Wednesday, June 27, 2007

reason without action

Not long ago I watched a PBS interview with a man by the name of Nick Gillespie. I had never heard of Mr. Gillespie, but he was introduced as the editor-in-chief of a magazine called “reason.” The magazine says it supports “free minds and free markets” which attempts to explain that it’s a Libertarian perspective. While I don’t necessarily support the libertarian ideology, I found Mr. Gillespie to be very interesting. He spoke of the changing political tide, and credited it to a large number of voters in the center, not only libertarians like himself, but independent voters who were once inclined to vote Republican that are now shifting toward Democratic candidates. This is in line with what many of the political analysts said after the 2006 election that resulted in Democratic control of the House and Senate. Many analysts believed that the shift of control was because the independent voters showed up and fired the Republicans.

Perhaps I was intrigued by Mr. Gillespie’s interview because I felt empowered. I’ve never belonged to a political party, and I often feel marginalized. Democrats dismiss my opinions and tell me I’m a conservative. Republicans call me a liberal. The truth is, I’m neither. I’m one of those independent voters that Gillespie talks about. I’ve always voted for the candidate over the party, I’ve voted for both Democrats and Republicans alike, and I had never voted in a mid-term election until last year. If Gillespie is right, it is people like myself that can tip the scales and make the difference in the elections. His philosophy has one potential flaw, though. Independents rarely vote in the Primaries or Caucus.

When I was home for Father’s Day, I talked to my Dad and brother about politics a bit. I have reason to believe that my Dad is a Libertarian, but he’ll never admit to any political affiliation. I was surprised to learn that my brother paid any attention to politics at all, but when the topic came up; he mentioned his interest in hearing that Rudy Giuliani was running for President. I’m not sure if this was new information to him, he may be very far out of the loop, but my Dad and my brother both agreed that they’d like to know more about Giuliani, but their overall opinion was favorable. The problem for them and for America’s Mayor is that neither one of them has ever voted in a primary or caucus.

I consider Giuliani to be one of the candidates nearest to the center. At one point I would have put McCain there as well, but lately he seems to be making a dash to the right. On the Democratic side, I would put Bill Richardson and Joe Biden as the two candidates closest to center. Of these four candidates, only Giuliani has been showed significant supports in the polls or in fundraising. While his numbers are high, many political analysts have serious doubts as to whether he can make it through a Republican primary. So, unless these four candidates decide to pull a Joe Lieberman and run as Independents when they lose the nomination to candidates that are more in line with their party, the influential block of voters that Mr. Gillespie speaks about will find themselves voting for the lesser of the two evils next November. Or perhaps instead of anyone going Lieberman in ’08, maybe it would make more sense for my Dad, my brother, and Gillespie’s gang to choose a side for a day and show up for those all-important primaries. This will be the first year that I will participate in the Iowa caucus, and it is long, long overdue.

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