Those of us watching the Zeese for Senate race in Maryland knew that it would be tough for him to gain Libertarian Party support, but I would not have guessed how close the vote was going to be. I hadn’t seen Zeese since shortly after the Nader/Badnarik campaigns were winding down. He looked (and sounded) good on stage. I think he’s lost a few pounds, and he certainly seemed younger than he did while we were doing press conferences and interviews on the Ohio recount efforts. I probably look a bit younger than I did then, too. It was an exhausting time for everyone in third party presidential campaigns, but the Nader crew (because of the ballot access stuff) may have had it the toughest.
While he runs a left-libertarian campaign, most of his positions fall within the normal range of other anti-war Libertarian candidates. Nationalized healthcare (which Zeese supports) is the issue which could have done him in, and almost did. Zeese never hid his position from the Maryland Libertarian Party convention. Instead, he argued that there may be better solutions — he was “all ears” about them — but finds a socialized plan superior to the fascist plan in existence today. He made some valid points, but missed on others, IMO. While I’m a political incrementalist, I don’t think the free market solution is totally DOA (within the American political scene — obviously I prefer the free market solution philosophically) and would have much prefered that option — but I don’t live in Maryland and had no say in that matter.
He impressed the audience with the fact that he may have three different lines on the ballot (Populist, Green and Libertarian) while the Republican and Democratic candidates will only have one each. As one might surmise, the MD legislature is working hard to ensure this does not happen.
Doris Gordon (no relation — sort of reminds me of Helen Thomas, at times) asked her typical questions about abortion. There was no real hawk oppostion, although I know a couple people in the room who (at least at one time) supported the Iraq War.
NOTA was nominated, and Zeese won by a fraction of a vote. As I understand it, it takes 60% of the vote to be nominated in MD, and Zeese pulled it out with 60.8%.
“Voters are uniting to challenge the two old parties. Both parties have higher negative ratings than positive ratings, voters do not see either as having solutions to their problems, see them as equally corrupt and the vast majority feel unrepresented,” said Zeese. “We need a positive vision that represents the interests of Maryland voters and works for their welfare. Voters across the political spectrum are uniting for positive change.”
A Gallup Poll this week found that the largest group of U.S. voters consider themselves independent of the two parties — 38% consider themselves independent, while 33% consider themselves Democrats and 29% consider themselves Republicans. In Maryland the fastest growing group of voters are registering independent of the two parties.
“Despite differences on issues like health care, Libertarians recognize that we agree many issues. This includes the need to withdraw from Iraq, end the failed drug war, stop corporate welfare, protect and expand civil liberties as well as reinvigorate our democracy with more choices, more parties and more candidates for voters,” said Zeese. “We are coming together with disaffected Democrats and Republicans, to present voters with a candidate that answers to them, not to corporate donors.”
For good or bad, Zeese is now the duly decided candidate of the Maryland Libertarian Party. He’s a damned sight better than Kweisi Mfume — who is favored in this race at the moment. With Zeese’s very long list of credentials, media access, name recognition, and the fusion-style campaign — he has a chance of doing fairly well in his race. My wife and I wish him the best of luck — however, she’s a medical doctor and is more than willing to take the time to speak with Kevin about his healthcare position. I’ll add that I see this as a choice of three positions: the socialized one, the free market one, or the fascist one. Zeese’s arguments were strong against the fascist postion, but failed to realize the potential of free market solutions.
Kevin, you know the number — gimme a call so we can set up a meeting. :)