The third-party candidates

The third-party candidates October 25, 2012

The third-party candidates also had a debate.  Here are highlights:

Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee, earned the loudest applause during the debate’s opening moments. He railed against the domestic and foreign policy proposals both major party candidates have put forth, and called for the legalization of marijuana.

“In no category is marijuana more dangerous than alcohol,” said Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico who also wants to abolish the Internal Revenue Service and do away with income and corporate taxes in favor of an expenditure tax.

Johnson also railed against the length of the war in Afghanistan. “I thought initially that was totally warranted,” he said, before adding that we should “have gotten out of Afghanistan 11 years ago.”

The former governor saved perhaps his most memorable line of the night for the end of the debate, when he declared, “Wasting your vote is voting for somebody that you don’t believe in. That’s wasting your vote. I’m asking everybody here, I’m asking everybody watching this nationwide to waste your vote on me.”

Constitution Party nominee Virgil Goode, a former Virginia congressman and hard-line anti-immigration candidate, proposed a moratorium on green card admissions into the United States until unemployment falls below five percent nationally. He earned only a smattering of cheers when he pitched his plan.

Green Party nominee Jill Stein and Justice Party nominee Rocky Anderson rounded out the lineup on stage. Stein, who ran for governor of Massachusetts against Romney in 2002, called for free public higher education. “Let’s bail out the students,” she declared.

The candidates largely kept things cordial with each other during the debate, but there were disagreements from time to time. Goode was at odds with Johnson’s call to legalize marijuana. Stein and Anderson disagreed with Johnson and Goode on education spending.

The debate was moderated by former CNN host Larry King and presented by the nonpartisan Free and Equal Elections Foundation. Individuals submitted the questions via social media. The issues ranged from drugs, to the economy, foreign policy, and civil rights.

via Third-party presidential candidates rail against Obama and Romney at debate (VIDEO).

Hmmm.  Are any of you voting for any of these candidates?  Or do they make the mainstream candidates look good?


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  • Ray

    I flirted with the idea of voting for Gary Johnson. It was a choice between him and Romney; I would never vote for Obama. However, Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate and his performances in the debates (particularly the first one) have moved me over to his side and I will pull the lever (or punch the screen or fill in the oval) to help Romney win Loudoun County, the state of Virginia and the presidential election.

  • Ray

    I flirted with the idea of voting for Gary Johnson. It was a choice between him and Romney; I would never vote for Obama. However, Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate and his performances in the debates (particularly the first one) have moved me over to his side and I will pull the lever (or punch the screen or fill in the oval) to help Romney win Loudoun County, the state of Virginia and the presidential election.

  • SKPeterson

    Gary Johnson has received the endorsement of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. So I must stand up for the honor of my state of Tennessee, which will reliably go to the polls and vote blindly for Romney, by injecting some principle in this charade. So, if I bother to vote, it will probably be for Johnson.

    http://www.examiner.com/article/chattanooga-times-free-press-endorses-gary-johnson-for-president

    http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/oct/24/1024b-fp1-gary-johnson-for-president/?opinionfreepress

    If I do vote, it might be for Johnson.

  • SKPeterson

    Gary Johnson has received the endorsement of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. So I must stand up for the honor of my state of Tennessee, which will reliably go to the polls and vote blindly for Romney, by injecting some principle in this charade. So, if I bother to vote, it will probably be for Johnson.

    http://www.examiner.com/article/chattanooga-times-free-press-endorses-gary-johnson-for-president

    http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/oct/24/1024b-fp1-gary-johnson-for-president/?opinionfreepress

    If I do vote, it might be for Johnson.

  • Spaulding

    I have voted for the libertarian candidates the past 2 presidential elections and plan to do so again this year. I am so sick of having to choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee, which is what the two major parties have nominated regularly.

  • Spaulding

    I have voted for the libertarian candidates the past 2 presidential elections and plan to do so again this year. I am so sick of having to choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee, which is what the two major parties have nominated regularly.

  • Erick Mire

    I qualify for absentee voting, and already sent in my ballot. I voted for Gary Johnson because I feel I voted values instead of going “the lesser of two evils” route. I have been really disturbed by the lack of substance in both mainstream parties and the veneration of image. I see people basing their decision on how the candidates carry themselves (completely subjective) and not so much on past actions (which are objective evidences). I fear we are no longer a nation of principles and values. I would vote for any of the four 3rd party candidates that debated on Tuesday before Romney or Obama, because they had substance and real strategies for how they want to
    govern.

  • Erick Mire

    I qualify for absentee voting, and already sent in my ballot. I voted for Gary Johnson because I feel I voted values instead of going “the lesser of two evils” route. I have been really disturbed by the lack of substance in both mainstream parties and the veneration of image. I see people basing their decision on how the candidates carry themselves (completely subjective) and not so much on past actions (which are objective evidences). I fear we are no longer a nation of principles and values. I would vote for any of the four 3rd party candidates that debated on Tuesday before Romney or Obama, because they had substance and real strategies for how they want to
    govern.

  • Josh Hanson

    I’ll be voting for Gary Johnson. The most impressive thing I’ve heard about him so far is when Judge Jim Gray, his VP candidate, came to Chicago and shared that when he became Johnson’s running mate, Johnson encouraged him to speak his mind, even if it meant disagreeing with Johnson’s own policies (granted, they’re mostly in alignment anyway). Obama is an obvious disaster, and Romney just can’t be believed…he’s proven that he has no principles.

  • Josh Hanson

    I’ll be voting for Gary Johnson. The most impressive thing I’ve heard about him so far is when Judge Jim Gray, his VP candidate, came to Chicago and shared that when he became Johnson’s running mate, Johnson encouraged him to speak his mind, even if it meant disagreeing with Johnson’s own policies (granted, they’re mostly in alignment anyway). Obama is an obvious disaster, and Romney just can’t be believed…he’s proven that he has no principles.

  • There are NO 3rd party candidates who will win even 1 electoral vote.

    Don’t waste your time with them.

    Have we not learned anything from Ross Perot and Ralph Nader?

  • There are NO 3rd party candidates who will win even 1 electoral vote.

    Don’t waste your time with them.

    Have we not learned anything from Ross Perot and Ralph Nader?

  • Josh Hanson

    I live in a solid blue state that Obama will win. A vote for Romney in this state is a wasted vote. A vote for a third party candidate that I actually believe in sends a message to the GOP that I’m tired of what they’re offering and my vote is not theirs to rely on no matter what.

  • Josh Hanson

    I live in a solid blue state that Obama will win. A vote for Romney in this state is a wasted vote. A vote for a third party candidate that I actually believe in sends a message to the GOP that I’m tired of what they’re offering and my vote is not theirs to rely on no matter what.

  • BW

    If I vote it will be for Gary Johnson. If only for the sole purpose of trying to get him 5% of the vote and open up the debates next election.

  • BW

    If I vote it will be for Gary Johnson. If only for the sole purpose of trying to get him 5% of the vote and open up the debates next election.

  • SKPeterson

    Steve @ 6 – I’ve learned from Perot and Nader that the rules for party representation and participation in our elections and debates are expressly designed to limit choice, limit the range of “acceptable” opinion, and basically keep cossetted Demopublican elites in perpetual power with political argument revolving around who gets to control the wheres and whens of the distribution of what spoils to which favored crony constituency, without actually having to advance a cogent political argument or philosophy beyond “We can get you more goodies” or “X is threatening us! Fear X and let us take care of X!”, or demonstrate any particular adherence to the rule of law, acknowledgement of constitutional proprieties, or even evince basic capability in governance and management of the public fisc.

  • SKPeterson

    Steve @ 6 – I’ve learned from Perot and Nader that the rules for party representation and participation in our elections and debates are expressly designed to limit choice, limit the range of “acceptable” opinion, and basically keep cossetted Demopublican elites in perpetual power with political argument revolving around who gets to control the wheres and whens of the distribution of what spoils to which favored crony constituency, without actually having to advance a cogent political argument or philosophy beyond “We can get you more goodies” or “X is threatening us! Fear X and let us take care of X!”, or demonstrate any particular adherence to the rule of law, acknowledgement of constitutional proprieties, or even evince basic capability in governance and management of the public fisc.

  • helen

    Thank you, SKPeterson! +1000

  • helen

    Thank you, SKPeterson! +1000

  • Other Gary

    Josh (@7) has an excellent point! Normally, I’d agree that Third Party votes are to be considered “wasted,” but if you’re in a _solid_ blue state, you can still use your vote for something useful, and as Josh suggested, send a message with it.

    Following the exact same reasoning, that’s just what I’ve done in past elections. It’s not the strategy I’m following this time because my state could go either way this year.

  • Other Gary

    Josh (@7) has an excellent point! Normally, I’d agree that Third Party votes are to be considered “wasted,” but if you’re in a _solid_ blue state, you can still use your vote for something useful, and as Josh suggested, send a message with it.

    Following the exact same reasoning, that’s just what I’ve done in past elections. It’s not the strategy I’m following this time because my state could go either way this year.

  • Tom Hering

    It would have served us well if one of these third party candidates had been included in the regular presidential debates. He/she, with no chance of winning anyways, wouldn’t have had to worry about turning off voters by the way he/she held Obama’s and Romney’s feet to the fire. But of course, that’s exactly why third party candidates are locked out (and arrested if necessary, the way Jill Stein was).

  • Tom Hering

    It would have served us well if one of these third party candidates had been included in the regular presidential debates. He/she, with no chance of winning anyways, wouldn’t have had to worry about turning off voters by the way he/she held Obama’s and Romney’s feet to the fire. But of course, that’s exactly why third party candidates are locked out (and arrested if necessary, the way Jill Stein was).

  • Cincinnatus

    Tom@12 and SKPeterson: Quite right. And the legal obstacles to third-party candidacy are enormous. God knows why they’re even remotely constitutional.

  • Cincinnatus

    Tom@12 and SKPeterson: Quite right. And the legal obstacles to third-party candidacy are enormous. God knows why they’re even remotely constitutional.

  • For the first time in years I will probably hold my nose and vote Republican instead of Libertarian. Gotta get Mr Obama into his lucrative retirement package sooner rather than later.

  • For the first time in years I will probably hold my nose and vote Republican instead of Libertarian. Gotta get Mr Obama into his lucrative retirement package sooner rather than later.

  • fjsteve

    I like what I’ve heard from Gary Johnson but I have to say, his statement didn’t make sense: “Wasting your vote is voting for somebody that you don’t believe in. That’s wasting your vote. I’m asking everybody here, I’m asking everybody watching this nationwide to waste your vote on me.”

    I mean, I understand what he’s trying to say but it sounds like he’s saying vote for him because you don’t believe in him.

  • fjsteve

    I like what I’ve heard from Gary Johnson but I have to say, his statement didn’t make sense: “Wasting your vote is voting for somebody that you don’t believe in. That’s wasting your vote. I’m asking everybody here, I’m asking everybody watching this nationwide to waste your vote on me.”

    I mean, I understand what he’s trying to say but it sounds like he’s saying vote for him because you don’t believe in him.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Gary Johnson buys into some of the worst parts of the Libertarian Party line, but his fiscal record as a governor in New Mexico is really quite good. Modesty in foreign policy is always welcome to me as well.
    But at the end of the day, this year the third party candidates are a bit of a waste.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Gary Johnson buys into some of the worst parts of the Libertarian Party line, but his fiscal record as a governor in New Mexico is really quite good. Modesty in foreign policy is always welcome to me as well.
    But at the end of the day, this year the third party candidates are a bit of a waste.

  • Ken

    I am considering a vote for Goode. Though I disagree with his conclusion that immigration is largely to blame for the economic crisis–more immigrants have left than entered the U.S. since the recession began, after all–I appreciate his staunch dedication to limited government and fiscal responsibility. While he shares Johnson’s skepticism of wars and foreign entanglements, he is (unlike Johnson) unabashedly pro-life, which is a requisite for any candidate earning my vote.

    On the issue of voting third-party, Johnson is right: a wasted vote results from supporting a candidate with whom you profoundly disagree. I’m not a purist, but I am finding it increasingly difficult to support a candidate with the blatant inauthenticity of Mitt Romney.

  • Ken

    I am considering a vote for Goode. Though I disagree with his conclusion that immigration is largely to blame for the economic crisis–more immigrants have left than entered the U.S. since the recession began, after all–I appreciate his staunch dedication to limited government and fiscal responsibility. While he shares Johnson’s skepticism of wars and foreign entanglements, he is (unlike Johnson) unabashedly pro-life, which is a requisite for any candidate earning my vote.

    On the issue of voting third-party, Johnson is right: a wasted vote results from supporting a candidate with whom you profoundly disagree. I’m not a purist, but I am finding it increasingly difficult to support a candidate with the blatant inauthenticity of Mitt Romney.

  • WisdomLover

    Third-Party candidates for President will never win. So there is no possibility of a third-party candidate advancing an agenda.

    Voting for a third-party candidate will send no message. It’s as useful as yelling at the TV.

    Ross Perot has been the most successful third-party candidate in my lifetime.

    Can anyone say what message he sent? (Other than that someone needs to grab the government by the ears and fix it or some similar tripe.) How did Perot improve our Republic? How did the Democrats or Republicans tailor their messages and actions to the better because Perot ran?

    The only mildly compelling reason I’ve heard for voting third-party is the idea of voting as therapy. If you live in a solid red or solid blue state. You might as well vote third-party because it will make you feel better than voting for the Republican or Democrat.

    What would probably make you feel even better is not voting for a clown. So I’d really recommend that if that’s your story, you’re probably better off just staying home.

  • WisdomLover

    Third-Party candidates for President will never win. So there is no possibility of a third-party candidate advancing an agenda.

    Voting for a third-party candidate will send no message. It’s as useful as yelling at the TV.

    Ross Perot has been the most successful third-party candidate in my lifetime.

    Can anyone say what message he sent? (Other than that someone needs to grab the government by the ears and fix it or some similar tripe.) How did Perot improve our Republic? How did the Democrats or Republicans tailor their messages and actions to the better because Perot ran?

    The only mildly compelling reason I’ve heard for voting third-party is the idea of voting as therapy. If you live in a solid red or solid blue state. You might as well vote third-party because it will make you feel better than voting for the Republican or Democrat.

    What would probably make you feel even better is not voting for a clown. So I’d really recommend that if that’s your story, you’re probably better off just staying home.

  • Cincinnatus

    WisdomLover:

    Wrong. Political science research has demonstrated that third party candidates (and intra-party insurgents like Ron Paul) do have meaningful, measurable effects on the two larger parties. Sometimes, they raise to salience certain policies or issues that are neglected by the parties, for example, causing the parties to shift in the direction of the third candidate.

    A third party candidate doesn’t need to win for this to happen.

    The Ross Perot candidacy, in fact, has been the subject of extended empirical treatment since 1992. Most analysts have concluded that Perot in fact did alter Republican and Democratic policy and rhetoric, effectively making the debt and deficit an item of concern to both parties (whereas it hadn’t been prior to his insurgence).

    In the end, I don’t understand those who are actively hostile to those who vote third-party. Comments like yours, WisdomLover, read like a petty tribalism that is offended by those who don’t conform. It’s not even a partisan disgust; it’s just a disgust that someone isn’t playing by “rules” you’ve manufactured for yourself. Or maybe it’s just outright chauvinism: “Smart people vote for someone who can win.” In reality, there is no good reason not to vote third party in a mass democracy if you are so inclined.

  • Cincinnatus

    WisdomLover:

    Wrong. Political science research has demonstrated that third party candidates (and intra-party insurgents like Ron Paul) do have meaningful, measurable effects on the two larger parties. Sometimes, they raise to salience certain policies or issues that are neglected by the parties, for example, causing the parties to shift in the direction of the third candidate.

    A third party candidate doesn’t need to win for this to happen.

    The Ross Perot candidacy, in fact, has been the subject of extended empirical treatment since 1992. Most analysts have concluded that Perot in fact did alter Republican and Democratic policy and rhetoric, effectively making the debt and deficit an item of concern to both parties (whereas it hadn’t been prior to his insurgence).

    In the end, I don’t understand those who are actively hostile to those who vote third-party. Comments like yours, WisdomLover, read like a petty tribalism that is offended by those who don’t conform. It’s not even a partisan disgust; it’s just a disgust that someone isn’t playing by “rules” you’ve manufactured for yourself. Or maybe it’s just outright chauvinism: “Smart people vote for someone who can win.” In reality, there is no good reason not to vote third party in a mass democracy if you are so inclined.

  • BW

    Cincinnatus,

    Exactly. Isn’t Ron Paul the Tea Party patient zero? The guy who started all that fiscal conservative talk at the grass roots level which turned into the Tea Party?

  • BW

    Cincinnatus,

    Exactly. Isn’t Ron Paul the Tea Party patient zero? The guy who started all that fiscal conservative talk at the grass roots level which turned into the Tea Party?

  • BW

    I have heard no good reasons why I should vote for Obama or Romney, other than a little bit of conservative Supreme Court Justices and Romney is “pro-life.” But Justice Roberts, appointed by Bush, was the deciding vote to uphold Obamacare, and I am not convinced Romney is pro life at all.

  • BW

    I have heard no good reasons why I should vote for Obama or Romney, other than a little bit of conservative Supreme Court Justices and Romney is “pro-life.” But Justice Roberts, appointed by Bush, was the deciding vote to uphold Obamacare, and I am not convinced Romney is pro life at all.

  • Josh Hanson

    BW (#20),

    More or less. We at the Libertarian Party of Illinois started planning a tax day tea party a few months before Rick Santelli got on CNBC in Chicago and made his famous call for exactly what we were already working on. Don’t know if he had heard of what we were doing or whether it was just a coincidence, but the GOP was definitely not already involved in our annual rallies that we’d been doing for the previous several years.

  • Josh Hanson

    BW (#20),

    More or less. We at the Libertarian Party of Illinois started planning a tax day tea party a few months before Rick Santelli got on CNBC in Chicago and made his famous call for exactly what we were already working on. Don’t know if he had heard of what we were doing or whether it was just a coincidence, but the GOP was definitely not already involved in our annual rallies that we’d been doing for the previous several years.

  • I plan to vote for Johnson. It’s a way of defying the degenerating status quo. I can see the wisdom of voting the lesser of two evils, but if done over and over again, the movement is always toward the evil, and it becomes even less likely that the ship of state will ever even be pointed again in the good direction. Our country is moving toward large, intractable, systemic trouble. A fundamental corection will be forced upon us by nature. We see a fortaste of this in Europe. The welfare state is not sustainable, whether one likes it or not. The electorate is unwilling to recognise this, and take measures that will mittigate the inevitable. By protesting this, we provide a narative that may lead to a recovery of a free and rationaly political system.

  • I plan to vote for Johnson. It’s a way of defying the degenerating status quo. I can see the wisdom of voting the lesser of two evils, but if done over and over again, the movement is always toward the evil, and it becomes even less likely that the ship of state will ever even be pointed again in the good direction. Our country is moving toward large, intractable, systemic trouble. A fundamental corection will be forced upon us by nature. We see a fortaste of this in Europe. The welfare state is not sustainable, whether one likes it or not. The electorate is unwilling to recognise this, and take measures that will mittigate the inevitable. By protesting this, we provide a narative that may lead to a recovery of a free and rationaly political system.

  • “I voted values instead of going ‘the lesser of two evils’ route.”

    In other words, you went the ‘least of three evils’ route.

    Personally, I’m going the ‘whatever will help stop the greatest evil from winning’ route.

  • “I voted values instead of going ‘the lesser of two evils’ route.”

    In other words, you went the ‘least of three evils’ route.

    Personally, I’m going the ‘whatever will help stop the greatest evil from winning’ route.

  • Josh Hanson

    PPM (#23),

    That’s the point for me. If we keep voting for candidates like Romney, the political logic will interpret this as evidence that Romney is what the people want. Campaign staffers notice when candidates are unsuccessful. “Successful” candidates (defined as getting a lot of support from the party base even if it doesn’t translate to election), is read as a proven track-record of support.

  • Josh Hanson

    PPM (#23),

    That’s the point for me. If we keep voting for candidates like Romney, the political logic will interpret this as evidence that Romney is what the people want. Campaign staffers notice when candidates are unsuccessful. “Successful” candidates (defined as getting a lot of support from the party base even if it doesn’t translate to election), is read as a proven track-record of support.

  • Third parties need to get established in state governments and then Congress before trying to waltz into the presidency.

  • Third parties need to get established in state governments and then Congress before trying to waltz into the presidency.

  • moallen

    Either third party supporters are highly motivated to post comments on blogs, or a large percentage of the readers here support third party candidates. Another possibility – a lot of people on this blog pretend to support third party candidates to express their frustration, but will end up voting for a mainstream candidate. Actual votes for third party candidates are as difficult to discern the meaning as it is to determine which of the above scenarios is true. My wife plans to vote third party – I know why. Will anyone else?

  • moallen

    Either third party supporters are highly motivated to post comments on blogs, or a large percentage of the readers here support third party candidates. Another possibility – a lot of people on this blog pretend to support third party candidates to express their frustration, but will end up voting for a mainstream candidate. Actual votes for third party candidates are as difficult to discern the meaning as it is to determine which of the above scenarios is true. My wife plans to vote third party – I know why. Will anyone else?

  • Josh Hanson

    Mike (#26),

    I definitely agree with that. It’s been one of my biggest sources of frustration that too many third party activists will throw tons of time and energy at a high-level campaign and then refuse to run for local office. Many view those high-level campaigns as just what they are, an opportunity to move the parameters of debate and to influence the issues the major parties are willing to discuss.

  • Josh Hanson

    Mike (#26),

    I definitely agree with that. It’s been one of my biggest sources of frustration that too many third party activists will throw tons of time and energy at a high-level campaign and then refuse to run for local office. Many view those high-level campaigns as just what they are, an opportunity to move the parameters of debate and to influence the issues the major parties are willing to discuss.

  • MarkB

    I can understand the compunction to vote for a third party candidate that more closely aligns with your own views. However with the political system we have in the US where the president is decided not by if he has a majority, but if he has the most electoral votes, the third party has to be very large to make a difference.

    So for me I intend to work within the party system in the one party that is the closest to my own thoughts, which would be the public face of the Republican Party. But, I also will be working with other conservatives within the TEA party to effect change within the Republican party, since the public face of the Republican Party does not match with its results.

  • MarkB

    I can understand the compunction to vote for a third party candidate that more closely aligns with your own views. However with the political system we have in the US where the president is decided not by if he has a majority, but if he has the most electoral votes, the third party has to be very large to make a difference.

    So for me I intend to work within the party system in the one party that is the closest to my own thoughts, which would be the public face of the Republican Party. But, I also will be working with other conservatives within the TEA party to effect change within the Republican party, since the public face of the Republican Party does not match with its results.

  • WisdomLover

    “making the debt and deficit an item of concern to both parties (whereas it hadn’t been prior to his insurgence).”

    Are you telling some kind of joke here?

    This is one of the most manifestly false claims about politics I think I’ve read.

  • WisdomLover

    “making the debt and deficit an item of concern to both parties (whereas it hadn’t been prior to his insurgence).”

    Are you telling some kind of joke here?

    This is one of the most manifestly false claims about politics I think I’ve read.

  • Cincinnatus

    WisdomLover:

    No it’s not. There is substantial empirical evidence showing that Ross Perot’s candidacy was one of the major factors leading to the Democratic Party’s centrist realignment in 1992.

    (And if you think–as I fear that you think–Republicans had any interest in the debt and deficit in 1992, then I’ve got some beachfront property in New Mexico, etc.)

    I can send you entire books on the subject, if you’d like. Just send me your address 😛

  • Cincinnatus

    WisdomLover:

    No it’s not. There is substantial empirical evidence showing that Ross Perot’s candidacy was one of the major factors leading to the Democratic Party’s centrist realignment in 1992.

    (And if you think–as I fear that you think–Republicans had any interest in the debt and deficit in 1992, then I’ve got some beachfront property in New Mexico, etc.)

    I can send you entire books on the subject, if you’d like. Just send me your address 😛

  • DonS

    Erick @ 4 said this:

    I fear we are no longer a nation of principles and values. I would vote for any of the four 3rd party candidates that debated on Tuesday before Romney or Obama, because they had substance and real strategies for how they want to
    govern.

    Keep in mind that it is easy to bloviate, in great detail, about your substance and strategies for governing when there is absolutely no chance that you actually will. We do it all the time here on this very blog. But if you actually have to cobble together a coalition of votes sufficient to win office, it’s a little different.

    The reason why we always seem to get wishy-washy candidates is because of us. We the voters are responsible. Look at the case of Richard Mourdock, the Republican candidate for Senate in Indiana. A couple of days ago, he said that even in the circumstances of a horrific rape, if a baby is conceived out of those circumstances, that is by God’s will. Who here would argue with that statement? He’s absolutely right–God is the Creator of life. But, left-wing media and the Democratic machine jumped all over that statement, and Obama, in his stump speech, is projecting it onto Romney in an effort to win the votes of single women.

    In that kind of environment, with low information voters who are silly and shallow, thoughtful and substantive candidates are unelectable.

  • DonS

    Erick @ 4 said this:

    I fear we are no longer a nation of principles and values. I would vote for any of the four 3rd party candidates that debated on Tuesday before Romney or Obama, because they had substance and real strategies for how they want to
    govern.

    Keep in mind that it is easy to bloviate, in great detail, about your substance and strategies for governing when there is absolutely no chance that you actually will. We do it all the time here on this very blog. But if you actually have to cobble together a coalition of votes sufficient to win office, it’s a little different.

    The reason why we always seem to get wishy-washy candidates is because of us. We the voters are responsible. Look at the case of Richard Mourdock, the Republican candidate for Senate in Indiana. A couple of days ago, he said that even in the circumstances of a horrific rape, if a baby is conceived out of those circumstances, that is by God’s will. Who here would argue with that statement? He’s absolutely right–God is the Creator of life. But, left-wing media and the Democratic machine jumped all over that statement, and Obama, in his stump speech, is projecting it onto Romney in an effort to win the votes of single women.

    In that kind of environment, with low information voters who are silly and shallow, thoughtful and substantive candidates are unelectable.

  • dust

    what WisdomLover and Mike Westfall say…and you could start your own blogs 🙂

    cheers!

  • dust

    what WisdomLover and Mike Westfall say…and you could start your own blogs 🙂

    cheers!

  • dust

    what DonS says too 🙂

    cheers!

  • dust

    what DonS says too 🙂

    cheers!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    DonS –

    Keep in mind that it is easy to bloviate, in great detail, about your substance and strategies for governing when there is absolutely no chance that you actually will. We do it all the time here on this very blog. But if you actually have to cobble together a coalition of votes sufficient to win office, it’s a little different.

    Yes! Life is easy in the armchair….

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    DonS –

    Keep in mind that it is easy to bloviate, in great detail, about your substance and strategies for governing when there is absolutely no chance that you actually will. We do it all the time here on this very blog. But if you actually have to cobble together a coalition of votes sufficient to win office, it’s a little different.

    Yes! Life is easy in the armchair….

  • dust

    what Klasie says….life is easy in the armchair…and the ivory towers 🙂

    cheers!

  • dust

    what Klasie says….life is easy in the armchair…and the ivory towers 🙂

    cheers!

  • SKPeterson

    So DonS @ 32 what you are saying is political equivalent to the famous statement “If you’re gonna get raped, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.” We’re gonna get the same crappy politicians we always do, so you might as well make your peace and vote for the one who’s least offensive. For those of us contemplating a third party vote it is more the case of recognizing that after a while getting raped repeatedly by politicians isn’t that much fun.

  • SKPeterson

    So DonS @ 32 what you are saying is political equivalent to the famous statement “If you’re gonna get raped, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.” We’re gonna get the same crappy politicians we always do, so you might as well make your peace and vote for the one who’s least offensive. For those of us contemplating a third party vote it is more the case of recognizing that after a while getting raped repeatedly by politicians isn’t that much fun.

  • SKPeterson

    And is it really a choice if the politicians say “I’ll rape you differently than my opponent. Trust me.”?

  • SKPeterson

    And is it really a choice if the politicians say “I’ll rape you differently than my opponent. Trust me.”?

  • Cincinnatus

    Of course, it is perfectly acceptable to vote for a third party candidate because you align with his/her views more closely, you think he/she would make better presidents, etc.

    But there’s also another reason to vote third party: American voters seem to find it difficult to think outside the two-party “system.” They treat it as if it were an irrevocable fact of nature–or at least of the constitutional order. It is not, and if one ponders our circumstances for a moment, one realizes that having only two substantially similar choices is not very much better than having only one “option.”

    Thus, I vote third-party because I reject in principle the artificial duopoly that the two major parties exercise over American electoral politics. If the only third-party option were a rabid communist, I would still vote for him/her.

  • Cincinnatus

    Of course, it is perfectly acceptable to vote for a third party candidate because you align with his/her views more closely, you think he/she would make better presidents, etc.

    But there’s also another reason to vote third party: American voters seem to find it difficult to think outside the two-party “system.” They treat it as if it were an irrevocable fact of nature–or at least of the constitutional order. It is not, and if one ponders our circumstances for a moment, one realizes that having only two substantially similar choices is not very much better than having only one “option.”

    Thus, I vote third-party because I reject in principle the artificial duopoly that the two major parties exercise over American electoral politics. If the only third-party option were a rabid communist, I would still vote for him/her.

  • WisdomLover

    We balanced our budgets in the late 90s because the gods sent us cargo in the form of the internet. We had such huge revenues that even Congress and Clinton couldn’t spend it fast enough. And when the internet crashed, the surpluses vanished.

    The idea that Ross Perot had anything to do with it is utterly laughable.

  • WisdomLover

    We balanced our budgets in the late 90s because the gods sent us cargo in the form of the internet. We had such huge revenues that even Congress and Clinton couldn’t spend it fast enough. And when the internet crashed, the surpluses vanished.

    The idea that Ross Perot had anything to do with it is utterly laughable.

  • BW

    There is evidence that Ross Perot’s run for the office of POTUS did get the whole budget/debt issue back into the political conversation in a big way.

    Just for Starters…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_Perot_presidential_campaign,_1992#Results

    See the aftermath section.

  • BW

    There is evidence that Ross Perot’s run for the office of POTUS did get the whole budget/debt issue back into the political conversation in a big way.

    Just for Starters…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_Perot_presidential_campaign,_1992#Results

    See the aftermath section.

  • Cincinnatus

    WisdomLover@40:

    You seem to have misunderstood my point. Completely. Laughably, actually.

    Ross Perot’s campaign was centered on balancing the budget. This platform proved to be exceptionally popular with voters. So popular, in fact, that both Democrats and Republicans added it to their platform and rhetoric. They coopted Perot’s platform, in other words, and substantial evidence exists showing that the major parties reacted in this way precisely because of Perot’s candidacy.

    Did Perot actually balance the budget? Uh, no. Obviously. Do I even need to “concede” that point? The point is that Perot’s candidacy–even though it wasn’t ultimately successful, electorally speaking–required the major parties to shift their platforms.

    This has happened several times in American history, actually. In the 1910s and 1920s, the Progressive Party proved so successful that its policies and agenda were coopted by the Republican party (with great success). Third parties like the Free-Soil Party forced the abolition of slavery onto the electoral agenda, and the Republican Party itself began as a third party to confront the withering Whig Party.

    And so on. The notion that third parties are irrelevant because they don’t/can’t win is ridiculous.

  • Cincinnatus

    WisdomLover@40:

    You seem to have misunderstood my point. Completely. Laughably, actually.

    Ross Perot’s campaign was centered on balancing the budget. This platform proved to be exceptionally popular with voters. So popular, in fact, that both Democrats and Republicans added it to their platform and rhetoric. They coopted Perot’s platform, in other words, and substantial evidence exists showing that the major parties reacted in this way precisely because of Perot’s candidacy.

    Did Perot actually balance the budget? Uh, no. Obviously. Do I even need to “concede” that point? The point is that Perot’s candidacy–even though it wasn’t ultimately successful, electorally speaking–required the major parties to shift their platforms.

    This has happened several times in American history, actually. In the 1910s and 1920s, the Progressive Party proved so successful that its policies and agenda were coopted by the Republican party (with great success). Third parties like the Free-Soil Party forced the abolition of slavery onto the electoral agenda, and the Republican Party itself began as a third party to confront the withering Whig Party.

    And so on. The notion that third parties are irrelevant because they don’t/can’t win is ridiculous.

  • Oregon is a fairly blue state, so I was toying around with the idea of voting for Romney, but this thread has almost certainly pushed me towards voting for Johnson.

    Besides, given Romney’s recent slight lead in the national polls, I don’t want to risk ruining my perfect track record of never voting for the winning presidential candidate.

    Party-line-toeing haters gonna hate, but I think I am, finally, decided.

  • Oregon is a fairly blue state, so I was toying around with the idea of voting for Romney, but this thread has almost certainly pushed me towards voting for Johnson.

    Besides, given Romney’s recent slight lead in the national polls, I don’t want to risk ruining my perfect track record of never voting for the winning presidential candidate.

    Party-line-toeing haters gonna hate, but I think I am, finally, decided.

  • DonS

    SKP @ 37, 38: I’m not saying don’t vote third party, although if you live in a swing state you might want to consider what four more years of Obama, unleashed from the need to run again for election, might mean. What I am saying is that the “squishy” portion of our electorate, that 10% sliver in the middle, between the 45% base held by each party, doesn’t want to hear the kind of specifics that third party candidates are free to offer, because they don’t care about getting elected. And because of our wrongheaded notion that everyone should vote, and we should tolerate any amount of voter fraud to make that happen, our electorate is getting worse and worse. Low information voters ruin the system, because they are persuadable by the kind of shallow negative campaign tactics Obama has been running on during this entire campaign.

  • DonS

    SKP @ 37, 38: I’m not saying don’t vote third party, although if you live in a swing state you might want to consider what four more years of Obama, unleashed from the need to run again for election, might mean. What I am saying is that the “squishy” portion of our electorate, that 10% sliver in the middle, between the 45% base held by each party, doesn’t want to hear the kind of specifics that third party candidates are free to offer, because they don’t care about getting elected. And because of our wrongheaded notion that everyone should vote, and we should tolerate any amount of voter fraud to make that happen, our electorate is getting worse and worse. Low information voters ruin the system, because they are persuadable by the kind of shallow negative campaign tactics Obama has been running on during this entire campaign.

  • Cincinnatus

    DonS:

    Ok, but research shows that folks who vote for/prefer third-party candidates, who watch third-party debates, volunteer for third-party campaigns, are, in fact, “high-information voters.” Much higher than the average Democrat or Republican, in fact.

    The “low-information voters” you cite typically aren’t even aware that there are third parties.

  • Cincinnatus

    DonS:

    Ok, but research shows that folks who vote for/prefer third-party candidates, who watch third-party debates, volunteer for third-party campaigns, are, in fact, “high-information voters.” Much higher than the average Democrat or Republican, in fact.

    The “low-information voters” you cite typically aren’t even aware that there are third parties.

  • DonS

    Agreed, Cincinnatus @ 45. I would guess that third party voters are, generally speaking, among the most informed and opinionated of all voters. And non-conformist to boot. I didn’t say that third party voters are the problem. It’s low information voters who are easily persuadable because they really don’t have any political convictions or values, and thus who receive all the attention from major party campaigns, out of electoral necessity, who are the real problem in our system.

  • DonS

    Agreed, Cincinnatus @ 45. I would guess that third party voters are, generally speaking, among the most informed and opinionated of all voters. And non-conformist to boot. I didn’t say that third party voters are the problem. It’s low information voters who are easily persuadable because they really don’t have any political convictions or values, and thus who receive all the attention from major party campaigns, out of electoral necessity, who are the real problem in our system.

  • sg

    What is it about Johnson that you like?

  • sg

    What is it about Johnson that you like?

  • SKPeterson

    sg @ 47 – I like his sexy hair – the most important feature any candidate can bring to the table.

  • SKPeterson

    sg @ 47 – I like his sexy hair – the most important feature any candidate can bring to the table.

  • helen

    C @ 19
    “Smart people vote for someone who can win.”

    It’s nice to be backing the winning team… in sports.

    Let’s face it, the only “winners” in national elections, as presently constituted,
    are those who can spend large amounts of money that they expect to see returns on
    after the election.
    To that end, they subsidize both parties, as necessary.

  • helen

    C @ 19
    “Smart people vote for someone who can win.”

    It’s nice to be backing the winning team… in sports.

    Let’s face it, the only “winners” in national elections, as presently constituted,
    are those who can spend large amounts of money that they expect to see returns on
    after the election.
    To that end, they subsidize both parties, as necessary.

  • sg

    @49

    That is what I see.

  • sg

    @49

    That is what I see.

  • fjsteve

    I was watching Raging Bull the other night and got interested in the story of Jake LaMotta. I was specifically interested in how faithful the movie was with his relationship with his brother. The movie portrayed that Jake thought his brother was having an affair with his wife and, after beating him up, cut off ties with him for several years. Well, as it turns out, that never happened. Jake though his best friend, who was not really portrayed in the movie, was having an affair with his wife. They conflated the relationship with his brother and his best friend into one roll to simplify the narrative.

    It strikes me that this “simplification of narrative” is exactly what’s happening in two-party politics. Americans like the mystery; the unfolding of the story. We like heroes and villains. As I said before, we like stars, not politicians. But we want a simple story. One that’s easy to follow. So, while third parties sometimes throw the election one way or the other, ultimately, it is to the mutual benefit of Democrats and Republicans that they have a single nemesis in one-another. It’s the fear of the nemesis, not the love of the hero, that sways the public opinion and the more politicians can stoke that fear, the better they fare.

  • fjsteve

    I was watching Raging Bull the other night and got interested in the story of Jake LaMotta. I was specifically interested in how faithful the movie was with his relationship with his brother. The movie portrayed that Jake thought his brother was having an affair with his wife and, after beating him up, cut off ties with him for several years. Well, as it turns out, that never happened. Jake though his best friend, who was not really portrayed in the movie, was having an affair with his wife. They conflated the relationship with his brother and his best friend into one roll to simplify the narrative.

    It strikes me that this “simplification of narrative” is exactly what’s happening in two-party politics. Americans like the mystery; the unfolding of the story. We like heroes and villains. As I said before, we like stars, not politicians. But we want a simple story. One that’s easy to follow. So, while third parties sometimes throw the election one way or the other, ultimately, it is to the mutual benefit of Democrats and Republicans that they have a single nemesis in one-another. It’s the fear of the nemesis, not the love of the hero, that sways the public opinion and the more politicians can stoke that fear, the better they fare.

  • WisdomLover

    I was there. I lived through both of Perot’s elections. Sure Perot talked about balancing the budget. Here’s a newsflash: so did Reagan, Mondale, Dukakis and Bush 41. Even Ford and Carter talked about balancing the budget. All of them ran before Perot entered the political arena. Mondale suffered an ignominious defeat (not that he really had any chance) because he promised to raise taxes in order to bring down the deficit. Bush 41 lost the Presidency because he broke his no new taxes pledge in order to make a deal to cut the deficit.

    Of course none of these people ever did balance the budget. In fact it got worse. Even Clinton balanced the budget only on the back of the internet bubble. And once the bubble burst, the budget ballooned back. It was as if there had never been a surplus.

    The fact that any of this happened after Perot is a simple post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. It also happened after Nicole Brown died. Maybe she was keeping the deficits high.

    So please don’t bother pretending that balancing the budget was some kind of third party idea.

    In fact, Perot became extremely popular before he even announced any plan about anything.

    Before that it was all about linking arms with the American people, opening the hood and fixing things, applying good old American know-how and other nuggets of cracker barrel wisdom.

    I’m sorry if you thought you were doing something wonderful by voting for Perot, but the votes cast for him meant nothing. (They might have served to spoil the election for Bush, but again, I lived through that election, and I’m pretty sure Bush would have lost anyway.)

  • WisdomLover

    I was there. I lived through both of Perot’s elections. Sure Perot talked about balancing the budget. Here’s a newsflash: so did Reagan, Mondale, Dukakis and Bush 41. Even Ford and Carter talked about balancing the budget. All of them ran before Perot entered the political arena. Mondale suffered an ignominious defeat (not that he really had any chance) because he promised to raise taxes in order to bring down the deficit. Bush 41 lost the Presidency because he broke his no new taxes pledge in order to make a deal to cut the deficit.

    Of course none of these people ever did balance the budget. In fact it got worse. Even Clinton balanced the budget only on the back of the internet bubble. And once the bubble burst, the budget ballooned back. It was as if there had never been a surplus.

    The fact that any of this happened after Perot is a simple post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. It also happened after Nicole Brown died. Maybe she was keeping the deficits high.

    So please don’t bother pretending that balancing the budget was some kind of third party idea.

    In fact, Perot became extremely popular before he even announced any plan about anything.

    Before that it was all about linking arms with the American people, opening the hood and fixing things, applying good old American know-how and other nuggets of cracker barrel wisdom.

    I’m sorry if you thought you were doing something wonderful by voting for Perot, but the votes cast for him meant nothing. (They might have served to spoil the election for Bush, but again, I lived through that election, and I’m pretty sure Bush would have lost anyway.)

  • Cincinnatus

    WisdomLover,

    First of all, I didn’t vote for Perot. I was there, but I didn’t vote for him.

    But I think, with all due respect, that you’re being willfully ignorant about this.

    Try a few of these sources:

    Feigert, Frank B. “The Ross Perot Candidacy and Its Significance.” In America’s Choice: The Election of 1992, ed. William Crotty. Guilford, CT: The Dushkin Publishing Group, 1993.

    Koch, Jeffrey. “The Perot Candidacy and Attitudes toward Government and Politics.” Political Research Quarterly 51:1 (1998): 131-153.

    Lacy, Dean, and Barry Burden. “The Vote-Stealing and Turnout Effects of Ross Perot in the 1992 Presidential Election.” American Journal of Political Science 43:1 (1999): 233- 255.

    McCann, James A., Ronald B. Rapoport, and Walter J. Stone. “Heeding the Call: An Assessment of Mobilization into H. Ross Perot’s 1992 Presidential Campaign.” American Journal of Political Science 43:1 (1999): 1-28.

    Rapoport, Ronald B., and Walter J. Stone. Three’s a Crowd: The Dynamic of Third Parties, Ross Perot, and Republican Resurgence. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005.

    The point isn’t whether Perot could have won. The question is whether Perot’s candidacy–and other third parties and candidates–mattered (and matter) in any meaningful sense. Every single one of these studies shows that they do–very tangibly, very measurably, and sometimes very dramatically. Contrary to popular prejudice, a candidate doesn’t have to win to change the landscape of American politics. And regardless of your denials, each of these sources (and there are many others, by the way) demonstrates that it was Perot’s run in 1992 that made the budget an issue of particular concern that year.

  • Cincinnatus

    WisdomLover,

    First of all, I didn’t vote for Perot. I was there, but I didn’t vote for him.

    But I think, with all due respect, that you’re being willfully ignorant about this.

    Try a few of these sources:

    Feigert, Frank B. “The Ross Perot Candidacy and Its Significance.” In America’s Choice: The Election of 1992, ed. William Crotty. Guilford, CT: The Dushkin Publishing Group, 1993.

    Koch, Jeffrey. “The Perot Candidacy and Attitudes toward Government and Politics.” Political Research Quarterly 51:1 (1998): 131-153.

    Lacy, Dean, and Barry Burden. “The Vote-Stealing and Turnout Effects of Ross Perot in the 1992 Presidential Election.” American Journal of Political Science 43:1 (1999): 233- 255.

    McCann, James A., Ronald B. Rapoport, and Walter J. Stone. “Heeding the Call: An Assessment of Mobilization into H. Ross Perot’s 1992 Presidential Campaign.” American Journal of Political Science 43:1 (1999): 1-28.

    Rapoport, Ronald B., and Walter J. Stone. Three’s a Crowd: The Dynamic of Third Parties, Ross Perot, and Republican Resurgence. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005.

    The point isn’t whether Perot could have won. The question is whether Perot’s candidacy–and other third parties and candidates–mattered (and matter) in any meaningful sense. Every single one of these studies shows that they do–very tangibly, very measurably, and sometimes very dramatically. Contrary to popular prejudice, a candidate doesn’t have to win to change the landscape of American politics. And regardless of your denials, each of these sources (and there are many others, by the way) demonstrates that it was Perot’s run in 1992 that made the budget an issue of particular concern that year.

  • Michael B.

    @DonS@32

    “A couple of days ago, he said that even in the circumstances of a horrific rape, if a baby is conceived out of those circumstances, that is by God’s will. Who here would argue with that statement?”

    The rapist meant the rape for evil, but God meant the rape for good.

  • Michael B.

    @DonS@32

    “A couple of days ago, he said that even in the circumstances of a horrific rape, if a baby is conceived out of those circumstances, that is by God’s will. Who here would argue with that statement?”

    The rapist meant the rape for evil, but God meant the rape for good.

  • Johnson is wrong in one respect. Several long term studies have demonstrated conclusively that smoking marijuana makes the user dumb. Furthermore, the lost intellect never returns. There is no such evidence with alcohol.

  • Johnson is wrong in one respect. Several long term studies have demonstrated conclusively that smoking marijuana makes the user dumb. Furthermore, the lost intellect never returns. There is no such evidence with alcohol.

  • John (@55), using the word “dumb” is a pretty good way to undermine any scientific cred you were hoping to engender with your reference to “long term studies”. Anyhow, care to back up your claim with citations? Because it’s not hard to find evidence to the contrary.

    Sure, studies involving “heavy” (i.e., near-daily) cannabis users show negative effects. But here’s one study that actually showed IQ gains for “light current users” (twice as much as were seen in non-users!). And this study on the “Effect of Long-Term Chronic Marijuana Use on Neuropsychological Functioning” in daily smokers concludes that “When compared with normal nonsmoking [subjects], minimal differences were observed.”

    And if you honestly believe “there is no such evidence with alcohol”, you really need to examine the literature again.

    In summary, I’m calling your bluff.

  • John (@55), using the word “dumb” is a pretty good way to undermine any scientific cred you were hoping to engender with your reference to “long term studies”. Anyhow, care to back up your claim with citations? Because it’s not hard to find evidence to the contrary.

    Sure, studies involving “heavy” (i.e., near-daily) cannabis users show negative effects. But here’s one study that actually showed IQ gains for “light current users” (twice as much as were seen in non-users!). And this study on the “Effect of Long-Term Chronic Marijuana Use on Neuropsychological Functioning” in daily smokers concludes that “When compared with normal nonsmoking [subjects], minimal differences were observed.”

    And if you honestly believe “there is no such evidence with alcohol”, you really need to examine the literature again.

    In summary, I’m calling your bluff.

  • DonS

    Michael B @ 54: I’m sure this point will be lost on you, as it apparently was on many of your fellow pagan Democrats, but to be clear, I wasn’t saying that God meant the rape at all. However, since God is the Creator of all life, we know that any baby to be conceived, even in the horrific instance of rape, is created by God. Thus, the baby is conceived by His will. Which is a prime example of how God sometimes allows blessings to flow out of great evil, in His grace and mercy.

  • DonS

    Michael B @ 54: I’m sure this point will be lost on you, as it apparently was on many of your fellow pagan Democrats, but to be clear, I wasn’t saying that God meant the rape at all. However, since God is the Creator of all life, we know that any baby to be conceived, even in the horrific instance of rape, is created by God. Thus, the baby is conceived by His will. Which is a prime example of how God sometimes allows blessings to flow out of great evil, in His grace and mercy.

  • SKPeterson

    For additional evidence of how third parties have altered the nation’s political discourse, I need only mention the Progressive Party of T.R. Roosevelt which split from the Republicans. The Democrats, having fully repudiated the notion of sound money and small government espoused by Grover Cleveland and the Bourbon Democrats, embraced the populism of William Jennings Bryan and co-opted almost completely the platform of the Progressives, and began to implement it under Wilson. Mostly realized under the second Roosevelt, the remaining planks have been part of the Democrat agenda for years.

    Any of this sound familiar?

    A National Health Service to include all existing government medical agencies
    Social insurance, to provide for the elderly, the unemployed, and the disabled
    An eight hour workday
    A federal securities commission
    Farm relief
    Workers’ compensation for work-related injuries
    An inheritance tax
    A Constitutional amendment to allow a Federal income tax
    Women’s suffrage
    Direct election of Senators
    Primary elections for state and federal nominations
    Strict limits and disclosure requirements on political campaign contributions
    Registration of lobbyists

    The last Republicans to actively oppose such measures were Coolidge and Taft. Since then, the descendents of the Bryan Democrats and Roosevelt Republicans have been the dominant political forces in the U.S.

  • SKPeterson

    For additional evidence of how third parties have altered the nation’s political discourse, I need only mention the Progressive Party of T.R. Roosevelt which split from the Republicans. The Democrats, having fully repudiated the notion of sound money and small government espoused by Grover Cleveland and the Bourbon Democrats, embraced the populism of William Jennings Bryan and co-opted almost completely the platform of the Progressives, and began to implement it under Wilson. Mostly realized under the second Roosevelt, the remaining planks have been part of the Democrat agenda for years.

    Any of this sound familiar?

    A National Health Service to include all existing government medical agencies
    Social insurance, to provide for the elderly, the unemployed, and the disabled
    An eight hour workday
    A federal securities commission
    Farm relief
    Workers’ compensation for work-related injuries
    An inheritance tax
    A Constitutional amendment to allow a Federal income tax
    Women’s suffrage
    Direct election of Senators
    Primary elections for state and federal nominations
    Strict limits and disclosure requirements on political campaign contributions
    Registration of lobbyists

    The last Republicans to actively oppose such measures were Coolidge and Taft. Since then, the descendents of the Bryan Democrats and Roosevelt Republicans have been the dominant political forces in the U.S.

  • kerner

    I live in Wisconsin where every vote counts and where (if Ohio goes for Obama) the election may be decided. Voting for a third party candidate is a luxury I cannot afford.

    Mike Westfall @26 said the smartest thing I have heard in a long time. If third parties are serious, really serious, about being a force in American politics, they should concentrate on becoming mayors and state legislators, and eventually governors and congressmen and senators. Then, and only then, will a third party candidacy for president be taken seriously.

    I mean, think about it. If a city, or a state, were actually governed by a third party, we could have some clear idea of how that party governs and what it REALLY stands for. We’d see the results, not just highly principled talk.

  • kerner

    I live in Wisconsin where every vote counts and where (if Ohio goes for Obama) the election may be decided. Voting for a third party candidate is a luxury I cannot afford.

    Mike Westfall @26 said the smartest thing I have heard in a long time. If third parties are serious, really serious, about being a force in American politics, they should concentrate on becoming mayors and state legislators, and eventually governors and congressmen and senators. Then, and only then, will a third party candidacy for president be taken seriously.

    I mean, think about it. If a city, or a state, were actually governed by a third party, we could have some clear idea of how that party governs and what it REALLY stands for. We’d see the results, not just highly principled talk.

  • Cincinnatus

    kerner:

    1) No, every vote doesn’t count. The margin will still be thousands of votes even in swing states. Welcome to the club of thousands!

    2) Gary Johnson was a state governor. Yes, he governed under the aegis of the Republican Party, but we already know his policies and governing style.

    3) Your overall point is fair. But also rooted in some ignorance. There are, yes, lots of third parties who don’t make serious efforts to win elections at the local level; these parties see their goal as broadening discourse and providing at least nominal alternatives to the duopoly.

    But the Libertarian Party, for example, occupied 499 elected offices in 2002. Now, as best as I can find, they only have 157. These, however, are real, elected Libertarians in real, elected offices. Not bad for a party that is, by a series of dubious legal contrivances engineered by the two major parties, effectively excluded from mainstream electoral participation.

  • Cincinnatus

    kerner:

    1) No, every vote doesn’t count. The margin will still be thousands of votes even in swing states. Welcome to the club of thousands!

    2) Gary Johnson was a state governor. Yes, he governed under the aegis of the Republican Party, but we already know his policies and governing style.

    3) Your overall point is fair. But also rooted in some ignorance. There are, yes, lots of third parties who don’t make serious efforts to win elections at the local level; these parties see their goal as broadening discourse and providing at least nominal alternatives to the duopoly.

    But the Libertarian Party, for example, occupied 499 elected offices in 2002. Now, as best as I can find, they only have 157. These, however, are real, elected Libertarians in real, elected offices. Not bad for a party that is, by a series of dubious legal contrivances engineered by the two major parties, effectively excluded from mainstream electoral participation.

  • SKPeterson

    I would also add to Cin’s point @ 60 that many local offices are effectively “non-partisan.”

  • SKPeterson

    I would also add to Cin’s point @ 60 that many local offices are effectively “non-partisan.”

  • Grace

    I agree with Cincinnatus @19 and BW @20 and 21

    I did not vote for Obama or Romney. Voting one evil over another, NO! It’s a matter of conscience.

    BW’s comment @21 should make most people sit up and take notice, but I doubt most people give it much thought.

    Reading all these posts, it makes me wonder what God ALMIGHTY thinks, how HE sees this nation and the Church. Where is mans conscience? – or has he been so callused, that he no longer feels the sting of conscience.

  • Grace

    I agree with Cincinnatus @19 and BW @20 and 21

    I did not vote for Obama or Romney. Voting one evil over another, NO! It’s a matter of conscience.

    BW’s comment @21 should make most people sit up and take notice, but I doubt most people give it much thought.

    Reading all these posts, it makes me wonder what God ALMIGHTY thinks, how HE sees this nation and the Church. Where is mans conscience? – or has he been so callused, that he no longer feels the sting of conscience.

  • kerner

    Cinn @60:
    “But the Libertarian Party, for example, occupied 499 elected offices in 2002. Now, as best as I can find, they only have 157. These, however, are real, elected Libertarians in real, elected offices. Not bad for a party that is, by a series of dubious legal contrivances engineered by the two major parties, effectively excluded from mainstream electoral participation”

    It is worse than not bad. It stinks, actually. And it is less a factor of dubious legal contrivances than it is because the two major parties tend to adopt the principles of third parties. Ron Paul, for example, runs as a Republican, and is apparently content to be one, because the Republicans are content to have him, and because that affiliation gets him more votes, and because he has in fact pulled the Republican party in the direction he wants it to go. Smaller government is a much bigger part of the Republican oervre because of the Republicans have gone out of their way to make it so and get those potential Libertarian voters in their camp. Having political coalitions under the Aegis of a single party instead of having coalitions comprised of numerous parties may be an unusual system, but it is not necessarily a bad one.

    And, as SKP has pointed out, the Democrats did essentially the same thing to the Progressives of the early 20th Century.

  • kerner

    Cinn @60:
    “But the Libertarian Party, for example, occupied 499 elected offices in 2002. Now, as best as I can find, they only have 157. These, however, are real, elected Libertarians in real, elected offices. Not bad for a party that is, by a series of dubious legal contrivances engineered by the two major parties, effectively excluded from mainstream electoral participation”

    It is worse than not bad. It stinks, actually. And it is less a factor of dubious legal contrivances than it is because the two major parties tend to adopt the principles of third parties. Ron Paul, for example, runs as a Republican, and is apparently content to be one, because the Republicans are content to have him, and because that affiliation gets him more votes, and because he has in fact pulled the Republican party in the direction he wants it to go. Smaller government is a much bigger part of the Republican oervre because of the Republicans have gone out of their way to make it so and get those potential Libertarian voters in their camp. Having political coalitions under the Aegis of a single party instead of having coalitions comprised of numerous parties may be an unusual system, but it is not necessarily a bad one.

    And, as SKP has pointed out, the Democrats did essentially the same thing to the Progressives of the early 20th Century.

  • sg

    @59

    Great point about local politics. In some ways the most local offices are the most important. The sheriff in one’s own county is more important to one’s safety than some law the president may favor but can’t enact. And most importantly, politicians generally start their careers at the local or state level. So, if the sleazy ones couldn’t get elected because the town folk were paying better attention, we would not be dealing with them later.

  • sg

    @59

    Great point about local politics. In some ways the most local offices are the most important. The sheriff in one’s own county is more important to one’s safety than some law the president may favor but can’t enact. And most importantly, politicians generally start their careers at the local or state level. So, if the sleazy ones couldn’t get elected because the town folk were paying better attention, we would not be dealing with them later.

  • If the choice were one between killing two children or killing three children, how would this be argued? Would a vote to kill two children be argued to save one child? Or would it suggest that killing children at all was legitimate? That’s the kind of dilemma I think voting often presents. As an instrument, I think it helps to express the consent of the governed. But past a certain point, I think my consent ought to be withheld.

    I plan to write in “No” for President this year.

  • If the choice were one between killing two children or killing three children, how would this be argued? Would a vote to kill two children be argued to save one child? Or would it suggest that killing children at all was legitimate? That’s the kind of dilemma I think voting often presents. As an instrument, I think it helps to express the consent of the governed. But past a certain point, I think my consent ought to be withheld.

    I plan to write in “No” for President this year.

  • If it isn’t safe to vote for Donald Duck, the problem lies in the system, not in the voter who would wish to do so. And the problem cannot be fixed by any candidate. (And it won’t be made worse by Donald Duck.)

  • If it isn’t safe to vote for Donald Duck, the problem lies in the system, not in the voter who would wish to do so. And the problem cannot be fixed by any candidate. (And it won’t be made worse by Donald Duck.)

  • Rick (@66), Donald Duck doesn’t even wear pants. Carl Vehse would never shut up if he were elected.

  • Rick (@66), Donald Duck doesn’t even wear pants. Carl Vehse would never shut up if he were elected.

  • kerner

    Rick Ritchie:

    Our system is not set up for a single candidate to fix things. It requires lots of candidates who will, in the aggrigate, make things better. As long as man’s nature is what it is, it the situation will never be “fixed”. But one thing is certain, the problems we have require more voting, not less.

    Besides, I think your position flies in the face of the Apology: XVI:65, which states,

    “Accordingly, we have recounted these things in order that those without also may understand that by the kind of doctrine which we follow, the authority of magistrates and the dignity of all civil ordinances are not undermined, but are all the more strengthened [and that it is only this doctrine which gives true instruction as to how eminently glorious an office, full of good Christian works, the office of rulers is]. The importance of these matters was greatly obscured previously by those silly monastic opinions, which far preferred the hypocrisy of poverty and humility to the state and the family, although these have God’s command, while this Platonic communion [monasticism] has not God’s command.”

    Whther you like it or not, citizen, YOU are one of the rulers of this nation. YOU have been given your authority by God himself and it is part of your vocation to USE it wisely. To hide behind the quasi-monastic complaint that the world is a mess and you can’t fix it is shirking your duty.

    So, yeah, if you can only save the one child, save him. And quit griping that it is not within your power to save more. This is the way it always is. None of us can save all children, feed all the hungery, clothe all the naked, protect all the helpless. We can only save today those we have the resources to save today. Does that mean we should save none of them and divert ourselves with Donand Duck?

  • kerner

    Rick Ritchie:

    Our system is not set up for a single candidate to fix things. It requires lots of candidates who will, in the aggrigate, make things better. As long as man’s nature is what it is, it the situation will never be “fixed”. But one thing is certain, the problems we have require more voting, not less.

    Besides, I think your position flies in the face of the Apology: XVI:65, which states,

    “Accordingly, we have recounted these things in order that those without also may understand that by the kind of doctrine which we follow, the authority of magistrates and the dignity of all civil ordinances are not undermined, but are all the more strengthened [and that it is only this doctrine which gives true instruction as to how eminently glorious an office, full of good Christian works, the office of rulers is]. The importance of these matters was greatly obscured previously by those silly monastic opinions, which far preferred the hypocrisy of poverty and humility to the state and the family, although these have God’s command, while this Platonic communion [monasticism] has not God’s command.”

    Whther you like it or not, citizen, YOU are one of the rulers of this nation. YOU have been given your authority by God himself and it is part of your vocation to USE it wisely. To hide behind the quasi-monastic complaint that the world is a mess and you can’t fix it is shirking your duty.

    So, yeah, if you can only save the one child, save him. And quit griping that it is not within your power to save more. This is the way it always is. None of us can save all children, feed all the hungery, clothe all the naked, protect all the helpless. We can only save today those we have the resources to save today. Does that mean we should save none of them and divert ourselves with Donand Duck?

  • kerner

    Also, none of us can correct all our typos. At least I can’t.

  • kerner

    Also, none of us can correct all our typos. At least I can’t.

  • kerner,

    I don’t see how you jump from the Apology passage to saying I am one of the rulers. When I read Scripture, I find rulers addressed in Romans 13:1-7, which is probably rooted in Genesis 9:6. Rulers are those who bear the sword. While our Constitution allows us to bear arms, it does not give us the authority to punish the wicked as the Romans 13 ruler does (see verse 4), so it appears that I don’t qualify as a ruler.

    You also twisted the saving the child analogy. I wasn’t talking about personally saving children with my resources. I was talking about consenting to rulers who would kill children. When you vote for a ruler, you consent to his rule.

  • kerner,

    I don’t see how you jump from the Apology passage to saying I am one of the rulers. When I read Scripture, I find rulers addressed in Romans 13:1-7, which is probably rooted in Genesis 9:6. Rulers are those who bear the sword. While our Constitution allows us to bear arms, it does not give us the authority to punish the wicked as the Romans 13 ruler does (see verse 4), so it appears that I don’t qualify as a ruler.

    You also twisted the saving the child analogy. I wasn’t talking about personally saving children with my resources. I was talking about consenting to rulers who would kill children. When you vote for a ruler, you consent to his rule.

  • Grace

    I agree with you Rick.

    Kerner, there are many of us who will not vote for Obama or Romney, it’s a choice. There is no reason to vote for one evil over another.

    Voting is not a COMMAND PERFORMANCE, we can write in our choice, or choose not to.

  • Grace

    I agree with you Rick.

    Kerner, there are many of us who will not vote for Obama or Romney, it’s a choice. There is no reason to vote for one evil over another.

    Voting is not a COMMAND PERFORMANCE, we can write in our choice, or choose not to.

  • Grace, the only way to avoid voting for one evil over another is if Jesus is on the ballot.

  • Grace, the only way to avoid voting for one evil over another is if Jesus is on the ballot.

  • Cincinnatus

    Mike@72:

    Right, but if I disagree fundamentally with both major candidates–i.e., if I agree with none of their primary policy prescriptions and think they would both make horrible Presidents–why not vote for a candidate (a third party candidate) with whom I agree, if only partially? Or why can’t I abstain?

    Apparently, this is the only thing on the planet about which Grace and I agree.

  • Cincinnatus

    Mike@72:

    Right, but if I disagree fundamentally with both major candidates–i.e., if I agree with none of their primary policy prescriptions and think they would both make horrible Presidents–why not vote for a candidate (a third party candidate) with whom I agree, if only partially? Or why can’t I abstain?

    Apparently, this is the only thing on the planet about which Grace and I agree.

  • Grace

    Mike @72

    There are Christian Believers who follow Christ. No one needs to vote for evil, IF they do, they follow that which they have voted for. One believes in killing the unborn, the other believes he will be a god.

    14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

    15 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.

    16 The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

    17 The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
    Psalms 34

  • Grace

    Mike @72

    There are Christian Believers who follow Christ. No one needs to vote for evil, IF they do, they follow that which they have voted for. One believes in killing the unborn, the other believes he will be a god.

    14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

    15 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.

    16 The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

    17 The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
    Psalms 34

  • Grace said (@74):

    No one needs to vote for evil, IF they do, they follow that which they have voted for.

    But if you vote for nobody, then you will follow nobody. Which means you don’t follow Christ. Catch-27.

    Or, as Thomas Jefferson said, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

  • Grace said (@74):

    No one needs to vote for evil, IF they do, they follow that which they have voted for.

    But if you vote for nobody, then you will follow nobody. Which means you don’t follow Christ. Catch-27.

    Or, as Thomas Jefferson said, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

  • Grace

    tODD,

    I wrote in my selection for president.

  • Grace

    tODD,

    I wrote in my selection for president.

  • Grace (@76), and what non-evil person did you vote to follow?

  • Grace (@76), and what non-evil person did you vote to follow?

  • Grace

    tODD – the snarky question, and the way you respond and comment to me, doesn’t deserve an answer!

  • Grace

    tODD – the snarky question, and the way you respond and comment to me, doesn’t deserve an answer!

  • BW

    It was one of the Ricks, Rick Perry or Rick Santorum?

  • BW

    It was one of the Ricks, Rick Perry or Rick Santorum?

  • Boo-hoo, Grace (@78), I don’t blame you for not wanting your ridiculous arguments to be applied to the person you voted for. At least all us evil-followers have the courage of our convictions. But when you pretend not to sin or do evil, you have to keep quiet about what you actually do with your life.

  • Boo-hoo, Grace (@78), I don’t blame you for not wanting your ridiculous arguments to be applied to the person you voted for. At least all us evil-followers have the courage of our convictions. But when you pretend not to sin or do evil, you have to keep quiet about what you actually do with your life.

  • Grace

    tODD,

    Your mockery, is nothing short of playground tactics!

  • Grace

    tODD,

    Your mockery, is nothing short of playground tactics!

  • kerner

    Rick Ritchie:

    I get there this way. I believe that most Lutheran theologians treat Romans 1, etc. as though we were living in Ancient Rome or 16th Century Germany, when we are not. Under our system of government, considerably more political power is vested in the electorate itself, including, as you point out, the power to bear the sword. But the bearing of the sword to punish the evil doer is not limited to our right to bear arms. No one can be declared an “evil doer” (i.e. criminal) and thus subject to those who actually bear the sword of justice without the unanimous judgment of 12 ordinary citizens. In our system, We the People ARE the powers that be (at least in part) to a much greater extent than was the case in ancient or Renaissance political systems. Like it or not, we do not live in a hierarchy where the only “officials” with power are above the private citizen. The private citizen has power himself and has the responsibility that goes with it.

    The whole point of Apology XVI and a lot of Lutheran writing that went with it is that Christians ought not to refuse to participate in civic matters, but in fact the opposite is true. Christians who have that vocation are not merely free to, but have the duty to, seek to exercise political authority and use it for good. In 21st century America, we ALL have that vocation. You may not like your options, but how does that make you different from a Roman magistrate or Renaissance lord who found himself presented with options which all were dubious? Do you think those people in power were never presented with situations in which all parties were partly in the wrong? I’ve got news for you Rick. Even today many many cases before a court are such that everybody involved is partly in the wrong. Politically, almost any law the legislature makes ends up hurting somebody who doesn’t deserve it. What I’m saying is that practically ALL political responsibility is one long parade of imperfect, sometimes grossly imperfect, choices. But for us under our form of government, we can not just wash our hands of the duty to make the best choice we can. It is difficult for me to believe that you can look at these two candidates and not conclude that one of them will be better for this country than the other, even if he is not all that much better. While it is possible to dislike both of them, and their policies, I really don’t believe that one of them does not appear to be somewhat less damaging than the other. Unless it really is a tie for the cellar, I think that you, as a citizen, have the duty to vote for which ever one is, in your judgment, going to do the least amount of damage to your neighbors. If you don’t, and the more damaging candidate wins, then you are responsible for the additional damage done by him.

    This is a lot of responsibility for an ordinary citizen, and you may not like having it, but you do have it and I don’t think you have the right to shirk it.

  • kerner

    Rick Ritchie:

    I get there this way. I believe that most Lutheran theologians treat Romans 1, etc. as though we were living in Ancient Rome or 16th Century Germany, when we are not. Under our system of government, considerably more political power is vested in the electorate itself, including, as you point out, the power to bear the sword. But the bearing of the sword to punish the evil doer is not limited to our right to bear arms. No one can be declared an “evil doer” (i.e. criminal) and thus subject to those who actually bear the sword of justice without the unanimous judgment of 12 ordinary citizens. In our system, We the People ARE the powers that be (at least in part) to a much greater extent than was the case in ancient or Renaissance political systems. Like it or not, we do not live in a hierarchy where the only “officials” with power are above the private citizen. The private citizen has power himself and has the responsibility that goes with it.

    The whole point of Apology XVI and a lot of Lutheran writing that went with it is that Christians ought not to refuse to participate in civic matters, but in fact the opposite is true. Christians who have that vocation are not merely free to, but have the duty to, seek to exercise political authority and use it for good. In 21st century America, we ALL have that vocation. You may not like your options, but how does that make you different from a Roman magistrate or Renaissance lord who found himself presented with options which all were dubious? Do you think those people in power were never presented with situations in which all parties were partly in the wrong? I’ve got news for you Rick. Even today many many cases before a court are such that everybody involved is partly in the wrong. Politically, almost any law the legislature makes ends up hurting somebody who doesn’t deserve it. What I’m saying is that practically ALL political responsibility is one long parade of imperfect, sometimes grossly imperfect, choices. But for us under our form of government, we can not just wash our hands of the duty to make the best choice we can. It is difficult for me to believe that you can look at these two candidates and not conclude that one of them will be better for this country than the other, even if he is not all that much better. While it is possible to dislike both of them, and their policies, I really don’t believe that one of them does not appear to be somewhat less damaging than the other. Unless it really is a tie for the cellar, I think that you, as a citizen, have the duty to vote for which ever one is, in your judgment, going to do the least amount of damage to your neighbors. If you don’t, and the more damaging candidate wins, then you are responsible for the additional damage done by him.

    This is a lot of responsibility for an ordinary citizen, and you may not like having it, but you do have it and I don’t think you have the right to shirk it.

  • kerner

    Cincinnatus:
    “Apparently, this is the only thing on the planet about which Grace and I agree.”

    And if THAT isn’t the biggest red warning flag in the Universe, I do not know what would be.

  • kerner

    Cincinnatus:
    “Apparently, this is the only thing on the planet about which Grace and I agree.”

    And if THAT isn’t the biggest red warning flag in the Universe, I do not know what would be.

  • Cincinnatus

    kerner@82:

    1) You are spot-on when you conclude that, at least ideally, the ordinary citizen is the bearer of a weighty political responsibility in the United States. Again, ideally, not necessarily actually. But voting is one of the least of those responsibilities. Never forget that.

    2) That said, we are not absolved from choosing in an election. But you seem determined to ignore the fact that abstaining itself can be a choice–a valid choice. So can choosing a candidate who has no chance of winning. Sure, feel free to critique the couch potatoes who can’t be bothered to educate themselves and get off their arses to vote (I don’t hold it against these folks, however, since their votes are, after all, statistically meaningless).

    But, for example, I intentionally refused to vote in this past summer’s recall election in Wisconsin. I did have a moderately clear preference regarding the outcome, but I thought the recall election itself to be an excessive abuse of democratic mechanisms. And so I refused to condone it with my participation. Similarly, I refuse to condone either Romney or Obama with my vote. And guess what? I can. Because there are other candidates on the ballot I like better. And there’s also a space on the ballot where I can write in someone I like. These are all perfectly legal provisions established in our electoral system, and I fully intend to exercise my responsibility by taking advantage of these.

    Because a choice of two dimwits–no, their potential for destruction is too grievous for such a trite moniker; two sociopaths–is hardly better than the tacit acceptance of one sociopath in a monarchy.

  • Cincinnatus

    kerner@82:

    1) You are spot-on when you conclude that, at least ideally, the ordinary citizen is the bearer of a weighty political responsibility in the United States. Again, ideally, not necessarily actually. But voting is one of the least of those responsibilities. Never forget that.

    2) That said, we are not absolved from choosing in an election. But you seem determined to ignore the fact that abstaining itself can be a choice–a valid choice. So can choosing a candidate who has no chance of winning. Sure, feel free to critique the couch potatoes who can’t be bothered to educate themselves and get off their arses to vote (I don’t hold it against these folks, however, since their votes are, after all, statistically meaningless).

    But, for example, I intentionally refused to vote in this past summer’s recall election in Wisconsin. I did have a moderately clear preference regarding the outcome, but I thought the recall election itself to be an excessive abuse of democratic mechanisms. And so I refused to condone it with my participation. Similarly, I refuse to condone either Romney or Obama with my vote. And guess what? I can. Because there are other candidates on the ballot I like better. And there’s also a space on the ballot where I can write in someone I like. These are all perfectly legal provisions established in our electoral system, and I fully intend to exercise my responsibility by taking advantage of these.

    Because a choice of two dimwits–no, their potential for destruction is too grievous for such a trite moniker; two sociopaths–is hardly better than the tacit acceptance of one sociopath in a monarchy.

  • kerner

    Cincinnatus @84:
    “But, for example, I intentionally refused to vote in this past summer’s recall election in Wisconsin. I did have a moderately clear preference regarding the outcome, but I thought the recall election itself to be an excessive abuse of democratic mechanisms. And so I refused to condone it with my participation. ”

    You were almost making sense until you said that. If everyone who thought that “the election itself was an excessive abuse of democratic mechanisms”, had refused to vote in said election, then the abuse would have been successful. Only by voting against the recall challenger could the abusive recall have been prevented. Paradoxical though it may be, that was the only way to put a stop to the abuse you cite. Can you explain how a widespread refusal to vote would have accomplished anything other than allowing the abuse to succeed and/or encouraging more such abuse in the future?

  • kerner

    Cincinnatus @84:
    “But, for example, I intentionally refused to vote in this past summer’s recall election in Wisconsin. I did have a moderately clear preference regarding the outcome, but I thought the recall election itself to be an excessive abuse of democratic mechanisms. And so I refused to condone it with my participation. ”

    You were almost making sense until you said that. If everyone who thought that “the election itself was an excessive abuse of democratic mechanisms”, had refused to vote in said election, then the abuse would have been successful. Only by voting against the recall challenger could the abusive recall have been prevented. Paradoxical though it may be, that was the only way to put a stop to the abuse you cite. Can you explain how a widespread refusal to vote would have accomplished anything other than allowing the abuse to succeed and/or encouraging more such abuse in the future?

  • Cincinnatus

    kerner@85:

    “That’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

    No, seriously. It is. You’ve identified a vexing dilemma in mass democracy that admits of multiple possibly valid answers. If we both conclude that a gubernatorial recall election spurred in mere policy disagreements, that doesn’t mean we’ll agree on the consequently valid line of action. When I saw what I regard an invalid exercise of democracy, I determined that the most appropriate action–i.e., the action that accorded most closely with my political principles–was not to participate in said invalid exercise, since, obviously, the exercise itself was invalid. I couldn’t–and still can’t–see how participating in an invalid exercise in a certain way makes that exercise any less invalid.

    Let’s pretend your vote mattered (it didn’t, but whatever). You determined that the best way to counteract the invalid exercise was by participating in a certain way that would, you hope, maintain the status quo. I respect that, I really do. My wife came to a similar conclusion.

    But I disagree with it, and acted accordingly. And in this particular case, I fail to see how participating in the recall election would prevent future abuses either way. The recall election “worked” insofar as it got off the ground. In fact, some of the senatorial recalls worked in that they were ultimately successful in ousting incumbents. I am not at all hopeful that we won’t see a spate of additional recall elections in the future. I don’t see how your vote, multiplied hundreds of thousands of times over, did anything to foreclose future abuses.

    Hence my abstinence.

    Hence my potential abstinence from this presidential election, as well. You can argue all you want about choosing the lesser of two evils, but I think the system itself–constructed in such a way as to favor egoists, kleptocrats, liars, and frauds–is evil, and I feel exactly zero responsibility to endorse it with my vote.

  • Cincinnatus

    kerner@85:

    “That’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

    No, seriously. It is. You’ve identified a vexing dilemma in mass democracy that admits of multiple possibly valid answers. If we both conclude that a gubernatorial recall election spurred in mere policy disagreements, that doesn’t mean we’ll agree on the consequently valid line of action. When I saw what I regard an invalid exercise of democracy, I determined that the most appropriate action–i.e., the action that accorded most closely with my political principles–was not to participate in said invalid exercise, since, obviously, the exercise itself was invalid. I couldn’t–and still can’t–see how participating in an invalid exercise in a certain way makes that exercise any less invalid.

    Let’s pretend your vote mattered (it didn’t, but whatever). You determined that the best way to counteract the invalid exercise was by participating in a certain way that would, you hope, maintain the status quo. I respect that, I really do. My wife came to a similar conclusion.

    But I disagree with it, and acted accordingly. And in this particular case, I fail to see how participating in the recall election would prevent future abuses either way. The recall election “worked” insofar as it got off the ground. In fact, some of the senatorial recalls worked in that they were ultimately successful in ousting incumbents. I am not at all hopeful that we won’t see a spate of additional recall elections in the future. I don’t see how your vote, multiplied hundreds of thousands of times over, did anything to foreclose future abuses.

    Hence my abstinence.

    Hence my potential abstinence from this presidential election, as well. You can argue all you want about choosing the lesser of two evils, but I think the system itself–constructed in such a way as to favor egoists, kleptocrats, liars, and frauds–is evil, and I feel exactly zero responsibility to endorse it with my vote.

  • kerner

    Cinn: I realize that what I am about to say carries significantly less weight with you, an Anglican, than it would with a Lutheran, but your position is diametrically opposed to that of Apology XVI and other Lutheran writings. At the time this part of the confession was being formulated there was a widespread opinion that the political and legal systems, even the system of private property, was corrupt, i.e. constructed in such a way as to favor egoists, kleptocrats, liars, and frauds, and thus to be eschewed by Christians. Apology XVI condemns this as a monastic error, but the SDFC XII condemns this attitude as errors of the Anabaptists; specifically:

    “8. That under the New Testament the magistracy is not a godly estate.

    18] 9. That a Christian cannot with a good, inviolate conscience hold the office of magistrate.

    19] 10. That a Christian cannot without injury to conscience use the office of the magistracy in matters that may occur [when the matter so demands] against the wicked, neither can its subjects appeal to its power.

    20] 11. That a Christian cannot with a good conscience take an oath before a court, nor with an oath do homage to his prince or hereditary sovereign.

    21] 12. That magistrates cannot without injury to conscience inflict capital punishment upon evil-doers.

    22] 13. That a Christian cannot with a good conscience hold or possess any property, but is in duty bound to devote it to the common treasury.

    23] 14. That a Christian cannot with a good conscience be an inn-keeper, merchant, or cutler. ”

    At that time the Anabaptists were withdrawing into religious communities that felt “exactly zero responsibility to endorse” the political/legal structure of the country around them by participating in it. We see the remnants of these religious communities of withdrawal in the Amish, and similar sects whose roots were in this tradition.

    Now, this is America, and you are not a Lutheran, and under our system you have a legal right to vote, or not vote, as you see fit.

    But I, on the other hand AM a Lutheran, and to the extent that I believe that the Lutheran Confessions are the correct exposition of Scripture (I grant you that I so far haven’t really analysed the derivation of these principles from Scripture) what I am saying is more than just my opinion. Acording to our confessions, involvement in political and legal matters and their respective systems, corrupt though they may seem, is not only not wrong, but it can be our duty.

  • kerner

    Cinn: I realize that what I am about to say carries significantly less weight with you, an Anglican, than it would with a Lutheran, but your position is diametrically opposed to that of Apology XVI and other Lutheran writings. At the time this part of the confession was being formulated there was a widespread opinion that the political and legal systems, even the system of private property, was corrupt, i.e. constructed in such a way as to favor egoists, kleptocrats, liars, and frauds, and thus to be eschewed by Christians. Apology XVI condemns this as a monastic error, but the SDFC XII condemns this attitude as errors of the Anabaptists; specifically:

    “8. That under the New Testament the magistracy is not a godly estate.

    18] 9. That a Christian cannot with a good, inviolate conscience hold the office of magistrate.

    19] 10. That a Christian cannot without injury to conscience use the office of the magistracy in matters that may occur [when the matter so demands] against the wicked, neither can its subjects appeal to its power.

    20] 11. That a Christian cannot with a good conscience take an oath before a court, nor with an oath do homage to his prince or hereditary sovereign.

    21] 12. That magistrates cannot without injury to conscience inflict capital punishment upon evil-doers.

    22] 13. That a Christian cannot with a good conscience hold or possess any property, but is in duty bound to devote it to the common treasury.

    23] 14. That a Christian cannot with a good conscience be an inn-keeper, merchant, or cutler. ”

    At that time the Anabaptists were withdrawing into religious communities that felt “exactly zero responsibility to endorse” the political/legal structure of the country around them by participating in it. We see the remnants of these religious communities of withdrawal in the Amish, and similar sects whose roots were in this tradition.

    Now, this is America, and you are not a Lutheran, and under our system you have a legal right to vote, or not vote, as you see fit.

    But I, on the other hand AM a Lutheran, and to the extent that I believe that the Lutheran Confessions are the correct exposition of Scripture (I grant you that I so far haven’t really analysed the derivation of these principles from Scripture) what I am saying is more than just my opinion. Acording to our confessions, involvement in political and legal matters and their respective systems, corrupt though they may seem, is not only not wrong, but it can be our duty.

  • ” I think that you, as a citizen, have the duty to vote for which ever one is, in your judgment, going to do the least amount of damage to your neighbors. If you don’t, and the more damaging candidate wins, then you are responsible for the additional damage done by him.”

    No. If I have choices that were created by, say, a previous court’s failure to rule something unconstitutional, then that court bears the responsibility for giving that power into the hands of the mob. Your argument that we must seek political power in an age of unlimited democracy is like arguing that a Christian has the responsibility to try to gain control of an angry mob to direct it. There is no such responsibility.

    Also, your arguments about what a Christian is responsible to do are like those I was presented in Christian Ethics class. At the time I accepted the arguments. It was only later that I saw that along with certain Christian doctrines (like Original Sin and absolute standards of good and evil), many of the arguments assumed some form of Consequentialist thinking. That we are to choose our actions primarily on the basis of the consequences they bring about. I reject this now.

    And this Christianized Consequentialism tended to argue as you do above. That I am wrong to act in such a way as to try to avoid doing all wrong. On the outside this appears to just be a way of acknowledging Original Sin. But really it is something else. It is the suggestion that our sin comes from dilemmas that we run into. I would prefer the Virtue Ethic way of looking at this. It might be at some point that I find myself in a position where I cannot see a way of acting where I can avoid sin. That is very different from saying that I must participate in evil. (Or worse yet, that I must participate in evil and am wrong to wish to avoid it.) The problem may be in my own lack of imagination. But here I have grave doubts that somehow voting for one of these two candidates is the more Christian thing to do. I can imagine either candidate landing us in a situation where people in the future will ask, “Why did people support him?”

    Our act of voting has very little sway over the results of the election. Yet it is a form of speech. I don’t think it is worth trying to insignificantly sway the balance of votes toward the two parties at the expense of approving an evil candidate.

  • ” I think that you, as a citizen, have the duty to vote for which ever one is, in your judgment, going to do the least amount of damage to your neighbors. If you don’t, and the more damaging candidate wins, then you are responsible for the additional damage done by him.”

    No. If I have choices that were created by, say, a previous court’s failure to rule something unconstitutional, then that court bears the responsibility for giving that power into the hands of the mob. Your argument that we must seek political power in an age of unlimited democracy is like arguing that a Christian has the responsibility to try to gain control of an angry mob to direct it. There is no such responsibility.

    Also, your arguments about what a Christian is responsible to do are like those I was presented in Christian Ethics class. At the time I accepted the arguments. It was only later that I saw that along with certain Christian doctrines (like Original Sin and absolute standards of good and evil), many of the arguments assumed some form of Consequentialist thinking. That we are to choose our actions primarily on the basis of the consequences they bring about. I reject this now.

    And this Christianized Consequentialism tended to argue as you do above. That I am wrong to act in such a way as to try to avoid doing all wrong. On the outside this appears to just be a way of acknowledging Original Sin. But really it is something else. It is the suggestion that our sin comes from dilemmas that we run into. I would prefer the Virtue Ethic way of looking at this. It might be at some point that I find myself in a position where I cannot see a way of acting where I can avoid sin. That is very different from saying that I must participate in evil. (Or worse yet, that I must participate in evil and am wrong to wish to avoid it.) The problem may be in my own lack of imagination. But here I have grave doubts that somehow voting for one of these two candidates is the more Christian thing to do. I can imagine either candidate landing us in a situation where people in the future will ask, “Why did people support him?”

    Our act of voting has very little sway over the results of the election. Yet it is a form of speech. I don’t think it is worth trying to insignificantly sway the balance of votes toward the two parties at the expense of approving an evil candidate.

  • Grace

    Cincinnatus @73 “Apparently, this is the only thing on the planet about which Grace and I agree.”

    We have agreed on several issues in the past, but not too many 😉

  • Grace

    Cincinnatus @73 “Apparently, this is the only thing on the planet about which Grace and I agree.”

    We have agreed on several issues in the past, but not too many 😉

  • Cincinnatus

    kerner:

    It sounds like you’re making a Lutheran (Luther-an?) rather than a Christian argument–a danger for all those in a denomination.

    In my opinion, the fault of the Anabaptists–and, if you’d like, the Amish (of whom I’m a rather exuberant fan, by the way)–wasn’t their withdrawal from the imperial political structures around them, but their apocalyptic/eschatological delusions. The Amish, in any case, have done a fine job of maintaining their integrity while building meaningful communities for themselves and participating in the world around them insofar as it is possible to do so. What’s wrong with that?

    But even if you grant the validity and normative force of the Apology, so what? I see nothing there that dictates that, as a Christian, I “have” to vote in every election, much less that I “have” to vote for one of the two sociopaths offered by the two major parties. It seems to me that, according to the Apology, my duty as a democratic citizen is to do what I discern to be the best for my community in such situations. And, as I’ve noted again and again, I’ve discerned, as best as I am able, that the best is for me not to endorse the electoral system in some cases (like recalls) or to vote for minor party candidates in others (like this presidential election). That in itself is a form of participation uniquely possible in a democratic system. It’s not possible in any meaningful sense to refuse to endorse the monarchy; it is possible to refuse to endorse a recall election. How great is that?

  • Cincinnatus

    kerner:

    It sounds like you’re making a Lutheran (Luther-an?) rather than a Christian argument–a danger for all those in a denomination.

    In my opinion, the fault of the Anabaptists–and, if you’d like, the Amish (of whom I’m a rather exuberant fan, by the way)–wasn’t their withdrawal from the imperial political structures around them, but their apocalyptic/eschatological delusions. The Amish, in any case, have done a fine job of maintaining their integrity while building meaningful communities for themselves and participating in the world around them insofar as it is possible to do so. What’s wrong with that?

    But even if you grant the validity and normative force of the Apology, so what? I see nothing there that dictates that, as a Christian, I “have” to vote in every election, much less that I “have” to vote for one of the two sociopaths offered by the two major parties. It seems to me that, according to the Apology, my duty as a democratic citizen is to do what I discern to be the best for my community in such situations. And, as I’ve noted again and again, I’ve discerned, as best as I am able, that the best is for me not to endorse the electoral system in some cases (like recalls) or to vote for minor party candidates in others (like this presidential election). That in itself is a form of participation uniquely possible in a democratic system. It’s not possible in any meaningful sense to refuse to endorse the monarchy; it is possible to refuse to endorse a recall election. How great is that?

  • Cincinnatus

    Addendum:

    As a Christian, I regard it as my obligation to love my neighbor, and that obligation entails that I work with my brothers and sisters to organize our community in the best way possible.

    Particularly in a modern democracy with abundant opportunities for participation and protest–above and beyond those afforded by the franchise–I fail to see how these responsibilities oblige me to “go along with” political structures that are fundamentally corrupt, evil, unjust, etc. It’s rather my job to correct them as far as I am able; sometimes the only feasible corrective available is abstinence. The “just-go-along-with-it” injunction, again, seems far more Lutheran than authentically Christian.

  • Cincinnatus

    Addendum:

    As a Christian, I regard it as my obligation to love my neighbor, and that obligation entails that I work with my brothers and sisters to organize our community in the best way possible.

    Particularly in a modern democracy with abundant opportunities for participation and protest–above and beyond those afforded by the franchise–I fail to see how these responsibilities oblige me to “go along with” political structures that are fundamentally corrupt, evil, unjust, etc. It’s rather my job to correct them as far as I am able; sometimes the only feasible corrective available is abstinence. The “just-go-along-with-it” injunction, again, seems far more Lutheran than authentically Christian.

  • Cincinnatus

    Addendum 2: Thought Experiment Edition

    Not to validate Godwin’s Law, but imagine yourself in Germany in 1933. Is it your “responsibility” to consent to the fascist government? Or is it your responsibility as a Christian to resist and refuse to endorse the Nazi regime–or at least to withdraw?

    Or maybe it is your responsibility to work within the system: become a Nazi, but a reforming Nazi?

    In my opinion, there is no universally correct answer to the question. Your choice will depend on your imperfect knowledge, your particular station and circumstances, your particular perspective on what would constitute the most meaningful service to your political neighbors. And maybe you’re being unfair to the Apology by reducing it to a formulaic fetishism of obedience and complacency.

  • Cincinnatus

    Addendum 2: Thought Experiment Edition

    Not to validate Godwin’s Law, but imagine yourself in Germany in 1933. Is it your “responsibility” to consent to the fascist government? Or is it your responsibility as a Christian to resist and refuse to endorse the Nazi regime–or at least to withdraw?

    Or maybe it is your responsibility to work within the system: become a Nazi, but a reforming Nazi?

    In my opinion, there is no universally correct answer to the question. Your choice will depend on your imperfect knowledge, your particular station and circumstances, your particular perspective on what would constitute the most meaningful service to your political neighbors. And maybe you’re being unfair to the Apology by reducing it to a formulaic fetishism of obedience and complacency.

  • Grace

    Kerner @83 “And if THAT isn’t the biggest red warning flag in the Universe, I do not know what would be.”

    Much of what you’ve posted in your inimitable disjointed approach, SHOULD BE ⚑ –

  • Grace

    Kerner @83 “And if THAT isn’t the biggest red warning flag in the Universe, I do not know what would be.”

    Much of what you’ve posted in your inimitable disjointed approach, SHOULD BE ⚑ –

  • Kerner, I’ll grant that those who think they can keep themselves pure by trying to keep their hands clean — whether politically or whatever — are quite mistaken, as they will merely bring their selfishness with them into their bubble world.

    But refusing to vote (for one position or all of them) is not tantamount to trying to keep your hands clean.

    It looks like you keep trying to make voting something American Christians have to do, but your arguments from the Confessions are lacking. They condemned those who wanted to proscribe Christian involvement in the political realm. But — and here I refer simply to basic logic — condemning a ban on a Thing is not the same thing as commanding that Thing.

    Yes, we ought at all times to consider our neighbor, including when we vote. (And, something that not a few people here keep missing, we will fail at this, as we fail in upholding all aspects of the Law.) Yes, we dare not think that we have fulfilled the Law by trying to avoid the world. (But, again, nor should we think we’ve fulfilled the Law by voting for this or that candidate. Lutherans never brag about sinners fulfilling the Law; we brag about Jesus doing that.)

    So some Lutherans will conclude that their best option is to vote for one of the two major party candidates. Others will conclude that they need to go third-party. Yet others will write someone in. And, finally, some will conclude that they simply cannot cast a vote. If all of them confess their sinfulness in this and every regard and look to Jesus for their salvation, not politics or the acts of man, then on what ground, exactly, do you criticize them as Lutherans?

  • Kerner, I’ll grant that those who think they can keep themselves pure by trying to keep their hands clean — whether politically or whatever — are quite mistaken, as they will merely bring their selfishness with them into their bubble world.

    But refusing to vote (for one position or all of them) is not tantamount to trying to keep your hands clean.

    It looks like you keep trying to make voting something American Christians have to do, but your arguments from the Confessions are lacking. They condemned those who wanted to proscribe Christian involvement in the political realm. But — and here I refer simply to basic logic — condemning a ban on a Thing is not the same thing as commanding that Thing.

    Yes, we ought at all times to consider our neighbor, including when we vote. (And, something that not a few people here keep missing, we will fail at this, as we fail in upholding all aspects of the Law.) Yes, we dare not think that we have fulfilled the Law by trying to avoid the world. (But, again, nor should we think we’ve fulfilled the Law by voting for this or that candidate. Lutherans never brag about sinners fulfilling the Law; we brag about Jesus doing that.)

    So some Lutherans will conclude that their best option is to vote for one of the two major party candidates. Others will conclude that they need to go third-party. Yet others will write someone in. And, finally, some will conclude that they simply cannot cast a vote. If all of them confess their sinfulness in this and every regard and look to Jesus for their salvation, not politics or the acts of man, then on what ground, exactly, do you criticize them as Lutherans?

  • kerner

    hmmm… well. wishy washy though this may be, some of you are convincincing me to back down a bit, but I still have to respond to some of this.

    Cincinnatus:

    It has been awhile since we discussed the Christian vs. Government authority issue, but anyone who remembers me doing so knows that I do not take the stock be subject to authority position that many Lutherans take. But I do believe that the confessions offer us guidance in this matter, and I believe they must be read in light of some of what was written by the reformers between the time of the Apology and the time of the Formula of Concord.

    THe Apology was written around the time of the Peasants’ Revolt. Luther preached against it and invoked the passages that invoke God as the Author of all temporal authority and require us to submit to it, at least as a default position. Later, Luther was faced with the possibility of the Turks overrunning Germany, and the even more frightening prospect of the Roman Catholic political authority conquering the Lutheran communities and forcing people to abandon their doctrine. In response to that threat Luther modified what had seemed to be a hard and fast position to allow for fighting against the Roman Catholic powers, even though some of them (like the Holy Roman Emperor) were technically in authority over the Lutheran princes who were protecting the reformers. I believe Luther and the reformers sought a way out of that by taking the position they did about civic involvement.

    Which brings me to your question about Nazi Germany. I agree with you that there is no universally correct answer to that question. But I believe that the Confessional statements about Christians being involved in the civil government are basically saying that the involvement of individual Christians (not the religious government, but the individuals) in the civil government and military was the best, and Biblical, means of preventing a state such as Nazi Germany from developing in the first place.

    This is akin to the Lutheran doctrine of vocation, whichis, according to my limited understanding, that God’s work in this world is largely accomplished by His people doing their daily work. Eg. the hungry are fed because the farmer, and the baker and the grocer all pursue their secular vocations and literally put our daily bread on the supermarket shelves. And the same principle can be applied to things like the arts. The doctrine of vocation does not urge Christians to develop parallel “Christian” versions of music and art and cinema. It urges us to excel at whatever we do and let our light shine before men.

    And this is true of politics and law and the military as well. The more Christians we have in participating in all these the more likely we are to not need to have to deal with corrupt kleptocrats or warmongering tyrants at every turn. So, I’m sorry, but I think that groups like the Amish are fundamentally wrong in trying to shut themselves off from the larger society around them. And I do not believe that this is merely my opinion.

    I have read your arguments, and those of Rick and tODD. And you all have convinced me that I was being too simplistic myself. THere may in fact be times when voting for someone you are sure cannot win, or not voting at all, may be the right thing to do. But I still believe that such times are rare exceptions and not the rule.

    Take again your example of refusing to vote in the recent recall election. You are effectively saying, “it is wrong to hold this election, therefore I will not vote in it.” Well, almost everyone who wanted the recall to fail felt the same way. Had they all done as you did, the recall would have succeeded. So, you basically relied upon others to do what you refused to do yourself. I know that you may have calculated that your single act of not voting would not have, by itself, won or lost the recall election any more than my act of voting by itself did, but in this society you do not act alone. We act in concert and when to many of us do something wrong or stupid bad things happen. To rely upon your belief that an insufficient number of others will do the wrong or stupid thing that you insist upon doing, so no harm dome, is a dangerous position to take.

  • kerner

    hmmm… well. wishy washy though this may be, some of you are convincincing me to back down a bit, but I still have to respond to some of this.

    Cincinnatus:

    It has been awhile since we discussed the Christian vs. Government authority issue, but anyone who remembers me doing so knows that I do not take the stock be subject to authority position that many Lutherans take. But I do believe that the confessions offer us guidance in this matter, and I believe they must be read in light of some of what was written by the reformers between the time of the Apology and the time of the Formula of Concord.

    THe Apology was written around the time of the Peasants’ Revolt. Luther preached against it and invoked the passages that invoke God as the Author of all temporal authority and require us to submit to it, at least as a default position. Later, Luther was faced with the possibility of the Turks overrunning Germany, and the even more frightening prospect of the Roman Catholic political authority conquering the Lutheran communities and forcing people to abandon their doctrine. In response to that threat Luther modified what had seemed to be a hard and fast position to allow for fighting against the Roman Catholic powers, even though some of them (like the Holy Roman Emperor) were technically in authority over the Lutheran princes who were protecting the reformers. I believe Luther and the reformers sought a way out of that by taking the position they did about civic involvement.

    Which brings me to your question about Nazi Germany. I agree with you that there is no universally correct answer to that question. But I believe that the Confessional statements about Christians being involved in the civil government are basically saying that the involvement of individual Christians (not the religious government, but the individuals) in the civil government and military was the best, and Biblical, means of preventing a state such as Nazi Germany from developing in the first place.

    This is akin to the Lutheran doctrine of vocation, whichis, according to my limited understanding, that God’s work in this world is largely accomplished by His people doing their daily work. Eg. the hungry are fed because the farmer, and the baker and the grocer all pursue their secular vocations and literally put our daily bread on the supermarket shelves. And the same principle can be applied to things like the arts. The doctrine of vocation does not urge Christians to develop parallel “Christian” versions of music and art and cinema. It urges us to excel at whatever we do and let our light shine before men.

    And this is true of politics and law and the military as well. The more Christians we have in participating in all these the more likely we are to not need to have to deal with corrupt kleptocrats or warmongering tyrants at every turn. So, I’m sorry, but I think that groups like the Amish are fundamentally wrong in trying to shut themselves off from the larger society around them. And I do not believe that this is merely my opinion.

    I have read your arguments, and those of Rick and tODD. And you all have convinced me that I was being too simplistic myself. THere may in fact be times when voting for someone you are sure cannot win, or not voting at all, may be the right thing to do. But I still believe that such times are rare exceptions and not the rule.

    Take again your example of refusing to vote in the recent recall election. You are effectively saying, “it is wrong to hold this election, therefore I will not vote in it.” Well, almost everyone who wanted the recall to fail felt the same way. Had they all done as you did, the recall would have succeeded. So, you basically relied upon others to do what you refused to do yourself. I know that you may have calculated that your single act of not voting would not have, by itself, won or lost the recall election any more than my act of voting by itself did, but in this society you do not act alone. We act in concert and when to many of us do something wrong or stupid bad things happen. To rely upon your belief that an insufficient number of others will do the wrong or stupid thing that you insist upon doing, so no harm dome, is a dangerous position to take.

  • kerner

    tODD:

    You made me rethink my position, but please rethink this:
    “condemning a ban on a Thing is not the same thing as commanding that Thing”.

    You may be right using simple logic, but try to remember that the Small Catechism does not reason that way. Every negative commandment has its positive side. Therefore, saying that it is not wrong to do something IS tantamount to suggesting that it should be done. Maybe not as a universal rule, but certainly as a general one. I think the tone of these confessional writings is pretty clear. We need and want Chirstians to be magistrates and merchants and soldiers and lawyers because this is how society functions and individual Christians can and should influence all these institutions for the better by participating in them. Maybe everyone couldn’t do so in 16th Century Germany, but certainly the Confessions are urging Christians to participate in these things in sufficient numbers to make a positive difference.

    In our present system, the number of Christians necessary to make a positive difference in an electorate of almost 200,000,000 is a very large number. I can not imagine that we have very many to spare, especially in states where the question will be very close.

    In some places I can cut some people some slack. If the Lutheran pastors in Utah don’t want to vote for a Mormon that they know will carry Utah no matter what…oh, what the hell. But in a close state like mine, I just don’t see how a Christian can treat his political authority so cavalierly.

  • kerner

    tODD:

    You made me rethink my position, but please rethink this:
    “condemning a ban on a Thing is not the same thing as commanding that Thing”.

    You may be right using simple logic, but try to remember that the Small Catechism does not reason that way. Every negative commandment has its positive side. Therefore, saying that it is not wrong to do something IS tantamount to suggesting that it should be done. Maybe not as a universal rule, but certainly as a general one. I think the tone of these confessional writings is pretty clear. We need and want Chirstians to be magistrates and merchants and soldiers and lawyers because this is how society functions and individual Christians can and should influence all these institutions for the better by participating in them. Maybe everyone couldn’t do so in 16th Century Germany, but certainly the Confessions are urging Christians to participate in these things in sufficient numbers to make a positive difference.

    In our present system, the number of Christians necessary to make a positive difference in an electorate of almost 200,000,000 is a very large number. I can not imagine that we have very many to spare, especially in states where the question will be very close.

    In some places I can cut some people some slack. If the Lutheran pastors in Utah don’t want to vote for a Mormon that they know will carry Utah no matter what…oh, what the hell. But in a close state like mine, I just don’t see how a Christian can treat his political authority so cavalierly.

  • Grace

    Kerner @ 82

    You have the SWORD, mixed up, and tangled!

    The Bible calls the “SWORD” the WORD of GOD. You might study the passage below very carefully.

    10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

    11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

    12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    13
    Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

    14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

    15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

    16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

    17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
    Ephesians 6

    This is the PROBLEM – the “sword” is the “Word of God” – all TOO MANY BELIEVERS leave their “sword” on their night table.

  • Grace

    Kerner @ 82

    You have the SWORD, mixed up, and tangled!

    The Bible calls the “SWORD” the WORD of GOD. You might study the passage below very carefully.

    10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

    11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

    12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    13
    Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

    14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

    15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

    16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

    17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
    Ephesians 6

    This is the PROBLEM – the “sword” is the “Word of God” – all TOO MANY BELIEVERS leave their “sword” on their night table.

  • Grace

    Kerner

    The area within Dresden had a large number of industry, including factories that produced electronics, radar equipment, parts for fighters, such as Messerschmitt. Siemens, located in Dresden, manufactured military gun-sights and so did Zeiss-Ikon. Dresden was very important to the Nazi’s as Germany fought the war. Without Dresden and other cities – Berlin, Leipzig, and Chemnitz, the Nazi’s would not be able to continue, especially Dresden which housed and manufactured war material.

    Dresden was bombed between February 13 and 14, 1945. Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945. Germany surrendered May 8, 1945. It was finally over. This is the TIMELINE, it proves the “fire bombings” were instrumental in ENDING the WAR.

    The killing of 6 million Jews, and many others who were political, or who tried to help died horrible deaths. How many more would have been slaughtered had the U.S. and the British stood by? I cannot imagine allowing such a thing to continue, knowing full well that everyday, there were more gassed in the camps, more lives were lost in the British and American military, it couldn’t continue.

  • Grace

    Kerner

    The area within Dresden had a large number of industry, including factories that produced electronics, radar equipment, parts for fighters, such as Messerschmitt. Siemens, located in Dresden, manufactured military gun-sights and so did Zeiss-Ikon. Dresden was very important to the Nazi’s as Germany fought the war. Without Dresden and other cities – Berlin, Leipzig, and Chemnitz, the Nazi’s would not be able to continue, especially Dresden which housed and manufactured war material.

    Dresden was bombed between February 13 and 14, 1945. Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945. Germany surrendered May 8, 1945. It was finally over. This is the TIMELINE, it proves the “fire bombings” were instrumental in ENDING the WAR.

    The killing of 6 million Jews, and many others who were political, or who tried to help died horrible deaths. How many more would have been slaughtered had the U.S. and the British stood by? I cannot imagine allowing such a thing to continue, knowing full well that everyday, there were more gassed in the camps, more lives were lost in the British and American military, it couldn’t continue.

  • Kerner (@96), sorry, but no. Countering that “every negative commandment has its positive side” is pretty much a non sequitur. It certainly doesn’t disprove my argument from logic.

    Ask yourself: are you commanded to eat meat sacrificed to idols? Because 1 Corinthians 8 makes clear that we dare not listen to legalists who would proscribe the eating of such meat. Now, my argument was that Scripture’s condemnation of a ban on eating idol meat is not the same thing as Scripture’s commanding us to eat idol meat. You, however, disagree. Therefore, by your logic, Scripture commands all Christians to eat meat sacrificed to idols.

    Still think that’s a good argument? Then read what Scripture actually does say about that topic. Note how God doesn’t set out any hard and fast rules concerning the eating of this or that, but does set out a clear command regarding love of neighbor. The same holds true here.

    Therefore, saying that it is not wrong to do something IS tantamount to suggesting that it should be done.

    Oh, then Christians should only baptize by immersion. And should only worship on Saturdays. And should only play contemporary music at their services. None of these things are wrong. Therefore, by your logic, they “should be done”. You know, as a general rule.

    In our present system, the number of Christians necessary to make a positive difference in an electorate of almost 200,000,000 is a very large number. I can not imagine that we have very many to spare, especially in states where the question will be very close.

    Smells like a theology of glory to me. Always obsessed with numbers.

    You’re trying to make a law where there is no Law, Kerner. You’re trying to condemn people where Scripture is silent. And you’re trying to (ab)use the Confessions to do so. Stop it.

  • Kerner (@96), sorry, but no. Countering that “every negative commandment has its positive side” is pretty much a non sequitur. It certainly doesn’t disprove my argument from logic.

    Ask yourself: are you commanded to eat meat sacrificed to idols? Because 1 Corinthians 8 makes clear that we dare not listen to legalists who would proscribe the eating of such meat. Now, my argument was that Scripture’s condemnation of a ban on eating idol meat is not the same thing as Scripture’s commanding us to eat idol meat. You, however, disagree. Therefore, by your logic, Scripture commands all Christians to eat meat sacrificed to idols.

    Still think that’s a good argument? Then read what Scripture actually does say about that topic. Note how God doesn’t set out any hard and fast rules concerning the eating of this or that, but does set out a clear command regarding love of neighbor. The same holds true here.

    Therefore, saying that it is not wrong to do something IS tantamount to suggesting that it should be done.

    Oh, then Christians should only baptize by immersion. And should only worship on Saturdays. And should only play contemporary music at their services. None of these things are wrong. Therefore, by your logic, they “should be done”. You know, as a general rule.

    In our present system, the number of Christians necessary to make a positive difference in an electorate of almost 200,000,000 is a very large number. I can not imagine that we have very many to spare, especially in states where the question will be very close.

    Smells like a theology of glory to me. Always obsessed with numbers.

    You’re trying to make a law where there is no Law, Kerner. You’re trying to condemn people where Scripture is silent. And you’re trying to (ab)use the Confessions to do so. Stop it.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Back to the original subject: Maybe you guys should just write in “Stephen Harper”… 🙂

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Back to the original subject: Maybe you guys should just write in “Stephen Harper”… 🙂