As much as our national media deserves criticism, a central focus in my book, some are at least offering alternative candidates airtime. Chuck Todd interviewed Rocky Anderson when he announced the formation of the Justice Party, Joe Scarborough invited Buddy Roemer on Morning Joe, with George Stephenopoulos the latest, though there are other examples as well. Our media is starting to at least acknowledge what’s going on outside the establishment bubble, which is important, because free media can at least get these candidates and the cause to challenge the status quo into the national conversation.
Stephen Colbert easily got as much time as Rick Perry on ABC’s “This Week,” now back with George Stephanopoulos at the helm. In the race against Romney, one of the most hilarious and effective counter intuitive punches was leveled by Colbert today through “Mitt the Ripper,” making a mockery of both sides where Mitt Romney is concerned. It had the added virtue and punch of representing what Ron Paul is doing, but also, if to a much lesser extent, Rocky Anderson and Gary Johnson.
Colbert satirizes the over the top tactics to make Mitt Romney the target of all that ails our country, our economy and the corporate tactics that are taking down the middle class. Colbert’s satirical attack on Romney also has the credibility of not only representing Newt Gingrich’s banchee Bain cry, but also partisan Democrats who have their heads in the sand about their own side’s culpability where crony capitalism is concerned, which I wrote about this past week.
Colbert’s super PAC, which was re-named The Definitely Not Coordinated With Stephen Colbert Super PAC after Colbert announced his exploratory committee, launched an ad in South Carolina this week labeling Mitt Romney a “serial killer.”
The Colbert super PAC ad is an obvious spoof of anti-Romney ads being run by the pro-Newt Gingrich super PAC in the Palmetto State. Gingrich has said any untrue statements should be removed from the ad, but, because the PAC does not coordinate with Gingrich, it has refused to re-edit the ads, which some say stretch the truth about Romney’s time at Bain Capital.
Colbert took a similar tone, saying he had “nothing to do” with the “serial killer” ads.
“I am not calling anyone a serial killer,” Colbert said. “That’s not my super PAC.”
On the other side, seriously challenging whether other conservative candidates are an alternative, there is Ron Paul. His anti-war, non-interventionist foreign policy is resonating with young people like no candidate in decades, which is wrapped in an economic message that’s simple and clear.
Paul’s candidacy has brought about a real battle inside progressive circles on the power and potential of Ron Paul’s influence in 2012, with a growing number of anti-war progressives willing to forgive clear issues Dr. Paul raises about his aversion to any safety net, his libertarian notions of freedom and liberty that don’t apply to women, as well as his states rights flippancy on civil rights. However, it’s close to inarguable that anyone who wants a real shift in the way we handle our foreign policy and economic policy, both of which are crippling what we can do here at home, has a real reason to consider voting for Ron Paul, since there will always be points of disagreements on any candidate chosen. The one thing you can say about Paul is that he’s the most philosophically consistent and transparent politician in the race today.
The pressing issues of 2012 include the erosion of civil liberties, which Pres. Obama and Democrats have approved, going along with Bush-Cheney neoconservatism terrorism polices, as well as the model of regime change. Economically, Obama, Democrats, Republicans and the majority of conservatives still approve of deep foreign intervention and a cascade of military involvement. Both parties evidently are convinced that America’s economic engine depends on defense expenditures, which is as frighting a thought as it is plausibly true. When it comes to priorities, neither Democrats or Republicans are offering an answer.
Robin Koerner wrote about the challenges in 2012 last summer on Huffington Post. Here’s an excerpt:
If you’ve read my other pieces, you already know who he is. But if not, you should also know that Ron Paul has voted to let states make their own laws on abortion, gay marriage etc. and to let individuals follow their own social conscience — even when he disagrees with them (as I disagree with him on some of these issues). In other words, he is consistent in his beliefs in civil liberty.
If you are a Democrat, and you sit tight and vote Democrat again “because you’ve always been a Democrat” or because you think that some group with which you identity will benefit more from Democrat programs than a Republican one, then that is up to you, and I wish you well. But don’t you dare pretend that you are motivated primarily by peace, civil rights or a government that treats people equally.
Obama fans and Democratic voters say in emails and tweets to me all the time that they’re “trapped” and have no choice but to vote for another Obama term. If you choose to vote for another 4 years of Democratic capitulation to conservatism, fiscal profligacy that benefits the 1%, and foreign policy intervention and militarism, that’s your choice. Go for it, just don’t say you have no choices.
Another issue is the American electorate is still comprised of a majority of people who are embarrassed about being associated with candidates who are outside the system. People want to be associated with the winner and outsiders like Ron Paul, Rocky Anderson, Gary Johnson or any other politician taking on the establishment can’t win, because the money is stacked against them. When the American electorate won’t step outside their self-imposed partisan boxes they construct a self-fulfilling prophecy.
A couple of emails from people on the subject, one on Rocky Anderson’s candidacy: “does Anderson/JUSTICE grab you?”
One person wrote the following, with an accompanying link that encourages Democrats to register Republican to support Ron Paul and send a message:
Interesting idea from “George Washington” blog: to get the issues of war, civil liberties at least debated, register Republican one time only, vote Ron Paul in Rep. Primary. Then figure out what to do in the general.. –link provided in email went to this text–
Forget what you’ve been taught … the mainstream Democrats and mainstream Republicans are virtually identical on all core matters.
Obama, Gingrich, Romney and the whole sorry lot are for more war, for further crackdowns on our Constitutional liberties, and for giving the Federal Reserve all of the unchecked power that it wants.
Don’t fall for the old divide-and-conquer trick.
Whatever you may think of Ron Paul, he has consistently championed three core American for three decades. Paul has consistently argued for the following three positions which Americans overwhelmingly favor:
- Stop the never-ending, open-ended, goalpost-moving wars
- Restore our liberties, and stop the march towards martial law, indefinite detention idiocy, and the crack down on the Internet
- Rein in or abolish the Federal Reserve
- None of the other Republican (or Democratic) candidates support these positions, and the mainstream media has done everything it can to try to squelch debate on these issues.
Somewhere between Stephen Colbert calling Mitt Romney a “serial killer,” with the Democrats mimicking that cry without any hint of irony of their own crony capitalism, and Ron Paul’s power with many people, it’s clear no matter what the eventual outcome is in November that the 20th century paradigm of two party rule is being challenged in fundamental ways that could over time bring about its replacement.
Obama fans charge that this conversation is actually about trying to depress the vote, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Others posit that it’s about voting or starting a third party, which is part of the small thinking that permeates our political discourse, because choices outside the establishment parties exist today, with the options stronger and more viable than they’ve ever been.
The intent of this conversation is to inspire and empower people to think about their vote and what it means when they cast it for either Democrats or Republicans, considering what each represent. Both of these establishment parties are bought and paid for by corporations and Wall Street, as are their institutional backers. All part of the blind partisan pack who either squeal “Obama is a socialist” or contend Romney is a “serial killer” capitalist, while railing at Ron Paul as a wacko or worse to make you embarrassed about your vote, simply because Paul and others are outsiders taking on the status quo.
Consider being a change agent instead of a person captive to the marketing of change, which comes from both sides.
Americans for a Better Tomorrow Tomorrow, a Super PAC not associated with Stephen Colbert’s South Carolina presidential campaign, is not responsible for this message.