Sunday, July 23, 2006

Time's Ripe for "Third Force" in Georgia Politics

Today, the AJC reported that Unity08, a project launched by Carter aides, Hamilton Jordan and Gerald Rafshoon and Doug Bailey, a former Republican operative, aims to shake the political world up a bit by mobilizing millions of Americans who are fed up with both political parties. Prompted in part by a discussion of how negative television ads have hurt politics, they plan to gather millions of voters through the Internet to nominate a centrist presidential candidate who would be required to choose a running mate from the opposing party. Sound crazy? Think again. The founders are veterans of the original political shake up: the election of Jimmy Carter. And, political insiders aren't laughing. Joe Trippi opines that there is plenty of money and will to accomplish exactly what this group aims to do. (Yes, I do remember Trippi's last flop.)

They do not aim to create a third party, but instead to provide a cold shower to the two existing parties they contend are increasingly controlled by their most extreme elements. We're past due for that wake-up call.

Consider these examples. Recently, stem cell research produced the first and only veto of Bush's presidency. House candidates down here in Macon measure "conservative" by whether they endorse no exceptions, one exception or three exceptions when it comes to abortion, and in the Democratic primary for Governor we invested more time talking about who could marry than who would graduate. In a country where more and more people are sick and tired of the partisan bickering that produces both gridlock and extreme polarization, this concept may have broad appeal.

I'm a Democrat and always will be but if a concept like this can move our party from a conversation about how to beat Perdue or Bush to substantive discussions about how to improve education, healthcare, public safety and a dozen other key concerns, then, that would be a good thing.

Read, "Third Force Intends to Put up Bipartisan Ticket."

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