Let's start with Democratic candidate and probable victor, Barack Obama. Obama, the former media darling, has seen his numbers fall in the last week. Even though the choice of Joe Biden as a running mate gave him a much needed boost, he's been staying far below the radar. On the plus side, Obama represents "change" for the way the country is run. On the negative side, his association with racist churches and Chicago criminals make people think twice about him as a viable candidate. Right in the middle is the race card. He's a black man! Ooooh! Scary!
The fact is, he's only half black, and this should really be a strong point for him, bridging the gaps, bringing Americans closer together, but there are idiots out there that simply can't cross that Mason-Dixon line and admit that skin color means nothing. They can't bring themselves to vote for him because that would mean the end of the White Male American power structure. Face it Whitey, you're gonna have to pick your own cotton from now on. Evolve or die.
Next we have the Palin/McCain ticket. I liked McCain a lot in his first run for president. He was a maverick then, but alas, things change. (That must be the change he keeps talking about.) Years ago, when he had Bush on the ropes, the RNC yanked his chain and promised him the '08 nomination if he'd roll over and play dead for Georgie-boy. He did just that. Now, with the addition of Sarah Palin, his campaign is moving forward at breackneck speed, but there's a problem. She overshadows him.
As an example, let's look at recent Fox "News" broadcasts. Palins' speeches are broadcast almost in full. After introducing McCain, Fox cuts away to talk about other "breaking" news, often skipping McCain altogether. And Fox is the Republican mouthpiece! How can you vote for a man whose own party puts him on the back burner in favor of the running mate? Add in the RNC's thinking that women across the nation will somehow ignore the fact that Palin has only one year of governorship under her wing and vote the Republican ticket just because she's a woman… If I were a woman, I'd be incensed. Hell, as a rational, thinking human being it's offensive to me!
Next we have perennial also-ran and Christian conservative Alan Keyes of America's Independent Party. He failed to gain the nomination of the Republican and Constitution parties so he joined up with disgruntled members of California's American Independent Party, themselves a splinter group of the Constitution party. The AIP claims to be the third largest national political party by number of voters, but like the armed forces of the world, there's a serious drop in numbers after the first two groups. Keyes running mate is California pastor and radio announcer Wiley Drake.
Too old-school right-wing? Then how about a hip, new electronic-age party? The Boston Tea Party held their convention online in June of 2008 where they put their trust in Floridian Charles Jay. Jay is a former Libertarian who ran for president in 2004 with the Personal Choice Party. His running mate then was former porn star Marilyn Chambers. Jay, a boxing manager and promoter is running with Thomas L Knapp, a Missouri blogger and editor of the online magazine Rational Review. The Boston Tea Party is composed of disgruntled Libertarians and maintains ties to the Personal Choice Party through their website. Knapp is also a Libertarian candidate for Missouri's Second Congressional District.
For those of you wondering whatever happened to the U.S. Taxpayers Party formed way back in 1992, it turned into the Constitution Party in 1999. The CP also stakes a claim to the third largest political party by number of registered voters but we've already explained the drop from second to third so let's move on to their nominee, another Floridian, Chuck Baldwin. A former Republican, Baldwin is a Baptist Pastor and a sharp critic of the Bush Administration. He opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants and supports the 9/11 Truth Movement. This is his second nomination for president with the Constitution Party. His running mate is attorney and activist Darrell Castle from Memphis, Tennessee. Baldwin seems willing to tell the emperor he has no clothes, which is rare in a politician. I give you this quote from a column he wrote in December, 2007:
"Unfortunately, it has been the Christian Right's blind support for President Bush in particular and the Republican Party in general that has precipitated a glaring and perhaps fatal defect: the Christian Right cannot, or will not, honestly face the real danger confronting these United States. The reason for this blindness is due, in part, to political partisanship or personal aggrandizement. Regardless, the Christian Right is currently devoid of genuine sagacity. On the whole, they fail to understand the issues that are critical to our nation's--and their own--survival."
Jeepers! not only does he use the word 'sagacity,' but he uses it correctly! I don't mean by definition, but in regard to the lack thereof within the Christian Right. Color me impressed!
And then there's the Green Party, such as it is these days. Made up of little separate Green Parties in each state, Ralph Naders' organization has become steeped in disarray since his decision to abandon them in favor of true independent status. Regardless, their nominee is Cynthia McKinney, a former Democratic House Representative and Congresswoman from Georgia. Her running mate is Rosa Clemente, a New York community organizer, journalist and "Hip-Hop activist," whatever that means.
McKinney took Al Gore to task for not having "more than one black person around him at any given time." I suppose she was speaking of Gores' campaign manager, Donna Brazile. She also accuses George Bush of knowing the 9/11 attacks were imminent, but remaining silent because of his father's business ties to bin Laden's construction company through the Carlyle Group. Interesting reading, to say the least.
You'd think that with "Liberty" stamped all over our collective loose change the Libertarians would have a better time of things during an election year. Guess not. In 2006 the Libertarians ranked 5th behind the Republican, Democratic, Constitution, and Green parties. And they've been around since 1971! For the 2008 contest, they've hoisted former Republican House Rep and Congressman Bob Barr from Georgia. Barr is the epitome of Right-Wing Conservatism; pro-gun, anti-choice, anti-tax, anti-Wiccan and anti-gay. One wonders why the Republicans don't take a closer look at him. Barr's running mate is Wayne Allyn Root who, according to Wiki is a "business mogul, television celebrity, TV producer, best-selling author, and professional sports handicapper." So if they lose, at least he's got that going for him.
It's history lesson time! Remember Prohibition? That dark age between 1919 and 1933 when the only liquor you could find came from a bathtub and was served in dark, secluded speakeasies? Well the Prohibition Party does and they're still fighting to outlaw alcohol, tobacco, gambling, drugs and "commercial vices," whatever those may be. Amazingly, the Prohibition Party was founded in 1869 and has had a candidate in every presidential election since 1872! The PP fell into disarray in 2003 with the secession of Earl Dodge, their nominee since 1984, and a handful of other members. Legal battles ensued over the funds for the PP and Dodge's newly formed National Prohibition Party whose membership was reportedly limited to less than a dozen individuals.
The historic PP has nominated Gene Amondsen, a landscape painter, woodcarver, minister and activist from Washington State. He was also their candidate in 2004. His running mate is Leroy Pletten of Michigan, also the running mate in 2004. The seceded National Prohibition Party was to nominate Earl Dodge once again, but his death in 2007 caused them to adopt Amondsen as their candidate, however they are pairing him with Dodge's original running mate, Howard Lydick. So if you hate booze and cards, go with Amondsen, but don't be surprised if the Veep's have a no-holds-barred cage fight to see which one gets to serve. (That almost tempts me to vote Prohibition!)
Looking for reform? Try the Reform Party of the United States of America! Founded in 1995 by H Ross Perot, (remember that Giant Sucking Sound?) the only thing this party has been able to reform is their nominee every four years. Perot in 1996, Pat Buchanan in 2000, and Ralph Nader in 2004 are all well known names in politics but the need for change runs so deep these days the Reform Party is going with the flow and floating Tylertown, Mississippi resident Ted Weill. Weill founded his own party, the Independent Party of Mississippi, but in 1997 merged that party with the RP. He is running with Californian Frank McEnulty. It is hoped that the 83 year old Weill will breathe some much needed life into the Reform Party this season. Hey, it could happen…
Speaking of Frank McEnulty, he's also the presidential candidate for the New American Independent Party. Of course, this should not be considered a conflict of interest as he only signed on with the Reform Party in states where the NAIP cannot achieve ballot status. He has yet to choose a running mate but hopes run high that this can be accomplished before the election.
For you liberated social voters, there's the Party for Socialism and Liberation. Formed in 2004 by a splinter cell of the Cold-War era Workers World Party, the PSL is comprised primarily of Marxists from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington, D.C. They have nominated Californian Gloria LaRiva, the WWP nominee in 1992, as their 2008 candidate. LaRiva was also the WWP Veep candidate in 1984, 1988, 1996 and 2000. Other than being a professional candidate, she has Translated a book written by Fidel Castro and produced some direct-to-video documentaries. The PSL Veep candidate is Virginian Eugene Puryear, a student at Howard University and Jesse-Jackson-In-Training. Among the many accomplishments in his young life are marches to free the Jena 6 and marches against the Iraq War.
If LaRiva and Puryear aren't Social enough for you, why not check out Socialist Party USA! (I picture dozens of teens in go-go boots and drab gray jumpsuits doing the Frug to balilaika music.) Although the SPU warns everyone not to confuse them with Eugene V Debs' Socialist Party of America, it's very difficult not to, considering the SPU was formed in 1973 by members of the SPA just as soon as the SPA disbanded. The trouble is that two other groups formed at the same time: the Democratic Socialist Organizing Comittee, (which would become the Democratic Socialists of America in 1982,) and the now defunct People's Party. The SPU apparently got the rights to the SPA's slogan, "Worker's Of The World Unite!" Or did they? As Socialists, the slogan technically would belong to anyone who wanted to use it, eh?
SPU is the only one of the above groups to enter a candidate in the 2008 presidential election with their selection of Brian Moore of Florida. (Moore is also the Liberty Union Party candidate, but don't let that confuse you. The LUP basically just picks the most popular socialist candidate and pretends he's running for them.) Moore, a former Republican, Democrat, Independent and Green Party member became a socialist in 2007 after opponents in previous elections kept calling him one. (Hey, if you can't beat 'em…) Moore is described on the internet as an "elected official" but as far as I can tell, the only elections he's won were in the eighties where he spent three terms on a neighborhood advisory council in Washington, DC. He is also a community organizer, although the communities he's organized are in Bolivia, Panama, and Peru.
Moore's running mate is Stewart Alexander, who once traveled to Israel to connect with his Christian past. Upon arriving, he was arrested for failing to travel in a group, Stewart spent the night in jail before being unceremoniously shipped back to the United States. He was told by the Israeli government that he is no longer welcome in their country in the future. That might hinder him slightly in the Middle East Foreign Policy area.
And if you aren't tired of the Commies yet, there's the Socialist Workers Party. I must admit that the SWP has one of the most interesting candidates. Ever. Róger Calero. Born in Nicaragua, Calero and his family fled to Los Angeles in 1985. And even though he was convicted of felony sale of marijuana in 1988, he obtained his Green Card just five years later in 1990 and is now considered a permanent resident alien. The SWP launched massive protests calling the conviction political harassment and generally annoying the US Government so much that in 2003 it dropped the conviction, released Calero and canceled his upcoming deportation. Now that's the fucking American Dream! His running mate is labor activist Alyson Kennedy from Indianapolis who, by contrast, is simply boring.
Oh, one more thing… since Calero was born in Nicaragua he stands no chance of ever resting his ass in the Oval Office La•Z•Boy, but the little guy has gumption, don't he!
And let's not forget Jack Grimes. (No relation to deceased Simpson's minor character Frank Grimes, that we know of.) Jack has not announced a running mate as yet, but as soon as his United Fascist Union Party picks one, we'll be sure to let you know. Grimes may or may not have co-founded the ARLP, (I tried, but it's so secret no-one knows what it stands for,) with fellow fascist Greg Zuby and may or may not have been kicked out of, or seceded from, the ARLP, depending on which gossip thread you read and/or believe. Both Grimes and Zuby are products of the United States Armed Forces.
Hey, didn't we mention Ralph Nader a few times? We did, but it seems the Party is over for Nader. On February 24, 2008, Green Party founder Ralph Nader officially announced his candidacy on Meet The Press as a true Independent. He is running with San Franciscan Matt Gonzalez, also a former Green Party member. I guess all the fuss and fooferall of other people distract Nader from his ability to rule, whether he has the One Ring or not.
Another true Independent is Transparency advocate Kelcey Wilson who announced his candidacy on his blog. Kelcey is sooooo cute! Not physically, of course, but his website, wilson2008.com, has such funny things on it. Like the eye-straining use of almost every font installed with Windows '98. Or the clever quotation, "The Ends don't justify the means - the means are also ends." What the fuck does that mean! (Or is that, what the fuck does that end?) His site also has a little feature where you can "watch" what he's doing now! 71 days ago, he liked yogurt! 54 days ago he was "totally flabulous!" I must say, I'm totally flimpressed! I guess we know where the flabulous yogurt vote is going.
And there are countless other independents across these United States: performance artist and frequent Jesse Helms target Frank Moore, (as yet unregistered with the Federal Election Comittee,) Ohioan political newcomer Donald K Allen, software engineer and MENSAn Richard Clark, small business exec Jon Greenspon, ad-man Steve Kissing, Nevada professor of logic and capital-letter-lover Brad Lord-Leutwyler, North Carolinan veteran Tom Millican, and minister/author/homemaker Ruth Bryant White, all running hard to be your next president.
So you see, you have alternatives, you have a brain, put the two together and shake up the system! If the next four years suck ass, you have only yourself to blame!