Party Invites

Columbus Alive | June 2, 2005
Robert Butler knows a good opportunity when he sees one. The executive director of the Ohio Libertarian Party has apparently been watching the latest round of U.S. Senator from Ohio and former Ohio governor George Voinovich’s difficulties with his Republican Party as led by George W. Bush with great interest, and thinks he has a good solution for Voinovich—Why not simply give up on the Republicans and become a Libertarian?

In an open letter to Voinovich last week, Butler said he’s seen “many situations similar to the one you now face regarding the John Bolton confirmation.” Bolton is, of course, the mustachioed madman that Bush has nominated to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, an institution he has a long history of disdaining and verbally abusing. Former co-workers and employees have come forward to say he treated them worse than the U.N., while the White House refuses to release pertinent documents about Bolton to the Senate.

Voinovich has called Bolton “a poster child of what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be,” was the first of only two Republicans (thus far) to oppose Bolton’s nomination in a chamber split 55-44 in favor of the Republicans, and began campaigning against Bolton among the Senate, circulating a letter to colleagues last Tuesday.

“In these dangerous times, we cannot afford to put at risk our nation’s ability to successfully wage and win the war on terror with a controversial and ineffective Ambassador to the United Nations,” Voinovich’s letter stated.

This is hardly Voinovich’s first high-profile clash with the Bush administration. About two years ago, when Bush was pushing a $726 billion tax cut proposal despite the size of the deficit or the fact that the country was at war, Voinovich balked and sought to reduce it. Butler told Voinovich if he decided he no longer wanted to be a Republican, “the Libertarian Party of Ohio is here for you.”

“I know that you’ve probably heard many malicious rumors regarding the Libertarian party, not unlike the same vicious rumors Republicans are now circulating about you,” Butler continued (and speaking of vicious, many bloggers on the right have taken to calling him Voino—well, something derogatory that rhymes with “vich”).

“Many of us were Republicans until we got run over by the party machine and realized how evil it can be,” Butler writes.

Well, it might be a jump from Voinovich finding he doesn’t agree with his party all the time and finding them to be evil, but if that is the case and he decides to leave the party, the Libertarian Party may just be the best fit (other than simply defecting and declaring himself an independent, as Senator Jim Jeffords did shortly after Bush took the White House).

But if Voinovich does go to the trouble of switching parties, he may want to shop around a bit first. He would have a lot to offer any party, bringing with him a successful record, plenty of political experience and name recognition,instantly legitimizing any he joined up with. But what would they have to offer him? To help our senator in his search for a party not controlled by Bush, here’s a guide to some of the parties out there he may want to avoid.

The Democrats: While there may not be a huge difference between the political philosophy and day-to-day work done by Senate Republicans versus Senate Democrats, other than what table they get to sit at in the cafeteria during lunch and whether they can openly roll their eyes at Bush’s policy proposals or have to feign agreement, Voinovich would likely find it awkward to join the Democrats.

After all, he spent most of his political career campaigning against them, and conversations at state party functions could be awkward: “Hey Eric Fingerhut, how’s it going? Remember when I crushed you in the 2004 Senate election? And implied that you were weak on security in a television ad, even though the vote I referred to in it occurred ten years before the current war in Iraq? Good times, good times.”

The Green Party If he continues to wear a suit coat and tie to work, he’d always be overdressed at party functions, and a lifetime of political chicken dinners and pancake breakfasts are poor preparation for vegan potlucks.

Natural Law Party Voinovich would be an excellent fit in the NLP, which advocates scientifically proven solutions to all political problems, up to including transcendental meditation—at least up until half-way through his first meeting, when he’d jump on top of his chair, point his finger at whoever was last speaking, and scream at the top of his lungs “That’s crazy talk! You’re all completely out of your minds!”

The American Nazi Party: Yes, there’s actually an American Nazi Party, though they’re (surprise!) rather small and don’t field high-profile candidates very often. Their most prominent political candidate, George Lincoln Rockwell, was murdered by a fellow party member back in 1967. Is there a worse sounding political party that a national politician could join than the American Nazi Party? Maybe the Satanic Kitten-Killing Party of Pure Evil. Maybe.

The U.S. Marijuana Party: Not to be confused with the Pot Party (who’s slogan is “A movement to pretty much legalize marijuana…”), the Marijuana Party has a platform pretty much indistinguishable from that of the Green Party, but, you know, more marijuana-legalization focused. If interested in joining a mellower group than the Republicans, Voinovich is in luck—there’s a (small) state party based in Ohio. The biggest deterrent would be hanging out with fellow Marijuana Party members at meetings, where Voinovich would pretty much be reduced to saying “What’s that smell?”, “Holding? What do you mean, ‘Am I holding?’ Holding what?” and “Cool? What do you mean, “Am I cool?’” over and over.

The Christian Falangist Party of America: A “Falangist” is someone that subscribes to the political views of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, a mixture of fascism, nationalism and hardcore Catholic theology. It’s also a really funny word.

The American party was founded in ’85 and, according to its platform; it’s “dedicated to fighting the ‘Forces of Darkness’ which seeks to destroy Western Christian Civilization.” Click on the “Forces of Darkness” section of their website, and you’ll find their rogues gallery, including: Radical Islam, Communism/Socialism, the New World Order, the New Age movement, Neo-Nazis, Masons, Abortionists and Euthanasianists, Radical Homosexuals and Pornographers. Hmm, put that way, it certainly sounds a lot like a less-delicately phrased platform of the Bush-wing of the Republican Party, which is what Voinovich would presumably be trying to get away from by shopping for a new party.

The Totally Awesome George Voinovich Party: Why should George Voinovich join someone else’s party when he could always start his own? He’s George Voinovich, for God’s sake! Besides, a brand-new, one-man party led by a current U.S. Senator and former state governor would likely have just as much, if not tons more, credibility as most of those listed above. Only downside? He’d have to take down the minutes to the meetings himself.

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