Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Campaign for Liberty

Ron Paul attempted to get the four leading third party candidates together at a joint press conference. The concept was that there were certain principles that all four were supposed to agree upon, although for different reasons, and most importantly the principle that third parties should be heard.

Unfortunately Bob Barr did not show, snubbing Ron Paul’s effort. If he had been there the message of the Campaign for Liberty would be unmistakable. The candidates that did show also received criticism for doing so. Chuck Baldwin is criticized for sharing a stage with Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader. Alan Maass of the Socialist Worker newsletter objected to Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader for sharing a stage with Ron Paul and Chuck Baldwin. Baldwin supporter are sniping at Barr supporters over who is better fit to carry Ron Paul’s torch into the general election.

That is not the message Ron Paul was trying to send.

The message is not that supporters of one candidate should vote for the other candidates. The message is not that the four invited candidates are equally good. The message is actually pretty clear, and would be more so had Barr done the right thing and attended this joint press conference.

The message is as follows:

Take any average American voter. Take stock of what he wants of the government, what he wants a politician to do. It is more likely that said voter will find one of those four candidates to be in greater agreement than said voter would be with Barack Obama or John McCain. The four candidates on the stage collectively represent the different poles of political opinion in their four different directions than Obama or McCain can hope to.

The message continues:

Third party voters shouldn’t vote against their conscience by supporting a candidate with whom they truly disagree. They should vote for a candidate for whom they truly agree. The obligation third party supporters have towards each other is assistance in getting the candidates on the ballot so that the American people can have a choice. Third party supporters are not required to vote for each others candidates or donate to each others parties. They should assist in every other way.

Given that message, there is no reason at all for supporters of the fourth candidate to fight, beyond the fact that Barr apparently does not fully support the four points:

Foreign Policy: The Iraq War must end as quickly as possible with removal of all our soldiers from the region. We must initiate the return of our soldiers from around the world, including Korea, Japan, Europe and the entire Middle East. We must cease the war propaganda, threats of a blockade and plans for attacks on Iran, nor should we re-ignite the cold war with Russia over Georgia. We must be willing to talk to all countries and offer friendship and trade and travel to all who are willing. We must take off the table the threat of a nuclear first strike against all nations.

Privacy: We must protect the privacy and civil liberties of all persons under US jurisdiction. We must repeal or radically change the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and the FISA legislation. We must reject the notion and practice of torture, eliminations of habeas corpus, secret tribunals, and secret prisons. We must deny immunity for corporations that spy willingly on the people for the benefit of the government. We must reject the unitary presidency, the illegal use of signing statements and excessive use of executive orders.

The National Debt: We believe that there should be no increase in the national debt. The burden of debt placed on the next generation is unjust and already threatening our economy and the value of our dollar. We must pay our bills as we go along and not unfairly place this burden on a future generation.

The Federal Reserve: We seek a thorough investigation, evaluation and audit of the Federal Reserve System and its cozy relationships with the banking, corporate, and other financial institutions. The arbitrary power to create money and credit out of thin air behind closed doors for the benefit of commercial interests must be ended. There should be no taxpayer bailouts of corporations and no corporate subsidies. Corporations should be aggressively prosecuted for their crimes and frauds.

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