Unity ‘08 Web Chat Transcript

The Unity08 website has a transcript from a live webchat featuring Tom Collier, their chief legal counsel.

It’s interesting reading because it gives a little more insight on what they’re trying to do and how they view themselves…

In our view, this is a movement. We are not asking that our Delegates or candidates leave their established parties. In fact, we intend that our candidates represent each of the major parties, or at least one of the major parties with the other candidate being an Independent. However, as we seek to comply with the various federal laws, those laws tend to categorize us in ways we might not prefer. For example, the FEC now calls us an independent political committee. We still think of ourselves as a movement.


In my opinion, there really have not been any successful third party efforts. At least not in the last 100 years. Instead, there have been some relatively successful third party presidential candidates. The difference is that those efforts were focused entirely on the candidate, not on the party. Here, we are really trying to do something that is different from both a third party and a third party candidacy. We are looking to nominate a Unity Ticket, one that includes candidates that do not come from the same major party. We want our candidates to be able to reach across the aisle and work with the other parties so that America can move forward on the vital issues that face our country.

After reading this I still feel the same way I did originally. This is a group that was setup to do early organization and the legwork of ballot access for a major independent candidate. Probably Bloomberg or someone on that scale.

By having this group in place the candidate can take care of some of the less glamorous elements of building an independent campaign and delay entering the race until the best time. Perhaps once the major parties have selected their candidates and the media is searching for a new story.

24 Responses to “Unity ‘08 Web Chat Transcript”

  1. Phil Sawyer Says:

    It is just too early to know for sure whether Unity08 is “a movement,” as their chief legal counsel, Tom Collier, wrote; or whether it is “a group that was setup to do early organiization and the legwork of ballot access for a major independent candidate,” as our own Austin Cassidy writes above.

    There seems to me to be much credibilty in Mr. Collier’s statement. Why not take them at their words for what they are up to? With caution, though. Like I said, we do not know yet for sure what is really going on.

    If it is the latter sort of effort, as Austin suggested, then Unity08 certainly is doing a very poor job in the way that they go about it. Their web site never seems to improve and get more user friendly, no matter how much they work on it (although, I must confess, I have not checked it out recently). Furthermore, the organization just does not appear to be serious, the way that I see it in my humble mind.

    In August of 1974, I saw a spot on television about the new Committee for a Constitutional Presidency (with Eugene J. McCarthy as Honorary Chairperson). I joined up just as soon as I possibly could (we did not have the internet in those days). On January 25, 1975, Senator McCarthy (with the blessings of CCP) made a formal announcement that he would be that organization’s independent candidate for President of the United States. It was a long road from August of 1974 through November of 1976 - and beyond - full of blood, sweat, and tears. These sort of things are not easy and they require true dedication, confidence in what one is doing, and downright hard work. I am proud to say that I was a full-time, volunteer activist for CCP during the time mentioned above (and even beyond). I just do not see the same sort of seriousness from Unity08.

    I want to wish the Untiy08 people the best of luck. However, as I have writen before, “my name is Bennett and I am no longer in it.”

    By the way, George Phillies seems to be a very credible and serious candidate for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination in 2008. If Bob Barr was in the race right now, I would have to say that it was between the two of them.

  2. Austin Cassidy Says:

    I wasn’t saying that to be critical of the organization. I think it’s actually a fantastic move for whoever the candidate is.

    An ideal ticket might be Bloomberg with someone like Angus King for Vice-President.

    As for the LP nomination, it looks like Barr won’t run. So Kubby and Phillies seem to be the two serious candidates at the moment. I personally don’t think much of the others who’ve expressed interest at this point. Wayne Allen Root might be a great guy, but the Republican label will make it impossible for him to win at a Libertarian convention. And Doug Stanhope probably isn’t serious enough to do all the paperwork and organizing needed to run a serious campaign.

  3. Trent Hill Says:

    Im with Austin on this one, Kubby and Phillies are basically the only ones in the race at this point.
    I consider Phillies the more organized candidate,and thus the better choice for long term success. However, I think Kubby might recieve a higher vote total.

  4. Anthony Distler Says:

    “In my opinion, there really have not been any successful third party efforts. At least not in the last 100 years.”

    I guess Ross Perot doesn’t apply, eh?

  5. Austin Cassidy Says:

    Anthony, read the next sentence—
    “Instead, there have been some relatively successful third party presidential candidates.”

  6. Alex Hammer Says:


    I agree that Bloomberg and King, as the example you selected, is one that could be very interesting. Could such a ticket win in 2008? I think they could. (Out of curiosity, what make you name those two?)

  7. Austin Cassidy Says:

    Well, people have been speculating about Bloomberg making a run for a while now. He’s got the kind of money needed to get something like this going. I mentioned Angus King because he’s an independent, he’s got a good record, and he’s listed on the Unity ‘08 founders council.


    Lieberman has been mentioned, but that would be an all-Jewish ticket which might be a little bit of a harder sell in some areas.

    Plus, even if Bloomberg couldn’t realistically win a race outright… having Angus King on there might make sure he wins Maine. If he could pick off 1-2 other states and collect as few as 15 or 20 electoral votes, that might very well be enough to throw the race into the House of Representative. Then things would get interesting. Particularly if Bloomberg’s popular vote total was 20%+ nationally.

  8. Phil Sawyer Says:

    That was actually my understanding, Austin, that you were not being critical of Unity08. I am the one that is being critical.

    Regarding Ross Perot’s campaigns, Anthony Distler is correct to remind Tom Collier about that. Mr. Perot’s second campaign for president, in 1996, was as the nominee of the Reform Party.

  9. Cutty Sark Says:

    I am proud to say that I was a full-time, volunteer activist for CCP during the time mentioned above (and even beyond).

    You forgot one of the Cs in CCCP?

  10. Cutty Sark Says:

    Bloomberg may possibly be an even bigger twerp than Giuliani. If that’s even possible.

    Those two have turned NYC into a total shithole for anyone who is not a yuppie, old money rich or a tourist.

  11. Cutty Sark Says:

    Phillies is too much of a nerd to make any waves.

    If Kubby gets his shit together and starts making waves, he’ll get busted for drugs. If possible, hard drugs, even if the pigs have to plant them.

    That will totally discredit him. Same with Stanhope.

    Wayne Root is a self-hyping con man. Why he would even get mentioned should be the real question.

    Bill Richardson is, sad to say, probably the best realistic choice (as opposed to best actual choice).

  12. Phil Sawyer Says:

    To “Cutty Sark”: You are incorrect on two counts about me:

    A. First of all, I did not “forget one of the Cs in … ” CCP. My volunteer work was for the Committee for a Constitutional Presidency. I was also an official California Elector for CCP/McCarthy ‘76 in the presidential election of that year.

    B. If you are referring to my former membership in the Communist Party USA, you are making a mistake in referring to it as the late Communist Party of the Soviet Union. They were two different political parties - as, today, the CPUSA and the CP-Russia are two different parties. Furhermore, CCCP refers to the name of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - not the CP-Soviet Union. Even more, I did not join the CPUSA until 1979, after I had already tried the Socialist Party USA. Although I do not consider myself to be, currently, a member of any socialist or communist party, it is only because I have not found one that is worth belonging to. Or as the old saying goes, and I am sure that you would jump right on it: “Once a Communist always a Communist.”

    On another subject that you raised: Please explain to me why a former member of the Clinton-Gore Administration (Bill Richardson, you mentioned) would be someone that you could support for President of the United States. I sure could not. Are you in the Republican Liberty Caucus also?

  13. Cutty Sark Says:

    Republican puberty caucus, me?

    Fuck no.


    I said best realistic choice, not best actual choice. All the realistic choices suck.

    But hey, the CP-USA is just a Democratic Party caucus now, so a good commie like you should understand political realism. Afterall, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, and all that.

    The smaller parties and independent movements should keep keepin’ on, just to put a fucking burr in the side of the system and make the bastards sweat, even just a little.

    Just don’t expect any big breakthroughs within the system - either primary or general elections, much less for any good to come out of it, any time soon.

    Oh yeah, all the parties suck, not just the big ones either, unfortunately.
    But oh well, politics is a dirty crooked game, expecting perfection is foolish.

  14. Carl Says:

    Methinks the only realistic choice is Gary Johnson. Wonder if he will throw his hat into the ring…

  15. matt Says:

    Google informs me that there’s one website devoted to Gary Johnson’s “presidential run”. I’ve yet to see any comments on it, or very much about Gary Johnson. 2 to 1 he doesn’t know it exists, which means he’s missing out on pictures of kate beckinsale smoking and little else. If you want a Republican with libertarian tendencies, there’s always Ron Paul.

    Gary Johnson does look cool and all. Maybe he’d make a good senator or something.

  16. Timothy West Says:

    this is OT, but interesting : I find the ring of truth contained within. This contains neatly why libertarianism often fails- it’s a movement largely made up of ‘Economic Men’. They dont understand why people make stupid choices, in any area of life, the ballot box, the bank, whatever. They place economics above every other moral value.

    Like all revolutions in thought, this one began with anomalies, strange facts, odd observations that the prevailing wisdom could not explain. ...
    perverse facts are a direct affront to the standard model of the human actor—Economic Man—that classical and neoclassical economics have used as a foundation for decades, if not centuries. Economic Man makes logical, rational, self-interested decisions that weigh costs against benefits and maximize value and profit to himself. Economic Man is an intelligent, analytic, selfish creature who has perfect self-regulation in pursuit of his future goals and is unswayed by bodily states and feelings. And Economic Man is a marvelously convenient pawn for building academic theories. But Economic Man has one fatal flaw: he does not exist.

    When we turn to actual human beings, we find, instead of robot-like logic, all manner of irrational, self-sabotaging, and even altruistic behavior. This is such a routine observation that it has been made for centuries; indeed, Adam Smith “saw psychology as a part of decision-making,” says assistant professor of business administration Nava Ashraf. “He saw a conflict between the passions and the impartial spectator.”

    I think ‘economic man’ does exist - and the LP is their natural home. I’m not saying this with disparagement - just putting it out there.

  17. Nigel Watt Says:

    With Ron Paul running for the Republican nomination and thus likely to create a split within the GOP once he pulls some longtime Republicans’ heads out of their rears but unlikely to gain the nomination, the LP needs to nominate an electable candidate who is organized enough to reach out to these newly disgruntled Republicans. That candidate is George Phillies.

  18. Mr. Estes, John Alexander II (LP).org Says:

    atlernative Political paty’s??? NO Main Streaming f/decade’s “eye-candy”
    Amer.’s Swing Block voter’$”...... Give Up the Starch

  19. Carl Says:

    I didn’t say Johnson was running, only that of prominent libertarians, he would be the best. He has money of his own, self control, and has been governor.

  20. matt Says:

    I wish he’d run for Congress. The media can ignore a lot of LP candidates, but you can’t ignore a former governor.

  21. Alex Hammer Says:

    When is Bloomberg going to decide? I read the recent New Yorker profile on him considering running for President, which was pretty powerful.

  22. Cutty Sark Says:

    Hate to say it, but Gary Johnson will be fucked in the Republican Primary because of his publically stated support for drug legalization alone. In fact I think he knew that and didn’t run for Governor again. He was probably sick of it and that’s why he felt like taking a public stand. Realistic for President? Not a chance. The religious right would not let him get to first base.

    Even if he somehow got past the Republican primary, which would never happen, the Democrats would totally savage him. Do you think Hillary Clinton is above outflanking and attacking a libertarian Republican from a social conservative angle such as the drug war? Not a chance.

    In fact, given that prison guards and police unions are strong within the Public Employee Unions that make up a strong backbone for the Democrats, count on Hillary exploiting the shit out of that against any (hypothetical, obviously) anti-drug war Republican. She would get the pro-drug war teachers and nurses on board (not that they all are, but there are plenty), and the reactionary religious elements in the black community, and the unfortunate Republican would be hanging with his dick in the wind and the Pat Robertson base of his party abandoning him.

    As for him running as LP, yes he would get ignored. The LP does not have the machine the Democrats and Republicans have, and it ain’t gonna come together in the space of one year or two.

    I kinda think it’s more likely he got tired of dicking around with politics.

  23. Sean Scallon Says:

    What it sounds like is Unity08 is basically platform for any centrist candidate who wants to make a run at the White House to jump on. Besides Bloomberg I also incluide on this list Rudy Guliani or Chuck Hagel for that matter.

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