New Party Forms in Idaho

Interesting news from Idaho… the founder of a weekly newspaper in Boise has decided to launch something called the United Party.

Republicans and Democrats are as polarized as Shiites and Sunnis. Politicians of both parties sound like rival mobs of chimpanzees run amuck in their habitat, throwing poo on each other and romping gleefully away going “Neener, neener.” And—unless you live in a hidey-hole under the stairs, waiting for the Rapture—you may have noticed that neither party seems to be solving some of the great crises of our time.

Idaho businessman (and Boise Weekly founder) Andy Hedden-Nicely noticed. So, with guidance from legendary Idaho politico Perry Swisher, Hedden-Nicely has founded a new political party called the United Party. “It’s for creative, thinking people who see more value in proposing positive initiatives than in tearing down the other guy,” he wrote in an e-mail.

Here is the UP’s description from its listserv: “The United Party is a new idea to bring together those people who want to make a difference and who are not interested in the current political party offerings. The United Party is self-actualized, inclusive and concerned with real life issues to make our lives better and our future brighter. We want to re-take the middle ground and support all types of small businesses including farmers. We are fiscally conservative and believe that government should only perform those services we cannot do ourselves. We believe that the best government is the government closest to the people. We believe in term limits, and we believe in each other. If you are interested, join us.”

For a political platform, that’s about as clear as a Boise inversion, but Hedden-Nicely says it’s all about finding common issues. “People are reaching out to get involved in something, but can’t attach themselves to either party,” he said. “I hope they’ll bring their disgust and frustration to the United Party.”

The effort to find common political ground is a hot subject in political circles after the vile tone of the 2004 presidential race. New York Times columnist David Brooks has been adamant that people don’t think through political values of their own, but rather adopt those of their party—out of custom, not critical thinking. That makes it near impossible to then use reason to sway voters, and even makes effective governance itself increasingly difficult.

So how can people stop the national trend of believing in the bad intentions of “The Other Side?” How will voters abandon the escalating for-us-or-against-us attitude? Political philanthropist George Soros maintains we must acknowledge the “radical fallibility” at the center of the American political system—we must admit that there is no complete and permanent answer, not even our own.

“Whaaat?” is the alarmed and skeptical response experienced by many who consider this for the first time. But some, like Hedden-Nicely and others who start alternative political parties, become enthusiastic about the idea of considering policies they may have once rejected out of custom.

There are now approximately 60 American political parties. The prize for Most Repulsively Weird goes to the Libertarian National Socialist Green Party, which uses a swastika logo and is apparently a Nazi, pro-gay, anti-violence, pro-drug, environmentalist group which denies membership to Jews AND Christians.

Idaho’s third-party roster includes the Libertarian Party (www.LPIdaho.com), the Constitution Party (www.ConstitutionPartyIdaho.com) the Natural Law Party (www.natural-law.org) and the Green Party (www.idahogreenparty.org). What does Hedden-Nicely think his new party has to offer that the others do not?

“Term limits,” he answered. “You might remember that term limits was a part of the Republican ‘Contract with America,’ that has since been all but forgotten. The reason? Because now that the R’s are in power, they do not want to give it up. Power is more important to them than their own ideals. We already term-limit the president because we didn’t want a king, and now we’ve got an entrenched politburo that is almost impossible to unseat.”

Locally, United Party member Rick Jackson says he just weary of voting for “the Candidate Less Likely To Screw Up.”

“Republicans help large corporations with tax incentives and evasions, and the Democrats have their social programs which are misguided and poorly managed,” he said. “Small business carries the weight of the tax burden while employing the majority of the population, yet remains largely unrepresented. The United Party wants to change that and do what is in the best interest of the people.”

Will the Uniteds put up any candidates in the elections of 2006? Hedden-Nicely recently told the Lewiston Tribune that they will. He won’t say yet whether he will run for office himself, but at a time when both the president’s and Congress’ popularity are at frosty lows, independent candidates may have more appeal than in past cycles. At the very least, they could make voters think a little harder about their party-line picks.

What a concept.

9 Responses to “New Party Forms in Idaho”

  1. Tim West Says:

    I wouldnt mind seeing term limits in the next LP platform as a transitional action.

  2. Joe Says:

    I really don’t these centrist parties. It just seems to me that the two major parties are already so centrist that a new centrist party doesn’t have much to add to the debate. Personally, I find term limits pretty lame as issues go.

  3. IndiPol Says:

    Sounds like a good issue to me. Isn’t everyone tired of professional politicians. Citizen legislators are the way to go. House: 4 terms and out. Senate: two terms and out.

  4. Joe Says:

    I am all four citizen legislators. I just don’t see why you need a law mandating it? Why would those people elected to the legislature vote a term limits bill if voters keep reelecting them. I always vote against incumbents. If Americans wanted term limits that is all they would have to do.

    The sense I get from this article is “we have no worldview, no philosophy, and no ideas, but we are for term limits because it sounds good without accomplishing anything.”

    And why four terms for house and two for senate? That seems arbitrary. Why not one term for each?

  5. IndiPol Says:

    I agree with you that one would think that if voters wanted term limits and an end to lifelong incumbency then they’d do it themselvse at the ballot box, but that isn’t happening. Just like voters want clean air, campaign finance reform, end to corporate crimes, end to corruption, but that isn’t going to happen either without a certain amount of legislation. For example, a la Bush, you’d have situations like “letting polluting corporations police themselves because they know what best for their own industry”. Two years in the US House is probably just enough time to get wet behind the ears. I do like having some “senior” members in congress and not all of ‘em being newbies.

  6. Kyle B Says:

    I have never understood why politics is the one field where people seem to think experience on is job is bad. Every other career people like for the person to have gained experience, for example a docter or teacher.
    Plus term limits take away the main incentive for a person to do a good job in office, reelection. Alexander Hamilton and James Madison make the same point about the incentives of reelection in The Federalist Papers

  7. Jim 101 Says:

    I’m all for term limits in the House.

    Fresh ideas, and new energy are a must if this country is going to face down the many challenges it faces these days. It’s become painfully obvious to me, and to most of the American public, that our present Senate and Congress is not up to the challenges we now face. They are spending far to much of their time just trying to stay in power, raise obscene amounts of money, and score political points at the expense of the good of the country, then doing the work of the people.

    And it’s just not that easy for the American public to vote the incumbents out of office these days. Most voters never even know who the challengers are, due to the massive amounts of money the incumbents are able to raise, and the exposure they get. Voting against the incumbent, without even knowing who the challenger is, is not exactly a smart thing to do IMO.

    “Absolute power, absolutely corrupts”...

  8. FL Term Limits Says:

    Term limits are an important issue. In 1992 in Florida 77% of voters voted to limit elected state officials to 8 year terms. The issue was brought about by citizen initiative. Now, by legislative initiative, they are trying to extend term limits to 12 years. Help us keep 8 year term limits! www.floridatermlimits.com
    http://fltermlimits.blogspot.com

  9. Carl Milsted Says:

    The real issue is raising money WHILE IN OFFICE. This is bribery, pure and simple. Further, while we have limitations on campaign finance, current office holders have an unfair advantage, since they can use their office for publicity purposes.

    The term limits movement goes too far in some ways ant not go far enough in other ways. Not far enough in that it allows incumbents to run for re-election or for another office. Too far in that it doesn’t allow people with experience to run again after they are out of office. The rule should be:

    • No running for office while holding office.

    That is, you are a politician when running for office, but a statesman while in office. Might also throw in:

    • No raising money for others while holding office.

    And, of course, no raising money for self, including campaign debts.