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Stateside: Somewhere, Someone, Some Time

Stateside With Rosalea: Convention Watch

Somewhere, Someone, Some Time

Oh, Lord! Let this farce that's called party conventions be over soon. I've just seen Rudy Giuliani addressing a hall full of thousands of Republicans use his speech to enunciate why people should vote for Bush instead of Kerry -- as if anyone in that audience was likely to vote for a Democrat anyway!

Of course, it wasn't the Republican delegates he was really addressing, but through the magic of television it was whoever the wider audience was that receives a channel that was actually broadcasting his speech. In this case it was the listener-supported Public Broadcasting Service. The major networks, apparently, are only going to take three speeches in prime time, and when it came to a choice between the old-timers who spoke last night -- McCain and Giuliani -- and the new kid on the block, Governor Schwarzenegger, the movie star won.

An interesting point was raised by one of the regular PBS political commentators when he was discussing the broad variety of seemingly incompatible opinions within the Republican Party (something that is equally true of the Democrats) on subjects such as gay marriage and abortion. There is a third party, he said, and it's huge.

If you visualise a Venn diagram where the two circles are almost completely overlapping each other, leaving only two slivers of extreme opinion at the opposite sides of the diagram, you'll get what he means. However, he said, the system of using party primaries prevents a third party that would naturally flow out of that middle ground from ever being viable. The US, he said, has three parties in a two-party system, and that's why the electorate is so evenly divided.

Meanwhile, a few blocks away from the Republican Convention tonight, two actual third parties will be participating a presidential debate. Libertarian Michael Badnarik and Green Party candidate David Cobb will attend the event at Saints Cyril and Methodius Church in Manhattan. Other invited candidates, such as Bush and Kerry declined the invitation, according to Fred Collins, manager of the Badnarik for President campaign.

"Bush and Kerry march in lock-step on so many issues that their so-called 'debate' [later in the year] will be like listening to an echo chamber," Collins said. "Both favor dramatically expanding the size, power and cost of government, continuing the war in Iraq and using the September 11 attacks as an excuse to subvert freedom.

"Badnarik and Cobb, however, will lay out starkly different visions of the proper role of the federal government, with the Green favoring a mix of expanded civil liberties and expanded government, and the Libertarian taking a principled stand in favor of less government across the board."

"The Libertarians and the Greens will have the kind of robust political debate that the American people deserve, but won't get, from the two older parties." It will, I believe, be carried on C-SPAN.

ENDS

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