Saturday, November 06, 2004

"My Kingdom for a Viable Third Party" Dept.

Readers of this humble weblog who are waiting for my five cents on the election need not worry: I will be blogging a commentary on the current election that will build on what I have noted in the two years since the previous election. (Look for it sometime next week time-willing.) However, there are a lot of variables to the equation and it seems appropriate to note one or more of them by themselves before getting to the election analysis. The first of these will be this response to part of an email from one of the discussion lists I am on. The words of the other person will be in black font and my previous words in the sequence (if there are any) will be in blue font).

Shawn:

Hello XXXXXXX:

I want to reply to a few things you said.

Well, I voted for Perot in 1992 and have no regrets whatsoever about that decision. However, the times then were different in that we were not at war with religious ideologues of Islam who want to see us either converted or killed. Hence, I agree with you now but back then (due to different circumstances) my view was different and (even with hindsight) is not much different now than it was then. (Except I am not a Republican now unlike back then.)"

I would say that it was just as foolish back in 1992 (or any other time in most of our history for that matter) to vote third party as it is now because, for practical purposes, that a vote for Perot was a vote for Clinton and a significant, albeit not total, reason why the terrorist threat viz. OBL {1} can be laid at Clinton's feet.

Everyone has 20-20 hindsight on these things XXXXXXX. We have two parties which in a lot of key areas are wings of the same bird. A third party at least allows for the possibility of ideas which are anathema to the two parties to be given a stage for possible assimilation by the populace. The problem as I see it is third parties that run before they are ready to do so. What we need is a third party that takes the time to build a base to run successfully rather than running to be running and gradually working their way out of any potential for viability in the process. I would say that a third party formed today should wait eight years before running nationally and at least four years before running in local elections. Those are minimums mind you, perhaps longer time frames would be needed.

Perot only got the vote he got the first time because he had a lot of money and did not need to raise funds. The second time, he was too egotistical to step aside and let someone else run with his backing. And Pat Buchanan essentially killed the Reform Party in 2000 with his running for president on that party but I digress. My point here is this: parties need to build momentum and continually wasting resources on running is why no viable party alternatives are coming up anywhere. The Libertarians have made this mistake for thirty odd years and other fracture parties who want to not do what the Libertarians have done would be well to learn from the latter's mistakes.

Furthermore, when you go outside the two party system, there is really no such thing as a third party. It's third, fourth, fifth, sixth, etc. As a result, we become so fractured politically and therefore ineffective. Two parties are better than one, but a half dozen aren't. I'm surprised that you don't seem to understand this. Sorry if I am being hard on you here, but I call them as I see them with friend and foe alike.

Hey now, I can take a punch as well as I throw it so worry not about that ;-) You are making the mistake of seeing any more than two as necessarily implying that there would have to be more than three also. But your logic goes askew if we ask why there even has to be two if we are worried about fractures politically and otherwise. Why not have one party so that what you are worried about is not a problem??? If being so fractured politically and therefore ineffective is your argument for not having more than two parties, then we need to ask why you do not take the option of having even less fracturing of the process than we already have. And to do that means you have to go for one party and not two. Because the moment you go for two, you logically raise the question by extension of "why limit it at two"???

Now you cannot go any lower in number and have a viable governing structure than one: you cannot have zero parties and have a functioning government. So the option with the least potential for fracturing and creating inefficiency is one party -particularly if that party is given free reign to crack down on dissidents from the party structure. That of course is the road to single party rule. And as all single party rule tends towards limiting all freedoms, even legitimate ones, one could argue that you are schilling against freedom with your arguments taken out to their logical ends.

Now I am aware that you could argue that at least with two parties (unlike with one party) there is some choice in the matter. However, that can be easily refuted by pointing to boondoggle proposals such as NAFTA: where is the party that gives us an option on so-called "free trade"??? Where is the party that gives us an option on whether or not we take the limits of the Constitution seriously??? Where is the party that gives us an option on protecting the borders as they need to be protected??? You cannot say the Republicans because they are weak on all three of these points and you cannot say the Democrats because they are even worse on them than the Republicans are.

In the interests of calling them as I see them, I did something worse in 1992, I didn't vote at all. I was still in the Navy then and I didn't get my absentee ballot from Michigan in time. Unfortunately, I didn't worry about it too much then. I DO regret taking that attitude.

One could argue that involvement in the process -even if you were involved on the wrong side of issues- is better than no involvement at all. That is my position anyway: that it is better to be in motion (even if in the wrong direction) than to be motionless.{1}

Maybe it was better that I didn't vote then. I probably would have voted for Clinton. But, thanks mainly to Rush Limbaugh, my interest in, and attitude toward politics changed dramatically in the next year and a half. I was proud to help vote in the Republican House and Senate in 1994.

As was I. However, since that time, the Republicans have lost my confidence, not gained it. Two years after the 1994 midterms, I divested myself of the Republican moniker and have remained an Independent voter. There are too many issues which are important and which the Republicans and Democrats have no difference whatsoever on. That is the reason why I believe there needs to be viable alternate parties; however those parties if they are to be more than a flash in the pan need to build a structure for competing locally (then nationally) before they field actual candidates. Otherwise, it will be Libertarianism redux and that would be another waste of people's time and resources.


Note:

{1} Remember that Bin Laden was offered to Clinton on a silver platter by Sudan, but Clinton refused.

Trust me, I have not forgotten about that my friend.

For more on this subject matter, please see this thread.

Note:

{1} I remind you of the theories of motion as discovered by Sir Isaac Newton. If an object in motion will remain in motion, then attempts to stop that object will not succeed without a greater or equal force being involved. In light of the manner whereby intensity and duration are inversely proportioned, an intense reaction cannot sustain itself for very long in opposing an object in motion -particularly if that object appeals to the lower levels of our nature from which there is continual struggle against anyway.

What must be attempted is to reverse the direction of the moving object but the approach taken has to be one focused on success over the long term. For that reason, the intensity behind such an approach has to be by logical necessity of lessor import if there is to be a conceivable reversal of trends that will be more than illusory. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum circa August 11, 2004]

That is essentially why I view it as better to be passionate for erroneous beliefs than to not care one way or the other. Objects at rest after all are harder to get into motion than it is to redirect objects already in motion in another direction. But I digress.

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Election Map for 2004: the Votes County By County

Those who found the red and blue states graphs to be interesting viz. showing polarizations in the nation will probably find the link above which breaks it down by county to be even more interesting.

Though I did not blog on the matter in written form, if memory serves I noted in an audioblog or two that President Bush would win 290 electoral votes -which means that Senator Kerry would have won 248 electoral votes. (If anyone doubts my veracity on this -should any of the audioblogs not reveal this number- Dave Armstrong can vouch for the fact that I gave him this number when we discussed the election process by phone on November 2nd at around 4:30pm PST.) As it is, the President was re-elected with 286 electoral votes and Senator Kerry got 252 electoral votes. Not bad for accuracy in an election season as turbulent as this one was but I digress.


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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

A Rerum Novarum Election Night Live Report

this is an audio post - click to play

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Sunday, October 31, 2004

John Kerry: On the Record

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Briefly on the Supposed "Tora Bora Faux Paus" of the Bush Administration:
(Aka Senator Kerry of 2004 vs. Senator Kerry of 2001)

For those who find the current Hanoi John Kerry's position on the military campaign in Tora Bora as a "convincing argument" against President Bush, perhaps enlightening you on what Senator Kerry had to say about three years ago (at the time) is worth considering. You can read a bit about that HERE and if you detect yet another blatant contradiction between pre-campaign Kerry and campaign Kerry{1}, then worry not my friends because your detector is accurate.

Note:

{1} Setting aside for a moment the contradictions between earlier campaign Kerry and later campaign Kerry of course. (I remind you that he was very pro-war in Iraq in early 2004 when he was running against Howard Dean.)

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