More on Mike Munger

Back in December, I wrote an entry about Michael Munger, who is hoping to run for NC Governor on the Libertarian ticket. I gave him a deservedly hard time, but I want to circle back with a few additional comments. But mostly I want to say how much I like his style.

In response to my post, Mr. Munger wrote an extended entry on his own blog, which I very much enjoyed reading. You can find it here.

Basically a fair presentation, I'd say. Anglico lists several of my issue claims, and mocks them, but he is at least focusing on stuff I really did say. And since some of the mocking is actually funny, I have to give him credit: good on ya, man!

I suspect I share many of the core ideals that Mike Munger stands for, and confess to a certain Libertarian streak myself. My problem with the Libertarian Party, though, is that they carry everything to extremes. For example, the idea of experimenting with school choice is simply a short-term tactic for achieving the pre-determined outcome of eliminating public education. And their passion for free-market fundamentalism seems totally divorced from the reality of the world we actually live in.

All that said, Mike Munger seems like a really good guy. Read the comments on his blog and see for yourself.

Comments

If every candidate was as good-natured as Munger seems to be

it would take all the fun out of skewering them. That being said.....

I hope Robin Hayes continues to be a mean-hearted, lying, self-serving, moronic prick. It makes my job easy in 2008.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

And he's now on BlueNC

Welcome Michael Munger our first Gubernatorial candidate.

"Seems to be"?

"Seems to be", SD? Ouch.

Anglico raises a good point, I have to admit. The problem with a lot of libertarian candidates is that they say:
a. Here is a government program that works less well than I'd like.
b. Therefore, all government and taxes should be eliminated.

Getting from a to b is a bit of a stretch. So people who might sympathize with us at "a" look at "b" and think we are just nutjobs.

At least on public schools, I hope you'll agree I have one useful idea: Let's make sure the lottery, for all its problems, is actually used to increase public school spending. THe only way to settle Leandro, and do the right thing for the poorer counties, is to find some way to fund their public schools. There is no reason to jabber about school "choice" when the only choice poor counties have is to watch their crippled schools die, one day at a time.

If nothing else, I'd like the candidates from the state-sponsored parties to make that same pledge: Let's settle Leandro, and do it right. Has anybody heard anyone say that?

"It is to secure our rights that we resort to government at all." --Thomas Jefferson to Francois D'Ivernois, 1795.

Michael C. Munger

Keep talking.

You'll make a Libertarian out of me yet.

As I've mentioned a couple of times, I like a lot of what I've read on your site. I also appreciate the clarification of your ideas here about schools. Thanks for taking the time to write.

Now as to "state-sponsored parties" . . . you have a most intriguing way with words. That's almost as cool as Edwards declaring a troop surge to be the "McCain Doctrine of Escalation" . . .

Welcome to BlueNC!

Welome to BlueNC Dr. Munger

Your point is a good one on the lottery. I'm originally from Illinois and our experience with the lottery there was not a good one. What was supposed to augment educational spending simply became a more regressive tax on the poor that was used to substitute for other revenue streams that weren't nearly as regressive.

The problem of inequitable state support for public schools in poor counties versus schools in rich counties is as excruciating as it is difficult to solve. North Carolina has a terrible problem in this regard, and one that's been treated as a hot potato by both parties, but North Carolina is not alone in suffering with that inequity.

I wonder, Dr. Munger, what might you suggest as a fix for that inequity? Aren't libertarians inclined to be suspicious of the entire idea of public education? Was that part of your calculation when you decided to take a position at Duke instead of some grander institution like say, UNC?

I'm 56 years old. I moved to North Carolina five years ago. The previous twenty-five years I spent as a resident of Chicago's north shore and before that Wisconsin, Utah and California. I live in Moore County. My Congressman is Howard Coble, my State Sen

Public schools

George, you are KILLIN' me, man.

I taught at UNC for years, in fact. I directed the MPA (Master of Public Administration) Program there, and worked closely with the folks at the IOG to train city and county managers. On site visits, I saw the decay and the problems with our public school system. I spent a lot of time driving around the state, visiting UNC MPA alums who worked in city management or who worked for counties.

Leaving UNC was hard for me. I am still a big fan of UNC (and NOT of Duke, I have to admit, at least when it comes to basketball).

But I may not be a very good libertarian, at least when it comes to public schools. I like public schools, I went to public schools all the way through, and both my sons attend public schools. North Carolina has many excellent public schools. We just have to get more resources out there to the poor counties.

We are being penny wise and pound foolish, by scrimping on schools and spending so much money on paving roads (though, as it has been pointed out in this space on Blue NC, some Repub candidates and powers pretty much live by the paving machine).

I'm not convinced that getting public schools completely out of the picture would be ideal, in any future world, though many libertarians make that argument.

What I know for a fact that in any conceivable picture of the next few decades NC's future depends on fixing our public schools. And as it stands, nobody in government is taking that job seriously. It's just a big cluster of hands, with fingers pointing in all directions.

"It is to secure our rights that we resort to government at all." --Thomas Jefferson to Francois D'Ivernois, 1795.

Michael C. Munger

Thanks for stopping in, Mr. Munger

Your comments are quite interesting - though I doubt you'll make a libertarian of me. :) I do have further question for you about public education.

You stated

But I may not be a very good libertarian, at least when it comes to public schools. I like public schools, I went to public schools all the way through, and both my sons attend public schools. North Carolina has many excellent public schools. We just have to get more resources out there to the poor counties.

What are your thoughts about charter schools, school vouchers, and other methods of public school choice?

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

I think I just saw you in Weaver Street?

If that was you, I think we are neighbors.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

my problem with "small government"

I still remember hearing about this, and it cemented for me the problem with "small government" thinking. If a family becomes homeless, social services will take their kids away. I can't remember the exact costs, but it was something like $25 or $35K for all the various things required to do that.

But, you could give that family a housing voucher for $8K.

But, oh no! That's "big government" getting involved where they shouldn't. Never mind that a different agency is spending $20K more than that to take away their kids, ripping apart their families, and traumatizing them forever, we can't have "big government".

Another example is health care. Right NOW, we already spend enough in taxes and subsidies to cover a national health care plan for all Americans. That includes the 47 million without health care. That doesn't include out of pocket expenses and everything else we pay. But, if we did that, sure we would insure everyone, have a healthier country, a better economy, longer life-spans, less infant mortality; but, we would end up with BIG GOVERNMENT.

I like government, government can do good. It can also be bastardized into something ugly, bloated, and inefficient. The trick is to have one not turn into the other.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

2 things

Most libertarians would have the government do neither. They would just let the family starve.

Second, the core of Libertarian philosophy is that government can not do good. And, more specifically, that private industry will always do better. Even though there are many many things that no private company would do that society would fall apart without.

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

Not quite right

Blue South has a point, but I think overstates a bit.

Most libertarians would not say govt cannot do good. They are just skeptical that it will.

And, as I often note, I must not be a very good libertarian. I would much prefer the housing voucher,
and the government that provides public goods. I worked for the government myself, the Federal Trade Commission,
on antitrust, and my wife is an attorney for the US Treasury Department. I am skeptical of anyone who
doesn't seek some kind of balance, and the nature of that balance may be constantly changing.

Still, the burden of proof would have to be on the LIB party, to show that we want to govern, not just
recite quotations from famous anarchists who never held any public office.

(Notice that I quote Jefferson: he was a libertarian until he became Prez. Then he had to govern)...

"It is to secure our rights that we resort to government at all." --Thomas Jefferson to Francois D'Ivernois, 1795.

Michael C. Munger

Re: 2 things

Blue,

I am not sure how many other libertarians believe this, but here is my belief:

1) The idea that you can accomplish good by doing evil is an illusion. Some good may come of evil, but that's not the same thing as doing good by doing evil. For instance, if you beat a child, he may become very tough and strong-willed, but I would not advocate beating a child to make him strong.

2) Much of what government accomplishes - much of it useful, to be sure - is accomplished through the application of aggressive force against unwilling participants. For instance, a draft forces people to fight in a war against their will and belief.

Putting those two things together is what makes me want less government in people's lives. It's unfair to say that because someone does not want education to be controled by the government that he is against education. There are two seperate questions there.

Libertarians want the same things that everyone but psychopaths want - a safe, peaceful world where people can reach their full potential as human beings. It's just that many of us believe strongly that humans can be led, and persuades, but cannot be -forced- without diminishing their humanity.

Susan Hogarth

Your're Fired! Dang! Can't do that either!

Let's settle Leandro, and do it right. Has anybody heard anyone say that?**Terrible Mike

Sure! Why not? Fire Howdy Manning first and than impeach every dang member of the Supreme Court that didn't have the judical or constitutional guts to settle it in the first place. Can we count on it as your first platform plank Mike? Never mind. The Governor can 't fire anybody on the court and that includes Nifong.

(Notice that I quote Jefferson: he was a libertarian until he became Prez. Then he had to govern)...* Gov Mike

Odd! So he sold out and name his party or faction "The Democrat-Republican Party" Sounds like the perfect name of a politicial party that describes the principles of liberty to me. In fact that name just might fly today in politics as a image builder to keep both parties honest and craping in their pants.

Nothing Personal, Michael

Even I can be nice over the tubes. :)

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

The problem with a lot of Libertarian candidates....

... is perhaps that they spend an inordinate amount of time pointing out the shortcomings of other (hypothetical) Libertarian candidates :-(

Mike, I hope you'll hang out with more Libertarian candidates as the months go by. I am afraid you seem to have a skewed sample so far. Most Libertarians I know aren't out to reduce the size and scope of government because it somehow "works less well than [we would] like," but because government represents the use of aggressive force, and aggression has no place in education, or nation-building, or business.

THIS Libertarian candidate at least opposes increasing the role of government in education not because the government does such a lousy job at education (though it does), but because it is not the government's right or role to interfere with or dictate my education or that of anyone else.

Susan Hogarth
Libertarian Candidate for Congress
http://www.colliething.com

Read your comments on your 2008 Campaign page

and enjoyed your reply to Anglico. With your sense of humor and good cheer you'll make for a spirited race. Glad to see you here. And although my lovely wife always says about my baldness "they only made so many perfect heads...the rest have hair"... I'd love to have your curly locks...especially knowing why you've grown them long. Nice touch!! Hope your wife is better.

Stan Bozarth

Munger petition drive

I forgot to include a link to Mike Munger's petition drive to get on the ballot for Governor in 2008. I'm going to print one and sign it . . . and hope you will too.

My motives are two-fold.

First, I have long believed that our two-party system sucks, both here in North Carolina and in Congress as well. I won't go into all the details, but if you want a taste of the trouble it causes, just visit this thread. Despite that belief, I'm a card-carrying Democrat for the very practical reasons of keeping Republicans out of power.

Second, Munger's candidacy has the potential to peel off more votes from the Party of Greed than from the Democratic Party.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It doesn't look like you can sign online, so you may have to do it the old fashioned way.

I believe a new law goes into effect this year

that will lower the number of signatures required for him to get on the ballot. I don't know what it was lowered to, though. Anybody know the specifics?

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

SUBCHAPTER IV. POLITICAL

SUBCHAPTER IV. POLITICAL PARTIES. (OLD)
Article 9.
Political Party Definition.
§ 163‑96. "Political party" defined; creation of new party.
(a) Definition. – A political party within the meaning of the election laws of this State shall be either:
(1) Any group of voters which, at the last preceding general State election, polled for its candidate for Governor, or for presidential electors, at least ten percent (10%) of the entire vote cast in the State for Governor or for presidential electors; or
(2) Any group of voters which shall have filed with the State Board of Elections petitions for the formulation of a new political party which are signed by registered and qualified voters in this State equal in number to two percent (2%) of the total number of voters who voted in the most recent general election for Governor. Also the petition must be signed by at least 200 registered voters from each of four congressional districts in North Carolina. To be effective, the petitioners must file their petitions with the State Board of Elections before 12:00 noon on the first day of June preceding the day on which is to be held the first general State election in which the new political party desires to participate. The State Board of Elections shall forthwith determine the sufficiency of petitions filed with it and shall immediately communicate its determination to the State chairman of the proposed new political party.

NEW:

SUBCHAPTER IV. POLITICAL PARTIES.
Article 9.
Political Party Definition.
(Changes effective January 1, 2007)
§ 163-96. "Political party" defined; creation of new party.
(a)Definition. - A political party within the meaning of
the election laws of this State shall be either:
(1) Any group of voters which, at the last preceding
general State election, polled for its candidate
for Governor, or for presidential electors, at
least two percent (2%) of the entire vote cast in
the State for Governor or for presidential
electors; or
(2) Any group of voters which shall have filed with the
State Board of Elections petitions for the
formulation of a new political party which are
signed by registered and qualified voters in this
State equal in number to two percent (2%) of the
total number of voters who voted in the most recent
general election for Governor. Also the petition
must be signed by at least 200 registered voters
from each of four congressional districts in North
Carolina. To be effective, the petitioners must
file their petitions with the State Board of
Elections before 12:00 noon on the first day of
June preceding the day on which is to be held the
first general State election in which the new
political party desires to participate. The State
Board of Elections shall forthwith determine the
sufficiency of petitions filed with it and shall
immediately communicate its determination to the
State chairman of the proposed new political party.

fhblack

Thanks, Fred

In other words, you have to be a lawyer to figure it out.

:)

Good to see you out and about!

Next time

I won't ask for specifics. :)

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Signatures

On the signatures:

1. The state-sponsored parties make the rules, not the Libs! We have to do it by paper. They want to make it as hard as they can. But, thanks for the efforts, and if you can do it on paper feel free to send it in!

2. H88 did NOT make it easier to get signatures, and did not reduce the number. The original version of the bill did that, but it was changed. It is true that the RETENTION threshold was reduced from 10% to 2%, and that is a big help. (By comparison, though, the SC limits are 10,000 sigs, instead of 67,000 sigs, and stay on ballot simply by running a candidate for statewide office, instead of 2%). Still, yes, H88 was a big help. You can actually glean this info from the two statute versions posted above in comments, but I thought I would summarize.

"It is to secure our rights that we resort to government at all." --Thomas Jefferson to Francois D'Ivernois, 1795.

Michael C. Munger

Thanks to all those signing the petition!

And special thanks to those getting their officemates/friends/family to sign. I know it's a pain in the arse printing it out, explaining it to folks, mailing it in, etc., but know that your help is VERY much appreciated!

Here's a direct link a printable copy of the petition:

http://www.lpnc.org/get_involved/Petition_forms/Petition.pdf

Please mail it to the TOP address (though either is OK if you forget), and put the county name at the top. Each sheet can only have sigs from one county.

Thanks again!

Susan Hogarth
Libertarian Candidate for Congress
http://www.colliething.com

I'll sign

Everyone has the right to run. It's good for the state, and for all of the parties to have more candidates in the race.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

true progressives

True progressives support democracy. Plain and simple. I know that my rep, Deborah Ross definetly gets this. I wonder where the others stand.

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

Munger says: "The problem

Munger says:
"The problem with a lot of libertarian candidates is that they say:
a. Here is a government program that works less well than I'd like.
b. Therefore, all government and taxes should be eliminated."

That's incorrect. Most Libertarians don't say "A" at all. They are simply against most government programs.

Most Libertarians do not say "B" either, which I consider unfortunate. Most Libertarians want a state monopoly on security, defense, courts, etc.
Furthermore, the Libertarians who do in fact say "B" do not say it as a result of "A" but rather because is the right thing to do regardless of how well they perceive government programs to work.

Munger says:
"Let's make sure the lottery, for all its problems, is actually used to increase public school spending.

I'm disheartened to see a Libertarian calling for increasing government spending. While it may be reasonable to endorse a lottery as an incremental step toward more liberty since buying lottery tickets is voluntary, lottery funds should not be used to increase spending on schools or anything else. If Mr. Munger wishes to be a "practical" candidate by not endorsing the abolition of public schools, he could do so while still calling for decreasing the size and intrusiveness of government through such a proposal as this, which I would get behind:

1. Let the lottery funds replace an equal amount of taxation
2. Cut out other, more frivolous government programs, thereby freeing up more money for public schools.

This is a revenue-neutral plan; however, it relieves the burden on taxpayers, reduces the scope of government, and shifts spending away from frivolous programs to schools.

There's simply no reason to increase spending, and I'm appalled to hear a Libertarian call for it.

paulelledge, what are some of the "more frivolous" government

programs?

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

the more frivolous stuff

"paulelledge, what are some of the "more frivolous" government programs?"

-Anything relating to entertainment, recreation, arts, etc.
-Corporate welfare
-Enforcement of victimless-crime laws

...to name a few.

Looks like Libertarians

are just like any other political party these days . . . a confused, disorganized, circular firing squad filled with misunderstood people who mean well!

It's nice to know some things are constant in the universe besides the speed of light.

Cheers!

meaning well

Yes,

I think anyone involved in political activism means well. And you have to agree that we Libertarians aren't in it ('it' = activism) for the power or the money ;-)

And, yes, the snippiest fights are probably always going to be within rather than between parties. I guess it's like the fact that the bitterest quarrels are those you have with you siblings :-/

I am glad Mike is running, and I'm glad he is reaching out here, and I am delighted that Libs are welcome here. It's good to have new folks to bounce ideas off of and test your ideas (and ideals!) against to see if they hold water.

Mike will be talking about education at Tir Na Nog in Raleigh on Thuirsday (4th) at 7PM if any of you folks want to join us. It is a meeting of the Wake LP, but I can assure you that we don't eat babies, no mater what you've heard ;-)

Susan Hogarth
http://www.colliething.com

Thanks, Susan

My 90 years old father-in-law is a strong Libertarian who gives me no end of hard time about just about everything you can imagine. He's also one of the most generous and thoughtful people I've ever met.

I'm glad this discussion is rolling along, and I look forward to more. As an entrepreneur and long-time business owner, I have some sense of what private enterprise can do effectively, and where it completely comes undone. I wish people of your persuasion would focus as much on the latter as you do on the former.

And while I'm wishing, your rhetoric about government "forcing" people to do this or do that (pay taxes, smoke somewhere else, stop at red lights, etc.) leaves me uninspired and ready to push back hard. I think that's because I consider myself part of the government (We the People) with an implicit social contract that requires me to balance my personal desires with a shared commitment to the common good. It is clear to me that "we are all in this together" is a more reasoned and sustainable approach than "you're on your own."

People at the John Locke Puppetshow preface most of their arcane arguments with just that sort of blather about being coerced by the mean old "government" to do things they don't like. In the case of publicly financed elections, they complain about the woes of being forced to support campaigns for candidates they might disagree with. To which I say, bullshit.

As part of our social contract with one another, we all pay for things that we don't agree with. I pay proportionally higher taxes because the John Locke think tank has sought and achieved non-profit status. I help pay for highways that I wish weren't being built. And so on.

My point is simply this: whining about being forced to do this or that is an argument that doesn't resonate with thoughtful people. It appeals to the basest level of human instincts and in my humble view, it is offensive on its face.

Just saying.

Jus' sayin'

Thanks for the interesting and detailed response, Anglico.

One of the places where I see business 'coming undone' is in dealing with government. The combination of business and state makes for scary times for the individual or family.

I hope some day (soon) you and I can have a beer (or six) and discuss the concept of an 'implicit social contract'. Those words to me are like a red cape to a bull - so I certainly understand your "uninspired and ready to push back hard" comment :)

One thing that I think gets often misunderstood is the difference between having rules and using aggressive force against others. Traffic lights aren't un-libertarian any more than 'standard English' is un-libertarian. But do we need the government to 'enforce' standard English?

http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,448747,00.html

"The new traffic model's advocates believe the only way out of this vicious circle is to give drivers more liberty and encourage them to take responsibility for themselves."

Anther common misunderstanding is that libertarians have an 'every man for himself' philosophy, and/or that we do not see the interdependent nature of human civilization. Nothing could be farther from the truth! It's just that we believe that civilized interactions between people rely on explicit mutual consent.

Interesting comment about appeal to 'basest level of human instincts,' because that is how many libertarians will describe the attempts of pro-government people to justify the use of force rather than persuasion. I think the discussion would be much more comfortable all around if we could agree to at least act as if we believe the other 'means well'. For my part, I believe that of you, and I hope you can believe it of me as well.

Lastly, you speak of having to support things you disagree with as price for having other things supported. But where is the line drawn in this 'contract'? If the law requires that I return a fugitive slave, for instance, or refuse to serve blacks at the same counter as whites, is it part of this 'contract' that I do as the law requires? Isn't there something above the law? I believe there is.

Susan Hogarth
http://www.colliething.com

Well said, Susan

thanks for the thoughtful reply. I can see why our red flags antagonize one another, so I'll stay away from mine if you stay away from yours.

And isn't the question really both as simple and complex as "where do we draw the lines?"

In "theory" the ideas you've presented are seductive. But I have a problem with the practical applications. This is most true for me around environmental regulations and planning. In "theory" we could let things go to hell and they'd eventually self-correct. The problem is that "eventually" may be well after the entire planet is denuded from acid rain, global warming, toxic waste and worse.

There are lots of other disconnects for me, but we'll have to pick them up later over that six pack.

J

PS You guys are way better than Mormons in your evangelical zeal. They won't even offer a beer, let alone drink one.

Here's a secret

(and don't tell my Lib friends)

The ideas you present are seductive to me, too. But interestingly enough, it's sort of the reverse of what you say: the ideas of Dems are seductive to me in practice.

"Let things go to hell" is certainly one of the more interesting translations of laissez faire I have heard :)

I think we're up to twelve-pack by now, having passed six-pack some time back. But I still think goodwill goes for a long way in discussions such as these.

Susan Hogarth
http://www.colliething.com

Oh, I forgot...

I wanted to respond to this:

And isn't the question really both as simple and complex as "where do we draw the lines?"

With a resounding YES

Or, in 90s lingo: 'totally'.

Well, and there is the related question "Who decides?"

Susan Hogarth
http://www.colliething.com

Hmmmm

I think that would be . . .

The Decider

Please...

I haven't had lunch yet.

Of course, that could be considered a diet aid. It certainly does take away one's appetite.

Susan Hogarth
http://www.colliething.com

Anglico wrote: My problem

Anglico wrote:

My problem with the Libertarian Party, though, is that they carry everything to extremes.

I think that is one of the important functions of 'third' or 'ideological' parties - at least under our current electoral system. We serve the function of raising important core issues in a clear and unconditional way and introducing new ideas to the mainstream of politics.

George Bush is big on making 'extremism' the new bogeyman, but when you have a clear and consistent set of beliefs, it is hard to sound like anything other than extreme without compromising them.

Susan Hogarth
http://www.colliething.com

I've often said

that my job is to be so extreme (in rhetorical terms) so as to make my colleagues seem reasonable in comparison. That said, I don't lean toward policy extremes . . . though I do get your point.

Extremes

Why is "extremism" considered a dirty word? Should one not be extremely good? Extremely principled?

More Parties Make Better Parties

I'm a Democrat and will likely remain one. However, I know that a Libertarian Party with a megaphone will force the state-sponsored parties to raise their behavior and hone their arguments.

A two-party system makes for lazy, unintellectual politics. Keep working, Libs!

Scrutiny Hooligans - http://www.scrutinyhooligans.us

Other 'third' parties

Fourth? Fifth? I'd love to sign up for the Socialist party or the Social Democrat party (since pure socialism is a little too extreme for my tastes), but I don't think NC has an active branch.

Other parties in NC

Greens, Libs, and Constitution are active in NC to my understanding, and I'm being generous throwing in the Constituion, I suspect.

Only the Libs regularly get ballot access, which is a shame. Imagine a debate including Greens, Socialists, Libs, Dems, Reps. Thatw oudl be some fireworks! :)

Now, that assumes the media can be convinced to invite Libs and Greens and Socialists to the debate. sigh.

Susan Hogarth
http://www.colliething.com

Too true!

The downfall of a two-party system is that there is some minority of people who don't fit into either, and their voices don't get heard.