Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Third Parties

During lunch today I attended a local chamber of commerce's (in Minnesota) monthly lunch meeting. This event featured a conservative talk radio personality and a former President Clinton White House staffer/now public affairs consultant.

After their prepared remarks the moderator asked a series of locally important questions -- transportation funding, school referendums, etc. Once this round of questions was completed the audience members were given the chance to ask questions.

Sometimes we hear what we want to hear so I might have sat there with my biased worldview - me biased!!?? I prefer to call it "accuracy." Now the theme I kept hearing was that the "base" (conservative voters in particular) need something to get them mobilized for the 2008 elections. As one of those voters I completely agree -- throw me a bone candidates!! Give me something to be inspired by versus sound bites that have been pre-approved by your focus groups. The 2008 presidential campaign needs a high profile loose cannon who throws out fresh ideas but at the same time is electable -- former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich perhaps comes the closest to these parameters however I fear if he were the nominee he would go down in flames like Senator Barry Goldwater did in 1964.

At no time during this chamber lunch event did I hear the speakers or the audience discuss the possibility of Minnesota's major third political party -- Independence Party (IP) -- becoming a force in the 2008 elections. Now the IP is not my party but neither is the Democratic-Republican Duopoly that rules our nation and state today.

Personally I am old school (yes - not just in my clothing much to my wife's dismay) so I would love to see the now defunct "Free Soil Party" (FSP) revitalized. Originally the FSP was formed by abolitionists working to eliminate the institution of slavery in the USA in the 1848 timeframe but in 2008 I think they are needed again. Why you may ask? When slavery was legal in the USA your plantation master took 100% of the wealth/earning your labor generated. Today -- once you add federal income tax, state income tax, Social (in-)Security taxes, sales taxes, unemployment tax, capital gains tax, death taxes............ -- government overall takes nearly 50% of the wealth we each generate thus making us "half-slaves" I guess.

So let's bring back the Free Soil Party to fight for the single issue of eliminating personal income taxes which not only violate our pursuit of happiness but also our personal privacy.

Martin Van Buren would be proud,


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