promoting the unwanted, redheaded stepchild that is individual liberty

Posts Tagged ‘partisan’

What ever happened to the anti-war left?

In foreign policy, protest, war and peace on March 31, 2010 at 1:45 am
When President George W. Bush spoke of spreading democracy to other nations during his second inaugural speech, liberals cringed. In 2005, many on the left realized what most on the right did not — that such rhetoric was nothing more than a thinly veiled declaration of an aggressive foreign policy. But that was 2005.
How I long for the liberals of those days: anti-war, noninterventionists, skeptical of their government.
Sadly, as libertarian author and editor Lawrence Samuels points out, most former anti-war liberals have abandoned their posts.
It was not long ago when almost every progressive leader and newspaper voiced harsh words for Bush’s war in Iraq and Afghanistan, Samuels said. Now that Obama is in charge, that anti-war sentiment is changing. It appears that it is okay for a Democrat administration to engage in war, but not a Republican one.
Are libertarians the only consistent voice of anti-war opposition? What ever happened to the angry protesters, celebrities, and progressive media railing against the Afghanistan and Iraq wars? Perhaps their moral convictions changed with the new administration.

Ron Paul: The anti-war left has just left (5:37).


Picking presidents; debate commission controls candidates’ chances

In Uncategorized on March 15, 2010 at 2:15 am

From the time American children enter school they are told they can be anything they want to be — even president of the United States. After all, America is the land of opportunity where all you need is a big dream and a little hard work.

In reality, only those allowed to participate have a shot at the United States’ presidency.

I’m not talking about the vast amounts of wealth, Harvard degree or friends in high places one needs to be eligible. While a certain pedigree and small family fortune (or, at the very least, wealthy donors) are necessary steps toward the Oval Office, the most insurmountable obstacle is that posed by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

The commission was created in 1987 to “ensure that debates, as a permanent part of every general election, provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners,” according to its website. But civil rights activist and lawyer Connie Rice says the CPD is far from being a public service.

“The CPD is under the total control of the Republican and Democratic parties and by definition bipartisan, not non-partisan,” Rice said.

In Rice’s Top 10 Secrets They Dont Want You to Know About the Debates, she contends that the CPD purposefully shuts out third-party candidates.

“This is what I call the Obstruction of Democratic Debate Rule, which sets an impossibly high threshold for third-party candidates… Where are we, Russia? Isn’t Vladimir Putin wiping out democracy in Russia by excluding all opposing candidates from the airwaves during his re-election campaigns? Most new ideas come from third parties — they should be in the debates.”

Rice is not alone in her harsh criticism of the CPD. The League of Women Voters, which used to run the debates, withdrew its support in October 1988 because of the “campaign-controlled environment.”

“The League of Women Voters is withdrawing its sponsorship of the presidential debate scheduled for mid-October because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter,” League President Nancy M. Neuman said in a press release. “The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.”

But hoodwinking is exactly what the CPD does.

According to the report, Deterring Democracy: How the Commission on Presidential Debates Undermines Democracy, the Democrat and Republican parties took over the presidential debates in 1986. The CPD was created by then chair of the Republican Party Frank Fahrenkopf and then chair of the Democratic Party Paul Kirk. Both Kirk and Fahrenkopf still reside as chairmen on the committee. The consequences of such partisan creation and control are devastating, according to the report:

“Candidates that voters want to see are often excluded, such as Ross Perot. Issues the American people want to hear about are often ignored, such as free trade and child poverty. And the debates have been reduced to a series of glorified bipartisan news conferences, in which the Republican and Democratic candidates exchange memorized sound bites.”

Even Walter Cronkite called CPD-sponsored debates an “unconscionable fraud.”

It’s disturbing that in a so-called democracy as America, such a dictatorial system exists. When it comes to selecting the most important person in the nation — and arguably the world — debates, and thus elections, are anything but democratic.

Conservatives’ rosy-colored retrospect of the Bush years

In politics on November 8, 2009 at 1:24 am

Americans suffer from long-term memory loss. Their short term works just fine. It’s every four to eight years, when the changing of the guard occurs in Washington D.C., that they seem to forget what they learned from their own party. When the other “side” returns to power they are once again happy to cling to their partisan beliefs and take comfort in their partisan news sources.

Point in case: the conservatives.

During the eight years of the Bush administration, many conservatives learned a lesson. The scales fell of their eyes, so to speak.

After 9/11, many conservatives, caught up in the fervor of patriotism and the fear of terrorism, supported George W. Bush. When he stood at ground zero and spoke through his megaphone, they listened. But as the war on terror escalated, along with the war on domestic terror, many on the right began to have their doubts.

The PATRIOT Act, Military Commissions Act and renewal of FISA were just some of the actions by the Republicans and Bush that began to raise red flags for many conservatives. Even FOX News lost much of its likeability with its war trumpeting, support for the PATRIOT Act and belittling of 9-11 “truthers” and Ron Paul supporters. Many on the right began to realize that the two-party system was, in reality, a one-party system. Their long held beliefs that the Republican Party was the party of small government and liberty were shattered.

And when Bush bailed out the banking industry, simultaneously increasing the national debt and federal government power, conservatives appeared to have had enough.

But nine months into the leftist Obama administration and conservatives are once again tuning into FOX News — confident this time, Beck and Hannity are on their side.

It’s as if conservatives are betrayed “lovers” who swore never to go back to the party they loved after being cheated on. But after professing its undying love and promising to be faithful, the Republican Party/FOX News machine has once again wooed many conservatives.

Conservatives now are more concerned with ACORN and socialism than they are the permanent threats to their civil liberties George W. Bush created. They have forgotten their brief, anti-war sympathies and traded them in for a watchful, ready eye on Iran. 

Perhaps conservatives and liberals will never permanently reject the parties supposedly representing them. Maybe it’s human nature to want to believe in ideological differences and take sides. If four to eight years is all it takes for partisans to forget the atrocities committed by their own party, perhaps a one-party system is what they deserve.