular belief, party platforms should not be casually dismissed as meaningless.

“It seemed strange to me that people would have fights over platforms and would put in a lot of effort to try to influence them if they didn’t mean anything,” he said in an interview. “If they didn’t, why were practical people fighting over this? Putting something into the party platform is a pledge that you’re going to do something about it.”

I’m not sure we would recognize America if 70% of this radical document were implemented.As you can see, this is no longer your father’s Republican Party.

Republican Platform The GOP Platform Has Radically Changed Since 1980; Anti Gay Activists Thrilled

This new platform has social conservative activists crowing:

FreedomWorks, an advocacy group associated with the Tea Party movement, applauded the Republican Party for adopting much of what it called “the Tea Party’s ‘Freedom Platform.’ ” Phyllis Schlafly, a longtime conservative icon, wrote in The Washington Times that this year’s Republican platform “may be the best one ever adopted.”