Tuesday, September 23, 2008

To Bolt or Not to Bolt: the Cognoscenti Speak

I had written several friends about the question of whether to bolt the Republican Party because of the bailout and vote Libertarian instead. I had picked up Contrairimairi's response earlier today. They're all good answers. So far, only one of six responses has been anti-Republican. But the GOP has got to wake up. Carl Svensson, founder of the New York Republican Liberty Caucaus makes a number of good points about wedge issues, running candidates and appealing to minorities.

Candace de Russy:

8 years of O. would be dreadful...better to try to influence Mc

Lenny Rann:

I have never been so sickened in my life. You know this bailout is going to go down a giant rat hole. Can you imagine that foreign banks, UBS and Barkley's, will be part of the bailout? That is what I have read anyway. Do you know if that is a fact? Phil Gramm, on the board of UBS must have been up lobbying all night. It's like the more a politician is waving the flag, the more likely he is a foreign agent. Really, this collapse of the investment bank gambling casino must have been looked on as a tremendous opportunity to make money, now that the opportunity of credit swaps is played out. I am sickened and disheartened beyond belief. My useless prediction: Gold is gonna go to $1200 pronto. We are gonna be wheeling f...ing wheelbarrows to the store.

Pinni Bohm:

I think a factor that is being underestimated is Sarah Palin. As Governor of Alaska, she did cut spending by 80% and is described as a libertarian on the economy. (I am assuming there is no evidence to the contrary.) Since McCain's pick was meant to select his successor, if McCain wins this election, Palin will likely win the election in 2012 and we will have a libertarian-minded person in control of the white house.

Additionally, even if it can be argued that Palin cannot win in 2012, she will be in the white house with McCain over the next four years and she will be a strong influence. She has already proven she is not afraid to go against the establishment if she disagrees, as evidenced by her "taking on the good old boy network in Alaska" (who are now trying to erase her from Alaska politics with this troopergate scandal), so I have no reason to believe that she will be afraid of going up against McCain if necessary. However, as VP, she would also have the ears of the powerful liberal press, who will have an interest in hurting McCain in retaliation for him overthrowing their chosen one.

Therefore, my conclusion is that McCain is the better of the two candidates, if only for the above reasons. (Of course there are the foreign policy reasons and the argument that Obama was the most liberal person in the Senate before he officially announced his run for president.)

Carl Svensson:

" I am not sure that I can continue to support the Republican Party....they have become a socialist party".

They have not, albeit key elements of the Republican leadership seem to be taking us in that direction. The GOP, like the Democrats, continue to be coalitions of various factions, and it appears that that will be the case in the foreseeable future. I am still confident that the vast majority of the GOP leadership and rank-and-file continue to be pro-limited government and pro-free market, and that a majority, hopefully, support personal freedoms too.

".....the Republicans may be more socialist than the Democrats."

I don't think so. The leadership of the Democrats, on most levels, are much more left that the leadership of the Republicans, and you all know that to be true. That is also true of the Democratic rank-and-file viz a viz the Republican rank-and- file.

" election of McCain at this point may be too much of an affirmation of George Bush's socialism".

Whether this is true or not, it is a moot point. "We" do not have the power or influence to determine whether or not Obama or McCain get elected. Indeed, here in NYS, Obama will coast to victory no matter what we do. The election will be determined in a handful of states, and the only impact that "we" can have -----and a very nominal impact to say the least -- is by contributing financially to
one campaign or the other.

I believe that all of us share your very real concerns about precedents and the like; I know that I do.

So what can we do to have an impact this election cycle? Nothing tangible I'm afraid, and I would be loathe to marginalize myself, and have any of you marginalize yourselves, by publicly supporting Obama or a third party candidate which would have zinch impact anyway.

The question should be, can we, acting together with others, steer the GOP and the country in a more positive direction? Hopefully, that is the case provided that we take a realistic assessment of the political situation in NYS, and that we attempt to do something to accomplish this.

A few of the facts (as I see them):

1. To be successful, we must organize "ourselves" on a state-wide basis.
2. Libertarians can not win an election on their own; there are too few of us.
3. Republicans can not win elections, in most cases, on their own, we are outnumbered.
4. You can not win elections without candidates.
5. You can not establish and build 'local political organizations" without candidates.
6. We must pursue "wedge issues" to split off a portion of the Democrats from their base.
7. We must recruit black and brown candidates if we are too have long-term success.

The only 'universal' wedge issue that I am familiar with is "Term Limits". These have the support of more that 70% of all voters accross all parties. 'Our" candidates should be supporting these, and the possibility of establishing a "Term Limits Party" should also be investigated. School choice is a good wedge issue in some "minority districts" but it works against "us; in suburban districts.

Republicans make up about 40% of the electorate state-wide, and less than that in our cities. We must cultivate alliances with the Conservatives, Independence, and Libertarian Parties, and make inroad with Democrats too.

We need to run candidates. You all know that we are not contesting several dozen state offices, and hundreds of local offices even in those areas where the party has an enrollment advantage.

One of our goals, I believe, should be for us to contest every State Senate and Assembly race in 2010 to garner some attention from the media and are base, and begin to 'grow' local Republican organizations. This should be easy! It takes a maximum of 500 valid signatures to get an Assembly candidate on the ballot, and we can use piggyback petitions to get our Senate candidates on the ballot. I know that Robert is planning on running for City Council in 2009, and we should be able to recruit and get on the ballot a near full slate for these races if we begin now.


Raquel Okyay said...

"One of our goals, I believe, should be for us to contest every State Senate and Assembly race in 2010 to garner some attention from the media and are base, and begin to 'grow' local Republican organizations."

You're absolutely right that contesting races is incredibly important, Carl. But it will not be an easy task.

There are people willing to be candidates, but they don't always get support from the State or local Party.

Since it is nearly impossible to compete against a Democrat incumbent, local parties concentrate on their own incumbent officials and do not want to waste time and money on candidates with no chance of winning.

Plus these candidates do not always get unanimous support from the two parties, i.e. Ognibene (Conservative) Bloomberg ("Republican"), and their is no unification -- which as you mentioned, we need.

I say this from experience. I ran for New York City Council in 05 (against an incumbent Democrat) with the backing of the Conservative Party and line. The Republican party refused to put me on their line even though the line was open.

We need people/Parties to support candidates even though the candidate will lose.

In any event, Mitch, we have to support McCain/Palin -- because O. is much much worse.

Mitchell Langbert said...

OK, Raquel. When are you coming to the Emerson? I miss picking up your credit card!