Jonathan Alter political movement designed to activate netizens so they will have more impact in the 2008 presidential election. His premise is sound:a new
He said that successful presidents have all skillfully exploited the dominant medium of their times. The Founders were eloquent writers in the age of pamphleteering. Franklin D. Roosevelt restored hope in 1933 by mastering radio. And John F. Kennedy was the first president elected because of his understanding of television.
Will 2008 bring the first Internet president? Last time, Howard Dean and later John Kerry showed that the whole idea of “early money” is now obsolete in presidential politics. The Internet lets candidates who catch fire raise millions in small donations practically overnight. That’s why all the talk of Hillary Clinton’s “war chest” making her the front runner for 2008 is the most hackneyed punditry around. Money from wealthy donors remains the essential ingredient in most state and local campaigns, but “free media” shapes the outcome of presidential races, and the Internet is the freest media of all.
Then he goes on to describe a new group and their plan to impact the 2008 elections:
To begin busting up the dumb system we have for selecting presidents, a bipartisan group will open shop this week at Unity08.com. This Internet-based third party is spearheaded by three veterans of the antique 1976 campaign: Democrats Hamilton Jordan and Gerald Rafshoon helped get Jimmy Carter elected; Republican Doug Bailey did media for Gerald Ford before launching the political TIP SHEET Hotline. They are joined by the independent former governor of Maine, Angus King, and a collection of idealistic young people who are also tired of a nominating process that pulls the major party candidates to the extremes. Their hope: to get even a fraction of the 50 million who voted for the next American Idol to nominate a third-party candidate for president online and use this new army to get him or her on the ballot in all 50 states. The idea is to go viral””or die. “The worst thing that could happen would be for a bunch of old white guys like us to run this,” Jordan says.
The Unity08 plan is for an online third-party convention in mid-2008, following the early primaries. Any registered voter could be a delegate; their identities would be confirmed by cross-referencing with voter registration rolls (which would also prevent people from casting more than one ballot). That would likely include a much larger number than the few thousand primary voters who all but nominate the major party candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire. This virtual process will vote on a centrist platform and nominate a bipartisan ticket. The idea is that even if the third-party nominee didn’t win, he would wield serious power in the ’08 election, which will likely be close.
The key problem becomes more obvious when one looks at the Unity08 site:
Goal One is the election of a Unity Ticket for President and Vice-President of the United States in 2008 ““ headed by a woman and/or man from each major party or by an independent who presents a Unity Team from both parties.
While they claim they wish to get rid of the major party extremes, such a concept is likely to draw more moderates. The Republicans a Democrat would support or the Democrats a Republican would support are very likely to be moderate. Take a look at some of the issues moderates have a history of supporting: the McCain-Feingold Bill, increased spending, the Iraq War, the Patriot Act. What America needs is not watered down tyranny, but extremism in defense of liberty.
I applaud the mechanism but am fearful of this particular result. H/T to Ken H.