Thursday, December 21, 2006

Will Barack Run -- with us?

Much as I admire the spirit of Unity08, I can't help be wonder whether we'll be overtaken by events. In particular, all four of the most prominent front-runners:

  • John McCain (R)
  • Rudy Guiliani (R)
  • Hillary Clinton (D)
  • Barack Obama (D)

are (to a greater or lesser extent) centrists, or at least pragmatists. If any of those get nominated, it seems like it will be hard to muster enthusiasm from moderates to oppose them. For examplel, Barack Obama is widely seen as representing what he describes as:

"another tradition to politics, a tradition that stretched from the days of the country’s founding to the glory of the civil rights movement, a tradition based on the simple idea that we have a stake in one another, and that what binds us together is greater than what drives us apart, and that if enough people believe in the truth of that proposition and act on it, then we might not solve every problem, but we can get something meaningful done.”

What centrist could possibly run against that?

Of course, it is entirely possible that partisan primaries may conspire against them, which means that Unity would have a ripe field to pick from. So perhaps the effort isn't in vain after all...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Law & Order & Good Government

I gotta admit, I'm usually dismissive of celebrity endorsements, but as a big fan of Jack McCoy I was tickled to see Sam Waterson shilling for Unity08. To be sure, I didn't find his pitch enormously persuasive (even though I mostly agree with him :-), but I'm still glad he was willing to put his image on the line for what he believes.

Unity '08 Takes the "Nice" Road

I was very pleased to see Unity '08 changing their holiday poll to just celebrate the nice rather than also berate the naughty. Given my previous concerns about them not practicing the high-minded rhetoric they preach, their giving up the easy fun of mocking their enemies in favor of accentuating the positive is a welcome Christmas present!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Will California elect a Unity ticket?

If I was a Unity candidate (sorry, not this time around :-), that's certainly where I'd focus my energy. Because we historically lean Democrat, both parties always ignore us during Presidential elections. But, consider:

  1. We have the largest number of electoral votes
  2. About one-fifth of our population is Independents
  3. We have a mostly-popular Centrist governor
  4. The rest of the country tends to follow our lead in cultural trends
To be sure, California is big, which makes it expensive to campaign here. But California is a near-perfect microcosm of the rest of the country -- at least those states willing to elect a Unity candidate -- so I think we'd make an awesome testing ground for candidates to hone their message.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Personality-Driven Cacauses: A Good First Step

I was extremely pleased to see Unity '08 announcing that it is "building out tools right now so our community members can discuss and rate candidates in a more structured way, formulate split-ticket scenarios, and even build caucuses around possible ticket combinations." This is something I've wanted for a very long time. Yeah!

At the same time, I hope they make it easy to similarly form issue-based Caucuses, to advocate different policies. Personalities are important, and perhaps essential, but since we know so few of the potential candidates we need to give them an easy way to find communities, not just vice versa.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Is the Middle just for Moderates?

While I appreciate the sentiment behind Unity08's list of Top 10 Reasons Why the Moderate Middle Matters, I had to cringe at their choice of tone:

  1. Moderates are the only ones with the desire to find common ground.

For one thing, those of us in the radical middle absolutely want to find common ground, we just approach it differently. More importantly, though, I believe there many people who consider themselves good liberals or conservates who also care about finding common ground. While I appreciate the need to stake out a rationale for existence, claiming to be sole possessors of a particular good seems, well, immoderate. :-)A better choice, IMHO, would've been something like:

  1. Moderates are totally committed to finding common ground.

That is, why not focus on what's good about your side instead of (implicitly) dissing others? I realize I may be making a mountain out of molehill, but this sort of talk feels inappropriate for an organization that is committed to promoting civility. I'd urge them to the extra mile to ensure they communicate in an inclusive and welcoming manner -- so that they retain the moral authority to lecture others!