Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Shoot the buffalo II

 Here's a bit from Captain Fishsticks' column in today's Pioneer Press. Sticks apparently penetrated the purple haze to talk to Peter "Distant Third" Hutchinson.

It turned out to be an election about ideas," Hutchinson told me amid the cacophony of closing down the Team Minnesota campaign office. "They co-opted our ideas. They're all about moving forward now, keeping the main things the main things. After you get over being (angered) about it, it is kind of flattering."

Flattering, yes, but compliments don't build parties. History teaches that third parties merge with one of the major parties  think Democrats and Farmer-Laborites in Minnesota - or they grasp an issue and replace a major party - think the Lincoln-led Republicans replacing the Whig Party on the strength of the abolition movement - or they simply fade away.

The Independence Party has no intention of being co-opted or fading away. Despite gubernatorial vote totals declining from Jesse Ventura's plurality win with 37 percent of the vote in 2002, Tim Penny's 16 percent in 2004 to Hutchinson's 6 percent statewide, the Independence Party is stronger than it's ever been.

"It's ironic," said Hutchinson. "We lost and Ventura won, but we sit here today with more party talent and a bigger, better-financed party than we were in 2002. We have a diverse collection of Republicans and Democrats  heavy hitters, influential people. One thing we did this election is branded the IP as not just the party of Jesse Ventura. [italics are Spot's]

You know, you guys really need to get together with Norm "I've got more clout now" Coleman. Peter and Sticks, going from 37% (just a little over a third, by the way) for Ventura, to 16% for Penney, to 6% percent for Hutch establishes the trend line to oblivion. With all its money, the Independence Party may be able to buy better animation for the buffalo, but that won't elect people to office.

Sticks gives the history lesson on third parties - an accurate one - but then fails or refuses to draw the inevitable, irresistible conclusion about the Independence Party.

Hmmm, the farther you get away from the Ventura anomaly, the fewer votes you get, yet you think the party is stronger. Yes, Hutch, that is ironic!

Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press | 11/15/2006 | The candidate may have sunk, but his ideas are on the rise

No comments: