November 26, 2005

politics as unusual

When the Reform Party came back to Oregon in 1996, there was a mixture of adherents of the Perot ’92 campaign and a group of people who had spent time building the American Party. When the Perotistas left in 1992, there were the by-laws battles and a senate campaign and a lot of grass roots effort. The Eugene liberals and the dissatisfied Constitutional constituency fell out over campaign strategy, so by the time Varney arrived to organize the national Reform Party, the influx of people was sorely needed.

Well, the 1996 election campaign had none of the vim and vigor of the 1992 campaign. The perot gang had it howdt for dick lamm and jesse ventura, the new rising stars of the political movement. The grass roots versus texas organization internal battle came to a head in dearborn michigan in 1998, and the gargan revolution might have worked if the mini-dictator in charge had not tried to use ross’s bully pulpit to beat up the perot faction. But to go from one ram-rod to another was disheartening, the buchanan influence alighted and the grass roots scorched rather than being told what to do.

The other momentum that overcame this action was the amount of free work required from the dedicated volunteers to organize politically rather than to discuss and debate issues. As an elected party officer, I must have spent a thousand hours doing the bidding of the Oregon secretary of state, jumping thought the hoops of ever changing ballot access laws and interpretations. Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News, has described in detail over the years the play of this shifting field of quicksand. As long as the state can float the rules, all the people with fiduciary responsibility for the organization can be distracted from the real work of people building.

So, after reading Jim Wilson’s blog today about his frustration with the mechanism of defending Libertarianism instead of defining libertarianism, I decided to commiserate with the idea of forming the Party Party. The official meetings are at 4:20 daily and can be held by any number of people who are temporary officers for the duration of the meeting. At the end of the party, the Party folds, to be started at the next time that people need to party. Unofficial meeting can be held whenever, and the bylaws are that the people at the Party Party meeting must talk about getting the immediate party started and getting Party Party elected and the state off our backs.

Just think of the different POV that we can add to the game by having people change their voter registration to the Party party. At first, they will shove us into the "I" category and take away the right to play in the primaries. But – when Dr. Lenny wants to run as an "I" for commissioner, the state rules will not allow him to even begin to collect ballot access signatures until after the game is played out in the over-hyped major party primary to decide the two republican lemmings (one in democratic coveralls) that will square off in the officially sanctioned November farce. So rather than focus on candidates - let's have the Party Party open the big political hog trough to everyone, rather than just the elected leaders in washington DC. Which of course will end the party at taxpayer expense!

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