Photo credit: @julesdwit.
A not-for-profit media organization supported by people like you.
2010 Election Coverage, Every Day at 11am
Gene Chaas, Northeastern region vice-chair of the Modern Whig Party, discusses his political party's resurgent popularity, and its place in contemporary politics.
Absolutely Mr. Moore, the use of run off elections and even the efficacy of the electoral college is something modern Whigs are putting on the table as possible areas of reform to move the Republic back to more direct contol by its citizens.
Not moving toward a pure participatory democracy, history proves that to be unstable and that is not what our Republic stands for.
Yet, it is clearly the nature of our representation, and the institutions that support the status quo that we wish to effectively dissolve in order to provide representation more in line with the wishes of an informed citizenry. We acknolwedge diversity in our body politic, but yet are trying to recreate new institutions of participation that honor our diversity yet look towards common ground and more intelligent policy solutions sans power politics hubris, in order to reform to a more perfect union.
Yes Mr. Moore, you are understanding the depth of what has to change here to get the Republic fuinctioning more along the lines of what it began as. As Brian said, our group is off to a slow start, as esposing a deep epistomological revolution amongst the body politic is not a "sound byte sell".
We're focused on the nature of participation and representation, and folks still ask me what our views on abortion are.
Our governments would likely be much more effective if they were agnostic on issues of religious morality such as abortion or gay rights yet remained keenly focused on good LONG TERM public policy.
I viewed last years vote on same sex union in New York as almost laughable as our NYS representatives became instant moralists.
What gives your elected representatives, at the state or national level, the right to "preach" to you? Whether you have very traditional morals, or not, Whigs would argue that the very nature of that debate in government produces division, and we argue, is beyond the purveiew of what government is there to do.
But those moral debates undeniably keep the staus quo in force, Tea Party movements notwithstanding.
Its the "divide and conquor" strategy of the current bipartisan power structure, veiled as a debate on the moral underpinnings of the nation. Might be that we , in government, should speak only to ETHICS, which holds a tremendous amount of common ground amongst the citizens, and leave morals to our families, churches, synagouges and mosques.
Notwithstanding the merits or otherwise of the Whig Party, is it time to consider an electoral system which will free the US from the fossilizing and polarizing two party system? I am sure that the 'staus quo' will rail against coalitions but many modern countries operate rather well on them. The prospect of another session of one party in power being obstructed by the party not in power is not very encouraging. The two party system, whilst it serves those two parties well is simply a form of democratic dictatorship and disenfranchises those who don't feel drawn 100% to either party. Is the electorate here mature enough to be able to manage choices more than two? I wonder.
One more point which may help illustrate what Whigs are here to do. Read some of Thomas Friedman's pieces on political participation and polarization of the electorate. I find his outlook very much in line with the participatory issues we Whigs see, and which we are endeavoring to solve through discussions of process and method, and a new "tool set" for the participatory citizen.
We do very much feel that our mission is no more than empowering the citizens to properly manage their Republic, on a more direct basis, and limiting the use of proxies and agents such as polcitical parties.
We Whigs very much heed the warnings given to us by our first president during his inaugural address regarding relinquishing control of the Republic to political parties.
They have become the demogouges as President Washington warned us they would.
We offer a solution that isnt a sound byte, or even looks like a traditional party platform. To some, it may not make sense, as they still "see" using the old truths, the old paradigms, those that have been deemed broken by rich and poor alike.
Peter, to mess with the revenue side of the federal ledger at a time when there is a real threat of losing AAA status is foolish. The near term effect of Fair Tax IS NOT a deficit reduction. My point was, imprudent fiscal management has precluded the option at this time as we cannot revamp the revenue side under conditions of GROSS deficit spending. Don't shoot the messenger.
The other side of the Fair Tax, expenditures, is actually the most interesting, and my report suggested that we look at some of the payments side which could be implemented without a disruption in the cash flows.
In fact, from a political systems point of view, Whigs found the expenditure side of the Fair Tax proposals much more interesting and relevant.
To Alvin, in fact this State Block Grant scheme comes from the Fair Tax proposals. Socialist? Hardly. If you want to somehow arrest the reach of the federal government, wouldn't a block allocation of "pork" to the states on a per capita basis ( using the proper equations to balance inflows from the states) make some sense.
Socialism? ??? More like Consitutionalism. Or anti-Jacksonian Constitutionalism!
Yet, I caution all of you to be mindlful of catch all labels. That type of reductionism has led us to the rabbit hole of government we are in today.
Calling a group who's overriding mission is to re-empower our citizens to better maintain THEIR Republic as socialists is, well, illogical.
AS a Veteran whose area of responsibility was the Middle East, I take some offense to Alvin's assumption of stupidity.
But lets look at what is really stupid. Our main sources of oil are Canada, then Saudi Arabia, Mexico, then Venezuela.
Seems there is a OPEC producer on that list.
The real stupidity. Modern Whigs link energy Independence, nat'l security AND economy as one econometric model, a simulatneous system, if you will.
Now, if we were to asume the most perjorative opinion regarding our policy towards the middle east, to protect oil supplies, I ask this question:
If we were to factor in the total cost to the U.S. Government of "protecting oil suplies", and leave the discussion of what our noble sons' and daughters' lives are worth at a measly $100,000, then as a taxpayer and inheritor of future debt, what EXACTLY is the REAL cost of gasoline to me, a U.S. CItizen, at the pump?
$3 a gallon? Calculate again.
Certianly we dont see it like that, but most assuredly, if we want our citizens to get serious about conservation and alternatives, we really ought to, shouldn't we.
Instead we get a sound byte, "Drill Baby Drill" as a proxy for a comprehensive policy.
We Whigs beleive the U.S. Department of Energy should be strategically reviewed from top to bottom in light of their original task. The younger generation has a term they use " epic fail". Indeed.
This guy has no positions, only oppositional tag lines. E.g. his rejection of the VAT makes no sense - it would DECREASE precisely the public deficits that he refers to. He cheapens the concept of whigs. Please balance this coverage with someone with substantive, logical, defensible positions on the issues.
These guys don't understand reality. For example (based on their Web site):1. Re-distribute Federally-collected funds to states based on population: This is socialism. The Modern Whigs don't even understand that rich states such as NY and NJ send far more to Washington than they get back, while states such as Texas, Alaska, and some Southern states are subsidized.2. They say, "We rely on the OPEC cartel for our oil." Um, not really. We get most of our oil from domestic and non-OPEC sources. Can the guest even name those non-OPEC countries? (Nope, Venezuela isn't one; it's an OPEC member.)3. "Clean coal"? I once worked for several years for the largest private consumer of coal in the country (which I challenge the guest to name), and I can tell you that it "ain't gonna happen". Oh, and the states he mentioned as big sources of coal produce HIGH-sulfur coal. Scrubbers aren't practical for that coal.4. National Security: It's a big world out there, and Iraq and Afghanistan are only a small part of it. What about policies toward China, Iran, India?I could come up with more, but I haven't finished reading their site.
Email addresses are required but never displayed.
Brian Lehrer leads the conversation about what matters most now in local and national politics, our own communities and our lives.
Subscribe on iTunes
WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820 are New York's flagship public radio
stations, broadcasting the finest programs from NPR and PRI, as well as a wide range of award-winning local
programming. WNYC is a division of
New York Public Radio.