"In the US, voters cast ballots for individual candidates who are not bound to any party program except rhetorically, and not always then. Some Republicans are more liberal than some Democrats, some libertarians are more radical than some socialists, and many local candidates run without any party identification. No American citizen can vote intelligently without knowledge of the ideas, political background, and commitments of each individual candidate."
by:
Ben H. Bagdikian
(1920- ) Armenian-born author, dean emeritus of the University of California at Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, former editor at the Washington Post
Source:
1982
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This is why there are only two major parties. They absorb ideas from all sides. As Eisenhower said America will be ruled from the center of opinion. And as Kennedy said "Some times party demands to much"
 -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US      
    I seriously doubt that very many Americans vote " intelligently". Ask an Obama supporter why they support him and most will give you some gibberish about "change". Ask that same person to name one thing he's ever done and you get a blank stare. Oh, I forgot, he was a community organizer in Chicago.
     -- jim k, austin     
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    The quote, as a stand alone statement, is a 'dah!', absolutely correct. Until one realizes that the concept is a large part of the smoke and mirrors that disguises who the candidates, in fact, represent once elected. And Waffler, once again, what? Why are there 2 parties? Are those 'all sides' of a limited government under a Constitution (like, what part of the 9th or 10th Amendments allows for the Federal government to be central to the insurance business, property financing business, car business, etc.) No American votes intelligently when their centrist opinions comes from media bites, any of the 2 party's programs, the political rhetoric from public education, etc.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Another reason we ought to consider voting on issues rather than people. Just what is the platform of each party? "Change" is not a platform -- everything changes. "American values" is not a platform -- what are they? I am afraid election rhetoric is designed to attract the dim-witted.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Mike I suggest you read the philosophies of Eisenhower and Kennedy and you may get an answer to your What? To be "ruled from the center" means the center of public opinion. The two major parties usually absorb far out ideas like abolition etcetera and make them their own, thus the parties are not purely ideological but free conduits for people of somewhat similar sensitivities but still free to mold the party platform. When the two parties "fight it out" in Congress one policy emerges and that, due to the function of compromise, is the Politcal Center of opinion. Do you feel better now Mike?
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    PS Mike it occurred to me that because you believe or think that the US is a politcal idea layed down 232 years ago and therefore runs only in accordance with that "natural law" public opinion is of no import in its society. Thus you cannot comprehend either the quote or my response to it. I think your belief that we are a society, nation or government of natural law versus public opinion is naive and shallow and hinders your progress in matters of public policy debate. That is okay I think Stalin or Lenin were also naive on such matters and could not comprehend the idea of public opinion.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    Waffler, you obviously don't understand my position. Public opinion is of great import if its direction is in how best to facilitate Natural Law in any given society. If public opinion is only focused on how best to violate Natural Law and impose despotism the importance there is also obvious. When voters are only given rhetoric on how best to implement only despotism, opinions are as shallow as the voters selecting the despots. Prideful ignorance describes the vast majority of the opinionated U.S. voter.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Obama will give a tax break to every American making less than $227,000 with the ones making less, getting the bigest break. From $227,000 up to $600,000 you will hold pat. Above that you will have an increase, because you can afford it. With McCain it is reversed. Obama will secure the boarders, and stop the invasion. He will stop the free medical ride for invaders and provide medical care for Americans insted. He will secure our social security benifits. He will stop all of the breaks and incentives for companys that build factories over seas, and out sorce jobs and will give these benifits to companys that are loyal to Americans and America. He wiil eliminate all income taxes to seniors that make less than $50,000 a year. Working mothers will get relief also, up to $3,000 credit for each child. Just a few points here, there are many more. By the way, do you know that McCain wants to tax your medical benifits as though it was income, that is if you are even lucky enough to have it now days.
     -- Ken, Milford Pa     
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    Ken, when choosing a candidate to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, are we simply to vote for the one that promises to rob us LESS than 'the other guy' ? Why don't we just vote to do away with the income tax altogether? Who do we think we are anyway? Our government has no more power than we have given them -- we don't need income taxes when the government can simply print up money and spend it into circulation -- that is what they do now already. The purpose of income taxes is to PREVENT prosperity -- it is distributed poverty all the while protecting the real wealthy string-pullers. Taxing 'the rich' only means the 'rich' will raise their prices for the products and services they offer. We have to get out of this over-simplistic view of the purpose of government. As long as we are simply voting for money, we will be easily conned into thinking that we can get something for nothing. As long as the government is going to print up trillions in 'deficit-spending,' let inflation be our only tax -- that way those with the most cash will pay the most and those with the least cash will pay the least. And not a single income tax return need be filed. Remember, taxes are and always have been for the proletariat -- it is 'protection money' and 'tribute.' Why would you need so many government subsidies if you could keep all your income? Don't be fooled -- the IRS is the collection agency for the Federal Reserve and its sole purpose is to keep this Monopoly game going in their favor -- i.e. the US government is trillions in debt to the Fed -- the Fed owes NO ONE and indeed owns EVERYONE -- now they are the 'rich' and until we aim our sights upon them, we are merely hacking at the branches instead of the root.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    And while we're at it, if all these financial institutions need bailing out, and the 'rich' are supposed to be the ones to be 'patriotic' about being taxed even higher (while barely making a dent in paying off the debt), why not go to the source of 'wealth' -- why not make the Federal Reserve forgive these debts outright? Why not forgive the US debt altogether? They just printed up the money they 'lent' the government anyway. They will not go bankrupt -- they will still own everything. Why? Because they are taking over the country and ALL the countries -- that is their purpose! Why do we have to keep paying with our lives and fortunes to keep the Fed not only in the black but absolute master of all industry and commerce? Simply because Congress has given them a license to manufacture 'money' out of nothing (i.e. counterfeiting) to buy US T-bills when no one else will? It is a horrendous crime, and voting for either the Dems or GOP is a vote for more of the same, and ever the noose grows tighter. Will we ever stand up to this tyranny? Are we afraid to lose everything we have in order to remain perpetual economic slaves? We have nothing to lose that we aren't going to lose anyway. Seize the Federal Reserve's assets and charge them all with fraud and debasing the currency -- the penalty of which is death as per the Coinage Act. This is the real battle -- the whole 'Obama vs. McCain' thing is just petty misdirection. "Is America ready for a black president?" "Is America ready for a woman president?" These are hardly the issues. The question is "Is America ready to throw off the yoke of servitude laid upon them with perpetual debt all in the name of freedom and democracy?" I think if the people really understood how this economic crisis has come about, there would be a revolution on Wall Street tomorrow!
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    I assume that when a question is asked, or an insult is made, that a response is wanted. I just tried to provide an answer to the comment. It is never my intention to annoy, aggravate, insult or even argue with anyone. If my comment was offensive, then I am truly sorry for that. In the future if your statement is intended to be rhetorical, please state it as such. We will have to agree to disagree on a few minor points. Peace.
     -- Ken, Milford Pa     
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    No offense taken, Ken, nor was I trying to insult. I am with you on trying to reduce our tax burden -- why not address the real problem instead of buying into political campaign 'promises'? BTW, saving $500 in taxes with Obama's 'plan' is chump change compared to the amount of taxes being taken out and the amount of purchasing power lost year after year due to inflation and government deficit spending. In my lifetime, the US dollar has lost 90% of its value due to the trillions printed into circulation for Congress to spend. Our money system is a fraud and a crime against humanity, and We the People need only 'vote' it out of existence -- now THAT is an election worth having!
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    See there is much more that we agree on than we disagree with. This is why we all need to get united and make constructive changes. When we discuss things openly and intelligently we can get much done. Thank you for your reply.
     -- Ken, Milford Pa     
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    The last sentence is a near impossibility, what with the dumbing down of our younger generation, we're now missing "newspapers" ( though some sufficiently replaced with technology, but tech has also replaced face to face and one-on-one communication like personal debates and exchanges of ideas. OPINIONS abound -- and concurrent divisiveness.
     -- BOB, CHARLOTTE     
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    Some of the best, constructive, thoughtful, words spoken openly so far in this blog. By far, the depth of Archer's words, and all others here, speaking openly from their hearts as they see it. Wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity. The four corners if you will. Fraud condoned by way of playing upon the greed of the people. Freedom is work, period. Economic liberty, ( Chophshiy liberty, liberty from bondage and tax ) is by far the most elusive down through the ages. ( Shema, something heard by design, liberty and freedom ). " Our money system is a fraud and a crime against humanity, and We the People need only vote it out of existence. " That is an election worth having. Perfectly said and to the point. Bob, Charlotte, near impossible but obtainable. Politicians take gain from their quarter, as with most established religions and their subordinates. Not wishing to take on the fight but just go along for the ride." At all times, sincere friends of freedom have been rare, and its triumphs have been due to minorities, that have prevailed by associating themselves with auxiliaries whose objects differed from their own. The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the People versus the Banks." Lord Acton. Let us be the strong man with the dagger, and for those that do not have the stomach for the fight, let them follow with the sponge. I am barrowing from Lord Acton with the previous two lines. May the tyranny on the hill and in the oval room be removed at all cost, then replaced with honest leadership and a steely resolve. For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. Semper Fi.
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
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    The government does not want intelligent voters. Why do you think LBJ outlawed literacy tests.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
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