"The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do." ~ Eric Hoffer
Thoughts on Race, Enclaves and Kicking Sleeping Dogs
Democrap incumbent: 81%
We're very happy with this -- and next time we'll do much better.'
The concept of self-evident failure comes to mind here. As my gramps also said, 'don't pee on my leg and then tell me it's raining.' This is a placebo for the illness that infects the body politic if I ever saw one.
Now in the above mentioned case, well . . . I guess you could say it really did no harm and maybe was kind of fun for the two guys. No harm, no foul. But that isn't always the case.
If you are like me, you can't see the value of picking the lesser of two evils. Do you want Republican 'conservatives' to curtail your civil liberties, raise your taxes and start wars, or do you want Democratic 'liberals' to? But that being said, Third Parties and the Ralph Naders, Ross Perots, and George Wallaces skew things and cause problems that thwart whatever shot the public has at getting any kind of positive results from the electoral process.
If Nader had bowed out and let Gore win, would we have an Iraq/Afghanistan war going on right now? Maybe, but it seems less likely to me, though. Leave Ross Perot out of the mix in 1992, and the whole Clinton era would not have happened, which is a good thing or bad thing depending on your view.
But even further, it skews election results in lesser races that have just as much impact on people's lives. And all just to prove a point. I am not the only one who has noticed this phenomenon, either. Consider this excerpt from a post-2004 Election Day editorial in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
Of the nearly 60 percent of voters who approved the passage of Initiative 872 -- the "top-two" primary election -- many surely had it in mind to "stick it" to the political parties.
But one of the state's three major parties -- the Republican Party -- might well have been more successful in this general election had the top-two primary been in effect. That's because it would have eliminated another party's candidates -- Libertarian -- from the general election ballot.
In the governor's race, and in two hotly contested legislative races, the presence of Libertarians on the Nov. 2 ballot may have hurt Republicans.
Not all those Libertarian votes would have gone to Republican candidates. Indeed, some of those votes wouldn't have been cast had there not been a Libertarian recipient, but these voters' leaning is arguably more Republican than Democrat.
Had Libertarian Ruth Bennett's roughly 2 percent of the vote gone to Dino Rossi, it would have made him the clear winner. About 2.5 percent of the vote went to Libertarians in each of the two 26th District House races, and Democrats are headed toward victories of less than 1 percent. Libertarian votes could've made the difference for Republicans in those two seats.
Forget Ralph Nader. The top-two effect of bumping third-party candidates off the November ballots may have far more impact.'
In the same way that many Democrats maintain a seething anger toward Nader for 'causing' Gore's loss in 2000, many, many Republicans feel the same way about the Libertarians and for the same reason.
But on the plus side for Third Parties and especially the Libertarians, they can and do add a Three Stooges-style comedy relief factor to what would otherwise be an overwrought and frankly boring political process.
The Free Liberal, an online zine for those of us with a Freedomista world view, recounts a piquant and hilariously funny story of a local Libertarian Party's travails and hassles with municipal sign ordinances, fundraising and related stuff. Not to give it all away, but one corker in the piece relates how after much struggle and effort, the LP'ers get some lawn signs put up in their neighborhood, complete with the party's 800 number. Then they get the news that due to a fact-checking error on their part, they've printed the telephone number of a sex chat service and not the party HQ as they'd intended.
And who can forget the story of the Libertarian candidate for the US Senate from Montana in 2002, one Stan Jones? I never will. What was his claim to fame? Well, he 'started taking colloidal silver in 1999' he said, 'for fear that Y2K disruptions might lead to a shortage of antibiotics. And it turned my skin blue, irreversibly so.' I'll never forget Stan, that's for sure.
But aside from comic relief and giving Freedomista political junkies something to do, how much do these efforts really contribute toward the advancement of liberty? Not much, I'm afraid. Consider this final tally for the Libertarian Party's 2004 presidential candidate Michael Badnarik, according to Reason, a non-party affiliated libertarian magazine.
'As of this writing, Badnarik's looking at a total of 377,940'in fourth place behind Nader (but only by 17 thousand votes, despite far less media coverage) but beating the next two 'third parties' (the Green and Constitution parties) combined.
Despite being hounded by accusations of kookdom over his stances on the legality of the income tax and drivers licenses (he doesn't think either are legally necessary), despite this being an even more highly contentious and omen-filled election among the two-partiers than 2000, despite spending only around a million (according to his staff last night'the last official report says only $749,248) to Browne's $2.2 million in 2000, Badnarik got almost identical vote totals (376,123 for Browne in 2000).'
And so in the end, what does all this get us, besides a chuckle or guffaw now and then? Not much, in my opinion. Certainly nothing that is worth playing Don Quixote for a few months and spending all that time and money. The politician as he or she exists today are as Shakespeare's Macbeth said, nothing more than
'A poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Leave it to the Bard to sort it all out. Poets, not politicians, have keener perception on these matters. They are more fun at parties, too.