Monday, August 02, 2004

Open the Presidential Debates, End the Party Convention Freebie

Look at this recent poll, by Rasmussen Reports. 68% of American adults believe that Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee, should be invited to participate in the presidential debates. 20% say he shouldn't be invited, and 12% aren't sure.

The Libertarian Party has been on all 50 state ballots for the past three presidential elections, and is on target to do so this year. If you get on the ballot in all 50 states - no small feat - then you should be in the debates. Of course, the Republicans and Democrats will never go for it so they can protect their political oligarchy. I'm not sure if I'll vote Libertarian again for president this year -- I'm staunchly opposed to Badnarik's anti-war stance on Iraq and too many Libertarian party members are in denial about the rising Islamist threat we face -- but I'd at least like to hear how Badnarik stacks up with Bush and Kerry.

The poll also shows that 62% of Americans agree with the Libertarian Party that tax dollars shouldn't be spent to support the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. I heard that the Democratic National Convention cost $95 million. I don't know how much of it is taxpayers' dollars, but insane nonetheless. Where in the U.S. Constitution is this a duty or responsibility of the federal government? Other than Kerry's speech (watched by a total of about 22 million, network and cable TV combined), hardly anyone watched the DNC. Most of it is a snoozer, and the taxpayer dollars help fuel it.

If these conventions had to pay their own way, they would (1) probably move from four days down to two; and (2) be far more interesting to watch because less money could be sent on script / image consultants and the parties would be forced to limit themselves to just their most captivating speakers. No more of those dreary nobody-who-think-they're-somebody politicians, with awful speaking skills. Far fewer of those "regular people" speakers plucked from battleground states to appeal to battleground voters' issues. The conventions would get more to the point and give us info.

The survey also finds that 10% of Americans identify themselves as libertarian (small-l, which is how I define myself), rather than liberal or conservative. This would be significantly higher if the Libertarian Party could access a larger audience and not regularly face a Catch-22 situation.


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