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Sen. Chuck Hagel (R/NE): U.S. May Need New Political Party

Old 03-20-08, 08:07 AM
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Sen. Chuck Hagel (R/NE): U.S. May Need New Political Party

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080320/...gh0PefnY5H2ocA


By ANNA JO BRATTON, Associated Press Writer


U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel writes in a new book that the United States needs independent leadership and possibly another political party, while suggesting the Iraq war might be remembered as one of the five biggest blunders in history.

"In the current impasse, an independent candidate for the presidency, or a bipartisan unity ticket ... could be appealing to Americans," Hagel writes in "America: Our Next Chapter," due in stores Tuesday. The Associated Press obtained an advance copy.

The Nebraska Republican, who announced last year he wouldn't seek a third term or the GOP presidential nomination, had been widely mentioned as a running mate on an independent ticket with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg said last month he wouldn't run.

Hagel said that despite holding one of the Senate's strongest records of support for President Bush, his standing as a Republican has been called into question because of his opposition to what he deems "a reckless foreign policy ... that is divorced from a strategic context."

Hagel, who's been a harsh critic of the war since 2003, writes that the invasion of Iraq was "the triumph of the so-called neoconservative ideology, as well as Bush administration arrogance and incompetence."

The Vietnam veteran said he had hoped the lessons from that war would give the nation's leaders perspective before troops were sent to Iraq.

"To the astonishment of those of us who lived through the agony of Vietnam, these lessons were ignored in the run-up to the Iraq War," he writes.

Hagel said Vice President Dick Cheney and others "cherry-picked intelligence" and used fear to intensify "war sloganeering."

During visits to the Middle East in December 2002, Hagel said, Israel's top security officials asked, "Do you really understand what you are getting yourselves into?"

[b]Hagel said Bush personally assured him that he would exhaust diplomatic avenues before committing troops to Iraq. The senator said he voted for the war resolution based on those assurances, but regrets the vote because it's now clear that lawmakers were presented with lies and wishful thinking.[=/b]

Last year, Hagel was the only member of his party on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to support a nonbinding measure critical of Bush's decision to dispatch an additional 30,000 troops to Iraq.

"There is no strategy. This is a pingpong game with American lives," Hagel said at the time.
__________________

This article is basically about Iraq; but, I thought his idea of the need for a new political party might be of some interest (I doubt it) to some members of the forum.



.

Last edited by classicman2; 03-20-08 at 08:10 AM.
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Old 03-20-08, 08:31 AM
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Yes - that's just what we need - another so-called party that is indistinguishable from the other 2.
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Old 03-20-08, 08:47 AM
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Someone please explain to me how our current electoral system could sustain another electorally viable party? There are massive disincentives built into the system which make voting for someone other than a Democrat or Republican quite impractical, and this situation won't change unless we have a drastic overhaul of the way elections are held in this country, and the way congressional seats are assigned, not to mention dozens of other huge changes. Saying another party would be nice is like saying time travel or teleportation would be nice.
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Old 03-20-08, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
Someone please explain to me how our current electoral system could sustain another electorally viable party? There are massive disincentives built into the system which make voting for someone other than a Democrat or Republican quite impractical, and this situation won't change unless we have a drastic overhaul of the way elections are held in this country, and the way congressional seats are assigned, not to mention dozens of other huge changes. Saying another party would be nice is like saying time travel or teleportation would be nice.
It's really not that difficult. You just need a viable party. I propose that party come up with a better primary system as well.

Did Lieberman really have to jump through that many hoops to be an independent?
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Old 03-20-08, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
Someone please explain to me how our current electoral system could sustain another electorally viable party? There are massive disincentives built into the system which make voting for someone other than a Democrat or Republican quite impractical, and this situation won't change unless we have a drastic overhaul of the way elections are held in this country, and the way congressional seats are assigned, not to mention dozens of other huge changes. Saying another party would be nice is like saying time travel or teleportation would be nice.

True, but I suppose a third party could overtake and replace either the Democrats or Republicans. That's unlikely to happen, but it is possible. It's probably not worth worrying about, however, unless one party starts to have a significant majority.
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Old 03-20-08, 09:02 AM
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Between the electoral college and political gerrymandering, there is little chance of any viable 3rd party coming into existence. Extremely unfortunate, but true.
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Old 03-20-08, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
Between the electoral college and political gerrymandering, there is little chance of any viable 3rd party coming into existence. Extremely unfortunate, but true.
What's worse is I think the larger implications of getting rid of the EC (I believe it'll change the process for the worse) outweigh the benefit/possibility of establishing a third party. Personally I think both parties fracturing and moving to a coalition style gov't would be the best/give a greater range of positions/opinions being allowed.

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Old 03-20-08, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Thor Simpson
It's really not that difficult. You just need a viable party.
<a href = "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duverger's_law">Duverger's Law:</a>

<img src = "http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3010/2346983071_c1e43774a5.jpg"></img>

Maurice Duverger - Political Parties: Their Organization and Activity in the Modern State, page 217.
Did Lieberman really have to jump through that many hoops to be an independent?
No, but practically speaking there were only two parties contesting that election.
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Old 03-20-08, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
No, but practically speaking there were only two parties contesting that election.
That's an excellent point. And the above points are good as well. I'll agree that a 3 party system is unlikely. A new party would be the result of the downfall of an existing party. Right now it's still pretty close to 50/50 it seems, with swings back and forth.

I could see a new party stealing a good portion of one of the existing party's members. The transfer from one party to another could result in one massive failure for an election cycle with that party split in two and easily defeated, and then the remainder of the affected party migrating in the following election cycle. That's if it happened all at once.

But really... are there enough viable "3rd party" candidates to start taking congressional and senate seats in a vast number of states to give such a party strength? It almost seems as if it would have to start with the presidency to have much impact. From there, you could have a snowball by which we don't see all new candidates emerging, but candidates from the two existing parties shifting to that new party. But then... do they change ideologies, or have they truly fallen into a party where they better belong?

It does sound like a snowball's chance.
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Old 03-20-08, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
Someone please explain to me how our current electoral system could sustain another electorally viable party?
We could get rid of one of the others.
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Old 03-20-08, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
Yes - that's just what we need - another so-called party that is indistinguishable from the other 2.
Exactly.


Originally Posted by wendersfan
Someone please explain to me how our current electoral system could sustain another electorally viable party? There are massive disincentives built into the system which make voting for someone other than a Democrat or Republican quite impractical, and this situation won't change unless we have a drastic overhaul of the way elections are held in this country, and the way congressional seats are assigned, not to mention dozens of other huge changes. Saying another party would be nice is like saying time travel or teleportation would be nice.
The "only" thing standing in the way is the stupidity of American voters. We have the system we have because people accept it and it reflects who they are.

Contrary to what they SAY, voters don't want positive truthful campaigns run by people of integrity and character. Their minds are made up, and like the Brady Bunch, jumpsuit in hand they're looking for their "Johnny Bravo". They don't want debates that hammer out issues... they want zingers, one-liners, drama, soap operas.... they want Thunderdome.

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Old 03-20-08, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
Someone please explain to me how our current electoral system could sustain another electorally viable party? There are massive disincentives built into the system which make voting for someone other than a Democrat or Republican quite impractical, and this situation won't change unless we have a drastic overhaul of the way elections are held in this country, and the way congressional seats are assigned, not to mention dozens of other huge changes. Saying another party would be nice is like saying time travel or teleportation would be nice.
You're assuming that all three parties would be diametrically opposed to one another. In all likelihood, a third party would ally itself with another party to form a bloc, much like in European parliaments, or the three parties would compromise and split the committee seats and chairs on a percentage basis. Actually, I could easily see a third or fourth party agreeing to caucus with one of the "big" parties in exchange for some legislative concessions.

It'd work -- it wouldn't be pretty, but it'd work.

I do think that a 3rd party will much more likely happen as a schism within either the Democrats or the Republicans. Say that the moderate DLC seizes control of the Democratic party platform -- I could see the liberal base migrating en masse to some kind of Progressive Party. Similarly, if the GOP tries to become more mainstream, I could see the anti-immigrant and Christian fundamentalist blocs moving to form their own political party.
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Old 03-20-08, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
Yes - that's just what we need - another so-called party that is indistinguishable from the other 2.
It's a rare day when I get to reference both Maurice Duverger and Anthony Downs before lunch, but the simple fact that, in a Downsian two-party space with a plurality electoral system, there's no incentive for parties to do anything <i>but</i> converge in the middle.
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Old 03-20-08, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by sracer
Their minds are made up, and like the Brady Bunch, jumpsuit in hand they're looking for their "Johnny Bravo". They don't want debates that hammer out issues... they want zingers, one-liners, drama, soap operas.... they want Thunderdome.
Why do you want those things? You should be a little more open-minded.
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Old 03-20-08, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by NCMojo
You're assuming that all three parties would be diametrically opposed to one another. In all likelihood, a third party would ally itself with another party to form a bloc, much like in European parliaments, or the three parties would compromise and split the committee seats and chairs on a percentage basis.


It just ain't gonna happen. This isn't Europe. We don't have PR. We don't have a parliamentary system. You might as well say that there's a chance you could grow gills because, hey, fish have them.
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Old 03-20-08, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
It's a rare day when I get to reference both Maurice Duverger and Anthony Downs before lunch, but the simple fact that, in a Downsian two-party space with a plurality electoral system, there's no incentive for parties to do anything <i>but</i> converge in the middle.

Well I think things historically fluctuate. Further apart in 1964, 1980, etc. But there just hasn't been any sign of the distance growing for quite some time - it keeps shrinking.
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Old 03-20-08, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Thor Simpson
It's really not that difficult. You just need a viable party. I propose that party come up with a better primary system as well.
And free candy!
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Old 03-20-08, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
It's a rare day when I get to reference both Maurice Duverger and Anthony Downs before lunch, but the simple fact that, in a Downsian two-party space with a plurality electoral system, there's no incentive for parties to do anything <i>but</i> converge in the middle.
Go for the trifecta and throw out a Ken Arrow citation.
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Old 03-20-08, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan


It just ain't gonna happen. This isn't Europe. We don't have PR. We don't have a parliamentary system. You might as well say that there's a chance you could grow gills because, hey, fish have them.

"Itíll grow, Kevin. Give it time."
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Old 03-20-08, 02:11 PM
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If you had a viable 3rd party, that party would be in on the gerrymandering - right?
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Old 03-20-08, 02:17 PM
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Well, I can at least of one person who needs a new political party.
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Old 03-20-08, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
If you had a viable 3rd party, that party would be in on the gerrymandering - right?

This is a non-sequitur. To become viable they have to overcome political gerrymandering.
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Old 03-20-08, 02:45 PM
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They can't run for the state legislature?

That's where the gerrymandering for the congressional seats takes place.
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Old 03-20-08, 02:55 PM
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i don't see any point in another party

countries with lots of parties usually have 2 major ones and a score of smaller ones on the fringes and you have to make a coalition government

we have only 2 parties but each party represents the entire scope of political ideas. the way our government is set up is to do as little as possible unless there is a major consensus from everyone. people seem to forget that
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Old 03-20-08, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
They can't run for the state legislature?

That's where the gerrymandering for the congressional seats takes place.

And how are drawings for state legislature districts determined?
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