You don’t have to be partisan to vote for the party and not the person

I’ve about had it with American voters who will vote on emotion instead of reason. The final unlikely straw for me wasn’t a statement by a Clinton supporter now voting for McCain. It came when I saw the head of a Muslim group describe a two hour meeting that began with 50 people leaning towards Obama and ending with all but five saying they’d vote for McCain. Why? Because they felt Obama wasn’t paying enough attention to them.

Among a large segment of voters American politics isn’t as partisan as many seem to think it is, it’s personality driven. We’d be better off if it was party driven. Then we’d be assured that voters elected the party that most closely represented their views and values.

Instead Americans vote for personalities. They vote for a superficially perceived self-interest. There’s no critical thinking ability test voters have to pass before they register to vote and officially join the body politic.

The typical American is a propagandist’s delight, gullible and easily persuaded by mass marketing techniques.

If these Muslims were politically savvy and thought rationally about which party would respect their religion, would they vote for McCain and Palin, who may or may not believe that when the end of time comes Muslims will be left behind?

If these Muslims thought with their heads instead of their wounded hearts they would realize that anything Obama says about them will be fodder for the right wing zealots eager to emphasize his middle name, and drive a few more on the lunatic bigotry fringe to make time on election day to vote. Read related article: “Why Are Muslims Alienated from America’s Political Parties?”

Somehow it has become a badge honor to wear a big “Non-partisan” pin. instead of one that says you’re a proud Republican or Democrat. It’s supposed to show how objective you are. It’s a sign of rugged individualism. It shows how you think for yourself.

You don’t have to identify yourself as a Democrat or Republican, and even if you do, you don’t have to be 100% proud of your party. You don’t have to be dogmatic and support your party right or wrong.

Sensible voters ought to endeavor to see the big picture and support the party which best represents them.

For those who don’t want to analyze party positions, a reasonably good measure would be to look at the delegates at the Republican convention or the Democrat convention and decide which group most closely fits who they are.

This country has come a long way since George Washington became our first president with no party, John Adams was elected as a Federalist, and Thomas Jefferson was elected as a Democratic-Republican (history lesson, this was before the two split into separate parties).

Many historians say that it wasn’t until 1840 that there was a significant difference between the major parties:

The election of 1840 heralded the birth of the first true political parties in the United States. Both parties under the existing two-party system operated under slightly different constitutional interpretations; in this case, the Whigs were the liberals while the Democrats were the conservatives. Both parties were also gaining the fixtures of a true national political party:

    * they appealed to voters from all sections of the country
    * they began holding primary elections to decide on one candidate to represent their party in the presidential election
    * they began using party platforms as a succinct way to express their philosophies and stances on a variety of issues
    * they made use of the spoils system (created by Jefferson and made permanent by Jackson) as a way of rewarding party loyalty
    * they attempted to appeal to the widest section of the electorate possible and therefore avoided radical stances on most issues.

Gone were the days of disorganized factions that were only loosely allied with one another. Party bosses began keeping an iron hold on their politicians. Most importantly of all, however: in the age of Jacksonian Democracy, political parties lost the anti-democratic taint associated with them in the past and were consequently accepted as a necessary part of the burgeoning American political experiment. (Reference)

In the good old days before radio, television and the Internet most Americans learned about the candidates and their party positions from reading newspapers and no doubt discussed their leanings with friends. Very few ever had a chance to see the candidates in person. A good argument can be made that the voters who read the papers, political cartoons not withstanding, decided which candidate to support were less swayed by emotion than they are today.

If you want to work for a campaign today, instead of political science, your best choice of college major would be advertising or marketing because that’s what politics has become all about. Just ask Karl Rove.1.

19 Responses to "You don’t have to be partisan to vote for the party and not the person"

  1. Hal Brown  September 10, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    What this column is about is looking at what each party stands for and deciding to vote on which candidate will bring the policies and values you believe in to the White House.

  2. Which candidate do you want to shape the Supreme Court for years to come?
  3. Which candidate will be more likely to reverse the Bush efforts to create an imperial presidency (the unitary executive)?
  4. Which is more likely to use signing statements to subvert the intention of Congress in passing bills?
  5. Which will be more serious about our image overseas where the polls released today show that one has four times higher approval ratings than the other – and is this important to you?
  6. Which will be a statesman – and is this important to you?
  7. Which is most capable to working effectively with world leaders?
  8. Which has the native intelligence to understand complex situations?
  9. Which will assure that all Americans have the health care they need?
  10. Which will maintain the separation of church and state in everything from political appointments to family planning grants to education policies?
  11. Which will remove politics from the Justice Department?
  12. Which will get us out of Iraq?
  13. Which will keep us from engaging in preemptive wars?
  14. Whose theory of taxation and the economy do you agree with (tax cuts for the wealthy leads to jobs for the rest of us or more money in our pockets stimulates the economy)?
  15. …. I’m sure there are more but these come to mind…
  16. Whose vice president is most qualified to be president?
  • ekaton  September 10, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Which candidate do you want to shape the Supreme Court for years to come? OBAMA

    Which candidate will be more likely to reverse the Bush efforts to create an imperial presidency (the unitary executive)? NEITHER

    Which is more likely to use signing statements to subvert the intention of Congress in passing bills? BOTH

    Which will be more serious about our image overseas where the polls released today show that one has four times higher approval ratings than the other – and is this important to you? OBAMA – and NO

    Which will be a statesman – and is this important to you?
    OBAMA – and NO

    Which is most capable to working effectively with world leaders? OBAMA

    Which has the native intelligence to understand complex situations? OBAMA

    Which will assure that all Americans have the health care they need? NEITHER

    Which will maintain the separation of church and state in everything from political appointments to family planning grants to education policies? OBAMA

    Which will remove politics from the Justice Department? NEITHER

    Which will get us out of Iraq? NEITHER

    Which will keep us from engaging in preemptive wars? NEITHER

    Whose theory of taxation and the economy do you agree with (tax cuts for the wealthy leads to jobs for the rest of us or more money in our pockets stimulates the economy)? NEITHER

    Whose vice president is most qualified to be president? NEITHER

    MC CAIN – O
    BOTH – 1
    OBAMA – 6
    NEITHER – 7

    Looks like I’ll be voting for NEITHER OBAMA NOR MC CAIN.

    — Kent Shaw

  • Hal Brown  September 10, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    More – not absolutes but all of these in first list and this list are most likely or most qualified or whose views you most agree with. I should have stated that clearly. Also this is a forced choice questionnaire, “neither” is not allowed. However, it is optional to add whether the questions matter to you and how much.

    Here’s the full questionnaire with the first part revised slightly:

  • Which candidate do you want to shape the Supreme Court for years to come?
  • Which candidate will be more likely to reverse the Bush efforts to create an imperial presidency (the unitary executive)?
  • Which is more likely to use signing statements to subvert the intention of Congress in passing bills?
  • Which will be be more likely to to be more serious about our image overseas (where the polls released today show that one has four times higher approval ratings than the other)?
  • Which will be be more likely to be a statesman on the world stage
  • Which is most capable to working effectively with world leaders?
  • Which has the most native intelligence to understand complex situations?
  • Which will be more likely to assure that all Americans have the health care they need?
  • Which will be more likely to maintain the separation of church and state in everything from political appointments to family planning grants to education policies?
  • Which will be more likely to remove politics from the Justice Department?
  • Which will be more likely to get us out of Iraq?
  • Which will be more likely to keep us from engaging in preemptive wars?
  • Whose theory of taxation and the economy do you agree with the most (tax cuts for the wealthy leads to jobs for the rest of us or more money in our pockets stimulates the economy)?
  • …. I’m sure there are more but these come to mind…
  • Whose vice president will be most qualified to be president?
  • >
    ..added>

  • Which president will work best with Congress?
  • Which president is less likely to use religious or party affiliation in appointing people, for example to head agencies like FEMA or be U.S. attorneys, but will appoint the most competent?
  • Who will be more likely to be calmer under stress?
  • Which is most likely to either die in office of natural causes or suffer mental deterioration?
  • Which candidate will be more likely to appoint highly qualified people from the other party to responsible positions, including of course National Security Direcotr, Attorney General, Secretaries of State, Defense, Homeland Security and Treasury, and directors of the FBI, NSA and CIA?
  • Which candidate respects women more?
  • Which candidate has more empathy for people less fortunate than he is?
  • Which is more accepting of alternative life styles including sexual preference?
  • Which candidate’s public personal is more consistent with his private self?
  • Which candidate understands the value of scientific research and education to both our society in general and to our economy?
  • Which is most likely to pander to the religious right?
  • Which is most likely to make decisions favoring special interest groups like mega-corporations, including big pharmacy and oil, and the NRA?
  • Excluding terrorism, who has the best overall grasp of how the world – including the United States – has changed in the past 10 – 20 years?
  • Who best understands the underlying causes of terrorism?
  • Who is most likely to protect the United States from acts of terrorism?
  • Who would you rather have at your house for an informal visit?
  • Lillibet  September 9, 2008 at 6:42 am

    Think Choice Point, think Republican…

    Rove used his sophomoric trick to bolster his R-Cred, and his rocket soared in the party. It was the beginning of the dirty tricks in the extreme, for Republican operatives. Think breaking into the Watergate, the cover-up, the Constitutional Crises, (and yes I meant the plural.)

    Following on this spate of nastiness, Reagan got in, the October surprise happened, and we had ongoing Constitutional Crises, including Iran-Contra.

    Those same players are in government to this day.

    That said, the Republicans have been able to induce societal amnesia about their sordid, law and rule-breaking past. They have coopted the “brand”, by proclaiming themselves as “good, Bible believing, Christians”, and the masses of real, Bible believing Christians, swallow the line. Actually, they swallow the lies, hook, line and sinker.

    What these governing Christianists proclaim by their deeds, is that once saved, always saved, and any deeds between the moment of “conversion” to death, doesn’t count. It’s just too bad these self-proclaimed Christians haven’t actually read the Bible. God, in his infinite wisdom, doesn’t offer such a free for all, and the ensuing mayhem, as an attractive side or, or desirable effect of, Christian faith.

    And so, the branding is complete. It’s just that the believing masses are suffering some mass hypnosis, and are gullible enough to believe that anyone proclaiming themselves as a ‘good Christian’ would never break laws and rules, wholesale, and declare it good. The problem is breaking the shell of these wholly owned Republican faithful, and opening their eyes to the reality that WWJB* is not the right question.

    The ability to extract the Republican brand from the false reality of Choice Point, and other directed marketing, is almost an impossible task with the few weeks remaining before the election.

    *That WWJB stands for “who would Jesus bomb”.

    Lillibet

  • Hal Brown  September 9, 2008 at 9:11 am

    ChoicePoint, for those who don’t know:

    is a data aggregation company based in Alpharetta, near Atlanta, Georgia, USA, that acts as a private intelligence service to government and industry.

    ChoicePoint combines personal data sourced from multiple public and private databases for sale to the government and the private sector. The firm maintains more than 17 billion records of individuals and businesses, which it sells to an estimated 100,000 clients, including 7,000 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies (30 March 2005 estimates).
    (From Wikipedia)

    According to Daily Kos, ChoicePoint is a very Republican organization. They note that “Kathleen Harris managed to purge thousands of voters from the registration rolls? The company that sold this data to Ms. Harris was DataBase Technology (DBT)/ChoicePoint. Choicepoint was hired by Florida’s Secretary of State to purge felons from the Florida registers.” Here’s more from 2000:

    Florida is the only state in the nation to contract the first stage of removal of voting rights to a private company. And ChoicePoint has big plans. “Given the outcome of our work in Florida,” says Fagan, “and with a new president in place, we think our services will expand across the country.”

    Especially if that president is named “Bush.” ChoicePoint’s board and executive roster are packed with Republican stars, including billionaire Ken Langone, a company director who was chairman of the fund-raising committee for New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s aborted run against Hillary Rodham Clinton. Langone is joined at ChoicePoint by another Giuliani associate, former New York Police Commissioner Howard Safir. And Republican power lobbyist and former congressman Vin Weber lobbies for ChoicePoint in Washington. Just before his death in 1998, Rick Rozar, president of a Choicepoint company, CDB Infotek, donated $100,000 to the Republican Party. Read More

  • Hal Brown  September 9, 2008 at 9:17 am

    Palin’s Book Ban List –

    this has been debunked by Snopes. While this list has gone all over the Internet it is false.

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/palin/bannedbooks.asp

  • Lillibet  September 9, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    A little repost of the link is going to be good here. Thanks so much. It doesn’t work on my system at all. Could you please post a link another way? Thanks so much. Lillibet

  • Elmo  September 9, 2008 at 10:02 am

    The Republican Party seems to have mastered the concept of Marketing which the Democratic Party has failed to grasp. How else to explain people who continue to vote against their own interests? How else to explain people who continue to vote for candidates from the party that represents the economic elite while castigating the opposition as a group of elitists?

    I hope our children are able to forgive us even though we have given them no reason to do so.

  • Hal Brown  September 9, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Great Palin marketing!

    Latest poll shows she’s more popular than Biden (LINK). Of course. They figured it right despite her tragic-comedic picture of her becoming president if McCain succumbs to the actuarial odd and dies or can’t function as president.

    More Americans would feel more comfortable with her in their house and in the White House than with Biden.

    Here’s what blogger John Lorenz says:

    The only thing one can conclude is that McCain voters must be a political, quasi-religious cult, of knee-jerk, brainwashed followers who will use underhanded tactics, dirty tricks, savage attacks that tell the public lies in order to win by crook since they can’t win by hook with strength of ideas. If the news media would report on things fairly, the whole country would see that their party is intellectually and morally bankrupt. But with the media’s help, the Repubicans can have it both ways. They can talk loftily of bipartisanship, then allow their team to savage their opponents with things that aren’t even true..

    One would think they wouldn’t do this since this is precisely how Mr. Bush destroyed McCain’s candidacy in the 2000 primaries, with the help of the Karl Rove’s team that Mr. McCain now uses to run his own campaign.

    READ ENTIRE POST

    Too many of us are brainwashed. I despair.

  • sherry  September 10, 2008 at 1:22 am

    I am now joining my esteemed friend, T J Flapsaddle in the popcorn section. Since I am joining him there, I plan to take the liberty of throwing bits occasionally.
    Just today, there was the lipstick on a pig comment. A shocked, dismayed and devastated McCain camp demanded an apology.
    The Obama camp responded the McCain camp is playing the gender card.
    Obama my friend, karma is indeed a bitch.

  • pollchecker  September 10, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Just today, there was the lipstick on a pig comment.

    That comment was originally used by McCain in October 07 when talking about Hillary Clinton’s health care plan!

  • Hal Brown  September 10, 2008 at 8:03 am

    One liners are for us,

    I hate to see them used by the candidates on both sides. Aside from the fact that Palin delivers them better (I’d rank Biden, Obama and McCain as far behind in this order and to her credit I think Clinton avoided them).

    You can put lipstick on a pig,” he said. “It’s still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It’s still gonna stink.

    Obama yesterday

    These canned lines reduce the campaign to slogans. They distract the media from reporting on issues.

    The Republican marketers have gotten Obama talking about cosmetics, barnyard animals, and fish.

    They have him demonstrating that his oratorical skills don’t extend into Don Rickles territory. Alas, too many American like insult humor. Palin is a cross between Joan Rivers and Doris Day.

    The Palin effect now has the pundits saying she’d still be an obscure governor if Obama had Clinton as his running mate.

    Essentially, Obama would be cleaning McCain’s clock in the polls if he had played the gender card first in HIS selection of a running mate.

  • pollchecker  September 10, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Obama needs to stop addressing McCain’s lies and talk about what he is going to do for Americans. Let the press tear apart the Republican lies.

    There must be something wrong when even the candidates best friends won’t say if they will vote for them. If Palin, is so great among women, why is it her friends are NOT 100% behind her and on the McCain/Palin rah, rah line? Watch for yourself at the link below.

    ABC Interviews Palin’s “Closest Friends,” But Most Won’t Say They’re Voting For Her

  • sherry  September 10, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Hillary and Obama would have been unstoppable. Obama however was both naive and arrogant, which may prove costly for him and the country.

  • Hal Brown  September 10, 2008 at 11:25 am

    McCain surrogate book title too:

    “Lipstick on a Pig: Winning In the No-Spin Era by Someone Who Knows the Game” by Torie Clarke.

    Torrie Clarke (from Wikipedia): served inthree Republican presidential administrations, most notably as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs under Donald Rumsfeld and has been a close colleague of Mary Matalin since the Reagan administration.

    “She was a close advisor to Arizona Senator John McCain from the earliest days of his Congressional career.” LINK with her photo.

  • sherry  September 10, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    80 per cent approval ratings don’t really support that, but whatever makes you happy. She balanced a budget. Had a surplus. I don’t know how I feel about her, but apparently Alaskans have a pretty good feeling

  • Lillibet  September 10, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    “Let the press tear apart the Republican lies.”

    What???

    Pardon me while I pick myself up from the floor, laughing.

    But seriously…

    The press are the controlled propaganda wing of the Republican party. They are the spreaders of, endorsers of, and non-vetters of lies. Had the press asked the serious questions, we’d know more about 911, the run up to Iraq, the pending Iran debacle, and the reason Afghanistan invasion was planned from, at least, May, 2001. If they had been on top of anything, we’d have heard more about blanket wiretapping, which began in February 2001.

    We cannot leave anything to the press for we don’t have a viable and functioning press any longer in this country, and probably in the entire world. As a result, Americans are the least informed, and most entertained, populace on the planet. (Thank you Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.) It is independent sites, independent journalists, that are the only ones looking at, and into, matters of crucial importance.

    The Democrats are way behind in the politics of the personal, and in appealing to high authoritarian personalities, such as the right wing. Liberals are also not skilled enough at the winning at any cost, any means justified if the end goal is achieved, politics.

    It is a good thing not to stoop to such attack tactics. It would be a better thing to be able to defeat them, and to make those engaging in them, obviously unfit to lead, especially in the minds of the very people to whom these tactics appeal. Lillibet

  • Hal Brown  September 10, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Buying popularity is easy –

    just send thousands of dollars to every adult in your state. So is balancing a budget when you have a big surplus. Few state governors have that luxury.

    Why is Alaska so flush with money? It’s a three letter word. Their biggest cash crop. Hint, it begins with O and ends with L. The letter in the middle represents the ego of the chief executive who did much of her governing from home.

    A ticket of Clinton and Obama, in either order, would have been unstoppable. We’ll have to wait until Obama has retired from politics and writes his memoirs before we know what his reasons for not selecting her really were.

    If he looses I have little doubt he will be doing a lot of soul searching about that decision.

    On another topic, I get a kick out of how our own former governor here in Massachusetts, Jane Swift, is now all over the TV news as one of the Palin pit bulls. Swift was even more unpopular in Massachusetts than Palin is popular in Alaska. Her ratings here dipped into the single digits.

  • ekaton  September 10, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    “We’ll have to wait until Obama has retired from politics and writes his memoirs before we know what his reasons for not selecting her really were.”

    I believe it is because he knew Bill Clinton would be absolutely incapable of not meddling in Obama’s administration. Obama would have become virtually subordinate to the Clintons.

    The ONLY reason I’ll consider voting for Obama is because I am terrified of what McCain/Palin will do to the Supreme Court.

    — Kent Shaw

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