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Friday, February 18, 2011

I'm considering switching parties

What I would really like to happen is for both parties to be busted up into 4 parties: Cultural Conservative Party, Libertarian Party, Labor Party and Green Peace Party. And let us have proportional representation with a unicameral parliamentary system, with public financing and with 12 year term limits. None of this, of course, is going to happen so what can I do to make my vote really matter?
Like many progressives I am disappointed in President Obama and the Democratic party. The moment is all but passed to make fundamental changes in our nation. Health care reform is looking like a big subsidy program for insurance and drug companies. The banks have paid back much of the TARP but at the cost of no lending to small businesses and little folks. The president has proposed a freeze on non defense spending. The Republicans are not going to offer an alternative. Sure, tax rates might change a hair here or there but nothing great is going to happen. The only question to be settled for the next generation is how are we going to pay for what we have already spent?
The Democrats' plan to raise the highest tax brackets back to the Clinton levels is not going to make a huge difference (not to mention we need massive tax cuts and massive spending right now). There will in the the end be a choice and it is a rather simple one: Medicare or military. We are not going to cut both significantly. That is neither politically doable nor desirable. What has to happen is an election (probably won't happen before 2016) in which the vote is a referendum. One candidate will advocate cutting Medicare while the other candidate will opt for cutting military spending. My vote will be for the latter candidate and against the former's party. President Obama has already indicated he wants to preserve both at current spending levels and so he has sadly become irrelevant to the economy for the next 2 to 6 years.
What does this have to do with me changing party's? There have been two candidates for president who have advocated for big spending cuts in the military budget: Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul. Kucinich will never get his party's nomination as there will always be a LINO or two who will draw votes away from true liberals like himself. Paul on the other hand could very well take the nomination as there is no other consistent libertarian in the Republican race.
How does he win? First a Romney and a Pawlenty split up the establishment (military investor-side Keynesian) vote and a Palin and a Huckabee split up the cultural conservative vote. Second, he gets enough Democrats like me to jump ship for the 2012 primary and particularly in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. If he could get 10% of the progressive Democratics to do this in these states, the GOP as we know it ceases to exist. A more doable 5 percent, which would mean about 2 to 3 percent of all Democrats in these states would need to switch parties to vote for him, would put him in at least a dead heat with 2 other Republicans should the other GOP clones yield to the tremendous pressure to drop out after a very strong Iowa caucus for Paul.
The only hope to stop Paul at that point is for the Palin type candidate to endorse the Romney type candidate and for all other Republicans to step aside. Even in this scenario a Paul v.Romney showdown on Super Tuesday 2012 would increase Democratic defections.
I would like be a part of such a campaign. I might even vote for Paul in the general election, especially since Obama's liberal corporatism seems calcified. I realize that Paul's economics don't square with mine, but he has said that he is open to a deal which greatly reduces our military spending in exchange for domestic spending increases if there is an overall net cut (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qx9a4hNeIRo&NR=1).
Permanent war is the biggest enemy of a progressive agenda and a deal like Paul is willing to make is probably the last chance for such an agenda to actually have a future. The alternative is more deals like the health care bill, if that much ever again. I wish we could have an Obama like we imagined him to be or a Howard Dean like he pretended to be, but it has not worked and will not work, at least in the near term.
Republicans are poised to turn us into a military state. They could actually create jobs by building and selling more bombs if they want to and then the Dems are doomed. We Democrats obviously do not want to put up a real job creating alternative so it seems more likely that I and perhaps others may go for unconventional desperate measures: Paul 2012. This might just happen and I would love for my vote to count just once in my life.

Why, Mr. Trump, can Ron Paul not win?

Ron Paul can get the nomination and this is a nightmare to the GOP. If I wanted to stop Paul from getting the nomination, I would urge an egomaniac libertarian poser to get in the race. If I wanted Paul to win the nomination I would urge consistent libertarians to stick with the real deal and make nice with progressives to encourage them to vote in the 2012 GOP primaries.