Friday, August 31, 2007

Discussing Political Strategy






My blogger friend Rogel is an interesting person. An Israeli immigrant to the States, he has of course his unique outlook and experiences to share regarding Israeli politics etc. I stumbled upon his site last year in the midst of the Israeli all out attack on Lebanon, well, the Hizbullah leader who lives there. Anyhow, those were passionate times for discussions, especially in the Israeli blogosphere. That is how I found out about Yohay's blog through another, now defunct english version of an Israeli blogger. You know how it is in this 'little world'; sometimes you end up 6 degrees of separation when you surf online. But I digress.
Rogel is also a self professed Libertarian. Since I have had some interactions and exposure to libertarians here in Austin, I figured who better to ask? So in a comment, I asked him this:

My question is off-topic but since I see 'Ron Paul for President' everywhere.. what do you think of the libertarians' approach for getting to office? I did go to one press conference/meeting for a libertarian here in TX, and I think they are more devoted to their outlook than even Republicans are. However, thinking political strategy, I do not believe that anyone will ever get voted into office if they do not try to hook up with independents. They will never get the voter's base needed to get into office, and more so than an independent, running for very high office(s) seems to be a waste of time and money that actually undermines them. In other words, they are being looked at as 'oh, one of those running again' when they never win. You probably can correct me with a few success stories in other parts of the US, but on the whole, libertarians run on principle, not on strategy and likelihood of a person to appeal to voters

Rogel responded:

This is an interesting question - does a political party, or activity, only justified by the ability to be elected? The obvious answer is yes, if one unable to be elected one cannot achieve its political goal. But this rule out any ideological movement and make the political game completely irrelevant. However I argue that political influence and political games can be achieve by participation, even without winning. Ross Perot wasn’t elected President, Ralph Nadar failing in a cycle of four years and so does the Libertarian Party - but I don’t think that we can dismiss their effect. By participating, and attracting enough support, Ideological candidates force the first tier candidates to some policy decision that will appeal to the public that support the "purist". .
read the rest of his commentary.

So, it's back to me to respond. Rogel, I think that is the same argument that some independent voters (might) make. I feel that instead of sticking to one's principles (and believe me, I'm all for it and I am by no means saying do the opposite of that)..BUT..instead of running for every seat imaginable just so you can say 'we're here and this is what we stand for', is not achieving what you believe it does. You believe that in essence second tier candidates can influence discussions or dialogues be bringing things up. I do not believe that Libertarians OR Independents can steer any subject significantly enough to get a first tier candidate to nudge on their position. I am of the believe, that Independents (the liberal and the conservative types) AND Libertarians should focus on state elections that they could win together. That AND working for fair election and campaign reform that would be inclusive of third party candidates. If, for example, in one or two states Independents/Libertarians could effectively gain more political power and 'have something to show for', that could lead the way for more visibility for other Independents/Libertarians in other states. To me it's not even a matter of those two vs the other two (reps and dems), it's the whole political process that should be open to others who are outside of the two big parties. By taking away political power from the democrats and the republicans, you will put the power back to the people. Plus, the democrats and republicans will also become more reflective of their core beliefs. Right now, people within those parties are expected to toe the party line and if there is a faction within said party who is a threat to another one, you get the dirty infighting that takes away from governing. I'm sure that is what happened with Howard Dean. You could almost say that by taking some/certain power away from the two parties, that they would gain another type. They would be free to really stand up for what they believe and you'd end up with a cooperative new model (for this country anyway) instead of the zero-sum and let's undermine the others by inserting this ridiculous idea in whatever bill that gets introduced in the House.

What do you think? I keep thinking about these thoughts as I'm driving past oodles of 'Ron Paul for President' signs. The official and home made ones.

Then I received an email from Independent Texans:

What do Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich have in common? They're the only candidates running in their respective primaries for President of the United States who have voted consistently against the Iraq war. (We remind you that independent voters have -- for now -- given Congress back to the Democrats on this very issue.) Kucinich is the only candidate who has yet to expressly reach out to independent (non-aligned) voters. And both Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, deemed "second tier" candidates by corporate media, have real traction with ordinary voters because corporate interests have no influence with these independent-minded public servants.


If you are attending the Republican Straw poll this weekend in Ft. Worth, please consider supporting Texan's own Ron Paul. Or please consider casting a "vote" for Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic Straw poll being conducted now through Sept. 7, as it appears anyone can vote in this poll online at:


http://www.txdemocrats.org/page/s/eprimarypoll


How about that. And the discussion continues...

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5 Comments:

Blogger betmo said...

all i can say is this- it is going to take a very, very long time for me to trust ANYONE who leans to the right ever again- no matter how close to the middle he or she is. they will have to prove themselves and regain any trust they might have ever had. the dumbocrats may not have the answers but it wasn't them who broke the trust of the entire world. they are certainly a disappointment but again, they didn't break trust with the whole world.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

I could never vote Republican. Couldn't. Wouldn't.

6:12 AM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

Dear Betmo and Mary. I don't know if you had the time to read the whole post (it's longer than usual) but it's not about voting for republicans or republican leaning candidates. It's about Libertarians and/or Independents running in fed'l races when there's no way in hell they're going to win. My thoughts are that it's better for the two to work together at state level to 'break in' as it where so that election and campaign reform can be attempted. Otherwise you're always going to be the 'kid' that yips in the background, nary raising an eyebrow as in 'oh, they're here' but not being influential or effective politically at all.
I can sympathize with the level of distrust though.. you should read these two books; 'Hubris' (forgot the authors right now) and 'the greatest story ever sold' by Frank Rich.
Ingrid

9:19 AM  
Blogger The Future Was Yesterday said...

Your exchange with your Texan friend was very interesting. I've worked in politics at the grass roots level for 35+ years. My experiences with Libertarians has been, that when it comes to picking "bed partners" so to speak, they gravitate to the conservatives and join them in mocking Democrats/Liberals.

As a former Democrat (I'm now an Independent), that was puzzling to me, for the Libertarians would consistently field a candidate that drew an almost predictable percentage of votes every time. They were running in place for all intents and purposes. Also, their candidate always seemed to have that one "plank" that scared off everybody.

Principles are fine, but I feel a danger lies in them as well. Not carefully "watched" and examined, they can morph into the watergate "Blind Loyalty" mode, or even worse, what we have now, i.e. "I'm right, and the hell with what you think." Given their track record, a Libertarian is going to have to show me an awful lot, before they get my vote. I should note, my political experiences were nearly all in one state, Michigan. I'm now in SC. Just staying alive in this political climate down here, is an accomplishment!:)

12:55 AM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

TUA..wow, fascinating. And hey, another Independent (woohoo).
Anyway, I agree with you re. the libertarians. In order to accomplish something politically, you need to get enough people to vote for an agreeing platform and leave some of the differences behind for now. As Betmo mentioned, election reform is the most important step to some progress, but it's unfortunately a boring one for the body non politic..
interesting experiences you've had TUA.. funny youshould complain about your political climate. But then, I'm lucky. I live in Austin which is a blue island in a sea of red..
Ingrid

11:23 AM  

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