Monday, April 25, 2005

Moose Fantasy

A respected political columnist toys with a Moose's fantasy.

To the chagrin and aggravation of some donkeys and elephants, the Moose grazes in the political center. As a registered Independent, the Moose is not alone - almost of a third of the electorate does not identify with either party. At this point, however, the Moose clearly identifies more with the donkey as the GOP is deeply corrupted by its commitment to big money.

However, the Moose is frustrated by the petty partisan polarization of American politics. That division is reflected in the blogosphere with most of the major blogs slavishly, annoyingly and predictably devoted to the left or the right.

But could the Internet give birth to a centrist third party insurgency? That is the question addressed in a fascinating and important column in today's Los Angeles Times by Ron Brownstein titled Internet, Polarized Politics Create an Opening for a Third Party. He writes,

"The Internet is a leveling force. It diffuses power and empowers new competitors to challenge old arrangements...

"The Internet could allow an independent candidate to more easily identify an audience and financial base, just as it has allowed blogs like the liberal Daily Kos or conservative InstaPundit to find a community of like-minded readers. More precisely, the Internet has allowed readers to find those blogs. And because the audience mostly finds the product, rather than the other way around, the cost of entering the market is radically reduced."

And even more interesting, Brownstein quotes Deaniac Joe Trippi on the potential of the Internet and the current partisan polarization fueling a third party bid,

"We are now moving toward a very dangerous place for both parties," he says. "It is becoming much more possible for an independent or third party to emerge because they are leaving so much space in the middle."

As Mooseketeers can imagine, these words are the equivalent of a springtime mating call for the Moose. After describing some the hurdles that would face a third party candidate, Brownstein concludes,

"Yet if the two parties continue on their current trajectories, the backdrop for the 2008 election could be massive federal budget deficits, gridlock on problems like controlling healthcare costs, furious fights over ethics and poisonous clashes over social issues and Supreme Court appointments. A lackluster economy that's squeezing the middle-class seems a reasonable possibility too.

"In such an environment, imagine the options available to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) if he doesn't win the 2008 Republican nomination, and former Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, now that he's dropped his flirtation with running for mayor of New York. If the two Vietnam veterans joined for an all-maverick independent ticket, they might inspire a gold rush of online support - and make the two national parties the latest example of the Internet's ability to threaten seemingly impregnable institutions."

Perhaps, this is a case of synchronicity but this is what the Moose wrote in the Washington Post almost three years ago,

"Over the past 20 years, both parties have become annoyingly homogeneous -- marginalizing Republican moderates and Democratic conservatives. That is why my dream presidential ticket for 2004 would feature John McCain and Bob Kerrey, two mavericks who defy the prevailing wisdom of their respective parties."

If the two parties don't get their act together, it is indeed within the realm of possibility that the Internet could fuel a most historic insurgency in American history - a successful cyberspace third party Presidential bid.

My, its getting hot in the blogosphere - maybe the Moose is in heat!
-- Posted at 8:29 AM | Link to this post | Email this post