The Soda Wars 2008

Coming off of the past two weeks of political conventions reaffirmed in me my take on the current duopoly we have in government.  In nearly every fundamental way, we are being governed by political parties that are akin to Coke and Pepsi.

Both parties launched massive marketing campaigns planned by the same executives used by the big corporations.  They attempted to distinguish their brands by the use of taste tests and media buys, celebrity endorsements and local sponsorships, even while pursuing nearly the same recipe: a police state at home, multiple interventions abroad, heaps of corporate welfare, and an ever-growing public sector that cannot be reined in.

This will be especially clarified in the coming weeks as both candidates swerve towards the center, unable to distinguish themselves on nearly every issue: both offering the same syrupy government largesse with a slightly different flavor.  And even while the two parties are 95% the same, much like those powerhouses of the soft drink industry nearly every one of their consumers will remain fiercely partisan.  Coke *is* better than Pepsi, one will hear.  Another will guarantee that Pepsi is supreme.  Neither of them will waver in their fundamentalist belief that their glass of sugar water is superior to your glass of sugar water.

I’m tired of drinking cola.  Please, can I just for once have a nice refreshing glass of water?

I’m an Issue Voter – I wish the candidates addressed them.

The issues I’m interested in voting on and hearing the candidates address are:

  • ending the drug war
  • stopping the intellectual property insanity
  • ending farm subsidies
  • ending subsidies to all corporations
  • overhauling the tax system
  • allowing free markets in currency
  • increasing immigration to the U.S.
  • ensuring civil liberties, especially those implied by the 9th and 10th amendments
  • pulling out of Iraq (and everywhere else)

There were candidates in both major parties addressing these issues in the primaries, but the three mainstream candidates don’t have any coherent thoughts on them that I’ve heard.

I guess I’m going to have to wait and see who the Greens and Libertarians nominate.

Exciting Primary Election News

What an exciting matchup it is: Hillary v. Obama battling it out to the convention, it’s a horse race people, and the most exciting one we’ve had in years, right?

April Fools.

The most exciting primary election at this moment is actually shaping up to be the Libertarian one. There are still many candidates in the field heading into the convention, and it could prove to be a raucous fight on the convention floor to see who will be the torch-bearer this year.

Wikipedia puts all the third party and independent candidates on one page for some reason: United States third party presidential candidates 2008. Obviously the Libertarian race is the most exciting one on there. Lots of candidates, and a few even have a little bit of name recognition!

They leave off Bob Barr, though. I wonder if they have information that I don’t have. Anyway, here are the candidates that I’ve heard about:

  • Bob Barr — formerly a Republican congressman from Georgia, now a ‘life member’ of the libertarian national committee, Barr is essentially an anti-war Republican. He has a good deal of name recognition stemming from his pivotal role in the Clinton impeachment, and also is expected to be endorsed by Ron Paul.
  • Mike Gravel — formerly a Democratic senator from Alaska, Gravel was “popular” on the internet for a while as a candidate in the Democratic primary. His big thing is the national initiative, allowing voters to make the laws.
  • Steve Kubby — a medical marijuana activist for many years, he played a pivotal role in passing the medical marijuana initiative in California. He has recently had some trouble with the law, being purposely targeted by top federal drug officials for his activist (and protected) political speech.
  • Mary Ruwart — I really don’t know much about her, but she seems to be the candidate a lot of people I respect are supporting. She has a Ph.D. in biophysics, and has run for the Senate in Texas on the Libertarian ticket. She seems to be an expert on pharmaceuticals and the medical industry.
  • Wayne Allyn Root — a television personality and sports handicapper from Las Vegas, he has a bit more of a Republican sensibility.
  • George Phillies — who has run for congress on the libertarian ticket in Massachusetts, and who is something of an insider candidate.

There are a few other candidates that I’m not familiar with, but I hope to find out more. The libertarian convention takes place from May 23 to May 26 in Denver. Expect little to no coverage in the mainstream media, even though real conventions are much more exciting than the dreary events put on by the major parties.

If I can figure out what’s going on, I’ll try to keep you updated.

Election Obsession?

electoral-vote.com is up and running for the primaries this year.  I know a lot of you like to obsessively follow these things, and their coverage was unsurpassed four years ago in the general election.

Also, the maps are very pretty.

For the record, I am not a fan of the electoral college.  I’ll post later on the way I think a well-designed republican democracy should be run.