A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Wild Ramblings (I blame Troy)

Turns out Troy was just feeling pissy and doesn't want to be pissy at all his coworkers. Actually, I know that feeling-- part of the reason I started my blog was to have somewhere to bitch about the idiocy of politicians other than George Bush (believe, my colleagues have that covered really well). I'm the closet conservative here at the library and, to some degree, at the university. Which may be why the titles of my posts and some of my commentary is overly skewed to the right of center.

Anyway, as Troy so snarkily notes:
So, your point in a long rambling rant titled 'More Reasons that I am not a Democrat' was that we need to be aware of all the things that are coloring our beliefs? Interesting.
Yes. Well, that was one of the points, and the one that seems to be dominating my writing on this blog to date. I didn't intend for that to happen, but in the process of examining bias it has become an interesting, and important, topic for me. Hopefully for you guys, too, because I seem to be hung up on it, to some degree.

But another important point is to keep an eye on your elected representatives, regardless of their political orientation-- because once they get elected, 98% of them (see, facts. Well, okay, I just made that figure up), on both sides, go native. By which I mean they stop representing us, the folks that elected them, and start representing the power structures and priviliges they are now a part of and in which they now have a vested interest.

At any rate, I do whole-heartedly agree with this commentary from Troy:

The basic problem is that in a 2 party system, when one of them wins a majority (which has to happen every time), they think that's their mandate to do whatever they want.
Which is actually something I've been mulling over a bit lately. The current system is still better than anything else anybodys got, but I'm not sure it's all that good anymore. Both parties seem to be more intent on beating the other guy and making gobs of money than they are on actually governing, and both parties seem to more and more be of the opinion that all of folks that voted for them are A) oblivious and B) too stupid to manage their own affairs.

What to do? Troy suggests this:

So there is only one real alternative, vote libertarian. If they do one-tenth of what they stand for, there will be a lot less government interference in everything.
Which is a possibility, but I'm not sure it's a terribly realistic one. What we actually need is a viable third-party candidate/independent. Something on the lines of John Anderson and Ross Perot, but, you know, viable. For all that I currently tend to cringe when I hear Howard Dean's name, I think he may have shown us the way-- the internet. Blogs. Instant messaging. We have a technology available to us that provides unparalleled access to, and distribution of, information to people everywhere.

The problem will be getting everyone who is completely (or even mostly) dissatisfied with the current situation here in America to do the following:

It is my gut feeling that there are a LOT of disgruntled people out there. More than enough to elect someone other than a Democrat or a Republican if we all vote as one bloc. Folks that voted for Kerry because they disliked Bush more, and folks that voted for Bush because they disliked Kerry more. Actually, for all that I work at a liberal institution, and probably the majority of my friends and family are liberal/Democrat, I'm not sure I can think of one person who was actually excited or happy to vote for Kerry. It was "Anyone but Bush". And I know I wasn't happy voting for Bush because I knew that a lot of the social agenda he would be pushing I would find annoying and/or abhorrent.

So, there's the challenge. Between now and this time next year, we need to find a candidate, and start our campaign. Six degrees of separation, right? It's the ultimate Ponzi scheme. If each of us convince just two other people to join in the conspiracy, and then each of them convinces two people, and so on, and so on....

Feedback, guys? Tell you what, I'll start the ball rolling. If I had to pick two individuals, one from each party, that I would LIKE to see on the ballot in '08, Barack Obama and Condi Rice wouldn't be bad choices in my opinion. Not saying I'm married to them, or that they are even the ones I'd like the most-- just the first two names that pop into my head that I could realistically see myself being enthusiastic about. When was the last time any of you were actually enthusiastic about a candidate?

A while back, TC tried, abortedly, to stage a mutiny. Well, now I'm taking control of the Rebel Pirate Captain roll-- any of you guys up for trying to totally reinvent American politics? Avast ye scurvy institutional politicos! The Libertarians are about to board your filthy little skiff!

P.S. Jim, when you and Scotty become multi-millionaires, you guys will help bankroll this thing, right?

You want a lebertarian candidate?

Howard Stern.

He's been the focus of government meddlesomeness, so he'll either be the most active proponenet of individual freedoms since Benjamin Franklin, or he'll aggressively pursue total dictatorial control.

But if it's the latter at least he'll be honest about it.

I'm only half joking. I agree that more parties are needed; this tweedledum/ tweedledumber choice is really getting old. But I think political candidates need to come from more points of view than law school.
I'm fine with voting for Republicans for right now. As for a new candidate who is not a R or D, how about Lyndon LaRouche? (OK, I'm just having fun.) I work in downtown Washington, D.C., and I frequently saw his followers/supporters/? harrassing passersby during the lunch hour. He is the perfect example of how not to persuade people to your cause (assuming you can persuade anyone that Queen Elizabeth II has been trafficking in drugs with the CIA). His volunteers would shout, yes shout, at people going by, asking them things like, "Do you believe in the truth?" It was all very amusing.
why do parties exist in todays world? Is their intent to serve the people or to garner wealth and power? How do parties get people elected? Is it from the exchange of political favors for money..well duh. So if we can agree on the above then how will a principaled free thinking open minded person who wants to serve the public ever get into high office???? They can't, only party schills are invited to the party..get it..party...man is that funny.

So you say we need a viable third party??? but don't want to vote for any because they are not yet viable????????? well duh the chicken and egg are rolling over in their collective graves... I can not tell you how many people I work with that didn't want to vote for Bush or Kerry but did anyway "I would love to vote libertarian but I don't want to throw away my vote" ARRRGGGG!!!!!!!! unless you do vote for a principaled third party it will never be viable..it needs votes for that... you are falling into the 2 part trap.. 2 parties intentionally take up polar positions on every charged issue so that FEAR of the "other" party prevents independents from voting independent!!! People we HAVE to "waste" our vote or condemn ourselves to more of the same political gamesmanship that is designed to placate the heard while we are fleeced and picked to the bone...

If you think the 3rd parties out their today don't threaten the 2 big boys then why do they illegaly prevent them from taking part in debates and change the elections laws on a regular basis to keep them off the ballots?

I will never again vote for a republican or democrat in any election... If the Libertarian party could just garner 2-3% of the vote it would force a least some party policy change as the 2 parties would sell their sould for that 2-3%... 2-3# in a few swing state changes a lost election into a winning landslide.. but do we put pressure on them...no..we are too afraid to "waste" our vote and too afraid to let the "other" party we fear so much chnage our comfortable lives.

Oh yea... just so Troy doesn't get confused.. I rock, Mac's Rock, Styx Rocks, Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson Rock, and The Vikings will destroy the Green Bay convicts this year and for many years to come!!
As creator of this movement, I should point out that I am probably the only person reading this blog who voted for a third party candidate that won. (Mojo may be the exception, but I forgot who he voted for.) And before you all laugh that it was Jesse Ventura, I'd like to point out why he is the perfect antithesis to the Rs & the Ds. First, he is fiscally conservative, which I would think most people here are. He doesn't want to raise taxes and if we ever did get a surplus (which Minnesota had when he took office), he was for giving it back to the taxpayers. Of the people I know who vote Republican, most of them do it for their pocketbooks (i.e. fiscal conservativity). But Jesse offered something that the Republicans didn't, he was also social liberal. He didn't want the church to rule our daily lives, in fact he bashed them whenever he got the chance. Social liberalism is generally associated with the Ds. But while he was generally socially liberal, maybe I should say socially progressive, he hated the tree-hugging hippies (who doesn't) and had his own views on things like gun control (he was very against it).
Now, I am not saying that Jesse should be president. (The last thing we need is someone who is that much of a megalomaniac with his hand on the button.) However, he brings up what will eventually be the only chance to elect someone other than an R or D. We need someone with name recognition (and unfortunately that means a celebrity) who really takes the good parts of each party and combines them into what is a good platform. But believe me, I will feel just as bad as you when I vote for Tom Cruise.
But until then, Rod is right (I can't believe I'm saying this), we have to hold true to our beliefs that the Rs & Ds are just a bunch of oligarchists who only care about themselves, and vote for a third party candidate. Because even though they may not win this year (or next), our votes are laying the groundwork for them to eventually win. And that is more important that voting for a lame winner anyway.

P.S. Thanks Rod for making sure that I recognized that it was you. And in response to your completely lame opinions on music, I'd like to point out that Built to Spill actually does rock.
Regarding choices of who to get to run in 2008, I like Barack Obama from the Ds, although I would love to see Russ Feingold run. From the Rs, I like John McCain, although he speaks his mind way to much for the Rs to like him.
In the end, I agree with TC, let's elect Howard Stern. He would definately piss off some people who I'd really like to piss off, namely politicians.
I think one of the hardest aspects for a third-party candidate to overcome will be the spoiler image. While I do agree with Troy that most voters hold points of view from both the Ds and the Rs, most voters will also end up leaning more towards one of the big two than the other. I think that both Perot and Nader really scared a lot of voters because they were perceived as primarily taking votes away from only one of the two major parties.

Jesse Ventura (yep, I voted for him) was much more of a down the middle candidate issue-wise. Both the Democrats and Republicans tore into him, and I think that helped him a lot with those who don't like politics as usual. He also gained some credibility and was perceived as having some idea as to how the system worked because he was the former mayor of a Twin Cities' suburb. The most effective parts of his campaign were the use of email, the use of the internet, and his straight-talking style to the electorate, primarily the young and students. The college students who registered and voted for him in their first ever election are partially credited for his victory.

The key components to a viable third-party candidate then, in my opinion, would be having something that will get the media interested enough in covering the campaign without too much of a negative bend (either due to the candidate's name recognition or the creativity of the campaign), truly innovative solutions for problems affecting the majority and/or views that match those of your average Joe Six-Pack, and the ability to pull voters from both of the big two parties without being seen as a spoiler for either one or the other.
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