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Friday, February 17, 2012

Progressives and Libertarians Unite! Final Word after One Year of PfRP

Today marks the completion of one year writing and publishing this blog. I am not encouraged that my ideas here have made any significant impact on either progressives of libertarians. The one certainty that remains is this Ron Paul will not be nominated by the Republican Party. I had hoped he would gain a plurality of votes and delegates by embracing a coalition strategy early on. It appears too late to do this now, but maybe he will change his mind after Super Tuesday.

Regardless, even if Ron Paul went to Tampa Bay with a majority of votes and delegates, the GOP establishment would not allow him to be nominated. They would find some means, like using super delegates, to overrule popular support and to keep their power undiminished.

It seems, therefore, inevitable that Ron Paul will run third party or independent or endorse Gary Johnson's LP campaign. That last option will result in the weakest showing.

A Ron Paul 3rd party campaign is needed but what is more needful is a Ron Paul victory. If he can get 18% right now in the general election, just think of what he could get if he had a Dennis Kucinich or a Bernie Sanders as his running mate and together they developed a platform that stressed agreements between libertarians and progressives like non interventionism, civil liberties, and ending the drug wars.

What if they went beyond that and ironed out a deal which called for significant and real reductions in federal government spending, replaced income taxes with a progressive consumption tax and human rights based tariffs? What if they designated half of the savings from reduced spending as well as half of any gains in revenues to paying down debt and the other half of savings and revenue gains to block grants for the states based exclusively on population to be used by each state as it sees fit with only one condition: reporting publicly and online where every dime is spent? What if they agreed to consolidate several domestic departments and cut their budgets by 25% while putting progressives in those fewer cabinet posts?

My hunch is such a coalition campaign could win and such a coalition government would be exactly what our country needs. Why settle for 18% when he could get 40% and the White House? If libertarians and progressives would get beyond their sectarian ways and come to the realization that separately they are two too-small minorities but in temporary alliance they could constitute a plurality and with success in governance,  a super-majority.

This blog has been dedicated not just to getting Ron Paul elected president but also to outlining a number of other creative strategies and policy ideas that can simultaneously advance both libertarian and progressive causes.

I understand the desire of both libertarians and progressives to gain an ideologically exclusive mandate through a landslide victory, but we all know that can't happen in 2012. What still can happen is that both groups could come together and compromise on a number of issues in a way that preserved each group's core principles and ultimate goals. It might take 4 or 8 years to get halfway where both of us want to go. After that we can have our battle, sans the two-headed Corporate Beast, to win over the American people.

I know that both progressives and libertarians would like to realize their cultural, economic and political ideals without having do any deal making. However, that strategy, if either side chooses it (or should I say, continues to choose it), will keep the Corporate Beast in charge. Let's not do something so blatantly stupid and miss this exceedingly rare opportunity to do something much better for our nation and our world.

Let's end the military industrial catastrophe and all other forms of corporate cronyism for good! Let's remove the burden of insane debt from backs of future generations! Let's begin to build, at least at state and local levels, whether through public and/or private funding, the prosperous and peaceful green economy we all desire! And together along the way, I bet we can end the fed!

If I may paraphrase Engel's tired cliche: "Progressives and libertarians unite; you have nothing to loose but your chains!"

Thanks to all my readers and followers. Whether you have liked what I have said or not, I appreciate your willingness to hear me for this past year.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Crickets Chirping and Epic Opportunity for Progressives

Want to  get back to the basic argument:

Ron Paul cannot win the Republican nomination but he could do some serious damage to the Republican party if he has enough votes and delegates going to the GOP convention in Tampa Bay.

Progressives, Democrats, Greens, and other left of center types ought to change their registration so they can vote for Paul. Don't do this if you have a competitive race in the Democratic primary between a progressive and a blue dog. However if your district and state are like most, the primary races are usually personality and /or fund raising contests and the incumbent or party favorite is probably going to win. Casting your vote in such a primary when the president is running unopposed is mostly meaningless.

The value in voting for Ron Paul in the primary is as follows:

1) The GOP establishment's worst nightmare is a brokered convention with Paul holding a decisive number of delegates. The more delegates and votes Paul brings to the convention the more dangerous this scenario is for the GOP.

2.) A walkout by Ron Paul supporters is likely if  they constitute a plurality of delegates and the GOP establishment refuses to allow him to be the nominee. Progressives need to expose the nefarious intentions neocon war mongers, and getting Paul the plurality of votes and delegates he needs is the best way to do it. This is not merely political theater. It is a way to severely wound an evil party.

3.) If Ron Paul is shafted at the convention, he will run as an independent or third party candidate. Such a candidacy will take a substantial number of votes away from Romney/Santorum and assure President Obama's re-election.

4.) Keeping an anti-war candidate in the forefront of the primary and general election debates is essential for progressives. Huge budget cuts are on the way, and if progressives do not cooperate with libertarians like Paul, the cuts are going to come first and foremost from domestic programs. Marginalizing Paul and keeping him out of the general election debates will make the debate about which candidate is the most bellicose and the most willing to feed the military industrial monster the biggest budget. Paul on stage will serve as a needed counterweight to the corporatists' agenda.  Many other vital issues will be raised or ignored depending upon whether Ron Paul is on stage with Obama and Romney: excessive military spending, civil liberties, the stupid drug war, the prison industrial complex, bailouts of big private banks, an unaccountable Federal Reserve, etc.

5.) If Ron Paul decides to run a coalition candidacy with a vice presidential candidate like Dennis Kucinich or  Bernie Sanders, progressives may find a platform and a candidacy worth voting for in the general election.

On that last reason to support Ron Paul. This blog is loaded with policy ideas for a temporary progressive/ libertarian coalition government. The main idea is this: Develop a revenue neutral tax policy while cutting massive amounts of funds from drug wars and empire building and maintenance through the military industrial catastrophe.  Whatever cuts are agreed to, put half of the savings to debt reduction and send the other half to the states according to populations in the form of block grants to be used as each state chooses with the only requirement being that each state must report publicly and online how every penny is spent.

This policy of 50% of funds for debt reduction and 50% of funds for state block grants is not ideal for either libertarians or progressives but it would give progressive states the funds they need to build the infrastructure of a peaceful green economy. If conservative states choose to waste this money on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, let them expose themselves for all the nation to see so their political operatives can be put out of business for good.

You will find all sorts of anti-Paul propaganda on liberal and progressive sites. Some of it is factual; some of it is speculative. Some of it would make sense as good reasons not to vote for Ron Paul if he could ever get elected without a coalition campaign and the promise of a real coalition government.

None of these liberal and progressive critics of Ron Paul progressives will give you one good reason not to jump ship and vote for him in the primary. Just ask them about it. Ask them, "What is the harm in voting for Ron Paul in the GOP primary and what good will it do to instead vote in the Democratic primary for uncontested candidates like President Obama?"

When you do, enjoy the music of crickets chirping.

Repost for Democrats and others Thinking about Voting for Ron Paul

There are several good reasons for Democrats, progressives, greens and liberals to vote for Ron Paul in the GOP primaries and caucuses. He will not win without us. We can help his supporters cause a giant headache for the GOP at their convention.

And after the GOP rejects Paul despite his plurality of votes, Paul can decide to thank us and join a Kucinich or a Sanders to form a coalition candidacy and a real libertarian/progressive coalition cabinet which will not allow Paul to go off the deep end policy wise.

Such a coalition could free up funds from the military industrial catastrophe's steroid budget for empire building and maintenance and use those funds to pay down national debt and build the communication, energy, education, environment, and transportation infrastructure of a peaceful green economy.

Epic fail if we progressives, greens and liberals do not take advantage of this extremely rare opportunity to change the debate and direction of this nation!

Here's the rest of the strategy: http://progressivesforronpaul.blogspot.com/2011/12/what-is-green-republican-coalition.html

Friday, February 10, 2012

Last Word on Current Strategy

I remain skeptical about the delegate caucus strategy for a number of reasons. It assumes that only Ron Paul's supporters are being coached enough to get elected as delegates. It's hard to believe Mitt Romney's team is that stupid.

I have always assumed that caucus states and small media states are going to be most productive for Paul but to simply think he can get enough delegates through this strategy to win the nomination is a bit far fetched.

If I were in charge of his campaign, I would have made it clear from the start, that Ron Paul will not be allowed to gain the nomination no matter how many delegates and votes he gets. The goal should be get as many of both as you can but do it with two things in mind: 1.) Build a bigger national base and reach out very intentionally to disenchanted progressives. 2.) aim for a plurality in votes and a brokered convention which exposes the GOP as the exclusive and warmongering club that it is, with the aim of garnering more progressives for a coalition third party run in the general election .

In short, the primary should be a warm up to a third party coalition bid. I still believe Ron Paul wins only in coalition with progressives and that it's best to build that coalition now or, even better, yesterday..

My strategy is obviously not the one in place. I will try to bite my tongue on this henceforth and pray that I am wrong and the Ron Paul campaign is right.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Can anyone explain the purpose of this strategy?

What is the total number of delegates awarded in all caucus state combined? When will we know the number of Paul delegates vs. other candidates' delegates awarded in caucus states thus far? Is that immediately following state conventions? If so, can the campaign supply us a list of dates for state conventions in all the caucus states?

There seems to be a message from the campaign that Paul's delegates are the only delegates smart enough to stay late and pay fees and get elected. Are Romney's delegates all that dumb? How many delegates are awarded in primary states verses caucus states?

How many primary states are winner take all? Does the RP campaign still believe he can be nominated? If not, what is the goal of amassing delegates? Is it a prime time speech? Is it certain planks in the platform? If so, what are the planks and how can we be sure the nominee will abide by all planks in the platform in formulating and implementing policy?

I know these are a lot of questions but this has the smell of cigars in a backroom somewhere. I think everyone here values clarity and transparency. We want to know what we can expect the end result to be? Some of us are beginning to wonder why spend valuable resources on getting delegates if its not going to get RP the nomination?

If the nomination is impossible and the platform and speeches are all meaningless formalities, why not just get as many votes as possible everywhere in preparation for a walkout of the convention followed by a third party run?

I doubt a floor fight over delegates coming from a third or fourth place candidate is going to impress anyone outside the Ron Paul choir. Isn't this campaign supposed to be about winning the nomination and if not, punishing the neocon that does?

I'm trying to be polite about this but i think I am not alone in losing patience waiting for a chance to hear Ron Paul make a floor speech. A floor speech is going to be used by Romney/Santorum to say, "See we are the big tent party." how many Ron Paul advocates are really interested in being used...again?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Switch Strategy Now!

With the low turnouts in Florida and Nevada, understanding why Ron Paul is not coming in first or even second ought to be a no-brainer. The candidate with the most fervent and fixed supporters should be in good shape when turnout is low for all other candidates.

It is time to replace the current strategy with a coalition strategy. Ron Paul is not winning, he is finishing way to far back in both caucuses and primaries. He is getting way too few delegates and votes to have any significant influence at the Tampa Bay convention.

It is also wishful thinking to believe that Santorum and/or Gingrich dropping out will bring more voters to Paul than to Romney. Ron Paul is at his peak now. Things are not going to get better with the delegate/caucus strategy.

But let's imagine what would happen if Ron Paul did go explicitly coalition. Promising a coalition cabinet and vowing to put half of savings from spending reductions into block grants for the states based solely on state populations would cause a huge stir in a media environment looking for a new story. Everyone is convince the drama is over and the nominee is decided.

Imagine Ron Paul dealing in a big way with the racism charges by showing up on The Tavis Smiley Show after delivering a major speech confronting every charge and outlining an agenda to end discrimination in our judicial system by ending the drug war and commuting the sentences tens of thousands of non violent offenders.

For nearly a year I have been pushing this strategy. It has not been tried. Do not confuse it with the Blue Republican strategy. As necessary and noble as that grassroots hospitality has been, it has not delivered the numbers of progressives needed to put Ron Paul in position to win.

Shifting to the coaltion strategy should not be delayed. Waiting for another third or fourth place finish is ridiculous. Make the switch today. Get it done now!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Progressives, before it's too late...

Ron Paul may or may not be a racist and/or opportunist. I would be surprised to find any white politician born before (or after) 1964 who wasn't both. However, his campaign can become a vehicle for significantly advancing both libertarian and progressive causes.

This election is not about racism, sexism or homophobia. It's not about cults of personality or fantasy agendas. It's not about shutting down government or getting government in or out of the economy. It's not about killing social security, medicare and medicaid or eliminating progressive taxation.

It's about dealing realistically with political stalemate in opposition territory. It’s about changing the debate and creating the possibility of a coalition rather than sticking with the sentimental and waiting for 60 progressive votes in the US Senate. It’s about dealing with the reality of massive budget cuts close on the horizon and making sure they come out of the military industrial catastrophe rather than an already weakened domestic budget.

It’s about killing the corporate beast so the funds can be made available for building a peaceful green economy. It’s about returning government to the people. It’s about forming a tactical and temporary alliance to escape the bait and switch, divide and conquer lowest common denominator politics of the already opulent and permanently powerful. It’s about getting our heads out of their corporate cabooses.

Fanatical insanity is thinking that Obama 2 or Romney 1 is going to be an inch different from Bush 2 and 3.

Ron Paul is no messiah but he has proven his willingness to work with progressives and he has provided a transition plan that can become a spring board, not for compromising anyone’s principles, but for moving our politics in the common direction both progressives and libertarians want.

If we would turn the tables and trick the establish just this once, we could have a fighting chance of getting something significant done and an honest future contest as to where to go beyond the common ground currently squatted upon by the corporate duopoly.

11 Coalition Agreements to Woo Way More Progressives

Beyond Ron Paul's well known stands on war and peace, anti-prohibition, anti-bailouts, etc., here are some big ways to woo progressives without alienating libertarians:

1. Agree to direct half of all reductions in spending into block grants for the states based strictly on their populations for the states to do with the funds as they wish with only one requirement: Publish online how every cent is used.

2. Agree to a public option available to all who are eligible to opt out of entitlements.

3. Agree to select a progressive running mate such as Dennis Kucinich, Bernie Sanders, Rocky Anderson, or Jill Stein.

4. Agree to appoint progressives to head domestic cabinet posts which are consolidated or have their budgets reduced.

5. Agree to income tax brackets of 10, 20 and 30 with a 10% consumption tax on spending above 1 million dollars and with a minimum tax of 10% and 15% on the 20 and 30 margins.

6. Agree to phase in a progressive consumption tax to replace the income tax.

7. Agree to auction off interstate highways in states which approve of it by referendum and use the funds to match state funding of public transportation.

8. Agree to a tariff structure based on environmental impact and human, civil, religious and labor rights.

9. Agree to permanently reduce payroll tax rates to not more than 5% each for both employers and employees in exchange for removing the cap completely.

10. Agree to legalize hemp and tax marijuana at the same rate that cigarettes are taxed.

Bonus 11. Agree that all new revenues raised through changes in tax law be designated half for debt reduction and and half for state block grants as in number 1.

Is There a Goal for this Campaign?

I am trying not to criticize Ron Paul's campaign staff.  I would like to increase the dialogue on what coalition policy could look like. I don't know who is responsible for the present strategy, but I am going to try to make this clear and concise:

Ron Paul is a candidate of the grassroots. Bottom up is the way the Ron Paul crowd works. This does not translate well with the quest for delegates. I understand the need to focus on states which are not winner take all. I understand the advantage Ron Paul has in caucus states. This strategy is not without merit but it needs to be supplemented with an earnest appeal to progressives.

Without progressives Ron Paul will find it extremely difficult to get above a 25% ceiling. This blog has pointed out several areas for potential issue oriented appeals to both libertarians and progressives. I have been extremely critical of progressives not already all in for Paul in the primary; however, it should be evident by now that anti-war, anti-prohibition, anti big bank bailouts and  pro civil liberties have not been enough to woo enough progressives. Again, I agree it should be, at least for the primary. No excuses for progressives on this score.

However, progressives are not in charge. It is up to Ron Paul's campaign to initiate. Calling on progressive leaders to abandon the Democratic party, even if temporarily, is not going to be easy. The question is: has Ron Paul asked anyone? Bernie Sanders is not tied to the Democratic party. Kucinich is in a primary contest with another progressive but withdrawing and supporting Marcy Kaptur and campaigning with Ron Paul would be costly but where does he go in congress? Did the Air Force 1 ride yield him a cabinet post? His friend Ron Paul could convince him that he has peaked in his party.

The point is there are hundreds of ways to ignite this coalition fire. It's risky but what has Paul to loose? A prime time speech at the convention? Some reference to the gold standard and auditing the fed in the party platform? Is his campaign willing to settle for this token vapor? What is the goal? It can't be winning the nomination. So RP staff tell us, what do you expect to accomplish once all 50 states have caucused or caste ballots? Does anyone know?