Saturday, April 22, 2006

Third Party

Years ago when I was still on the dairy farm I went on the local NPR station in Bloomington In. The subject was farming. I spoke with a person who was a college professor at Indiana University in Bloomington. He said that all farmers were welfare recepients because of farm programs. I said that I refused to take lectures on capitalism from someone with tenure at a tax payer supported University.

The point being is that it is only welfare.. when someone else is cashing the check.

Today the talk is about the possibility of a third party, Ross Perot style, to get to basics and fiscal sanity etc. Well, who gets to decide what is sane? I think that bridges to nowhere can be removed from the budget without any real complaining being done, but I think there are some libertarians out there who are sadly mistaken if they believe that Americans want less government. They want fewer restrictions, they want lower taxes but they also want a safety net. In fact they demand it. If their child can not get a low interest loan for college, if their aging parents can not make ends meet due to high medical costs and a fixed income, if they are seeing their own health insurance rates double in a year together with higher gas prices...people want to know that government is aware of their needs. They do not want lectures on pulling themselves up at their boot straps. Americans have no desire to be France, but they do not want to be the America of century ago either. Laissez faire is dead.

So I think that when some people think in terms of third parties what is really happening is that disgruntled people within the two party system feel disenchanted or frustrated with the parties as they are and so they dream of the perfect party. But this is not a parliamentary system. We exists by majority and that in turn requires compromise. So if we had a third party would it solve anything?

I am not as hard line on immigration as some conservatives, but then again I do not want open borders either. I want a long term solution and I am willing to compromise to get it. I am prochoice to some degree, but I vote Republican knowing full well the party's stand on abortion rights. However, I think some things are more important right now. The War on Terror for instance.

It seems to me that some Republicans have abandoned the war on Terror for more provencial and divisive concerns. It is as if they are ready to hand the government to the Democrats to teach someone a lesson. So I guess my question is will a third party help or hinder or is it even possible? If we lose the willingness to compromise would even a third party be enough to make everyone happy? We are a large and diverse country, if everyone insists on getting their way will any of us win?

What I am speaking of here is not really about left and right because both parties are suffering from a fractured base, whichever way you go the same problems present themselves as mirror images. It seems the Iraqis have managed to find away to create a government amid their awful and ancient troubles, can we not do the same within a two party system?


David Thomson said...

“if they are seeing their own health insurance rates double in a year together with higher gas prices...people want to know that government is aware of their needs.”

Citizens should demand that the government protect them from thugs and swindlers. Other than that, the state should play a limited role in their lives. Health insurance rates are out of control because of wage and price controls of some fifty years ago. General Motors could not legally offer a raise to its employees---so it instead gave them “free health care.” This is literally one of the worst things that ever happened to Americans. The same essentially holds true for gas prices. Blame Democratic politicians and leftist ideologues. They are primarily at fault.

“So if we had a third party would it solve anything?”

Michael Medved and I agree completely: third parties are a waste of time. Stay within the two party system. Pick the party that most agrees with you---and then try to change it more to your way of thinking.

Syl said...


I think you should send this to Glenn Reynolds. He's beginning to scare me. I think he forgot there's a war on.

Syl said...

BTW, Terrye, I loved your intro. You've been spunky all your life, I see. :) Why am I not surprised. You go girrrrl!

terrye said...


You are sweet, but in truth I have been obnoxious all my life.

People need to realize that people just don;t always agree on everything. But they can find a way to come together on some big things.

Glenn has been scaring me for some time. The pork busters thing is a good idea to a certain extent, but I think an across the board cut of 2% would be more fair than harassing people.

Yes, there is a war on and you know what? When it comes to things like immigration and taxes etc Bush never lied about where he stood. He did not betray anyone.

terrye said...


I am not suggesting that government can or should fix everything. I am just saying that people want to feel that their government has their best interests at heart. Like it is on their side. And while we can talk about the economic indicators being good, [and they are], the kinds of things I mentioned are the kinds of things that concern people. That is why Bush does not do better with the economy on polls. People are feeling nervous.

David Thomson said...

“And while we can talk about the economic indicators being good, [and they are], the kinds of things I mentioned are the kinds of things that concern people.”

Many Americans are economic illiterates and the leftist MSM has conned them into not trusting the hard evidence. It is nothing, for instance, unusual to talk to someone who casually dismisses our ridiculously low unemployment rate as highly questionable. If a Democrat is in the White House, the economic indicators are deemed valid. They are, however, not worthy of respect if a Republican is our national leader.

Rick Ballard said...


Excellent post. My only point of disagreement with your description is your reference to the base of both parties being fractured. The base of neither party is monolithic. Parties are simply coalitions of interest groups - thay can't fracture although coalition members may leave and reduce the size of the total base. The pols running the parties on either side are professionals at managing each coalition segments interests. The Dems have the more difficult task because there are more coalition members and some of them have very divergent interests.

Neither party will pay any attention to Reynolds et al and the silliness of their PorkBuster campaign because there is not a single coalition segment in either party that is the least bit serious or concerned about spending levels unless they go above 21% of GNP. Then the conservatives would have a snit.

Encouraging a third party might be a good idea. I was surprised at the utter stupidity of that portion of the electorate dumb enough to vote for Perot last time. It would be entertaining to see if the same percentage is still incapable of determining that a President without a party is a fish with a brand new bicycle (to steal a metaphor). Neither side owes him a damn thing and all he has is a veto and the very high probability that a bi-partisan coalition will come to an arrangement so that it is to be continually overridden.

Let Glen start a new party based upon libertarian ideas (I would say principles but I am unaware of the existence of any), it's a free country.

vnjagvet said...

Third parties have only been spoilers in our nation's history.

Last century, the first third party spoiler candidate was the first president of that century.

In 1912, Teddy Roosevelt became disenchanted with his VP, Taft who had become his successor in the WH. Teddy began the ill-fated Bull Moose Party, split the Republican vote and Woodrow Wilson won the election. He probably never would have won but for Roosevelt's somewhat petty endeavor.

Perot probably scuttled Bush 41's effort at reelection in 1992, and Nader probably doomed Al Gore's campaign in 2000.

The real question a third party candidate has to ask is, "who do I want to hurt"?

offworld said...

I have for the last few years thought the real action would end up in the Republican Party. I would like to see Republicans unapologetically pick up the torch of classical liberalism. They could do it. It might alienate the populist protectionists and religious conservatives. Arguements can be made which will keep religious conservatives in. Otherwise, demographics may have pushed us beyond the days of Ross Perot. Making some of the right moves on immigration could lead to generations of new Republicans. Alienating immigrants will doom the party.

Not everything leaders say needs to be turned into legislation or policy. For instance, someone should have the courage to talk about values and the importance of family to the future of our country without proposing to tweak the tax code and federal programs accordingly. In fact in the next breath they should articulate principles which proscribe such meddling.

Syl said...


Many Americans are economic illiterates and the leftist MSM has conned them into not trusting the hard evidence.

If someone has a job the employment rate doesn't mean much. If someone doesn't have a portfolio, neither does the stock market. GDP is meaningless to an individual on the street.

Energy and health insurance costs are hard evidence to them because they effect daily life.

Syl said...


You are sweet, but in truth I have been obnoxious all my life.

Yeah, right. Someone dear to you once told you that and you love it!

Okay, then. Obnoxious means spunky. Betcha didn't know that. ')

I was always the type who threw out a 'different' view for consideration. If a bunch of my friends said 'red' I'd ask them to consider 'blue'. Not that I believed in blue, I just thought it was cool to throw that in. They never called me obnoxious though they did roll their eyes a lot.

terrye said...


I suppose I do the same thing. I dislike being too comfortable about anything. That is when they getcha!

terrye said...

I don't know Rick. I have been seeing some really strange, such as bullying and distateful posturing come out of the whole immigration debate.