by Al Alborn www.alborn.net
Anyone who follow my blog knows I’m a Libertarian with a foot on the Right (fiscal responsibility) and the left (social liberal). This means I’m always looking for compromise candidates. I have a rather unique view of the world because I explored (actually was a founding member and National Spokesperson for) the Coffee Party and the Tea Party.
Of course (in my opinion), the Coffee Party “ran out of grounds” a long time ago. It took the Coffee Party a long time to get 3000 Progressive votes (just look at the results) for its last poll (and that required quite a few extensions). I believe that probably represents an optimistic estimate of membership. In my opinion, It’s just a place for hard core Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives to confirm one another’s view of the world. Perhaps “One Nation” (see link,below) will “perk” things up a bit; however, as a Libertarian I’ll only watch with interest to gather intelligence for defeating Progressive candidates. While the Coffee Party presents itself as an inclusive group open to all points of view, it is not. As someone I know likes to say, they are not what they would like to appear to be. Ironic…
The Tea Party, on the other hand, continues to “”pick up steam”. It’s facebook page is over 300K and grows at the rate of around 4K a day. A fellow Jefferson Conservative pointed out to me that their membership appears to skew upward in age. This is a “good thing” (for the Tea Party) because the “baby boomer” demographic “shows up”, “has money”, and “they vote”. It is well funded (I advised the Coffee Party leadership from the beginning we needed money… suggesting Starbucks. That’s when I came to understand their view of American Corporations.), has an outstanding website, is incredibly organized, and it’s people (you just can’t stress this often enough) “show up”. They also meet to confirm one another’s values; however, the rhetoric is different. They focus on “What’s next”. They don’t have to discuss what they want or vote on what they believe in: they know.
An interesting note: The Coffee Party obsesses on the Tea Party spending countless energy insulting, disparaging, and belittling their fellow Americans who choose to join a different group. In Contrast, I have never seen the Tea Party mention even the existence of the Coffee Party. I write that off to passion: the Tea Party doesn’t have time to gossip because it is focusing on the “business of fixing our Government” (and I think both sides agree our Government is “broken” at the moment.)
The Tea Party makes no pretensions about what it is: a group that believes in Core Values of:
* Fiscal Responsibility
* Constitutionally Limited Government
* Free Markets
I initially avoided the Tea Party because I was afraid they also would push the socially divisive issues that (as a Libertarian) I avoid or disagree with. I have found that while many of the Tea Party membership hold opinions with which I disagree, as a group they are more interested in their core values. I will repeat (because Progressives love to define the Tea Party on the few “nuts” and “fruitcakes” within its membership), the Tea Party Rallies I attended consisted of Patriotic Americans concerned about our Country, it’s future, and their fellow citizens. I stood in the crowd with my neighbors, small business folks, families, people not ashamed to sing the National Anthem or waive the American Flag.
While I don’t sign up to everything either group has to say, I find the Tea Party Patriots more closely align with my personal beliefs and comfort level. Their core values are my core values. I like to be in the presence of folks not afraid to wave the flag!
Progressives are really a fractured lot because of competing agendas. That’s why “One Nation” (the subject of the news article) is interesting, With ‘One Nation,’ liberal groups aim to match tea party’s energy, influence To quote from the article:
Liberal leaders see “much of the progressive agenda at risk in this election,” said Paul Starr, a professor of public affairs at Princeton University and co-editor of the American Prospect, a liberal magazine.
The large-scale attempt at liberal unity, dubbed “One Nation,” will try to revive themes that energized the progressive grassroots two years ago.
At least these guys are honest. They are progressives. They are organizing progressive groups. They hope to provide the left’s real answer to the Tea Party. I welcome this group because they will help folks such as myself flush out and identify clearly Progressive candidates… so I may devote my time, talent, and resources to defeating them. Progressives are a bit too close to Socialists for my tastes. I like to “think for myself” and make my own decisions in my private live. Those who like others to think for them should start a commune and let others decide. I will be interested in who signs up to “One Nation” because it will “out” groups trying to pass for something other than Progressive. If you wonder why “Progressives” scare me, just venture on down to Venezuela and see what happens when the Government decides to suspend the Constitution and Nationalize businesses. I’ve spent time with Progressives. I’ve heard them quote Marx and Engels, Condemn American Corporations, and talk casually of Nationalization. Frankly,they “scare the hell” out of me.
Like most Libertarians, I’m an independent voter. I guess I’m a bit like Diogenes strolling around with my lamp in the daylight, “…looking for an honest man.” I’m finding there are very few… so I am forced to compromise. Ive had quite a few folks “throw a stone or two” at me because of my curiosity. I will follow “One Nation” and the “Tea Party” because they help me identify the extremes that I avoid. I will not vote for a Progressive or a (using the internationally recognized Bill Golden left – America – right model) left wing or right winger. (For the record, I disagree with Bill’s much too kind definition of a Progressive… but that’s a different conversation.)
I’m looking for folks near the middle from either Party. Blue Dog Democrats and RINO’s are my “target population”. I won’t dismiss a Libertarian candidate; however, I won’t “waste my vote” on a candidate with little chance of winning (and Libertarians just don’t do well in elections… at least… yet). Both groups tend to be (IMHO) fiscal conservatives with moderate views of the socially divisive issues that I avoid. When evaluating a candidate, I will continue to use their fidelity to the Constitution and it’s twenty-seven amendments, their record (I found voting for folks without a record is a mistake… that “past performance” thing matters), their promises (I won’t believe any of them; however, promises identify their constituency), and whether or not they have great hair (because we all know that the “BEST” president’s had great hair… ok… I’m kidding on this one).
I like candidates from the business community, CEOs, venture capitalists, folks who know what it means to manage to budget, raise capital, and meet payroll. The United States Government is perhaps the biggest “business” in the world. I believe people who have demonstrated success ad managing a business should run our Government like a business.
I don’t care if a candidate is a man or a woman; black, brown, or white; straight or gay, or whatever other than in a pragmatic sense (in the context of its impact on their ability to win). I won’t vote for someone because they are “whatever”; however, I won’t limit America’s talent pool to some arbitrary subset that perhaps disenfranchises the next Kennedy or Reagen (or Jefferson).
As I have said many times, I ‘blew’ my last vote on Obama. He was an untested candidate with no real record, little regard for the Constitution, and a lot of ideas I wish I had listened to a bit more closely. I got the Government I deserve. I hope to fix that next time. While leaning right a bit this time (I like to think of it as “tacking” in the nautical sense to get the ship of state back on course), I will be looking towards the center on either side. I will be looking at third party candidates based upon their constituency, financing and ability to win (I don’t throw my vote away. It’s just too precious). I will be looking for leadership at all levels who can lead us out of this mess and back to a smaller, more fiscally conservative Government that stays out of our private affairs.
It’s been documented many places that regardless of the efforts of groups such as the Tea Party and One Nation, Independent voters will provide the “swing vote” that will put the next couple of rounds of elected officials in office. I’m ready to take my “best swing”… but haven’t decided what to “swing at” at the moment.