April 25, 2008

Real Conventions

Posted by Adam Graham in : Presidential Race 2008

Over the past 30 years or so, our two political parties have successfully changed that crown jewel of Jacksonian Democracy, the National Convention into little more than an infomercial, and a bland one at that. Really, I’d be more likely to watch the GOP Convention should Republican speakers demonstrate a new blender or a karate workout, or if John McCain credited his longevity with a new powerful vitamin we can get for the low price of $9.95.  

The Democratic Convention may be interesting. However, it looks to be more of an identity politics blood feud between Whites, Hispanics, and African Americans with a good dose of a personality cult mixed in. Still, it looks to be entertaining, the same way a crash in a NASCAR race is.

Is there somewhere that ideas are fought over and the future is decided in an unscripted event? Where no one knows who will win and the final result could shock everyone? Yes, we find these in the Constitution and Libertarian Parties, where yes, indeed, anybody can win (as Michael Badnarik proved when he defeated Actor Aaron Russo  in 2004. Never heard of Russo? He was one of the more famous LP candidates.)

The Constitution Party is meeting right now in Kansas City. Real business is going on. Candidate debates are Friday. The nomination will occur on Saturday. Yesterday, they had platform meetings and here’s an agenda item that you’ll never see at one of the two party conventions: “Children’s Story Time with Trapper Jim.”

Of course, it’s all about the Presidency and Trent Hill blogs about it on Third Party Watch. With Alan Keyes as a potential candidate of a pro-life Judeo-Christian political party, you’d think people would be excited. You’d be wrong: 

Everywhere there are arguments—based wholly upon the Presidential nomination. People stood around politely talking about the North American Union and the Federal Reserve, but inevitably arguments have broken out left and right. Foreign Policy, Foreign Aid, Mandatory National Service, and Islamofascism—these are all issues that no one expected to be hotly contested issues at the CP Convention. Even myself and Tom Hoefling, Keyes’ political director, got into a heated exchange.

There are more Alan Keyes-friendly delegates than I originally suspected. A couple dozen by my count, and they also have captured the votes of California’s delegation. By my count, this is leading to a fun convention, and one where people’s feelings are going to get hurt. I suspect if Keyes does not receive the nomination, he’ll continue his race for President. I fear that people may see the rejection of Keyes as an anti-catholic or anti-black maneuver, which is laughable considering some of his leading opponents are Paul Venable of Idaho and Ricardo Davis of Georgia—both African-American men.

Never heard of Paul Venable and Richardo Davis? That makes two of us. Apparently if commenters are any measure, a Keyes nomination is trouble, though:

Any chance opf(sic) building the Constitution Party into a replacement party over and above the Republican Party will end up in abortion if the CP nominates Alan Keyes for President. It, the CP, will lose its credibility as as political party that speaks out against unconstitutional, undeclared wars if it nominates the warmonger Keyes. Sorry to say but my conservative and constitutional Christian vote shall go elsewhere, maybe over to the Libertarians who have have the chance tht the CP will thus forfeit.

A party that got 1/10 of 1% of the vote in 2004 is worried about credibility? Makes sense.  

While I’ve been invited a few times to cross over to join a third party, I’ve never taken the plunge despite some disgusting times in the GOP. This post reminds me why.

A successful political movement requires some tolerance, some room for disagreement. People have to be at least a little bit flexible. Nobody wins all the time, and sometimes you just accept that you lost and move on. Perhaps, the GOP’s big tent is at times too big and when people claim the GOP label while caring nothing for its platform and beliefs, it can render the GOP label meaningless.

However, when a party is so far to the right that Alan Keyes is not acceptably conservative, it points to a rigid intolerance that voters will never find attractive. I believe there’s a happy medium somewhere, but we have yet to find it.

The sad thing is that the whole tale is a farce. People who you’ve never heard of have a choice between a candidate you may have heard about and one you’ve never heard of. The candidate you’ve heard of backs continuing the war effort in Iraq despite the fact he didn’t want to go in the first place, because he’d rather not see World War III break out when we leave. The candidate you’ve never heard is solidly anti-war and is the favorite of purists who want to kick the candidate you’ve actually heard of to the curb.

The irony of the situation: Neither Alan Keyes nor Chuck Baldwin (I told you you’ve that never heard of the other guy) have any practical chance to do anything about the war. So thus, it’s irrelevant, but it’s interesting to watch. It’s a convention, as I said the Crown Jewel of Jacksonian Democracy. But the CP convention is, as Shakespeare wrote, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”


  1. Comment by Eric W

    Actually, I *have* heard of Chuck Baldwin. I suspect a lot of Christian Ron Paul supporters have. He wrote some really good articles and handouts explaining why Christians should reject Huckabee in favor of Paul.

  2. Comment by Katrinka Yobotz

    Update: Alan Keyes is still offering conservative citizens a say in this election. They are putting together a NEW “party” that will promote good conservative candidates everywhere of any party.
    America’s Independent Party National Committee

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