Last week, the Republican National Committee platform committee met to negotiate the planks of this year's party mission statement. The committee, chaired by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, met over the course of two days to hash out the party's official stance on issues like abortion, immigration and Medicare reform.
As The Huffington Post's Jon Ward reported, these documents can take on great meaning -- if people pay attention:
The platform is often like a wave. As it first crashes onto the shore every four years, the week before the convention, the party's presidential nominee and campaign monitor it for potentially damaging developments that may cause short-term damage. The convention is a key moment in every campaign, especially for a challenger like Romney who wants to introduce himself to a country that still largely does not know him.
As the convention arrives, the platform is overshadowed. It recedes from memory, and is ridiculed in the weeks and months afterward.
But then, out in the wide open sea of American politics over the next four years, the platform serves as a land mass, something solid that represents what each party stands for. It becomes a historical document, archiving the movements within movements. It is the work of unknown party activists who try, through the platform language, to push their different agendas.
"It's a symbol. It's a source of scripture if you will, in policy-making. It's a guide for voters," Clancy said. "Platforms are a window into the deeper principles and values of a party coalition."
This year's platform draft features some of the party's most extreme positions, taking a far-right stance on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. Below, a look at this year's most eyebrow-raising planks: