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Alternative Parties not Creating a Draw

On Monday, Vaughn Ververs of CBS News asserted that Unity08 “has yet to catch fire. Politically speaking, there just doesn’t seem to be room for a third party in this already intense and high-stakes election.” He’s right: with eight months to go before its ballyhooed nominating convention, Unity08 has managed to attract just 1.1 percent of the 10 million people it says it will need in order to pull off its election right. What will fill this membership chasm? Apparently, Unity08 thinks that hiring a new graphics designer and replacing old Communications Director Shane Kinkennon with a new one will do the trick. It’s not surprising that Unity08 thinks it can talk and draw its way out of the problem; the corporation is run by public relations executives, and that’s what public relations executives would think of. But even the communications major strategies aren’t working any more. When Sam Waterston recently showed up on the Colbert Report, Unity08 gained only 4,000 new members from across the nation, four ten-thousandths of Unity08′s goal. At that rate, Unity08 would need to show up on the Colbert Report 2,500 days in a row in order to get its ten million — and Unity08 has less than a tenth of that time to go. Unity08 just isn’t going to happen.

I won’t shed a tear for Unity08′s demise: it’s a fake-populist, plagiarism-encouraging inside operation that fronts for the most callous impulses of corporate America. But I do find it discouraging that other more honest alternative political efforts aren’t gaining too much traction this year. Not one person has asked for one of our independent or third party bumper stickers yet this year. Alternative party presidential candidates aren’t being covered in newsprint or on TV, either. We have learned from painful experience that most Democrats aren’t likely to take effective and principled action unless they’re forced by political pressure into doing so. If the Democratic Party knows that liberal Americans will support its candidates no matter what, the Party will continue to be invertebrate. Strong alternatives to the Democrats need to be presented to nudge the Democrats into action. And if the Democrats won’t act, then strong alternatives to the Democrats need to be available so that we can vote them into office.

There is a legitimate alternate opinion that however mealy-mouthed most Democrats may be, they aren’t nearly as bad as the Republicans, and that in our two party system as it is currently constituted, voting Democrat keeps the Republicans and their theocratic, anti-constitution, pro-torture, pro-war, surveillance-happy agenda out of power. Legislative records bear this idea out — there is more than a dime’s worth of difference, even if the Democrats are collectively a disappointment to stalwart pro-constitution liberals.

What’s your opinion on the subject? What should happen in this next year? What will happen?

3 comments to Alternative Parties not Creating a Draw

  • Robert Cogan

    Time is running out before either Bush or Israel involves us in a wider, longer war that would be against the long term national interest of both the United States and Israel. The longer Congress and presidential candidates take before advocating and legislating measures to reduce casualties and expense in Iraq, the more likely Bush or Israel is to preemptively attack Iran. Big, primitive countries like Iran and Pakistan don’t have full control over armed groups in them. Iranians would retaliate by infiltration into Iraq and attacking our troops. Worse yet: Bush could order an attack that would almost certainly leave American hostages in Iran, trapping the next U.S. president in a nightmare hostage crisis.
    “Soft partition” should mean that U.S. troops, while withdrawing from Iraq’s cities, would escort only willing Iraqis to resettle to zones of others of the same sect. Under soft partition Iraqis unwilling to move would assume the risk of fighting or making peace. Assumption of risk is a principle of freedom. Door-kickin’-in forcible occupation is a principle of domination. Baghdad can be partitioned along the Tigris. The Green Zone goes to Sunni’s moving from east to west Baghdad. Make a gift of Bush’s embassy to the Iraqis. It’s not worth one more life. The Kurds have their own government. The Sunnis are out of Maliki’s government. So we should offer Maliki’s government the choice to stay in Baghdad alone or move to a self-defensible base in Shia territory. It’s fantasy to think the Military – Energy – Israel Lobby complex is going to let our troops out of Iraq. So U.S. troops should be redeployed to underpopulated areas to guard Iraq’s oil and distribute its profits equitably. A large U.S. funded but not staffed U.N border force is the only thing that could keep Iraq “one” country, let unarmed refugees return and keep us and the Iranians apart.
    It’s also fantasy to think the U.S. can democratize Islamic countries by force and then they will automatically be favorable to U.S. -Israeli interests. It’s a worse fantasy to think even that we can eliminate all armed groups in Middle East countries that attack us now and then. When Napoleon and Hitler each invaded Russia, a vast, primitive country with difficult terrain and bad weather, their armies were destroyed. Likewise with the U.S.S.R. in Afghanistan. We are already just holding on in Afghanistan and Iraq. If we have to fight Iran and help in Pakistan as well, our military and economy will be severely stressed. Americans will not tolerate a “two-generation” war for democracy. Antisemitism and isolationism will damage our historic bond with Israel beyond repair. All American citizens and especially friends of Israel better step up and vocally and officially support support the measures listed above before it is too late.

  • Iroquois

    “Friends of Israel”?

    I’m looking forward to Condoleeza’s Arab-Israeli summit in the fall. It is known that Bush wants to establish a Palestinian state and now. I hope he does so, both for the security of Israel and for justice to the Arab people.

    I’m tired of hearing about the secret Israel lobby that has all the congress in its pocket. I’m tired of hearing all the whispers on the Arab street that Palestine can never be independent because “the Jews” in America won’t permit it.

    Maybe the “Friends of Israel” should look to supporting a Palestinian state.

  • Joseph

    One…I hope that Unity08 starts to get bigger because then, maybe, there will be a good multi-party race instead of the same-old two party trash.

    Second…Iran ALREADY has forces that are supporting the attacks on our troops in Iraq. Sure, they could start full outright support, but that wouldn’t really be to their advantage. In traditional force vs force combat, the U.S. military would wipe out Iran’s troops. The danger is if Iran’s army is better trained in insurgency warfare than the U.S. troops.

    Third, why is a U.N. staffed fence going to work? Does everyone forget that terrorists BLEW UP the U.N compound in Iraq soon after the war? The terrorists aren’t seeking stability in Iraq, they are seeking for everyone else to pull out so that they can take over the country and be against American interests.

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