Third Party & Independents Archives

Trying to stay Independent

I voted for George Bush in 2000.
As I look at the state of our country I keep reflecting on this - especially since I’ve always really liked Al Gore

Environment
The environment is one of my top issues.

  • I want protected places free of development and resource exploration.

  • I want corporations to pay to clean their emissions and waste before putting it back in the "commons".

  • I think we should do our part to control Global Warming... I actually agree with our objection to the terms of Kyoto - China and India should have to reduce their emissions too. However, I don't agree with using this disagreement to justify our lack of action. It's so short-sighted. It's nothing more than an excuse for an administration that doesn't want to regulate corporations. Don't sign it, but DO SOMETHING.

I know that everyone doesn't think like me, but I don't understand it where this issue is concerned. How can you not care about the planet? our health?
It's such a false argument that allowing corporations to pollute is the only way they can profitably survive to help our economy. If changes are required for all, our corporations will step up to provide these solutions... Some companies will win and some will lose - but overall, innovation will add more to our bottom line. By relaxing regulations that exist and avoiding new ones, we are protecting stagnation and increasing the impact of the "externalities".
I knew Al Gore would represent me on these issues. I just didn't understand that Bush would go in such an opposite direction.

Guns
Guns were my issue then. It seemed like there was a constant attack at the time.
I agree with controls to prevent criminals and the mentally incompetent from being armed, but I think everyone else should be able to have the guns that they want. My idea of why the right to bear arms is in the Constitution is actually pretty radical. I think these people that revolted against a government that they found to be repressive put this in the Constitution as another of their "checks and balances". If the population is armed, it's less likely that an overtly repressive government will take hold.
As our technology has improved, I can see the need to protect police officers from harm and I'm trying to have a more moderate position. But the Assault Gun Ban was not the answer. How does it make sense to ban guns on appearance instead of functionality?
Right now, guns don't seem like an issue because no one is fighting. I think that's the same thing that made the environment less of an issue to me back then...

Social Security
While I believed the "lock box" is what we really needed, I didn't trust that it would actually happen. Congress is too accustomed to spending it.
"Lock box" was Al Gore's term for saving the Social Security income as it comes in so it can generate interest. The way I understood it, the Social Security money borrowed by the general operating fund and is spent – so it can't sustain itself. It's not physically there. Recently I found that interest is paid when this money is replaced but I didn't know that then.
I liked Bush's courage in trying to generate new ideas – even if I didn't know the details.
Now, as the defense spending grows out of control and the administration demonizes "entitlement programs" as the cause of our economic problems, I have a more clear understanding of his position. It is very clear that he wasn't being innovative – he had a different agenda. Unfortunately, that wasn't clear to me then.

Other
Values – I watched the debates – he was a moderate. I think the Religious Right was even mad at him back then.
He also said that he would take us out of the business of "nation building".
I guess "things change" with every politician after they get into office, but it makes election decisions very difficult.

Experience
Cheney was a factor in my decision. I didn't know anything about Cheney, but I liked it that he would be there to lend his experience. Through documentaries like Frontline: The Dark Side, I'm learning that his experience with Nixon, Reagan, Bush Sr... should have been a factor for Gore, not Bush.

  • I like the reforms that were enacted after Nixon abused his power.

  • I was against the Reagan era wars and intrigues.

  • I support the defense spending cuts that were enacted during the Clinton years.

  • I don't think we should be trying to remake nations so they'll align with our interests...

I think there are many in the administration that miss the Cold War and want to recreate those spending assumptions and foreign interventions. We've already wasted so much money fighting over the "alignment" of other nations.
I kick myself the most for liking "experience" without thinking about what that experience actually was...

Summary
I'm still Independent but this administration is pushing me in a direction. I pride myself on stepping back and trying to understand both sides of every issue and it's getting harder and harder to do.

  • I want to examine the experience and credentials of Republican candidates for Congress without worrying that they will become a rubber stamp for an administration I already know I don't agree with.

  • I want to maintain my objectivity.

  • I want to learn about third party candidates - maybe eventually a party will exist that better represents me

In this political climate, I feel almost forced to pick one of the sides and vote party-line.
To me, that is not the way it should be.

Christine

Posted by Christine at August 13, 2006 8:01 PM
Comments
Comment #175346

Christine,

I am glad to see that you are finally using your head. Sounds to me like had you thought it through and known the facts you would have voted differently. Those of us who voted against Bush knew that he and his motley crew had an agenda that was not for the greater good (to put it mildly).

Posted by: Bill at August 13, 2006 7:58 PM
Comment #175351

Wow, I actual find something positive and useful in all three of today’s posts on WatchBlog. I can’t disagree with any of the main points made, but some of the comments are rather humorous. In fact I have commented on all of these topics before:

We need to cut gas consumption, and raising prices to cut demand is a good start.

Iraq is heading in the wrong direction, we need a change in strategy.

Bush is a disappointment to even those who voted for him.

Anyone see tonight’s 60 minutes broadcast with Dan Rather interviewing the President of Iran? I’m interested to see the comments from the left and right.

Posted by: mem beth at August 13, 2006 8:44 PM
Comment #175352

Dan Rather’s interview:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/08/09/60minutes/main1879867.shtml

Posted by: mem beth at August 13, 2006 8:48 PM
Comment #175353

Christine-
“I voted for George Bush in 2000….
The environment is one of my top issues.”

Now that is an oxymoron

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at August 13, 2006 8:55 PM
Comment #175359

ENVIRONMENT
I believe that Corporations should be environmentally responsible and there needs to be some Government regulation. But I don’t think that Gore really cares about the environment as much as he does about having government getting complete control over every aspect of our lives.

GUNS
The ‘Assault Weapons Ban’ was the biggest joke to come from the Clinton administration. It was more symbolism than substance.
During the 10 years it was in effect you could still by a fully automatic weapon over the counter. All you needed was a $150 federal fire arms permit and pass the background check. I know, I bought 3 during the ‘ban’.
Also it was unconstitutional as it infringed on our right to keep and bare arms.
Gore would’ve pushed for making the ban permanent.

OTHER
The only thing I liked, and still do like, about Bush is his values. Even if the ‘religious right’ didn’t like him then.
If Gore has any I don’t know about them.

EXPERIENCE
Cheney’s experience didn’t and still doesn’t bother me as bad as Gore’s.

SUMMARY
I didn’t vote either Bush or Gore.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 13, 2006 9:46 PM
Comment #175362

Great post, Christine. Seeing a truly independent viewpoint here is refreshing.

In this political climate, I feel almost forced to pick one of the sides and vote party-line. To me, that is not the way it should be.

I suspect you feel that way because our country is now run by a single, monolithic political party. There are no checks and balances anymore. Something’s out of wack, and I think people can feel that even if they can’t express it as well as you do.

Thanks for the post.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 13, 2006 10:10 PM
Comment #175372

Christine, Good post.
I think people feel this way because big business has both parties wrapped tight. The repubs are just wrapped a little tighter. When laws are written by corporations and lobbyist and passed withour being read and understood something is maos assuredly wrong. Most democracies do not allow corporations to have the same rights as people. We do. It will our downfall long before the terrorist have a say in the matter.

Posted by: j2t2 at August 13, 2006 10:58 PM
Comment #175394

We need a balance and that requires us to take down the corrupt “In Party” a few notches, but voters should not re-elect irresponsible incumbent politicians of either party just to retain a seat for their party.

That is how 90% of incumbents in both hold onto their cu$hy, coveted seats of abused power. That’s how they obtain a 90% incumbency retention. Some have been there for decades, and their handi-work is everywhere for voters to see, if only they would take off their partisan blinders and stop re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians for fear of the other party gaining a seat or two.

Just start voting out all irresponsible incumbent politicians like we were always supposed to do all along, always. The partisan warfare is ruining everything, and too many voters are all to fond of wallowing in it, and have forgotten the one simple thing they were supposed to do.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 14, 2006 1:48 AM
Comment #175423

I think Bush turned out to be far more socially tolerant than anyone expected. We heard all the rants that he was a “tool of the Religious Right.” Then he turns around and appoints a strong Pro-Choicer Anne Davidson as Co-Chair of the RNC. And he appoints Gays to Administration Posts. And he uses foul language, and makes sexually suggestive wisecracks to his wife and others.

While he’s had his bad points, like his lunatic censor-mongering FCC, Bush in many other ways is a social libertarian. Nothing like the Religious Right persona that people have accused him of.

He should get some credit for that.

www.mainstreamlibertarian.com

Posted by: Eric Dondero at August 14, 2006 11:17 AM
Comment #175455

Christine-
If you feel events are pushing you towards voting a certain way, don’t resist the impulse. You can always vote a different way when events sway you elsewhere. That would be the independent thing to do.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 14, 2006 2:41 PM
Comment #175461

Christine:

It’s perfectly normal to go back and rethink your vote. Lots of people do it. What makes it difficult is not knowing what Al Gore would have done with the various situations. You only have one path by which to judge.

George Bush is a changing and evolving vote, meaning that he continues to govern. Gore is a static point in time, unchanging. JFK, for example, is often thought of in terms of Camelot, youth etc because he is stopped in time. Teddy Kennedy, on the other hand, didn’t stop in time and the lens through which people view him has therefore changed through the years.

Environment: I believe the US has done better than many of the signatories to Kyoto. We can and should do better, but I don’t believe we are as bad as made out to be. We’d have done better under Gore, though our economy might have suffered more as a result.

Guns: I just have no energy on this issue. I simply don’t care.

Social Security: Bush didn’t have a solution, but he had the start of one. Allowing a small portion to be privatized was a good idea, but Democrats killed it. That being said, Bush did not say how he would have covered the resultant short term shortfall had he privatized the small amount.

Other and Experience: Gore had more years of experience in government, but was too wonkish for me. Kerry had years of opposing opinions and I didn’t see him as decisive. Being a senator is like being a member of a committee, while being a governor is like being a CEO….or a President of a state.

All in all, I think Bush was the better choice. I voted for him, and would do so again, especially if Kerry and Gore were the alternatives. Bush has faced a number of problems in his presidency which were beyond his direct control. While he does not have an unblemished record, I believe history will show his record to have been a good one.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at August 14, 2006 3:04 PM
Comment #175473

“While he does not have an unblemished record, I believe history will show his record to have been a good one.”

Posted by: joebagodonuts at August 14, 2006 03:04 PM

JBOD - Well that’s almost guaranteed now, isn’t it? Unless we get a revocation of Bush’s executive order to keep certain presidential records secret, Barbara and Jenna Bush will be in charge of the records of both Dad and Granddad.

Posted by: DOC at August 14, 2006 4:01 PM
Comment #175476

DOC:

Touche’.

But really, history isn’t just the compilation of documents, now is it? I believe that time will show this era to have been very turbulent, but handled well.

Of course, historians are also sometimes known to put their spin on things. I’m certain that anything to do with Islam that goes wrong over the next 15-20 years can be blamed on Bush’s policies over the past 6 years. Some will say, “If Bush had…” or “If Bush hadn’t…”, and they will extrapolate history out of the known events.

My opinion stands.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at August 14, 2006 4:54 PM
Comment #175478

JBOD - (lol) Sadly, I wouldn’t bet against you on this one. Most presidential histories tend to focus more on accomplishments rather than foibles. I would more easily imagine this in perhaps 100 years, but there are quite a few people who would take argument with a glowing historical review if it appeared in the history books published today.

Posted by: DOC at August 14, 2006 5:25 PM
Comment #175479

JBOD, what a marvelous logic. You believe that history will show these trying times were handled well. Then, immediately following, you say in essence, But if history doesn’t say things were handled well, it will just be spin.

Now that’s pretty clever. Your opinion must be the right one because any other opinion must be biased.

You learn well from your Republican leadership.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 14, 2006 5:35 PM
Comment #175482

I think Bush is the worst president this country has ever had. In every way I could possibly name I consider him a complete failure.
And of course Gore would have done a better job in the Whitehouse. There are many reasons for this: He is a man with an active mind and a brilliant intellect. Fully armed with that active mind and that intellect, he isn’t one to shy away from “inconvienent truths” in any way — from the economy, to social security, to the environment, etc. etc., he was a candidate with good ideas. Those good ideas seem to grow out of his integrity and his principles. Finally, he too, was a man with a great deal of experience and a familiarity with all the things that a president needs to do and be for the American people — but unlike Shooter Cheney’s experience, Gore’s was acquired in full view of the public, rather as a shadowy figure directing things behind the scenes for the most part.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 14, 2006 5:42 PM
Comment #175525

David:

The meaning that you took from my words was not what I intended, though I can see how you arrived at it.

My point was more to say that people can, if they so choose, blame Bush for future actions. Think about how many have blamed Clinton for many things. One could say that by not doing more in the 90’s, Clinton laid the groundwork for the problems being faced today. I am NOT saying that, but many do.

My point was that those who dislike Bush can blame him for Hezbollah fighting Israel by claiming that his actions have stirred up terrorism. That would be a bit fatuous, since Israel and Arab countries have been having problems since before Bush was born, but you can bet it will be said.

David, I believe Bush has been a good President. I recognize that others believe him to be a failure. Its very difficult to know for sure until some time into the future. That’s the nature of the magnitude of the decisions that Presidents make.

Adrienne:

Al Gore made for a very good Vice President. His campaign showed me why I wouldn’t want him making the final decisions, but also why I’d want him involved in the process. He continually changed his image at the urging of others, showing a lack of decisiveness that hurt him badly. If you recall his performances in the debates, each one was markedly different, as if he were playing a role, rather than being himself.

We’ll never know how good a President Al Gore would have been from 2000-2008. I suspect he would have mired himself in details, but that’s simply a suspicion. You suspect he’d have been good, but that too is a suspicion.

The truth of the matter is that he likely should have run away with the election. He was the sitting VP in a surprisingly popular Presidency, the economy still appeared to be strong (though it had turned), and he had years of campaigning and debate experience. It had the makings of a blowout, yet he blew it. It never should have gotten to the degree of closeness that it did.

To me, that alone shows something.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at August 14, 2006 10:33 PM
Comment #175585

JBOD,

While I agree with you that neither Gore nor Kerry were appetizing candidates, I don’t think Bush will be seen as a good president. LBJ was mired in Vietnam and Bush in Iraq. When he had an opportunity to change middle east policy he chose to return to a failed idea, namely, Nation Building.

I didn’t think Bush was appetizing, either. I did vote for Kerry, because Bush was clearly incompetent and a handmaiden to the myopic neocons. I voted for Nader in 2000.

Posted by: gergle at August 15, 2006 7:25 AM
Comment #175586

gergle:

While no vote is “wasted”, I think the chances of Nader winning were somewhere between slim and none. Pragmatically, votes for Nader helped keep a close election even closer.

Typically, Americans don’t seem to think we have good candidates for office. Often people say they vote for the lesser of two evils. I’ve been seeing more anti-McCain comments tossed out the closer we get to him actually running. The idea of someone running is typically more appealing than the reality.

As far as Bush, since we are talking about how history will view him, I’ll keep these comments hermetically sealed for 30 years, then re-engage in our discussion on how Bush is viewed in 2036.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at August 15, 2006 7:47 AM
Comment #175604

If I had it to do over, my vote would go to Nader.
G.W.Bush will be regarded as a bad president, because he started a war based on negligent and false intelligence, and followed it by hundreds of blunders, and some lies (e.g. “We found the weapons of mass destruction”).

At first glance, McCain may seem OK, but:

  • his position on Iraq and illegal immigration (essentially, another amensty like the one in 1986 that quadrupled the problem) are a problem

  • and McCain once admitted on NPR (in year 2005) that he “looked the other way”. That’s what a lot of incumbents do.

  • McCain voted NO on banning more types of Congressional gifts (Jul 1995).

  • McCain says Ethanol is not worth it, even in Iowa (Dec 1999), and Ethanol is bad for environment & bad for consumers (Nov 1999). Hmmmmm, tell that to Brazil. How assinine are those statements? Especially when a small percentage of fuel is now ethanol?

  • McCain proclaimed to be against pork-barrel, but then he tacked on a $million earmark to a defense appropriations bill for the brown tree snake in Guam (while our troops risk life and limb and some go without body armor).

  • And that was after McCain saying: “Every dollar off-budget; no ifs, ands, or excuses” (Sep 1999).
  • And McCain is partly responsible for the Social Security ponzi-scheme. McCain Voted YES on using the Social Security Surplus to fund tax reductions (Jul 1999). That’s partly why Social Security is now $12.8 trillion in the hole. McCain is helping Social Security to fail, and he supports privatization since he promoted an option to invest 20% of payroll taxes in private accounts (Jan 2000).

  • and McCain supported many of the 99 blunders (above).

The bar is set so, so, so very low.

Voters are forced to choose between the least sleasy of the sleasiest.

At the very least, irresponsible incumbents that “look the other way” should not be re-elected.

83% of all federal campaign donations ($200 or larger) come from a mere 0.1% of the U.S. population. How can the remaining 99.9% of the U.S. population compete with that? Government is FOR SALE, and the average American does not realize they are being out-spent. When 99.9% of Americans send in their $20, $50, $100 campaign contribution, do they realize how little influence they have?

A better, less expensive, way to influence government and make it more responsible is to simply stop re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians. That’s what we were supposed to do all along, always. The 99.9% of Americans may get out-spent, but not out numbered. Stop trying to out-spend the vastly wealthy, because that’s not working. 1% of the U.S. population has 40% of all weatlh (never worse since the Great Depression of 1929).

Posted by: d.a.n at August 15, 2006 9:47 AM
Comment #175658

Good Post;
I voted for bush in 2000 also, but for different reasons. I did not vote for him the second time as I think he deceived the American Public, and lied to us about Iraq and other things. I think that is why Powell left the government, because he was made to look the the fool especially with his UN speech, about WMD’s, where Bush I think controls Rice easier.

As far as what Gore or even Kerry would have done, no one, and I mean no one can say because they were not in the position to make the decisions, that people say such as Gore would have banned guns, or done nothing with 9/11. We can all assume, but you know what happens when you assume.

Right now I am not going to vote Republican or Democrat because I am not sure who is running. I have some in mind I would like to see run from the major parties or even a third party, but it comes down to who I think will do the best job for the US as a whole, not just my little nitch.

Posted by: KT at August 15, 2006 2:25 PM
Comment #175681

It doesn’t matter anymore Christine. People no longer care about protecting all of their rights, they only care about protecting the rights they agree with.
Guns were a big issue for you “then?” Same with me, but they still are a big issue for me NOW also. A vote for gore would have been support for a more rapid decline in our 2nd Amendment rights in the govts quest to turn that right into a priviledge.
But in all honesty, what has Bush done to return our 2nd Amendment rights? Nothing.
SS? Doesnt matter really. Whoever comes up with an idea, the other side will demonize it to protect votes. People don’t care that its unfair and violates their basic freedoms, they only care about who offers them the most freebies.
Values? You only picked the lesser of two evils.
Experience? I agree with you.
And the environment? Too much about nothing.

“In this political climate, I feel almost forced to pick one of the sides and vote party-line”

God, I know how you feel. I had that exact same feeling after suffering the clinton admin. But dont succumb to it. Party-line is not the way to go.
Ignore the party and vote for the person.

Posted by: kctim at August 15, 2006 4:17 PM
Comment #175688

Ron Brown,
The Clinton gun ban didn’t address fully automatic weapons at all-it wasn’t intended to.
Full auto weapons are regulated by the ‘34 National Firearms Act (a tax law).
When was the transfer tax reduced from $200?

Christine,
Good post. I’m proud to say I’ve never voted for a Bush and never will.
For me, abortion and guns are the litmus test issues. Failure on either issue means a candidate won’t get my vote no matter what. Only after a candidate has passed both questions will I even look at other issues.
The Bushes passed both questions and after looking at other issues I rejected them. Since it’s a given that the Democrat will be both pro abortion and anti gun, third party and independent are my only options.
While climate change (a redundancy-climate changes) is a real, observable and quantifiable phenomenon, global warming is a hoax. We can’t control climate.

Posted by: traveller at August 15, 2006 4:54 PM
Comment #175814

“I want to learn about third party candidates - maybe eventually a party will exist that better represents me.”

The Concord Party is seeking participants to help define a platform, and find practical solutions to political problems instead of the “my team must win” attitude that dominates American politics today. We expect to run candidates in 2008.

Our policy is built up using online proposals and member voting, with 2/3 of members agreeing to adopt a proposal but only 1/2 to remove a policy statement. In this way, we hope to generate a truly pragmatic platform that represents our membership - people who care about solutions, not slogans.

Posted by: Eric Decker at August 16, 2006 9:34 AM
Comment #175839

Do we need a third party?
Do we need any parties?
The problem with parties is they encourage voters to re-elect irresponsible incumbents to merely hold onto a cu$hy, coveted seat for THEIR party.
Is that working?
Why does it have to be so over-complicated?
Who do you vote for when all the parties are full of irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for, corrupt incumbent polticiains.
90% of Congress are long time incumbents.
The real solution is the simple solution that sheople keep overlooking, because they have been brainwashed to believe the party-way is the the only-way, and have forgotten the one-simple, common-sense, no-brainer thing that is the way it was supposed to be done all along, always.
But, it’s not all ignorance. A large part of it is lack of conscience … too few give a damn. But, the day will most likely come when they finally feel the consequences of re-electing irresponsible incumbents. When will voters see the obvious connection between 90% re-election rates and our pressing problems that continue to grow in number and severity?
Besides, when 83% of all federal campaign donations over $200 come from a mere 0.1% of the U.S. population, the other 99.9% of the U.S. population is getting out-spent and don’t stand a chance. Government is FOR SALE, and the average American does not realize that simply not re-electing irresponsible incumbents is the ONLY real power they have, but continue to over-look.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 16, 2006 11:28 AM
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