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3rd Party Candidate … What’s the risk?

Howdy … I’m new to the team and will follow in the footsteps of Jay the Bennett in giving a little bio as the preamble for my first post.

(I was not given that directive, but since Jay is the wind beneath my wings, I figured I’d follow his lead.)

My name is Eric Michael Hartman, Sr., but I’m affectionately known as “Gunny” (particularly among the elect). Under the gaze of those spooky red eyes and fearing for my life here’s a quick rundown of who I am:

It’s quite ironic that my first post would be a political one, since I’m really not all that passionate in that area … any more.

Yet, every once in a while I get a little jazzed and felt I had to weigh in on this 3rd party talk.

The Perot comparisons are pertinent. I’m firmly convinced that without Perot in ’92, Bush beats Clinton. Does Clinton even get the nomination in ’96?

My gut feeling and contention based on special revelation from the Magic 8-Ball is that without Perot in the mix Clinton is never president and if Clinton is never president then Clinton is never in the running for president in ’08, Hillary Clinton, that is.

That being said, I’m curious about the “Rudy would do more harm than Hillary” statements.

As a conservative (libertarian may be a better label) who goes GOP in presidential elections, I would think it would be better for the GOP for Hillary to win than for Rudy to win.

If Rudy wins, the GOP is no longer the pro-life party and no longer can assume that vote. Not only has precedent been set, but now Christians will have a much more difficult time voting Republican, or at least explaining their rationale for voting that way.

I’m not convinced in the least that Rudy would select judges in keeping with the mold sought by those advocating the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Personally, I’ve not resigned myself to a pro-choice candidate, being still a supporter of Fred Thompson.

Thus, I think it’s premature to hear so much “saber rattling” about a 3rd party candidate, trying to intimidate the powers that be.

I know you can’t whip up a candidate overnight (i.e., after the RNC), but if the goal is principle and/or to send a message to the GOP, then it doesn’t really matter. You could even write in a vote, like I did in 1996.

And … let’s be honest, for many of us this is a moot point anyway. It’s probably an opportunity for many to “take a stand” where there are no risks.

For example, I live in the Lone Star State. That state is going Republican. I could vote for Rudy or Hillary or write in Don Corrleone and it would affect the electoral votes Texas awards.

So, on the one hand, I’m all for sending a message and all, but I’m more curious to hear from those who live in states where the outcome will be close.

Would I feel the same “freedom” to vote principle if I lived in Florida? If I really thought my vote for a 3rd party candidate would/could cost the GOP the White House, would I be as bold in such discussions?

Would you?

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About Eric "Gunny" Hartman

Gunny is pastor of Providence Church in Plano, TX, and has taught at Dallas Theological Seminary and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has completed coursework for a PhD in Rhetoric at University of Texas at Arlington and tries to be a good father to his 4 kiddos, exhibited by coaching a girls soccer team.

Discussion

11 thoughts on “3rd Party Candidate … What’s the risk?

  1. >Man, it is wierd to see so many people who were pro-lifers that have really come out of the closet as more Republican than dedicated to the issues.That’s funny to me. I could argue that I am more dedicated than to ‘the issues’ than those who are going to vote third-party. Voting third-party helps elect some one like Clinton who would appoint people like Ginsburg to the SC. You’re so caught up in the fact that Giuliani is ‘pro-choice’ that you miss the big picture. The big picture is that Roe v. can only be changed through the SC. We only need 1 more conservative to have a majority on the SC. The President will probably appoint 1 or 2 people to the SC. Giuliani pledges to appoint strict constructionists. It’s not about being a dedicated Republican it’s about being a realist and seeing the big picture.

    Posted by J.Wizzle | October 17, 2007, 2:57 pm
  2. >Thanks for clarifying, Gunny. I get what you’re saying a little better now.

    Posted by J.Wizzle | October 17, 2007, 2:52 pm
  3. >J-Wizz wrote: “So I guess Romney (Mormon) would be out of the question. Seriously though must some one be a Calvinist in order for you to support them? Rudy is RCC so he’d be out, McCain is Episcopalian so he’d be out, Fred Thompson belongs to the Church of Christ so he’d be out. I guess Tom Tancredo would be the only acceptable candidate since he is an Evangelical Presbyterian.”Sir, I didn’t say that, but I hear a lot of “Huck’s a Southern Baptist, so he’s our man.”I’ve just read some of his slooge that leads me to question a bit his brand of Christianity.In other words, he’s not the “Great Right Hope” as far as the Religious Right is concerned.But hey, GWB has some significant issues that are of great concern to me theologically as well.My only point being some want to give Huck the leg up on Fred because he’s SBC, but I’m seeing their theological footing as being equal.So, adding in what I hear on the street from folks who have lived with and under Huck and my perception of electability, Fred smokes Huck like a cheap cigar.P.S. Oh, yes, Romney is right out. His theological allegiance is heresy. No offense intended to him, but I’d prefer to have a garden variety heathen instead.

    Posted by GUNNY | October 17, 2007, 4:37 am
  4. >”Man, it is wierd to see so many people who were pro-lifers that have really come out of the closet as more Republican than dedicated to the issues.”What demonstrates more dedication to the issues you support? Chasing idealistic fantasies that result in the election of someone who disagrees with you 80-90% of the time by voting 3rd party or voting for someone like Guiliani whom you agree with 60-75% of the time? 10-20% of your issues vs. 60-75% of your issues. So who truly cares about the issues? You have to win to advance your issues.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | October 17, 2007, 2:04 am
  5. >I am going to have to stay out of the primaries this election and see where we go. It isn’t like it is going to matter in Red State anyway. But hey at least I get to engage in the political process! I pray Guiliani isn’t the candidate for the GOP. Man, it is wierd to see so many people who were pro-lifers that have really come out of the closet as more Republican than dedicated to the issues.

    Posted by Lionel Woods | October 17, 2007, 12:27 am
  6. >I’m not advocating that either. I’m just saying that a Hillary win might polarize the conservatives to bond together to defeat Hillary in ’12. Oddly enough, I would have thought such a notion would have solidified them in ’08.Yes, but like I said earlier, the damage may have already been done at that point (Supreme Court).plus I don’t think he could beat Rudy in the primaries, but I think Fred can.But I keep hearing people talking about voting strictly on principle and not taking into consideration who can beat who.And about Huckabee, I’ve honestly never heard any of that stuff about him. I’ve heard anyone call him a RINO. I haven’t heard about him being a big taxer. He’s one of the few candidates that supports the fair tax.plus Huck’s staunch Arminianism doesn’t comfort me either.So I guess Romney (Mormon) would be out of the question. Seriously though must some one be a Calvinist in order for you to support them? Rudy is RCC so he’d be out, McCain is Episcopalian so he’d be out, Fred Thompson belongs to the Church of Christ so he’d be out. I guess Tom Tancredo would be the only acceptable candidate since he is an Evangelical Presbyterian.

    Posted by J.Wizzle | October 16, 2007, 9:08 pm
  7. >j. wizzle wrote: “If he doesn’t win though I am not just gonna ditch the party and help Hillary win.”I’m not advocating that either. I’m just saying that a Hillary win might polarize the conservatives to bond together to defeat Hillary in ’12. Oddly enough, I would have thought such a notion would have solidified them in ’08.Huck? Well, I’m not a hater, but my secondhand information gives me cause for concern, plus I don’t think he could beat Rudy in the primaries, but I think Fred can.Take my secondhand information as just that, but … I’ll share a lifelong Arkansas Republican friend’s thoughts on Huckabee:“Mike Huckabee is doo doo! He early released more violent criminals from prison onto the streets than maybe any other Gov. in Ark. He raised taxes like eating popcorn. And he was pretty much an overall bufoon!Back in the day, as Lt. Gov running for US Senate, he was so far in the lead that no one could touch him. He gave up his senate bid to stay on as Gov. when the corrupt Ark. Gov got sent to prison. Why would anyone give up a sure Senate seat, arguably more influential than piddly Gov., to a liberal Dem? That was madness and a sure sign of his stupidity.Mike Huckabee is a RINO folks.”I’ve heard similar stuff from other Arkansas folks, plus Huck’s staunch Arminianism doesn’t comfort me either.That being said, I’m not so much anti-Huck as I’m pro-Fred, seeing him as the more electable, primarily.

    Posted by GUNNY | October 16, 2007, 8:46 pm
  8. >”Thus, I think it’s premature to hear so much “saber rattling” about a 3rd party candidate, trying to intimidate the powers that be.”Any ‘saber rattling’ about 3rd party candidates several months before the first primary is held is certainly premature. Isn’t that what our system of primary elections is about? It seems that we should focus on supporting and getting the word out about the candidate whom we deem most appropriate for the Presidency rather than attacking the candidates we disapprove of. That has never proven to be a winning strategy so far as I have seen. It just makes everyone mad, and apathetic come election day.

    Posted by Dwight | October 16, 2007, 4:56 pm
  9. >Ahhh, I read your blog post on Thompson. That clears up a few things. May I ask what makes you like Fred Thompson more than Mike Huckabee? I don’t understand why more Christians aren’t supporting him. Social conservatives are complaining about the current field of GOP candidates when there is a perfectly good one right under their noses.

    Posted by J.Wizzle | October 16, 2007, 3:42 pm
  10. >As a conservative (libertarian may be a better label) who goes GOP in presidential elections, I would think it would be better for the GOP for Hillary to win than for Rudy to win.If Rudy wins, the GOP is no longer the pro-life party and no longer can assume that vote.I just don’t agree with this. I don’t see it better for the party if Hillary wins. Alright, let me put it like this…it may be better for the party (future elections) but it won’t be better for the pro-life movement. If Hillary wins the country will remain extrememely polarized (prob. will get even worse). There are going to be people that just hate Hillary…just like how it was with Bill. Many people will get sick of a Clinton in the White House and the next Presidential election, the Repub’s will have a good shot at winning. However, the damage will have already be done at that point. If Clinton appoints one or two more people like Ruth BAder Ginsburg to the SC then we forget about trying to get Roe v. Wade overturnded for at leat another 25 years. We only need one more consservative on the court to have a majority.I also disagree that a Rudy nominee would cause the GOP to cease being pro-life. That’s molarky, imo.I’m not convinced in the least that Rudy would select judges in keeping with the mold sought by those advocating the overturning of Roe v. Wade.The candidate’s word is really all we have to by at the this point…and I actually trust Rudy more than Romney. At least Rudy will stand up for what he believes in..Romney will just cower and flip-flop all over the place.Personally, I’ve not resigned myself to a pro-choice candidate, being still a supporter of Fred Thompson.Yeah, I’m voting for Mike Huckabee (someone who has always been consistantly pro-life, btw) in the primaries. If he doesn’t win though I am not just gonna ditch the party and help Hillary win. There are rumors that Thompson used to be a pro-choice lobbyist and we all know where Romney stood on abortion. We overlook that, though. I’m not convinced that Romney had a true change of heart and instead is taking the politically expedient position at the moment. I hate politicians that do that (see Dem’s on the Iraq war). That’s one of the reasons I respect Bush…he doesn’t do that.And … let’s be honest, for many of us this is a moot point anyway. It’s probably an opportunity for many to “take a stand” where there are no risks.For example, I live in the Lone Star State. That state is going Republican. I could vote for Rudy or Hillary or write in Don Corrleone and it would affect the electoral votes Texas awards.So, on the one hand, I’m all for sending a message and all, but I’m more curious to hear from those who live in states where the outcome will be close.Would I feel the same “freedom” to vote principle if I lived in Florida? If I really thought my vote for a 3rd party candidate would/could cost the GOP the White House, would I be as bold in such discussions?Would you?I live in NJ and if Rudy wins the nomination, he will have a great chance of actually winning here (and other blue states like PA and NY). If he wins I will be voting for him. I am not risking taking a vote away for him which would end up helping Hillary and would be much more detrimental to the causes that I believe in.

    Posted by J.Wizzle | October 16, 2007, 2:59 pm
  11. >”Thus, I think it’s premature to hear so much “saber rattling” about a 3rd party candidate, trying to intimidate the powers that be.”Its definitely premature. I’d rather see evangelicals who are nervous about Guiliani try to make thier case for Huckabee, Thompson, or Romney (or Keyes?!) than trying to scare people with the 3rd party talk. “Would I feel the same “freedom” to vote principle if I lived in Florida? If I really thought my vote for a 3rd party candidate would/could cost the GOP the White House, would I be as bold in such discussions?”I supported Pat Buchanan in ’00 and was determined to vote for him…until the Sunday before the election. Perot was on Meet the Press that morning endorsing GWB and I knew there was no way Buchanan was going to be able to get the 5% for the Reform Party that would help them next time around. That was the main reason I was voting for him because he was trying to build a conservative party for the future. When I saw that 5%+ to Buchanan wasn’t going to happen I had no real reason to vote for Buchanan any more and I was nauseous over the thought of helping Gore win just like Nader voters were helping Bush win. Of course, I was a resident of NJ at the time so it wouldn’t have made much of a difference any way. It would be interesting to hear from Ohioans or Floridians on the matter.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | October 16, 2007, 11:31 am

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