Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Big Tents

I voted for Nader in 2000.  It was a mistake.

I say this because while Nader expressed views likely more in line than my own,  he could only say them because Al Gore could not.  As a Green party candidate, Nader needed only pander to his own narrow base of leftists.  Democratic candidates must appeal to a much larger tent.  This is especially true at the national level, where entire cities and states are more or less conservative or liberal.

This concept of big vs. little tent politics was clarified for me in the current CA voter pamphlet.  The left wing parties basically set out a clear, concise liberal agenda:

Californians need living-wage jobs, affordable housing, sustainable energy, single-payer health care and progressive taxation. Greens support vibrant economically sustainable communities, preserving environments, withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan, and developing safe clean energy sources.... Supporting workplace representation, creating living-wage jobs, affordable housing, public transportation, and sustainable energy; implementing fair graduated taxation on one's ability to pay, eliminating government subsidies to corporations, and implementing carbon taxes; ... promoting public-owned safe, clean renewable energy; reducing global warming through efficiency, conservation and fossil fuel taxes; protecting endangered species, agricultural land, and opposing sprawl developments; supporting single-payer health care and free public education; supporting undocumented immigrants' right to work
Peace and Freedom 
The Peace and Freedom Party is a working-class party in a country run by and for the wealthy and their corporations. We should not have to sacrifice our health, our livelihoods and our planet for our bosses' profits. We can tax the rich, whose wealth is entirely created by workers, to pay for the people's needs. We favor: bringing all troops home now; ending all discrimination; full rights for immigrants; free health care for everyone; good services for disabled people; restoring and protecting the environment; real democracy and fair political representation; free education for all from preschool through the university; decent jobs and full labor rights for all.
The right wing parties were as clear and concise:

Libertarian solutions are the most practical and workable for strengthening our economy and governing our state. If they had been employed during the last decade, our state would be strong and not in a deficit. Thus, Libertarians work to: reduce government spending; promote business development, which will create jobs; reform public employee pensions, which are bankrupting cities, counties and the state; privatize services that are best delivered by cost-effective providers; guarantee equal treatment under the law for all Californians; strictly regulate, control and tax marijuana for adults, thus making it less available for children; reduce sessions of the Legislature to every other year.

American Independent
The American Independent Party is the party of ordered liberty in a nation under God. We believe in strict adherence to written law. We believe the Constitution is the contract America has with itself. Its willful distortion has led to the violation of our Tenth Amendment guaranteed right to limited government—which inevitably requires oppressive taxation. Its faithful application will lift that burden...  We will then establish truly free and responsible enterprise and reassert the basic human right to property.  We believe in protecting all human life however weak, defenseless, or disheartened; endorse the family as the essential bulwark of liberty, compassion, responsibility, and industry; and declare the family's right and responsibility to nurture, discipline, and educate their children.  We assert the absolute, concurrent Second Amendment guaranteed individual right to self defense coupled with a strong common defense, a common defense which requires a national sovereignty not damaged by imprudent treaties. We oppose all illegal immigration....
Contrast this with the bland, watered-down pablum the Democrats and Republicans present:

Democratic Party 
Building a healthier future for our state and improving the quality of life for all Californians.California Democrats were key in helping President Obama pass health insurance reform, ending the insurance company practice of denying coverage to children because of pre-existing conditions and lowering the cost of health care for millions of Americans... Democrats believe our state must make university and community college affordable for today's working and middle-class families.  We believe in rewarding hard work and expanding opportunities for all Californians in order to create stronger and healthier communities.
Republican Party
The California Republican Party supports restoring our state as the nation's leader in economic growth and innovation by cutting taxes, slashing wasteful regulations, and making California competitive again. We want to build a California where people and families are safe and secure because a vibrant economy is creating jobs and opportunities for everyone who is willing and able to work.  Republicans support boldly reforming our bloated and wasteful government and reducing its burden on taxpayers to grow our economy and generate the jobs and opportunities families need.  The Republican Party is the advocate for everyday Californians—people who were born and raised here, and those who have come here to raise a family or build a business. We support protecting every Californian's personal freedoms and opportunities to have a good education, to work, to save and to invest in one's future, and in one's family. 

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