Sunday, April 30, 2006

TODAY'S NEWS HEADLINES


NATIONAL* What Tim Roemer's plea to Dems left out: independents (TPM Cafe)

NEW YORK * Weld gets Libertarian nomination (Newsday)

CALIFORNIA* Dan Walters on fight for Dem direction (Sac Bee)

TEXAS* Sec. of State vows quick signature count (Dallas Morning News)

Illinois: Lake County is 50% independent (News Sun)

Massachusetts: Repub Lt. Gov Kerry Healey goes after independents (2 articles, Boston Globe)

Oregon: Independent gov candidate Westlund goes after centrists (The Oregonian)

Georgia: Pols discuss independent redistricting commission (Gwinnett Daily Post)

PSYCHOLOGY:* Freud on fundamentalism (NY Times)

What Tim Roemer's plea to Dems left out: independent voters

Tim Roemer's "Had Enough?" Campaign Not Enough

By Steve ClemonsTPM Cafe blog Apr. 29, 2006 I like Tim Roemer, the former Congressman from Indiana who now is President of the Center for National Policy as well as his staff -- but I have to give him some push back on his New York Times op-ed this morning.... What Roemer neglects is, that unlike 1946, there are more declared Independents than either Republicans or Democrats today -- and more independent-leaning and independent-minded Republicans and Democrats than the American political scene has witnessed in a century.
These Independents can't be wooed by celebrations of how bad the Bush administration has been. They want to see better ideas and proposals put on the table....
more

Yes, and... Is being independent enough? What do independents and independent-minded voters need to do to support a more positive direction for our country? Let us know what you think!

New York: Weld gets Libertarian Party nomination for governor

Weld gets Libertarian Party nomination for governor

NY Newsday April 29, 2006 ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Republican Bill Weld, the former Massachusetts governor, received the Libertarian Party nomination Saturday in the race to be the next New York governor.
The Libertarians, with about 45 voting members on hand, met Saturday at a suburban Albany hotel. Weld attended before the vote and was expected to return later, said Richard Cooper, the party's state chairman. ....
more

California: Dan Walters on fight for Dem direction

Dan Walters: Will Democrats emulate GOP and marginalize themselves?

Sac BeeSunday, April 30, 2006 ....The duel between Treasurer Phil Angelides and Controller Steve Westly for the nomination for governor embraces the conflict, but it extends well beyond their contest. Angelides is an unabashed liberal who wants to raise taxes by billions of dollars and was an early and ardent critic of Schwarzenegger, while Westly is a relative moderate who aligned himself with Schwarzenegger in the early months of his governorship, then turned against him later..... more

Texas: Sec. of State vows quick signature count for independents

Thwarting Perry foes? Absurd, official says Secretary of state says petition count will take weeks, not months
Sunday, April 30, 2006By WAYNE SLATER / The Dallas Morning News
ELECTIONS '06AUSTIN – Secretary of State Roger Williams says it will take only a few weeks, not the two months his critics charge, to certify the candidacy of two independents seeking to challenge Gov. Rick Perry.
Mr. Williams denied that he is trying to keep the governor's political challengers, Carole Keeton Strayhorn and Kinky Friedman, off the ballot.....
more

Illinois: Lake County is 50% independent

GOP elects Venturi; Dems keep Hewitt

By Ralph Zahorik News SunApr. 29, 2006 ...Republicans can reduce Democratic inroads into Lake County, Venturi said. At least half the voters in Lake County don't consider themselves Republicans or Democrats, he said.
Venturi estimated the political makeup of Lake County is 30 percent Republican, 20 percent Democratic and 50 percent independent.
"Independents are looking to vote for candidates and issues they can believe in," Venturi said. "Our job is to convince voters, to persuade voters, Republican candidates are the best candidates ... The days when you could hang an elephant on your back and get elected in Lake County are gone."...
more

Massachusetts: Repub Lt. Gov Kerry Healey goes after independents

Watch out, Democrats
By Joan Vennochi
Boston Globe ColumnistApril 30, 2006 BE AFRAID, Democrats. Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey is not a great, natural politician, nor that inspiring a speaker. But she is good enough to become the next governor.
In 2006, Bay State Republicans are offering independent voters the same alluring message they first offered in 1990 -- fiscal restraint and a check against so-called tax-and-spend Democrats. And this time, the messenger fills a category of her own -- thin, blonde, rich, and very determined..... Just like Weld in 1990, Healey is going for independent voters and for the women's vote. To beat her, Democrats must deny her one of those constituencies. It may not be as easy as they want to believe....
more

'I ask you to stand with us in this election.'Kerry Healey, Republican nominee for governor Boston GlobeApr. 30, 2006 With only 13 percent of the state's voters registered as Republicans, Healey will have to draw on her socially moderate, fiscally conservative views to win over independent voters, who make up roughly half the state's electorate. Much as Governor Mitt Romney rode support from independents into the corner office in 2002, Healey is reaching out to largely suburban voters -- high-tech workers along Interstate 495, the ''soccer moms and dads" on the North and South shores -- fearful of more Democratic dominance..... more

Oregon: Independent gov candidate Westlund goes after centrists

Westlund walks up the middle Governor's race - The independent state senator claims moderate ground, perhaps risky but novel for Oregon
Sunday, April 30, 2006JEFF MAPES The Oregonian ....While other candidates for governor sweat out the upcoming May 16 primary, Westlund spends his time building the base for the most unusual challenge to the major political parties in modern Oregon political history.
Unlike other recent independent and third-party candidates, Westlund, a former Republican, is attempting to run right up the political center as he tries to connect with almost everyone he meets. ... "After a decade in public service, laboring in a system dominated by the two major parties," he tells the Beaverton crowd, "I'm here to tell you that extreme partisan politics all too often trumps good public policy."
Westlund is cheered by the fact that centrists who are not Republicans or Democrats have won governorships in four states since 1990. But a favorite parlor game among political insiders is figuring out which party is most endangered by Westlund's presence in the race. A March poll by Zogby International suggested most of his support came from Democrat-leaning voters -- potentially making it easier for a Republican to win.
Lisa Grove, a pollster working for Gov. Ted Kulongoski's re-election campaign, argues that Westlund attracts mostly independent men who are more inclined to vote Republican. ...
more

Georgia: Is non-partisan redistricting possible?

Georgia considers redistricting reform

4/30/2006 Gwinnett Daily Post ....“It’s partisan, selfish politics at its most bare knuckles,’’ said Bill Bozarth, executive director of Common Cause Georgia, a good-government organization that favors handling redistricting through independent commissions. Bozarth said the worst effect of partisan redistricting is that it creates more noncompetitive districts. The party in power packs the other party’s voters into districts where the opposition party is expected to win anyway, leaving the majority party’s candidates with safer districts elsewhere on the map. The result is that politicians running in — and later representing — most districts are free to take strongly partisan positions that appeal to their constituents, the great majority of whom are either very conservative or very liberal. There’s no motive to look for middle ground on key issues. “You get a lot more stridency in the debate,’’ Bozarth said. But it’s the deluge of news stories across the country in recent years exposing the partisan nature of redistricting that is convincing more states to opt for independent commissions. By the beginning of last year, according to a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures, six states were using independent commissions to draw congressional district lines and another six were having commissions decide both congressional and legislative maps. The list includes such Republican-leaning “red’’ states as Montana and Idaho and “blue’’ states like New Jersey and Washington, where Democrats hold sway. Two other states have commissions that advise their legislatures on redistricting but don’t make the final decision, while five others only use commissions as a backup in case the legislature can’t agree on maps. “It’s a national trend,’’ said Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University and another member of the new task force. “Ethics has been a hot issue. People want a system that’s less controversial.’’ .... more

PSYCHOLOGY & POLITICS: Freud, fundamentalism and fear of groups

Freud and the Fundamentalist Urge
By MARK EDMUNDSON
New York TimesApr. 30, 2006...To most of us, Sigmund Freud, who was born 150 years ago next Saturday, is known chiefly as a provocative and highly controversial student of individual psychology. He is the man who theorized the unconscious and the Oedipus complex. What is less well known — and now perhaps more important — is that Freud devoted the final, and maybe most fruitful, phase of his career to reflections on culture and politics. In his later work, Freud brought forward striking ideas about the inner dynamics of political life in general and of tyranny in particular.
Freud, sick as he was during the early spring of 1938, generally refused to take any medication stronger than aspirin. He wanted to think and to write, and for that he needed to keep his mind clear. He stayed away from morphine and from liquor. But staying away from intoxicants and keeping his mind clear meant more than that to Freud. It meant staying away from religion (Freud was a lifelong atheist); it meant staying away from romantic love (Freud called it "the overestimation of the erotic object") and it meant staying away from the kind of politics embodied by the onetime street rat now traversing Vienna in his Mercedes. Why were people so potently and ruinously drawn to Hitler and to all of the other agents of collective intoxication on offer in the world? Freud believed that he knew.
At the center of Freud's work lies a fundamental perception: human beings are not generally unified creatures. ....
more

Saturday, April 29, 2006

TODAY'S NEWS HEADLINES


* New York: Weld seeks Libertarian line so Dems don't have to vote for him on Repub line--cachet? (NY Newsday)

TEXAS:

* Kuff's World blog -- more on SurveyUSA poll will make your head spin.... (Houston Chronicle)

* Bell hoping lack of infrastructure for independents will help him coalesce anti-Perry vote (Beaumont Enterprise)

* Alabama: What's wrong with this poll?.... (Montgomery Independent)

* Oregon: Primary ballots in the mail--don't vote if you want to sign Ben Westlund's independent gov petition... (Register Guard)

* Massachusetts: MetroWest area dominated by independent voters--will determine outcome of elections (MetroWest Daily News)

LITTLE WEIRD STUFF

* When does the name Rodham improve your ratings?... (UPI)

* Wisconsin pet contest boasts "independent candidate" (Greenbay Press Gazette)

New York: Weld seeks Libertarian line so Dems don't have to vote for him on Repub line--cachet?


Weld seeks uncharted course to governor through Libertarian Party
By MICHAEL GORMLEY
Associated Press Writer
NY Newsday
April 28, 2006
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Republican Bill Weld, who thrived as an unconventional governor in heavily Democratic Massachusetts, is trying to take an unconventional route to New York governor's mansion on Saturday by seeking the endorsement of Libertarian Party members...."I think he's anticipating the problem with the Conservative Party designation and wants to offset that in some way," said Lee Miringoff, head of Marist College's Institute for Public Opinion. "A win is a win and he wants to win something going into the GOP convention" May 31-June. "I think he wants to build up some ballot status and cachet." ..... Although the Conservative Party has 154,614 enrolled members, almost 200 times the Libertarians, the value of a third party to Republicans in the state dominated by Democrats can extend beyond enrollment figures. The third line gives a candidate a way for Democrats to choose a Republican without voting Republican.

Democratic front-runner Eliot Spitzer, the attorney general, has wide leads in the polls against his Democratic opponent, Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, as well as Weld and Faso. All are still seeking the nomination of the Independence Party, the state's third largest party..... more

Texas: Kuff's World blog -- more on SurveyUSA poll will make your head spin....

Poll watching: SurveyUSA on the Governor's race

Kuff's World blog, Houston ChronicleApr. 28, 2006--And now for the other high-profile race for this cycle: SurveyUSA has released a poll that has caused a fair amount of angst among Democrats:
If the election for Governor of Texas were today, and you were standing in the voting booth right now, who would you vote for? Democrat Chris Bell? Independent "Kinky" Friedman? Republican Rick Perry? Independent Carole Keeton Strayhorn? Or some other candidate? ....Assuming that Strayhorn and Friedman do qualify for the ballot (and for what it's worth, I think they will), I think polling for this race is going to present unique challenges. Pollsters already have to make assumptions about turnout, demography, and partisan makeup, and this year they can't really be certain that previous years will be much of a useful guide. For those of us who like to see and study polls, the best I can ask for is that we get a lot of them, with enough information about their methods so that we can reasonably compare and judge them....
more

Texas: Perry (hopes) lack of independent voter infrastructure will help him get anti-Perry vote...

Gubernatorial candidate criticizes Perry's school plan

By ROLANDO GARCIAThe Enterprise 04/27/2006 ....Bell is fighting an uphill battle to unseat Perry. A Rasmussen poll taken this month showed Bell in third place with 17 percent, two points behind Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, who is running as an independent. Perry was comfortably ahead with 40 percent.
But without the help of a party infrastructure, the independent candidacies of Strayhorn and Kinky Friedman will fade, Bell said, and the anti-Perry voters will coalesce behind him.....
more

Alabama: What's wrong with this poll?....

Presidential malaise affects state attitudes

Friday, April 28, 2006By Bob Martin, Editor &Publisher

For the first time in months Survey USA's 50-state polling shows that a majority of Alabamians polled (51percent) give President Bush an unfavorable rating vs. 46 percent who give him favorable marks. The polling sampled 600 registered voters in the state and was conducted April 7-9. Last month the results were exactly the reverse of these percentages.
In only four states does the president get more favorable marks than unfavorable...Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Nebraska. The range is from 55-40 percent favorable in Utah to 74-24 percent unfavorable in Rhode Island. The average nationwide is 61-36 unfavorable. The media sponsor in Alabama for Survey USA is WKRG-TV in Mobile.
In another poll conducted April 11-13 and April 18, 19, Montgomery's Capital Survey Research Center results are even worse, showing that if he could run again the president would receive only 35.7 percent of the vote in Alabama. Anybody other than the Mr. Bush would get 51.6 percent.
The Capital survey poll, for the first time in four years, shows that more of the voters surveyed statewide (46.5 percent) think of themselves as Democrats vs. 43.4 percent who think of themselves as Republicans. Surprisingly, only 4.3 percent deem themselves Independents. 5.8 percent don't know or didn't reply. ....
more

Oregon: Primary ballots in the mail--don't vote if you want to sign Ben Westlund's independent gov petition...

Watch your mailbox: Ballots going out today
By David StevesThe Register-GuardFriday, April 28, 2006...This year's primary has a new wrinkle for voters who want to sign petitions for independent candidates, such as gubernatorial hopeful Ben Westlund: They no longer can sign one if they participate in a major-party primary.
John Lindback, state elections director, said the new policy is meant to prevent voters from participating in multiple nominating processes. Even if a voter leaves blank the Democratic or Republican choices for governor or other partisan offices, and only votes for nonpartisan candidates and measures, his or her signature would not be valid on an independent candidate's nominating petition.
Westlund must collect 18,386 signatures by the end of August.
Given the new restriction on signatures from primary voters, Westlund probably will need to rely on nonaffiliated voters, who make up about 22 percent of the electorate, said Stacey Dycus, Westlund's campaign manager.
The only way for registered Democrats and Republicans to have their signatures count on a Westlund petition would be not to participate in the upcoming primary election. But Dycus said Westlund strongly discouraged such action, even if it means fewer supporters can help nominate him to the general-election ballot. .... more

Massachusetts: MetroWest area dominated by independent voters--will determine outcome of elections

Both parties pursue support in MetroWest
By Emelie Rutherford/ Daily News StaffSaturday, April 29, 2006--Republicans and Democrats in MetroWest are busy organizing and planning ways to garner support for their parties' candidates for governor in this voter-rich chunk of the state in November. While there are more registered Democrats than Republicans in the cities and towns covered by the Daily News, the communities are dominated by unenrolled, or independent voters, according to voting records last October. Thus, voters in this region could go either way. Republican Gov. Mitt Romney swept MetroWest in 2002..... more

When does the name Rodham improve your ratings?...

Sen. Clinton's middle name boosts ratings

UPI WASHINGTON, April 28 (UPI) -- A poll says U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., increased her approval rating among Republicans and independents when she used her maiden name.
With Democrats, the maiden name didn't seem to be a factor, says the poll done for CNN by Opinion Research Corp.
CNN reported the survey found using the maiden name "Rodham" increased her approval rating among Republicans to 23 percent, but just "Hillary Clinton" had a 16 percent approval rating.
Among independents, "Hillary Rodham Clinton" was favored by 48 percent, compared with 42 percent for "Hillary Clinton."
Among Democrats, the inclusion of "Rodham" inspired a 1 percent decrease in her approval rating from 77 to 76 percent.
However, below the Mason-Dixon Line, "Hillary Clinton" got a favorable rating from 52 percent of all respondents, compared with 45 percent for "Hillary Rodham Clinton," the poll said.[end]

Just for fun...

Greenbay Press GazetteApr. 28, 2006
Cast your vote for the Pet Portrait Contest Like any good election, Bay Park Square shoppers this weekend can choose between the primary parties — dogs and cats — and an independent candidate — a chinchilla. ... more

Friday, April 28, 2006

TODAY'S NEWS HEADLINES


NATIONAL:*Gallup Poll: Independent voters at 34% and goin' up.... (Gallup poll)

TEXAS: * Texas: Will there be an Independent Governor in November? (Houston Chronicle *Kinky speaks at Texas A&M (Bryan College Eagle)

PENNSYLVANIA: *Dems switch to vote in Repub primary: In Europe it's called Strategic Voting, here it's 'having a say'...(Lebanon Daily News)

KENTUCKY: *Purge of voter roles shows independent voter registration down slightly but not down as much as the Dems & Repubs (that's slicin') (The Gleaner) Pssst! WANNA KNOW WHY ONLY 6% of Kentucky voters are independent???? Ask the Kentucky Committee for an Independent Voice ....

Gallup Poll: Independent voters at 34% and goin' up....

Gallup Review: The Midterm Election

by Frank Newport, Jeffrey M. Jones, Lydia Saad, and Joseph Carroll GALLUP NEWS SERVICEApr. 28, 2006 ...There has been a net drop in the percentage of Americans identifying as Republicans over the last year and a half, while Democratic identification has remained stable..... more

Note: I wonder which polls (if any) Gary Andres is watching... see my post from yesterday here.

Texas: Will there be an Independent Governor in November?

TV poll shows Perry still leading the pack
Houston ChronicleApr. 28, 2006--A new television poll done for stations in Austin and San Antonio shows Gov. Rick Perry is still leading the pack in his race for re-election.
But there are signs in the poll that Perry could sink by election day. The poll has mixed results from independents Kinky Friedman and Carole Strayhorn. And the poll has very little good news for Democratic nominee Chris Bell, who barely holds a lead even among self-identified Democrats....
more

Texas: Kinky speaks at Texas A&M -- he's running to increase voter participation

Independent Friedman says his aim is to increase turnout

By JOSH BAUGHBryan College Station EagleApr. 27, 2006--Amid a slew of one-liners, gubernatorial hopeful Kinky Friedman on Wednesday outlined a platform that includes using gambling to fund education and placing a moratorium on the death penalty.
Friedman spoke to a standing-room-only crowd of more than 200 in an auditorium at Texas A&M University's Mays Business School.
"I'm not running against Perry," said Friedman, donning his trademark black cowboy hat and holding an unlit cigar. "I'm running against apathy."
He said part of his mission on the campaign trail is to increase voter interest in the November general election in hopes of seeing a 50 percent voter turnout, up from less than 30 percent in the last race for governor in 2002....
more

Pennsylvania: In Europe it's called Strategic Voting, here it's 'having a say'...

Short-timers swell local GOP rolls
By JOHN LATIMERStaff WriterLebanon Daily News (PA)Apr. 27, 2006-- A significant number of county voters, including a prominent Democratic leader, have switched their party affiliations to Republican in the last several months. Their presumed goal: to make sure their votes count in the May 16 primary election. In the past year, 501 voters have changed parties to Republican, according to voter-registration records. About 30 percent of them — 151 to be exact — have made the switch since March. During that same period a year ago, 109 voters switched to the GOP. Records do not indicate their former party, but they do say nearly 90 percent of the 73,000 voters in the county are registered with a major party.... This year is a typical example. In the local elections for state senator and representatives of the 101st and 102nd House districts, there are no Democratic contests. On the Republican side, however, all three nominations are hotly contested. Because Republicans outnumber Democrats in Lebanon County by a 2-to-1 margin, the winner of the GOP primary usually goes on to win the general election. Many Democrats who want to have some say in who represents them, change registration temporarily so they can vote in the Republican primary. ... more

Kentucky: Purge of voter roles shows independent voter registration down slightly but not down as much as the Dems & Repubs (that's slicin')

Purges reduce number of local voters
By Gleaner staffApril 28, 2006--The number of registered voters in Henderson County eligible to vote in the May 16 primary totals 28,179, the state Board of Elections announced.
That's a decline of 946 voters compared with the November 2004 election. ...Kentucky: More than 2.7 million citizens are eligible to vote in the primary.
Registrations totaled 2,709,959, down from the 2,794,286 in November 2004.
Democrats statewide total 1,548,443, while Republicans total 989,499 and independents total 172,017.
Republicans increased their percentage of registered voters by 0.84% since November 2004. Democrats and independent voters declined by 0.67% and 0.17%, respectively. ....more


WANNA KNOW WHY ONLY 6% of Kentucky voters are independent????
--The current law in Kentucky makes clear that voters should have the right to register and declare that they don't want to join a party - but the current Voter Registration form dosen't allow for that. It is one more example of the partisan bias in the system. In response to your signature, the Board of Elections agreed to count the number of independents registered to vote. But that's not what we're asking for! We want the Board of Elections to include a category for those of us who don't want to be a member of a party. We're mobilizing hundreds of independents to change this and pave the way to grow the independents movement in Kentucky. The Kentucky Committee for an Independent Voice is organizing a campaign for independents to speak out. You can help.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

TODAY'S NEWS HEADLINES


As an independent, do you consider yourself to be a centrist?

Maybe Gary Andres and the Washington Times should hear from you!

Today's news:
NEW YORK CITY
* Detectives Endowment Association endorses Cuomo for AG (Times Ledger)
* Gianaris' redistricting bill picks up good government group support (Western Queens Gazette)
* Clintons will be at Columbia U mid-June for City Year annual convention (Columbia Spectator)
NEW YORK IP UPSTATE
* Nader Sayegh's Westchester Integrity Committee IP faction goes after Cavallo-Spano (Journal News)
STATE-BY-STATE
* Oregon: Ben Westlund's challenge to the status quo (Willamette Week)
* Oregon: Independents at 22%, up from 16% 12 years ago (Register Guard)
* Oregon: House District 18 is 20% independents (The Oregonian)
* Pennsylvania: Ballot access unfair for independents, Russ Diamond needs 67,070 sigs compared to 2000 each for Rendell and Swan (WEBCommentary)
* Rhode Island: Matt Brown quits race, national Dem campaign committee pleased, will help Chafee's independent vote (Providence Journal)
* West Virginia: Independents gain in Cabell County ( Herald Dispatch)
NATIONAL
* Gary Andres reports on shrinking base of independent voters shifting to liberal ideology (Washington Times)
INTERNATIONAL
* Mexico: Tuesday's presidential debate without Obrador (Mexidata)
* Mexico: related article in Christian Science Monitor

Independents or centrists? Dangerous confusion...

Shrinking center

By Gary J. AndresWashington Times op/edApril 27, 2006

Independent voters -- long a dominant force in the American political zoology -- are evolving into an endangered species. These nonaligned citizens are not only shrinking as a share of the overall electorate, but are also voting less and becoming more ideologically liberal -- all significant factors for the 2006 congressional elections. When modern survey research began tracking partisan identification over a half century ago, independents grew for two decades, peaking during the early-1970s at around 20 percent of the overall electorate. But after topping out around the time of Watergate, partisan- oriented voters began to rise, accounting for a fatter slice of the overall voting population during the past three decades. America's independents declined during that same period, not only in size, but also in their self-identified level of conservatism -- a significant development for partisan tacticians. The University of Michigan's American National Election Study has tracked voter partisanship since 1952. They report that the percentage of independent voters peaked around 10 percent in the mid-1970s and has steadily declined (except for some minor moves up and down along the way). While about 10 percent of voters during the 1970s self-identified as true independents (this percent excludes those who initially say they are independent, but "lean" Republican or Democrat after a follow-up question), that number plummeted to only 4 percent in the last off-year election in 2002. Independents' ideological orientations are also in flux. Conventional wisdom suggests that these voters occupy the middle of the road, falling somewhere between conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats..... more

Mexico: "The Debate" without Obrador--will it affect independent voters' choice in Presidential?

MEXIDATA . INFO Column 042606 Luken Wednesday, April 26, 2006
"The Debate" Could Lead To Mexican Presidency

By Carlos Luken
Given Mexico’s politically charged atmosphere, it is astonishing that one event could gain such a major amount of national attention – and that most people would choose to call it simply “The Debate.” After the fact however, others are referring to it as “the turning point.”
The Debate, during prime time on April 25 and between disputants for the presidency of Mexico, was the culmination of a campaign stage during which all participating parties have exercised little decorum and civility. Yet representatives of all contenders met with officials of the Federal Electoral Institute, in order to talk and define guidelines and rules that led to a summit of presidential candidates, and to a public discussion of their ideals and proposals.
Considering the proximity of the July 2 election, The Debate’s terms and formalities were quickly agreed upon by four of the five contenders, with the only exception being Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) candidate. Apparently the longtime frontrunner felt his lead was too robust to jeopardize on a trivial publicity whim and he declined to participate....... Yet rather than Madrazo, the biggest loss may go to Lopez Obrador. Those involved and watching mostly forgot about AMLO during The Debate, and his absence – accentuated by the vacant podium – certainly hurt his image....
Carlos Luken, a MexiData.info columnist, is a Mexico-based businessman and consultant. He can be reached via e-mail at
ilcmex@yahoo.com. more

In a related article:
No-show in Mexico: political gaffe?Leftist presidential candidate Lopez Obrador skipped Tuesday night's debate.

By Danna Harman Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor Apr. 26, 2006 -- MEXICO CITY – There was ruling National Action Party (PAN) candidate Felipe Calderón Hinojosa looking dapper, smiling at the camera and holding up a picture of a luxury Miami apartment. He claims his rival, former governor of Tabasco, Roberto Madrazo Pintado, didn't pay taxes on. There was Mr. Madrazo, knocking former energy minister Mr. Calderón, waving newspaper reports of recent crime and corruption under his party's watch, and promising a fresh start with his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico for most of the last century. There were Roberto Campa and Patricia Mercado, two minor candidates using their 15 minutes of fame to attack both Madrazo and Calderón, and push proposals on everything from the environment to exercise classes in high schools.
And there, in the corner was an empty lectern, standing in for leftist leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador, long seen as the man to beat in Mexico's July elections. The Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) leader decided to skip the first of two presidential debates this Tuesday night.
"The battle for the silver medal," was how Mr. López Obrador's campaign manager Jésus Ortega described the debate, which is only the third time such an exercise has been held in Mexico. For decades election fraud and government intervention practically guaranteed victory for the outgoing president's hand-picked successor.
But, say observers, López Obrador may have miscalculated. The decision to stay away, possibly to portray himself as an underdog, under attack by all the rest, seems to have backfired....
more

Oregon: Independent gov candidate Ben Westlund threatens status quo

Ben Westlund

BY NIGEL JAQUISS njaquiss at wweek.com

Willamette Week OnlineApr. 26, 2006 ...But the threat Westlund represents to the status quo extends beyond the governor's race. His candidacy is an expression of the frustration Oregonians feel with politics. Last week's carefully choreographed legislative special session notwithstanding, an increasing number of voters feel the system is broken.
Two parties bludgeon each other endlessly for scant benefit. Polls show that most voters believe Oregon is headed in the wrong direction; reams of data show our tax system, schools and healthcare are inferior.
Westlund, who hopscotches from one side of the aisle to the other, putting issues before politics, says he's the answer.
Maybe he's right. Maybe we don't need Republicans—or Democrats—in this state anymore.
There's one simple reason Bernard John Westlund II, 56, could be the most dangerous name on the November ballot: Incumbent Ted Kulongoski ranks 48th among his peers nationally in popularity, with a 33 percent approval rating, according to mid-April numbers from SurveyUSA. ....
more

In another story:
A record low turnout?

A Register-Guard Editorial

Wednesday, April 26, 2006...What's more, increasing numbers of Oregon voters are opting out of participation in partisan primaries. To cast a primary ballot for Republican or Democratic candidates, voters must be registered as members of that party. As of January, 22 percent of Oregon voters were not registered as members of any political party. Twelve years ago, the percentage was 16 percent.
Non-affiliated or independent voters may cast ballots in nonpartisan races and on ballot measures. But party members are about twice as likely to vote in a primary election as independents. As the ranks of independents swell, primary turnouts can be expected to sag. ...
more

Republicans hold a strong registration advantage -- 44 percent to 32 percent -- over Democrats. Independent voters make up 20 percent of the district and the remaining 4 percent belong to minor parties.

Pennsylvania: Russ Diamond battles extreme unfair ballot access as independent candidate for gov

Pennsylvania lags behind the rest of the nation on ballot access

WEBCommentary and Redstate

by Tony PhyrillasApr. 26, 2006

Democrats and Republicans consider elections an invitation-only affair and unless you follow the party line, you're out in the cold.

Russ Diamond wants to give Pennsylvania voters a choice this November.
The founder of the PACleanSweep movement is running as an independent candidate for governor to give voters an alternative to Ed Rendell, a Democrat who has failed to deliver on his four-year-old promise of property tax relief for homeowners, and Republican Lynn Swann, who has never held public office.
The pundits give Diamond little chance of beating his better-known and well-financed opponents, but his biggest hurdle is getting on the ballot.
Pennsylvania, the birthplace of American democracy, is not very democratic when it comes to its elections.
While Rendell and Swann needed just 2,000 signatures to have their names placed on their respective primary ballots, an independent like Diamond must collect 67,070 names of registered voters to get his name on the ballot for the November general election. That's thirty-three times the number of signatures Republicans and Democrats need to get their candidates on the statewide ballot in 2006....
more and more

Rhode Island: Brown quits, national Dem committe happy; independent voters will determine election

Brown quits Senate race
With just $35,000 left to spend on the September primary, the secretary of state and Democratic hopeful for Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee's seat bows out and throws his support to Sheldon Whitehouse.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
BY MARK ARSENAULT and SCOTT MacKAY
Providence Journal
...Sheeler disparaged both Brown and Whitehouse. "I am deeply disappointed that Matt Brown, who has positioned himself as a reformer, is now backing the ultimate political insider, Sheldon Whitehouse."

Brown's withdrawal is a boon for the Democratic Party, which can now focus all of its efforts on helping Whitehouse, who is expected to coast to his party's endorsement when the 150 delegates of the Democratic State Committee meet at the state convention on May 8 in West Warwick.

"It makes a huge difference," said William Lynch, state Democratic chairman. Because Brown and Whitehouse had both been elected statewide and had followings among Democrats, top party officials remained neutral in the race.

Now, while Laffey and Chafee tear each other apart in what has become an increasingly negative contest, Lynch said, Whitehouse will have the luxury of husbanding campaign money and building an organization for the November general election.

Brown's departure also fits with the Democratic Party's national strategy of avoiding divisive primaries in states where GOP Senate seats are up for grabs, said Jennifer Duffy, who follows Senate contests for the Cook Political report, a Washington, D.C-based nonpartisan newsletter.

"The DSCC [Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee] looks at this as a win" said Duffy, "because you try to avoid primaries."

Said New York Sen. Charles Schumer, DSCC chairman, "Matt Brown is a class act. His decision today takes us one step closer in our quest to pick up seats in the Senate this year."

Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Jack Reed -- who will now undoubtedly endorse Whitehouse -- praised Brown's decision. "Matt Brown put his ideals and hopes for America before his own ambitions."

But Brown's departure also will likely fuel the Chafee campaign's effort to draw independent voters -- labeled unaffiliated in Rhode Island political argot -- into the GOP primary, said Darrell West, Brown University pollster and political scientist.

"I would expect Chafee to really step up his campaign to get independents into the Republican primary," said West.

Because GOP primaries are traditionally low-turnout contests -- the record turnout is about 43,000 -- "it doesn't take very many independents, maybe 10,000 to 15,000 to really make a difference," said West. .... more

West Virginia: Independent voters gain registration percentages

Democrats hope to reverse registration losses
Herald Dispatch
Apr. 27, 2006
CHARLESTON -- State Democrats have lost a little ground to Republicans and independents in voter registration, but one party leader says President Bush's problems could reverse that trend.... Cabell County shows 55,282 registered voters for the
May 9 primary, down 243 from the 2004 primaries and down 5,370 from the 2004 General Election. Cabell Democrats make up 54 percent of that total, but their numbers are down 968 from the 2004 primary and 3,154 from the 2004 General Election. And that was the statewide trend for the Democratic Party, which dropped from 58 percent of voters in 2004 to 57 percent this spring.... The GOP's share of total voters actually rose slightly, to just over 30 percent. But the party sported slightly higher margins in the early 1990s. The ranks of third-party and unaffiliated voters, meanwhile, grew to 141,142 or 12.5 percent of registered voters.... more

New York: Queens Assemblyman Gianaris' redistricting bill picks up more good government group support...

NEW YORK CITY:
NYPD detectives' union backs Cuomo for AG
By:Adam Pincus 04/26/2006
Queens Times Ledger -- The union representing 15,000 active and retired New York City police detectives endorsed Andrew Cuomo for state attorney general Wednesday, a union official said.The Detectives Endowment Association, based in Manhattan, was the first law enforcement group in the city to endorse a candidate in the crowded field.Cuomo, 48, is one of six candidates vying to replace current Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.Cuomo is considered the leader in the field of Democrats for the primary election Sept. 12, which includes former city Public Advocate Mark Green; Rockland County attorney Charlie King; Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester); a former aide to President Bill Clinton, Sean Patrick Maloney; and Denise O'Donnell, former U.S. Attorney from Buffalo. more

Gianaris Gets Support In Redistrict Effort
Western Queens Gazette
Apr. 26, 2006 -- The campaign by Assembly member Michael Gianaris to reform the New York state legislative redistricting process got a boost last week when several civic groups issued a report which basically agrees with Gianaris' plan to transfer the authority to draw up new district lines from the state legislature to a nonpartisan, independent agency.
...The report backing up the contentions made by Gianaris in his legislation showed one way that both Assembly Democrats and Senate Republicans achieve their goals is by manipulating the size of districts to fit their individual goals.
In one report, Blair Horner, legislative director of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), one of the groups that issued the report, said playing around with district sizes is legal, but not fair.
Other groups joining in issuing the report were the Citizens Union, Common Cause/N.Y. and the League of Women Voters. All support Gianaris' bill. ...
more

Clintons to Hit Campus in June
Service Organization Draws Political Heavy-Hitters to Annual Convention
By Owen Hearey Spectator Senior Staff Writer Columbia University
April 26, 2006 -- Former President Bill Clinton, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), and Mayor Michael Bloomberg are just a few of the featured speakers slated to hit College Walk in June for Cyzygy ’06, the annual convention of City Year, a national youth service organization.
Columbia will host the event from June 13 to 17, offering over 1,500 members, staff, and alumni of City Year the opportunity to “celebrate the power within each of us to be the change through service, civic leadership, and social entrepreneurship,” according to the group’s Web site....
more

NEW YORK IP UPSTATE:
Westchester Independence Party members allege corruption
By MICHAEL GANNONmgannon@lohud.com
THE JOURNAL NEWSApril 27, 2006 -- WHITE PLAINS — A splinter wing of the Westchester County Independence Party is calling for federal, state and local investigators to launch a probe into the party's finances and the actions of Giulio Cavallo, one of the party's founders and its de facto head.
Nader Sayegh, who helped form the Westchester Independence Party with Cavallo and once served as a chairman before losing a power struggle several years ago, offered no hard evidence of fraud committed by Cavallo or the party. He questioned, however, the party's motives and expenditures under Cavallo's leadership.
more

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

TODAY'S NEWS HEADLINES

Welcome Jason Olson, a new contributing editor on The Hankster! (Would you like to cover independent politics for The Hankster in your area? Email me!)

Be sure to read Harry Kresky's letter to the Washington Times posted yesterday. And let us know what you think!
To post a comment:You will see a line at the end of the article or group of articles like this:"# posted by N. Hanks @ 5:45 AM 0 comments links to this post" Click on the word "comments" and a pop-up window will come up. You will have to register with a Blogger Display Name (your own or you can make something up).If you click on "links to this post" you can email that particular article to a friend.

TODAY'S HEADLINES:
NEW YORK CITY
* Vallone Sr. endorses Cuomo for AG (Queens Times Ledger)
* DCCC backs Arcuri over Roberts in New York-24 to replace Boehlert, Les Roberts is the DP outsider (The Hill)
TEXAS
* Interview with Libertarian congressional candidate Michael Badnarik (Enter Stage Right)
* Online survey shows 59% support for Kinky (Daily Texan - Univ of TX)
STATE-BY-STATE
* Massachusetts: Rep gov candidate wants debate with all gen election candidates (CBS Boston)
* Washington DC: MD indie US Senate candidate Kevin Zeese speaks at DC Anti-War Network forum "Is the Israel Lobby Promoting War on Iran?" (American Chronicle)
* West Virginia: Biggest growth in voter registration is "no party" independents (Charleston Gazette)
NATIONAL
* Independents say partisan control will be an issue in mid-term elections (Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette)
* Tony Blankley thinks Bush-Schumer agreement is disturbing (Washington Times)
* First ever Gallup poll on a first lady: We like Laura! (Contra Costa Times)
INTERNATIONAL
* Mexico: Leftist presidential front-runner, Andrés Manuel López Obrador object of negative ad campaign including links to Hugo Chavez, independent voters shifting to conservative Felipe Calderón (NY Times, with links to articles on Chavez)
RECOMMENDED READING
* Family Therapy: An Intimate History (Lynn Hoffman)
* Performing Psychology (ed. Lois Holzman)


Vallone Sr. endorses Cuomo for AG

Vallone Sr. endores Cuomo for attorney general
By:Adam Pincus
04/24/2006
Queens Times Ledger
Former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone endorsed Andrew Cuomo for New York attorney general Monday, in a move that consolidates the political support for the former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Cuomo, 48, is one of six candidates vying to replace current Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.
Cuomo is considered the leader in the crowded field of Democrats for the primary election Sep. 12, which includes former city Public Advocate Mark Green; Rockland County attorney Charlie King; Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester); former aide to President Bill Clinton, Sean Patrick Maloney; and Denise O'Donnell, former U.S. Attorney from Buffalo.... more

DCCC backs Arcuri over Roberts in New York-24 to replace Boehlert, Les Roberts is the DP outsider


DCCC backs Arcuri over Roberts in New York-24
By Jonathan E. Kaplan
The Hill
Apr. 25, 2006
The Democratic primary in the race to succeed Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.) is shaping up as a contest between a political insider supported by the national party establishment and an unproven outsider who could have broad appeal to independent voters in the general election... The national parties are able to impose their will and select their own candidates in districts around the country because there is weak party organization in congressional districts tailored to protect longtime incumbent lawmakers... more

Online survey shows 59% support for Kinky

Kinky polls well in local online survey
Opponents dismiss results as "as scientific as a video game"
By Kevin M. Callahan
The Daily Texan (UT)
Apr. 26, 2006
More than 59 percent of polled Texans plan to vote for independent candidate Kinky Friedman in the upcoming Texas gubernatorial elections, according to an ongoing online survey on the Austin Business Journal and San Antonio Business Journal Web sites.... A recent poll by Zogby International, a polling firm that operates globally, has Perry at 36 percent, Bell at 21 percent, Strayhorn at 19 percent and Friedman at 17 percent.... more

Texas: Interview with Libertarian congressional candidate Michael Badnarik

Michael Badnarik for Congress
By Lady Liberty, Enter Stage Right
web posted April 24, 2006
In 2004, Michael Badnarik was the Libertarian Party's candidate for President of the United States. During the course of his campaign, he traveled thousands of miles and gave hundreds of speeches and interviews. Despite a concerted effort, the Libertarian candidate was given short shrift by the media and prohibited from participation in the debates via a system geared to favor only the status quo of the two major parties. Even so, because of his efforts, many people were able to learn more about the Libertarian party and the libertarian mindset.
This year, Badnarik's dedication to promoting liberty finds him building on his earlier campaign experiences to be the Libertarian candidate for Congress in the Tenth District of the State of Texas. I spoke with Michael Badnarik by telephone just a few days ago.....
more

Massachusetts: Rep gov candidate wants debate with all gen election candidates

Healey Challenges Governor Candidates To Debate
Apr. 25, 2006
(CBS4) BOSTON Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey is challenging all the candidates for governor in Massachusetts to four debates between the primary and general elections..... Healey is the only declared Republican candidate running for governor.
The three Democrats in the race, Attorney General Tom Reilly, Deval Patrick and Chris Gabrieli, debated for the first time last week in the CBS4 studios.
In addition to the Democratic primary winner, Healey also invited independent candidate Christy Mihos and Green-Rainbow Party candidate Grace Ross...
more

West Virginia: Biggest growth in voter registration is "no party" independents

GOP gains in voter totals
By Scott Finn
Charleston (WV) GazetteApr. 26, 2006--Republicans keep gaining ground in voter registration in West Virginia, but they still have a long way to go to match Democrats, according to statistics released Tuesday by Secretary of State Betty Ireland.
Republicans added another 19,000 registered voters in the state between the 2004 primary and today, while Democrats lost more than 7,500 voters.... The biggest growth was among independent voters, who register as “no party” in West Virginia. They increased their numbers by more than 16,000, or 14 percent.
Altogether, Democrats now make up 57 percent of registered voters, down from 59 percent in the last primary. Republicans are at 30 percent, up from 29 percent. The environmental Mountain Party has 1 percent, other parties have 1 percent, and “no party” voters make up 11 percent....
more

NATIONAL: Independents say partisan control will be an issue in mid-term elections

Loss of congress could be bad for Bush
TOM RAUM
Associated Press/Ft. Wayne Journal GazetteApr. 26, 2006 ....History suggests the party holding the White House will loose congressional seats this year, even without Bush's basement poll ratings. Strategists in both parties are keenly aware of this trend.
The recent surge in gasoline prices just adds to the GOP's midterm woes.
Thus Democrats are portraying the November elections as a referendum on Bush, while Republicans are insisting it's a series of state and local races, each with different issues.
In a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, some 56 percent of voters said the issue of party control would be a factor in their vote in the midterm congressional elections. "More independents, in particular, say partisan control will be a factor," said Carroll Doherty, Pew's associate director....
more

Washington DC: MD indie US Senate candidate Kevin Zeese speaks at DC Anti-War Network forum "Is the Israel Lobby Promoting War on Iran?"

Kevin Zeese: "Hawkish Israeli Lobby Wants War with Iran!"
by William Hughes
American ChronicleApr. 25, 2006
Washington, D.C. - Kevin Zeese was the first speaker at a public forum held on Monday evening, April 24, 2006, at the West End Neighborhood Library, near the community of Georgetown. The topic for the event was, “Is the Israel Lobby Promoting War on Iran?” He said the question of whether the hawkish, hard-right, pro-Israeli Lobby in America wants to see war with Iran “gets answered in an ad which was in the New York Times, the Financial Times, and other newspapers. It’s a full page ad by the American Jewish Committee, put out on April 4th. The center of the bull’s eye is Iran and the headline is: ‘Can Anyone Within Range of Iran’s Missiles Feel Safe?’ I think that’s a pretty inflammatory ad. It’s signed by more than a hundred people...I think it’s a pretty strong indication of where the Lobby stands. That isn’t the only proof we have that the hawkish Israeli Lobby wants to go to war.... more

NATIONAL: Tony Blankley thinks Bush-Schumer agreement is disturbing

Bush and Schumer together — Oh My

By Tony Blankley

April 26, 2006 Washington Times The liberal blog Daily Kos was displeased with the Associated Press report on Monday that President Bush had ordered the Justice and Energy Departments to "open inquiries into possible cheating in the gasoline markets." ... Even the most mentally limited amongst us will smell a rat when they see a Republican president suddenly start reciting such blatant Schumerisms, while the more mentally alert will be disheartened to no longer have a champion for free markets. ...more


NATIONAL: First ever Gallup poll on a first lady: We like Laura!

With president sliding in the polls, Laura Bush picks up the slack

By William DouglasKnight Ridder Newspapers

Contra Costa TimesApr. 25, 2006[...With President Bush's popularity tanking to all-time lows, and Vice President Dick Cheney's approval ratings even lower, Laura Bush is filling a vacuum and becoming a strong political money machine, raising cash for GOP candidates and venturing into districts where her husband might be political poison. The first lady is riding a wave of popularity. Americans gave her an 82 percent approval rating in a January CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, among the highest ratings Gallup's ever recorded for any first lady. She fared well across party lines, with 97 percent of Republicans, 81 percent of independents and 69 percent of Democrats approving of her. ...more


MEXICO: Leftist presidential front-runner, Obrador object of negative ad campaign including links to Hugo Chavez, independent vote impacted


In Mexico, Race Tightens for Presidency, New Polls Show
By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.
NY TimesApril 26, 2006
MEXICO CITY, April 25 — The race for the Mexican presidency has tightened in recent days after a barrage of negative campaign advertisements aimed at undermining the leftist front-runner, Andrés Manuel López Obrador..... The shift comes after Mr. Calderón's party broadcast a series of attack advertisements calling Mr. López Obrador "a danger to Mexico" and linking him to Hugo Chávez, the populist Venezuelan president who critics say regularly runs roughshod over democratic institutions. ...Now the former mayor finds himself on the defensive, struggling in a statistical dead heat with Mr. Calderón. A large number of independent voters — who make up almost 45 percent of the electorate — are switching from Mr. López Obrador to Mr. Calderón, the Reforma poll suggests... "I am going to continue my grassroots campaign," he said at a campaign rally on Saturday. "They can continue bombing us, calling us liars on the radio and television, but we have the backing of the people. So don't worry, we are fine."... more

Recommended Reading...



FAMILY THERAPY: AN INTIMATE HISTORY
By Lynn Hoffman
- A Book Review By John Walter
....The final chapters include her reflections on the new developments of Michael White and David Epston as well as the implications of John Shotter's "knowing of a third kind". This knowing Hoffman describes as a knowing from within a situation, group or social institution. Different from knowing that or knowing how, this knowing comes from sensed feelings and emotions. This latter knowing seems to fit Hoffman's preference for metaphor and poetics rather than strictly linear language. This advancement also allows her to conceptualize emotion as performance and interaction rather than as a state of an individual or one-way expression of something from within. Hoffman also cites her enthusiasm for the current concepts of "generous listening" from Lois Shawver, embracement in place of positive connotation, relational responsibility from Gergen and McNamee, and communal practice.
Comments:
As I said before, what makes this book an experience rather than an historical account is Lynn Hoffman's making this a personal narrative. The stories of her experiences working with different leaders of the field, as well as the stories of the differences new ideas brought to her cases makes the last forty years come alive. The changes in the field over the past forty years become not just an intellectual development but a personal change....



PERFORMING PSYCHOLOGY
Routledge, 1999
Book Review by John Soderlund
...Newman's work is a marriage of theatre and psychology, in both of which he has been immersed for many years. "At some point, it got through to me that there was a profound connection between the theatre and the therapy I was doing," he says. "what is happening when speaking or writing, is that we are not simply saying what is going on but are creating what is going on."
Drawing heavily on the work of Vygotsky, he notes that if children simply learned who they were on the basis of being who they were, they would never go anywhere, and would stay fixed in the state in which they first appeared. With that analogy in mind, Newman proposes performing exactly who we aren't, getting away from what we think we are to become much more of who we are.
"The process of looking for our deepest self is nondevelopmental process and a painfully frustrating one," he remarks, adding that this may be because "there ain't nothing there". What is there for Newman is the potential for an active involvement in the world as player on a stage, which is demonstrated most powerfully in his own engagement of the political and social world in which he moves...




Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Mr. Smith leaves Washington in a snit - over Lenora Fulani

The Washington Times last week published an article by Bradley Smith, former FEC Chairman, about federal campaign matching funds - you know, when you check off on your income tax (or not) saying that $3 should go into a fund for candidates who qualify. In the article, Smith takes the tax financing advocates to task for claiming to be "reformers"or something, and gives us a stern warning about who actually gets the money (Fringe Candidates, shudder). Smith says then, like a good father handing the keys to the family car to his unruly teenager, "Voters understand, however, that the money has to come from somewhere, and if it's being spent to subsidize the presidential campaigns of Larry Agran, Lyndon LaRouche and Lenore (sic) Fulani, it can't be spent on Hurricane Katrina relief, body armor for troops, or anything else without offsetting budget cuts, tax increases or deficit spending." Is he serious? Anyway, below is a letter to the editor from Lenora Fulani's attorney Harry Kresky: - NH

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Washington Times
April 23rd, 2006

Making way for a third-party candidate

There is surely much that is wrong with existing public financing programs. Former Federal Election Commission Chairman Bradley Smith ("The reformers' earmark," Commentary, April 15) has been a leader in exposing how over-regulation has impeded the ability of citizens to make their voices heard and subjected candidates and their supporters to a maze of complex regulations that only a handful of lawyers understand.

It's unfortunate that, having left the FEC, Mr. Smith has now decided to use my client Lenora Fulani and other third party candidates as foils for his attack on public financing of presidential campaigns as one more example of government waste.

Indeed, it may be that the only positive thing about public financing is that it does make it possible for independent and third party candidates to mount meaningful, if not competitive, campaigns.

Lenora Fulani made good use of federal funds to run a campaign that helped expose the extent to which the two-party monopoly of our electoral system deprives voters of meaningful choices.

Mr. Smith would do better to focus on how major-party candidates such as John Kerry received tens of millions of dollars in public funding at the same time that his campaign and his party organized a nationwide effort to keep Ralph Nader off the ballot in as many states as possible during the 2004 presidential election.

He would also do better to refrain from taking Mrs. Fulani's words, written in a 1989 review of a play, out of context in a way that distorts her meaning.

HARRY KRESKY
Law Offices of Harry Kresky New York

It Bears Repeating....


Notice how the pundits (and some anti-pundits) use the term "independent" and "moderate" or "centrist" interchangeably? Earlier this month I came across this thoughtful piece by University of Maryland student Jay Nargundkar. He says:

My conservative friends consider me a liberal. My liberal friends
call me a conservative. I think I like it that way. Am I a “moderate”? I suppose
so, but I’m not sure I like that term. It implies one can’t have strong opinions
or one must take practical stands instead of principled stands.


Read the article and tell us what you think!

In the middle
Jay Nargundkar

April 03, 2006

Quick, what do you think most Americans consider themselves — Democrats or Republicans? Actually, according to a recent Gallup Poll, the largest group of people in this country are independents. Yet these days, you see people on the left calling for censure and impeachment of the president and those on the right rallying around issues such as opposition to illegal immigration. It seems both sides have forgotten about the sizable middle ground that wants compromise, not conflict....
more
Jay Nargundkar is a sophomore finance major. He can be reached at terpnews@gmail.com.

TODAY'S NEWS HEADLINES


Thanks to Harry Kresky (see Queens Councilman Avella will not seek Assembly Seat-Apr. 24) and Rumour (News Headlines-Apr. 24) and Linda Curtis (Friedman, Strayhorn Think Past 45,540-Apr. 18) for your comments!

[A good place to make general comments is right here at the end of this posting - Today's News Headlines]

Watch for a new feature "It Bears Repeating..." - today's is a great article by Univ of Maryland student Jay Nargundkar.

CALIFORNIA
* Redistricting Act II - now let's try the Dem version... (Mercury News)
TEXAS
* Kinky, Carole and the battle for the ballot (Dallas Morning News)
* Strayhorn accused of playing politics with her position (Herald Democrat)
STATE-BY-STATE
* Maine: Portland gov debate brings out 7 candidates, 100 audience (Press Herald)
* Rhode Island: will indies and Dems switch to give Chafee win over Laffey? (Providence Journal)
* Virginia: Indies split 50/50 on performance of new Dem gov Kaine (Richmond Times Dispatch)
* Georgia: Racial divide supported by redistricting, Voting Rights Act (Atlanta Journal Constitution); Cynthia McKinney, controversial incumbent (CQ Politics)
* Connecticut: Greens field first ever state-wide slate, vow court fight for public funding for third parties (New Haven Independent)
NATIONAL
* Bush, the Repubs and the economy (CQ Politics)
* Juliet Eilperin new book "Fight Club Politics: How Partisanship is Poisoning the House of Representatives" (Huffington Post)

STATE-BY-STATE


Forum provides preview of race
By PAUL CARRIER
Portland (ME) Press Herald
...Democrats, Republicans and Green Independents will choose their gubernatorial nominees in the June 13 primary. The three party nominees will go on to the general election Nov. 7. They will be joined at that time by independent candidates.
It remains to be seen how many of the announced independents will qualify for the November ballot.
Party candidates had to submit 2,000 signatures from party members by March 15 to get on the ballot. Baldacci, Miller, Emery, Mills, Woodcock and LaMarche all met that deadline.
Independent candidates have until June 1 to submit the signatures of any 4,000 registered voters to get their names on the Nov. 7 ballot. None of the eight declared independents has done so yet, according to state officials.....
more

Edward Achorn: Flooding the Senate primary
Providence JournalApr. 25, 2006
....The GOP primary must be flooded with so many independents and Democratic party-switchers that they would overwhelm the Republican edge for Mr. Laffey. This is the crux of the whole fight, and it has begun, with pleas to Democrats to disaffiliate by the June 14 deadline, so that they may vote for Mr. Chafee. The incumbent is aided by strong support from the public-employee unions, which not only like Mr. Chafee but detest Mr. Laffey, for doing such things as ending the sweet deal that unionized crossing guards enjoyed at taxpayer expense.
That's where Mr. Brown comes in. It will be easier to move Democrats into the Republican primary if there is no serious Democratic-primary fight to hold them. If the end is as near for Mr. Brown as it seems to be, Democrats will be more inclined to disaffiliate. ...Still, getting independents and Democrats into a Republican primary in large numbers is a complicated and daunting task -- made much more difficult when Democrats have a strong partisan incentive to stay out, since hopes for a Democratic Senate would surely be enhanced by Mr. Chafee's defeat. Persuading them to act against their party's interest may be tough. Some Democrats might even disaffiliate and vote for Mr. Laffey, in hopes of making it easier for Mr. Whitehouse to win and secure a Democratic Senate!...
more

Poll: Majority backs Kaine
But his initial rating trails that of Warner, two GOP governors
BY JEFF E. SCHAPIRO
TIMES-DISPATCHApr 25, 2006
The first nonpartisan report card on Gov. Timothy M. Kaine shows a majority of Virginians surveyed have a favorable view of the freshman Democrat.
Fifty-six percent rate Kaine's performance excellent or good, according to Virginia Commonwealth University's Commonwealth Poll. Forty-four percent say he is doing a fair or poor job.
In office a little more than 100 days, Kaine has solid support from fellow Democrats. Seventy-three percent give him top marks, as do 41 percent of Republicans and 50 percent of independents....
more

Expect racial lines to define state politics
Atlanta Journal Constitution04/25/06
After this week's qualifying and November's elections, Georgia will be well on its way to having two political parties that divide along racial lines. Not good for either — or for Georgia. Credit the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the drift of the national Democratic Party.
The Voting Rights Act, which most black and Republican politicians love, concentrates black Democrats in safe districts devoid of any pressure toward moderation. Most every black Democrat can be Cynthia McKinney and get re-elected; it's a tribute to their character and civic responsibility that they aren't like that.
Former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland was the demarcating Democrat, the high-profile figure whose politics merged the state and national parties. Most successful Georgia Democrats in Washington —U.S. Reps. Sanford Bishop of Albany and Jim Marshall of Macon — track local in the Sam Nunn tradition: Bishop on agriculture and defense and Marshall on Iraq. Howard Dean Democrats cannot win Georgia.
For the state party, this is the year of transition. Five years ago, the Georgia House had 105 Democrats, 74 Republicans and one independent. Today it's 103 Republicans, 76 Democrats and one independent.
After the July primary, blacks are certain to have the majority in the Democratic caucus. The question then becomes: What image, what voice?....
more

GA 4: McKinney Draws Primary Opponent
By Rachel Kapochunas
CQ PoliticsApr. 24, 2006
...McKinney has the advantage of incumbency as well as established financial support. Johnson is starting from behind in name recognition since commissioners “don’t usually generate a whole lot of media coverage,” said political scientist Charles Bullock of the University of Georgia.
McKinney has a loyal following, and a 2003 redistricting removed some of her biggest critics. “In 2002 she got 85 percent of the black vote,” said Bullock. “She lost because she was rejected by whites — 90 percent voted against her, but the new district gets rid of some [of those] votes.”
McKinney has represented the district for 12 years, though not consecutively. Her implication that the Bush administration had prior knowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks contributed to her 2002 loss to Democrat Denise L. Majette. Two years later, Majette ran for Senate and McKinney reclaimed her seat with 64 percent of the vote.....
more

Court defeats audit
By Brad Bumsted
STATE CAPITOL REPORTER
Pittsburg Live
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
HARRISBURG -- Pennsylvania's fiscal watchdog, the state auditor general, has no authority to audit the Legislature's $135 million slush fund or its other expenses, Commonwealth Court ruled Monday.
Short of a reversal on appeal, the ruling means that more than $400 million in annual legislative spending won't be audited independently, said citizens' activist Gene Stilp, of Dauphin County, who filed a lawsuit last year claiming the Legislature's internal audit is a "sham."
The court dismissed Stilp's lawsuit in a 5-1 ruling.
Stilp, now an independent candidate for lieutenant governor, filed his lawsuit based on stories the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review published last year that reported legislators tapped the so-called "surplus" money to collect unvouchered expenses authorized by a July pay raise. They repealed the 16 to 54 percent raises in November after outraged constituents complained. ....
more

Greens Nominate 4
by Allan Appel
New Haven Independent
April 24, 2006
Senate hopeful Ralph Ferrucci admitted his campaign war chest -- or "peace chest" -- is more like a shoe box. Gubernatorial candidate Clifford Thornton (at right in photo) promised to tackle a "dinosaur" otherwise known as the drug war. Then the Green Party, gathered in New Haven, nominated its first-ever slate of candidates for statewide office in Connecticut. ...First there were questions of the audience-delegates, which were often related to the practicalities of non-professional politicians running for office in a state where, according to DeRosa, the laws and the whole system are designed to keep the third voice silent: “Next week I’m convening a group with the ACLU,” he said, “and we are going to sue in federal court to give us and all third parties access to public monies for the campaign. It’s a draconian violation of the protections of the 14th Amendment that we cannot.”... more

CALIFORNIA:


Democrat proposes windfall oil profits tax, and governor won't rule it out
STEVE LAWRENCE
Associated Press
Mercury NewsApr. 24, 2006
REDISTRICTING - The debate over who should have the powerful job of drawing legislative and congressional districts resurfaces Monday as the Senate Appropriations Committee considers a constitutional amendment by Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach. Voters rejected an attempt by Schwarzenegger last November to take redistricting duties away from lawmakers and give them to a panel of retired judges. Democrats labeled the Schwarzenegger plan a Republican power grab but promised to put their own redistricting overhaul on the ballot this November. Lowenthal's proposal, which would need approval from voters as well as lawmakers, would create an 11-member citizens commission to draw the districts.
more

TEXAS:



May you vote in interesting times
Monday, April 24, 2006
By ALAN PEPPARD
The Dallas Morning News
For Gov. Rick Perry, being George W. Bush's anointed successor has been quite the crown of thorns. He's up for re-election just as the president's poll numbers are getting sucked down the second-term vortex. Voters are more excited about a Dukes of Hazzard sequel than they are another four years of Rick the Haircut in Austin.
But nobody can remember the name of the Dems' nominee so that leaves the cutthroat independent race for governor as the only show to watch.
Grandma can't make it
Texas comptroller Carole "One Tough Grandma" Strayhorn is duking it out for petition signatures against novelist/songwriter Kinky Friedman who allows that many years ago, he might have inhaled some second-hand smoke on Willie Nelson's tour bus. To get on the ballot, both candidates have until May 11 to collect the signatures of 45,540 registered voters who didn't vote in the March 7 primary.
Friday night, Grandma Strayhorn was supposed to be the keynote speaker at the Irving DFW Indian Lions Club Lone Star Cares Banquet. But her handlers cancelled on Thursday citing Mrs. Strayhorn's work on the legislative special session. She became the most popular person in Austin last week when she announced that the state had a surprise $8.2 billion surplus.
Quick! To the Kinkymobile...
Happily for the Irving Lions, Kinky Friedman was in the neighborhood speaking Friday at the University of North Texas. "If you're old enough to die in Iraq, you're old enough to help us fix Texas," he told hundreds of cheering UNT co-eds.
The Indian Lions Club asked if Kinky could come on over and speak in Grandma Strayhorn's stead.
Does a monkey have tail?
Upon entering the gala, Kinky addressed last month's non-scandal when he was observed actually drinking a beer (gasp!) while riding as grand marshal in Dallas' Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade.
"I admit that I drank the Guinness," he cracked, "but I did not swallow."
The setting son
As an interesting side note, Grandma Strayhorn was never expecting any campaign help from the White House. But she may get some unintentionally. Her son, White House press secretary Scott McClellan , just got shoved out the back door of the West Wing as a sacrificial puppy in incoming chief of staff Josh Bolten's first shakeup.
He should have plenty of time on his hands to help his mom's gubernatorial aspirations.
More with Alan Peppard E-mail
apeppard@dallasnews.com more


The main event
Special session leads to tough political battle
By Kelley Shannon
Associated Press Herald Democrat
Apr. 24, 2006
AUSTIN — While Gov. Rick Perry keeps working to coax legislators onto his tax bill bandwagon, he's also busy trying to shake a menace off his tail.
Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, who calls herself “one tough grandma” and is in charge of the state’s money, keeps pointedly telling Perry how to preside over the 30-day special legislative session on school finance.
It makes for new agitation in an already testy Texas governor’s race as Strayhorn, a veteran politician running as an independent, attempts to oust the Republican Perry. Strayhorn insists she’s just doing her job — one loaded with power and history....
more

NATIONAL:

The CQPolitics Forum: Will the Economy Help or Hurt the GOP?

Congressional Quarterly

By Bob Benenson

Apr. 24, 2006

CQPolitics.com recently asked its Board of Advisers the following:
Why is there an apparent disconnect between how the Bush administration and its Republican allies say the economy is going, and how many American voters think it is going? What are the odds that the economy will nonetheless become a plus at the polls for the Republicans in November? Or is the situation today parallel to the one in 1992, when the economy had started an upturn but most voters — who turned against the first President Bush — thought it was still mired in recession?.... more


Juliet Eilperin: Fight Club Politics

Huffington Post Mon Apr 24

Hey there, this week I'll be writing about my new book, "Fight Club Politics: How Partisanship is Poisoning the House of Representatives." In some ways I face a daunting task: I'm trying to get Americans to care about redistricting, a wonky topic that's not about to make it onto the front pages of People or US Weekly. But it's important, so I'll explain why I think gerrymandering by both parties has both silenced voters and contributed to the political polarization we've been seeing in Washington recently. ... more


Monday, April 24, 2006

TODAY'S NEWS HEADLINES




CALIFORNIA
* How to hold elected officials accountable: redistrict, open up the primaries and either extend or eliminate term limits (Whittier Daily News)
TEXAS
* Kinky's entertaining campaign with a serious purpose (Texarkana Gazette)
* Kinky, Strayhorn continue petitioning drive (KWTX)
STATE-BY-STATE
* Connecticut: Lieberman independent? (Norwich Bulletin)
* Alabama: Will redistricting ruling be partisan power grab by Dems? (Ledger Enquirer)
NATIONAL
* Independent gov candidacies fight for ballot access against unfair rules (2 artilces - Duluth Superior, Statesman Journal)
* Independents don't trust partisan economic leadership (Gallup)

2-Party solution to independent candidate upsurge: Don't let 'em on the ballot.


Rules make it harder for independents to get on the ballot

JULIA SILVERMANAssociated Press

Duluth SuperiorApr. 24, 2006 PORTLAND, Ore. - As gubernatorial races across the country heat up, a handful of independent candidates have emerged nationally who could influence tight races, be it as spoilers or as long-shot victors.
But in order to do so in November, such candidates - who have popped up in Oregon, Texas, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Maine and Alaska - first need to get on the ballot.
And in some states that's far easier said than done, thanks to often-byzantine requirements about who can, and cannot, sign petitions.....
more


In a related article:
Law treats independents as a party, reducing voters' options

RON EACHUS

Oregon Statesman JournalApril 24, 2006[

If you're a registered Republican or Democrat, tired of unproductive petty political partisanship, disgruntled at the prospect of a Ted Kulongoski-vs.-Kevin Mannix rerun for governor and intrigued by the possibility of a viable independent candidate such as Ben Westlund, then you have a dilemma.
Under a new law, if you want to preserve your right to help get an independent on the ballot, you have two options in the upcoming primary election. You can change your registration to non-affiliated by April 25 (that's tomorrow!). Or you can not vote.
That's the perverse effect of the law passed by the 2005 Legislature. The public's discontent over the paralyzing effect of excessive partisanship and bickering was obvious to the Legislature.....
more

Connecticut: Lieberman keeping options open... Alabama: redistricting suit Repub power grab?

Lieberman asks Eastern Connecticut Democrats to stay loyal
By RAY HACKETT Norwich Bulletin Apr. 24, 2006
...Recent comments by Lieberman suggesting he would not rule out an independent bid in November if he should lose the August primary have only added fuel to the controversy. When pressed on the comment Sunday, Lieberman dismissed the remark as being "overblown." But he would not rule it out, either.
"Neither would I," said Shawn McNally, a former state representative from Norwich who is supporting Lieberman, noting the incumbent gets high approval ratings from Republicans and independents ineligible to vote in a Democratic primary.
McNally, who opposed the war in Iraq during his unsuccessful 2004 congressional bid, said after spending a year in Iraq himself, he agrees with Lieberman. McNally spent eight months in Iraq working for the U.S. Agency for International Development.....
more

Democrats claim small GOP group behind Alabama redistricting suit
GARRY MITCHELLAssociated Press
Columbus Ledger-EnquirerApr. 24, 2006
MOBILE, Ala. - A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the current district boundaries for the Alabama Legislature awaits a ruling by a three-judge federal panel on whether it can continue.
Democrats claim it's a Republican attempt to pick up where the last redistricting suit left off. It's unclear when the three-judge panel will rule. A hearing date has not been set.
Montgomery attorneys Mark G. Montiel and Christopher W. Weller, representing plaintiffs who filed suit June 16, 2005 in U.S. District Court, claim their case is "entirely independent" from prior redistricting complaints......
more

Is Kinky the Jesse Ventura of 2006? Only the voters know for sure....



Friedman good for laughs...but more?
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Column By LES MINOR Managing Editor
Texarkana Gazette
That Friedman comes from the entertainment field in this day and age isn’t so radical. Indeed, you only have to look at how pro wrestling star Jesse Ventura took Minnesota by storm several years ago. The same man who crafted that gubernatorial success story is now pushing buttons for the Kinky campaign.
Ventura won by being direct and plain spoken. The lesson has not been lost on Friedman.
The goal is simple, and Friedman addresses it head on. The only way he can win is if he can expand the electorate. Only 29 percent of eligible voters participated in the last election for governor. He believes if he can get a strong block of these disenfranchised voters to the polls, he can turn the trick.........
more

In a related article:
Kinky And Carole Continue Petition Push
KWTX (April 23, 2006)--Independent governor candidates Kinky Friedman and Carole Keeton Strayhorn continue their push to make the November ballot Sunday.
Author and entertainer Kinky Friedman is was scheduled to take his petition drive to Dallas Sunday afternoon while Comptroller Strayhorn was scheduled to speak at a luncheon Sunday in Austin.....
more