Third Party & Independents Archives

Don't Vote 2008!

For some independents we just plainly should not vote for President in 2008. It is actually our best available option to just not vote for the highest office in the country.

Many states in 2008 will offer third party candidates on the ballots, some even will have multiple third pary candidates on the ballot. In this case we should vote, it is our obligation, but it is our obligation because we actually have an opportunity to express our opinions. In some states however there will be no third party candidates, but for some people this should not stop them. If one of the candidates in the major parties represent your views than you should vote for that candidate.

Now to deal with the rest of us, who just are not represented at all. If you are one of the unlucky who will not be able to stomach agreeing with, and thus voting for, one of the two major party candidates and also live in a state with no third party candidates you are one of us. I should know I live in Virginia, a state where there is basically no chance of seeing a third party Presidential candidate.

Most people will tell you that well you don't have any third party candidate to vote for and well you don't have any candidate who represents your views at all but you still have to vote, because if you don't vote you have no right to talk of politics. This is complete you know what. The whole essence of this argument is to hurt third parties in two ways:
1. Scare their supporters into voting for one of the two major parties, and thus gaining some sort of loyalty towards that party at least as presidential politics goes.
2. Scaring their supporters to vote major party and by doing this the exit polls of independent voters who voted major party will be of a higher percentage, although it will not be told to you that in many of those states these people had no alternative. By increasing the percentage of independent voters who voted major party you thus discredit third parties and help maintain the two party duopoly as far as presidential voting patterns is concerned.

As long as the two major parties can make it where we have no option at all besides them in these states we will supposedly have no option but to boost their numbers. But why should we boost their numbers in order to hurt ourselves?

If the number of non voting independent voters increases in these no option states who is it going to encourage? It certainly will not encourage the two major parties. Thus in these situations it is best to just not vote for President.

If you had the choice between Aids, cancer, or neither, which would you choose?

Posted by Richard Rhodes at December 11, 2006 3:19 AM
Comments
Comment #198649

What a fallacy. Comparing having to vote for a party you aren’t affiliated with to disease?

Go ahead, don’t vote. If the numbers are high enough it just makes the US look worse than it already does.

Choosing not to exercise your vote is like taking your ball and going home because you don’t like the rules.

Posted by: womanmarine at December 11, 2006 5:12 AM
Comment #198653

Depends on the cancer, Richard. Some are worse than others. And the life expectancy for AIDS patients has increased dramatically.

I’d think in most cases there would be a candidate to vote against if not for.

Posted by: Trent at December 11, 2006 7:49 AM
Comment #198658

Don’t vote, do you think that will help. Maybe if there is a good third party person running, then maybe they will get enough votes to make others think that the 2 main parties are not the way to go.
Now to me, if you don’t vote, then you don’t care what happens and you are satified with whoever gets into office, and what they do.

Posted by: KT at December 11, 2006 9:10 AM
Comment #198663

The problem with you comparison is that choosing neither you are still going to end up with something, abstainance in poilitics means you allow others to choose for you, and the only thing you can say in return is “well I didn’t vote for ….” it would be far better to vote for the leser of two evils or even better to vote for who you belive in regardless of if they win or not, the third parties have been picking up a bit as the years have gone on, would make no sence to just not show up to the big game, I would think that would give a big backpeddle to the progress they have been making.

Posted by: Rhancheck at December 11, 2006 10:15 AM
Comment #198668

There are a growing number Independent organizations out there, join them, support them, work with them. As they grow, they will interact and create a national independent party capable of proferring Independent candidates for President.

Also, do not stop voting Republocrats out of office. Never forget that the Democratic and Republican parties are the ones who deny the American people choices on the ballots, and deny all but the wealthiest candidates access to the airwaves at election time.

If independents continue to vote out incumbents from the Democratic and Republican parties, the day will come when ballot and airwave access will open up to viable third and independent candidates.

Third party and independent voters now constitute a larger voting segment of the population than either the Democrats or the Republicans. The potential political power of that fact is astounding in its implications. It is possible to restore democracy and the people’s voice through a diversity of candidates for office.

But, as always, it is up to you, the voter to exercise your power at the ballot box by voting out the incumbents who preserve the broken system as it is.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 11, 2006 11:13 AM
Comment #198669

womanmarine, you are absolutely right. See my comment just above.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 11, 2006 11:14 AM
Comment #198671

If you are planning not to vote, Richard, perhaps Watchblog isn’t the site for you. If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s non-voters who complain about the government that they refuse to participate in. And BTW, discussing politics on the internet is not participating in government.

You say my attitude supports the major parties. That is incorrect. My attitude simply encourages people to get involved. For any party or candidate they want to. Your attitude encourages just the opposite. You think you are on a moral high ground by not supporting a party, but at least those who do are getting involved.

There were plenty of third party presidential candidates in ‘04 (Green, Libertarian, Constitution, etc). If none of them were on the ballot in your state, it is because you didn’t do your part.

So here are your choices:
A. Vote for someone on the ballot
B. Work to see that someone you like gets on as a third party/independent
C. Write someone in
D. Do nothing

If you chose D, why should the rest of us care about what you have to say on the subject of politics? If you refuse to back up what you say by participating in the process why should I care what you have to say?

I voted last month. Not everyone I voted for won, but I sure as hell got my point across.
So… Are you going to participate? Or are you going to let the people you think you are superior to make all the choices?

Posted by: TheTraveler at December 11, 2006 11:35 AM
Comment #198672

Choose somebody- that’s my advice. As long as you don’t choose, your part of the public discourse cannot make itself felt officially.

If government were an ecosystem, elections would be the equivalent of natural selection. If you refuse to make distinctions between candidates and what they believe, and pick one of those candidates, guess what you get? You get Bush. Bush got elected because people cared less and less who was president.

We can see the past few years that such an attitude is fundamentally dangerous. The Presidency has real power. Chose who will be president, and choose wisely, or you will see more presidents like Bush.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 11, 2006 11:45 AM
Comment #198673

Richard Rhodes,

Here is a BETTER idea:

    If you have two bad choices, do NOT reward the irresponsible incumbent by re-electing that person.

Please consider the many PROs and CONs for that logic.

If you dislike BOTH equally, then the truly logical best thing to do is vote for the NON-incumbent, because they are then less powerful (as freshmen politicians).

Also, we should NEVER reward irresponsible incumbent politicians by re-electing them.

Your strategy is valid ONLY if the ONLY choice is the existing incumbent or unopposed challenger (who you don’t like). In that case, you are right. Don’t vote for that office at all. It makes no sense to vote for someone you don’t like when they are unopposed.

Try to ignore party affiliations as much as possible. Look at individual candidates as much as possible. Don’t pull the party-lever. That is exactly what parties want you to do. They don’t want you to think for yourself. They are tapping into your laziness, and tricking you into take the lazy way. Study (as much as possible) all of the candidates. Then, also Congress as a whole. Ask yourself:
“How many are truly responsible?”
“What have they accomplished?”
“What have they done wrong?”

There are some offices where one choice is much better (or much worse) that the other, and it may (not) be YOUR favorite party.

So, the disease analogy was flawed.
It applies if there is only ONE bad choice (in that case, don’t vote).

If you have two bad choices, don’t reward the incumbent by re-electing that person.

In a voting nation, an educated electorate is paramount!

Voters need to understand these basic fundamentals.

Education is the ONLY way we will speed up progress.
At the current rate (2.000 steps forward, 1.999 steps backward), we could mess around an see a steady, unavoidable decline of the nation.
We are not invincible.
Education is needed.
We will get it one way or another, but sooner would be much better than later.
If we fail to educate the majority of the electorate, we will learn the hard way.

Posted by: d.a.n at December 11, 2006 11:45 AM
Comment #198677

This was the whole argument when people were saying that it just didn’t matter if Gore or Bush won, because they were exactly the same. Voting matters.

Posted by: Max at December 11, 2006 12:28 PM
Comment #198691

Congratulations, Richard, on a provocative piece! I agree with David Remmer when he says “There are a growing number Independent organizations out there, join them, support them, work with them. As they grow, they will interact and create a national independent party capable of proferring Independent candidates for President….”


And another option to staying away from the polls in November 2008 is to start NOW reaching all your independent friends and contacts to see what THEY think should be done. Independents are organizing on the ground in every state. It’s organization that will close the gap between our numbers, which are growing, and our lack of political influence, which the country needs. -NH

Posted by: Nancy Hanks at December 11, 2006 1:48 PM
Comment #198693

Dan-
Incumbency itself is not the problem. The problem is just mindlessly re-electing somebody without paying attention to what they’re doing. Pay attention to what they are doing. If they don’t act in compliance with your standards, chunk them.

But it’s got to go beyond that. People need viable alternatives. Chunking the bad apples does you no good if you don’t have a good apple to enjoy. Any good movement against mindless incumbency ought to include the push for better alternative candidates within the party. We can’t merely punish bad behavior; we have to encourage good behavior.

There are no simple answers, but there is a simple question we can ask: are the people we sent to Washington or wherever else doing their jobs, and if not, who do we send in their place?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 11, 2006 1:57 PM
Comment #198694

wow richard. you most certainly struck a bipartisan nerve! just listen to all this duopolistic propaganda!

“Go ahead, don’t vote. If the numbers are high enough it just makes the US look worse than it already does.”

no. it doesn’t make the us look worse - it *shows* how lacking in representation american elections actually are. you can’t blame a voter for abstaining fro voting, when you have given them no one to vote for!

sorry! if you want someone’s vote, EARN IT. don’t give us this “lesser of two evils” b.s. *anymore*. a vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for *evil*.

“If you have two bad choices, do NOT reward the irresponsible incumbent by re-electing that person.”
“Also, do not stop voting Republocrats out of office.”

agreed. but there will be no incumbent in the ‘08 presidential.

“If you are planning not to vote, Richard, perhaps Watchblog isn’t the site for you. If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s non-voters who complain about the government that they refuse to participate in.”

of course you can’t stand it. it makes your party look bad, and the whole system look as illegitimate and corrupt as it in fact is.

“As long as you don’t choose, your part of the public discourse cannot make itself felt officially.”

i’m sorry, this isn’t true. (i have heard it argued that republicans want to suppress the overall number of voters - but i don’t buy it.) neither party looks good when no one shows up. without a significant number of votes, it is impossible to legitimately claim that anyone won… these past few elections have been exceptions - actuated by fear. the overall trend is *downward* - in general, a smaller percentage of the electorate votes each cycle.

the trend favors richard! the question is not what he will do, because he is just one of a large and growing number who are disillusioned and discontent. the question is what are *you* going to do?

“Now to me, if you don’t vote, then you don’t care what happens and you are satified with whoever gets into office, and what they do.”

well, that’s to you - and it figures. to us, we care enough not to lend artificial, undeserved legitimacy to a system that consistently fails to even attempt to represent us.

“So here are your choices:
A. Vote for someone on the ballot
B. Work to see that someone you like gets on as a third party/independent
C. Write someone in
D. Do nothing”

vote for someone, if you feel they represent you. work to see that someone you like gets on the ballot as a 3rd… but don’t expect that you’ll actually be able to achieve this under the current duopoly. write someone in, if the option is available to you. Do Something - lacking any other option, vote for ‘none of the above,’ by not voting - and make it known that you are *actively* not voting.

the number of independents are growing. the number who vote is declining. i’m not telling you what to do - i’m warning you what’s going to happen (it already is). i’m sorry. you just can’t keep motivating people with fear - vote for me, or you might end up with HIM!

i tell yall what, though. feel free to vent at me, as you have at richard. it will change nothing. it is not i, nor richard, that you must convince. it is the dejected, misrepresented masses to whom you must speak. i sympathize with your plight, but i will not assist you in your (self)deception.

richard, expect to encounter such anger and resentment as some here have shown you. when the game is rigged to ensure that no matter what you do, you lose - it is quite natural to find a different game - and equally as natural for those who work so hard to maintain such a system to be pissed when you refuse to play.

regards.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 11, 2006 1:58 PM
Comment #198707

The voting rate in the US already looks apathetic, this would make that look even more apathetic.

Hard to promote democracy in any form if apathy makes ours look like the citizens don’t care.

Posted by: womanmarine at December 11, 2006 2:43 PM
Comment #198708
Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n, Incumbency itself is not the problem.
Agreed. I never said it was, did I? Why do you keep trying to mischaracterize my position? Is that easier than trying to poke holes in a sound argument?
Stephen Daugherty wrote: The problem is just mindlessly re-electing somebody without paying attention to what they’re doing. Pay attention to what they are doing. If they don’t act in compliance with your standards, chunk them.
Agreed. I have always advocated that very same thing. Keep the good ones. Don’t re-elect the bad ones.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: People need viable alternatives.
Agreed. That’s why I have and will continue to encourage more third parties and independents to get on all the ballots.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: Chunking the bad apples does you no good if you don’t have a good apple to enjoy.
Yes it does. If all the candidates are bad, vote out the incumbent. Why? Because it eliminates the current bad one, and the newcomer will have less power as a freshmen Congressperson. Rewarding a bad incumbent by re-electing them is worse, becuse they become more powerful. So, as I said above, and the logic is irrefutable, when you have no good choices, vote out the incumbent. After all, you already know the incumbent is bad, and the challenger may gleen something from seeing irresponsible incumbents being ousted for being irresponsible.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: Any good movement against mindless incumbency
First of all, there can be no movement that is good if its goal is “mindless anti-incumbency” If you are again trying to characterize the advice to “not re-elect irresponsible incumbents” (especially when all candidates are bad) as a mindless anti-incumbency, then that is inaccurate.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: … ought to include the push for better alternative candidates within the party.
Agreed. More choices and candidates is a good thing. Never said it wasn’t.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: There are no simple answers, but there is a simple question we can ask: are the people we sent to Washington or wherever else doing their jobs, and if not, who do we send in their place?
But, don’t reward irresponsible incumbents by re-electing them. Keep the good ones. Replace the bad ones. It’s that simple. You seem to disagree? So, do you know any good ones? Can you list 10, 20, 50, 100, 150, 200, or even 268 (half of 535) in Congress that are responsible, not bought-and-paid-for, don’t peddle influence, embrace campaign finance reform, and don’t look-the-other-way ? If there aren’t even 268 (half of 535), what can you conclude about Congress (as a whole)?
Stephen Daugherty wrote: We can’t merely punish bad behavior; we have to encourage good behavior.
Agreed. Bad behavior should be punished and we should never reward irresponsible incumbents by re-electing them.

Unfortunately bad behavior, often, isn’t punised.
There is a lack of accountability, despite many hypocrites running around saying “I am accountable”.

The worst punishment is often only resignation and still collect their cu$hy multi-million dollar pension.

And, for many, even if ever convicted, they might get a presidential pardon (like the 546 criminals pardoned by Bill Clinton; 140 pardoned on his last day in office).

Who says crime doesn’t pay? Especially political crime.

But we should never reward irresponsible incumbents by re-electing them.
What part of the logic do you disagree with?
Are you trying to argue against the logic of voting out the incumbent when BOTH candidates are bad?

Posted by: d.a.n at December 11, 2006 2:48 PM
Comment #198720

Diogenes,

of course you can’t stand it. it makes your party look bad, and the whole system look as illegitimate and corrupt as it in fact is.

I don’t have a party. But I do do my part to participate in government, small though it may be. If you don’t like the candidates, write someone in. That is literally the least you can do. If someone does nothing, why should I care what they have to say about politics or the government?

vote for someone, if you feel they represent you. work to see that someone you like gets on the ballot as a 3rd… but don’t expect that you’ll actually be able to achieve this under the current duopoly.

I voted for a few third party candidates last month. None of them won, but I’m proud to say I voted against the big parties. People who refused to vote didn’t have their say. They only pretend they did.

Do Something - lacking any other option, vote for ‘none of the above,’ by not voting - and make it known that you are *actively* not voting.

There’s no such thing as “actively” not doing something. Either you have your say, or you don’t. If someone stays home because they don’t like the parties, and I go to the polls and vote against them, who actually acomplished something?

Oh, and by the way, it’s attitudes like yours and Richards that keep hold third parites and independent candidates back. Encourage people to vote for 3P&I’s. Encouraging people not to vote at all only helps the D’s and R’s.

Posted by: TheTraveler at December 11, 2006 3:45 PM
Comment #198744

If you think there is no difference between the parties, you haven’t been paying attention. Sure, there are similarities, and they all play the same games to get (re)elected, including fundraising and pandering. But if you think the Clinton years bear any resemblance to the Bush II years, I want some of what you’re smokin’, baby, cause it’s powerful stuff.

Like the previous poster said, it’s worth voting even if for the lesser of two evils. And although it may feel good to vote for your no-hoper that inspires you, you may be better off voting for the lesser of two evils rather than end up with the most evil option of all. I certainly put W in that last category, as well as some of the other Pleistocene-era thinkers in the extreme right corner of the Republican party. There are a few Democrats I feel that way about, but there is no chance they will get the nomination.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at December 11, 2006 5:03 PM
Comment #198745

traveler,

“I don’t have a party.”

apologies. an improvident assumption, on my part.

“If you don’t like the candidates, write someone in. That is literally the least you can do.”

all depending on the state in which you live. i believe something like five states do not allow any presidential write-ins, whatsoever. others, such as mine, require that the write-in collect a certain number of signatures beforehand - or the votes will not be counted (and even then the candidate is not allotted a place on the ballot).

“People who refused to vote didn’t have their say.”

hmm… really?

“The voting rate in the US already looks apathetic, this would make that look even more apathetic.

Hard to promote democracy in any form if apathy makes ours look like the citizens don’t care.”

emphasis mine, obviously. strange how ‘nothing was said,’ and yet a message has clearly been delivered.

and i would retort, it’s also hard to promote democracy in any form when your own is a sham - the people ‘don’t care’ because the two parties have advanced no view we consider worth caring about.

if you want someone to vote *for* you, rather than be given their vote by default - inspire them (and do so without using coercive fear tactics).

“There’s no such thing as “actively” not doing something.”

do you believe that? you’re mistaken. if there is no good option for your vote (no possibility for a representative 3rd or write-in) - don’t vote. to do otherwise is to quite arguably be a part of the problem.

however, if you merely refrain from voting, you’re missing a good opportunity to be proactive. make sure you tell others *why* you didn’t vote - cuz they’ll assume you’re just lazy or apathetic, as many here have. call this what you will, it is what i would suggest people in this situation do. argue semantics all you wish.

womanmarine,

consider what you say. you seem to be suggesting that the image (of democracy) is more important than the reality it shrouds. in order to achieve positive change, one must first recognize and confront the reality…

if you recognize no fundamental problem with the reality, then it is little wonder that you wish to gloss it over with a shining, democratic mirage.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 11, 2006 5:10 PM
Comment #198763
Like the previous poster said, it’s worth voting even if for the lesser of two evils. And although it may feel good to vote for your no-hoper that inspires you, you may be better off voting for the lesser of two evils rather than end up with the most evil option of all.
Yes, vote. If you don’t like any of the candidates, vote for the challenger. That’s better than rewarding the incumbent by re-electing them, allowing them to grow more powerful. At least a freshmen Congress person is less likely to do as much damage.

That this discussion proves is that there ARE some definite guidelines that voters should seriously consider.

One of the major problems is that too many voters are seduced (and I used to be one of them) into the powerfully seductive:

VOTING GUIDELINES:
  • (1) Research the candidates. Look at their voting records.

  • (2) If there are no good candidates, vote for the non-incumbent. It’s better to vote for a challenger than reward the irresponsible incumbent by re-electing them, and allowing them to grow more powerful. We were never supposed to re-elect irresponsible incumbents. Unfortunately, that happens often, merely because of blind party loyalty. That merely allows both main parties to keep taking turns being irresponsible, and keeps the incumbency rates high (e.g. 90%), essentially telling Congress they can keep being irresponsible, FOR-SALE, and corrupt. Parties encourage straight-ticket voting, but that is the lazy way. That is how parties tap-into your laziness to get you to pull the party lever, instead of doing your own thinking for yourself (undoubtedly, this will anger some blind party loyalists).

  • (3) If there is a good candidate, vote for that candidate. But, don’t rely on party alone. Study the candidates’ voting records, philosophies, and/or platform. That person, who may be a member of your party, may not even remotely represent your beliefs.

  • (4) If there is no good candidate and the only candidate is running unopposed, don’t register a vote for that office. If a write-in is allowed, do that instead.

Posted by: d.a.n at December 11, 2006 6:19 PM
Comment #198766

Dan-

Agreed. I never said it was, did I? Why do you keep trying to mischaracterize my position? Is that easier than trying to poke holes in a sound argument?

We can mutually accuse each other of misunderstanding each other’s position. I don’t think this is largely voluntary, though. I think we’re talking past each other.

My argument, essentially, is as given in my first paragraph. The trick is, and what you have to understand, is that people are going to have different standards which they expect people to comply with, even if they take a more active role in looking after their politicians.

This is one aspect that makes any one simple idea an impossible means of complete redemption. Some people are happy with more, some with less. If we want to raise standards generally, it’s not sufficient simply to vote people in and out.

As for viable alternatives, I don’t merely mean the alternatives of a third party, though I don’t object to those. I also mean that people within the big two should provide themselves with additional candidates during the primaries, even with an incumbent in place. There needs to be pressure, even in politically safe districts, upon the candidates. Competition and feedback are critical to keeping our candidates rooted to what the communities want out of them.

My line about the futility of chunking bad apples without the good available relates to a real question in ousting incumbents; that is, motivation. If organizations seeking to fight mindless incumbency do not find ways to recruit and offer positive alternatives to the incompetents and the corrupt, then they encourage mindless incumbency, because people would rather deal with the devil they know than the devil they don’t. Half of the success of the 2006 election was in recruitment.

We put out there folks that the voters could see as a positive alternative to their rivals, a positive magnetic pole to contrast with the negative of the other candidate. When learning about conflict during my training as a writer, one of the lessons was that a conflict is not a confrontation of good and bad, but different goods, and a choice between two evils. With the first confrontation, the choice is obvious: good over evil. With the second, people will be conflicted over the choice, or just not feel like making it We need to make people feel like there is no choice, but to vote for the challenger. hence, replace bad apples with good.

As for your challenge on whether I can list the good ones, I’m goin to turn that around on you: can you list the bad? Can you single them out, relate their relative good or bad points? Incumbents are defeated one candidate at a time, by people who have come to know the dark side of their candidate enough to despise them. You can’t vote for them; you have to give them the motivation, and generalized attributes will not work towards that end.

And if we don’t have the ideal? We vote for the better. It makes no sense to put an idiot in charge, just because he happens to be a challenger. The lesser of the two evils is the only responsible choice. The key is to not let things come to that. Improve things ahead of time, and come to the election with good candidates.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 11, 2006 6:34 PM
Comment #198778

“The lesser of the two evils is the only responsible choice.”

i must strongly disagree with your assertion here, for the reason i previously stated. many believe that those who failed to vote in the elections involving bush facilitated his win - or they did so by voting for a 3rd party candidate.

you believe that they should have voted for the “lesser of two evils.” what i think you fail to recognize is that some believed that they *were* voting for the lesser of two evils when they voted *for* bush (i cannot fathom how, but i’ve heard it from many)…

to suggest that voting for the lesser of two evils can produce good is not only counterintuitive, but also, (i believe) very false. it simply resigns us to accept one of two bad choices, time after time. this will not lead to change for the better, but quite the opposite.

“The key is to not let things come to that. Improve things ahead of time, and come to the election with good candidates.”

this, however, is absolutely correct.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 11, 2006 7:02 PM
Comment #198780


Right now, the number of people who vote hovers around 50%. If a boycott reduced that number to say 40%, one of the two major parties would still win and if they won 55% of the 40% that voted, they would still claim a great victory and a mandate from the people.

That other group of people, the ones who never vote are the key to breaking the two party system. Some of them are totally disinterested in politics, it doesnt’t affect their lives one way or the other. Many of them, mostly the poor, think that their vote doesn’t count and that neither party is going to do anything that will significantly improve their lives.

Any third party movement that could convince even a third of those who don’t vote that their vote will count and that their lives will be improved by their participation in the voting process, can break the two party system.

Posted by: jlw at December 11, 2006 7:14 PM
Comment #198781

KT said: “Maybe if there is a good third party person running, then maybe they will get enough votes to make others think that the 2 main parties are not the way to go.
Now to me, if you don’t vote, then you don’t care what happens and you are satified with whoever gets into office, and what they do.”

KT- There will be a good third party candidate, maybe two, that is not my point at all. The point is that because of ballot restrictions put on third parties by the two party duopoly even if there are good third party candidates not everyone will be able to vote for them, because in some states there will be no third party candidates who make the ballot.

David Remer stated: “There are a growing number Independent organizations out there, join them, support them, work with them. As they grow, they will interact and create a national independent party capable of proferring Independent candidates for President.”

David: This is true and I agree with this, but again no matter how hard the third parties try there will be some states where there are no third party options on the ballot. These are the people who I am targeting the people who come November 2008 will see absolutely no option on their ballot. And because Bush is a lame duck President there will be no anti-incumbent vote either, because neither major party candidate will be a incumbent.

The Traveler: Yes I plan to vote and yes I plan to work to help the Green Party get on the ballot in Virginia. I was simply throwing up a possible option for independents who have no option in their state. Because now what do you think would happen in the following situation:

A state has no third party candidates for President in 2008. Independents, at least a segment of them lets say ten thousand, in that state go to vote and vote for every office besides President leaving that blank. It would be abundantly clear that these independents went and voted but were so upset with the two parties they saw on their ballot, and many of them worked to get third parties on the ballot but unfortunately were unsuccessful, that they purposely left the Presidential race blank. This would undoubtedly get media coverage if a large segment in a state did as such. I am not advocating this I am just merely throwing it out as something for people to think about.

d.a.n. stated: “Here is a BETTER idea:

If you have two bad choices, do NOT reward the irresponsible incumbent by re-electing that person.”

Well d.a.n. there will be no incumbent in the 2008 Presidential election so an anti-incumbent vote is impossible.

All: My overall point is that no matter how hard third parties work there will be at least a few states where none of them make the ballot for various reasons, primarily ballot restrictions. These people who live in states where no third party makes the ballot, despite their best efforts to put one on the ballot, are ignored consistently every election. When is the last time you have heard anyone speak of these people outside of this thread? No one speaks of these people they are just ignored and told to shut up and vote for the lesser of two evils, or to work harder against the heavily stacked deck that they have been working against and likely will continue to work against the next time around. But the fact is that if they worked hard and no third party candidate made the ballot what are they to do to shut up and vote for a major party candidate who represents the duopoly which put those ballot restrictions in place and will continue to try to make it harder for them to make it on the ballot, that would make no sense.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at December 11, 2006 7:17 PM
Comment #198786

P.S.
To all who advocate some form of the following argument:

That if you don’t vote you have no right to talk about politics and that your voice is not important that you are not American etc., etc.

This is the biggest scam. The reason this is a scam is because it puts people into a situation where they are duped into voting for a major party. Here is how it works:
1. They are told that supposedly they can’t talk about politics and become unimportant if they don’t vote.
2. And well they don’t want that so they go to the polls and vote.
3. Upon getting to the polls they see only two names, the names of the two major party candidates (remember this whole thread is based on people in states where there are no third party options so thus that is the situation here, moreover this thread only deals with the Presidential office and not other races).
4. So they think about it, thinking that well I don’t want to vote for either one of these people. I can’t stand either one of them. But if I don’t vote for one of them than somehow I am not American, or I have no right to talk politics, or that I don’t care.
5. So they give in and vote for one of the two major parties.
6. The people who told you all of those things about being not American and not caring and all that just laugh and laugh and laugh because they duped you into voting for a major party candidate again, thus upholding the two party duopoly. And the best part is they know they can do it to you again next time probably, or if a third party appears next time in your state they know that there will be some state with no third party candidates where their buddies can dupe other people with this same guilt trip.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at December 11, 2006 7:35 PM
Comment #198799
Stephen Daugherty wrote: Some people are happy with more, some with less. If we want to raise standards generally, it’s not sufficient simply to vote people in and out.
Right. You have to vote out the bad ones and keep the good ones. That shouldn’t be difficult, but it is elusive because voters are brainwashed. Only education will change it, and voters’ will get their education, one way or another.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: I also mean that people within the big two should provide themselves with additional candidates during the primaries, even with an incumbent in place.
Eh? That’s highly unlikely.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: There needs to be pressure, even in politically safe districts, upon the candidates. Competition and feedback are critical to keeping our candidates rooted to what the communities want out of them.
Agreed. That’s why third parties are important.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: My line about the futility of chunking bad apples without the good available relates to a real question in ousting incumbents; that is, motivation. If organizations seeking to fight mindless incumbency do not find ways to recruit and offer positive alternatives to the incompetents and the corrupt, then they encourage mindless incumbency, because people would rather deal with the devil they know than the devil they don’t. Half of the success of the 2006 election was in recruitment.
And, other organizations will encourage anti-incumbency. I don’t encourage mindless anti-incumbency. However, I think there was some of that in the Nov-2006 election, where people merely picked non-incumbents of the OTHER party.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: We put out there folks that the voters could see as a positive alternative to their rivals …


Stephen Daugherty wrote:
As for your challenge on whether I can list the good ones, I’m goin to turn that around on you: can you list the bad?

Yes, I can.
But it would be a much easier and a much shorter list to provide the ones that are OK (maybe), and already did that once on this blog on 7-Nov-2006. After all, none of them (aside from some newcomers) haven’t voted on some pork-barrel, peddled influence, or looked the other way. Some are outright crooks. Some are not only worthless, but dangerous.

Stephen Daugherty wrote: Can you single them out, relate their relative good or bad points?
Yes, I can, and have time and time again. I’ve probably looked at more politicians’ voting records and behavior than most (if not everyone) here. I’ve also run countless searches and queries to find politicians with specific philosophies. After doing it, there are were NONE that I agreed with more than 60% on all issues. Also, there is a big difference between what they say and how they vote. That’s why it is better to look at how they vote. Citizens Against Government Waste is a good resource to see what pork-barrel they have voted on. Sometimes the pork-barrel is questionable, but most of the time, it is simply absurd. For more tips, see this.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: Incumbents are defeated one candidate at a time, by people who have come to know the dark side of their candidate enough to despise them. You can’t vote for them; you have to give them the motivation, and generalized attributes will not work towards that end.
Yep. That’s the strategy. The best disinfectant for Congress is the light of day. Some voters are so blinded by their blind party loyalty, their Congress person could be taking bribes, or guilty of manslaughter, and they would still keep re-electing those same incumbents. But, mindless dimwits like that are not the target anyway. The fence-sitters, swing voters (and their numbers are growing), and former main-party voters are those that will listen. All that is required is a few percent of all eligible voters. Third party voters and swing voters decide elections. Not the hard-core main-party loyalists. They are more like constants, and can be ignored. No amount of logic and reason works on them. In 2004, 59 million voters voted for Kerry, 62 million voted for Bush, and part of those were swing voters, and 78 million eligible voters didn’t vote. So, there are millions of potential voters to help educate (not brainwash).
Stephen Daugherty wrote: And if we don’t have the ideal? We vote for the better. It makes no sense to put an idiot in charge, just because he happens to be a challenger.
If both are idiots, then the challenger idiot is better than the incumbent idiot. If you do not like any of the candidates, then do not reward the incumbent by re-electing them. Vote for a challenger. That is the best thing to do, because rewarding the existing incumbent by re-electing them allows them to grow more powerful. Instead, choose a challenger, and that will reduce the power of that position, because newcomers (freshmen) to Congress will have less power and can do less damage. It will also send a message to the newcomer (if elected).
Stephen Daugherty wrote: The lesser of the two evils is the only responsible choice.
No. Not if they are both bad. If both choices are equally (or about equally) bad, choose the challenger.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: The key is to not let things come to that.
Too late. Too many in Congress are already too irresponsible, corrupt, and arrogant.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: Improve things ahead of time, and come to the election with good candidates.
Yes, by all means. More choices is always good. Posted by: d.a.n at December 11, 2006 8:12 PM
Comment #198812
Richard Rhodes wrote: Well d.a.n. there will be no incumbent in the 2008 Presidential election so an anti-incumbent vote is impossible.

Well Richard Rhodes, ; )
since presidential elections ALWAYS have MANY candidates, the odds of NO one person being acceptable is virtually impossible.
So, refusing to vote for someone makes no sense.

But, theoretically, if in any election for president or any other office, there are NO incumbents and NO acceptable candidates, then it would make sense to not register a vote for that office. But, as stated above, in a presidential election, that is extremely unlikely, so it’s a non-issue. There will be MANY candidates to choose from that are running for president.

Nevertheless, to update the GUIDELINES … :

VOTING GUIDELINES:

  • (1) Research the candidates. Look at their voting records.

  • (2) If it’s a presidential election or any other office in which there are NO good candidates and NO incumbent, then don’t register a vote for that office. It is perfectly acceptable to refuse to give your vote to any candidate if you believe none are acceptable. However, those that don’t care enough to vote or research their choices, are doing themselves and the nation a disservice.

  • (3) If there are no good candidates, vote for the non-incumbent. It’s better to vote for a challenger than reward the irresponsible incumbent by re-electing them, and allowing them to grow more powerful. We were never supposed to re-elect irresponsible incumbents. Unfortunately, that happens often, merely because of blind party loyalty. That merely allows both main parties to keep taking turns being irresponsible, and keeps the incumbency rates high (e.g. 90%), essentially telling Congress they can keep being irresponsible, FOR-SALE, and corrupt. Parties encourage straight-ticket voting, but that is the lazy way. That is how parties tap-into your laziness to get you to pull the party lever, instead of doing your own thinking for yourself (undoubtedly, this will anger some blind party loyalists).

  • (4) If there is a good candidate, vote for that candidate. But, don’t rely on party alone. Study the candidates’ voting records, philosophies, and/or platform. That person, who may be a member of your party, may not even remotely represent your beliefs.

  • (5) If there is no good candidate and the only candidate is running unopposed, don’t register a vote for that office. If a write-in is allowed, do that instead.

Posted by: d.a.n at December 11, 2006 9:53 PM
Comment #198813

“If you had the choice between Aids, cancer, or neither, which would you choose?”

I would choose ‘neither.’

When voting between Democrat or Republican, I would often also like ‘neither’ to be elected. Unfortunately, abstaining from voting does not prevent candidates from winning. As such, I would rather the lesser of two evils win since one or the other is guaranteed to take power.

You also have a few other logical fallacies such as:

“Most people will tell you that well you don’t have any third party candidate to vote for and well you don’t have any candidate who represents your views at all but you still have to vote, because if you don’t vote you have no right to talk of politics. […] The whole essence of this argument is to hurt third parties in two ways”

Irrelevant. Whether or not it is meant to hurt third parties does not make the point any less true. You refused to take a side and ergo you took no responsibility. I probably would not go so far as to say you have no right to talk of politics, but it certainly is a poor decision to make in my view.

“As long as the two major parties can make it where we have no option at all besides them in these states we will supposedly have no option but to boost their numbers.”

Their is natural strength in numbers. Each party tries to get as many votes as it can and the largest party wins. Even if you feel like you have been purposefully marginalized you need to understand that a concentration of power is simply more effective than trying to cater to everyone’s views with smaller parties. I am not saying this is a perfect system, but you certainly have not offered a better alternative nor have I ever thought/heard of one myself.

Posted by: Zeek at December 11, 2006 9:54 PM
Comment #198815

d.a.n. stated: “Well Richard Rhodes, ; )
since presidential elections ALWAYS have MANY candidates, the odds of NO one person being acceptable is virtually impossible.
So, refusing to vote for someone makes no sense.”

d.a.n: The whole premise of this post revolves around states in which there will be no third party candidates, thus in these states there will not be many candidates. What you are missing is that yes there will be many candidates in 2008 for President, but not all of them will be on the ballot in all states. Moreover some states will only have the two major parties on their ballot. This situation of only having the two major parties candidates on the ballot is my primary focus, and thus what people in these states should do.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at December 11, 2006 10:00 PM
Comment #198817

Diogenes-
1)We’re never presented with ideal choices. Waiting for them means letting other people make choices for, which will still affect us, regardless of our alienation.

2)The question is not simply a superficial examination of the good and bad, but a much deeper one. The Republicans should have red-flagged Bush as a poor candidate based on his multiple business failures, his inability to follow through on his duties in the Texas and Alabama Air National Guards.

3)We should not accept bad choices without a fight, but if handed them, we should try to make the best of them, and then let them know when they come into offices what we think of what they do. Voting is a natural selection environment. Mutations are bound to develop. Select for the ones that work, take out the ones that don’t, rinse, lather, repeat.

Richard Rhodes-
Opening up the country further for third parties is a good goal, but take a cue from what we Democrats did in 2006: don’t give up. You can’t win the battles that aren’t fought. Your fight has to be about something wider than just a political party. Think of all those people who voted for Nader in 2000. How did it benefit us to get Bush on that account? How does that in turn sell third parties to the American people. A third party president will not be seen in this country until we have a sufficient congressional base to support them. Americans will not put a third party candidate in the presidency until they understand the deal they’re getting with them and want to sign on to it. Creating a new major party is no small task. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but neither where the two parties opposing you.

Dan-
First, don’t call people brainwashed. If somebody called you brainwashed, you’d rightly think they were insulting your intelligence. Education starts with the willingness to learn, and few people are willing to take lessons from somebody who doesn’t respect them or their opinions.

Concerning the unlikelihood of getting challenger candidates into primaries, I’m not talking about leaving things to chance.

Concerning the role of third parties in competition and feedback, I’m talking both inside and outside the party. You forget here that my goals are the redemption of my own party as well. Also, though, the third parties need to build up their strength, if their goal is to keep people on their toes, such that they can win elections. Being spoilers only ensures being fringe.

Concerning my challenge: This is about knowing your adversaries, and being able to tell people why they’re undesirable. It’s almost a joke that politicians are supposed to be corrupt. Simply saying they’re bought and paid for isn’t going to make people care. It’s relating how this is a bad thing for them that brings it home. Maybe they voted for a bill that pollutes a favorite waterway. If you can quantify the damage, people can better estimate how much they have to lose by sticking with the incumbent.

If you remain vague and generalized about it, you leave yourself with little ammunition. If you can name names, make connection, tell stories, then you’ve got a dynamic you can create, a tale to educate with. When I talk about the Iraq War, I can tell people how the different parts of the complex mess relate, and how one mistake lead to another.

The way to break blind party loyalty is get under people’s skin, and relate to them a picture of the world that bypasses their sensibilities as a partisan, and goes straight to their instincts and understandings as a human being.

I often say things like “the key is not to let it come to that.” or other things that seem like they’re just idealistic, but what I think is that our reach ought to exceed our grasp. The key is to keep on fighting, keep on struggling, keep on learning. The problems of corruption, incompetence, and error are chronic throughout all history. All we can do is fight the good fight, and push them back where we’re able. The more we do that, the easier it gets. It’s like exercizing a muscle: The more you stand up for yourself, the more strongly you can manage it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 11, 2006 10:24 PM
Comment #198818

Richard Rhodes,

OK, I get your point.
However, I still disagree that voters shouldn’t consider other candidates merely because there are no third party candidates.
But, I do agree that (if there are no good candidates and no incumbent), it is then very much like the choice between two fatal diseases.

But, I do thank you for bringing up this subject.
It brought up some issues reqarding voter guidelines that had not been thoroughly examined before.

Posted by: d.a.n at December 11, 2006 10:32 PM
Comment #198822

d.a.n. said: “OK, I get your point.
However, I still disagree that voters shouldn’t consider other candidates merely because there are no third party candidates.”

d.a.n: I never said that if you look towards the beginning of this post I say, “If one of the candidates in the major parties represent your views than you should vote for that candidate.”

Thus I don’t count out voting a major party candidate, I only count it out if no major party candidates represent your views.

For example: If the Greens don’t make it on the ballot in Virginia and no other third party candidate I like makes it on the ballot in Virginia, I would be left with Dems and Reps. Now if the Dems run Feingold I would vote for Feingold . However if they run Hillary or John Kerry I would never vote for either one of them, and the Republicans well I don’t think I could consider them. Do you see what I mean now?

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at December 11, 2006 10:42 PM
Comment #198828


“Irrelevant. Whether or not it is meant to hurt third parties does not make the point any less true.”

no. the argument is untrue, prima facie, and regardless of its intent.

“Unfortunately, abstaining from voting does not prevent candidates from winning.”

it prevents them from garnering undue legitimacy. if they continue to marginalize the majority of americans, the number who vote will continue to trend down more each cycle.

now, sure, they can claim that they were elected by a majority of voters, and therefore have a mandate - but when that mandate consists of, say, twenty percent of the voting age population, even they won’t be able to go on believing this. certainly, no one else will. at this point, if reform doesn’t occur, the people will force it.

stephen,

as i have been saying, an abstention from voting is not ‘letting others decide for you,’ per se. it is following and fostering a natural and growing trend - natural in that this is exactly what one would expect a person to do when they feel they have nothing to gain by voting.

richard has merely outlined the circumstances in which it might be wise for an active and informed voter to follow this natural trend.

“We should not accept bad choices without a fight, but if handed them, we should try to make the best of them, and then let them know when they come into offices what we think of what they do.”

i assure you that i will let them know what i think of what they do, whether or not i vote… as is my right… whether or not i vote.

i will grant you that bush was a particularly harsh price to pay… but then, i voted… and in those particular instances, would do it again with no regrets.

“The question is not simply a superficial examination of the good and bad, but a much deeper one. The Republicans should have red-flagged Bush as a poor candidate based on his multiple business failures…”

this is what happens when everyone is devoted to “the lesser of two evils.” you neglect to question whether voting for the lesser of the two really will yield any desirable result, or might instead perpetuate the problem…

my point; keep voting for the “lesser of two evils” and this (bush) *will* happen again.

in any case, the statistics speak for themselves. fewer and fewer turn out to vote —with the exception of the last two presidential elections, and this past mid-term — and these high turnouts were clearly fear-induced, and thus anomalous. fear will only get you so far.

i suggest you address your concerns to a larger crowd than merely richard and i, and i’d also suggest you develop a more inspiring message. vote or else! - is clearly losing its efficacy. the major parties ignore the signs at their own peril.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 11, 2006 11:05 PM
Comment #198830

Richard Rhodes,
OK. Point taken. I agree. If there are NO acceptable candidates or incubment, then don’t register a vote for that office, or write-in a name if that is allowed. However, in MOST races, there is one candidate that is better than the other. Especially for Congress (even if all choices stink, choose a challenger before re-electing an incumbent … No?). Seldom is there no incumbent. Usually, the scenario you portray is most likely at the state or local level.
If I understand, we agree on these voting guidelines ?

Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n, First, don’t call people brainwashed.
Why not? Especially if it is true. I used to be one of them. Truth hurts, but sometimes it needs to be said. Besides, there’s this thing called free speech. If I believe too many voters are brain washed and wallowing in the petty partisan warfare, then I can say so.

You yourself said (above) you don’t like to sugar-coat things.

Stephen Daugherty wrote: If somebody called you brainwashed, you’d rightly think they were insulting your intelligence.
Maybe, but if it is true, then it is tough.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: Education starts with the willingness to learn, and few people are willing to take lessons from somebody who doesn’t respect them or their opinions.
I respect their right to their opinions, but not their opinions.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: Concerning the unlikelihood of getting challenger candidates into primaries, I’m not talking about leaving things to chance.
And, guess who is blocking access for third parties and independents to the ballots. The two main parties.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: Concerning the role of third parties in competition and feedback, I’m talking both inside and outside the party. You forget here that my goals are the redemption of my own party as well.
Good luck.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: Also, though, the third parties need to build up their strength, if their goal is to keep people on their toes, such that they can win elections. Being spoilers only ensures being fringe.
Agreed.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: Being spoilers only ensures being fringe.
False. Third parties and swing voters decide elections. Of course, the two main parties don’t want to admit that. But it is true, and that is why the main party loyalists get so upset at third party candidates.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: Concerning my challenge: This is about knowing your adversaries, and being able to tell people why they’re undesirable. It’s almost a joke that politicians are supposed to be corrupt.
It’s no joke. We (voters) are programming them to be corrupt by rewardying them by repeatedly re-electing them.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: Simply saying they’re bought and paid for isn’t going to make people care.
On the contrary. Showing people what their politicians are doing makes them wonder. Only the hard-core brainwashed, blind party loyalists don’t care.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: It’s relating how this is a bad thing for them that brings it home. Maybe they voted for a bill that pollutes a favorite waterway. If you can quantify the damage, people can better estimate how much they have to lose by sticking with the incumbent.
Haven’t you seen the countless times I’ve posted voting records for many dozens of politicians? Have you not visited any of the pages that do these many things you describe? It’s not just about complaining, but providing solutions too.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: If you remain vague and generalized about it, you leave yourself with little ammunition.
Me general? The fact that you come up with these totally false conclusions is fascinating, since, of all people here, I’m one of the least general (if not most) and least ambiguous. Above, you stated I didn’t offer Review my writings and web pages and you’ll see the vast many things you say aren’t present.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: If you can name names, make connection, tell stories, then you’ve got a dynamic you can create, a tale to educate with. When I talk about the Iraq War, I can tell people how the different parts of the complex mess relate, and how one mistake lead to another.
Well, that’s debatable. Sometimes people don’t want to wade through a long tale.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: The way to break blind party loyalty is get under people’s skin, …
I know, and I must be doing a good job today, eh?
Stephen Daugherty wrote: I often say things like “the key is not to let it come to that.” or other things that seem like they’re just idealistic, but what I think is that our reach ought to exceed our grasp. The key is to keep on fighting, keep on struggling, keep on learning. The problems of corruption, incompetence, and error are chronic throughout all history. All we can do is fight the good fight, and push them back where we’re able. The more we do that, the easier it gets. It’s like exercizing a muscle: The more you stand up for yourself, the more strongly you can manage it.

Well, you got your style and I got mine.
I prefer to present the issue, as much evidence as possible, data, facts, charts, tables, links, diagrams, visuals, etc. to support it, the conclusion, and the solution.
Not a lot of prolific, circular, flowery prose.

Posted by: d.a.n at December 11, 2006 11:22 PM
Comment #198832

Richard Rhodes,
Yes, Absolutely, election reform is badly-needed to address the way access to ballots for third parties and independents are having blocked by the two main parties.
Gerrymandering is a problem too.
Unfair incumbent advantages are a problem.
There are a number of problems.
But, none will be adequately addressed as long as we keep rewarding those politicians by repeatedly re-electing them, despite their refusal to address these problems, growing in nubmer and severity.

Posted by: d.a.n at December 11, 2006 11:43 PM
Comment #198833

As I see it not voting for a President is saying you don’t care who’s in office. It’s just the same as not voting at at all.
If at all possible, vote for a third party or independent candidate. But in any case vote. If for the lesser of the evils. That’s about what I’ve been doing for the last several Presidential elections.
The mainstream politicians would be in hog heaven if folks quit voting just because they didn’t like who’s running. It’d give them free hand to do exactly as they please.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 11, 2006 11:51 PM
Comment #198834

I gotta say I just love how people say that you gotta vote even if there is no viable option. How you gotta just suck it up and vote for the lesser of two evils. It’s like if the Republicans ran Bert (from Sesame Street) and the Democrats ran Ernie (again from Sesame Street) they would be out there saying how your options are Bert or Ernie, and you just have to choose one.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at December 11, 2006 11:59 PM
Comment #198835

Ron Brown,
Yes, there are usually lots of choices for President. Unless they all are equally bad, a choice for one is recommended.

However if they run Hillary or John Kerry I would never vote for either one of them,
Me neither. If they run either of those (Hillary Clinton or John Kerry), I’ll vote for just about anyone else running against them. Posted by: d.a.n at December 12, 2006 12:04 AM
Comment #198837

Richard Rhodes,

Voting (or not) is everyones’ right.
If ALL the choices are equally (or about) bad, it doesn’t really make any sense to vote for any candidates since they are all bad.

Like you said, it’s like a choice between two fatal diseases.

So, did you disagree with any of those voting guidelines ?

Posted by: d.a.n at December 12, 2006 12:09 AM
Comment #198840

Just a couple of thoughts:

How many of the people who don’t vote now are affiliated with third parties and don’t vote for that reason? If it’s not the majority of them, then doesn’t that dilute the message you would try to send by not voting?

Voting may be a right, but as an American who loves this democracy, I also consider it a responsibility that I gladly take on.

Posted by: womanmarine at December 12, 2006 1:00 AM
Comment #198842

the percentage of the voting age population which chooses to align themselves with one of the two parties is declining. the number of voters who actually vote is declining. the message is clear… you don’t represent us. we’d rather stay home than waste a day on you… (not you, personally, womanmarine).

in my own case, i am highly likely to vote for one of the two parties, given any decent candidate on either side who can espouse, and convince me of their sincerity regarding, even one important issue which currently faces us. such is the nature of the times. i am not yet to the point where i would rather see the whole system go down than waste one more vote on an unresponsive party. i still have hope.

“Voting may be a right, but as an American who loves this democracy, I also consider it a responsibility that I gladly take on.”

as do i. i would not shirk this duty without just cause. if you feel that your party (assuming you are loyal to one) represents you, then i commend you for your loyality… as i commend you for encouraging others to vote for them.

i take exception to the near-threats issued by many party loyalists that one *must* vote, and particularly for one of theirs, or one is unpatriotic and has no right to speak, nor be heard.

what my posts here are mainly meant to remonstrate is the notion that it is always better to vote than refrain, as well as the fact that such party loyalists are essentially blaming those who find no cause to vote, for their own (the party’s) failure to persuade them that they are worthy of it.

lastly, (and i promise i’ll drop this) when you encourage (or rather, coerce) someone to vote (especially against their desire to do so), consider that you do not know who they will vote for. an uninformed electorate is as likely a reason as any that bush achieved his electoral victories.

game politics. you really don’t care about the politician - you just know they’re on your ‘team,’ you voted for them, and that *you* want to win.

enough ‘get out the vote.’
let’s try a renewed emphasis on ‘get out the message.’

Posted by: Diogenes at December 12, 2006 1:41 AM
Comment #198849

Diogenes,

I agree with all of that 100%.
Especially the “get out the message” versus “get out the vote”.
There’s a lot of mindless voting going on, which is actually worse than those that don’t vote at all.

Posted by: d.a.n at December 12, 2006 9:04 AM
Comment #198853

I really thought I had read somewhere that one of the reasons people who don’t vote gave is that they felt their vote wouldn’t count. This doesn’t mean they affiliate with third parties.

One of the things I fear is our political system becoming dysfunctional. While we have much to improve, it would be to our detriment to see our system fail in any significant way. Especially if our aim is to encourage democracy in the world. I would think we need to be very careful about this.

Surely there must be other ways. I do think it’s wrong that every presidential candidate is not on the ballot in every state. This should be a federal issue that states can’t arbitrarily decide. On this we agree.

So, lobby your politicians, not necessarily as a member of a third party, but as an American who insists that any person eligible to be on the ballot for President should be on ALL ballots for President, regardless of state.

Posted by: womanmarine at December 12, 2006 10:57 AM
Comment #198855

Diogenes

You wrote:

a vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for *evil*.

Imagine if all the independents had decided to not vote during this past mid term election. We’d have the same ol’ cronies with the same ol’ corruption doing the same ol’ TERRIBLE job. This administration with it’s “screw the constitution, we’ll do what we want” attitude would become even worse (if you can imagine it) than they already were.

Now, I am not suggesting the democrats are much better. What I am saying is thanks to the independents and the republicans who decided they’d had enough and voted democrat or independent sent a clear message to ALL politicians. That message was, WE ARE WATCHING AND WE DEMAND CHANGE! WE DEMAND BETTER!

If you don’t vote, you will keep getting stuck with the status quo, no matter which party it might be.

sassyliberal


Posted by: sassyliberal at December 12, 2006 11:48 AM
Comment #198862


Dan: the Democrats have announced that they will begin working on all the appropriations bills that the Tepublicans left undone by removing billions of dollars of pork barrel spending. Some reps. and sens. are very upset by this announcement.

Posted by: jlw at December 12, 2006 12:41 PM
Comment #198868

jlw,

I hope Congress does cut the pork-barrel.

But I wouldn’t bet one mea$ley dollar that they will cut nearly enough (if any at all). In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the pork-barrel spending increase, as it has for the past ten years (or more):

Year Pork-Barrel
1991 $3 billion
1992 $3 billion
1993 $7 billion
1994 $8 billion
1995 $10 billion
1996 $13 billion
1997 $15 billion
1998 $13 billion
1999 $12 billion
2000 $18 billion
2001 $19 billion
2002 $20 billion
2003 $23 billion
2004 $23 billion
2005 $27 billion
2006 $29 billion

When it comes to pork-barrel, Democrats are far, far worse than Republicans (source: Citizens Against Government Waste: cagw.org).

In 2005, Democrats got an average grade of 18% and Republicans got an average grade of 68% (the higher the score, the better).

No Democrat scored above 47%.
Some Republicans scored 100%.

Of course, that didn’t include one unnecessary war (costing about $350 billion so far).
If you count that, it’s worse (NOTE: many Democrats and Republicans voted to invade Iraq).

I’m not cheerleading for either party, and belong to neither.
Those are just the facts.

Also, a lot of people think Bill Clinton’s administration balanced the budget, and he almost did by year 1999. However, what is not know is how he did it. The Fed and government printed a WHOLE lot of money. M3 Money Supply grew by 2.5 trillion, but that wasn’t all growth. A LOT of it was new money printed. That created a bubble in the stock market that burst in late 1999. Then everyone fled to real-estate. Now, that bubble is bursting. All that money-printing and ever-present inflation causes bubbles, as we all run around frantically looking for some way to stay ahead of the erosion caused inflation.

But, voters keep rewarding incumbent politicians by repeatedly re-electing them. By the time the consequences of doing that catches up with us, it may be too late.

That is why, in a voting nation, an educated electorate is so important. Voters will get their education one way or another, but sooner would be less painful than later.

Posted by: d.a.n at December 12, 2006 1:50 PM
Comment #198873

i’ll try to be quick (i’ve taken up enough bandwidth with my incoherent rambling). :)

womanmarine - many people do feel their vote won’t count (particularly those who don’t like the major parties and would rather vote for a 3rd… but others as well). this does not diminish my point. the system *is* dysfunctional. it seems that many in the majority parties don’t recognize this as true, or even as a problem… and it may cost them dearly.

sassy - i was attempting to speak for, and defend, the so-called ‘voiceless,’ ‘unpatriotic’ masses, more so than myself. perhaps i didn’t make this sufficiently clear. i agree with much of what you say; however, try to realize that this is also playing into the ‘game’…

the dems are more than happy to bide their time, allow the reps to tank our country (for however long may be necessary)… so that they will be elected the next cycle. better to come in last in a race of two, than dead last in a race of many.

both parties recognize this, and as poorly as they represent the majority of us, they know they would quickly be marginalized in a multi-party system.

i realize it would very likely be much worse if no one had voted in the midterms… however, it won’t take but a handful of elections of that nature before the system fails entirely… things often get much worse before anyone is motivated enough to make them better… but as womanmarine says, ‘surely there must be [better] ways.’

… still, for those who do yet retain some faith in the system (of which i count myself one), i would advise them to follow the voting guidelines of which d.a.n. speaks.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 12, 2006 2:57 PM
Comment #198881


Dan: That 18% for Democrats and 68% for Republicans suggests that from 1997 to 2005 when pork went from 15 billion to 29 billion, the Republicans who controlled Congress said here you go Democrats you can have most of the pork. It also seems to suggest that the Republican K-street lobby machine was a wasted endeavor especially when the rule is he who delivers the most pork to the people back home wins.

If we assume that there is $30 billion in pork in the 2007 appropriations. If they cut $5 billion out and promised furthur reductions in the future, would you consider that a start? I’m assuming that at least some of that pork is worthy of doing and that some projects might be vital to a community that could not afford to do it without the help of all of us.

Posted by: jlw at December 12, 2006 4:02 PM
Comment #198888
jlw wrote: … the Republicans who controlled Congress said here you go Democrats you can have most of the pork.
Exactly. You are perceptive. It’s bribery of sorts.

There are a number of such dynamics that take place in each party, depending on which is the current IN-Party or OUT-Party.

jlw wrote: If they cut $5 billion out and promised furthur reductions in the future
No, not really. Any reduction would be good, but ZERO pork-barrel should be the goal, because there is already a lot more other spending that is not necessarily considered pork-barrel (military, infrastructure, courts, legal, etc.). Also, the pork-barrel is often nothing but corporate welfare, graft, and kick-backs (e.g. $1 million to preserve a sewer in Trenton,NJ , $250,000 for the North Creek Ski Bowl, $100,000 for the Tiger Woods Foundation, $800,000 for a restroom on Mt. McKinley, $107,000 to study the sex life of the Japanese quail , etc.; see cagw.org for MUCH more). So, the pork-barrel should be ZERO.

In addition to the truly ridiculous pork-barrel, there is so much waste , it is simply jaw-dropping.
Pork-barrel and waste are a disservice and abuse of tax-payers.
Especially during a period when troops don’t have body armor and don’t get adequate medical care and promised benefits. That is especially despicable and irresponsible. While our troops don’t have what they need, Congress is voting itself 8 raises since 1997. Their arrogance, greed, and hypocrisy knows no bounds … but we keep rewarding them by repeatedly re-electing them ! ?

There are so many issues, growing in number and severity, but Do-Nothing Congress is busy with what? Voting on pork-barrel?

Posted by: d.a.n at December 12, 2006 4:48 PM
Comment #198891

jlw,

“I’m assuming that at least some of that pork is worthy of doing and that some projects might be vital to a community that could not afford to do it without the help of all of us.”

if it’s worthy of doing, then it is worthy of its own vote. when they have to slide it in under the radar, it’s obviously something they don’t want everyone knowing about. trim the fat; one subject per bill, zero pork. that’s a start. anything else is just a farce.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 12, 2006 5:05 PM
Comment #198895

Dan-
Calling somebody brainwashed shows little respect for their judgment. If you don’t respect them, that will show in your attitudes towards them. Truth hurts, yes, but they’re not going to agree with you and perceive your comments as true.

As for free speech, did I send a hit squad over to convince you not to use such comments? No, of course not. I told you that you shouldn’t do it, and you’re free to agree or not to agree with what I’m telling you to do.

Also, you’re not perfect, so if you come up to a person saying that, and they know facts or have logic that tells them differently from what you’re saying, folks are going to have little respect for you or your points. I don’t sugarcoat things, but I try and stick to giving them tough points that aren’t dependent on subjective points, but rather logic and facts.

I want the person who I’m arguing with to be trapped by their words if they’re arguing counterfactually. I want the people who are audience to this debate to come away from it, even if the other guy doesn’t conceded, convinced by the logic of what I’ve related. If I go in with an ad hominem approach, I’m bound to alienate a number of those people I’m looking to collaterally convince.

On the subject of third parties being spoilers or fringe, I’d say you need to avoid that, because then your parties get blamed for sending things in a lousy direction. How many people curse the green party for George W. Bush getting elected? How many people look at the self-satisfaction some of the members showed, that failure to distinguish the good from the bad, and simply turn away in disgust from the green party? How many on the left look on and shake their heads when they saw Green Party member’s accepting GOP money to run their campaigns in critical districts?

The third parties will not win by being the cause for grief for so many.

You talk about programming leaders. I doesn’t work like that. You talk about showing people what their politicians are doing, but I never see specifics out of you. What are you showing them exactly? What hard, specific facts back your claims? Don’t just excuse yourself by accusing those asking for those facts of being brainwashed idiots. Give the facts.

I am taken seriously here because I bring my premises, my facts, and my logic here. I don’t expect people to jump through hoops to come to agreement with me. And why should I, and why should they have to indulge me as such?

When defining meaning, the founders of information theory defined it as the degree to which the information given saves people the effort of having to seek out more information themselves. Save people some trouble. Don’t expect them to save you any by simply agreeing with you because you think so highly of your own arguments. I think highly of my own, but I don’t expect others to do so without some effort on my part, and some selectiveness as well concerning what I consider a good argument.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 12, 2006 5:29 PM
Comment #198898

“The third parties will not win by being the cause for grief for so many.”

in a fair system, voting for a third party would *not* be the cause of so much grief for so many - because it wouldn’t be a wasted vote. i was angry as well, that even i voted against bush… and yet the greens couldn’t be bothered to. but i know now that i was wrong.

would you hold such ire toward a republican who voted for bush? they are more to blame than anyone! but that was their right - as it was the right of those who voted for greens. i think we have the right to be disappointed, to question their judgment - but to allow it to anger you is a misdirection of the blame.

something as simple as a run-off election would have prevented the catastrophe that is bush… ask yourself, why don’t we hold them? who is to blame for *that*?

i realize this wasn’t the topic you probably wanted to address - or at least not with me, right now… so please excuse the intrusion.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 12, 2006 5:58 PM
Comment #198903

diogenes,

“no. the argument is untrue, prima facie, and regardless of its intent.”

Ok. Would you like to back this up with reasoning? If you are indeed right, I would like to know why.

“it prevents them from garnering undue legitimacy. if they continue to marginalize the majority of americans, the number who vote will continue to trend down more each cycle.”

If we accept this as true, there would then be advantage in voting for third party candidates. Quite simply put, if so few people are voting for the “main parties” what will prevent third parties from being able to win? I simply do not see the justification of not voting at all.

Posted by: Zeek at December 12, 2006 6:07 PM
Comment #198911

Diogenes-
I don’t hold ire towards those who voted for Bush. They have a candidate who they have to take responsibility for now that they’ve elected them. What annoys me somewhat about the Green Party in certain places in recent years is their willingness to accept help and provide help that they know works against their interests. They talk about the head game with Democratic voters taking them seriously and not neglecting their issues, but despite all the words an lovely arguments, their actions have helped the people least likely to help them in return. It’s a self destructive kind of nihilism, which doesn’t bode well for any party.

I think all too many Third parties nowadays try to crack things from the top. It’s FEC you have to worry about, it’s the fact that people know and trust the Democrats and Republicans to an extent they do not know the other parties.

There needs to be a distinct charismatic appeal to a party in order to get past these barriers. The party has to start to become a known quantity, with good practical credentials in governance. People have to be caught up in these movements, not browbeaten by a few people who think rather highly of their own politics.

Scientists have discovered that there is an emotional component to judgment. Memory and recognition also tie into the emotions. In the wild, people did not always have long periods of time to figure out complex situations, and so they decided and still do decide many issues by feelings as much as logic.

Which is to say, its not enough for you to feel that you are right. They must feel that as well. It’s easy to evoke that in a person who’s part of the choir already, and already we see much of that in political parties. But as per my previous posting on this subject, there is a significant need for any political movement to reach beyond those who are already conditioned to agree. So, in short, how people feel about a party is important to how quickly and how effectively that party can reach out within the populace.

Don’t alienate people making gestures. Build up reputations for getting things done, and done right, at a local level. See where your beliefs can appeal to people and start making sensible, respectful arguments as to why your people can do good in the offices in question. Get people to feel you are the right folks for the job, and they will move mountains and change laws for you. Don’t do that, and they will be an obstacle you’ll be hard pressed to overcome.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 12, 2006 6:44 PM
Comment #198915

the argument is that you must vote whether or not there is anyone worthy of your vote. this is patently untrue. there is no law stating that you must vote, nor that if you do not vote you cannot speak of politics.

whether a person votes is their choice to make(as is who they vote for), and no one elses.

“If we accept [the trend] as true, there would then be advantage in voting for third party candidates.”

it is true — it is happening. and indeed, you are correct. are you suggesting the problem may solve itself? let’s hope so.

“I simply do not see the justification of not voting at all.”

you don’t see the justification… ok, well building off richards example - in an election between stalin and hitler, who would you vote for?

extreme, i know. but that is the point — the quality and representation of our available electoral choices is on a steep decline… and in the given example, it would be better to vote for neither, and remit the legitimacy your vote would seemingly afford them.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 12, 2006 6:54 PM
Comment #198922
Diognes wrote: … i would advise them to follow the voting guidelines …
Thanks. And thanks to Richard Rhodes. This was a very helpful excercise. There are essentially four steps.
  • Posted by: d.a.n at December 12, 2006 7:11 PM
    Comment #198945
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n, Calling somebody brainwashed shows little respect for their judgment. If you don’t respect them, that will show in your attitudes towards them. Truth hurts, yes, but they’re not going to agree with you and perceive your comments as true.
    Stephen, Brainwashing is exactly what it it, and I intend on calling it exactly that. That is exactly why irresponsible incumbent politicians fuel the circular, distracting, divisive, petty partisan warfare. It is extremely effective at seducing voters into the partisan warfare. Some love to wallow in it. It’s the truth. If the truth hurts, tough. Sometimes, that is exactly what is needed.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: As for free speech, did I send a hit squad over to convince you not to use such comments? No, of course not. I told you that you shouldn’t do it, and you’re free to agree or not to agree with what I’m telling you to do.
    Good. I disagree. It is what it is. Life is full of all types of brainwashing. Some of it starts at a very young age. That’s simply the way it is, and there’s no reason to sugar-coat it.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Also, you’re not perfect, so if you come up to a person saying that, …
    Stephen, Why do you feel so compelled to follow me from one thread to another and tell me to quit using words like “hypocrite” and “brainwashed”? If the shoe fits, wear it.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: I don’t sugarcoat things, but I try and stick to giving them tough points that aren’t dependent on subjective points, but rather logic and facts.
    Stephen, In case you haven’t noticed, I present lots of logic and facts. Just visit my pages and links.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: I want the person who I’m arguing with to be trapped by their words if they’re arguing counterfactually.
    Huh ? You mean you want to win? : ) Well, why don’t you just say so ?
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: I want the people who are audience to this debate to come away from it, even if the other guy doesn’t conceded, convinced by the logic of what I’ve related. If I go in with an ad hominem approach, I’m bound to alienate a number of those people I’m looking to collaterally convince.
    Stephen, only those that suspect they may be one of the brainwashed are likely to be offended. Those fairly comfortable that they stand on firm ground and beliefs are not likely to be offended. Know what I mean ?
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: On the subject of third parties being spoilers or fringe, I’d say you need to avoid that
    Third parties and swing voters decide elections. The main-party loyalists are constants, and they’ll vote the same way from now until they die. The ones to reason with are the third party and independents. And the third party and independents’ numbers are growing, because the two main parties are cuttin’ it. There will most likely be many more independents and third party voters by 2008. I’d never seen so many third party and independents on the ballots this last election. While many didn’t win an office, they had an impact on the elections.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: … because then your parties get blamed for sending things in a lousy direction.
    Tough. That’s not the third party’s fault, as you would try to portray it.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: How many people curse the green party for George W. Bush getting elected?
    Good. That’s a good thing. See? Third parties and independents decide elections.

    OHHhhhhh … I see. You want everyone to vote for Demopublicans, eh ?

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: How many people look at the self-satisfaction some of the members showed, that failure to distinguish the good from the bad, and simply turn away in disgust from the green party?
    What are you talkin’ about. Lots of people like the Green Party. However, the Libertarians are the biggest, fastest growing third party. Above, you talk about encouraging third parties, and now you complain about the way they vote? Well, sorry, but third party and swing voters have the right to vote as they like. If it throws the monkey wrench in the works for the two main parties, good ! Since government is FOR-SALE anyway, that sort of disrupts the plans of those that abuse vast wealth to control elections and government.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: How many on the left look on and shake their heads when they saw Green Party member’s accepting GOP money to run their campaigns in critical districts?
    For any of them to criticize the other for campaign finance irregularities is truly ridiculous when most (if not all) are FOR SALE.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The third parties will not win by being the cause for grief for so many.
    Gets in your craw don’t it? Third parties decide elections, and their numbers are growing, and I quite frankly see it as a VERY good thing.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You talk about programming leaders. I doesn’t work like that.
    Of course it does. If you reward and empower politicians for bad behavior by repeated re-electing them, over and over, you’ll get more bad behavior. Duh! That’s what we have in our Do-Nothing Congress
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You talk about showing people what their politicians are doing, but I never see specifics out of you.
    That’s because you obviously haven’t been reading what I write. I’ve listed the voting records of many politicians and the things they voted YES/NO on. Just ask anyone here whose been paying the least amount of attention.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: What are you showing them exactly? What hard, specific facts back your claims?
    Voting records. Things they do and say. Crimes. Want to hear some more about Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA-2) ? Search the threads and you will find many dozens of posts where I have listed dozens of YES/NO votes of several dozens of politicians (Dems and Repubs; no favorites).
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Don’t just excuse yourself by accusing those asking for those facts of being brainwashed idiots. Give the facts.
    I have many times. You’d know that if you were paying the least amount of attention. Here are just a few examples of what you have missed: __________________ John Conyers voted on: [NO] Voted NO on ending preferential treatment by race in college admissions. (May 1998) [YES] Supports reparations for slavery. (Aug 2001) [NO] Voted NO on federal crime to harm fetus while committing other crimes. (Apr 2001) [NO] Voted NO on making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime. (Feb 2004) [NO] Voted NO on establishing nationwide AMBER alert system for missing kids. (Apr 2003) [NO] Voted NO on reducing Marriage Tax by $399B over 10 years. (Mar 2001) [NO] Voted NO on eliminating the “marriage penalty”. (Jul 2000) [NO] Voted NO on banning soft money donations to national political parties. (Jul 2001) [NO] Voted NO on establishing tax-exempt Medical Savings Accounts. (Oct 1999) [YES] Voted YES on emergency $78B for war in Iraq & Afghanistan. (Apr 2003) [NO] Voted NO on reporting illegal aliens who receive hospital treatment. (May 2004) [NO] Voted NO on raising 401(k) limits & making pension plans more portable. (May 2001) ____________________________ ______ Senator John Warner (R-Va.) __________________________
  • John Warner Voted NO on favoring 1997 McCain-Feingold overhaul of campaign finance. (Oct 1997)
  • John Warner Voted NO on banning more types of Congressional gifts. (Jul 1995)
  • John Warner Voted NO on banning campaign donations from unions & corporations. (Apr 2001)
  • John Warner Voted YES on $40 billion per year for limited Medicare prescription drug benefit. (Jun 2003)
  • John Warner Voted NO on restricting business with entities linked to terrorism. (Jul 2005)
  • John Warner Voted YES on limit welfare for immigrants. (Jun 1997) (How about NONE??? John Warner is one of many in government that have forced states to accommodate illegal aliens, and provide them with education, welfare, Medicaid, healthcare, etc. Thanks a lot John Warner).
  • John Warner Voted YES on prioritizing national debt reduction BELOW tax cuts. (Apr 2000) (tax cuts for the rich that is???) John Warner said: Currently, I am focused on national defense, the economy, healthcare, and homeland security issues, (among may others) that are of utmost importance to Virginia and the nation. (Really? Then why vote NO on restricting business with entities linked to terrorism???)
  • John Warner Voted YES on implementing CAFTA for Central America free-trade. (Jul 2005)
  • John Warner Voted YES on allowing more foreign workers into the US for farm work. (Jul 1998) (at minimum wage? or nore imported slave labor?)
  • John Warner Voted YES on Social Security Lockbox & limiting national debt. (Apr 1999) (Really? Look at what has happened since then?) ________ Senator George Allen (R-Va.) ______________________
  • George Allen Voted NO on banning “soft money” contributions and restricting issue ads. (Mar 2002)
  • George Allen Voted NO on banning campaign donations from unions & corporations. (Apr 2001)
  • George Allen Voted NO on $47B for military by repealing capital gains tax cut. (Feb 2006)
  • George Allen Voted NO on reducing marriage penalty instead of cutting top tax rates. (May 2001)
  • George Allen Voted NO on restricting business with entities linked to terrorism. (Jul 2005)
  • George Allen Voted YES on $40 billion per year for limited Medicare prescription drug benefit. (Jun 2003)
  • George Allen supports allowing churches to provide welfare services. (Sep 2000) (bad idea)
  • it is interesting how this sleazy money trail of former Republican mega-lobbyist, Jack Abramoff - he of the Indian gambling scandal, the Tom DeLay scandal, the bank fraud scandal, and much much more — touches so many prominent Virginia Republicans. For instance, wouldn’t you just know that Virginia’s own junior Senator, good ol’ “Cowboy George” Allen, would be caught holding out his hand to the man whom Tom DeLay (also indicted) once called one of his “closest and dearest friends?”
  • Senator George Allen (R-VA), often mentioned for the Republican Presidential nomination, loaned $470,000 to a Union President with whom he was having an affair. Reports indicate that Senator Allen forgave the loan recently, while toying with the idea of running for Governor of his home state. The same Union has recently endorsed Allen for Governor. Both Allen and the female union President deny any connection between the forgiveness of the loan and the endorsement. ____________________________
  • Lynn Woolsey Voted NO on military border patrols to battle drugs & terrorism. (Sep 2001)
  • Lynn Woolsey states: support Tax incentives for child care; eliminate marriage penalty. (Jul 1999) but voted NO twice in following two years ?
  • Lynn Woolsey Voted NO on eliminating the “marriage penalty”. (Jul 2000)
  • Lynn Woolsey Voted NO on reducing Marriage Tax by $399B over 10 years. (Mar 2001)
  • Lynn Woolsey Voted NO on reporting illegal aliens who receive hospital treatment. (May 2004)
  • Lynn Woolsey Voted YES on extending Immigrant Residency rules. (May 2001)
  • Lynn Woolsey Voted NO on adopting the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. (Oct 2004)
  • Lynn Woolsey supported MEDS Plan: Cover senior Rx under Medicare. (Jan 2001) , but Voted NO on limited prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients. (Nov 2003) ?
  • ______________________________ Those are just a few excerpts from previous posts here at watchblog. So, Stephen Daugherty, you obviously, you do NOT have the slightest idea what you are talking about.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: I am taken seriously here because I bring my premises, my facts, and my logic here. I don’t expect people to jump through hoops to come to agreement with me. And why should I, and why should they have to indulge me as such?
    Really? I rarely see you post links, date, charts, or supporting evidence. Funny, but your allegations are so false and bassackwards, it’s laughable.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: When defining meaning, the founders of information theory defined it as the degree to which the information given saves people the effort of having to seek out more information themselves. Save people some trouble. Don’t expect them to save you any by simply agreeing with you because you think so highly of your own arguments.
    Stephen Daugherty, Of all the people at Watchblog I have ever run across here over the years, the advice you humbly offer to me (and others) applies to you (yourself) MORE than anyone else. After all, you are the one that told us “I see it through the eyes of somebody who knows all about technology and the limitations of design.”
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: I think highly of my own,
    Yes, you most certainly do.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: … but I don’t expect others to do so without some effort on my part, and some selectiveness as well concerning what I consider a good argument.
    Obviously, you do, since some of your allegations above are clearly the furthest thing from the truth. Posted by: d.a.n at December 12, 2006 8:09 PM
    Comment #198971

    stephen,

    “What annoys me somewhat about the Green Party in certain places in recent years is their willingness to accept help and provide help that they know works against their interests. They talk about the head game with Democratic voters taking them seriously and not neglecting their issues, but despite all the words an lovely arguments, their actions have helped the people least likely to help them in return. It’s a self destructive kind of nihilism, which doesn’t bode well for any party.”

    i would suggest that what truly irks you (or at least most democrats) about the green party is that they are ‘stealing’ votes that you clearly perceive as belonging to *you* (or rather, the democrats). those votes belong to no one, save the people who cast them. but perhaps i am mistaken about you…

    nevertheless, i assure you that those in the green party are doing what they feel will best advance their interests (since no one else is), and unfortunately for you, this comes at the expense of your own (interests).

    you may disagree with the tactics they utilize (top-down), but perhaps their intention is ultimately to reform the democratic party into something which they feel might represent them - by showing you how many people share the very goals which you dismiss(or perhaps only marginalize)… i don’t know… but then neither do you.

    what exactly is this concept, anyway, “the least likely to help them in return.” are you suggesting that it is better to assist those who are most likely to help you, even though they haven’t and won’t?

    if you feel that no party is representing you, why would you not accept help from anyone willing to give it, in order to finally represent yourself?

    you see their goals as coinciding (to some extent) with your own… i’m guessing they don’t. i’m guessing they view the reps and dems as pretty much the same these days (i know i do) - except that the reps are giving them assistance, whereas the dems are demanding assistance *from* them (for nothing in return).

    from this perspective, you would have them do exactly what you accuse them of! helping those who are least likely to return the favor (the dems)!

    of course this is all speculation, but you are coming from a vantage point where their goal of breaking into the duopoly is a fool’s errand, and would be best addressed at a local level where it causes minimal interference with your own goals. they should take what scraps the democrats so kindly throw them, and be grateful!

    they likely see you (the democrats) as part of the problem - part of the impediment preventing them from getting their message out, from breaking into the election and debate.

    how many more might vote for them if democrats weren’t calling those very votes ‘wasted,’ ignorant, ill-advised, nihilistic, or the like? you think they are working against their own interests? i tend to disagree.

    all that said…you make some good points and i am not entirely in disagreement with your assessment… but i think you fail to consider the matter objectively.

    dare i say, i think i perhaps have a better opportunity to see their perspective, as an outsider myself. consider that such an accusation as the one which i have cited is not too far removed from those which you accuse d.a.n. …

    “It’s a self destructive kind of nihilism, which doesn’t bode well for any party.”

    anyone who would do that must be brainwashed… or stupid.

    (…and it ‘boded’ pretty well for the republicans… didnit.)

    you want the green vote? represent their interests, and “Don’t alienate people making gestures.”

    here i am, telling a democrat how to ‘win’ (what the hell is wrong with me).

    ;)

    anyway, just my take.

    Posted by: Diogenes at December 12, 2006 9:32 PM
    Comment #198973

    Diogenes,

    “the argument is that you must vote whether or not there is anyone worthy of your vote. this is patently untrue. there is no law stating that you must vote, nor that if you do not vote you cannot speak of politics.”

    Obviously. I was not saying that you are legally obliged, but rather morally (or perhaps socially is a better term) obligated to do so. You really are diverting attention from the importance of the discussion by bringing up such an inanely obvious fact.

    “whether a person votes is their choice to make(as is who they vote for), and no one elses.”

    Just like a person can choose to get high on a plethora of drugs. That does not mean they are in the right to choose that particular course of action.

    “it is true — it is happening. and indeed, you are correct. are you suggesting the problem may solve itself? let’s hope so.”

    Then if you can vote for third party candidates whom you align yourself with why would you not? If the problem is solving itself why not be a part of the solution and vote for the third parties you like?

    “in an election between stalin and hitler, who would you vote for?”

    Stalin.

    “the quality and representation of our available electoral choices is on a steep decline… and in the given example, it would be better to vote for neither, and remit the legitimacy your vote would seemingly afford them.”

    Personally, I am less worried about affording them legitimacy than having the greater of two evils rule over me. Even if I was horribly concerned about legitimacy, I would vote for a third party candidate.

    Things are not yet so bad that you do not have a “lesser-of-two-evils” choice, or even a choice so bad as “Hitler-or-Stalin.” If things do get that bad it would make more sense to start an armed revolution than sit back and not vote.

    Posted by: Zeek at December 12, 2006 9:38 PM
    Comment #198987

    zeek,

    to be fair, it was your own inane question which led to my inane, obvious fact. i do appreciate that i entertained your inane question only to be reprimanded for my troubles, truly i do.

    “Then if you can vote for third party candidates whom you align yourself with why would you not?”

    if you had been reading this post from the get-go, rather than butting in ill-informed, you would have your answer. go find it.

    …and stalin? are you aware that he was responsible for the deaths of millions?

    “Personally, I am less worried about affording them legitimacy than having the greater of two evils rule over me.”

    then you are part of the problem. thanks. i’ll vote for ‘good,’ or not at all.

    “Things are not yet so bad that you do not have a ‘lesser-of-two-evils’ choice, or even a choice so bad as ‘Hitler-or-Stalin.’ If things do get that bad it would make more sense to start an armed revolution than sit back and not vote.”

    if this problem does not right itself, that is precisely what might occur… so keep your head buried in the sand until after then, lest you lose it in the aftermath.

    Posted by: Diogenes at December 12, 2006 10:53 PM
    Comment #198993
    Diogenes wrote: I would suggest that what truly irks you (or at least most democrats) about the green party is that they are ‘stealing’ votes that you clearly perceive as belonging to *you* (or rather, the democrats).

    Diogenes,
    Yep, you most certainly hit the nail on the head.
    That’s definitely the problem.
    It’s always the staunch, blind party loyalists that get so irritated by third parties, as if they don’t have a right to exist. They tell you a vote for a third party is a vote for the XXXXX party, and other such nonsense. The completely ignore the fact that you don’t want to vote for THEIR party either.

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 12, 2006 11:18 PM
    Comment #199001

    d.a.n.

    i would reiterate my hesitation in believing that stephen suffers from this delusion…

    i think it more likely that he merely believes that you should vest your time and effort in one of the available major parties to affect the change you desire… but fails to recognize that this is quite likely an exercise in futility.

    but then, perhaps i am just being naive.

    Posted by: Diogenes at December 13, 2006 12:09 AM
    Comment #199006

    This is a really enlightening discussion. Most of the remarks hinge on the fact that the parties are both cancerous, therfore, we should vote for the lesser of two evils. Others suggest that we should just not vote at all. Do any of you think that the reason it would seem that the parties are so much alike, (both cancerous), is that many times one party adopts the ideas of the other for political gain, and they feed upon each other? It seems pretty remarkable to me that after hearing from the Press that Americans are so tired of partisan bickering, most of the people on this blog are demanding more partisanship so that we can actually identify the two parties from each other and decide which side actually has the best ideas. I find it amazing that fairly intellectual folks on this blog have to give tips and instructions on learning the candidates. I would have taken that for granted. I really believe that if elections were decided upon that for which the parties actually stand, there would be a significant difference seen between the two parties. Unfortunately, often the Press only focuses on what the parties stand against, or the fear, manipulation, mischaracterizations, envy, and warfare of the election process. This is very confusing to the voter, and they get the impression that one is as bad as the other.

    JD

    Posted by: JD at December 13, 2006 1:47 AM
    Comment #199022

    I would just like to point out that if you have been following the discussion you may notice that basically only two types of people came out and commented: 1. Independents and 2. Democrats.

    I think this happened for a reason. While I don’t agree with Republicans I at least know where they are coming from. You know what they stand for. They make it rather clear where they stand on most issues. The Democrats however are everywhere on every issue. They are a party of John Kerry’s, one day on one side of the issue and the next day on the other side. They are, there are obviously some notable exceptions (particularly: Senator Russell Feingold, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Rep. John Conyers Jr., and Rep. Jim McDermott), the party which has no defined stance. There is no unified Democratic stance overall.

    It is because no one knows what Democrats stand for that they are the ones coming out and telling us we have to vote for the lesser of two evils, because they know they need to do that to garner votes. They have no other option, because they can’t persuade you with their stance on the issues simply because you have no clue what their stance on the issues are.

    Posted by: Richard Rhodes at December 13, 2006 3:00 AM
    Comment #199064

    Richard,

    I totally agree with your assessment of the Dems. They won this election on being against our boys getting killed in Iraq. Wow!! Who is for that, anyway? Yet, they never discussed a plan of their own, except cut and run. Then when the Press questioned cut and run, they said that is not what they were for, but rather redeployment, whatever that means. However, I blame the Press, when it comes to Democrats. The Press does not hold them to anything that their leadership says. In fact it was insisted that we get over John Kerry’s remark concerning our troops only a couple days after he made it. After all, he apologized, or did the Democrats support his apology? I don’t really remeber any of them publicly criticizing his remark. They simply locked him in a closet to keep his mouth shut, just in case someone actually tried to pin Kerry’s views of the military on the Democratic Party. The fact is, Dems can say just about anything, and it doesn’t really matter, because they will not be held to it. Your assessment is right on. This is actually a strategy of the Democrats in my opinion. They throw out opposing views to the President from five or six different directions in an attempt to confuse the voter, then slowly eliminate each one, saying they do not support them when someone is caught sticking their foot in their mouths. It is really a great strategy because you don’t actually have to be for anything, and as long as someone will keep spouting one or two of your opposing viewpoints which you are not really for anyway, you can still win an election with nothing!

    JD

    Posted by: JD at December 13, 2006 12:09 PM
    Comment #199074
    Diogenes wrote: d.a.n. I would reiterate my hesitation in believing that stephen suffers from this delusion… I think it more likely that he merely believes that you should vest your time and effort in one of the available major parties to affect the change you desire… but fails to recognize that this is quite likely an exercise in futility.

    Diogenes,
    It is hard to tell.
    I think Richard Rhodes nails it.
    Democrats are ALL over the place.
    They want to be on every side of every issue.
    For example:

    Stephen Daugherty writes: Different people are in charge now, different people running the committees, different leaders making policy.

    … and …

    Stephen Daugherty writes: We Democrats don’t plan on repeating your mistake. [that was with regard to pork-barrel, when Dems are in fact the bigger pork-barrel spenders]

    Then,

    Stephen Daugherty writes:
    You don’t have to kick a person out to send a message [i.e. vote them out].

    But, then writes

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    These people [Congress] will reform themselves, or we will make examples of them.

    Then

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    Don’t underestimate our party’s willingness to throw corrupt officials under the bus, if only out of enlightened self-interest.

    But, then writes

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    But me? I know what I’m dealing with here. I’m not expecting much good. I know I have to work at it.

    See? It’s all over the place.
    This exemplifies perfectly what Richard Rhodes is talking about

    Richard Rhodes wrote:
    The Democrats however are everywhere on every issue. They are a party of John Kerry’s, one day on one side of the issue and the next day on the other side.

    At any rate, what politicians say and do are two different things, and when it comes down to the most important issues, there’s little real difference (if any) between the two main parties.

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 13, 2006 2:12 PM
    Comment #199147

    diogenes,

    “i do appreciate that i entertained your inane question only to be reprimanded for my troubles, truly i do.”

    What we have here is a severe lack of communication. I never asked once, nor did I try to imply a request for someone to inform me whether we are under a system of universal suffrage. If you misinterpreted something I said I suppose that was a lack of clarity on my part, but this is completely pointless.

    That aside:
    “…and stalin? are you aware that he was responsible for the deaths of millions?”

    Are you aware that Hitler was not only responsible for the death of more millions, but he also did it with a more perverse intention? I believe Stalin to be the lesser of two evils. If one of them had to rule over me, I would choose Stalin. I do not see what makes you so shocked.

    “then you are part of the problem.”

    Says you. However, you are only saying that because you disagree with me, and yet, you still have not given logical reasons as to why you are right, and you have met my arguments with vague references to other posts or simply attacked my position in a way that clearly shows you do not want to be persuaded off your view.

    To substantiate my point, let us look at some of the previous “contentions” you referred me back to:

    “don’t give us this “lesser of two evils” b.s. *anymore*. a vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for *evil*.” [no reasoning was given before or after]

    “Do Something - lacking any other option, vote for ‘none of the above,’ by not voting - and make it known that you are *actively* not voting.” [yet we have options. And you still have not explained why those options are not viable, or why they are worse]

    “‘People who refused to vote didnt have their say.’

    hmm… really?” [Yes, really. I note here that you also neglect to back your passive aggressive argument with any logic or reasoning]

    “strange how ‘nothing was said,’ and yet a message has clearly been delivered.” [you fail to explain what the message is, making it conveniently difficult for people to refute you]

    “if there is no good option for your vote (no possibility for a representative 3rd or write-in) - don’t vote. to do otherwise is to quite arguably be a part of the problem.” [you go on to say what else people should do but do not explain this]

    “i must strongly disagree with your assertion here, for the reason i previously stated.” [oddly enough, going all the way back to your first post, you did not substantiate with ANY reasoning]

    Posted by: Zeek at December 13, 2006 9:02 PM
    Comment #199150

    you are cherry-picking my posts in order to support your assertion that i have given no reasoning.

    “don’t give us this ‘lesser of two evils’ b.s. *anymore*. a vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for *evil*.” [no reasoning was given before or after]”

    more inanity! it is blatantly clear within the statement why this is true. the lesser of two evils, is by definition, still evil. you seriously can’t grasp this simple concept?

    “…lacking any other option…”[yet we have options. And you still have not explained why those options are not viable, or why they are worse]

    we do *not* all have options - as i stated in a previous post. again try reading the f’ing post….

    “all depending on the state in which you live… ” find that post and *read* it. you are seriously trying my patience.

    “‘hmm… really?’
    [Yes, really. I note here that you also neglect to back your passive aggressive argument with any logic or reasoning]”

    actually i did….
    “‘strange how ‘nothing was said,’ and yet a message has clearly been delivered.’

    ” you don’t represent us. we’d rather stay home than waste a day on you…”


    RIGHT HERE! this is an absolutely pathetic attempt at an argument, for your part.
    what is your deal?!?! are you kidding? if you can’t refute me, that’s ‘cuz you got *nothing*. the message *is* clear.

    [you fail to explain what the message is, making it conveniently difficult for people to refute you]

    “you don’t represent us. we’d rather stay home than waste a day on you…”

    …again, since you seem to have a problem connecting the dots.

    several of the questions you ask *within this post* you then answer by quoting me!

    i take it back; you’re not trying my patience. you are obviously trying to piss me off. i’m sorry that you can’t comprehend such simple concepts as these (notice how you are the *only* one who seems to be having that problem???)

    try to have someone else explain it to you…very slowly… cuz i’m done entertaining your nonsensical, utterly ridiculous posts.

    best of luck.

    Posted by: Diogenes at December 13, 2006 9:21 PM
    Comment #199166

    I knew you would say something along the lines of cherry picking, which was why I posted every mention you made of not voting up until the “for the reason i previously stated” quote. If you think I was cherry picking, go to all the words before that quote and find your reasoning. It is simply not there.

    Better yet, just give me your reasoning right now and save us all a lot of time.

    “more inanity! it is blatantly clear within the statement why this is true. the lesser of two evils, is by definition, still evil. you seriously can’t grasp this simple concept?”

    I will be man enough to admit I made a mistake here. I meant, yes, you are voting for an “evil,” but why is that a worse choice to make than not voting? I failed to ask that question and I SINCERELY apologize.

    “‘all depending on the state in which you live… ’ find that post and *read* it. you are seriously trying my patience.”

    I read this, but I did not see how it connected with not voting for a candidate. The conclusion seemed to be (maybe I misread) that in 5 states you cannot write in a candidate and some other stuff about getting a third party in there being difficult. Well, that did not address the “vote-for-the-lesser-of-two-evils” dilemma so I went over it. Because even if you cannot vote for a third party candidate you still have the “two evils” to choose from and I reiterate that you have yet to prove why we should not be making that choice.

    “actually i did…”

    Your so called “proof” are what you claim to be the messages delivered. But since you did not show that those messages were delivered nor their impact, this cannot be construed as proof in any way shape or form.

    “…again, since you seem to have a problem connecting the dots.”

    You seem to think your writing makes it stunningly clear as to what your meanings are. I would like to know, how, from the following block of text, I was supposed to derive what your “message” was. I have emphasized the relevant parts. Notice the gap and lack of any connecting words or sentences.

    “emphasis mine, obviously. strange how ‘nothing was said,’ and yet a message has clearly been delivered.

    SEVERAL POSTS OF YOURS LATER AND AFTER MINE AS WELL:

    “the percentage of the voting age population which chooses to align themselves with one of the two parties is declining. the number of voters who actually vote is declining. the message is clear… you don’t represent us.

    How I was supposed to connect this message with the one in a post many people ahead is beyond me. Furthermore, it proves that at the time of your post you did not bother at all to substantiate your claims. And eve here you do not show that a decline in voter turnout is a delivery of your “message” and not that people are becoming indifferent/giving up.

    “several of the questions you ask *within this post* you then answer by quoting me!”

    If those quotes are what you believe to be proof you have a very funny idea of logic. You state the thesis, yes, but you never tell me WHY that is the case and when I disagree with you, you merely refer back to the thesis and often ignore my logic completely.

    “i take it back; you’re not trying my patience. you are obviously trying to piss me off. i’m sorry that you can’t comprehend such simple concepts as these (notice how you are the *only* one who seems to be having that problem???)”

    And so you have devolved to insulting me. But I really do not care that much and am willing to continue getting to the bottom of this. If you would please explain to me (as you have not):

    Why is voting for the lesser of two evils necessarily a worse decision than not voting?

    As I have stated, you are not taking responsibility by not voting, and furthermore a lesser of two evils is still better than a greater of two evils.

    Posted by: Zeek at December 13, 2006 10:48 PM
    Comment #199178

    NOW you concede? after annoying the bejesus out of me, NOW you concede… to further bait me, i’m sure.

    a vote for the lesser of two evils (as in, you do not agree with *either* of them, but perceive one as more mistaken than the other) will lead to policies with which you still *disapprove*.

    it also facilitates such claims, as employed by bush, of having a mandate from the people - undue legitimacy, because he can always claim that you voted *for* him, rather than *against* the other guy. there is no way to prove or disprove such a claim.

    many of the people who voted for bush thought they were voting against gore/kerry, *not* for him - ask them, they’ll tell you as much. he was able to make that claim because he was allotted a great many ‘vote-by-defaults,’ such as that which you endorse.

    as i believe i stated before, there are circumstances where i not only understand, but also condone abstention from voting. it is an honor and a privilege - but not an obligation, particularly when there is no one to vote *for*.

    some states make it next to impossible to allow write-ins *or* 3rd party candidates. in these states, they are essentially *forcing* you to vote for the ‘lesser of two evils,’ or not at all.

    i’m saying in this particular instance, *don’t* vote.

    in other situations, not so intricate, understand why people choose not to vote. *don’t* fault them for deciding that neither party is worth their vote - blame the parties for being worthless.

    “If those quotes are what you believe to be proof you have a very funny idea of logic.”

    i never claimed they were proof. don’t hand me that crap. i said they were my reasoning. you may disagree with my reasoning, but you may not claim that i have none to back up my claims.

    the proof is out there - to support all that i have said. if you don’t buy my assessment, then there is no need for proof in any case. if you do, then go look it up. you want me to do the work for you, but i’m not your teacher and i’m not your daddy. if you truly care, you’ll find out whether what i say is true. if not (as i suspect is the case), then it would be a waste of my time to do such research for you (merely to have you castigate me for my troubles… again).

    ultimately, when you vote for the ‘lesser of two evils’ (this is assuming you believe them to both be ‘evils,’ as you apparently do not) you are lending undue credence to the myth of fair representation in american politics, as well as undue legitimacy to any given candidate’s ‘win.’

    “You seem to think your writing makes it stunningly clear as to what your meanings are.”

    no, but had you read my posts and then asked informed questions, i would have been more than happy to explain it.

    “I would like to know, how, from the following block of text, I was supposed to derive what your ‘message’ was.”

    it is abundantly clear that you either did not read my posts (and the associated responses by others), or you misunderstood from the get-go… in which case you should have asked sooner to spare me the nuisance of re-explaining the entire thread.

    undoubtedly, i have still missed some issues, which will lead you to ask more questions. rather than forming them beforehand, i would suggest you read the entire thread from start to finish, and develop your questions, en route.

    i believe you would find that many of your questions had already been answered, many times over.

    regards.

    Posted by: Diogenes at December 13, 2006 11:33 PM
    Comment #199180

    Zeek,

    The most important thing is not just picking the lesser of two evils. If your only two choices are bad, it doesn’t matter that much, and doesn’t really warrant much debate.

    So, Step [2] and Step [4] are not the real problem.

    More importantly, Step [3] is the thing that many voters overlook, which is voting for a non-incumbent when ALL of their choices are bad, including the incumbent.

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 13, 2006 11:37 PM
    Comment #199187

    d.a.n

    How can you say it does not matter that much? Whether for good or ill, are you not morally obligated to at least try to make things the best they can be? I realize the outcome may be undesirable or the difference unnoticeable, but at least let us say we tried.

    diogenes, I am not going to respond to claims that are not actually about the issue as I realize it is pointless endeavor for the both of us.

    “a vote for the lesser of two evils (as in, you do not agree with *either* of them, but perceive one as more mistaken than the other) will lead to policies with which you still *disapprove*.”

    Yes, I would assume as much. Of course, I am voting for the one whose policies I think I disapprove of less, and that I will continue to disapprove of less. I know that sounds like a desperate state of affairs, and I suppose in some regards it is, but so long as I can try to make that difference I will. I cannot force people to agree with my views, but I think that my point here has merit.

    “it also facilitates such claims, as employed by bush, of having a mandate from the people - undue legitimacy, because he can always claim that you voted *for* him, rather than *against* the other guy. there is no way to prove or disprove such a claim.”

    True. And I am sure that infuriated millions of liberals and Democrats all over the U.S. but the real impact it had on the U.S. was probably non-existent. Unless you are suggesting Bush is so deluded he believes his own mis-characterizations. (er- let’s not press that point to hard eh? :P)

    “many of the people who voted for bush thought they were voting against gore/kerry, *not* for him - ask them, they’ll tell you as much. he was able to make that claim because he was allotted a great many ‘vote-by-defaults,’ such as that which you endorse.”

    Yes… Are you saying that your point is relevant because it helped Bush get elected? Well, I shall admit I did not want him as our president but that really is not the issue. People got out and voted for whom they thought would best serve our country’s interests.

    “as i believe i stated before, there are circumstances where i not only understand, but also condone abstention from voting. it is an honor and a privilege - but not an obligation, particularly when there is no one to vote *for*. “

    It is not an obligation in the legal sense, no. And it certainly should be considered and honor and a privilege to be able to vote in a free and democratic election without having to draw blood or fear for your safety. But is it not then morally wrong to cast aside something you should be glad to have? That you should be willing to fight to the death for? If you can show me that you are procuring some benefit to society by not voting I shall certainly support your decision, but I do not see that benefit.

    “blame the parties for being worthless.”

    I would only blame the candidates if I myself was running. Honestly, we could take all day about how the people in our lives are not good enough to meet our needs and wants. But we need to work with what we are given and make the best of it. I do not realistically think that we can reform this nation’s party and voting system by simply refusing to vote. I am not saying we should not try to get better politicians on the ballot, but this certainly does not seem to be the right way to go about it.

    “ultimately, when you vote for the ‘lesser of two evils’ (this is assuming you believe them to both be ‘evils,’ as you apparently do not) you are lending undue credence to the myth of fair representation in american politics, as well as undue legitimacy to any given candidate’s ‘win.’”

    I do on occasion find both candidates to be wholly unsuitable for the position they are vying for. But if I want to undercut their “legitimacy” I will speak out against them. Even if the person I vote for wins, I would not hesitate to be a vocal critic of him/her. I do not see why you cannot both fight against the facade of false legitimacy and vote at the same time. Even if it were not possible, what harm is there in giving them legitimacy? What are they doing with that other than giving b.s. to the public? I admit it would be nice to have less garbage flying into my ear from politicians, but I would not place that value very high on my priority list.

    Posted by: Zeek at December 14, 2006 12:18 AM
    Comment #199192
    Zeek wrote: d.a.n How can you say it does not matter that much? Whether for good or ill, are you not morally obligated to at least try to make things the best they can be? I realize the outcome may be undesirable or the difference unnoticeable, but at least let us say we tried.

    Zeek,

    We are bogged down in semantics.
    I don’t think our philosophy is as different as you think.

    If one candidate is better than the rest, then pick that one, by all means.

    But, when are candidates are equally bad, and there is no incumbent, it doesn’t matter.
    Why give any of them your vote.
    It’s nothing but a guess.
    It’s like Richard Rhodes said.
    It’s like choosing between two fatal diseases.
    Of course, all candidates actually being equally bad is not common, or is an unknown to the voter(s).

    On the other hand, and this is the most important and most over-looked voting guideline … if all candidates are equally bad, including the incumbent, then vote for one of the challengers, rather than re-elect (reward) the incumbent and empower the incumbent to become more powerful and irresponsible.

    Those are the three categories:

  • (1) no acceptable candidates (all equally bad) and no incumbent.

  • (2) no acceptable candidates (all equally bad), including the incumbent.

  • (3) there is one acceptable candidate.
  • The voting guidelines spell it out more clearly.

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 14, 2006 1:11 AM
    Comment #199208

    diogenes-
    One would think that they would vote in a way that was consistent with their values, and not ally themselves destructively with those who would crush policy like theirs in an instant.

    They should be allying with us, if they’re trying to be Machiavellian in a truly productive fashion. We’re the people who’d get more of what they want done. Unfortunately, they’ve decided to copy the worst aspects of partisanship from the big parties, despite the small size of their outfit. They say we’re both the same, but given the results of the last few years, it’s like arguing that a fender bender and a rollover down a steep embankment are the same thing.

    If you want better third party choices, do what it takes to elevate candidates up to that level with some chance of victory. It’s not going to be easy, but in the meantime, follow your interests. If it looks like one party or another is likely to win, vote for your party. But if it looks like the Democrats need the help, go with the people who have more of your best interests at heart.

    “breaking the duopoly” is not a bad idea, and I in fact hope it happens. But in the meantime, you go the choices in front of you. pick the better of the two.

    As for being an impediment to getting their message out? The biggest impediment is that they haven’t successfully educated the public about the laws, and created a coalition with other third party and nonpartisan interests to open up the elections. The squeeky wheel gets the grease, and you would think they would be putting up more of a fuss. That’s what I suggest. It’s not as if they don’t have a winning issue.

    They should not expect the big parties to act against their own interests. They should create a big fight and make the position of getting in the way of these reforms politically radioactive. Get the grassroots going on this. They really have nothing to gain by just sitting around complaining about the laws. Make a big stink. Make it unavoidable in the public arena. That’s what I wouldn’t consider nihilist or counter to their interests. There interest is to get elected. They should fight for that, and not merely expect anybody to hand it to them.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 14, 2006 9:00 AM
    Comment #199213

    Stephen Daugherty,

    Third party and Independent voters are a minority.
    They may always will be.
    They may never get THEIR candidates elected.
    But, that is OK, becasuse third party and independent voters decide elections.
    Third party and independents voters represent change, and are the only group that will truly consider all candidates individually, rather than mindlessly pulling the party-lever.

    You say:

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    “breaking the duopoly” is not a bad idea, and I in fact hope it happens.

    But, then you say things like:

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    They should be allying with us.

    … and …
    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    d.a.n-
    If third parties can’t win offices, what good are they to the voter?

    Well, despite what you think, and you can blame the Third party and Independents all you like, and tell them that their votes are wasted, and that they should “ally with us” (uhh, you mean Demopublicans or Republicrats?), and such (as above), but if you don’t get it yet, you never will.
    So, you ask: “What good are they to the voters?
    Well here is the answer to that question:

    Third Party and Independent voters decide elections.

    For example, in year 2001, the break down was like this (based on U.S. population):
    Democrats: 47%
    Republicans: 36%
    Independents and Third Party voters: 17%

    HHMMmmmm … makes ya wonder why Democrats don’t win all the time, eh?
    The answer is because Third Party and Independents decide elections.
    It is that 17% that decide elections.
    Sometimes they vote for a Democrat, sometimes for a Republican, sometimes for an Independent/Third Party candidate.
    What Third Party and Independent voters are doing is much more calculated than you realize.

    The third party and Independents are the variable in the equation.
    The Dems and Repubs are the constants:

    RESULT = D + R + I
    (where D and R are constants).

    So, don’t be surprised when Independents and Third Party voters reject your request …

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    They should be allying with us.

    Especially since there REALLY ain’t much difference between what the two-main parties (based on what they do, not what they say).

    Especially when both main parties are essentially a “Do-Nothing” bunch that is more interested in their own self-gain, than solving the nation’s serious problems , growing in number and severity, threatening the future and security of the nation.

    And, lately, the numbers of third parties and independents are growing!
    In fact, I had never seen so many third party and independent candidates on the ballots as I did in the last election. Wonder why that is?

    Also, the third party and independent voters do NOT need to break the duopoly, because third party and independent voters ALREADY decide elections.

    Regardless, Third Party and Independent voters need not despair.
    Independents are naturally an independent lot that like to think for themselves.
    Independents are not blind conformists just for the sake of belonging.
    Independents don’t blindly pull the party-lever.
    Independents are a very important and valuable group of voters.
    Independents serve a very valuable service for the nation.
    They decide elections.

    So, it appears, the only group following the Voting Guidelines correctly are the Third Party and Independent voters.

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 14, 2006 10:46 AM
    Comment #199217

    Dan-
    I make it my policy to give people a bit of plausible deniability on labels. I will tell them an action is foolish, and I make sure to say why. That way its both less personally aimed, and more objectively laid out. I don’t like to use words like brainwashed, typically, because its next to impossible to prove objectively. You can expose the foolishness of an action or a position, and even the hypocrisy, but when you start using insulting perjoratives, nobody’s going to accept that this shoe fits them.

    It puts the cart before the horse. That’s why I argue what’s foolish or what’s hypocritical before I apply the label, and then restrict it to the behavior. Now you argued hypocrisy in several places, but you used the term in this very loose sense, that failed to recognize the particulars of hypocrisy: A single person or organization with certain beliefs that takes a course of action contrary to those beliefs without a professed change to those beliefs.

    You ignored factors which would make the use of the word problematic. One- that the decision could not possibly be theres, two- that different congresses might have a different sensibility, especially after a shift in the majority, and three- that the new congress has had no opportunity to act against or for its priniciples

    You just used the word as a generalized descriptor, divorced from the context that would give it its strength as a rational argument.

    You say brainwashed, but you introduce that term without a sound argument to back the assessment. Time and time again you expect people to concede points, for them to decode your catchphrases, and after that be logically required to come to your opinion.

    Well, let me not sugarcoat it for your: You either give people too much information, or not enough. You could have taken one of those lists you posted in your last argument and composed a narrative about just one senator or representative. You would limit the amount of prose they would have to digest, and increase the meaning of it. You could make your arguments more targeted.

    I take the course I do because I believe its more efficient in persuading others. As for inconsistencies?

    You can say we’re all over the place, but here the situation is similar to your list of hypocrisies.

    First, I believe I posted an article where the Democrats, faced with a difficult budget slog, have decided to take all the earmarks off the table, and only reintroduce the earmarks after some reforms have been put in place. So, actionwise, the position of the Democrats for this new congress is not more of the same.

    As for my part, I’m consistently against pork. As a Liberal who believes fiscal responsibility is part and parcel of putting tax dollars to good use for the American people. I look at unnecessary earmarks and riders as being a drag on good productive use of the Public’s money.

    Concerning the contradiction you claim between my saying you don’t have to kick a person out to send them a message, and my other that people in congress will reform themselves or get kicked out, there’s nothing mutually exclusive about the positions. In fact, it lays out a rather logical sequence.

    If they do what we want them to do, they don’t have any trouble. If we don’t like what they’re doing, we tell them. If they heed that, we’re back in business. If not, then they might see a drop in their polls, or worse, have to struggle more to keep their seats. If they fail to heed that, more vulnerable folks among them might see themselves taken down by challengers. If they really don’t get the message, we will make examples of them.

    As for the contradiction you claim between my comment about being willing to throw corrupt officials under the bus and my saying that I’m not expecting much good from them, that we have to work at it…

    Well, the trick of this is that the reason why Democrats (meaning the folks in Washington) will do this, is that the rank and file back home will not tolerate this sort of behavior from the party leadership.

    You claim the Democrats and Republicans aren’t substantially different. I think what we’ve seen in the last few years has put paid to that notion. Things are substantially different between one party and the other, between the work and policy habits of one and the other. But this becomes inconvenient to those who want to claim that there are no alternatives, rather than become the better alternative in people’s eyes themselves.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 14, 2006 11:05 AM
    Comment #199220

    stephen,

    this is what i have done. i do not blame others who have not, however; those who do not find it worth bothering to vote at all. apparently, that is where we differ most.

    “They should be allying with us…”

    that requires give and take… not just take.
    i realize that you believe you are already giving them much of what they seek - perhaps you are, i wouldn’t know. but i’d make sure it is what *they* want, and not merely just what the dems want… or just some overlap that the dems suggest is conveniently beneficial to them, and with which they should be content (cuz they obviously aren’t). again, it has little to do with me, in any case (regarding the dems).

    zeek,

    “I think that my point here has merit.”

    as do i. i would have you recognize the validity of the all-too-often unspoken complaint arising from the vast number of americans who do not vote. the aforementioned message is intrinsic in their inaction (‘no one worth my vote’). i certainly do not believe they are just being lazy. you make good points… i wish you had made them sooner… apologies for being short.

    “Unless you are suggesting Bush is so deluded he believes his own mis-characterizations.”

    in truth, he doesn’t really need to believe such claims - after all, God, himself, anointed george the boy-king.

    it would appear that we all generally agree about most of this issue.

    regards.


    Posted by: Diogenes at December 14, 2006 11:14 AM
    Comment #199222

    Dan-
    Regarding Third parties and independents not mindlessly pulling the lever… I’m afraid the reality is the polls showed consistent support for parties among independents. They didn’t identify explicitly with one party or another, but they tended to vote that way anyhow.

    To their credit, many of them changed their minds in this last election. That is perhaps the better definition of their independence: that they are willing to consider other options, even if they don’t always exercise them.

    I would like there to be more than two parties. I think the balance of power should be more unstable, more options for coalitions on votes to develop. Note my mention of coalitions.

    I think like minded people should put aside differences to unite on issues. That’s Democracy. A simple two party system introduces variables to coalition building that can stagnate the willingness to unify on issues across party lines.

    However, I do not expect this to come to pass very soon, and in my judgment third parties that break leftwards do little good by alienating those closer to them in their array of interests. If they think playing spoiler is in their interests, just look at what Bush has done with Foreign policy and the environment and ask whether playing that role has cost them more than its gained them.

    The question of what good third parties are without substantial presence in the offices of the land is a good one. How do we expect there to be profound changes from the occasional tip of the vote, especially when that spoilage tends to break against the parties in question, rather than for? The best thing to do is to increase party presence in the nation.

    I don’t deny the value of the third party or independent vote. After all, the change would not have occured without them. Instead, I simply ask that they be true to their interests in how they vote, not to the political separatism that reflects what is wrong with this country.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 14, 2006 11:22 AM
    Comment #199236

    Well, I can see we have very strong feelings on this subject.

    I for one, vote like this…


    If I know enough about them to have faith that they will make good choices, I vote for them…

    If I know enough about them to have faith that they will make poor choices, I don’t vote for them…

    If I don’t know enough to have faith either way, I don’t vote for them…

    If you believe in them and believe them to be good people who make good choices… vote for them, doesn’t matter what party they are.

    If you can’t tell me why they should be in office or what they have done in the past, you shouldn’t for them…

    that is how the curruption got started in the first place.


    In the last election only voted for four people, because I only found three individuals who I thought were capable of the positions they were running for…

    Tom Campbell (R)- state rep seat
    Darryl Shiley (R) - county auditor
    Maria Cantwell (D) - federal senate seat

    the rest weren’t worth the vote.

    Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at December 14, 2006 12:50 PM
    Comment #199246

    bryan,

    in my opinion, that would constitute a responsible, rational method of voting.

    “If you can’t tell me why they should be in office or what they have done in the past, you shouldn’t [vote] for them…

    that is how the curruption got started in the first place.”

    i’m not sure i ever elucidated that point.

    thanks.

    Posted by: Diogenes at December 14, 2006 1:31 PM
    Comment #199251

    Diogenes,

    ” i certainly do not believe they are just being lazy. “

    Well, some people certainly are just being lazy. I would venture to say a majority of people do not vote simply because they are apathetic. That seems to me to be the message many people recieve when they see such low voter turnouts. At the very least I have not seen any movements to improve the ballot sheet because of low voter turnouts.

    If we want to persuade people to aid us in our goal of getting better candidates elected, it is necessary to go much beyond not voting and simply telling people you know why you abstained from voting.

    Posted by: Zeek at December 14, 2006 1:43 PM
    Comment #199257
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n- Regarding Third parties and independents not mindlessly pulling the lever…I’m afraid the reality is the polls showed consistent support for parties among independents. They didn’t identify explicitly with one party or another, but they tended to vote that way anyhow.
    What ? Third party and independent voters voted for different parties (including main parties). AHHhhhhhh … you mean, you think it was all about the Democrats. Everyone is now in love with Democrats, eh? Well, wait until 2008. We will see.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: To their credit, many of them changed their minds in this last election.
    Right … you mean, they voted Democrat? Well, Glory be ! Some independents voted for Dems, finally. But, what about the previous election? What about the next election? If this Do-Nothing Congress continues the status quo, and follows in the footsteps of Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA-2), then we can expect more changes in 2008. Maybe swing voters will go back the other way, eh? Why not, if the Dems can’t get it done ? After all, even you said:
    Stephen augherty wrote: But me? I know what I’m dealing with here. I’m not expecting much good.

    Anyway, that’s the great thing about Third party and Independent voters.
    They don’t just mindlessly pull the party lever.
    They can see that empowering either main party very much is like choosing between two fatal diseases.
    So, they may vote for a Democrat, Republican, Third Party, or Independent.
    Their goal is to maintain some imbalance.
    That’s a VERY good thing.

    That is why third party and independents are so important.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: That is perhaps the better definition of their independence: that they are willing to consider other options, even if they don’t always exercise them.
    What? “Don’t exercise them”? OOHHHhhh … you mean vote for a Democrat ? Of course they exercised their options. Just not the way you wanted them to.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: I would like there to be more than two parties.
    Yeah? Then why do you say things like:
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: They should be allying with us.
    … and …
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n- If third parties can’t win offices, what good are they to the voter?
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: I think the balance of power should be more unstable, more options for coalitions on votes to develop. Note my mention of coalitions.
    Really? The sincerity of that statement is hard to believe, when the partisanship is so obvious, and the statements are so contradictory.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: I think like minded people should put aside differences to unite on issues. That’s Democracy. A simple two party system introduces variables to coalition building that can stagnate the willingness to unify on issues across party lines.
    No kiddin’ ! That’s why many people don’t see parties (especially the two party duopoly) as the solution, and reserve the right to be selective about who to give their vote.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: However, I do not expect this to come to pass very soon, and in my judgment third parties that break leftwards do little good by alienating those closer to them in their array of interests.
    Third Party and Independents have a right to vote as they please, regardless of who it alienates. Besides, it appears the ones that are most alienated are the two main parties. So who cares?
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: If they think playing spoiler is in their interests, just look at what Bush has done with Foreign policy and the environment and ask whether playing that role has cost them more than its gained them.
    AHHHh … this is why the sincerity of the statements above are questionable. So, if the results are not what you want, why is it not the fault of Democrats and Republicans. After all, they are the ones holding office. As usual, always trying to shift blame. The fact is, if the politicians of one party was truly responsible, honest, and hard working, they would have all the votes and support they need. So, why don’t they try that for a while, eh? There’s so much corruption, waste, greed, and irresponsibility, the list is long. Instead, the list of problems grows in number and severity. Congress is FOR-SALE.

    So, it’s all the 3rd party and independents fault?.
    However, remember … the third party and independents are a minority.
    The two main parties conveniently fail to recognize that the third parties and independents ONLY decide elections.
    The 3rd party and independents do not decide what happens thereafter, since the third party and independents do NOT have many (if any) candidates in office.
    The Dems and Repubs are in office.
    How laughable that problems are the fault of the 3rd party and independents.
    Can’t the Repubs and Dems regulate each other?
    Or, are they simply too busy fillin’ their own pockets, votin’ themselves raises, and securing their own golden parachutes?

    If you don’t like what the Republicans do, why not rally your Democrats to do something about it?
    After all, YOUR party has several hundred politicains ALREADY in office.
    Third parties and independents have few (or none).
    So, are you saying the Democrats are so worthless, that their hundreds in Congerss can’t stop the Republicans? Ha! Total nonsense. The fact is, most Democrats went along with most of everything that takes place, proving that there really is no difference between what the two main parties do. That’s the sad truth. That is why 3rd party and independents are so important. They help to keep the two main parties from completely destroying the nation in a heartbeat.

    Again, where were your beloved Democrats when Bush was doing things that Dems didn’t approve of, eh?
    Well, many of them were voting to go along.
    Just look at their voting records.

    The two main parties want to blame third party and independent voters, but it is the two-main parties that are in office.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The question of what good third parties are without substantial presence in the offices of the land is a good one.
    Just because a minority can’t get their candidates elected does NOT mean they can’t decide elections. They do. That’s what irritates the two main parties to no end.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: How do we expect there to be profound changes from the occasional tip of the vote,
    Huh? You don’t know ? Isn’t that what it’s all about? The third party and independent voters are more calculated than you think. They are the only ones following the voting guidelines correctly. They know who they want in office, and they vote accordingly. It may be a Republican or a Democrat. Or, perhaps, by voting for a third party candidate, they can destroy the chances of the candidate they don’t like. See how it works? And, even if the results are somewhat unexpected, it does not diminish their right to vote for the candidate they like best, even if that candidate has little chance of winning.

    Personally, if it throws a monkey wrench into the works for the two main parties, fine.
    Good!
    That’s a healthy thing.
    That helps to keep the two main parties on their toes, eh?

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: especially when that spoilage tends to break against the parties in question, rather than for? The best thing to do is to increase party presence in the nation.
    Yes, growing the numbers is a good thing, even if their candidates never win many (if any) offices. I will be doing everything I can think of to promote that very thing that you suggest.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: I don’t deny the value of the third party or independent vote.
    No? Then why do you say things like:
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: They should be allying with us.
    … and …
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n- If third parties can’t win offices, what good are they to the voter?

    Seems like some contradiction there, eh?
    Dems and Repubs are working hard to keep the third parties and independents off the ballots. Even if your statement was sincere, your party has different plans, and will do anything they can to stop third parties and independents from getting on the ballots.

    So …

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 14, 2006 2:04 PM
    Comment #199266
    Zeek wrote: If we want to persuade people to aid us in our goal of getting better candidates elected, it is necessary to go much beyond not voting and simply telling people you know why you abstained from voting.

    You are absolutely correct.
    The only time (which is rare) when it makes NO sense to vote for any candidate is when:

    • all candidates are equally bad and there is no incumbent

    Is anyone here actually saying that you shouldn’t try to elect the best possible candidate?. It appears there is some confusion based the differences between the “lesser of two evils” , “one acceptable candidate”, “no acceptable candidates”, etc. It’s also very subjective since it is based on ones opinion of the candidates, which will vary greatly. While one person may see all candidates as equally unacceptable, another person may see that as an impossibility.

    However, one thing many have not considered is:

    • voting for a non-incumbent when all candidates are (about) equally bad, including the incumbent. Why reward an incumbent and empower them to grow more powerful and irresponsible? Plus, the newcomer will hopefully glean something from the ousting of their predecessor. This is a strategy that many voters may have over-looked.

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 14, 2006 2:18 PM
    Comment #199275

    “I would venture to say a majority of people do not vote simply because they are apathetic.”

    and what would make them apathetic about such an important issue - deciding the representatives who will design the laws defining what they may/may not be permitted to do?

    it would be difficult to assess such motivation - even with polls - assuming many *are* indeed just being lazy, why on earth would they take part in a poll. regardless, i would venture to say they are indifferent because they feel they have no viable means of *making* a difference… which i would blame on the parties.

    “At the very least I have not seen any movements to improve the ballot sheet because of low voter turnouts.”

    the turnout is not sufficiently low enough to induce such a movement - at this point it actually works to their advantage. they can claim that most people are just lazy, and from those that actually care, they received a mandate. when the percentage drops low enough, this argument will be shown for the sham that (i certainly believe) it is.

    “If we want to persuade people to aid us in our goal of getting better candidates elected, it is necessary to go much beyond not voting and simply telling people you know why you abstained from voting.”

    perhaps so. depends on the instance. it is quite difficult to get a write-in on in my state - but still possible, and i intend to try. failing that, as i previously stated, i will still be likely to vote for any candidate that can convince me that they intend to address even one of what i perceive to be our countries most pressing issues.

    better some representation than none… that’s what you’ve been saying, essentially, right?

    i think (one of) the difference(s) between us is that i *can* imagine a time where it might be appropriate or even advantageous to go along with the trend of which i have been speaking.

    Posted by: Diogenes at December 14, 2006 2:55 PM
    Comment #199290

    d.a.n.

    “the third party and independents are a minority.”

    As an independent, I must say, I don’t think we are the minority. I believe your statement to be only 99.99% correct.

    Votes can lean to land slide wins unilaterally for either side.

    This, to me proves, that we are the majority.

    Why else would the major parties have to dish out multi-billions to advertise all of their candidates.

    Why else would the consistency of either party be only 10-20% of the votes when looking at a scale of decades.

    Independents stay independent, for more than a mere 12 year run of majority.

    The two major parties think that once they have majority vote for a few years they have turned independents to their cause.

    I think we did a very good job of proving them very wrong with the last election.

    I still vote more republican, on the account of I don’t like taxes and I think the federal government knows less about finances then this here second year college student, whose only debts is his tuition loans (and that is making minimum-wage part-time and FULLY supporting myself).

    Oh and that is another thing, this minimum wage issue.

    I went from $27,000 a year before my divorce and was a home owner and had two used-but-respectable vehicles to a part-time minimum wage job while now in college.

    I have no debt and I live comfortably in an apartment with a room-mate. Drive a 91 Acura Legend fully loaded, paid for in full on my own.
    Cell phone, rent, utilities, new clothes, eat well enough to be slightly over wieght.

    I have no trouble living off minimum wage. In WA it is a little over $7 and hour.

    When I was in Alabma it was $5.35 and that was never a problem either. Heck it was a little better even due to the difference in economy.

    I firmly believe and prove to all daily that those who can’t live off minimum wage are not properly balancing their budgets.

    I watch so many of my friends foolishy blow their money as fast as they get it and take no real financial responsibility.

    Minimum wage is not the issue, a lack of education on money finance is the issue.

    We need better budget and finance education in the public school institutions.

    I think we can see proof of this in the federal budget and how they foolishy blow the tax money as quickly as they get it.

    Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at December 14, 2006 3:45 PM
    Comment #199303
    Bryan AJ Kennedy wrote: I personally believe if there is no good choices it is best to boycott the vote for that position. That way no can say they are “my what-ever-they-are”.
    Yes, I agree. If there are no good choices (all equally bad) and there is no incumbent, then why give any of them your vote? You are absolutely right.
    Bryan AJ Kennedy wrote: Yet, if you are going to vote for a bad pick of two bad options, vote out the incumbent.
    Precisely. Sounds like common-sense, but that is only if one is not blinded by partisan loyalties, which causes many to blindly pull the party-lever. That’s why the Repubs and Dems are the CONSTANTS in the equation.
    Bryan AJ Kennedy wrote: The longer they are there the more damage they are capable of. The average law takes at least a couple terms to get passed.
    If it is passed in a year, it was probably a good law (or the act of a fully one side government). That’s a very good point, and need to add that to the list of PROs and CONs and Voting Guidelines..
    Bryan AJ Kennedy wrote: You could also choose to simply vote in favor of balance.
    Precisely. That’s what I eluded to by describing the voting as “calculated” above.
    Bryan AJ Kennedy wrote: Keep the two parties on their toes for a couple more decades until the Libertarians catch up.
    That’s interesting. I never saw so many on the ballot this year, and I voted for several.
    Bryan AJ Kennedy wrote: They are predicted at have house majority by the next late 20s. Assuming they continue the progressive growth pattern thay have had over the last fifty years. Just thought that you might enjoy hearing that little tid-bit.
    I do enjoy hearing that. We need more choices, and need to eliminate the barriers that the two-main party duopoly is despicably putting up to stop the third parties and independents from getting on the ballots.
    Bryan AJ Kennedy wrote: As an independent, I must say, I don’t think we are the minority. I believe your statement to be only 99.99% correct. Votes can lean to land slide wins unilaterally for either side. This, to me proves, that we are the majority.
    Well, yes, in a way you are correct. Independents and 3rd Party voters are smaller in number, BUT Independents and 3rd Party voters decide elections.
    Bryan AJ Kennedy wrote: The two major parties think that once they have majority vote for a few years they have turned independents to their cause.
    Yes, some do. But those in the two main parties that truly understand the leverage of the Independents and 3rd Party voters is what scares them, and the unpredictability gets under their skin.
    Bryan AJ Kennedy wrote: I think we did a very good job of proving them very wrong with the last election.
    Yes, and 2008 will be revealing too, since the likelihood of the status quo will lead to more people looking for options outside of the main party duopoly.
    Bryan AJ Kennedy wrote: I still vote more republican, on the account of I don’t like taxes and I think the federal government knows less about finances then this here second year college student, whose only debts is his tuition loans (and that is making minimum-wage part-time and FULLY supporting myself).
    Congratulations again for being wise with debt and spending, along with thinking for yourself. Yes, the government doesn’t need to raise taxes. It needs to reform the tax system. But, tax reform is like a lot of badly-needed reforms. Our FOR-SALE government ain’t likely to pass any important reforms. Especially if it reduces the incumbents power, opportunities for self-gain, and the security of their cu$hy, coveted incumbencies.
    Bryan AJ Kennedy wrote: Oh and that is another thing, this minimum wage issue. I went from $27,000 a year before my divorce and was a home owner and had two used-but-respectable vehicles to a part-time minimum wage job while now in college.
    Yes, the minimum wage thing is more about symbolism, because Congress still refuses to enforce existing laws to stop the influx of millions (per year) of illegal aliens, that depress wages, and cost tax payers net losses of $70 billion per year. Instead of enforcing the laws, Congress chooses to pit Americans and illegal aliens against each other.
    Bryan AJ Kennedy wrote: Minimum wage is not the issue, a lack of education on money finance is the issue.
    That’s another good point. But Congress doesn’t care about that either. In fact, rather than invest and educte their fellow Americans, they want to import cheap labor. Just this week, Sen. John Coryn (R-TX) and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) were trying to get H1B visa caps raised so that they could import hundreds of thousands of foreign workers for nursing and computer programming. It’s despicable. Are nurses over-paid in this nation? Are computer programmers over-paid in this nation? No, I don’t think so. Those greedy politicians are FOR-SALE, and their big-money donors want cheap labor. They don’t care about the voters, but then the bulk of the voters keep rewarding those incumbents by repeatedly re-electing those irresponsible incumbent politicians.
    Bryan AJ Kennedy wrote: I think we can see proof of this in the federal budget and how they foolishy blow the tax money as quickly as they get it.
    No doubt about it. The pork-barrel, graft, bribes, corporate welfare, and waste is truly mind-boggling. Posted by: d.a.n at December 14, 2006 5:06 PM
    Comment #199317

    Dan-
    Somebody did a poll and found that most of the Independents tended to vote consistently for one party or the other. The difference wasn’t that they didn’t feel party loyalties, but rather that they could shift party loyalties more easily than others. Which I’m glad for.

    What would be the appropriate response for a Democrat such as myself for the independents to break towards our side… Well, damn it, I should be happy about that! Should I take them for granted? Hell no!

    The Democrats should earn that vote.

    I said I’m not expecting much good. I’m going to remains skeptical about this Congress until it proves itself. That simple. But skepticism and pessimism, which are our respective positions, are two different things. I think we can do a lot of good. But I’m not so naive as to believe that’s guaranteed. However, I’m also not so cynical as to have lost hope as to the redemption of Congress.

    What Richard Rhodes is suggesting is naive in my view. What have Americans gained over the years by not showing up at the polls? Those who vote make the choices for those who don’t. That simple Even if the choices are lousy, the better choice should be sought. Hell, if all things are equal, choose the bastard you think can run an office better. We’ve seen what comes of having a president and a Congress who’re both wrong and bad at it.

    As for statements? Stop looking for contradictions. It’s called a dialectic. That is, what I say should be taken together, rather than interpreted piecemeal.

    I say “I want there to be more than two parties”. Is that mutually exclusive of “If third parties can’t win office, what good are they to the voter?”

    No, actually they’re complementary. A broad-based third party is what’s called for. Without the ability to take significant votes in one direction or another, or even the ability to achieve the presidency, a third party can only affect the close votes. We need a better third party presence than that.

    Is that not a consistent opinion?

    Your bring up my comment that “they should be allying with us.” It’s nice of you to forget the context, which indeed was the counterproductive behavior of the green party. Now if the green party was interested in protecting the environment, pushing back the excesses of big business, and so on and so forth, who do you think would be closer to their point of view? I had a specific party in mind, with leftward characteristics.

    What exactly is unreasonable about the notion that they would be better advised to do things that help the Democrats, who are more sympathetic to their cause (though not totally so) than that which helps those most opposed to their agenda?

    You question my sincerity. You question my consistency. However, My points are not illogical, and since they have a logic to them that is consistent not only with other positions I have taken, but also to itself, and doubt to my sincerity is entirely a product of your suspicion of anybody who dares to side with either the Democrats or the GOP.

    The thing is, you question me on things more than you ask me about things. You question my sincerity about third party emergence, despite the fact that I have repeated advocated in my posts for a more unstable, more responsive electorate- the better that politicians don’t rest on their laurels. You question my sincerity on issues of corruption though I have repeatedly and consistently advocated against it.

    Many have question my sincerity on the war, but I have remained consistent in my call for an orderly, gradual withdrawal, and that we put the best efforts forward to make sure that Iraq doesn’t collapse any further, that it perhaps has a chance of recovery.

    You seem more inclined to doubt the character of folks like myself, rather than consider that to me, things might just be so simple as telling you what I actually think. If you want to accuse me of lying a few more times for the road, that’s fine by me. But I’m going to give you the same answers I’ve been giving you.

    Why would I waste so much time and effort writing these long posts, addressing your concerns point by point with the kind of attention I give to these things, if I simply wanted to bullshit you?

    You’re trying too hard to discredit me. You’re too focused on winning the confrontation to realize that the conflict is not where you actually thought it was.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 14, 2006 6:07 PM
    Comment #199336

    Diogenes,

    “i would venture to say they are indifferent because they feel they have no viable means of *making* a difference… which i would blame on the parties.”

    The two party system is part of the problem, but I also think many people just do not care, or think their “vote does not count,” or something along those lines. Whatever the reason, there are many of these people, and by not voting, even if you feel your reasons are legitimate, you will be lumped in with that group of people. There are more direct ways of voicing the opinion or view that our two party system is faulty and our candidates are bad.

    “when the percentage drops low enough, this argument will be shown for the sham that (i certainly believe) it is.”

    It just seems to me that if you are able to get that many people you would also be able to get a third party candidate elected. Furthermore, if this is such a wide-spread change in voter mentality, something (like d.a.n’s one simple idea) would become a much more viable choice. More importantly, it is proactive in ways that abstaining from voting is not.

    “failing that, as i previously stated, i will still be likely to vote for any candidate that can convince me that they intend to address even one of what i perceive to be our countries most pressing issues.”

    In my mind, we are doing the same thing but using different language. That seems like voting for the lesser of two evils, no?

    “better some representation than none… that’s what you’ve been saying, essentially, right?”

    It is not about representation, I just want the best person in office. Obviously, that means wanting better candidates to vote for from the get-go, but not voting would be the last way I would try to get that mission achieved.

    Posted by: Zeek at December 14, 2006 7:37 PM
    Comment #199339
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n- Somebody did a poll and found that most of the Independents tended to vote consistently for one party or the other.
    Got any data to back that up? After all, you don’t want to rely on generalizations, do you ?
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The difference wasn’t that they didn’t feel party loyalties, but rather that they could shift party loyalties more easily than others. Which I’m glad for.
    Really? It’s hard to tell, since you say:
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: They should be allying with us.
    … and …
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n- If third parties can’t win offices, what good are they to the voter?
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Being spoilers only ensures being fringe.
    … and …
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: … because then your [3rd] parties get blamed for sending things in a lousy direction.
    … and …
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: How many people curse the green party for George W. Bush getting elected?
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: I said I’m not expecting much good. I’m going to remains skeptical about this Congress until it proves itself. That simple.
    You should. But it’s hard to tell where you stand. First you are skeptical, then not, then cautious, then not. For example, you wrote:
    Stephen Daugherty writes: We Democrats don’t plan on repeating your mistake. [that was with regard to pork-barrel, when Dems are in fact the bigger pork-barrel spenders]
    … and …
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Don’t underestimate our party’s willingness to throw corrupt officials under the bus, if only out of enlightened self-interest.
    It sounds like confidence in your party one moment, and then skepticism the next.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: But skepticism and pessimism, which are our respective positions, are two different things.
    Splittin’ hairs a bit there, eh? Time will prove it. Based on Congress’ track-record of the last 30+ years, it’s hard to muster up much optimism, isn’t it ? There is also a difference between pessimism and realism. In 2008 (or sooner), we will know which was which.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: I think we can do a lot of good. But I’m not so naive as to believe that’s guaranteed. However, I’m also not so cynical as to have lost hope as to the redemption of Congress.
    We will see. Based on Congress’ track-record of the last 30+ years, what do you think will happen?
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: What Richard Rhodes is suggesting is naive in my view.
    No, technically speaking, he has a valid point. If all your choices of candidates are equally bad (and there is no incumbent), and that can happen, then why give your vote to any of them. It’s like choosing between two fatal diseases.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: What have Americans gained over the years by not showing up at the polls?
    Who cares? I don’t care at all about those that don’t care enough to vote. That’s much better than some, that just vote for the sake of voting, and blindly pull the party-lever, and vote for some people that they know absolutely nothing about. Those voters are worse than non-voters.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Those who vote make the choices for those who don’t. That simple. Even if the choices are lousy, the better choice should be sought.
    Stephen, if the choices are equally bad, it doesn’t matter. Surely, that makes sense to you? For instance, if John Kerry and Hillary Clinton were the ONLY two choices, I wouldn’t vote for either, because (IMO), they are equally bad. It’s like a choice between two fatal diseases.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Hell, if all things are equal, choose the bastard you think can run an office better.
    No, the point is they are equally bad. Richard Rhodes clarified that above. It isn’t far fetched, as I indicated above (i.e. with a choice between on Hillary Clinton and John Kerry).
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: We’ve seen what comes of having a president and a Congress who’re both wrong and bad at it.
    Yes we have. The Democrats hold the record for being bad for the longest period. The Republicans don’t last long. They are the flash in the pan type, and blow it quickly.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Without the ability to take significant votes in one direction or another, or even the ability to achieve the presidency, a third party can only affect the close votes.
    No, Third parties and Independents decide elections.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Is that not a consistent opinion?
    No. Your statements and positions are all over the place.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: What exactly is unreasonable about the notion that they would be better advised to do things that help the Democrats …
    Because they don’t want to.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You question my sincerity. You question my consistency. However, My points are not illogical, and since they have a logic to them that is consistent not only with other positions I have taken …
    No. I’ve been here for years and don’t recall so many contradictions and inconsistences by anyone else.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The thing is, you question me on things more than you ask me about things.
    Huh ? Is this a riddle ?
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You question my sincerity about third party emergence, despite the fact that I have repeated advocated in my posts for a more unstable, more responsive electorate- the better that politicians don’t rest on their laurels. You question my sincerity on issues of corruption though I have repeatedly and consistently advocated against it.
    That’s because of the contradictory statements. I think Richard Rhodes was onto something that seems to be fundamentally true …
    Richard Rhodes wrote: The Democrats however are everywhere on every issue. They are a party of John Kerry’s, one day on one side of the issue and the next day on the other side.
    That doesn’t mean all Dems are that way, and it’s a hard thing to measure, but there seems to be some general credibility to what he is saying, and I think it applies well to you. Sorry, but it’s based on what you write, and the many writings that are contradictory. Of course you may disagree, but that’s merely an observation based on the facts above (i.e. many statements juxtaposed).
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You seem more inclined to doubt the character of folks like myself, rather than consider that to me, things might just be so simple as telling you what I actually think. If you want to accuse me of lying a few more times for the road, that’s fine by me.
    I never called you a liar.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You’re trying too hard to discredit me. You’re too focused on winning the confrontation to realize that the conflict is not where you actually thought it was.

    What is immensely amusing and ironic about this is that you are doing the very thing that are accusing me of.

    Even when I wasn’t addressing you or your posts, you follow me from thread to thread and drop your subtle little personal insults (and I can start listing them by the dozens, one by one, if you’d like).
    That’s fine, because you are merely discrediting yourself; not me.

    For instance, you said the following, and it was unprovoked …

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    Save people some trouble. Don’t expect them to save you any by simply agreeing with you because you think so highly of your own arguments.

    That resembles a personal attack.

    Want to see some more examples ?

    Here’s another:

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    the Congress, even the scuzzball congress we just got done destroying in the polls

    So, you called the 109th Congress scuzzballs, but when I called Congress hypocrites, you wrote:
    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    Again, I’m going to tell you, don’t accuse people of being hypocrites without giving them the chance to demonstrate their behavior.

    Here, you are actually telling me what to do.
    So, what gives you that authority?
    And, where did this sudden sensitivity to Congress being call names come from?
    Could it be partisan motivated, now that the Dems are the IN-Party?
    And that one was after you told me to show respect for others.

    On several occassions, you have written that I am too general, and don’t provide data to support assertions, solutions, or ideas.
    For example, you wrote:

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    Without specific instances, it’s just a generalized blur …

    What is truly dumbfounding about that is how far it really is from the truth.
    Here are some of my ideas and solutions. In fact, it’s happens to be one of my hobbies (i.e. developing solutions). And there are many dozens of links to other pages with ideas, solutions, articles, calculations, and supporting sources. Not only that, I am constantly providing links to those supporting data, sources, calculations, articles, etc.

    So, Stephen Daugherty,
    Is any of that making sense yet?
    Or do you want to go on following me from thread to thread, trying to pick a fight with me ?
    Perhaps you are not even aware of what it is you are doing?
    What ever. Perhaps you want to lure me into a fiasco, so I can be banned?
    Well, it ain’t gonna work.
    You’re entitled to your opinion, and you can keep dropping your subtle little insults, but in a debate, don’t expect your contradictory statements to not be noticed, when they are completely germane to the debate.

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 14, 2006 7:58 PM
    Comment #199350

    “Whatever the reason, there are many of these people, and by not voting, even if you feel your reasons are legitimate, you will be lumped in with that group of people.”

    i have little concern over whether i am lumped in with anyone at this point. the dems try to classify me as a rep, the reps as a dem. when someone attempts to ‘define me to dismiss me’ as it were, i tend to call them on it, and then dismiss them as well.

    “It just seems to me that if you are able to get that many people you would also be able to get a third party candidate elected.”

    not necessarily. firstly, there is the issue of indifference. if someone is entirely dissillusioned with the system, they will naturally abstain from voting - why bother? and major party proponents tend to reinforce this sentiment by claiming that a vote for a third party is a ‘wasted’ vote, which it is - because many of them do their damndest to ensure that it is.

    secondly, simply because they do not agree with the major parties, it does not necessarily follow that they will agree with me (or whichever 3rd party i espouse).

    “That seems like voting for the lesser of two evils, no?”

    it is a matter of perception to some degree, i suppose. if i vote for them, it will be fully expecting that they deliver on whatever that issue is which they promised - and my contempt for them will be that much greater should they fail to deliver…

    …but, i think it is a fair claim that they are basically the same methodology - or at least likely to bring about the same result, in any case. again, i would direct you to d.a.n.’s voting guidelines. they are a means of deciding at what point you may have no better choice than to stay home (or rather, not vote for any candidate of a given office), as well as other useful strategies prior to that end.

    but this is indeed why i prepare for the worst. i remain hopeful, but i do not expect things to get better - hope for the best, prepare for the worst. when you continually elect the lesser of two evils, there is no incentive for them to nominate anything but.

    that is one reason it is important to dismiss this notion that those who choose not to vote are unpatriotic, lazy, or simply not worthy of the privilege… and right away. there may come a point where i (and others) do need to join the trend in order to achieve the ends we seek (or the trend comes to a head of its own volition)… in which case, it would certainly not serve our cause for people to assume that we do so merely because we are lazy.

    …and at some point, we may need these same people to stand back up - in one fashion or another - which they will not do, if they have been convinced of their own laziness.

    “not voting would be the last way I would try to get that mission achieved.”

    my feelings exactly. the last way, but a way, nonetheless.

    Posted by: Diogenes at December 14, 2006 8:55 PM
    Comment #199358

    Diogenes,

    “when someone attempts to ‘define me to dismiss me’ as it were, i tend to call them on it, and then dismiss them as well.”

    I see that as a breakdown of communication which is, in my opinion, counterproductive. You probably are not going to persuade many people if you keep dismissing them.

    “secondly, simply because they do not agree with the major parties, it does not necessarily follow that they will agree with me (or whichever 3rd party i espouse).”

    I suppose this is possible. But to not want to vote for either major party or even a third party makes it seem that you are holding out for that perfect candidate. I do not see how someone could hate everyone that much. Well, actually, I can, but that seems more like that person’s issue than the system’s.

    “i would direct you to d.a.n.’s voting guidelines.”

    I agree with him on everything but the “do not vote” part. Mainly because I see not having a preferred candidate as a practical impossibility for a presidential election. For a mayor or other smaller race I agree that this is a legitimate stance, but the bigger the office the more you need to scrutinize the difference between the candidates.

    “when you continually elect the lesser of two evils, there is no incentive for them to nominate anything but.”

    You are no more creating an incentive by not voting. I would further contend that each party would still try to put forward the candidate they thought was most popular which should (hopefully) result in better choices for the voter. But, in the end, it is what you do outside the voting booth that will make a difference in making sweeping changes to our political system.


    “that is one reason it is important to dismiss this notion that those who choose not to vote are unpatriotic, lazy, or simply not worthy of the privilege…”

    But do you not think that this is true in many cases? A lot of people probably do not vote because it is inconvenient, or because they are lazy, apathetic, or unappreciative of the right to vote. When people like this exist, it becomes exponentially more difficult to convince bystanders that the rest of us are trying to send a different message.

    I get the feeling that you are starting to give up on the main parties, that you feel let down by them in many ways.

    But my feeling is that I would not use the method of abstinence until the political system has completely corrupted all the values it was founded upon.

    Posted by: Zeek at December 14, 2006 9:45 PM
    Comment #199367

    On the question of how independents vote, here’s the source. If you look at what folks on this site actually say, you’ll see further evidence of this. This is Kevin Drum’s summation:

    Basically, by breaking down voting behavior and party ID, Rauch found that most self-described independents aren’t very independent at all. Nationwide, about 40% of independents lean Democratic and about 30% lean Republican, and it turns out that the leaners vote every bit as as loyally as those who define themselves as “weak” party identifiers. “Independents” who lean Democratic vote for Democratic presidential candidates about 80% of the time, and independents who lean Republican vote for Republican presidential candidates about 85% of the time. That’s not very independent.

    The real disease is learned helplessness. If you believe you can’t change anything, you won’t try. The independents and third parties can determine some elections, but not all, and for the most part, they vote according to party.

    This “equally bad” formulation has a problem: its a subjective measure, and if you define equally bad as broadly as you seem to do, then its hopeless. I want people to have true alternatives. I want Democrats to be truly good alternatives to their opponents. I can be honest, though, about the imperfections of my party, and about the fact that I seek to improve it. I hold out hope, but I know that hope does not come cheap. Nobody’s going to drop perfection in our laps. We’re going to have to beat on this party of ours like blacksmiths to make good steel out of it, flexible and strong.

    As for your responses? Check this out:

    Is that not a consistent opinion? No. Your statements and positions are all over the place.

    And after that what proof do you give that the opinion in question was inconsistent, either within itself or with the previous statements? None. You’re on to the next flat, unproven contradiction.

    What exactly is unreasonable about the notion that they would be better advised to do things that help the Democrats … Because they don’t want to.

    Never mind the logic of politically aligned groups working together in coalition. It’s unreasonable because they don’t want to. I find a disappointingly arbitrary answer, especially at time when the causes of reform and environmentalism need all the help they can get. There’s something more valuable than our political differences out there. What will it take for us to face up to it? My consistent response to such arbitrary division has been to invoke the necessity for everybody to deal with the unified reality of the situation, rather than close themselves off in their narrow worlds of self-interest.

    The thing is, you question me on things more than you ask me about things.

    My style is conversational. I even sound out what I’m writing, as I write it. I like to write and read fluent language. Being hit with not merely the same, but identical arguments again and again gets frustrating. I got many a long time ago, especially about the soldiers and the budget.

    In your responses, you seem intent on proving me to be a confused young man. I challenge you to look through the archive of my writings and fail to spot the consistent themes, the consistent wishes, the consistent ideals and principles. If nothing else, I’m predictable. That is why I take great exception and argue at great lengths with a person who considers my arguments inconsistent. I am consistently FOR competition in the political process, the market like corrective forces that come of rivalries and competition. If you want to paint me as contradictory, then you’ll have to argue against almost three years of rather congruent opinions to paint me as such.

    Did I started writing because I’m a naive supporter of the Democratic Party? No. I started at a time when my Party leadership wasn’t even daring to speak up against the war in Iraq. Go back and read my archives. My first article was a critique on Bush’s excessive spending, which you’ve been trying to convince me is wrong from day one.

    I think you underestimate me and a lot of other people. People don’t like to be thought of so poorly.

    I can be a very intense, directed, and tenacious opponent. Others know this well. I argue the most with the people who cause me the most trouble. I especially latch on to those who misrepresent me and my opinions, who begin to make it personal. I’m fairly stubborn about not letting people get away with character attacks, with distortions of my record. It’s one of the reasons I like Watchblog: I rarely feel the need to have to defend myself to that extent.

    Am I luring you into a fiasco? Am I trying to provoke you? No. I explain an awful lot, for somebody trying to push things into an irrational direction. No, I just wish you wouldn’t force others and myself to defend our characters with our arguments. I’m telling you what I’m telling you as friendly advice. Can you see a friend in this rather stubborn guy here, and not merely somebody telling you you’re wrong?

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 14, 2006 10:36 PM
    Comment #199369

    Zeek-
    If the political system becomes utterly corrupted, to the point where Democracy ceases to be, then an armed rebellion or other forcible revolution will be necessary. Abstinence will be the attitude of those too convinced of their powerlessness to resist.

    I think things really start to go to hell when people start thinking the government can or should be allowed to take care of itself, or that any effective protest can be had in choosing to vote for nobody.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 14, 2006 10:45 PM
    Comment #199371

    Stephen,

    “If the political system becomes utterly corrupted, to the point where Democracy ceases to be, then an armed rebellion or other forcible revolution will be necessary.”

    You are right. I guess I really would never resort to not voting then.

    “I think things really start to go to hell when people start thinking the government can or should be allowed to take care of itself, or that any effective protest can be had in choosing to vote for nobody.”

    And I agree with you one hundred percent. Now let us work towards a solution rather than watching this train wreck happen in slow motion.

    Posted by: Zeek at December 14, 2006 11:13 PM
    Comment #199375
    I’m telling you what I’m telling you as friendly advice. Can you see a friend in this rather stubborn guy here, and not merely somebody telling you you’re wrong?
    OK, Stephen. I’ll take that as a desire for a truce, of sorts.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: I argue the most with the people who cause me the most trouble. I especially latch on to those who misrepresent me and my opinions, who begin to make it personal.
    Me too, and that may be part of why we arrived at this point. As I recall, this all got started when my position on voting out irresponsible incumbents was repeatedly mischaracterized as blind anti-incumbency, when I have stressed keeping the good ones, and vote out the bad ones. So, I latched onto it, but it was still civil at that point. At any rate, neither of us want to be banned, and both of us know that we do our selves a disservice by losing control. In the big scheme of things, this is very mild compared to a few out-of-control things I’ve seen here.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: No, I just wish you wouldn’t force others and myself to defend our characters with our arguments
    Stephen, I don’t underestimate people or go around forcing others to defend their character, becasuse no person should feel compelled to defend their character, unless their position is somehow immoral (and that does occur at times; but not in our discussion). The only instance in our discussion when anything even remotely approached what someone might say borders on a question of character is when there appeared to be contradictory statements that could easily raise questions of sincerity.

    At any rate, perhaps we should both try to do the following. When we address each other, consider the use of the word “YOU”. Any sentence that contains the word “YOU” is often a personal attack, regardless of the severity. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few other clever ways to still subtly insult others, but the word “YOU” is the most common red-flag.
    ____________________________________

    Looking at the graph at the link you provided, there really isn’t anything disturbing about it for third party and independent voters. Of course some voters will vote Democrat some/most of the time and Republican some/most of the time.
    Others vote independent only some/most of the time.

    The part I find very interesting is that
    it cites that the number of voters who “decline to state” a party identification has doubled since 1990 to 18% of the total electorate.
    That’s encouraging.


    ____________________________________

    Zeek wrote: I agree with him on everything but the “do not vote” part.
    The “do not vote” ONLY makes sense if ALL candidates are equally bad, and there is no incumbent. True, that’s not likely. But it can happen.

    But, I do not support NOT voting when there is one candidate that is not as bad as the others.

    For example, consider the only candidates are Hillary Clinton and Teddy Kennedy, and there is no incumbent.
    Yikes !
    Who do you vote for ?
    I don’t think I could vote for either one.

    Now, what if the only candidates are Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Elmer Fudd.

    Well, the only logical choice would be Elmer Fudd. He is probably the most honest, and will do an OK job if he has a good advisor or V.P., … say, Bugs Bunny?

    But seriously, if the only choices for president are Hillary Clinton and John McCain, and no incumbent, who would you vote for?
    I don’t like John McCain’s position on Iraq and illegal immigration. But, Hillary? She’s a chameleon (and that is putting it nicely).

    That’s a tough choice, but I couldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton. I’d have to choose McCain, because I think he has more scrupples, even if I don’t like his position on Iraq and illegal immigration.

    So, it appears we are on the same page with regard to voting guidelines.

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 15, 2006 12:28 AM
    Comment #199383

    Dan-
    I’m happy we see eye to eye on the need to bring things to a more peaceful resolution. But I must clarify things on a few points.

    Folks are going to care how they portrayed to other people. It doesn’t take an immoral position to make one fear for one’s reputation. That premise is a rhetoric cousin to “When did you stop raping your daughter.” A person has to care little or nothing for how they appear to others, and in the real world that doesn’t often happen. People who take moral positions can become concerned when those positions are presented innaccurately or falsely, and feel compelled to answer critics who they felt have gone too far.

    As for pronouns? I use them consistent with the subject or object of the sentence I’m replacing. I for me; he, she, it, or they for the appropriate person, and you when I’m addressing other person directly.

    If I’m addressing a person’s behavior, it’s a word that’s going to get used a lot. As for insults? I generally try to avoid them. I’m no saint, though, and sometimes the tension in me bleeds off through sarcasm, subtle barbs, and scathing critiques of the message. If I feel I’m being abused, I criticize the behavior with an emphasis not on the character of the person, but on the character of the action. It can reflect on them, but only indirectly, and I always appeal for some kind of reform.

    I’m not interested in destroying people, or using this as some substitute for good argument. I’m interested in getting back to rational argument, where I don’t have to deal with the rather unpredictable vagaries of an argument turned personal. I like winning, but what I want to win isn’t a fight with somebody else.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 15, 2006 7:53 AM
    Comment #199393
    I’m no saint, though, and sometimes the tension in me bleeds off through sarcasm, subtle barbs, and scathing critiques of the message.
    No doubt about it, and that is how this all got started, along with mischaracterization of my postion by multiple statements like this:
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: … your quest to oust incumbents is nothing but a partisan political cause in and of itself, neglecting the very interests it claims to serve.
    … despite the countless statements and corrections that my position is that ONLY irresponsible incumbents do not deserve to be re-elected.

    Then, despite the following statement about the 109th Congress:

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    … the scuzzball congress we just got done destroying in the polls

    … I am admonished several times for calling Congress hypocrites? ! ?:

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    Again, I’m going to tell you, don’t accuse people of being hypocrites without giving them the chance to demonstrate their behavior.
    … and …
    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    Again, I’m going to tell you, don’t accuse people of being hypocrites without giving them the chance to demonstrate their behavior.

    And, then I am attacked with other untruths (since I always strive to back-up statements with proof and sources, and readily acknowledge a mistake if a source is bad or my assertions are false) …

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    Without specific instances, it’s just a generalized blur …

    Then, my statements about the abuse of presidential pardons were mischaracterized. I never said Congress was the cause of it, but stated they were often the recipients of pardons. Yet, I receive the following …

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    d.a.n
    You’re playing word games, though. Pardons and enforcement of the laws fall under executive branch decisions.
    … and …
    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    As for pardons, I’ve told you this before: they are an executive power. Griping about congress regarding executive pardons
    … and …
    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    What this betrays on your part is a deep and abiding cynicism. Trouble is, this kind of cynicism is not of much use to you.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    If you focus on planting the seeds of motivation in others, you don’t have wear yourself out into a state of passive cynicism bad-mouthing the very people you’re trying to convince to take your side.
    … and more subtle barbs, again and again …
    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    It does not help if we just sink into a pessimistic funk.

    So, it appears, again and again and again, I was attacked (subtly at times), despite the following contradiction …

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: I write on these web-pages knowing that if I respect folk’s intelligence and their character, I can encourage a great deal more from them …

    Really?
    Well does any of that above demonstrate “respect[ing] folk’s” ?

    There are many more mischaracterizations of my position and false statements, again and again, such as …

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    But here you are reminding people that there is no hope.
    . . . and …
    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    you’re assuming that everybody’s irresponsible. That’s an assumption you back with little specific evidence.

    Despite the fact that my claims that politicians in Congress are irresponsible is well supported by pages and pages and numerous articles and reports; yet another falsehood to discredit me.

    What is funny is that there seems to suddenly be a sensitivity to criticism of the 110th Congress, which is now mostly Democrats.

    Before, when Congress was predominately Republican, such criticism of Congress were welcome, as evidenced by …

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    … the scuzzball congress [109th Congress] we just got done destroying in the polls

    Can anyone see how contradictory all of this is ?

    Again, while I am being admonished for criticizing Congress for the unlikelihood of real reforms, it is in the midst of yet another contradiction (with regard to Congress too) …

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    But me? I know what I’m dealing with here. I’m not expecting much good.

    Then, perhaps out of frustration, I am attacked again by being accused of yet another falsehood …

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    If you want to accuse me of lying a few more times for the road, that’s fine by me.

    When I pointed out some contradictions, such as those above, I am faced with …

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    You’re trying too hard to discredit me. You’re too focused on winning the confrontation …

    Confrontation? And how did that begin (please see chronological sequence abovce) ?
    I do not like confrontation, but will not refrain from revealing contradictions as those many examples above when my positions are continually mischaracterized and I am continually goaded with “sarcasm, subtle barbs, and scathing critiques”.

    So, Stephen Daugherty, didn’t any of my suggestions about the use of the word “YOU” make any sense at all?

    Please examine all of the above closely.
    It speaks volumes.
    Is none of this making any sense yet ?

    All in all, I think I’ve been very patient, but I too do not like being attacked or mischaracterized.
    Want to see more?
    Watchblog is overflowing with MANY more examples of subtle attacks and contradictions such as those above documented above.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:I’m not interested in destroying people, or using this as some substitute for good argument. I’m interested in getting back to rational argument, where I don’t have to deal with the rather unpredictable vagaries of an argument turned personal. I like winning, but what I want to win isn’t a fight with somebody else.
    Then, please follow that sound advice, and seriously consider the use of the word “YOU” as a red-flag (generally). Posted by: d.a.n at December 15, 2006 10:55 AM
    Comment #199405

    Dan-
    You left out the conditional on the statement you quote at the start. The conditional makes it a critique on your political angle, not on you. The whole point of that particular statement was that any political system that would neglect the quality of the governance for the sake of making a political point is merely partisan, and counterproductive to the ultimate aims of such efforts: good government.

    I have admonished you on calling a congress not yet seated hypocrites. If you were to set before me evidence that individual members are hypocrites, that they have said one thing with a certain set of principles, and then betrayed those principles, I’d accept that. If you told me the last congress, given its membership, the majority, the people in charge, were hypocritical, I’d accept that; the long history of fiscal irresponsibility, sexual immorality, excessive spending, corruption, and other failures to live up to their principles have long since convince most people, including quite a few Republicans, that the congress in question was hypocritical.

    But this congress? There are going to substantial differences concerning who’s in charge, who makes up the Congress, and what environment the whole thing’s operating under. And yes, a 10% change is huge, especially given the extent to which the Republicans Gerrymandered themselves into job security.

    Moreover, this is a Congress still two weeks in the future! Until they’ve had a good chance to betray their stated principles as a congress, the status of hypocrisy is simply invalid.

    And yes, I can consider the 109th and the 110th congress as distinct. How distinct remains to be seen. If you expect failure, fine. But give the new congress, composite of new members and old, new majority and recently deposed, the opportunity to fail before you start excoriating them.

    You say you only want to oust irresponsible incumbents, but you’ve made it abundantly clear that you consider most incumbents irresponsible. Without specifics about who’s responsible or not, Without a well-constructed argument going point by point on who you find particularly irresponsible at the moment, the whole argument becomes paralyzed by its own generalization. They become circular, broad-brush, easy to dismiss by folks unfamiliar with your opinion about who in particular is deserving of ouster as taking the innocent with the guilty.

    People have to feel that it’s wrong for an incumbent to stay. Otherwise, the incumbent can easily offer evidence to the contrary, blunting the impact of the claim. Multiply that by hundreds, and you see what you’re up against, and why I emphasize a more particular, individualized approach. It’s more work, but it’s more work that can get better results.

    As far as pardons go, yes congressmen have been recipients of them. Does that make congress hypocrites? No. They can be hypocrites indpendent of that, but the fact is, since it’s not their decision, it’s not their principles that are put to the test. It’s the President’s.

    You see “You” as being a red flag. I’m sorry if I’ve gotten less focused on the arguments at hand here. However, you should re-examine your own posts, and see where your own posts insult and demean others.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n, Incumbency itself is not the problem.
    Agreed. I never said it was, did I? Why do you keep trying to mischaracterize my position? Is that easier than trying to poke holes in a sound argument?

    That’s how you started our exchange. My post was innocent. It was just my usually blunt style, essentially agreeing with the sentiment of throwing out bad incumbents, but differing on a number of points.

    You assumed from the start that my misunderstanding was intentional. That’s an accusation of dishonesty, that I’m lying about your position on purpose to set up a straw-man argument. You then accuse me doing that in the stead of “poking holes in a sound argument.”

    You could have simply defended the argument. Later on, when I caution you about calling people brainwashed, your response is to tell me, “if the shoe fits…” despite the fact that the term is strongly perjorative, implying that a person has been deprived of their ability to think and judge for themselves. My words might get a little edgy, and I might characterize a person’s philsophy negatively, but not the person.

    These are the arguments you begin with, that you even defiantly stick with, despite their nature.

    Honestly, I think you mean well, that you’re simply wondering why I don’t get it. I think, though, that you’re coming into the argument with some hard feelings that I’m not.

    You come across with words like this, it’s evident:

    Any sentence that contains the word “YOU” is often a personal attack, regardless of the severity. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few other clever ways to still subtly insult others, but the word “YOU” is the most common red-flag.

    I objected to your use of the derogatory term “brainwashed”, and argued against the way you used the term “hypocrite” based on the contexts you used them in. What you’re objecting to are the characterizations that come along, often preceded by the word “you”

    You have to recognize that when I rebut point for point, I tend to fall into the ancient diatribe style, which can be used for personal attack, and which at length can be seen as such, but which I try to use as an effective means of structuring my rebuttals. The style can be rather challenging merely by its inherently adversarial form.

    I think some of the length and tough feelings of this argument stem from our mutual use of the diatribe style. However, take note of something. I rarely use it just to deliver some barb. I might use needling language in the midst of the response, but I always try and keep the logic clear and the response pointed at facts and arguments. I don’t make fun of people with it or snipe with it.

    Here’s another difference: typically, with the Diatribe style, the opponent is not there, and is often freely characterized by the opponent, often with bitter emotion, a characteristic of many such arguments that earned the word diatribe its connotation of bitterness and sarcasm. You, however, are here, and are free to respond. Additionally, we both have the rules of Watchblog to observe.

    So here’s my suggestion: let’s stick with the facts. Arguments against the person, with the person present to respond, are virtually impossible to win. It’s the facts that are important, and our mutually favorite style is good at polishing the facts to a bright shine when used properly.

    So, lets stick the facts, and bury this hatchet.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 15, 2006 12:53 PM
    Comment #199406

    d.a.n, I see what you are saying and I think we are on the same page for the most part.

    Posted by: Zeek at December 15, 2006 12:57 PM
    Comment #199412

    d.a.n.

    I like the chart showing the split of membership in Congress.

    I noticed on that chart that there is a trend…

    times when our country flourishes are most often the times when we have a Dem.House and a Repub. Senate!

    Kind of goes along with a statement I made about a month ago on a prior blog, I believe in the democratic/liberal section.

    Went something like: The best chance for an honest government would be a Democratic House, a Republican Senate, and a Libertarian Executive (after all, who better to excercise federal budget and executive veto).

    Some one correct me if that was not accurate to the prior statement…

    d.a.n. & Stephen Daugherty,

    You know, for two guess who sound like they agree more than they disagree, you two sure do get at it quite a bit.

    You ever think of combining force?

    Man! would that be a force to recon with!

    Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at December 15, 2006 1:21 PM
    Comment #199421

    Zeek,
    Thanks. I think the problem with the “Don’t Vote 2008!” title of this thread and the article is a lack of clarity about the details of the three categories. I could be wrong, but I think Richard Rhodes meant (by saying it’s like the “choice between” two fatal diseases), was that is sound advice when the candidates are all equally bad and there is no incumbent. True, it’s not likely for a presidential race, and there will be some states that don’t have the same choices on their ballots. That’s a serious issue. That happened to Ralph Nader. Some states make the requirements to get on the ballots way to difficult.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: So, lets stick the facts, …
    I was.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: … and bury this hatchet.
    OK, one thing, though. Then, you can have the last word (maybe). Above, you allege that I started it. However, prior to that …
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: But you seem to think that somehow if people just listen to your idea, things will be fine.

    Is that how …

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    … I respect folk’s intelligence and their character, I can encourage a great deal more from them …

    _________

    Stephen wrote: … and bury this hatchet.
    OK. Where do you want it ? ; )
  • Posted by: d.a.n at December 15, 2006 2:16 PM
    Comment #199424
    Bryan AJ Kennedy wrote: d.a.n. I noticed on that chart that there is a trend… Times when our country flourishes are most often the times when we have a Dem.House and a Repub. Senate! Kind of goes along with a statement I made about a month ago on a prior blog, I believe in the democratic/liberal section.
    HHHhhhmmmm … maybe. It’s hard to measure. One thing is for certain. One party rule is a recipe for disaster. Each time it happens, bad things happen (Dems and Repubs alike).
    Bryan AJ Kennedy wrote: d.a.n. & Stephen Daugherty, You know, for two guess who sound like they agree more than they disagree, you two sure do get at it quite a bit. You ever think of combining force? Man! would that be a force to recon with!

    Thanks Bryan,
    HHHmmmm … not sure that’s likely.
    I’m a member of VOID, and seriously doubt Stephen will ever join us. Especially since his party is now the IN-Party. Also, especially since we are working on third-party coalitions (based on their common goals).

    While we probably agree on many things, we have some very fundamental philosophical differences in some very important areas.
    Stephen believes there’s a likelihood that the Dems will improve things.
    I highly doubt it since Congress still consists of 90% of the old bunch.
    But, I’ll be the first to admit being wrong if (which we all hope) they do accomplish something significant. Mere symbolism, such as raising the minimum wage ain’t gonna cut it. Not ever close.
    But, here’s a list so we can keep score.
    Also, I believe Stephen believes in a graduated income tax scale (the more you make, the higher the percentage of income tax you should pay).
    I can’t support that.
    I believe in a flat rate 17% income tax system.
    Stephen is quite partisan.
    I’m non-partisan.
    I used to be Republican, and used to pull the party-lever.
    That was wrong, and recognize it now.

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 15, 2006 3:05 PM
    Comment #199695

    stephen,

    “If the political system becomes utterly corrupted, to the point where Democracy ceases to be, then an armed rebellion or other forcible revolution will be necessary.”

    don’t kid yourself into believing that they will simply stop holding elections, should the situation deteriorate to such an extent to warrant a revolution. the elections will continue in order for them to present a false legitimacy to the rest of the world (as they already do), as well as whatever small part of the electorate still supports them. see communist elections, as a reference.

    “Abstinence will be the attitude of those too convinced of their powerlessness to resist.”

    only if you can effectively convince them that they abstain, not for lack of any good option, but out of sheer laziness, or apathy. here we starkly disagree.

    i will not verbally assualt my fellow tax paying citizens for feeling that neither the dems nor reps are worthy of their vote - by calling them lazy, irresponsible, or unpatriotic - when i very well know that the greater majority are not. they do their part… they support our economy, themselves, and the government to which you seemingly believe they are indebted. i think you have that backwards. it would seem that those who carry this belief have lost touch with the common folk - likely a major cause of the deplorable representation which currently plagues us.

    zeek

    “when someone attempts to ‘define me to dismiss me’ as it were, i tend to call them on it, and then dismiss them as well.

    I see that as a breakdown of communication which is, in my opinion, counterproductive. You probably are not going to persuade many people if you keep dismissing them.”

    it is certainly a breakdown of communication - one which party loyalists often utilize to further marginalize those with whom they disagree, without having to actually address the arguments. recognizing this as their goal leads me to the logical conclusion that they have no valid, intelligent defense of their position. thus, there is no point in entertaining their mischaracterizations or their conversations.

    it is not *my* goal to dismiss them in order to veil an untenable position… so this statement, “You probably are not going to persuade many people if you keep dismissing them,” is entirely misdirected… it applies solely to them.

    Posted by: Diogenes at December 18, 2006 5:26 PM
    Comment #199809

    Diogenes-
    The reason for abstaining is irrelevant, because abstaining itself sends no message in the ballot box. The message that does get sent is for one candidate or for another. Only those who vote get to choose, and only those who choose can put the person in charge who most closely follows their agenda. If you’re worried about having a candidate to vote for, then you should not wait for third parties to become powerful enough to field effective candidates. You should make that happen.

    If third parties want respect, they must make themselves a force to be reckoned with. Simply tossing close votes from their rivals, especially to even worse adversaries will only make things worse for them. Even four or five representatives in congress can have an impact. A party that can win elections is a party with real bargaining power.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 19, 2006 3:26 PM
    Comment #199867

    Stephen Daugherty,
    What happened to the comments?

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 19, 2006 10:43 PM
    Comment #199913
    Simply tossing close votes from their rivals, especially to even worse adversaries will only make things worse for them.

    Sometimes, things can’t get better until they get worse.

    Disruption of a bad system can have good results.

    Especially when the Do-Nothing Congress won’t do nothin’ any way.

    Besides, third party and independent voters actually decide elections.

    So, if all your choices are approximately equally bad, and you have to vote for the lesser of two evils, it would be wise to consider a vote for a challenger, becaue that will eliminate the chance of the existing incumbent to grow stronger, and more likely to cause damage. Also, it is better than rewarding an incumbent by repeatedly re-electing them, and reinforcing irresponsible behavior.

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 20, 2006 9:15 AM
    Comment #269398

    You guys are ghey…DONT VOTE!!!

    Posted by: Cooldude132 at November 4, 2008 12:12 PM
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