Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The 2008 Presidential Longshots: Moore change than even Obama could handle

The occasional series profiling the 2008 presidential election’s severe underdogs continues with the Socialist Party’s ticket. Brian Moore, a 64 year old veteran of sundry unsuccessful elections (Washington D.C. mayor, D.C. city council, U.S. House in Florida, U.S. Senate), is heading the ticket this year. Moore has worked in the health care industry as an administrator (a socialist health care administrator—that brings some interesting experience to the national health care debate, no?) and served in a number of ways in various civic organizations.

Moore has an interesting and varied past; in addition to his work in the health care industry, he was once a Franciscan seminarian, leaving his seminary just before ordination in the late 60’s. Recently, Moore challenged his local bishop in Florida over the Catholic Church’s “tendency towards nationalism” and “silence on the Iraq War”.

You want to talk about change? Moore has quite a list of ideas at his website, many of which would ruffle some serious mainstream party feathers. He supports nationalizing industries like energy, airlines, and pharmaceuticals—and even the sports and entertainment industries (can you see David Barrett and Mark Linn Baker as federal employees?). His health care plan is a single payer system, guaranteed for all people regardless of citizenship / immigration status.

On matters of foreign affairs, his positions are very direct and to the point, with little nuance (maybe the folks at that Orange County Megachurch church would have liked him more than Obama?). He proposes that we pull all support for Israel, disband NATO, end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq immediately, cut the military budget by 50% with the other 50% cut over 10 years, and call for unconditional U.S. disarmament. Wow.

On the home front, he supports a 30 hour work week with 6 weeks vacation and full pension, a living wage of $35,000 minimum, and an income cap of $350,000 per year (ten times the minimum). His platform includes a great deal of environmental initiatives—signing Kyoto, regulating carbon directly (not with a cap-and-trade system), large scale environmental restoration projects, sustainable transportation even in rural communities, etc.

Moore has some big problems, though (the lingering associative pairing of “socialist” with “communist” in the cultural psyche to be the most daunting, surely). One thing all of these profiled longshots have in common is the difficulty with ballot access. So far, Moore has qualified for only a handful of states, and is lagging in fundraising (he has a fundraising tally by state—a whole $25.00 from Texas, $40.00 from New York—totaling $10,848.00 in all, amounting to 0.0002% of the pile Obama has raised thus far).

Oh, (and this one is just for Erik), he’s also a Civil War re-enactor. That aside, if he can get on the ballot in California, he just might get my vote.