Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wayback Machine

Just for fun, here is a look back at August of 2000:

A lot of the issues were the same 12 years ago. Some topics are perhaps even hotter now, and not surprisingly so.

With tonight kicking off the debate season, it will be interesting to see how Romney and Obama address these old issues (or skirt around them).

Monday, August 13, 2012

Republicans Proving Narrow Vision Is Main Objective

When Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate for the 2012 election, presumable to push fiscal issues to the forefront of the discussion, it was a move that cements the objective of the Republican Party as narrowing its interests to serve the wealthiest Americans and big corporations rather than the broad umbrella that the party had previously been trying to claim.

By choosing a VP who's primary distinguishing characteristic in Congress has been pushing a budget that would attempt deficit reduction by displacing the bulk of tax burden disproportionately onto the poor and the backs of the working class, Romney has also proven himself unable to connect with the needs of common citizens. While it is true that Ryan has a vocal fan base among Conservatives, it is unlikely that the campaign season will progress without this choice being more harmful to the ticket than helpful. Headway that had been made four years ago in the way of diversity has now been completely undone. While Sarah Palin had no place on a legitimate ticket, and her legacy in terms of prominent female Presidential hopefuls has been less than promising within the Republican's ever-more Conservative universe, there is no question that at least broader options were being considered last time around. But the reality is, the only non-male and non-white hopefuls are far-Right crackpots or some other type of crackpot that still somehow appeals to the Tea Party contingent. Beyond that, where most sensible Republican people live, these (large) groups are unable to gain enough traction or make a big enough splash within their own party.

With the Republican Party edging every further Right with each election cycle, there is a strong chance it will marginalize itself enough to finally make a real third party option a reality within a few years. The pre-Reagan party that existed with a sense of caution about the current iteration's obsessions would stand a much greater chance of popular embrace these days. The biggest problem with the current party is that it not only embraces, but passionately embraces many of the positions that are actually responsible for having caused most of the problems we are facing today.

Without the spine to acknowledge that the loudmouths in the Tea Party are not tuned into any sort of fiscal or social reality, the Republican leadership is allowing the party to become nothing more than a fringe group. Unfortunately, it is a fringe group that still wields a large amount of political clout and way too much power in Washington. The sooner that the citizens of this country wake up and realize it is no longer the party that they think it is, the sooner the Republican Party can either be reclaimed or recognized as the special interest coalition it is and replaced by something more representative of the greater masses. From Lincoln to Eisenhower, former Republican Presidents are rolling over in their graves, restless and waiting.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Reminiscing About Our Origins

I was just reading an old interview with co-founder Kevin Makice that was part of the Media Giraffe Project. It reminded me of why we had gotten this beast off the ground in the first place: to change the way that people talk about politics.

Kevin had it spot on. We have to get away from labels; defining people before we know who they are or why they believe what they believe will only limit our ability to communicate effectively. We are all something other than Liberal or Conservative, Republican or Democrat, Right or Left. We all have a history that defines who we are and the way we see the world.

By getting past these limiting views, these essentially meaningless terms with which all things political are defined, perhaps we will be able to find common ground between us and see a way to work together.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Church and State Revisited

A Political Essay by Jeffrey E. Poehlmann
Originally published by on February 25, 2001
[Note: the President referred to in this essay is G. W. Bush, whose administration had been actively working to direct funds to religiously affiliated organizations and away from secular organizations that had been providing similar services.]

"Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together." -- JAMES MADISON

God has never been elected to serve in Washington, but some feel He should be there anyway. By affixing his signature to an executive order to create the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, President G.W. Bush has offered his opening statement on the debate.

Setting Priorities in Education

A Political Essay by Jeffrey E. Poehlmann
Originally published by on March 31, 1999
[Note: the fact that this essay is over a decade old and the issue is still so current speaks volumes about the lack of positive change afforded by a Congress more interested in its internal interests than those of the society it is meant to serve. The abject failure of "No Child Left Behind" and the increasing focus on testing rather than learning has only further marginalized at-risk students and created more division within the educational system.]

There is no question that the success of a society's future hinges upon the education of its children. A strong, defined and state supported educational system can be used for good or ill, for it determines the direction of future leaders. What we look toward today is not a fascist system of state defined moral lessons and approved scientific or religious thinking. Rather, we search for a way to incorporate state controls over structure and quality without impinging upon freedom of thought and diversity of opinion. In order to ensure that our educational system sets international standards and best prepares today's children to face their (and our) tomorrows, we must instill federal guidelines that hold states in accountability for the implementation of regional public school standards.

Left Wanting a Voice for the Everyman

A Political Essay by Jeffrey E. Poehlmann
Originally published by on January 1, 1999

A recent convening of "conservatives" in the Phoenix dessert on what many are calling an annual examination of their identity has left me asking myself an old question: Why do we label our politicians, ourselves, as conservative or liberal rather than humanitarian? Is not the purpose of government in this country to help and protect the citizens of this country? Surely the United States of America is beyond reproach when accused of the political infighting, power struggles and oppression of all opposition that marred monarchies and empires of centuries past or the dictatorial regimes of thoseless significant countries we relegate to the Third World. So why is it that our system has become in recent years so completely polarized in its struggle between the two dominant political parties to the point where a virtual coup has been attempted? Is it to protect the American People, as the proponents of this movement would have us believe, though the vast majority of the American People have spoken out in its opposition, or is this really just one more example (albeit a modern one) of the sort of political infighting and backstabbing that has brought down rulers through the ages? "Beware the ides of March," I say. It is time for the common man's voice to return to the seat of our leaders.

Skirting the Limits of Campaign Finance Reform

A Political Essay by Jeffrey E. Poehlmann
Originally published on on December 15, 1998

The controversy over Presidential campaign financing has officially resurfaced. A recent New York Times article(November 29, 1998) predicts candidates will have to raise at least $22 million -- approximately $50,000 per day -- over the next two years. Author Jill Abramson goes on to suggest that loopholes are being sought and utilized by most potential candidates who wish to remain competitive.
"To raise these large unrestricted (soft money) contributions from wealthy individuals, corporations and labor unions," Abramson writes, "(politicians) are exploiting the less-restrictive political donation regulations at the state level, establishing nonprofit organizations and setting up political action committees."
Such actions undeniably shift the potential for success in favor of candidates with ready access to wealthy benefactors. Without a level playing field, qualified candidates often cannot muster the media presence required to compete in the political arena. Third parties and independents cannot hope to compete financially unless they are themselves capable of funneling private funds through similar means.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gender, Marriage and the Rule of Law

Since President Obama publicly defined his stance on same-sex marriage and Mitt Romney took the opportunity to immediately reinforce his opposing position, I thought it might be prudent to re-publish an essay written back in 2004 for Here it is, without any updating, so please forgive any dead links, etc. The essay can also be viewed in the "Essay" section of the site in the Minerva project archives linked from our main page.

Gender, Marriage and the Rule of Law

A Political Essay by Jeffrey E. Poehlmann
Originally published February 21, 2004
With the recent rulings in California and Massachusetts, the topic of same-sex marriage has guaranteed itself a place in the pantheon of hot button issues poised for the pressing in the political grandstanding of our current election year. The state of Massachusetts and the city of San Francisco, CA, have sensibly treated this as an issue for the courts and not constitutional amendments, though already there is a renewed fury to protect the sanctity of an institution from something that poses it no real threat.
It seems that every few weeks there is another story in the news that makes mention of the passionate arguments for or against the legalization of "gay marriage." Typically, sides against such a legal union call for the "protection" of marriage, as though existing marriages will somehow be in jeopardy if such laws offering equal protection of same-gender couples are enacted. Sides in favor of such laws, on the other hand, state that they are only looking to gain equal legal footing for what they claim are equally important and meaningful unions.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Welcome to the New 3rdParty Blog

Welcome to the new home of The Third Party of America /'s blog.

This is the place where we open up discussion of issues that used to populate our forums and collaborators will have the opportunity to raise their voices again. That's YOU, Citizens of the United States of America! Log yourselves in and get started!

To begin, some of the topics that have been locked away in our archives will be brought forth for your reading pleasure. These will be rolled out over time, so do come back. And feel free to suggest new topics, too. Certainly, what was topical a decade back may no longer be as relevant to you as the news ripped from today's headlines, though surprisingly I think you will find more than a small amount of commonality between the issues we have discussed in the past and the issues currently on the political slaughtering block.

The level of interactivity here is going to be slightly different from what we had in the past. Because we have chosen to go (for now) with a blog instead of a bulletin board or Wiki, there will be leading "articles" or essays to introduce a position with the discussion following in the comments section. Hopefully this will reduce or eliminate SPAM as well as afford a cleaner reading experience since new topics will only be introduced and labeled under more controlled circumstances.

For the last several years, we have received countless requests to revive the forum, and finally we present it to you. Please treat it respectfully. The same rules of cordiality that we applied to our former forums will also be applied here.

You may notice the appearance of advertisements on this site. Please feel free to ignore them. We are not officially promoting anything beyond intelligent political discussion and the idea of moving beyond the labels and radicalism that are being pushed by some in the dominant parties. However, it is a reality that sites like this do not run themselves and if you happen to patronize an advertiser or click a donate button at some point, we won't object. There is a chance that an inappropriate or irony-laced advertisement may at some point appear. Feel free to alert us about such an event, especially if it is ironic. Our control over what ads are served is minimal, though they should all be contextually relevant. For the most part, however, we hope you will see these as an unfortunate necessity in order to keep our mission intact, our voices free and out of the pockets of any special interests. As always, we are beholden ONLY to the American People.

Thanks for joining the discussion!
Jeffrey Poehlmann