Thursday, September 11, 2008

Yesterday's National Press Club Meeting Revisited

In the last post, I vented about Bob Barr. If you didn't read it, I didn't mince words and I wasn't very nice. In this post, I will illuminate why I was in support of the press conference, and why it frustrated me.

The thing that makes me cringe about the Ron Paul campaign is that I agree with his platform and his position on the issues. I just hate the way the campaign was run. I have been an observer of political campaigns about as far back as the last 1980's.

While I have run the gamut of political ideology in my time, from Republican, to liberal, to neo-con, to Libertarian, I have always felt that my vote doesn't matter because the people we elect will just continue to do what they want (and what they do is nearly to a point bad). But more than anything, what I enjoy about politics is watching the whole process. I enjoy parsing press releases and political speech. I enjoy looking not for what they say, but what they didn't say. I look at political gaffes not with glee, but with a critical nature that asks "ok, well how could they have done/said that better?"

And because I have always felt that our elected officials never really represent my values, I have always has this disconnect with politics that lends it self to a more Macro viewpoint on how campaings are run.

So, when I watched Ron Paul make his run, I would look at his campaing and cringe when I saw how poorly they were trailoring the message. Now, don't get me wrong, I think Ron Paul did an incredible job in spotlighting issues that would have never gotten national attention without him. But at the core of it, the longer a candidate is in the spotlight, the more his message can be discussed in the town sqare of politics. And this is why, in my Macro view, I thought the tailoring of the message was not done as well as it could have been. Once the MSM decided Ron Paul was simply a reflection of Nazi Sympathizers/Truthers/Wackos and the fringe, he and his ideas were dismissed as "Krazy Uncle Ron". And his platform, which in an intelectually honest debate is hard to discredit, was lots to the American public.

Now, back to the topic at hand.

What was imporant about yesterday was that it was yet another instance of not tailoring the message for maximum impact. While you can dissagree with the platforms of any of the 4 people meeting yesterday, there are 3 important things that were stressed, yet not well reported.

1) The 4 candidates from the 3rd parties agreed on the principles of 4 specific policy topics:

Foreign Policy: The Iraq War must end as quickly as possible with removal of all our soldiers from the region. We must initiate the return of our soldiers from around the world, including Korea, Japan, Europe and the entire Middle East. We must cease the war propaganda, threats of a blockade and plans for attacks on Iran, nor should we re-ignite the cold war with Russia over Georgia. We must be willing to talk to all countries and offer friendship and trade and travel to all who are willing. We must take off the table the threat of a nuclear first strike against all nations.

Privacy: We must protect the privacy and civil liberties of all persons under US jurisdiction. We must repeal or radically change the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and the FISA legislation. We must reject the notion and practice of torture, eliminations of habeas corpus, secret tribunals, and secret prisons. We must deny immunity for corporations that spy willingly on the people for the benefit of the government. We must reject the unitary presidency, the illegal use of signing statements and excessive use of executive orders.

The National Debt: We believe that there should be no increase in the national debt. The burden of debt placed on the next generation is unjust and already threatening our economy and the value of our dollar. We must pay our bills as we go along and not unfairly place this burden on a future generation.

The Federal Reserve: We seek a thorough investigation, evaluation and audit of the Federal Reserve System and its cozy relationships with the banking, corporate, and other financial institutions. The arbitrary power to create money and credit out of thin air behind closed doors for the benefit of commercial intereststaxpayer bailouts of corporations and no corporate subsidies. Corporations should be aggressively prosecuted for their crimes and frauds.

Regardless of their own political affiliations and interests, the 4 candidates were able to agree to the principles of these 4 ideas. That in itself is an amazing feat. As I said above, I think these points can be debated in an intellectually honest way, and are hard to discredit as they reach out to the core of the American beleif system.

2) The two major parties are now nearly identical in their platforms and actions. One thing that was stressed yesterday was that the two parties offer two slightly different versions of the same thing. Baldwin talked about "there isn't a dime's worth of difference between the two, and with today's inflation, it's more like a nickle".

3) The debate system is rigged against a 3rd party nomination getting any coverage. In order to be eligible for Federal Matching Funds, you need only 5% of the polled support. But, in order to get into the national debate, you need 15%. We are told this is to keep the 200 people who run for President every 4 years from making a national debate untennable. But the reality is that year in and year out, you rarely have more than 5 or 6 people that poll above 5% at this stage of the elecction. The 15% is B.S. and it's because the Commision on National Debates is run buy the 2 party system with support from corporate sponsors. I say that if you can be eligible for Federal Matching Funds, you should be able to participate in the debates.

The 4 candidates we able to agree on these 3 ideas. The one person who bagged out at the last second was Bob Barr. Which as you can tell from my last post, pissed me off all to Hell.

The missing link from yesterday was that it wasn't anything more than an agreement to support 3rd party candidates. Again, from a Macro perspective, this was a mistake. You have a message, but not a vehicle to drive it. What should have happened is for all 4 candidates to get together, look at what he most viable ticket would be, and to rally support to that ticket to try and get the 15% needed to get the message to the National Debates. 5 different parties divided doesn't do anything to advance the cause. 1 united ticket can.

And that to me is the most frustrating thing. If you want to change the system, you have to understand the system, and then work the system. And that, with yesterday's press conference, was not done.

No comments: