Unity 08 Update

I was invited to this afternoon’s Unity08 teleconference, but have had no time to write about it. Fortunately, others have provided their perspectives on the tele-meeting. Therefore, my report pretty much boils down to:

What he said.

What he said squared.

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

  1. I enjoyed the read, but one thing that concerns me is the repeated mention of the internet. I just have a gut feeling that the internet is vastly over-rated and can actually be harmful. People get on the internet and interact and feel like they are actually contributing to something when they are not in fact doing anything. I really have nothing to back that up other than some past experiences and my gut feeling however.

  2. Paul,

    Unity08 obviously has an “Internet skew” insofar as part of their plan is to hold their “nominating convention” online (with any registered voter eligible to cast a delegate vote).

    On the other hand, yesterday’s conference call was a conference call specifically for bloggers, and so the Internet element may have been magnified beyond its real size. I’m pretty sure that they’ve been holding other conference calls and meatspace meetings with other groups as well.

    There is certainly a point up to which the Internet is not just a useful tool, but a “force multiplier” in “political warfare” — the group that uses it best will gain an advantage. That only goes so far, though … without real meatspace organization and presence, it will never be enough.

  3. This thing stinks to high heaven of astroturf to me. I want to know where all the money for this crap came from. I am SURE the sources are dubious.

  4. The Denver Post had coverage posted on their website yesterday (story linked from Unity08’s homepage and Political Wire), with an updated story on the cover of today’s paper in the top left column, also linked from Unity08. The other Denver paid daily, the less liberal Rocky Mountain News, didn’t have any coverage. One local TV channel mentioned it briefly on their 10 p.m. news last night (but no website mention).

    Speculation has it as a vehicle for an independent candidacy, but in this case not resigning membership in the D or R parties, if any (but effectively cutting ties with them, as Knapp points out).

  5. Presidential campaigns seem to be about person, party, and policy, with party and policy generally related. It’s interesting that Unity08 seeks to downplay social wedge issues like abortion, gay marriage, and gun control, that motivate traditional R and D party activists. That seems to leave the mushy middle.

    With no person (ticket) at the moment, no well-defined policies, and no traditional party structure, there doesn’t seem to be much to attract typical early-cycle activists. It’s like the Reform party without Perot and without the emphasis on “reform.”

    But if it succeeds somewhat, it could take attention away from other third parties since it would have roots in the mainstream D and R parties.

    Maybe this is the consolation round (double elimination) for last-time presidential hopeful early primary losers.

    The best outcome could be highlighting ballot access restrictions and refocusing Main Stream Media attention on crucial issues like spending and the national debt.

  6. The Rocky Mountain News finally weighs in, via their editorial page editor’s column:

    “As Walter Mondale might quip, Where’s the beef?”

    “But you can’t campaign on something as gooey as “centrism.” You need appealing candidates taking positions on real issues before voters will stampede on board – in part because there’s no obvious centrist position on any of the issues Unity08 identifies as “crucial.”

    “First, though, they’re going to have to agree on what they stand for.”

  7. The Denver Post’s token conservative columnist chimes in:

    “Unity08 should stick to Kumbaya”

    So far, the site seems to be a mass therapy session for those feeling disenfranchised. One poster has a John McCain (R) and Russ Feingold (D) ticket. (You know, this duo might actually drive people back to the Republican Party.)

    My own nominees – since we’re engaged in this public fantasy – are two non-politicians.

    I’d like to see John Mackey, founder and CEO of Whole Foods, as a candidate for president. Mackey combines fiscal conservatism with a folksy (noncoercive) environmentalism that might be attractive to a large swath of Americans.

    He’s going to need a no-nonsense vice president. In this role we need T.J. Rodgers, the straight-talking Stanford Ph.D. and CEO of Cypress Semiconductor. This guy will have the budget balanced before you can say Jack Abramoff or William Jefferson’s refrigerator.

  8. I’ve been reading the unity blog and posting quite a bit myself, and I see some problems with the whole idea.

    First, many people are already using it as a platform for personal political agendas, several comments have tried to “rally the troops” on global warming and other causes. This project will not get off the ground if it gets overrun with ideologues. I for one, will not vote for ANY platform that seeks to take away my freedom to drive whatever I want in order to satisfy some agenda based on bad science.

    Second, Unity ’08 really is not organized nor does it have a tangible platform or core values. It seems to be telling people that we need unity for unity’s sake, rather than trying to bring about compromise on individual issues, which is part of the problem in the first place. It looks to me like they are hoping that people will spontaneously come together and it will magically work itself out.

  9. I listened to the elders of Unity08 on CSPAN this morning, read the website, and have decided that it is a one-size-fits-all, one political party only dance.