Reform Party and Y2K Doomsayersgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread
The current Reform Party debacle reminds me of an ugly auto wreck. We inevitably turn our heads and look knowing full well what we might see.
In a truly bizarre twist, the reactionary Pat Buchanon tried to replace both Ross Perot and the Reform Party's political philosophy. Rather predictably, this has split the Reform Party into two bickering camps.
Third parties are usually driven by the personality of a key figure and the politics of discontent. It's easy to hear the frustration boiling out of both Reform Party conventions. This anger is not just towards the rival faction. In fact, I am pressed to name anything the "Reformers" really like about America. The dynamics of the Reform Party can be found in the other marginalized political movements... the Greens, the Libertarians, the Democratic Socialists, ad infinitum.
The Y2K doomsayers struck me as prime candidates for third party membership. The conclusion of a Y2K apocalypse was often driven by a estimation of modern society. In fact, I think some of the serious Y2K doomsayers really WANTED the lights to go out at midnight. And a few convinced themselves it was going to happen.
It takes the same suspension of belief to think we will elect a third party candidate in November. In the end, the third parties are primarily a vehicle for disgruntled Americans. Why is this? The very forces that create third parties often destroy them. The Libertarians are infamous for intercine warfare over minor philosophical points. Players on one team fight while the other team scores at will. A political party exists to shape the political process by having its candidates elected. Say what you will about Democrats and Republicans, they understand this fact. Until a third party learns this lesson, they will be sideshows on the American political landscape.
With the same certainty, I will wager we'll always have third parties. No matter the prosperity and peace, there will always be the discontented. The Y2K doomsayers proved that behind every silver lining, one can find a cloud.
-- Ken Decker (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 11, 2000
Theory but not fact. Even the hard core Militia and Survivalists did not all believe in Y2k disaster theory. In fact, two of them were anti-doomzies. And the TB list had little to say about them. Gary North's list ended as it started with the same hard nosed jerks: Schenker, Joseph Foreman and Will Richards and the others who are still wailing and knashing their teeth about something or other. There is no political party on Earth that would accomodate them unless it was the Gareee Disaster Party whose banners are made with Duct Tape. The core of the Doomers was some people connected into the radical religious and /or simply Rightists of the Republican Party. North's former business partner, John Mauldin is on a state committee here which nicely explained how he was able to read his testimony into the record at the hearings Horn had in DFW in Aug. 1998. Pete Sessions (100% on the Liberty Lobby OK list) probably arranged that. Mauldin's sales pitch was that the enormity of the Y2k problem made necessary for all corporations to disclose Y2k problems. In 1,000 years, that was never going to happen. He and others railed against the legislation that sheltered the Corps if they acted on Y2k problems. Mauldin was supposedly in charge of a pool of investors (3,500) with $250 mill. whom he described as "small investors who would be hurt by Y2k failures if they were not disclosed".
Some of the others had the usual political agendas from Jim Lord's pitch for home schooling to Dobson's Friends and Family program of clean living.
The worst was Pat Robertson whose agenda is a function of how he feels in the morning. He knew that Y2k was being attended to and still he kept up his Y2k site with the hapless "Drew" and the two of them BULL SHITTED the Faithful about the Y2k problem. Poole blew the whistle on that. The only one who rose above such CRAP was Jerry Falwell who recanted his Y2k message and withdrew his tapes on the "problem" from the market in Spring, 1999. After that, the whole Y2k Doomsayer market turned very hard core. At the end and now, it is THE DISENFRANCHISED who NO PARTY WANTS.
-- cpr (email@example.com), August 11, 2000.
Last but not least and kept very quiet was that one Richard Vigourie actually hosted a Gary North mirror site.
If you don't know who that is, I strongly urge you to find out. For the longest time, he was one of the serious "behind the scenes" people and a leading cause of pressure exerted by the Religoso Rightists.
-- cpr (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 11, 2000.
Ahh, come on Ken... Just because we bought into Y2K doesn't *necessarily* make us crazy ;-)
I voted for Perot and it got Klinton elected. I'll never do that again. And I think, at times, we have a right to be "disgruntled" at the way things are in this country.
-- Not now, not like this (AgentSmith0110@aol.com), August 11, 2000.
People who say things like "I am pressed to name anything the "Reformers" really like about America. The dynamics of the Reform Party can be found in the other marginalized political movements... the Greens, the Libertarians, the Democratic Socialists, ad infinitum..." need to keep in mind that notwithstanding a few hot button show biz issues like abortion and gays and whatever else is playing in the news, there really is only one major political party in this country, and it's the party of money. If all the people who belonged to "marginalized political movements" along with everybody who doesn't participate (which is probably the majority) got together and voted "None of the Above", then "None of the Above" would win. We all sense this, yet we're stuck with the choices.
What is it that seperates the people who don't participate from those who participate on the fringes, from those who participate as "members of the mainstream" from those who run the show?
-- (email@example.com), August 11, 2000.
Decker, I think there will always be people (the "third" party in your examples) who are against the status quo, and will look to any way to change it, as happened with Y2k.
CPR, I agree that there were many religious nuts, right wingers, etc. who were part of the y2k zombie core, but as we have discussed before, there were many liberals, leftist, and "social engineers" in the Y2K movement as well. Why did you leave them out? Gordon and Yourdon and numerous IT for bucks types, loads of clueless liberal politicians (hey, it rhymes) don't fit your inaccurate profile of the Y2K movement at all. Lets be inclusive here ....;)
-- FactFinder (FactFinder@bzn.com), August 11, 2000.
I meant to mention the Lefties but their ever so obvious sales pitches for "sustainability", greenie issues and the usual garbage about the need to "reallocate the resources on a fair basis" (read, socialism) were too stupid to take seriously. The slickest operation of all was the "Center for Y2k and Society and wasted grant money" was just a bunch of beltline bandits dedicated to spending the allocated funds for "awareness". That they would dare release the obvious bs about water supply that they released in December showed that they were just hungry to "publish or perish" and thus justify their use of the $$$ money. From them came the nucleus of GICC which turned seriously stupid by Feb because they had no Y2k Glitches to report. There is of course, the Beloved Paula but her only agenda might be the furtherment of one Paula so who cares? She was inept and ignored where it counted in DC, the centers of power and influence. TOUGH. My sense of what they were doing was to "take names" for further communication (i.e. recruit). Many of them like Tom Atlee and Cynthia Beal were truly illiterate technically. Atlee continued his spam until about May when I suppose he finally got it through his head that he was being ignored. I trust he will enjoy returning to making clay pots or whatever it is he does when he is not busy using publically funded lists to spout his 1968 hogwash. In the mess of the Left, one after another trace back to Carmichael whose 50k ascii weekly newsletter were BS from day one. Even he turned to Waffles in Summer of 1999. Carmichael may have picked up Y2k from deJager but by 1998 his spam was laced with the same BS found on TB I. He infected Mark Frautschi and many others but like them failed to make a go of Y2k. Unknown to many who thought he was an altruist, DooDoo Carmichael had his own little $1,500 seminar for "corporate managers". It centered around the need for contingency plans and an outline of his seminar came in a flyer that must have cost a good chunk to mail. Where he got the list from is hard to say but it looks like the same flyers that were going around for the other I.T. seminars in late 1998. Hard to say since one of them folded and stiffed people. Like all the rest of the "Y2k FUD Leadership", Carmichael made no effort to correct obvious errors made by the morons like Atlee. Like the Right, they all seemed to adhere to the rule "Thou Shalt Not Criticize a Doomzie". That alone is unusual in any sort of political or business group and suggests serious mind control efforts from the "top". We know that took place on TB I where, at the end and after rollover, the efforts to control the remaining Zombies were too obvious. Some may never recover and will remain in denial like Sysman who still doesn't understand how his tiny mind was Brain Washed. The whole key to Y2k FUD was that if you were not "radical enough" nobody paid attention to you. Whence the sucess of Gareee, Ed and Little Mikey in Montana. Wannabee moderates like Paloma quit early. It got to the point where nobody would listen to her. Gareee saw to that. He positioned "Dear Karen" as a counter voice to Paloma and then supported Anderson with such tricks as "my only post today is about my friend, Dear Karen". He even went so far as to run one bilious and vile post about "Paloma O'Reilly who is safe in her home in one of the safest communities in the US.....". "Hinting" that Paloma was not radical enough to survive after the day of reckoning came 1/1/2000. The leftists /greenies/Atlee/Utne/Carmichael types were almost all recruited late in the game and if you go to any web sites you will see all the usual links to The Gareee Duct Tape and Taos Toast-Ed (latter still doesn't know what he wants to be if he ever grows up politically). The drivers for the whole Merry Go Round after the Professional side started wind down in 1998-9 was the Axis of North and Yourdon with TB I functioning as a "communications center" for the other whirling dervishes like Roleigh Gump and Cosmo.
All through 1999 as the "action" on the other web sites began to trail off, more and more of the Y2k Trainees assembled daily at TB I. You have the stories in the media about "lack of interest" in Y2k "preps". In particular, the Washington Post ran the story of the N.Va. group whose President didn't come to meetings and was replaced by Goltner as "acting President". They got a whopping 10 people for their meetings. Same thing happened in the Napa Valley area and the Mass group. You would think that if you had an org. that had 100 members in 1998 but nobody came for meetings after Summer of 1999, you just might be working the wrong horse to death. But its now also clear that Brain Power was not a pre-requisite and was not even wanted when it came to Y2k Doomzies.
-- cpr (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 12, 2000.
What Ken seems to be saying is that there is no hope of ever electing a third party to power, (which, BTW, ignores history) so be good little subjects and vote for one of the two "mainstream" candidates.
Perhaps we need a sign over the polls reading "Two Party Macht Frie"?
-- Uncle Deedah (email@example.com), August 12, 2000.
I think what Ken is trying to say is that members of the Reform Party are purposely casuing traffic jams by slowing to a near halt every time they pass what they think might be a traffic accident.
-- What is he trying to say? (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 12, 2000.
Wow! cpr actually goes through 876 words with only one paragraph break! Although I enjoy cpr's biting wit, colorful metaphors and ironic (sometimes slightly sarcastic) commentary as much as anyone, a few paragraph breaks would greatly facilitate the process.
-- JoseMiami (email@example.com), August 12, 2000.
C'mon, Unk, you're usually sharper than this. What I am saying is that third parties are often personality driven with self destructive tendencies. Where is the Reform Party without Perot? It's split into two bickering factions with no hope of either gaining the five percent needed for federal matching funds. The Libertarians are too busy quibbling over philosophical nuances to worry about winning elections. The Greens are enjoying a small moment in the sun while relying on the name recognition of Nader and dissatisfaction within the Democratic Party. I'd be surprised if they break five percent on election day.
Third party candidates have won elections... but not many. If memory serves, the socialists have been as successful as most.
To observe the reality of third party failure is not an endorsement of the two-party system. It's just the ability to see the obvious. For a third party to succeed, it has to build a broad base of support. If a third party starts to show success, it is easy enough for one of the two major parties to coopt the issues. If the Greens have a great showing in November, you can bet the Democrats and Republicans will start hugging more trees.
If you want a better system, Unk, find a better electorate.
-- Ken Decker (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 12, 2000.
Oh c'mon Ken, I know that you are sharp enough to know when I am twisting your tittie just a little bit. Point taken.
Yes third parties are 'often' personality driven, Perot proved this, and the Greens would be nowhere without Nader as their poster child. John Haiglen (sp?) and the Natural Law party fit the bill, as does Howard watsisname and the Constitutional Taxpayers Consortium or whatever they call themselves (he calls himself?). I take a bit of umbrage at the Libertarians being included in this broad brush stroke, since they are running 1,500 candidates for office this year, more than any other third party ever. Even more than the vaunted Reformers and their soon to be millions in matching funds!
But be that as it may, why do you supose that over one half of the electorate chose not to exercise their right to vote in the last election? Creeping malaise? Maybe, but I think not, it is instead (IMHO) a dissatisfaction with having to pick one from colum A, one from colum B, but if you want fried rice or egg rolls with that you have to cancel your order and go to another resturant, a resturant that does not offer colum A or B, too bad. So you are stuck with fried rice and no Moo Goo Guy Pan, or Moo Goo Guy Pan with no rice. Take it or leave it. As a guy who calls himself a 'Libertarain of sorts" I would think that you would find this situation as uneasy as do I.
Me, I want my Moo Goo Guy Pan with rice, thank-you very much, even if it means that I must cast in with an unproven entity, the Moo Goo Guy Pan AND rice party.
As to finding a better electorate, don't get me started.
-- Uncle Deedah (email@example.com), August 13, 2000.
I think it's a copout to call Pat Buchanon (or anyone) a "reactionary". That's one of those words with more heat than light. Like Perot, Buchanon appears to me as a Populist. At least that is where he positions himself. Who knows what he truly wants?
Populism has an appeal. It has no ideology; it is just anti-elitist. And don't we all love to hate folks who think they are better than we are? One trouble with Populism is that it can be a breeding ground for demagogues. Like it or not, we need our ideologies. Ideologies keep politicians a little honest and reduce their tendenciy to tell us whatever we want to hear.
I will not vote Reform, but I do enjoy watching Buchanon popping over-inflated egos. And he has got a terriffic sister.
-- Lars (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 13, 2000.