I Think It Might Be Time for a Third Party

I’m really really sick of the Republicans. I remember an old poli sci joke- “If the Democrats proposed a bill to burn down the capitol, the Republicans would offer a counterproposal to phase it in over three years.”

We’ve had both the White House and Capitol Hill for six years and what do we have to show for it? Domestically, almost nothing. The biggest thing is the tax cut, which is likely to be undone soon because of the out-of-control spending. Otherwise, the best argument you could make would be, “Think how bad it would be if the Republicans weren’t in power”. But I can think how bad it would be- 1994-2000, when power was split. Internationally it was a disater, but domestically, I really can’t say it was any worse. A Republican congress that acted a lot more like Republicans because there was a Democrat to fight in office, restrained the worst of Clinton’s liberal tendencies, kept him ineffective by impeaching him, and in general just got out of the way of one of the best economies we ever had. We still have a good economy, but it seems largely in spite of anything the Republicans have really done.

Yes, the tax cut. I like the tax cut. But what’s it going to do to us if we lose the tax cut over pressure about our deficit?

They’re just thieves and con-men, the lot of them. There’s the occasional guy like Tom Coburn who apparently thinks that being a congressman doesn’t mean unfettered access to the treasury of the country. But did you hear about this railroad in Mississippi? Trent Lott attached a $700 million amendment to an Iraq funding bill to move a railroad further inland, so they can build casinos on the coast. This for a railroad that the federal government just spent $250 million on repairing after Katrina. And then there’s the Northrup Grummann bailout– $200 million dollars in loss protection, in a special bill, to a company that made a $2.4 billion profit last year, up from the previous two years. This was once again Lott, but there’s enough Republicans to support him that make you seriously wonder where the head of this party is.

Again, what have we got from six years in power? Steel tariffs? Medicare prescription drug benefits? No Child Left Behind? Which one of these exactly has anything at all to do with conservative values? Anything worthwile, like the Social Security reform attempt, wasn’t supported enough to get it off the ground.

We knew from the start what we were getting from Bush- he was a “compassionate conservative”, and anyone who feels the need to put that qualifier on their version of conservatism doesn’t understand or doesn’t agree with traditional conservatism. Reagan knew that being a conservative was compassionate- it’s what freed people to solve their own problems, freeing resources from government control and wastage, freeing businesses from regulatory strangling so they could grow and succeed. I’m glad Bush was there for the war. I think it likely that not many presidents, and certainly not the alternative in 2000- would have handled it with anywhere near his guts and integrity. And this isn’t about Bush particularly, it’s about Republicans.

And then this immigration nonsense. Why the so-called “law-and-order” party can’t get it through their heads that a country cannot survive without law and order blows my mind. Eleven million people in this country whose first act here was to break our laws. And a million of them march in our streets demanding the right to continue doing so. I wish we’d surrounded those marches with tanks, and then kept the marches going right on down to Mexico. Give ’em plenty of Aquafina for the hike.

But if they can’t get control of spending, nothing else matters much. If they succeed in stealing the wealth of this country for all their pet projects, to buy themselves votes, then they will destroy this country.

And don’t think that any of this means I’m considering the Democrats. They’ve got all the faults of the Republicans, plus they’re baby-killers. I’d take a fag-loving, hooker-chasing, swindling, greedy fraudster any day over a baby-killer. It’s kind of like God preferring Jehu over Ahab. He still worshiped the golden calves, but at least he wasn’t a Baal-worshiping baby killer.

But I don’t think I buy it any more- the argument I used to make myself, that I should vote for the Republicans instead of a third party because a vote for a third party is a vote for the Democrats. I’ve come to the realization- so what? Would it be much worse? What would they do? Unfettered abortion? Oh wait, we’ve got that. Gay marriage? A matter of semantics at this point. Ridiculous spending? Check.

There’s the judges, of course. But remember, if the conservatives hadn’t practically shoved Alito down Bush’s throat, we’d have Harriet Myers today. So I’m not sure that even that argument’s worth much. There’s foreign policy- and here’s where it sticks in my throat a little. With a Democratic president, the foreign policy would undoubtedly be much much worse (although it does depend on which Democrat).

I just don’t know anymore. Fact is, if the election were held today between Generic Republican and Generic Democrat, I’d vote for the Republican. I am just really ready for a choice. And I think the Republican Party needs to have some competition for the conservative mantle in this country. Right now, I’m pretty sure the only reason they win elections is because it’s either them or the baby-killers.

11 thoughts on “I Think It Might Be Time for a Third Party

  1. Wow! I can feel the heat emanating from my monitor! I agree with everything you said, with the possible exception of the Northrop bailout. I don’t know the circumstances, so I cannot speak to the issue intelligently, but they may have had a legitimate contractual and/or legal claim. Acts of God can be grounds for a no fault full or partial termination, which can result in the contractor recouping allowable and allocable costs. Even if a termination is not a factor, many of Northrop’s contracts are “cost plus,” so, if the cost is directly allocable under Federal Regulations, it would be considered a billable cost. Further, if the costs would be allocable to Northrop’s overhead, again according to Government Cost Accounting Standards, the Government would have ended up paying it anyway as Northrop’s main customer. Again, I would have to know the facts surrounding the case. Defense contracting is a very convoluted and complex field, especially in the cost plus arena. On the purely political note, we should remember that Northrop and other major Defense contractors are essential to our national defense/security and, thus, the welfare of our nation. Besides, with all the money wasted on Katrina “recovery” what’s another $200M? Petty cash.

    I don’t think a third conservative party would not have much of a chance. Since the population is split about 50/50, especially in the all-important swing states, any significant split on either side would result in major sweeps for the other. Now, a third party that could attract a large number from both camps could be viable. However, I am not sure exactly how that would happen short of the introduction of a radical, new ideal.


  2. Finally!!! Now you can come vote for the Constitutional Party. I do have to disagree with Andy. I think a conservative third party is viable, especially now. The country is not split 50/50. The people who take the time to vote are split 50/50. I believe a large number of people do not care to vote because all politicians are the same so why bother. I believe the sentiment you so clearly expressed, Matt, keeps people from the polls. If there is no difference, then why bother. If a conservative third party were to show they were statesmen and not politicians, then it would have a real chance to grab a section of non-voters and win national elections. Just my two cents.

  3. Andy,
    You clearly know more about this than I do, and as you say, the Northrop-Grumman thing is not necessary to make my point, so I’ll let that go.

    As far as the chances of a conservative party, you may be right, but at this point, what difference does it make? The “good” alternative is just the “burning down the capital in three years” alternative. The only reason I’d vote right now for a conservative third party would be because it _doesn’t_ make a difference.

    Practically the only reason I vote anymore anyway is because I consider it a civic duty, “rendering unto Caesar”.

    And as much as I like the Constitutional Party, there’s a few things I don’t like. I don’t like their foreign trade approach. That’s the big thing I guess. I guess if you’re going to choose a third party for idealistic reasons you want them to be perfect. And there’s still nobody perfect.

  4. Anonymous,
    Again, how would that be all that different than what we’ve already got? The foreign policy would probably be a lot worse. But otherwise? What difference would it make?

  5. Lee,

    Third parties have not proven successful in recent history. They have done little more than ensure that the candidate which, at least ostensibly, thinks more like them, lost the given election. I was a registered Libertarian for a time, but I gave it up for ideological reasons, and because I decided a third party vote is merely a protest with no practical ramifications.

    Also, for every conservative who stays home because they are disillusioned, there is another ignorant liberal who stays home for another, or the same, reason. The population centers are still predominately liberal. Remember, in a national election, the straight red and blue states do not matter. They are a given. What matters is the swing states, which are, by definition, not strongly inclined to either ideology.


    I tend to agree with you. Voting is largely a waste of time. Although, there still are some issues that make a difference. Even if the Republicans often snub their conservative constituents, at least the conservatives have an audience with them. The liberals just dismiss us as Nazi crackpots, unworthy of serious attention.


  6. I hope my last comment did not sound too disparaging of third parties. I do not oppose them. Realistically, I think the Constitution Party candidate or the Libertarian candidate, in some cases, would be the better choice, at least idealistically. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world.

    I think the Dems have quite a future ahead of them. I would not be surprized if they take both houses and the presidency very soon. God help us all.


  7. Amen, pastor. Mmy wife and I are also fed up. We’ve taken to referring to the president as El Presidente Jorge Bush. Abortion seems to be the only separation (and with McCain and Julianne leading the pack, now that’s up for grabs). Newt Gingrige sounds good, but I don’t think he’ll get the nomination.

    By the way, keep up the great work. I love reading other RCUS bloggers!

  8. Josh says:

    Good post Matt, if you don’t mind me saying so. Here is a reason I think we have these watered down Republicans. You are right to say we are offered no real choice. A lot of statistics I have seen (statistics.. BAH!) show that the country isn’t actually split 50-50. About 30% of Americans say they are dedicated Republicans. The same with Democrats about 30%. That leaves a LARGE group of what I call the hodge-podge (or Dad might call pot-luck) political “center”. But it’s not “center” because this remaining 40% is united under nothing. And it’s certainly NOT center, it’s all over the place. One of these “centrists” might be anti-gay marraige but for abortion. Another might be for the war in Iraq but is displeased with how it was carried out.(I’m not proposing any of these things). The point is, in order to win elections (I mean, FORGET about personal conviction!) they have to somehow capture those remaining “center” votes. The result? They have to cave in on some of the things their “Hard Core” voters want. My personal feeling is that neither the right or left is made up of politicians with any convictions (Bush excluded) but politicians who simply want to keep their jobs. So they will say anything to keep their jobs. I agree, I’m sick of the lot of ’em.

  9. Josh makes a very good point. Idealistically, it would be difficult to say that the nation is evenly split. However, I will say that it appears the national popular vote is about 50/50. The lack of ideals makes the middle hodgepodge consistent only in one thing–they are consistently divided. I suppose this is why I think the nation is ripe for a new ideal, a unifying ideal, a vision. When people from all sides of the spectrum, or people lost in that spectrum as the case may be, have no confidence in their government, change is afoot. I don’t think a referendum on “no confidence” would be a split vote.


  10. Anonymous says:

    I agree with you Andrew, the popular vote IS split at about 50/50. But only about 65% of registered voters actually vote. That means only the core Heffelumps and Asses vote (with a few stragglers). But each time the candidate wins by a nose, so each party wants to capture those registered voters who aren’t voting. But there is no ideology that unites these registered non-voters. Hence the speeches that say nothing and the contradictory legislation.

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