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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Viguerie Keynotes Libertarian Convention

From ThirdPartyWatch:

Due to a whirlwind of rumors and political positioning by a party founder and other Libertarian radicals, Richard Viguerie’s keynote speech at the Libertarian Party’s national convention was turned into a rather large controversy with accusations thrown about that Viguerie was attempting to “take over” the Libertarian Party with his speech.

The controversy attempted to create fear of a Republican takeover linked to Bob Barr’s run for the nomination. A letter signed by several presidential candidates was presented to the national chair, Bill Redpath, requesting that Viguerie be replaced as one of the keynote speakers. This was the second request for a replacement, which the chair refused. Redpath had acquiesced to the earlier demand of David Nolan by splitting the keynote speech between LP gubernatorial candidate Michael Munger and Viguerie.

Now that the speech is in the past, and Richard didn’t take over the party, you can judge for yourself whether the controversy created by Barr’s opposition was legitimate or political theatrics.

Watch: Richard Viguerie’s keynote speech on C-SPAN.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ronald Reagan On Socialized Medicine

One of the "positives" about Sen. John McCain is his opposition to the nationalizaton of our healthcare system, some one-seventh of the U. S. economy. In 1993, when Hillary Clinton was promoting her scheme of socialized medicine, McCain and Texas Sen. Phil Gramm toured the nation campaigning against it. One such appearance was at St. Dominic's Hospital here in Jackson.

Medicare and Medicaid were enacted in 1965, the year after Lyndon Johnson's landslide presidential election win over Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater. Johnson's Democratic Party had big majorities in both houses of Congress, and these two pieces of legislation were cornerstones of his "Great Society" domestic program.

This year, of course, the Democrats are promising to force every American to carry health insurance. Just think: the whole system would ultimately be like those of Medicare and the Veterans Administration; every hospital in America would be like Walter Reed hospital in Washington, D. C. The same outfit that runs FEMA, the IRS, and the postal "service" would be running the medical care system. I hope our citizens will keep this in mind when they go to the polls in November.

This audio warning against socialized medicine was recorded nearly 50 years ago by Ronald Reagan. This, to be sure, was before he ever ran for public office and prior to the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid. I found his remarks to be prescient.

The article below refers to the compulsory health insurance program in Massachusetts. This program, of course, was championed there by Gov. Mitt Romney, who is now being mentioned as a possible vice presidential running mate for Sen. McCain.


From The Douglass Report:

It's only May, but the rhetoric of the 2008 Presidential Campaign is already at fever pitch. This November, as in all election years, there are important issues at stake. One of them is the issue of socialized medicine or, to use the Democrats' latest euphemism for it, "universal healthcare." Universal disaster is more like it. The Dems do their best to put a positive, humanitarian spin on the idea, but the long-term ramifications would be devastating.

The Democrats would have you believe that conservatives who are against universal healthcare take this stance because they are mean-spirited and compassionless. Naturally, this isn't the case. And it's hardly how I feel.

I am against universal healthcare because I believe it will create one of the most intrusive government bureaucracies since the Internal Revenue Service, and it will impinge heavily on the individual freedoms of all American citizens.

Both Clinton and Obama would attempt to achieve universal healthcare coverage by relying primarily on private insurance. That's right - they would look to solve our nation's health care problems by giving control of the system to the insurance companies. Wow.

Their plans rely on an "individual mandate" - a legal requirement that every person obtain coverage. This is already law in Massachusetts, which mandates coverage for both adults and children (more on this below). The Massachusetts model is exactly what Hillary Clinton would try to impose nationally. Obama's plan would only require that parents obtain coverage for their children.

One of the key misconceptions among those who support either Clinton or Obama is that a universal healthcare system would make healthcare more affordable. What delusional planet are they from? Under socialized medicine, the healthcare system may be perceived as being more fair, but it certainly won't be any cheaper.

A better way to describe the program would be to call it "universal health insurance." The idea is that by compelling everyone in the nation to participate in the insurance market, you'd cut down on what's known as the "free rider"... Keep reading>>>

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Libertarians Name Barr-Root Ticket

Bob Barr, the former Republican congressman from Georgia, today won the Libertarian Party's 2008 presidential nomination on the sixth ballot. He defeated Mary Ruwart of Texas, 324 to 276, at the party's convention in Denver.

Wayne Allyn Root, Barr's choice for vice president, won that nomination on the second ballot, beating Steve Kubby of California, 289 to 255. Kubby, a crusader for medical marijuana, had also sought the presidential nomination and endorsed Ruwart when he was eliminated from that race. Root had run for the top spot as well, and he endorsed Barr when he was eliminated, indicating that he hoped to be the Georgian's running mate.

In her remarks following her loss, Ruwart did not mention Barr. Barr, in contrast, was complimentary toward her and her campaign.

Root, also a former Republican, pointed out the difference between Washington, D. C., and his hometown of Las Vegas. He said that the drunks in Las Vegas gambled with their own money.

Barr, a former federal prosecutor, was a member of the famed Republican U. S. House class of 1994. In 1992, he had narrowly lost Georgia's Republican primary for U. S. senator to the late Paul Coverdell, who went on to unseat the incumbent Democrat, Wyche Fowler.

"Open Primary" Noise In California

Tom Elias, a California writer, has published a piece calling for an "open primary" for his state. In 2004, during the Proposition 62-- "open primary"-- campaign in the Golden State, Tom and I had some correspondence.

"Open primary" is a popular moniker for nonpartisan elections, in which there are no party primaries. All candidates, including independents, are listed on a single ballot, and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, proceed to the runoff.

Tom says, "Even though the state Democratic Party allows registered independents to vote in its primaries, Republicans right now do not."

That was true of California's February 5 presidential primaries, but independents will have their choice of either party's ballot in the June 3 primaries for offices other than president.

"It's clear that voters dislike the current... party-line voting... . The one time voters had their say on this issue, in March 1996, they opted by a 56-44 percent yes vote on Proposition 198 to set up... "blanket" primary elections.

"Under this system, which applied for four years, all candidates in any primary were listed together on all ballots, with all voters able to cast ballots for whoever they wished, regardless of their own party affiliations or the candidates'. The leading vote-getters in each party made it onto the November [general election] ballot."

Tom is being disingenuous here, since he well knows that 54 percent of California voters opposed Prop. 62 in November 2004, as this "open primary" initiative carried just seven of the state's 58 counties. Many people clearly did not like the possibility of the two final candidates being from the same party.

California conducted blanket primaries in 1998 and 2000, before the U. S. Supreme Court struck down that system. That ruling is the main precedent, incidentally, for the Mississippi Democrats' lawsuit against our primary election law, which is now pending in the 5th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

"That [blanket primary] ruling also applied to similar systems in other states, like Washington and Maine."

Maine has closed primaries, but Washington had indeed used a state-mandated blanket primary since the mid-1930s, which it continued until the federal courts ruled against it in a separate 2004 case. That decision gave impetus to Washington voters' approval-- on the same day that California voters rejected it-- of a Louisiana-style "top two" election system, which the Evergreen State will use for the first time this year ("top two" is a better term for nonpartisan elections than "open primary").

Alaska was the other state with a state-mandated blanket primary. The Democrats and minor parties there have since voluntarily established a blanket primary, but the Republicans have a separate ballot which is offered to registered independents (the Democratic/minor party ballot is available to any voter, which explains why some 60 percent of Alaska's voters are registered independents).

"[The Washington "top two"] system sets up a race between the two overall [first-round] leaders, regardless of party, unless one gets [50-plus percent].

"That may not sound like a big difference, but it certainly mattered to the [U. S.] Supreme Court, which this spring okayed the Washington system by a 7-2 vote."

Washington-- unlike Louisiana-- will always have a runoff, even if one candidate gets 50-plus percent in the first round. The plan put forth under California's 2004 Prop. 62 was the same as Washington's "top two" in this respect.

The Supreme Court said that Washington could use the "top two" once before an "as-applied" lawsuit could be brought against it, and that is expected next year. There is also a number of other grounds on which the Washington system may be challenged.

"Immediately, there was strong sentiment for an initiative to set up the same system in California."

Really? Tom doesn't furnish any evidence of such sentiment, so we are left to take his word for it.

"But this time, again as in 1996, moderate business groups like the California Business Roundtable will back the plan. And so will the voters, if they get the chance."

On the other hand, the voters may again reject the "open primary," just as they did in 2004.

Tom is evidently not aware of the "open primary" movement in Oregon, as he makes no mention of it.

Like most enthusiasts for nonpartisan elections, Tom has little use for political parties. He told me that he didn't mind the existence of national parties, but that he saw no need for parties at the state level!

It's worth noting that California has had nonpartisan elections ("open primaries") for its county and municipal officials for nearly 100 years. When first given the chance to adopt such a process for higher offices, the state's voters said "no" in 1915.

We could provide greater choice for Mississippi voters by eliminating party primaries for our county and municipal officials and electing them instead on a nonpartisan basis.

Friday, May 23, 2008

"Oregon Open Primary" Makes Headway

It now appears that a proposal for a Louisiana-style election system will be on Oregon's November 2008 ballot, as supporters of the "Oregon Open Primary" initiative today turned in some 92,000 petition signatures. 82,769 signatures must be validated, and the backers say that they will submit still more signatures by the July 3 deadline.

The "open primary" proponents had previously announced a goal of 120,000 signatures, of which they expected some 100,000 to be obtained by paid gatherers. This points up the superiority of professional signature gatherers over volunteers.

"Open primary" in this instance refers to nonpartisan elections, in which there are no party primaries. All voters receive the same ballot, on which the names of all candidates for each office are listed, and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to the runoff. Thus, it's possible for the final two candidates to be from the same party. (This is the election system that Mississippians have clamored for, off and on, since the 1960s.)

Measures similar to the Oregon initiative were on the November 2004 ballots in California and Washington state. 54 percent of California voters opposed Prop. 62, as it lost in 51 of the state's 58 counties. Washington's I-872, however, carried all 39 of that state's counties and won nearly 60 percent of the vote. The Washington "top two"-- a much more accurate name for this system-- has since been involved in litigation and has not been implemented.

Last March 18, the U. S. Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for the Washington "top two" to proceed. The first round will be held on August 19, with the runoff, of course, on November 4. It's obvious, nonetheless, that Washington's political parties will bring new litigation against the "top two."

Louisiana has heretofore been the only state to use the "top two"-- which Bayou staters also call the "open primary"-- for all of its elections other than for president. Louisiana, however, has this year restored party primaries for its congressional elections.

The Washington "top two" will be used for all congressional and state offices and most local offices, while Oregon's initiative is for all offices other than president. This election system is, in my view, clearly unconstitutional for congressional elections, and I believe that there will be a lawsuit challenging that aspect of it.

Nebraska, the only state with a one-house legislature, uses the "top two" to elect that legislature.

Oregon's political parties, like California's, are stronger than the parties in Washington state, and I predict that the "Oregon Open Primary" will have a tougher time winning the voters' approval than the Washington "top two" did.

Here's a good article on the Oregon initiative.

C-SPAN To Broadcast Libertarian Convention

According to Ballot Access News, C-SPAN will have live coverage of key parts of the national Libertarian Party convention, which began on Thursday (yesterday) in Denver.

Expected to be televised are the Saturday evening session (8:00PM to 11:00PM Central time, which should feature debates among the presidential candidates) and all of Sunday's proceedings, starting at 9:30AM Central time, which will include the presidential balloting.

One of the candidates for the presidential nomination is Bob Barr, the former Republican congressman from Georgia who was part of the famed House class of 1994.

One of the keynote addresses will be delivered by Richard Viguerie of Virginia, the conservative direct-mail wizard who has most often been associated with the Republican Party.

Which begs the question: Why didn't C-SPAN broadcast any of the Constitution Party's national convention last month in Kansas City? The CP was founded in 1992 (as the U. S. Taxpayers Party), and this year's convention was the first one that C-SPAN has not covered.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Awaiting Word From The Big Easy

With all that's been happening recently, an event from March 5 probably escaped many people's attention. The 5th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans heard argument in the Mississippi Democratic Party's lawsuit against our state-mandated open primaries.[1] The panel consisted of Chief Judge Edith H. Jones and Judge Emilio M. Garza, both of Texas, and Judge W. Eugene Davis of Louisiana.

Incredibly, no transcript was made of the proceedings. The only newspaper account I saw was an Associated Press story, which is not available for linking (I will italicize quotes from the AP article).

U. S. district judge Allen Pepper issued a ruling in the case in June 2007 and an amended ruling in July 2007. Both the state and the state Democratic Party filed appeals with the 5th Circuit, as did the Mississippi Republican Party and the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; the court had approved the two latter groups as intervenors in the suit. Contrary to what the AP article implied, all four organizations are not appealing the same aspect(s) of Pepper's ruling.

"... Pepper in Mississippi ruled last year that the state should re-register all voters to allow people to declare themselves as Democrats, Republicans or members of another party. Or, Pepper said, people could register as unaffiliated with any party.

"Pepper said Mississippi must restructure its party primary system by Aug. 31, 2008. Under current law, Mississippians do not declare a party affiliation when they register to vote. Pepper also ordered the state to enact a voter identification law in time for the 2009 [municipal] elections.

"... . The Democratic Party sued in [February] 2006 seeking to keep non-members from voting in its primaries."

That last sentence should say that the Democrats are seeking the right to keep non-members out of their primaries. Pepper went along with the Democrats on this point by declaring our open primary law unconstitutional, and I predict that this part of the decision will ultimately be allowed to stand.

This is the first time that any court has ordered any state to enact voter ID or party registration. Since those two items are prerogatives of the legislature, I believe that those orders will not be permitted to stand.

Last December, the 5th Circuit had set aside Pepper's August 31 deadline by issuing a stay of the ruling.

"... Chief Judge Edith H. Jones asked [Ellis Turnage, attorney for the Democratic Party] what evidence there was that Republicans were influencing the outcome of Democratic elections.

"'How could you prove that?' Turnage said. 'In Mississippi, there's no such thing as Republicans, Democrats or independents. There are only voters.'"

Surely Turnage did not mean that literally. As the 9th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in 2003, "That the voters do not reveal their party preferences at a government registration desk does not mean that they do not have them."[2] There are ways other than party registration of identifying voters' party preferences, although that is indeed the most practical way of doing so.

Michael Wallace, lawyer for the state GOP, reiterated that the Republicans intend to keep their primaries open to all voters: "'It has always been Republicans' position that we're happy to have anybody come vote in our primary...'"

"Fred Banks Jr.[a former Mississippi Supreme Court justice], representing the NAACP, said the original lawsuit did not include the subject of voter ID. He said the Mississippi court itself imposed that requirement.

"'It simply was not an issue before the court,' Banks said. [He] said the Legislature should be left to decide the voter ID question free from any pressure from the courts."

"Andy Taggart, a Jackson attorney representing Republican Gov. Haley Barbour, said Barbour supports the voter ID requirement. Taggart said five other states have primary systems similar to Mississippi's and four of those have voter ID requirements."

I don't know what five states Taggart is referring to, but Mississippi is one of 21 states with open primaries. The purpose of voter ID is to prove that voters are who they say they are, and voter ID is not necessary in order to block certain voters from a party's primary. This is illustrated by the fact that a number of states in which one or more parties exclude some voters from their primaries do not have voter ID.

Furthermore, it's strange that Barbour is promoting voter ID as a tool for closing primaries, when he and the Republicans have said repeatedly that they will keep GOP primaries open to all voters. And the Democrats, who, if their suit succeeds, will block Republicans from Democratic primaries, are opposed to voter ID-- which again proves that voter ID is not needed to accomplish that.

The 5th Circuit's decision, to be sure, may be appealed to the U. S. Supreme Court. If the high court does hear the case, it could well prompt a landmark ruling.

Here's the report from Ballot Access News on the March 5 argument in the 5th Circuit.

My previous posts on this topic are here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.


[1] When a party has an open primary, any voter may participate in that primary. Mississippi's present law requires any party holding a primary to open it to all registered voters.

[2] Washington State Democratic Party v. Reed

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Viguerie: Republican Leaders Must Go

The article below mentions the May 13 special election in Mississippi's U. S. House District One, which the Republicans lost. It's worth noting that, prior to that seat being won by the Republican Roger Wicker in 1994, it was held by Democrats at least since the late 1800s. The Democrat Jamie Whitten held it from 1941 through 1994 (of course, the boundaries were not the same all those years. When Mississippi lost a House seat following the 1960 census, e.g., Whitten and Rep. Frank Smith of Greenwood were placed in the same district. Whitten defeated Smith in 1962. President John Kennedy then named Smith to the Tennessee Valley Authority).

Viguerie's outlook reminds me of a famous speech in the British House of Commons. A member railed at his party's leader, the prime minister, "In the name of God, sir-- GO!"

Quick... can you name the current Republican national chairman?


From Newsmax.com:

The Republican Party must replace its leadership or conservatives will continue to withhold support and the GOP will face “disaster” in November, leading conservative activist Richard A. Viguerie declared.

“Republican Party leaders must resign,” said Viguerie, publisher of ConservativeHQ.com and the pioneer of political direct mail.

“Leaders in the White House, the Congress, and the Republican National Committee and its affiliates, along with most Republican leaders at the state level, have failed — or outright betrayed — the conservative voters who put them in their positions.

“The result is that the Republican Party’s brand has become a negative to an extent greater than in the Watergate era, perhaps even worse than in the days of Herbert Hoover.”

Viguerie made these points:

-- The number of new Republican voters is flat while Democratic voter registration is soaring.

-- Contributions to Republican candidates and committees are way off, while donations to Democrats are "setting records."

-- In this year’s primaries, votes for GOP candidates at all levels are running far behind the Democrats.

-- In recent special elections, Republicans lost House seats in Illinois, Louisiana, and Mississippi that had long been in GOP hands — all in districts carried overwhelmingly by President Bush. A single election can be a fluke, but when Republicans lose three seemingly safe seats in a row, “disaster is looming.”

“The hard work of the last 50 years by millions of conservative campaign workers, donors, candidates, writers, intellectuals, and activists has been trashed,” he said.

“The conservative movement has been set back 10 to 20 years — possibly even permanently — by politicians consumed by power.”

He named a number of prominent Republicans, including President Bush, Karl Rove, party chairman Mike Duncan, House Minority Leader John Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, and House Minority Whip Roy Blunt.

“Some deserve more of the blame than others, but they are all part of an establishment that has brought the Republican Party down,” added Viguerie, whose latest book is “Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big-Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause.”

“For things to change, for conservatives to be justified in once again giving our contributions, our volunteer efforts, our energy, and votes to the GOP, the party must clean house. The party leadership should resign immediately.

“Republicans are doomed to wander in the political wilderness until this generation of weak-kneed, no-vision, inarticulate, afraid-of-the-liberal-media politicians are replaced with principled conservatives in the mold of Bill Buckley, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan.”

Viguerie has this message for the current GOP leadership: “For the future of the Republican Party, for America, and the cause of freedom: Go!”


Michelle Malkin has a link to some sizzling hot comments from conservatives on the National Republican Congressional Committee's blog.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Louisiana, the "Top Two," and Other Things

This is more of what I wrote in my exchange with Jim R from Texas at Ballot Access News.

David Duke, the ex-Ku Klux Klan leader, did as well as he did in the 1990 and 1991 elections because there was a lot of economic discontent and anti-incumbent sentiment. Embarrassed by the Duke candidacy in 1990, the Republicans wanted to avoid a runoff at all costs. The GOP-backed Senate candidate made little headway and dropped out on the eve of the election. The GOP leadership wound up backing the Democratic incumbent, Sen. J. Bennett Johnston, who won with 54 percent.

The Democrat Edwin Edwards beat David Treen in the February 1972 general election for governor. I don’t recall Treen having had GOP primary opposition, but if he did, it was weak.

Gov. Edwards got the idea for the “top two” (popularly called the “open primary”) from Mississippi, whose legislature had passed it in 1966 and 1970–- and would pass it again in 1975, 1976, and 1979. Louisiana began using the “top two” for state and local elections in 1975 and for congressional elections in 1978.

Edwards lost his popularity during his third term, 1984-1988. He had been tried a time or two for bribery, and Louisiana had been hurt by the recession in the oil industry. Buddy Roemer did get Republican votes for governor in 1987, but in that election system, what difference does it make? All the candidates might just as well be independents.

Given Gov. Edwards’s unpopularity in 1987, he could not have won 50-plus percent in a Democratic primary, if there had been party primaries. He refused a runoff with Roemer because he knew Roemer would pulverize him.

Jim Brown, who also ran for governor in 1987, is the father of CNN’s Campbell Brown. He later served as insurance commissioner and also served time in federal prison.

Buddy Roemer was a lousy, failed governor. He switched to the Republicans in March 1991 after the first President Bush and the national GOP promised him support. Edwards benefited in 1991 from the weakness of the competition. A lot of Louisianans held their noses and voted for Edwards in his runoff race with Duke.

David Duke could NEVER have gotten 50-plus percent in a statewide GOP primary.

I don’t see how you reached the conclusion that Bobby Jindal (GIN-dle) might not have become governor, especially since he almost beat the Democrat Kathleen Blanco in 2003. The big majority of Louisianans care little about party labels, particularly at the state and local levels.

Mike Foster, age 65 and a lifelong Democrat, switched to the GOP in the fall of 1995 and was elected governor shortly afterward. For a time, it had appeared that two Republicans– Foster and ex-Gov. Roemer– would meet in the runoff, but Roemer faded near the end and finished fourth.

Cleo Fields could not have gotten 50-plus percent in a statewide Democratic primary in 1995.

“The premise behind party primaries is that only members may participate in the selection of candidates, that they will then support in the general election.”

In the states which have party primaries, and which do not mandate open primaries, each party decides which voters may participate in its primaries (the exception is that the state may prohibit parties from inviting members of opposing parties into their primaries). When a party allows non-members into its primary, it HOPES that they will back the party’s nominees in the general election.

The Mississippi Democrats are challenging the state-mandated open primary because they want to be able to block Republicans from voting in Democratic primaries. The Democrats have made it clear on several occasions that, if their lawsuit succeeds, they will invite independents into Democratic primaries. The Republicans, in contrast, will keep GOP primaries open to ALL voters.

In California Democratic Party v. Jones, Justice Antonin Scalia had a suggestion for voters in areas in which elections are decided in one party’s primary: JOIN THE PARTY. Why should someone who steadfastly refuses to join a party be allowed to help nominate that party’s candidates– unless the party invites him to do so?

Remember that, in all those years before we had party primaries, grassroots voters could only vote (directly) in general elections.

The bottom line: if the “top two” is such a fantastic idea, why is Washington only the second state to use it for all of its state and congressional elections? And don't forget that Louisiana has restored party primaries for its congressional elections.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Video Portrait of Barack H. Obamanation

This video of the prospective Democratic nominee for president speaks for itself.

Debating the "Top Two" Election System

A commenter from Texas named Jim R and I have had an exchange-- not the first-- at Ballot Access News concerning the "top two" election system. The first round of Washington state's new "top two" system is scheduled for August 19.

Jim R wrote: "The purpose of the [so-called] primary in Washington (and Nebraska legislative elections) is to winnow the field."

My response:

The “top two” indeed winnows the field, so that voters have only two choices in the final, deciding election. And it almost always winnows out small-party and independent candidates in the first round.

You could say that party primaries also winnow the field, in that only one candidate per party advances to the general election. But since, in a partisan system, there’s no limit on the number of independents who can appear on the general election ballot, the voters have a potentially unlimited choice, instead of merely two options.

In Party Politics in America, Professor Frank Sorauf says, “As the nominating system that must accompany the nonpartisan election, the nonpartisan primary puts all candidates for the office on one ballot… . The two candidates receiving the highest number of votes at the primary become the candidates for the nonpartisan general election.”

Other than Louisiana– and now Washington– Nebraska is the only state that uses nonpartisan (or “top two”) elections for its legislature (Louisiana, to be sure, uses the "top two" for all of its state and local elections, while Washington will use it for its congressional, state, and local elections).

You’re obviously enthralled with the “top two” monstrosity, Jim R. Again I ask: have you contacted any Texas legislators about getting that wonderful system enacted in the Lone Star state? And since you like Nebraska’s setup so well, you should also ask your legislators to make Texas the second state with a one-house legislature.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Natchez Mayor Loses Re-election Bid

Phillip West, elected in 2004 as the first black mayor of Natchez, Mississippi, was defeated in today's Democratic primary.

West is a former Adams County supervisor and formerly chaired the Legislative Black Caucus in the Mississippi House of Representatives. He drew criticism from other caucus members when he endorsed the confirmation of Judge Charles Pickering for the 5th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Pickering, who was not confirmed by the Senate, was given a recess appointment by President George W. Bush.

Jake Middleton, who won the Democratic primary for mayor, will face the independent Chick Graning in the June 3 general election. Both Middleton and Graning are white.

West becomes the third of the last four mayors of Natchez to fail to win a second term. The exception was Larry "Butch" Brown, who served two terms before losing in 2000 to F. L. "Hank" Smith. Brown is now executive director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

Natchez, named for a now-extinct Indian tribe, is 70 miles south of Vicksburg and is the oldest settlement on the Mississippi River. Natchez is world-famous for its many pre-Civil War mansions, some of which it opens for tours twice a year. This pilgrimage to the antebellum homes was begun in the 1930s.

Note: Sen. John McCain, of course, has had the Republican presidential nomination clinched for several months now. It's interesting that, with 97 percent of the votes counted in today's North Carolina Republican primary, 26 percent have voted against McCain. And with 88 percent counted in the Indiana Republican primary, 22 percent have voted for candidates other than McCain.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

New London Mayor Is U. S. Native

The newly-elected mayor of London, England was born in the United States and says he wouldn't mind being president of the U. S. one day (he's presumably joking).

The city has used instant runoff voting (IRV) ever since the mayor's position became elective in 2000. Each voter gets two choices on the general election ballot, ensuring that the winner always gets 50-plus percent.

Boris Johnson, the Conservative Party nominee, defeated the two-term incumbent, Ken Livingstone, who is practically a communist. Livingstone was first elected in 2000 as an independent and was the Labour Party nominee in 2004 and this year.

The Conservatives had used what they called an "open primary" (that popular term) to nominate their candidate. The event worked like what we Americans call a caucus. It was open to any voter, and voters signed up in advance by mail or online. Each candidate addressed the meeting, and a vote was taken to choose the party's nominee.

The "open primary" idea was advocated by David Cameron, the Conservative leader in Parliament, and the Tories are also using it in some other races.

The Labour Party, which has been in power since 1997, had its worst showing in Britain's local elections in 40 years.

Note: The primary election is an American invention and was exclusive to the U. S. for many years. Some parties in some other democracies, however, have recently experimented with more democratic methods of nomination. In France's last presidential election, for example, the Socialist Party held a primary, for which the polls were open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Only party members could vote, and 50-plus percent was required to win. Since the woman candidate got more votes than her two male opponents combined, no runoff primary was necessary.

Libertarian Presidential Debates

Third Party Watch has posted videos of two "debates" among some of the candidates for the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination. I would describe these more as candidate forums or joint press conferences than as debates.

I haven't heard Wayne Allyn Root yet, but after watching these videos, I'm convinced that Bob Barr, the former Republican congressman from Georgia, has an excellent chance of winning the nomination at the convention later this month in Denver.

I think you'll agree that Daniel Imperato is a real piece of work.

Friday, May 02, 2008

The Schizophrenic's Guide to "Climate Change" (1894-2008)

Try not to become hysterical when you look at this timeline! ~~SR

by Ben-Peter Terpstra | Intellectual Conservative Politics and Philosophy

The media reports on "climate change."

In 1957, the Associated Press matter-of-factly reported that:

. . . Dr. Joseph Kaplan, UCLA professor and chairman of the U.S. Committee for the 1957 International Geophysical Year, has predicted that ocean levels will rise at least 40 feet and inundate vast areas of the earth in the next 50 or 60 years unless atmospheric temperatures can be controlled.

The 54-year-old scientist said the burning of fuels is of such magnitude that discharged gasses are creating a "greenhouse" effect over the earth.

Should the oceans rise by 40 feet, their waters would cover parts of New York City, San Francisco, much of Florida, sections of Tokyo and many other coastal cities.

The solution?

Heat control is the answer to the threat, Dr. Kaplan said. "We're working on a method of controlling man's environment and the temperature of the world," he reported. "We've already, fired rockets into the upper atmosphere and discharged chemicals that affect the temperature of the atmosphere.

"Control by man of the earth's weather and temperature is within the realm of practicality now.

"The end result of our studies (of temperature control) will be more important to the survival of man than atomic energy."

In other words, humans are gods. I mean, even Democrats boast about plans to control the earth’s weather and temperature. Or, liberals are tricknologists. But, in any event, some possible follow-up questions are:

In 2008, do New Yorkers really believe that the ocean levels will soon rise to 40 feet?

Is much of Florida doomed?

How many professors liked to use coke in the 1950s?

Do liberal North Americans have a history of trying to control populations through junk science?

The last question, of course, is the easiest to answer. Still, I’ll let history speak now. Full article, including timeline>>>

Mike Gunn: Back in the News

Mike Gunn, a former Mississippi state legislator, is back in the news but probably wishes he wasn't.

There certainly was no love lost between Gunn and The Clarion-Ledger, which he called “that Pravda on Pearl Street.” Editorial cartoonist Mark Bolton once ran an outrageous cartoon of Gunn wearing Ku Klux Klan regalia.

In 1995, Charlie Ross ran for Gunn’s state Senate seat, and Gunn beat him, despite U. S. Sen. Thad Cochran doing TV ads for Ross.

“Gunn made a run for former U.S. Rep. Sonny Montgomery’s seat when Montgomery retired in 1996, but lost to Rep. Chip Pickering.”

Gunn didn’t make the Republican runoff, which was between Pickering and Bill Crawford of Meridian (’John Eaves Jr.’ beat state Sen. Rob Smith for the Democratic nomination. In 2007, Eaves and Smith were the Democratic nominees, respectively, for governor and secretary of state).

Gunn supported Pat Buchanan for president in 1996.

Gunn also ran for Congress in 1988 in the district in the southwestern part of the state. Tom Collins, a former Vietnam prisoner of war, defeated Andy Taggart in the GOP runoff. Mike Parker of Brookhaven won the Democratic runoff over Brad Pigott, after Steve Patterson had finished third. Patterson, who later served as state auditor, has recently pleaded guilty to charges related to the Dickie Scruggs scandal.

Parker, who beat Collins in the 1988 general election, later switched parties and was the 1999 Republican nominee for governor against the Democrat Ronnie Musgrove.

When Gunn took the job with the Tobacco Institute in 1997, that was “proof positive” to The Clarion-Ledger that he was the Prince of Darkness.

Constitution Party: An All-Southern Ticket

With its nomination of Darrell Castle, a Memphis attorney, for vice president, the Constitution Party has an all-Southern ticket.

Here's a story on the party's recent convention from the Kansas City Star. Comments follow the article.

Here's a video of an interview given by Chuck Baldwin, the presidential nominee, and Howard Phillips, the party's founder and previous three-time presidential nominee.

Here's the video of Baldwin's speech accepting the presidential nomination.