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[P]
Americans Denied a True Presidential Debate

By Verement in Op-Ed
Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 08:30:55 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Americans did not see a true presidential debate on September 30, 2004. What they saw was a carefully planned bipartisan press conference in which George W. Bush and John Kerry, acting through their corporate campaigns, agreed to appear and respond to questions. Third party candidates Michael Badnarik (Libertarian), David Cobb (Green), Ralph Nader (Independent), and Michael A. Peroutka (Constitution) were not invited to participate, despite having a mathematical possibility of obtaining enough electoral votes to secure the office of President of the United States.


In order to be invited to participate in the presidential debates, the Commission on Presidential Debates imposes a strict requirement that a candidate must achieve an average of at least 15% support in five national public opinion polls in addition to appearing on enough state ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning an Electoral College majority. This presents a problem to third party candidates whose support typically depends on the amount of national exposure they are able to obtain—the very same exposure their inclusion in the debates could provide.

This catch-22 is put into some perspective when one realizes the co-chairmen of the CPD, Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. and Paul G. Kirk, Jr., are the former chairmen of the Republican and Democratic national committees, respectively. It was in fact collusion between the two major parties that caused the League of Women Voters, sponsor of the presidential debates from 1976 until 1984, to withdraw its support in 1988 over concerns that the demands placed on the League by the two campaigns with respect to the debates would “perpetrate a fraud” on the American voter. The departure of the LWV opened the door for the bipartisan CPD to enter, and closed the door on any further nonpartisan control of the debates.

So why don’t third parties or other groups hold and sponsor their own debates? In fact they do, but the campaigns of Kerry and Bush have explicitly agreed not to appear in any such debate, making it difficult for these debates to gain any significant media coverage. You may be surprised to learn that two such debates have already taken place this year. The first took place between Cobb and Badnarik on September 6, 2004 in New York City just after the Republican National Convention; it can be viewed online from the C-SPAN video archives. A second debate between these two candidates took place the same night as the so-called debate between Bush and Kerry on September 30—in the same city, no less—but received even less media coverage than the first. Fortunately it too can be viewed online thanks to the Free-Market News Network. Unlike the CPD debates, these debates were open to participation by all the electable presidential candidates.

The CPD and the major media do the American electorate a grave disservice by excluding third parties from the national political discourse. It is your responsibility as a voter to educate yourself on the ballot choices presented to you, but the CPD and major media would have you believe there is only a choice between Kerry and Bush for the office of President of the United States. Let’s not let the media automatically narrow the decision for us, for it is we who choose our leaders, and inappropriate for those who would be our leaders to decide what that choice will be.

One organization that is trying to change the debates in favor of the American people is Open Debates. Its executive director, George Farah, is author of the book No Debate: How the Republican and Democratic Parties Secretly Control the Presidential Debates. Farah makes a convincing case for the elimination of the CPD and the restoration of honest debates in this country.

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o carefully planned
o George W. Bush
o John Kerry
o respond to questions
o Michael Badnarik
o David Cobb
o Ralph Nader
o Michael A. Peroutka
o having a mathematical possibility
o Commission on Presidential Debates
o strict requirement
o co-chairme n of the CPD
o withdraw its support
o opened the door
o explicitly agreed
o viewed online
o C-SPAN
o viewed online [2]
o Free-Marke t News Network
o Open Debates
o No Debate: How the Republican and Democratic Parties Secretly Control the Presidential Debates
o makes a convincing case
o Also by Verement


Display: Sort:
Americans Denied a True Presidential Debate | 115 comments (98 topical, 17 editorial, 0 hidden)
America (2.00 / 11) (#1)
by My Other Account Is A Hulver on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 01:35:57 AM EST

Who cares? Is America even relevant any more?

I believe drduck is a genuine account, and I don't delete him because I'm a hypocrite. - rusty
Is America relevant? (1.37 / 8) (#8)
by Fredrick Doulton on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 04:51:40 AM EST

Well, of course it is. Unless you hate things like freedom, justice and liberty.

Bush/Cheney 2004! - "Because we've still got more people to kill"
[ Parent ]

Er (2.25 / 4) (#14)
by marx on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 06:40:42 AM EST

Things which America do not represent.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

NO (2.00 / 2) (#32)
by Wah on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 12:41:42 PM EST

We most certainly do stand for those things.  We have for a long time.

We have been hoodwinked in our fear.  It is a temporary setback.

We will fix the problem.

It just takes a LOT of work.  And a LOT of peaceful power.
--
IHBT
[ Parent ]

Re: NO (none / 1) (#67)
by klingens on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 04:02:41 AM EST

We most certainly do stand for those things. We have for a long time. We have been hoodwinked in our fear. It is a temporary setback.
How temporary? You mean freedom like when the US brought it to Chile, Grenada, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Venezuela, Iran, Haiti, Cuba just to name a few of the examples. So that was what you think is democracy and freedom? With fighters for democracy like those, who needs dicators?
We will fix the problem.
Can you give us an estimate how many more decades you will need?

[ Parent ]
Money. (none / 0) (#97)
by Russell Dovey on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 09:57:50 PM EST

The US only ever gets out of bed for money.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Tee hee. (none / 0) (#51)
by Esspets on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 08:35:40 PM EST

Would you like to go into another philisophical discourse? I have all the time in the world. Of course, since your definition of freedom is slightly warped (physically weak specimens seizing power and redistributing wealth, freedom to murder weaklings without non-kin repercussions remitted, and the worship of nature) I'm unlikely to make much headway with you. Of course not, you'll brush it off and continue on with a kinder, gentler world revolution that died more than half a century ago.


Desperation.
[ Parent ]
Wake up (1.50 / 4) (#21)
by I Hate Yanks on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 08:55:13 AM EST

And smell the coffee; you poor deduded yank.

America represents none of those values. The only thing America stands for is exploitation. Exploitation of its own citizens, and of the rest of the world.


Reasons to hate Americans (No. 812): Circletimessquare lives there.
[ Parent ]

I think what he means... (none / 1) (#34)
by Shajenko on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 02:44:29 PM EST

... is that if you care about those things, then America is relevant, because we can take them away with a volley of nukes.

[ Parent ]
If you decide that America is irrelevant (none / 0) (#48)
by glor on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 07:53:53 PM EST

... then the American military will come in anger to kill you.

--
Disclaimer: I am not the most intelligent kuron.
[ Parent ]

Sure (none / 1) (#69)
by joto on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 04:18:10 AM EST

America is the only major superpower there is. It probably has more military power than the rest of the planet combined. It probably pollutes more than the rest of the planet combined. It's culture (i.e. McDonalds, Coke, Hollywood, shopping, etc) reaches almost any corner of the planet.

[ Parent ]
Yes, (none / 0) (#112)
by Ward57 on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 10:40:47 AM EST

I think you've put your finger on it there.

[ Parent ]
America is such a third world country (2.37 / 8) (#2)
by EvilGwyn on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 01:43:30 AM EST

when it comes to things they hold dear like "freedom" and "democracy".

Yeah (2.20 / 5) (#39)
by LilDebbie on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 04:56:38 PM EST

we are living in SUCH a police state! like, I heard from this guy who went to this protest that the police were pepper-spraying people for starting fires in trashcans! like what the hell is that?

fuck you. if the US weren't free, I'd have you in a government cell deep in the bowels of some unnamed agency being raped by dogs. since it is free, you are welcome to spout such bullshit and I'm allowed to make reference to you being raped by dogs. isn't it wonderful?

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
I don't live in America (2.00 / 2) (#41)
by EvilGwyn on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 05:27:29 PM EST

I live in the land of the free

[ Parent ]
greenland? (1.00 / 2) (#45)
by Delirium on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 07:28:25 PM EST



[ Parent ]
I said land of the "free" (none / 1) (#54)
by EvilGwyn on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 10:10:03 PM EST

not "freeze"

[ Parent ]
Sir, you don't have to live here. (3.00 / 3) (#50)
by Esspets on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 08:27:31 PM EST

We have international police power. And it is glorious.


Desperation.
[ Parent ]
Change Title and Focus (2.50 / 2) (#3)
by Wah on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 01:59:42 AM EST

Americans Denied a True Democracy.
--
Fail to Obey?
Democracy? (1.66 / 3) (#6)
by Verement on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 04:13:14 AM EST

Except, of course, that America isn't a democracy and was never intended to be.

Americans pledge allegiance to the republic for which their flag stands. The difference between a republic and a democracy is the difference between a government that is subservient to the rights of individuals and a government that can both grant and deny those rights at the whim of the majority. A democracy has but to vote away the right of an individual to speak his mind and tyranny will ensue.



[ Parent ]
Isn't it both? (none / 0) (#9)
by squigly on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 04:54:48 AM EST

I mean, what is the difference between a republic with democratically elected representatives, and a representative democracy?

[ Parent ]
representative democracy -nt (none / 1) (#10)
by MrLarch on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 05:15:22 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Definitions (1.75 / 4) (#17)
by FlipFlop on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 07:27:32 AM EST

I mean, what is the difference between a republic with democratically elected representatives, and a representative democracy?

Republic
a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them
Representative democracy
a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them

AdTI - The think tank that didn't
[ Parent ]

So, what does this mean? (2.00 / 3) (#18)
by squigly on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 07:59:05 AM EST

That the grandparent has been playing too much civilization?

[ Parent ]
Hmm (2.33 / 3) (#13)
by rob1 on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 06:25:35 AM EST

Could you name one historical example of this supposed 'tyranny of the majority' occurring in a democratic government?

Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we. -- GWB
[ Parent ]

Athens (2.66 / 3) (#23)
by curien on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 09:08:10 AM EST

It also happens here all the time for things that aren't necessarily protected by the Constitution.

--
This sig is umop apisdn.
[ Parent ]
Third-party President = No chance in hell. (1.88 / 9) (#7)
by Fredrick Doulton on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 04:49:11 AM EST

"Third party candidates Michael Badnarik (Libertarian), David Cobb (Green), Ralph Nader (Independent), and Michael A. Peroutka (Constitution) were not invited to participate, despite having a mathematical possibility of obtaining enough electoral votes to secure the office of President of the United States."

Unless the election process is completely overhauled from the ground up, you are never in a million years going to see a third-party candidate in the white house. Deal with it, hippie.

Bush/Cheney 2004! - "Because we've still got more people to kill"

Perot? (2.80 / 5) (#38)
by Jave27 on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 03:57:36 PM EST

He received almost 19% of the popular vote nationally in 1992, but didn't get any electoral votes.  If a Perot-like candidate came out before this election and had the resources (maybe a little bit more) than Perot had, I have a feeling that we'd be looking at a very real possibility of having a 3rd party president.  It's not impossible, it's just a matter of getting the word out and educating the 'cultists' of the other options (by cultists, I mean people who will always vote for 1 of the 2 major parties, regardless of everything else).  I still believe that it's possible.  However, going straight for the presidency may not be the best option.  It's probably smarter to go after local government positions first and start the spread of your party that way.  Eventually, you can keep moving up the political ladder until there is enough support and recognition for your party to have a valid chance of running against the establishment's.

"Beating up the homeless. It's cruel, but it's a good clean work-out and leaves you feeling winded and superior." - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

About perot (none / 1) (#56)
by fluxrad on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 11:08:47 PM EST

You forgot one thing, Perot wasn't really trying to win the White House. He was trying to ensure that GHWB didn't get a second term.

A term I'm sure you've heard before comes to mind: Mission Accomplished

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
Perot and Bush (2.66 / 3) (#57)
by Verement on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 11:26:02 PM EST

It is curious then to consider that Bush wanted Perot included in the debates, because he realized Perot was taking votes away from Clinton, not himself.

In fact the Bush campaign made Bush’s appearance in the debates conditional on Perot’s inclusion.



[ Parent ]
Yes (3.00 / 3) (#63)
by teece on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 01:06:45 AM EST

It was a rare event that both parties thought that the independent was taking votes away from the other guy.  Which turned out to be correct, it was something like 60/40 Bush/Clinton that went to Perot.  Perot didn't decide the race -- Bush loses with or without him, according to exit polling.

But it was a rare situation that got Perot in the debates.  In 1996, Clinton had no interest in the debates being an event, so nixed Perot, and Dole thought Perot would take more votes from him, and thus nixed him.  In 2000, Bush would have probably liked Nader in the debates, but Gore didn't want him, and it takes both sides to want a third party guy in.

So Perot was something of a fluke at being able to get into the debates.

-- Hello_World.c, 17 Errors, 31 Warnings...
[ Parent ]

Then why did he run again in 96? (none / 0) (#82)
by Jave27 on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 10:54:03 AM EST

He got about 8% in 1996 against Clinton.

"Beating up the homeless. It's cruel, but it's a good clean work-out and leaves you feeling winded and superior." - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Not Quite (3.00 / 2) (#61)
by teece on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 01:00:12 AM EST

He received almost 19% of the popular vote nationally in 1992, but didn't get any electoral votes.  If a Perot-like candidate came out before this election and had the resources (maybe a little bit more) than Perot had, I have a feeling that we'd be looking at a very real possibility of having a 3rd party president.

Perot got 19%, a wonderful showing for an independent, but won 0 electoral votes.  You need a majority (270) of those to be President.

So no, a third party, even if as successful or more than Perot, would most certainly not win the Presidency.  Indeed, depending on whether said candidate was to the left or right, the only thing they would do was make it a virtual certainty that the party to the opposite of their views would be elected.  So if a Green got 20% of the vote, Bush is a certain winner.  If a Libertarian got 20% of the vote, Kerry is a certain winner.

At the national level, there will be no third party until there is voting reform.  There is zero chance of success until then.  So if one is really interested in more parties, they should infiltrate one of the two existing parties and get voting refrom passed.

-- Hello_World.c, 17 Errors, 31 Warnings...
[ Parent ]

Electoral (none / 0) (#84)
by Jave27 on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 11:12:57 AM EST

Right, he got 0 electoral votes, but in some states, he got in the mid-20's for popular vote, thus leaving low 30's for the other two guys.  All you need is a plurality in each state, so he just needed another 8 or 9 points to start taking electoral votes.

He probably wouldn't have been very effective as a president because Congress would have just blocked his moves out of spite, but it would have helped to break up the system a bit and give independents hope.

"Beating up the homeless. It's cruel, but it's a good clean work-out and leaves you feeling winded and superior." - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Third parties do have a chance. (none / 0) (#114)
by JavaLord on Wed Oct 13, 2004 at 01:20:18 PM EST

At the national level, there will be no third party until there is voting reform. There is zero chance of success until then.

I have to disagree with you. Perot placed second in many states, with a little extra interest in social issues and if he hadn't dropped out of the race midway through I think he could have taken a few states. A "Populist" type candidate who was slightly liberal on social issues, but finacially conservative (would actually seek to limit governments scope/Would take measures to help the American economy) could go over big. If you look at how Bill Clinton appealed to conservative swing voters with things like welfare reform, you can clearly see that a middle of the road third party candidate could win if given access to the debates.

A third party candidate who was already very popular with the American public could also do very well since politics has really become a popularity contest in some ways. As unqualified as he is, if Michal Jordan were to run for president as an idependant and actually had policy that people agreed with, I bet he could give any candidate a run for their money in this "reality tv show" era America is in.

[ Parent ]
Third-Party President: Lincoln. (2.66 / 3) (#49)
by glor on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 07:56:14 PM EST

Same election system.  Different politics.

Not likely this cycle, though.

--
Disclaimer: I am not the most intelligent kuron.
[ Parent ]

But ... (3.00 / 4) (#64)
by teece on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 01:11:24 AM EST

It is important to look at what it meant.  It was a sea change in the American political landscape.  And it resulted in the destruction of one of the political parties (Whigs?), thus simply replacing one of the parties with a new one.

It did not create a truly viable multi-party system in the US.  That won't happen until we have voting reform.  The best that could be hoped for would be to eliminate one of the parties and replace it with another, which seems hardly worth it unless one of the parties seems broken beyond repair.

-- Hello_World.c, 17 Errors, 31 Warnings...
[ Parent ]

Uh (none / 1) (#68)
by joto on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 04:05:18 AM EST

The best that could be hoped for would be to eliminate one of the parties and replace it with another, which seems hardly worth it unless one of the parties seems broken beyond repair.

And exactly how would you describe the current situation?

[ Parent ]

Subtly different, thus: (3.00 / 2) (#87)
by glor on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 12:00:22 PM EST

Both of the parties seem broken beyond repair.  There is a waiting game of which to replace first.

--
Disclaimer: I am not the most intelligent kuron.
[ Parent ]

If Teddy Rosevelt couldn't do it (2.50 / 2) (#98)
by Orion Blastar on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 12:16:27 AM EST

with his "Bull Moose" party, what makes anyone think that any other third party can win the presidency? The best they can do is steal votes from Bush or Kerry to allow the Feds to budget more campaign money for their party.

So will it be Kang or Konos? ;)
*** Anonymized by intolerant editors at K5 and also IWETHEY who are biased against the mentally ill ***
[ Parent ]

But (none / 0) (#113)
by Imma Troll on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 03:13:41 PM EST

After Roosevelt lost the election, the Bull Moose party renamed itself the Bull Shit party. Soon, it disappered, but its principles were adopted by the other two parties.
Will somebody light my sig?
[ Parent ]
Third parties running for other offices (2.90 / 11) (#19)
by sien on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 08:15:03 AM EST

Why do all the Nader/Green/Buchanan and whatever supporters scream so loudly during the presidential campaign and not try to get into lesser offices for the rest of the time? If an alternative party could demonstrate a capability to govern in state legislature then perhaps they would have a better shot at national politics.

Third party candidates (3.00 / 4) (#44)
by antizeus on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 06:38:30 PM EST

Nader and Buchanan are individuals and not parties. The Greens and Libertarians do run candidates for other elections. See here and here and here.
-- $SIGNATURE
[ Parent ]
Well... (2.50 / 2) (#73)
by FuriousXGeorge on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 05:06:21 AM EST

For example, the libertarians do run for a lot of local and state offices...they just lose.  Now, I don't know if that is because people think they are insane or if they don't put enough effort into it.

They rationalize the presidential campaigns as a way to gain national attention, and it works to a degeee.  I first heard of the libertarians because of their presidential campaign.

Problem still remains, they can't gain state offices.  

I agree with those who say they should forget the presidential campaigns...they should put all that money and all their efforts towards gaining one seat in congress.  That would help them much more than hopeless presidential campaigns.

--
-- FIELDISM NOW!
[ Parent ]

they don't get enough local exposure though (3.00 / 2) (#89)
by Delirium on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 03:07:14 PM EST

These high-profile runs pull in donors and exposure, which helps them in local races. If it's some guy running for the County Commissioner, but he's running on a party you've never heard of except in the County Commissioner race, he's not going to win. He's not going to get much in the way of donations either. If he's running on a party people are used to hearing about, he might be taken more seriously.

[ Parent ]
no, the third parties denied them. (1.20 / 10) (#22)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 09:03:52 AM EST

the various third parties are disorganized and ineffectual. they do not have viable candidates in any election and that is why no one takes them seriously.

the logical conclusion of your argument is to allow absolutely anyone over the age of 35 and born in the united states into your "real presidential debate." it's absolutely absurd. only relevant candidates should be in the debates because americans don't want to sit around and listen to people who can't even get their shit together enough to get 5% of the popular vote. if you're polling at 2% like nader, you have absolutely no right to complain that you're marginalized in a democracy.

and for the press conference, get real. bush looked like an fifth grader who somehow got drafted to the forensics team. at press conferences, there's at least some effort to maintain some dignity. the debate was very revealing, so take your bullshit political radicalist perspective elsewhere.

-1, enthusiastically.


rmg: comments better than yours.

Illogical conclusion (2.75 / 4) (#24)
by curien on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 09:10:03 AM EST

No, the logical conclusion is to allow anyone in the debate who is on the ballot in enough states to win a majority of the electoral votes. This is significantly more reasonable than your ranting and raving above.

--
This sig is umop apisdn.
[ Parent ]
i don't believe (none / 0) (#26)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 09:45:52 AM EST

any other candidates have that brand of mathematical viability, nor would i concede that such is a reasonable measure of viability anyway.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]
Ballot status (none / 1) (#42)
by antizeus on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 06:33:22 PM EST

Regarding your first objection, the Libertarian Party is on the ballot in 48 or 49 states (not in New Hampshire, Oklahoma pending). The Green Party isn't doing quite so well, with only 24 states as a party, and 28 states with the Cobb/LaMarche ticket, for a potential of 208 electoral votes. Apparently the Greens are still working on ballot access, so we'll see if they can get up to 270. In any case, the Libertarian Party satisfies your first requirement. I won't address the second.

References: Liber, Green, More
-- $SIGNATURE
[ Parent ]

author makes a different point... (2.80 / 5) (#27)
by Patrick2 on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 10:40:02 AM EST

Your arguments make perfect sense from a tactical, election-centric point of view.
If you want to improve the election's participation or the political involvement of the general public the focus shifts to re-designing a lively and responsive democracy.

For this, the critique points to the shortcomings of a two party system:
Both parties are implicitly build around a structure discouraging the adoption of deep policy changes.

Smaller parties tend to "target" a much smaller niche of voters and thus can neglect the incumbent stakeholders that usually block such ideas at an early stage within the other parties.

The exclusion of these voices increases voter's frustration and ignorance of politics. It makes a democracy stable yet stale or in this case "duolithic". The high number of non-voters is tied to these problems. By not fixing the voter's ignorance a democracy moves towards a oligarchy.

Starting such a discussion now might divert the general public's focus from a strategic vote in November. On the other hand, do you know a better time to bring up a problem neither big party likes to address?

[ Parent ]

right, but take note of the passive voice. (2.00 / 4) (#29)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 10:55:33 AM EST

"the third parties are excluded."

by whom, The Man? no, of course not. they simply are not effective in garnering support because their ideas are unpopular. the fact that they have no sizable constituency creates a tendency toward radicalism and further alienates voters.

the fact is, they are excluded by the people themselves. this is an age of information in which getting out information about a political party is remarkably easy, yet these parties remain unsuccessful. to me, that is telling: either they are ineffectual and unable to compete or their ideology is just inherently unpalatable to americans at this point in history.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

No. (1.66 / 3) (#30)
by Ward57 on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 11:24:11 AM EST

American's don't find out about other political parties because they don't know enough about them to see that they need to, or even that it would be a good idea.

[ Parent ]
no... (none / 0) (#31)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 11:35:47 AM EST

americans do not, as you seem to suppose, have an obligation to find about every political party out there. instead, if they want to be successful, political parties need to bring their message to the people in proactive manner. and if that message is uninteresting to people, then the party will fail. it's just that simple.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]
Bringing third party messages to the people (none / 1) (#43)
by Verement on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 06:35:44 PM EST

You seem to be arguing that Americans should be passive in the political process, and need only base their vote on what they happen to see, read, or hear on television, in newspapers, or from radio. Rather than seek to support a leader whose political ideals are compatible with your own, you would have the people who want to be leaders "pitch" their ideas to you, leaving you to pick simply what you perceive to be the lesser of evils.

Who is running the political process in this country? The people? Or the people who want to be elected?

But to address the point of your comment directly, it is difficult for third parties to bring their message to the people specifically because they are marginalized in the press and not offered an opportunity to debate the established parties. To take just one example, a large number of Americans have never heard of the Libertarian party, and few of those who have have an accurate understanding of what Libertarians believe. This is not for lack of want from the Libertarians to bring their message to the public; it is largely because of the difficulty of obtaining funds to buy the necessary advertising—campaign finance laws limit individual contributions to $2,000, and Libertarians have no favors to promise big businesses if they are elected. Consequently, unless Americans take the time to research and find out about what is often considered the third largest political party, they may not know whether their beliefs have anything in common with it, or how to compare it with the beliefs of the Democratic and Republican parties. The same goes for the Green and Constitution parties.



[ Parent ]
"should": the language of the loser. (2.33 / 3) (#91)
by the ghost of rmg on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 03:46:47 PM EST

look, if you want to go around moralizing about how all the parties out there kicking your ass are only doing so because they are evil and people are only letting it happen because they are morally lazy and corrupt, that's your deal, but you'll be rightly marginal for it in perpetuity.

did you ever see me use the word "should"? no. hell no. why? because that's for losers who are better at moralizing than making things happen. i said what the parties need to do and what voters do not have (i.e. the moral obligation you have so much to say about).

now if you want to talk "should" in the sense of what would best serve their interests if they want to be successful in advancing their political philosophy's influence over american politics, then no, they "should" not be passive. they should be out doing something to make their philosophy known, their candidates known, and their party successful. and if they fail, they should shut the hell up and get working to make sure it doesn't happen again, not come back and bitch and moan about how "marginalized" they are.

third parties are not marginalized, they are just marginal. they have crazy ideologies, by and large, or at least wildly unpopular ones, they can't find funding (presumably for that very reason), and they can't seem to do anything but whine about it.

case in point: libertarians. what do you hear when you talk to libertarians? "violent coercion." "initiation of force." "private police forces" -- private police forces! i mean shit, they're fucking batshit insane and they have the nerve to call themselves marginalized!


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

heh (3.00 / 2) (#92)
by Battle Troll on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 05:28:31 PM EST

Private police, private judiciary, it's 1000 AD all over again.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
I don't find your mechanism alluring. (none / 0) (#85)
by Ward57 on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 11:37:18 AM EST

I'd much prefer that all of the political parties were present for the first half of the presidential debate, and that the second half was devoted to the primary candidates. If necesary, a rule could be established forcing the aspirant parties to debate with only the main parties, not the secondary ones. The effect of this would be a better informed American public, leading to a more democratic nation.

[ Parent ]
Or to put it another way, (none / 0) (#86)
by Ward57 on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 11:42:34 AM EST

I don't think I suggested that at all, so stop accusing me of it. The discussion is about whether minor party candidates should be included in the main presidential debate.

[ Parent ]
By the voting system (3.00 / 3) (#36)
by NoBeardPete on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 03:06:20 PM EST

Explain our voting system to any game theoretician, and he'll probably tell you that the only stable situation is one with two major parties. If you look at American history, you'll see than third parties can sometimes gain prominence. The Republican Party itself started as a third party. Once a third party becomes a real player, though, the situation is unstable, and one of the parties will have to go. There's no grand conspiracy. The Man isn't doing this, it's an emergent phenomenon of our voting system.


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!
[ Parent ]

actually, (3.00 / 5) (#37)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 03:20:53 PM EST

ironically, i have talked to a game theorist about this topic. he seemed fair more concerned about erratic result and "spoilers" from prominent third parties. he would certainly not agree with your assessment.

as a matter of fact, he explained the two party system as having origins in the cold war as a means to exclude the communist party. he explains its continued existence in terms of the "coke and pepsi phenomenon." -- two dominant players refer to each other as the only opposition and make efforts to stifle third parties jointly so as to maintain a joint monopoly.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

So what are you saying? (none / 0) (#60)
by S_hane on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 12:40:47 AM EST

...that the third parties are excluded by "the man"?

[ Parent ]
no. (none / 0) (#77)
by the ghost of rmg on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 07:40:13 AM EST

i'm relating the opinion of someone else.

regardless of whether the major parties jointly oppose third parties (duh), the fact remains that nothing stops the third parties from being successful other than their own incompetence. to think there is something unfair or devious about one party opposing another or two parties opposing all the rest is pure idiocy.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

I'm no game theorist... (none / 1) (#71)
by FuriousXGeorge on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 04:56:54 AM EST

but it seems to me our current system means that voting for a 3rd party is counter-productive.  You have 2 major party canidates, both who you disagree with, but to diffrent degrees.

If you vote for the third party, instead of the major party closest to you, you are making it more likely for the major party farthest from you to get elected.

I voted third party last time around, but now I'm voting for Kerry because I really hate Bush.  The third parties 'both major parties are the same' message resonated with me before...but after 4 years of Bush that were vastly diffrent from 8 years of Clinton...I have come to disagree.

--
-- FIELDISM NOW!
[ Parent ]

media recognition (none / 1) (#72)
by Patrick2 on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 05:04:14 AM EST

they simply are not effective in garnering support because their ideas are unpopular.
No, it is not that simple. They can sport the best ideas and still fail due to widespread negligence:

I read on \. about a (non-representative) survey that was conducted by CNN. They asked people six simple questions about the two candiate's stances on important issues. For five of the questions only two options were given. The majority of people did not even scored the 2.75 correct which would be the statistical average for monkeys.

If people have obviously so little clue about the policies of the two major candidates enjoying all that media coverage, how hard is it for a third party to get their point across with a fraction of that media coverage?

Proposal: I saw in Europe a television show preceding an election that featured two discussion rounds on consecutive nights. The second night debate was by the big parties that ultimately would be winning the election.
The first was for the dozen tiny parties that had no real chance of winning any seats. There you had some real whacked ideas, yet some people seemed reasonable even though no one would end up voting for that guy and his neighbor running mate.

The point was to raise awareness of the complexity of problems and the wealth of comprehensive solution paths for certain issues (e.g. health care).

Providing for such a discussion is the moral responsibility of any and all media that claims to be either free or independent. It's not even an outrageous demand for the US media. If I am not mistaken some discussion like this took place four years ago. So why not this time around?

[ Parent ]

who the hell cares? (1.33 / 3) (#78)
by the ghost of rmg on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 07:45:42 AM EST

"oh my god! it's sooo hard!"

you know, with that political philosophy, you're going to look even worse than bush with his idiotic "it's hard work" bullshit. look, the two major political parties go to herculean efforts continuously to maintain their positions. unless third parties can recognize that they'll need to do the same, they are fucked.

voter ignorance, if anything, is an advantage for third parties. it means their candidates can get by on charisma. but wait, third party candidates don't have charisma, do they? they're just a bunch of losers.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

You mix up roles and responsibilities (none / 1) (#81)
by Patrick2 on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 09:11:10 AM EST

It is true that parties have to make ever effort they can to let their voice be heard. But this does not happen in a water bowl. There are other key factors in a democracy that determine the actual plurality of voices. This is where the moral responsibility of these stakeholders comes in and failure can occure.

One key factor is the status quo, a two party system and campaign finance regulations. Though this is not a failure in itself, these tend to benefit the big at the expense of the small. There is no need to complain about this, and I don't see the author taking off on that.

Another factor in public opinion forming is the media landscape. Here is where the article starts critizing the failure of the media to maintain a proper scope and threshold of news coverage. A lot of these news sources are not living up to their standards of being independent or comprehensive.

[ Parent ]

there is no such standard. (2.00 / 3) (#83)
by the ghost of rmg on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 10:54:55 AM EST

the media is neither required nor expected to be comprehensive. moreover, their idea of "comprehensive" is independent of what the various third parties, in their pathetic political "ambition", might think is comprehensive.

it would be great if some institution within the media decided on a more eclectic mix of news and went to the effort to seek out more diverse offerings for their viewers. perhaps such a thing could be successful. maybe people sympathetic to third parties should get out there and try to make that happen.

this talk about moral obligations is completely hollow. politics is an arena where powers collide and fight it out for influence and power. even small parties have every opportunity, in this very volatile modern environment, to wedge their way in. that they haven't speaks volumes to their potential viability in a multiparty environment.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

sure there are media standards (none / 0) (#88)
by Patrick2 on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 12:05:13 PM EST

this talk about moral obligations is completely hollow
Call it idealistic and unpragmatic but hollow? Self-proclaimed media standards are the first thing people demand to be upheld even when some 'outrageous failures' like the National Guard memos or Superbowl tits come along. Plurality is simply not too deeply rooted in the majority's mind to be equally demanded. That said, it is implicitly included in anything coined "democratic" or "free". So it is also implied in the self definition of most media outlets.

I agree with that independence of comprehensive coverage to a certain degree. It just comes down to whether one proposes that asymmetric media coverage should be dampened or not. The pros and cons have been exchanged.

that they haven't speaks volumes to their potential viability in a multiparty environment.
This is inductive reasoning and just not true. Just because this could be the reason for it does not make it so.

Plausible alternative explanations were mentioned extensively, featuring the inclusion of a wider, more comprehensive cause-and-effect scheme than yours.

[ Parent ]

The USA is not a democracy... (1.50 / 4) (#58)
by fyngyrz on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 12:20:31 AM EST

...it's a republic. You remember, they told you about it in your 1st grade or kindergarten civics (or propganda, depending on your outlook) introduction:

I pledge allegiance, to the flag...

...to the republic for which it stands...

...one nation, under an imaginary friend that apparently told Dubbya it was time to bomb Saddam...

etc.

In any case, anyone can run for president these days, but only democrats and republicans will be elected. As you well know.

Yawn.

Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

Reasons (none / 1) (#104)
by irrevenant on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 06:02:22 PM EST

Yes, but the article goes one step beyond pointing out the obvious (3rd party candidates have a snowflakes chance of getting elected), and looks at one of the ways the deck is stacked against them.

As such, I think it's a worthwhile article rather than a yawn...

[ Parent ]

Reasons... (none / 0) (#108)
by fyngyrz on Thu Oct 07, 2004 at 09:23:22 AM EST

The problem is, you're not going to solve this, or even move towards solving it, by examining minutia.

The system is diseased: You can't vote for president - the electoral college does that - you can't make or unmake laws - legislators do that - you can't enforce laws, or make exceptions to law enforcement - laws themselves are made in an atmosphere of trading for support and financial leverage, rather than for the people's benefit or even according to the legislator's conscience - laws are made based on superstition and pompous presumption (gawd, "Christian morality", imposing our system upon countries outside our borders) and explicitly against the majority's intent and common practice (sexuality and speed limits being excellent examples of this... many here would also argue that copyrights and patents are in this class of abuses) - taxes are levied in a hugely uneven and manifestly unfair manner, I would even go as far as to say in an imperial manner.

In order to ensure the continuation of all this, the "two-party" system presents only approved, military-industrial complex selected and financially backed candidates that are certain to perpetrate the status quo.

It seems to me that under the heading of politics, if you're not talking about revolution, you're not talking about anything worthwhile. And almost no one is talking about revolution. Talking isn't really what needs to be done at this point anyway.

So of course minority candidates can't be elected. The fact that they can even exist is only a sop to the dissafected. It gives them something to do rather than burn down the the establishment. In short, we have the system we deserve. We let them do this to us.


Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

well god damn! (none / 1) (#105)
by the ghost of rmg on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 06:22:24 PM EST

looks like we got ourselves a high school graduate here!

no you look here, young'n, you take them high falutin' words and fancy city learnin' on outta here. we'ns gonna have ourselves a little po-litical talk here and we ain't got no room for that there "republic" biness a' yours!


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

They can't get 5%... (2.50 / 2) (#100)
by skyknight on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 10:44:00 AM EST

because the election system is rigged such that there is stagnation. If we had instant run off elections, then the level of support for third parties would become evident. As it is, the support for them is masked by the fact that people feel the need to cast their vote for the lesser of two evils in a close race as opposed to voting their conscience. If I could cast a ballot of the form "my first choice is third party candidate X, but failing that I would rather have the [Republican|Democratic] candidate win", then we would see dramatic change in the political landscape. This would not entail any change to our current voting process. All that would happen is that the results would be fed into a computer, and the computer would iterate over them, in each round using the highest ranked candidate from each ballot to make a tally and afterwards dropping from each ballot the candidate with the lowest tally from that process. Of course, we will never have this system because it would result in the break up of the present political duopoly held by the Republicans and Democrats.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
wrong. (1.00 / 3) (#102)
by the ghost of rmg on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 03:54:25 PM EST

in instant runoff, third parties would still get their asses kicked because they fucking suck. they have nutty ideologies, no money, and no ability to make their positions clear -- because they suck.

support for them is not masked, it simply doesn't exist. if it existed, supporters would be willing to take that leap of infinite abandon and fucking vote for their party. that they feel like their wasting their vote just shows what piss poor political operations third parties run.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

News coverage also eschews mention of 3rd parties. (2.80 / 10) (#28)
by tsubame on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 10:50:21 AM EST

Also interesting was how often reporters covering the debate implied that there were in fact, no other presidential candidates. I believe Peter Jennings said multiple times that undecided voters, after seeing the differences between Bush and Kerry fleshed out, could now "choose between them."

---
"Congratulations, that's now my new sig." -mcc, in response to my comment about circlejerk meta k5 sigs.
which, of course, is also a lie, because... (3.00 / 2) (#109)
by fyngyrz on Thu Oct 07, 2004 at 02:04:13 PM EST

...it is the electoral college that does the choosing, not the voters. And the members of the electoral college are representatives of the military-industrial complex, not representatives of the people.

Voters are only observers in presidential elections. The putative presidential ballot box is functionally equivalant to a baby's "busy box." A vote for president under the current US system is the equivalant of declaring yourself incompetent.

Until (ok, that's overly optimistic - unless) citizens figure out that it isn't so much that 3rd party types aren't viable for community reasons, but rather that they are not allowed for financial and powerbase reasons, the system will continue to put whomever it wants into the presidency.

If you really want third party types to be electable, first, you have to change the system so that people's votes are what elect the president. And here's fair warning: They won't let you do that without a fight.

Second, you have to change the system so that money - essentially an advertising campaign - isn't the platform upon which a viable candidate stands. They won't let you do this either, of course.

Without those two changes, all this concern about third party candidates is just handwaving. Bush and Kerry are just two sides of the precise same coin. You can watch the electoral college flip it (and the judiciary tip it over if it lands on edge) all you want, but it's still only worth a plugged nickel.


Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

Mathematical possibility? (2.28 / 7) (#33)
by Kasreyn on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 02:10:39 PM EST

Yes, well, I suppose there's also a mathematical possibility of micrometeorites simultaneously landing on every idiot like you in our nation and killing you all. But I won't be so foolish as to hope for something that unlikely.

It's a pity Donaldson fans can be fools too. It would have been flattering to my ego as a fan to imagine that that wasn't possible.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
I Like (none / 1) (#65)
by teece on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 01:14:30 AM EST

How the phrase "mathematical possibility" has come to mean "a snowball's chance in hell: non-zero, but essentially so" in the realm of sports, and now apparently politics.

It is such a silly phrase.

-- Hello_World.c, 17 Errors, 31 Warnings...
[ Parent ]

Just like (none / 1) (#107)
by xria on Thu Oct 07, 2004 at 05:11:57 AM EST

Going for over 80 games without blowing a save is only a 'mathematical possibility' (for US people), or playing well over an entire season of football without losing a single game is just a 'mathematical possibility' (for those in the UK). And as Pratchett said - Million to One last desperate chances happen 9 times out of 10. Well known fact that.

[ Parent ]
Yes! (2.64 / 14) (#35)
by sllort on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 02:44:55 PM EST

There is a calcuable mathematical possibility that it wasn't O.J.'s DNA, that I will win the lottery, and that all the air in your room will suddenly rush into a corner whilst you asphyxiate. Here's to all three!
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
Downrating in your own story verement? (none / 0) (#76)
by sllort on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 07:18:40 AM EST

The nattering nabobs are coming for you!!!!!!!!
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
A Paranoid Conspiratorial Rant.. (3.00 / 6) (#46)
by thelizman on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 07:33:39 PM EST

...that is 100% true and factually correct. +1 FP.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
Of course we are (none / 1) (#47)
by karb on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 07:52:48 PM EST

We're a bunch of boring troglodytes that only have one president at a time. Think of all the exciting uncertainty multiple administrations would provide. It would be like Nomic with real executive orders. And, of course, real presidential debates.

Of course, if Kerry gets elected ... hmm. Maybe I've been selling the guy short.
--
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?

Yawn, more third party whining (2.25 / 4) (#52)
by KilljoyAZ on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 08:35:58 PM EST

Instead of constantly bitching about how their respective candidates aren't included in the presidential debates, maybe they should concentrate on building their respective parties. You know, cultivating grassroots support, proving they can effectively govern on the state and local levels, building some sort of legislative presence in the Congress, that sort of thing. It's not as though the modern Democratic and Republican parties sprung from George Washington's head.

Even if I accepted the ludicrous premise that the only thing standing between a third party candidate and the White House is a few TV appearances, without doing the party-building ground work such an administration is doomed to failure. I can guarantee you the Democratic and Republican parties would team up to hamstring the administration for four years if the third party has no legislative presence.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist

Poor logic (none / 1) (#103)
by irrevenant on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 05:59:26 PM EST

Firstly, you're taking a black or white position "There are other factors that result in 3rd parties not getting elected, therefore this isn't one".  No-one suggested that the debate issue was the "only thing standing between a third party candidate and the White House".  But it's a serious limiting factor.

Secondly, your argument about George Washington's head is like saying "well, Microsoft didn't come from nowhere all those years ago, so now the competitive arena must be fair".

Microsoft and the Republicrats both expanded into virgin territory and established dominant footholds making it an uphill slog for anyone who now wants a piece of that territory.  It's not impossible, but it's very hard and far from fair.

[ Parent ]

An answer (none / 0) (#106)
by KilljoyAZ on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 08:58:35 PM EST

My point is 270 minutes of TV face time does not a viable presidential candidate make. What makes you think anyone will vote in favor of a presidential candidate of a party which has not proven itself to effectively govern at any level ? The focus of third parties should be on winning local and state offices, and showing America that the Green/Libertarian/Natural Law/Prohibition/whatever way of doing things is more effective. They should follow that by electing members to Congress so that their president doesn't get politically castrated seconds after taking the oath of office. The way Congress is split today, 10 third party representatives in the House would wield more effective power than a third party president. Instead, the only thing I seem to hear from third party candidates and supporters is every four years how unfair it is that they don't get to take part in the televised presidential debates, how our constitutional system is hopelessly rigged against them and how truly alike/incompetent/un-American/evil the two major parties are. It doesn't make them sound like someone I want to elect as president, it makes them sound like whiners.

Republicrats, clever and original. You do realize that when the country was founded, the modern day Republican party did not exist? That it wasn't created until about 70 years or so after the founding of the Republic and at its inception was considered a third party? So much for virgin territory. The "second" party in our supposed entrenched duopoly has changed before, and third parties have historically able to rally a sizeable amount of popular support throughout and get substantive changes implemented throughout our history.

And if you think American politics are fair, you are pretty naive. Democrats and Republicans have been playing dirty tricks on each other for decades - the fact that the Democratic party is doing so to Nader this election only underscores that they take his candicacy seriously. Is it right? No, but he should have been prepared for it.

And even if hell froze over and the CPD let all the third party candidates in on the TV game no matter how obscure, what would that accomplish? We'd have to choose between one of two horrible options. Either each candidate would get about 5 minutes total out of 90 to explain their stands on the issues, sucking what precious little depth and substance there is now out of the format completely, or the debates themselves are extended to about 10 hour sessions, which is much more than the average person's attention span can tolerate. No thanks. I hate the way the current debates are structured but what you propose would be far worse.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]

Proposal... (none / 0) (#115)
by irrevenant on Sat Oct 23, 2004 at 06:56:45 PM EST

Actually, there can't be anything wrong with what I propose, because I didn't propose ANYTHING. :)

If it were up to me, I would probably hold a series of debates.  I agree that one 90 minute debate really isn't long enough.

Incidentally, "Republicrat" wasn't intended to be either original or clever - just commonly used shorthand for 'the current duopoly'.

At any rate, I don't disagree with you - I think the 3rd parties need to do all the things you state above as well.  But it's still not in the best interests of democracy if two political parties so heavily dominate the media.

[ Parent ]

I would have more respect for third parties... (3.00 / 15) (#53)
by ajdecon on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 09:01:28 PM EST

if they would just get over this obsession with immediate access to the presidency, and make themselves known in the rest of the political process. How are we supposed to take a presidential bid by a third party seriously, if they've never made successful bids for Congressional seats or major state offices?

Many of our past Presidents had previously served in Congress or as Governor of their state, our current one an example. If Nader, Badnarik or Cobb really want to win the highest office in the land, the best way to show that they mean it is by doing a term or three in the Congress and gaining political experience at the national level.

And if a third-party candidate can't get enough recognition to win the House seat in his home district... how could they possibly stand a chance of the Presidency?


--
"Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself."
-Richard Feynman
but they have to run (none / 0) (#79)
by speek on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 07:57:33 AM EST

This is how they get the exposure necessary to have chance to win House or Senate seats. You'd take them less seriously if they eschewed the work necessary to get on the ballot for the Presidential race.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

K5 denied an article by a non-dumbass (1.06 / 15) (#62)
by felixrayman on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 01:04:46 AM EST

You stupid fuck.

If Satan himself appeared on the land and ran for President, if he raped your mother, burned down your home, killed your fucking hamster, if he breathed fire and razed every building in the country, you would still be mewling that there was not a good substantive debate regarding Satan's proposed foreign policy initiatives.

Time is growing late, junior. Wake the fuck up.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

hey man, not my mother. (none / 1) (#90)
by the ghost of rmg on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 03:23:54 PM EST

that woman is totally holy.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]
T'would garner better publicity... (none / 0) (#99)
by skyknight on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 10:35:53 AM EST

if he raped the hamster.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
NO!!! Really? [nt] (1.50 / 2) (#75)
by warrax on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 06:38:39 AM EST

n/t = Write about something less obvious and I might care.

-- "Guns don't kill people. I kill people."
Vote for ME in 2016! (1.50 / 2) (#93)
by Blarney on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 05:54:28 PM EST

I want to be President, but I don't think that I should have to serve in public office for a long, long time before I make the attempt. Neither do I have a famous family name. What to do?

It's obvious. I'll simply start campaigning NOW for the Presidency. In 2016, I'll be old enough to hold the office. Remember to vote for me in 2016!

You must admit, I do have a mathematical possibility of being elected. Perhaps I should get to go to the debates also? If not, please state your reasoning.....

Go for it! (none / 0) (#111)
by dennis on Sat Oct 09, 2004 at 01:33:25 PM EST

All you have to do, to get that mathematical possibility, is collect the millions of signatures required to get on enough state ballots so you can win enough electoral votes. I suggest you start organizing your supporters now.

[ Parent ]
Where's Barnum and Bailey when you need 'em? (2.50 / 2) (#101)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 01:38:57 PM EST

Remember the recent California recall election? We had pornographers, college students, and Father Guido Sarducci running for governor. By your argument, they had a mathematical possibility of getting the office so a debate between them all would be the only way to avoid a farce.

Or, we could alternatively limit the debates to candidates who have a realistic chance. The last third party candidate who did have a chance was Ross Perot and he was in the debates so I think it's pretty clear that the CPD prevents third party candidates from the debates.

You are presenting a chicken and egg problem by implying that a candidate is denied exposure (and therefore the office) by being excluded from the debate. So, you can't get the office unless your in the debate, and you can't be in the debate unless you could get in office. That's how your argument reads.

The problem is this: debates are voluntary and unnecessary. There have been incumbent presidents who declined any debates; there were no debates in the 1964, 1968, and 1972 elections. There is no requirement that a person attend any debate and the American people don't really require it. Gore won the 2000 debates in terms of substance, but lost the election; both Mondale and Dukakis won in their first debates but lost the elections. And lastly, this may be a personal bias because my candidate ain't doing so hot: how does performance in a debate indicate presidential leadership. Excellent debaters may argue both sides of an issue effectively but I'd rather have a candidate who actually believes what I believe in, even if he does have a hard time articulating it.

Also, I question the purpose of any "true" debates. Theoretically, we should hear the candidates on all issues and voters ought to be able to compare their positions. This has never happened. Kennedy beat Nixon in the debates because he looked good; the overwhelming response of radio listeners to those debates was that Nixon won them. The most memorable moment of the 1990 debates was Lloyd Benson chastising Dan Quayle that he was no Jack Kennedy. This is style, not substance. Even the issues raised in the recent Presidential debates did little to clarify the candidates' positions. Can anyone--using only the language of the debates--reword it to demonstrate that Kerry wasn't flip-flopping on Iraq or can anyone adequately delineate George Bush's argument that the current Iraq War is a part of the War on Terror? It's possible only by introducing material from outside of the debate which means that the debates are not effective tools for adequately stating the candidates' positions.

As a result, it's a strawman to ask for more thorough debates. In fact, it will turn America into California. Do you really want that?

-Soc
I drank what?


Gore's debates. (none / 0) (#110)
by spung on Sat Oct 09, 2004 at 10:38:09 AM EST

Gore won the 2000 debates in terms of substance, but lost the election;

Yeah, but he got more votes than Bush, didn't he?



[ Parent ]
Americans Denied a True Presidential Debate | 115 comments (98 topical, 17 editorial, 0 hidden)
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