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How American politics is reported Down Under.
..."Third parties are burgeoning. The Internet is alive with rebellion."
Big party politics can no longer ignore the third way
By HAROLD EVANS
Wednesday 9 February 2000
THE prophet of the consumer and citizen movements, Ralph Nader, wants to be president of the United States. I expect he will throw his flame-tested hat in the ring very soon and the various green parties across the country will back him, as they did in 1996 when he won 682,000 votes, although he spent only $5000 and was kept off the ballot in most states.
It is safe to predict that the big party machines will not take him seriously. The Republican Party bosses, in particular, are transfixed by the humiliating prospect that the maverick John McCain will beat their golden boy, George W. Bush. But there is a very real connection that both big parties should note between Nader and McCain. It is in their appeal to the independent voter disgusted by money's pollution of the democratic process.
McCain likes to invoke comparisons with President Theodore Roosevelt, who bucked the official machine in 1912, but his modern debt is less to Teddy and more to Ralph. It is Nader, unfashionable year in year out, who put campaign finance on the reform agenda and saw it taken up by hundreds of citizen pressure groups. Nader personifies the independent voter. He has been one of the principal forces keeping the idea alive, and with it the notion that alternative parties will invigorate the American system.
The sensation in New Hampshire was McCain's interruption of the Bush coronation, but the deeper significance was how he did it by winning 61per cent of the independent vote. That was 41per cent of the total of all votes cast. McCain took independent voters from Bill Bradley - independents can vote in either primary - but Bush was the main loser. He attracted only 19per cent of the independents.
The Bush managers thought they were smart in proclaiming how far ahead he was in raising money, supposedly an object of veneration by all Americans. But the modern voter, it seems, dislikes being told his vote has been paid for in advance. Something is stirring in the American political soul. In the '60s, only 1per cent of voters described themselves as independent. Now 15per cent do, and they are more inclined to vote. Third parties are burgeoning. The Internet is alive with rebellion.
Arianna Huffington, the former president of the Cambridge Union (in England), but more recently a loyal Republican wife and campaigner, epitomises the mood. Her Republican friends will wake up one day this week to discover she has deserted the party with a fighting book entitled How to Overthrow the Government. It is a denunciation of both party machines, but also a bomb-maker's handbook for civil disobedience.
The strength of the tide can be gauged by how vigorously the parties, in all regions, are blocking reforms that would enable more third parties to get on ballot papers and the televised debates. In addition to the Greens and Jesse Ventura's Reform Party, there is the Natural Law party, the Libertarians, the Constitution Party, and the Workers' World Party.
The US is the only nation in the world in which the rules for ballot access in national elections - for Congress as well as president - are not written by the national government but by the states. They demand high numbers of endorsement signatures, from which the main parties are exempt, then fix ridiculously short periods for their collection; and the rules may be different for presidential, governorship and congressional races. The Reform Party, for instance, is on the ballot in 21 states, but will need another 360,000 endorsements to get on the ballot in all 50 states this year. Georgia and Texas are making sure nobody can vote for Nader.
The mainstream media have been paying no attention to this scandal of the states, but McCain's victory propelled the issue to the front pages last week. The pro-Bush Governor of New York State, George Pataki, has had to retreat from his moves to keep McCain off the ballot in the state presidential primary on 7March.
It is a warning to the apparatchiks in the rest of the country. At their back, they should hear the electronic chariots hurrying near. Soon enough underfunded candidates will be able to dispense with buying TV time, the curse of US elections, by getting their message out through continuous video on the Internet. E-mailers are raising money and hell. MoveOn.org was founded by two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who were convinced the public was frustrated by the way Congress was distracted by the Lewinsky scandal. They were soon able to mobilise 450,000 supporters committed to spend at least $25 to unseat any Congressman who voted for impeachment.
Smart opinion in Washington still looks down its nose at the third party phenomenon, just as it did in 1860 when a third party candidate won the White House. Name of Abraham Lincoln.
Harold Evans, a former editor of London's The Times and Sunday Times, now lives in New York.
The McCain phenomenon is remarked on. I have yet to find an Aussie who likes Bush.
-- Pieter (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 10, 2000
"maverick John McCain"
This belongs on our daily Lie page where pigs fly. The liberal press want you to believe that McCain is a maverick. LOL. Hahahahaha ooooooohhhhhhh noooooo God please help us. ...sdb
-- S. David Bays (SDBAYS@prodigy.net), February 10, 2000.
McCain is a fraud and a traitor...
He sold out to the enemy for preferred customer treatment while other POWs were tortured and forced to live in unbearable conditions...this McCain saga to any VVet is a worst case senerio... I thought Clinton was bad news...McCain is catastrophic!
Anyway McCain or Bush...they both believe the same things...abortion ...late term abortion ...rights for sodom and Gomorah... taxing the people to death... police state... One World Government... Communist China is our friend... the only difference is McCain has personality and Bush doesn't! Hitler had personality too! So does Saddam, and Kadafi, Arafat, need I say more!
Pieter... you think you got problems with America dumping its radioactive waste in your soil... we have a worse problem...We maybe stuck with McCain. I'd rather have your problem!
I guess what needs to happen is we all have to get together and try to figure a way out... and do it without tearing eachother down... we really have to work together... Thanks for your contributions... I sure hope people are reading and thinking about the stuff you make available...
-- S BRyan G III (email@example.com), February 10, 2000.
McCain is a joke. He likes to ride corporate jets and get the red carpet treatment just like any other PAC money-hungry politician. There is no choice this year. What else is new?
-- X (X@X.com), February 10, 2000.
It's interesting that the writer considers Ralph Nader the Reform Party candidate...it would be of great interest to the Reform Party, no doubt! They could dispense with holding an expensive convention, etc.
-- Mad Monk (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 10, 2000.
Interesting you follow the standard "McCain is a Traitor" Line. Let me ask you...are you or have you ever served a day in the military? Have you ever been a P.O.W. under the hospitality of a sadistic North Vietnamese? Have you ever been through a little course they run in the .mil called SERE? Were you in North Vietnam in the Hanoi Hilton?
Judging from your earlier posting, I'd veture to assume that the answer to all of the above is a resounding "No." If you'd bother to research the backround of McCain's 'holiday up north' you'd be interested to know that most of the individuals who have claimed he "sold out to the enemy for preferred customer treatment while other POWs were tortured and forced to live in unbearable conditions..." I find it facinating that the only people who make these claims are individuals who were never even there with McCain. According to the few who were there actually with him, they have all publicly stated there was "...no such thing as preferential treatment by the Vietnamese. They hated us all thouroughly and equally"
When called on this issue, however, people then point to the 'documentation' that McCain signed that he was an "Ariel Pirate" and a "War Criminal". If I recall correctly...during the Gulf War, we had numerous pilots who were videotaped 'confessing' to their 'criminal behavior' on making war on 'the innocent people of Iraq.' I don't see the media demonizing them. I, myself missed seeing the footage the first time around, but we all heard about it in the desert, and we were highly pissed about it. Most of us couldn't wait to start killing Iraqis after that. So what if McCain signed some documentation with phrases condemning the US activity in Vietnam? Because of the "Code of Conduct" forbids giving any information or comfort to the enemy? Please...they modified the bloody code after Vietnam because of how the Vietnamese were so skilled at wringing out any information they wanted. To quote one of McCain's former 'cellmates' from the Hanoi Hilton, "they were experts at manipulation...there wasn't anything you wouldn't tell them or do to get what you needed to survive..."
Not to say that you shouldn't try however... the code now states you should avoid giving aid and confort to the enemy "...to the utmost and best of your ability." So preach it somewhere else...McCain gets my resepect for what he went through...
as they are so fond of saying around here, don't believe everything that you hear...Especially until you consider the sources.
-- Billy Boy (Rakkasan101st@Aol.com), February 10, 2000.
To Whom It May Concern:
McCain is just another hack promoting 'business as usual' (read 'NWO'). He's a frontman for The Red Wing of The Power Party.
-- bz (email@example.com), February 10, 2000.
Billy Boy, I served as a Marine between 66 - 71 in the war... I spent 18 years as a military professional. And Yes, I have been a POW, and Yes, I have been subjected to torture, and Yes, I know what it feels like to spill under stress, and NO I don't know what it feels like to betray my fellow POWs, I never befriended the enemy and gort special treatment like McCain did. I don't know who you are, but I do know who McCain is... He's a traitor! and a FRAUD! ... HE IS STILL RIDING ON THE TICKET BOUGHT WITH AMERICAN BLOOD... AND HE IS A DISHONOR TO THOSE WHO DIDN'T SELL OUT FOR SPECIAL TREWATMENT...
billy boy, McCain is a fake! Just like the Clintons and McCain's communist Democratic Party buddies!
If you want data, I'll give you data... if you want the truth from those who spent time in the Hilton, I'll give that you you to... but don't tell me about patriotism, honor and morality in the same sentence as McCain...it just doesn't fit! Billy Boy you send me a request for material on McCain at my e-mail address and I'll forward enough back to make you ill! BRyan
-- SB Ryan G III (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 10, 2000.
Oh Yeh, one more thing Billy Boy, you say they have changed the standard that we must give our utmost or almost best ability... thats like removing the standard...you don't know by any chance who removed the true hopnorable standard do you...I bet he never served in the military at all...infact, he probably demonstrated against us on some chinese or russia mall!
When you remove the standard ...you remove the guideline that GOD has given us to follow...you have updated to a guideline the man says he's comfortable with...not the same thing... and as for the military today... where are they? Who are they? What will become of them if they hold to the old fashion standard of GOD & Country?
Billy, do you think we should join the UN? wear their patch? Do you like McCain's friends Ted Turner and the unhonorable elite of the socialist and communist parties?
I think you need to re-think things over... a lot of Americans don't know the information because the liberal news media is not reporting it...it's not you fault...it is all of our fault... Billy check it out... I believe that you are not a stupid man...just miss informed... the evidence alone in favor of your intelligence is that you are concerned enough to be on this forum...unless your one of the troublemakers...but I don't think so! BRyan
-- S BRyan G III (email@example.com), February 10, 2000.
Billy Boy, Here is a link that may bee helpful about this McCain fella:
-- S BRyan G III (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 10, 2000.
"SEMPER FI", Marine!
I know several former POWs who spent time up north with Songbird John. One came back castrated and the other two never could climb into a jet due to their injuries. Seems that while McCain got medical treatment, they got broken arms and legs stomped-on for not talking.
I gather all three would vote for a Klintoon third rather term than McCain.
-- Wildweasel (email@example.com), February 10, 2000.