How Al, Mike & Newt Should Run For President

How Al, Mike & Newt Should Run For President


Interesting new blog called WalkingThinkTank popped up recently and the author sent me a post about the similarities between the titular three.

Here are some excerpts:

In his latest book, Assault on Reason, former Vice President Gore wrote: “Faith in the power of reason—the belief that free citizens can govern themselves wisely and fairly by resorting to logical debate on the basis of the best evidence available, instead of raw power—remains the central premise of American democracy. This premise is now under assault.” […]

Former House Speaker Gingrich, in an op-ed written in February with former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, called for a different kind of presidential campaign – one involving “more thought, more creativity, more substance, more solutions–and a whole lot less rhetoric.” […]

And New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, in announcing this summer that he was leaving the Republican Party and becoming an independent, took a shot at the way the two parties in Washington have governed.

“I am particularly upset that the big issues of the time keep getting pushed to the back and we focus on small things that only inside the Beltway are important,” Bloomberg said. “Any successful elected executive knows that real results are more important than partisan battles and that good ideas should take precedence over rigid adherence to any particular political ideology. Working together, there’s no
limit to what we can do.”

Good observations by WTT, but I think the ultimate conclusion that these guys need to set a voluntary contribution limit of $500 doesn’t really address the problem. But the idea that these guys need to run on the idea of political reform is significant. Because I believe that a lot of independents don’t think this is just a change election…it’s also a reform election. People are looking to reshape the political landscape and how we cooperate with one another, not just switch an R to a D.

Of all the actual candidates who are running I’ve heard so far, Ron Paul and Barack Obama have picked this meme up the most. Obama is fond of saying that there’s not a liberal America or a conservative America, but a United States of America. It’s a good line, and it resonated with me. Paul talks about broad reform based around respecting the Constitution, and that’s radical enough to give rise to a viable third party movement, and I wish he’d consider that more closely and possibly embrace the Unity 08 movement so he wouldn’t have to do all the leg work to get on the ballot in the 50 states.

And yet with all this talk about reform…the polls suggest that Giuliani and Hillary are the front runners. Sure, Barack is up there with Hill, but Paul trails far, far behind. There is no candidate talking about reform in the first tier of the GOP field.

The question then is do we really have a shot at reform in 2008 or is this merely a change election? And if the Dems were to win, are we really ready for another Clinton and thereby ushering in at least 24 years where a Clinton or a Bush has held the Oval Office?

If nothing else in this next election, I’m looking for the “change” to come with a heavy dose of reform. And if not…well, I just may sit this one out.

  • wj

    Justin, you don’t want to let the perfect become the enemy of the good (or even just the less bad). In particular, even if there is not a candidate who embodies the kind of change you want, that doesn’t mean that there is no significant difference between the two (or even three) candidates on offer. And sitting out the election means failing to vote against the candidate who you think would be worse for the country.

    I really hope you (and the rest of us who want reform) will not let our disappointment with the available choices keep us from voting.

  • Scott McDonnell


    THAT’s the problem. People are tired of voting “against.” That is why elections have been so divided and close. Basically, two candidates are picked and they are both terrible choices. So, we then vote “against” one (usually based on our party allegiances.)

    Don’t people understand that one set of extremely influential people could infest the top of both parties and use this psychology against us so easily? All they have to do is “buy” the top tier of both parties and offer us two terrible choices. We will vote for one because we are voting ‘against’ the other. Whether or not this DOES happen, I will leave to late night conspiracy talk-radio, but it is definitely too possible for me to feel comfortable about it.

    This time I will be voted “for” someone, not against. And I will do it whether he gets the nomination or not. I will not put my endorsement behind evil, regardless of the party it is wrapped up in.

  • wj

    Scott, certainly I understand the desire to vote for someone. On the other hand, politics ends up being about compromise a lot of the time. A good case could be made that those of us who insisted on voting “for” someone ended up giving us 8 years of George Bush.

    Would Al Gore have been a great president? Personally, I doubt it. Would he have been better for the nation than Bush? I’d say that was a virtual certainty. But enough better to make voting against, rather than voting for, the right choice? I suppose that depends on what you think Gore would have done in detail.

    (I should, perhaps, note that the trade-off is different for those living in a swing state vs. those in a less marginal state. In California in 2000, I could vote “for”, secure in the knowledge that the state would go one way by a substantial margin. If I had lived in Florida or Ohio, the calculation would necessarily have been different.)

  • Mark

    i love the idea of reform, so much that I would be excited to see a new party emerge. Remember, despite the notes on the White House website, Republicans were a new party once too. Wasn’t Lincoln the first Republican president? My my how far away from that ideal have we gone?

    The time came that Federalists and Whigs needed to be retired permanently, and I firmly believe that time has come for Republicans as well. Let’s not simply vote them OUT of office, let’s vote them out of EXISTENCE! Can anyone look at me with a straight face and tell me why we should EVER vote for another Republican anywhere? Or can you tell me in all seriousness what any Republican president has done FOR Americans, rather than TO Americans in the last 100 years? If I ever hear the words “I’m a uniter, not a divider” again I shall truly vomit!

    How about a Constitutionist party, that reads, acknowledges, understands, protects and governs by the ideals set forth in our backbone documents? I’d vote fo rthat, anyone in favor? Say AYE!

  • Cabra

    Bloomberg/Paul 08