Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

Of the People

Posted by Adam Graham on May 6, 2007

The media and parties are confused about their role in the presidential election process. Their job, in principle is to present to us our choices, provide context to candidate positions and then let voters make the decision. Instead, candidates are being pre-screened and spoon-fed to us by the press and the parties.

Thus, while John Cox has worked vigorously to establish state organizations and recently won the County Republican Straw poll in Aiken, South Carolina, he found himself locked out of MSNBC’s Republican Debate. Worse than that, while doing an interview in the parking lot, Reagan Library security staff broke up the interview and seized Cox’s green room pass insuring he would not be able to do the six interviews he’d scheduled after the debate.

Having been a supporter of Dr. Alan Keyes in his two Presidential bids, I’ve experienced the attempts to limit the peoples’ choices. However, the decision of select TV stations to lock Dr. Keyes out of debates came after primary elections.

The spurious efforts of the South Carolina Republican Party and Fox News to limit people’s choices beats all. The Chairman of the South Carolina GOP required a 1% showing in state and national polls to make it to the debate.

There are several problems that one runs into with such a standard:

First, it misses the point of such early debates. At this point in the process, name recognition decides polls. The point of debates for lesser know candidates is to give them a chance to be seen by the voters. Candidates have no chance of rising in the polls if they’re not seen. They can’t get seen unless they rise in the polls. Get it? While one could argue for using polls in January, using them in May is unfair.

Second, the 1% “threshold” shows a poor understanding of how polls work. At the bottom of any poll you’ll see a margin of error. That margin is generally somewhere between +/- 3% and +/- 4.5%. Thus a Candidate who has 1% in a poll could really have 4%, or they could have 0.1% of the vote and been lucky enough to have their supporters vastly over-sampled. Similarly a candidate who shows at 0.2% could have 3.2% of the vote. Polls are not fine measuring instruments. A 1% difference is statistically meaningless The Chairman of the South Carolina GOP is trying to measure inches with the help of mile markers.

Third, the polls themselves are flawed. One poll which was used as a basis for South Carolina State polling failed to mention Mr. Cox as a candidate, which would make it hard for most 2nd tier candidates to achieve “the minimum standards.”

Fourth, the decision limits the choices of the American people. While many might scoff that Mr. Cox is unable to win, that’s not the decision of the media and party bosses to make. In addition, there are many candidates on that stage who can be safely called long shots. One doesn’t have to be a prophet to know that at least three of those ten candidates (and probably five) will be out of the race immediately following the Iowa Strawpoll this Summer.

Republicans have hardly made up their mind and when you talk with the your average Republican, there’s dissatisfaction with the choices being offered. This led more than one commentator to declare the winner of the debate to be Fmr. Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN.) who was both absent from the debate and not an announced candidate.

John Cox is an announced candidate. I believe that when Americans see Mr. Cox in a debate, they’ll see his sincerity and the depths of his conviction, and they’ll rally to his cause. I could be wrong, but I should find out for myself and the American people should be able to decide the issue.

I urge you, whether you support Mr. Cox or not, to contact the South Carolina Republican Party and urge his inclusion in the debate. While I don’t agree with former US Senator Mike Gravel (D-Ak.) or think he’d be a good president, I spoke up for his inclusion in the Democratic Debates. Only when all Americans make it clear that we don’t the want media or party bosses screening out committed Presidential candidate will the media and the political establishment stop playing this game. The South Carolina GOP can be reached at (803)988-8440.

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2 Responses to “Of the People”

  1. Pastor Eric [Visitor] said

    Thanks for you podcast. It is fun to listen to you and your ideas are stimulating.

    I think the open letter to Rick Warren to call Rupert on the carpet is out of order. The guys at extremetheology.com seem to have a mission to attack Pastor Warren and it is hard to know why they would spend so much time on the matter. I did think your discussion was fair and useful.

    Has anyone verified that Rupert Murdoch is even a member of Pastor Warren’s church? I doubt it. And unless he is, it would make church discipline pretty difficult. I have never read anything from Rick Warren telling other pastors what they should do with one of their members, but people sure are quick to criticize him.

    I liked how you buffered this a little and didn’t join the party like hook-line-and-sinker.

    In fact, I just listened to Pastor Warren’s podcast on morality and it was pretty clear he does practice church discipline. Wow. Tough stuff… (it was titled ‘moral failure of a staff member’ on his blog (http://blog.pastors.com) Anyway, keep up the good work here.

  2. Adam Graham [Member] said

    The original story did actually have a link to an article where Warren had stated he was Murdoch’s pastor. However, the degree of Murdoch’s involvement or the spiritual relationship is tough to say.

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