Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Somewhere Out There

Okay, don't get me wrong. I'm not really happy with the current political scene in this country. I look at the Democrats as being closet socialists, and the Republicans have become committed to spending more and more of our money, and don't have the gumption to push through important legislation, like overhauling Social Security. As I've said before, I don't really enjoy politics, but since I have to live by the government's laws, I try to pay as much attention as I can stomach.

While I'm not happy with either major party, I'm not sure I see third parties as an option either, and I happened to see that Michael Medved agrees, at least concerning the Libertarian party, in his Townhall article today. These people are seen as losers, who can't mobilize an adequate base. If so many people are so unhappy with current leadership (and it seems we are, from all the complaining I hear and read), then why can't third parties make more traction in the political realm? I don't know the overall answer, but I do know that no third party seems to represent me well enough either, especially when I know right now they don't have the votes to get elected.

The Constitution Party seems to have some good ideas, on paper. But reading things like this, this, and this, concern me. I don't want America to become a "Christian nation." I think freedom of religion is a good thing. I understood at the time that it was very, very unlikely that a draft would be re-instituted. What politician could survive voting for that? And lastly, I'm not very big on the whole agrarian society model. I'm sure some issues on these pages could have been mis-represented, but overall it is still enough to give me pause.

Lastly, I do think if an alternative political party really wants to make a difference, it needs to start on a local level. Get known in your community, talk to others around you about what you think is important and see what they say. If you can't make a difference on a local level, how can you on a national one?

15 comments:

Quipper said...

Barb, some of your comments are the exact reason I have not committed to a third party, and may not do so.

Re: mobilizing third parties - the reason there are only two major parties is because all the do is mobilize and fundraise; they are looking soley to win, not to govern.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Barb the Evil Genius said...

I agree with you, Quipper, but unfortunately, in order to govern, you have to win. Sadly, it seems in order to win, one must put a lot of time into mobilizing and must spend a lot of money. Probably because most people have their heads stuck up their...um, well, you know.

Susan B. said...

Hi Barb,

That's pretty much what I think, too. The two major parties have serious flaws. Bet yet the third parties are kook magnets and have no real chance of winning anything. All they manage to do is take votes away from people who can win.

For all its failings, the GOP is closest to my political philosophy. All I can do is hope that they wake up, re-embrace conservativism unabashedly and quit worrying about making the Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) like them.

Timm Knibbs said...

The Constitution Party is for religious freedom. There are Christians from many different denominations as well as Jewish people and members of other religion such as Mormons that have key positions or have held key positions in the party. The key is that the Constitution Party believe along with the founders that we are endowed with inalienable rights from our Creator.

Quipper said...

Barb and Susan,

Do most libs, or Muslim leaders for that matter, look to win immediately? No, they don't. They let things fester, get people on their side slowly but surely (or grow their own population). When they believe they can win, then they strike.

Look at how long it took the anti-smoking thing to take root. Then, look at how quickly, in comparison, it's working on the trans-fat front. I think the libs are on to something. Are we not smart enough to notice it?

We're so busy looking for an immediate fix to a long term problem. It doesn't work that way.

Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

The only time a 3rd party took over status as a main party was when there was a unifying issue that the country was focused on ....slavery. The Republicans were going to abolish it. They still had the Federalist/Whig positions that their predecessors had, but this was enough to unite the country behind them.

The 3rd parties today do not have an issue that the majority feels strongly about, either because they are not really educated enough to understand these issues or the issues are devisive in themselves, not unifying.

Of course, today it is considered a negative thing to feel really strongly about anything moral, virtuous, or ethical. We are more united by what we are against than by what we are for.

Barb the Evil Genius said...

That sounds good, Quipper, but we can only pray we don't get nuked in the meantime.

Quipper said...

Barb,

Do I believe the Dems will protect us from Muslims? No.

Do I believe the Reps will do any better? Um, no, they'll just take away our liberties under the guise of "security".

I trust neither. How the heck can a Republican president honestly call Islam the "religion of peace"? What's he been smoking?

Of course, I can always vote for baby-killing, homosexual-marrying Guliani.

Scott said...

Michael Medved strikes me as a shrill moron. For only one example, he was calling folks Nazi's if they called his show saying they want the borders secured. He's not really credible to me.

That said, "These people are seen as losers, who can't mobilize an adequate base." No, they're not "seen" that way, they are portrayed that way by the bullies that want to keep us all in line with the so-called "two party system."

What makes them losers? Their lack of popularity and money? That's an asinine criteria. What about their stand on the issues? Why label them "losers?" Why not address their position on the issues. That info would be a lot more useful than the tidy label "loser."

But I understand; It's Medved, and he's not really interested in being helpful.

As long as reasonable people fall for the fallacies of those who shout Ad Hominems and Non Sequiters (You're throwing your vote away!), we'll be stuck right where we are, with the status quo, complaining about it on the Internet.

As for your hesitation re: the Constitution party, #1, the articles are from 2004. Wouldn't make much sense to talk about them now, unless their next candidate for President says the same thing. The first link is to something said by an individual. That said, yeah, it's kind of a funny thing to say, but it in no way says "We're gonna make this a fundamentalist theocracy" or anything like that. The party platform is clear.

Re #2, I didn't read it.

But what about the book? Is it as bad as the current elected official who's written stories about men and boys having sex? Have you read it, or are you relying on one or two reviewers posting on the internet? Without quotes or excerpts, I'd be reluctant to pass judgment. Ironically, those who say "this is like the turner diaries" or similar, don't post any excerpts. Copyright law does have a "Fair Use" clause. It should be a simple thing to demonstrate the allegations, but they don't. One reviewer wrote "In fact it is simply another racist, anti-semitic rag [...]It never explicitly takes issue with minorities" but it's racist. mmmmmm k?

Have you read the CP's website? Do you know their official stance of religious freedom? If you did, you wouldn't worry. They think freedom of religion is a good thing too.

And lastly, the CP has had some successes on the local and state level throughout the country. It is the third largest party by voter registration.

I like them, but don't let my opinion come across as "YOU MUST VOTE CP." All I am trying to say is get to know the "third" parties. Get the dope from the horses mouth and think for yourself. Don't be intimidated by Medved and his ilk from the big machine.

FWIW

Scott said...

Quipper

"Conservatives" are not often looking for a "fix" at all. They are most often found in defensive postures.

Look at the last six years of miserable failure to go on the offense for a shining example.

Anonymous said...

Scott, I assume that "losers", in this context, would mean that they consistently lose elections. Which is true. For all of the "third-parties".
The Libertarians have had the most visible successes among "small" parties. However, they've done it by taking a very loose stance on platform. Jesse never really seemed to represent core Libertarians. But, he had a chance to win. So they let him have the ticket.
I think the original point was one-person's take on the chances of a third-party presidential candidate being elected in the foreseeable future. I tend to agree with her.
I think that RPW really hit it on the head. Until some single issue galvanizes enough of the populace, a third-party WILL NOT gain any real clout in this country.
The reason is not a vast, XXXX-wing or media conspiracy. Its simple math and sociology. People who aren't passionate about some issue will cast their vote in whatever way they feel most moves the government toward their own beliefs.
Whether you like Mr. Medved or not, the point he makes in the article is quite valid. None of the current crop of "third-parties" have ever done better than about 1% of the vote in a presidential election.
He further points out that they got that percentage running against one of the greatest "consensus gatherers" in modern history. We've not had another president who could gather different people into a room and make them work together like Mr. Reagan in a very long time. And he did it without a great threat or cause for people to rally around.
* No impending war. Most of us weren't really taking the cold-war very seriously anymore. Not like in JFK's day.
* No terrorist threat. Not at home. Nobody thought the likes of the embassy-hostages would happen here.
* No great social debate like slavery or the ERA.
People see this. Even the "unwashed masses" and "sheeple". They know that a third-party candidate won't win. If they think at all, they realize that voting for a third-party candidate, that is closer to their own beliefs than the nearer major-party candidate, just helps the major-party candidate that is farther from them.
This simple fact will not change in an evolutionary way. It simply won't.
Whether I, or you, think that a two-party system is preferable to a multi-party system is irrelevant. Our national government was established with a two-party system. And, almost without exception, has functioned as one throughout her nearly 218 years.
Assuming this train of WikiPedia entries is fairly accurate (and I honestly have no reason to doubt them), every change in the makeup of the two parties has been triggered by such a major event. Go read them. I'll wait.
This history reflects the sentiment expressed here nicely.
The final installment in that chain speculates about whether we are in another such transition. My take is that we are. It began with the fall of the Iron Curtain. However, until another issue fills the ensuing void in political stresses, the next era will not truly have begun.
It has been argued that we are in the opening stages of World War III. (I'm not going to link any particular opinion on this one. Search for your own.) I'm not willing to make a claim as to whether that is true. What I am willing to say, is that the conditions are right for it to be true. Only time can say for certain whether we're on the brink of WWIII or just one of the many close calls.
As to the defining parties of our era, I believe we are waiting for the second big player to emerge. One of those links up there includes an excellent quote from President Jefferson: Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, liberals and serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, whigs and tories, republicans and federalists, aristocrats and democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still and pursue the same object. The last appellation of aristocrats and democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all.
The current government of the US, particularly the democratic party, is perfectly depicted in the first group. Early in his first term, I thought GWB might be an example of the second. I am deeply saddened by the fact that I can no longer believe that. However, it is still very far from clear whether the Republican party can take up that mantel today.
What is very clear though, is that no other party will be have the political clout to stand in that role unless some truly momentous crisis presents itself to galvanize those who "have confidence in [the people]".
The great irony is that those who trust the people, are more likely to quietly work along-side them. Only those who believe themselves better than the common man are motivated to political life when no such crisis looms. Those of us who trust most people, don't feel the need to aspire to power, until something shows us that the common good is most definitely not being served throughout the land.
On a more personal note Scott, you really should read a bit more of what people say and refer to before you pull out your favorite ax and start grinding. Everything that was linked to talked exclusively about the Libertarian Party. Regardless of voter registration, they are the biggest third-party. Voter registration doesn't really matter. Mind share amongst the great mass of people who don't pay a lot of attention to politics is what matters. They are the ones who really elect presidents.

Scott said...

Dear anonymous

You suggest I didn't read or refer to the links, yet obviously, it is you who didn't read the blog entry.

The links I refered to were links to Constitution Party relevant things. "everything" was obviously NOT "exclusively about the Libertarian Party."

So I strangely don't feel the need to address anything else you have written.

"On a personal note" from "anonymous." That cracks me up.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. That was my bad. I was more thinking about the Medved stuff when I wrote that.
Anyway, read some of the stuff I link to. Quite a bit of it I didn't know until I went off looking to verify some small detail. Very interesting. Particularly what Jefferson had to say about the nature of political opposition.
It made me realize that there really aren't any multi-party systems. Just two-party systems designed to reconfigure more quickly.

Favorite Apron said...

Does anyone think it's funny that the words Shrill Moron appear right next to Scott's Crazy Photo? LOL!

Barb the Evil Genius said...

(looks up at the ceiling and whistles)