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Quick Hits
Posted by: Jon Henke on Friday, April 14, 2006

Sometimes QandO commenter Mona (aka "Hypatia") — together with Pete Guither from Drug War Rants — has written an excellent post at Glenn Greenwald's blog on just how much "wars" (e.g., the War on Drugs) allow the State to grow...
Whether it's terrorism or drugs, declaring war is an opportunity for the state to demand more tools, more weapons, more power. All the Department of Justice needs to do is utter the words "terror" or "drugs," and Congress starts writing blank checks. These days they utter both, and the sky's the legislative limit.
She outlines the various "weapons" of the War on Drugs and just how damaging to individual liberties they have become. Read the whole thing. And remember, only traitors insist on liberty when we're at war!

I am very fearful that the populist insistence on "border security" will produce the same kind of authoritarian "War on..." measures that so many other well-meaning but misguided quixotic Wars have produced.

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Glenn Reynolds and Stephen Green are day-dreaming about a third party movement that could break up the turgid two-party system we have now. Yes, well, that's a lovely thought and all, but it crashes on some hard rocks of reality. As James Joyner points out...
...we can construct an ideal candidate who strips off the right elements from each party’s voting blocks. In reality, though, an actual candidate would have to run, who would alienate many of the people...
Most importantly, of course — as as the Libertarian Party has discovered — any third-party political movement that gains steam on a particular issue will find their shiny new issue immediately co-opted by one of the major parties. There are economies of scale in politics, too, and the top two lizards keep their eyes and fingers on the scales. (if I might mix metaphors with Douglas Adams)
There are economies of scale in politics, too, and the top two lizards keep their eyes and fingers on the scales
Still, it's always theoretically possible that the right politician can catch lightning in a bottle. Ariel Sharon managed to do that just prior to his incapacitation and his Kadima party won an election.

Imagine an Independent McCain/Lieberman campaign. Both candidates would have—and have had—serious trouble in their respective Presidential primaries, but they could be quite popular among the broad swathes of the relatively apolitical, moderate public. By bypassing the primaries, I'd guess they might make a formidable ticket.

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Harvey at Bad Example asks "DOES IT DO ANY GOOD TO EMAIL HIGH-TRAFFIC BLOGGERS?" and answers it with a survey of medium-to-big bloggers. His summary is that, yes, it does. But remember this....
Be brief, be polite, and only submit links that clearly fit the high-traffic blog's theme. Ask yourself, "am I certain that [high-traffic blogger's] readers would be interested in this?"

Also, don't be offended if you don't hear back. Your e-mail was very likely read, but only so many of the dozens or hundreds received every day can be responded to. Don't take it personally. It's just that there are only so many hours in a day that can be spent writing, and those have to be split between answering e-mails & blogging.
My own response to his question is listed at his post. Essentially, I enjoy getting tips and email in general, although I'm afraid I can't always respond to them — and, because I pretty much keep my blogging to things about which I have something unique to say, I'm usually unable to blog them. But I enjoy the correspondence, and I wish there was more interaction, especially among bloggers.
 
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John, thanks for the nod on the drug war post. Let me make sure everyone knows, however, that I collaborated on that with Pete Guither from Drug War Rants. His blog is terrific for covering all aspects of the drug "war."

Also, the link I tried to embed to our first post on prison and the drug war, is bad. (And I haven’t bothered to pester Greenwald to fix it.)It should be this.

Thanks again! The war on people who use (some) drugs has got to go.

 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
My own response to his question is listed at his post. Essentially, I enjoy getting tips and email in general, although I’m afraid I can’t always respond to them — and, because I pretty much keep my blogging to things about which I have something unique to say, I’m usually unable to blog them. But I enjoy the correspondence, and I wish there was more interaction, especially among bloggers.
I second your point. On a typical day I get upwards of 200 emails. I read them all. But I can’t respond to most. That doesn’t mean I ignore them or the tips. If it doesn’t show up on the blog, it mostly means it wasn’t where I was headed that day. But I still appreciate the emails.

Now, if I’m looking at about 200 a day, imagine what Glenn Reynolds gets.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Mona: thanks. I’ve fixed the link and added Guither’s name to the post.
On a typical day I get upwards of 200 emails.
You don’t mean you get 200 emails from QandO readers, do you?!?! Cause that’s way more than I get!

I get a lot of emails from stuff I’ve signed up for — news alerts from various organizations, press stuff from Congressmen, and a few blog spammers. The "blogger/reader links" usually amount to 5-12 a day.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
You don’t mean you get 200 emails from QandO readers, do you?!?! Cause that’s way more than I get!
No, that and other emails. I’m speaking of volume in general and that the volume mostly precludes having the time to answer most emails (well, except for those from lawyers trying to move all that money from Africa, Iraq and Europe and those I have to write to claim all my lottery winnings).
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Dont lie jon, you spend all your time in the chatroom bragging about how cushy your radio job is.

Also, I dont know that Reynolds and Green were really refering to a third party that could win, but more like a 3rd party who could cost the republican the election ala ross peroit. But thats just what I’ve gotten out of reading Glenn.
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
Jon - thanks for the link. I really appreciate your time and your thoughts on the subject.
 
Written By: Harvey
URL: http://www.badexample.mu.nu/
Wonder how many would put the "War on Poverty" in the same boat as the "War on Drugs."
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
There is a major difference between Israeli and American politics which mitigates against the formation of viable third parties in the US and encourages multiple parties in Israel. In Israel, voters vote for a nationwide, ideology-based list of legislative candidates. For example, Tel Aviv voters scrutinize the same set of candidates as the voters in Eilat and Kiryat Shemona. Moreover, seats are apportioned among the parties by a percentage of the vote. Hence, small parties within the Knesset wield disproportionate power, and coalitions will be fundamentally unstable. However, the voters of Dallas and Phoenix do not face the same legislative candidate set as the voters of NYC (Thank God!). Representation is geographic in nature and seats are awarded on a winner-take-all basis. Hence, the Pachyderm and Jackass parties usually try to appeal to the center of the political spectrum in order to collect the most votes.

chsw10605
 
Written By: chsw10605
URL: http://
War on drugs, war on poverty, pretty much the same thing. War on terror is a little different as there is a real enemy, but it could become the same thing over time.

The only possibility that the USA would ever have a viable third party wouldbe if we changed the constitution to allow election in the House of Representatives
by proportional representation. That way, if a state had twenty districts, then the districts would go away and they would get twenty al large representatives. So if a minor party could get 5% of the vote they would have one house member from that state.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
While I dont think a third party candidate could win, I think they do have an effect. I think you can trace a good part of the Republican landslide of 1994 to Perot’s 17% showing in 1992. GHW Bush should have won re-election, yet the party was deaf to the desires of many of its constituents. Gingrich and cohorts addressed those issues two years later.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Would a "third party" candidate be better off without the endorsement of the LP? Or for that matter the endorsement of the Reform Party, the Green Party, the Bull-Moose Party? Doesn’t it just hurt their credibility in this day and age?
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Wonder how many would put the "War on Poverty" in the same boat as the "War on Drugs."

Probably about as many as would put the left’s "War on Guns" there. The cognitive dissonance would be fun to watch, though.
 
Written By: Achillea
URL: http://quantum-sky.net
I don’t really know how the dynamics of an election would play out, but I suspect any successful, future non-major Party candidate would do well to accept endorsements, but not seek them. Third Party success will almost certainly be the result of a perfect storm of issues and a popular, charismatic candidate. Somebody who can float in an out of categorization easily, without picking up the negatives of any one group.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Popular, charismatic, and articulate. Such a candidate would have to be able to get across his (or her) positions quickly and clearly without recourse to either party’s prefab planks, all the while fending off attempts by both left and right to misrepresent, distort, and/or generally demonize those positions.
 
Written By: Achillea
URL: http://quantum-sky.net

 
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