President Barack Obama admits his administration failed to find many of those “shovel-ready” projects he meant to finance with its stimulus money dump.

Shovel-ready political platforms are much easier to identify. They are all written to be buried in a few weeks after they are adopted.

Here we are, less than a month since the two major parties adopted their 2012 platforms, and discussion of their contents already has disappeared from the mass media.

Even the political blogs have lost interest.

Some day an enterprising historian may take his shovel, dig up all those old platforms going back to 1856 and construct a historical record of the evolution of political thinking in our parties. That actually would make an interesting addition to our political history, but that is a concern for historians, not for political practitioners.

As chairman of the Maine Republicans’ 2012 platform committee, I have direct and recent experience of building and burying platforms. Our first meeting established a consensus that only a minority of activist Republicans and a few journalists would read what we wrote.

We further agreed that only a few voters — those who regularly read the political coverage in newspapers — would ever hear about it.

Someone once estimated that these readers were about 20 percent of the voters, which sounds about right to me.

The committee included sitting senators and representatives, all of whom told us that no voter ever asked them a single question about the 2010 party platform as they went door to door or spoke in public forums.

I had five goals as chairman:

* Get the job done by the deadline.

* Secure a consensus.

* Avoid any items that a hostile press could exploit to tell their usual story about Republican “right-wing extremism.”

* Avoid any items that Republican candidates would be unable to explain.

* Keep the document short, one page being the optimum.

We achieved the first two goals, although it took meetings in September, October, November and twice in December to do so.

Consensus on the central point — fidelity to the constitutional limits on government powers — was easy in principle, although a lot of time was spent on the wording.

No. 3 was a little troublesome. As the lone no vote on including a provision opposing the insertion of Islamic Sharia law in American courts, I argued that it would be a target of journalistic sneers and, anyway, a pledge of fidelity to the Constitution made it redundant.

We did pretty well on the fourth. The fifth was a utopian hope.

The prolonged discussions and excessive length were easy to understand.

Regardless of the initial agreement about the limited reach of party manifestos, some committee members came galloping in on their special hobby-horses and demanded to be heard. Then there are those who experience membership as their first and only taste of power and wish to exercise it.

In the end, what happened at the convention was ironic, even comical. I originally was scheduled to present the committee’s platform recommendations, but the delegate fight scrambled the agenda so the convention chairman presented the platform to the exhausted delegates (those who remained) in the last half-hour.

The document was buried in the convention book. Few had read it. Some idiot in the gallery denounced it as the work of the devious and wicked GOP “establishment.” I spoke briefly from the floor and departed.

A committee member who had written much of the preamble, voted for almost all of the recommendations, and for the complete version denounced what he had previously agreed to and the convention simply re-adopted the same 2010 platform that the press and Democrats had scorned two years earlier. I assume it appealed to them as an anti-establishment victory.

It didn’t matter. No one noticed, and no one is talking about the platform during this campaign.

Some nitwits will remember their victory over the “establishment” but the “establishment” doesn’t care. It has forgotten about the platform and gone back to its usual business of trying to elect candidates.

As for this year’s 50-page GOP national platform and the 36-page Democratic national platform — when was the last time you heard them discussed?

John Frary, of Farmington, is a retired professor and former Republican candidate for Congress.

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