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David Cobb to Crash Debate, Risk Arrest 64

RobertB-DC writes "The Washington Post reports that Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb plans to travel to St. Louis to protest his exclusion from the presidential debate. In a press release, the Cobb campaign says to expect 'non-violent civil disobedience' as the candidate enters the restricted area around the debate site." Alan Keyes tried that once. So did Ralph Nader.
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David Cobb to Crash Debate, Risk Arrest

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  • I was around when the Nader-ites tried to crash the Wake Forest debate. They started up the road about a dozen houses from where I live, where there's a nice convenient park, and then they marched a mile or so to the university, shouting their chants rather loudly en route. They left a ton of slogans and stuff on the sidewalk in chalk. The stuff which was close enough was erased and replaced with my messages supporting my own favored candidate. It was a fascinating experience. :)
  • Now, while I agree that third parties should not be excluded from major debates, I wholeheartedly believe that it is hypocrisy to engage in civil disobedience while running for the government office responsible for executing the laws of this nation.
    • First of these aren't debates. If you've ever seen a debate they can actually ask each other questions. The Woman's League of Voters ran the debates until 1992 I think when they let Perot in the debate which pissed off the two big parties and subsequently they formed their own Non-Partisin (actually it's bipartisan but who keeps up with names that represent reality anyway) Debate Commission. Sad really but until I can vote for a Socialist candidate that has a chance of winning I'm a democrat for life.

      Who w
      • Re:Inconsistency (Score:3, Informative)

        by BlueFashoo ( 463325 )
        Actually, the debates were run by the LWV until 1984. The CPD let Perot debate in 1992, although these days they don't let third parties in by contractual agreement; which is hardly nonpartisan. See http://www.disinfopedia.org/wiki.phtml?title=Commi ssion_on_Presidential_Debates
    • Civil disobedience isn't wrong, it's just illegal.
    • Re:Inconsistency (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shanek ( 153868 )
      Perhaps you've forgotten that the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land, that the Constitution says that Cobb and Badnarik are valid candidates, that they're both on the ballot in enough states to have a mathematical chance of winning, and, as such, they have every right to be up there with Bush and Kerry?
      • Again, I don't think they should be excluded. But the Consitution does not establish the terms of a presidential or vice presidential debate, so it has nothing to do with that issue.
  • I don't understand (Score:4, Insightful)

    by j0nb0y ( 107699 ) <jonboy300&yahoo,com> on Thursday October 07, 2004 @08:46PM (#10466095) Homepage
    I don't understand what he's trying to accomplish. A few more people will hear about him this way, but most of them will think he's a whacko. This isn't a very good way to make a first impression...

    The media, in general, doesn't seem to be very friendly to protestors these days.
    • I don't understand what he's trying to accomplish. A few more people will hear about him this way, but most of them will think he's a whacko. This isn't a very good way to make a first impression...


      Some Republicans have donated money to his campaign and Nader's with the idea that votes for them are coming out of Kerry's camp.
      The whole "make your vote count by wasting it" idea.

    • by dTaylorSingletary ( 448723 ) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @09:21PM (#10466304) Homepage

      You say this and you have a Robert Anton Wilson quote in your sig? He's doing this because he can, because he should, and because it's his right and for the benefit of America that his voice is heard even if he is not allowed to speak aloud.

      He is not doing it for himself. Or for what the media is friendly towards. People can think he's a wacko, but people as a rule are stupid. Individuals are what's he after, not "people".

      There's a fine line in the difference, and it is abstract, perhaps intangible. But that doesn't mean it isn't there.
    • Yeah. This guy wants to run for President...and he's entering a debate illegally and promoting civil disobedience? Uh..

      Even George Washington used military force against civil disobeyers.
      • Boston Tea Party? Sit-ins? Ghandi?

        The founding fathers, along with some of the biggest revolutions of all time(sit-ins for equal rights, just about the entire life of Ghandi) have been carried out through peaceful protest. What are on?
    • A few more people will hear about him this way, but most of them will think he's a whacko. This isn't a very good way to make a first impression...

      This is why some of us in the tin-foil hat crowd think that Cobb may be a Democratic operative. There is some sketchy evidence that prominent Democrats (such as George Soros) funded Cobb so that the Greens wouldn't endorse Nader at their convention. Cobb's "safe-state" strategy also works well to keep the Greens out of the Democrats' hait.
    • Yeah, they were not all that friendly to Martin Luther King when he started doing that sort of thing, either.
  • by Noodlenose ( 537591 ) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @08:57PM (#10466159) Homepage Journal
    Alternative candidates have no hope in hell in a country that likes to export its sense of democracy with Black Hawk helicopters and carpet bombs, as the democratic process in the US is unfortunately as corrupt as a borderguard on the Algerian border:

    As long as Members of Congress, Senators and Presidents get their main financial contributions from lobbygroups and multinationals (think Bush and the Carlyle Group and the Oilmultis), Democracy in the US just means that you intellectual halfwits vote for the guy with the more commercials.

    • Well, I agree with you right up to the point you call us all idiots. I guess my question is, how do we get out of the situation? For that matter, how would non-halfwits get out of the situation? It doesn't matter how smart you are - you only get to vote once.
    • ...you intellectual halfwits vote for the guy with the more commercials.

      And you, the one with the outstanding grasp of the English language, are the genius?

  • Has he blamed the fact that he hasn't been invited to the debats on racism yet?

    From his /. interview that seams to be what he blames almost everything else on.
  • This is an example of what happens when people don't use common sense.

    What kind of meaningful debate would we have if we invited not only the mainstream candidates, but also Presidential candidates Stanford E. "Andy" Andress (Independent), Lawson M. Bone (Write-In), David C. Byrne (Write-In), John Joseph Kennedy (Write-In), James Alexander Pace (Write-In), Tom Trancredo (Write-In), Thomas J. Harens (Christian Freedom Party), Deborah Elaine Allen (Write-In), Andrew J. Falk (Write-In), Gene Amondson (Prohibi
    • How about invite any candidate that is on more than 10% of the state ballots? Draw a line, but I agree that you can't have everybody that claims to be a candidate, but you should have some rules that dictate who should be invited that allows serious third party candidates in general.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Only about 5 or 6 candidates are on enough ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning the Electoral College. Invite those.

      Have more debates or whatever. The people should rightfully expect to hear the views of all/most of the candidates BEFORE we decide who has a "legitimate chance" of winning the presidency. No one gets to 15-20% of the vote without a lot of exposure that we haven't been giving these 3rd party candidates a chance to get.
      • Bush, Kerry, Cobb and Nader. Am I missing one?

        I agree though, mathmatical ability to win the election should be the deciding line.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          You're actually missing the two on the largest number of ballots.

          Here's the breakdown of the four:

          Badnarik is on 48, all but New Hampshire and Oklahoma. He's the Libertarian Candidate.

          For the following, I'm excluding what's listed as "write-in."

          Peroutka is on 38. He's the candidate for the Constitution Party.

          Nader is on 34. No idea how often the page is updated for the various court cases with him.

          Cobb is on 28. Don't know if he can mathematically win with whatever states those are.

          Here's the breakd [politics1.com]
    • by BillyBlaze ( 746775 ) <tomfelker@gmail.com> on Thursday October 07, 2004 @09:43PM (#10466446)
      Most of the reason none of those people have a chance is that they are excluded from the debates. It's a chicken-and-egg problem - nobody knows what these people stand for, so nobody will vote for them in polls (on which they're often not included), so they can't get into debates, so nobody knows what they stand for, and so on. And the election system is set up so that anyone with less than probably 20% of the popular vote won't get a single electoral vote, and so that a vote for a third party candidate is often a vote against your second choice.

      It's possible that you just don't want a multiple-party system, and that's fine. But be honest about it - it's not necessairily against our nation's interest to have meaningful debates, even if it's against yours. Frankly, I'd like it for an "outsider" to be able to ask questions in a debate - though first we should work on giving the two already in the debate the ability to do so, in order to, uh, debate. The whole thing's a sham.

      • Most of the reason none of those people have a chance is that they are excluded from the debates.

        Absurd. The majority of voters have made their decisions long before the debates and only a small percentage will be swung by the outcome of the debates. "Third party" candidates aren't excluded from the debates. If any of them had managed to get enough support, they would be included in the debates, as Ross Perot was.

        It's possible that you just don't want a multiple-party system, and that's fine. But be
        • Don't presume to tell me what I want and what my motivations are. It's very much in our nation's interest to have meaningful debates, and that's why you can't have a line-up of two-dozen or more candidates on the stage at once. How meaningful is a 90 minute debate that has two dozen competing participants?

          That's what we call a straw man. You could restrict the debates to candidates who were on the ballot of enough states to theoretically win enough electoral votes to be elected. That happens to be six can
          • That's what we call a straw man.

            No, it is not. The person to whom I was replying was in favor of letting all candidates share the stage. He wrote: "Most of the reason none of those people have a chance is that they are excluded from the debates." The implication being that they should all be allowed to participate in the debates or they would be denied their chance to have a meaningful candidacy.

            You could restrict the debates to candidates who were on the ballot of enough states to theoretically win
            • I dunno, people manage to keep track of who is sleeping with who on Jerry Springer. I have a severe lack of trust in anybody who says "voters will become confused." If voters are that stupid, then they should just elect a dictator and be done with the whole silly democracy thing. But then, I don't think voters are that stupid.
              -russ
    • that doesn't mean that it's in the best interest of the country to allow them all to share the stage in a debate with the only two men who actually have a chance of winning the election.

      I don't know what country you're from, but in the US the Presidential Office is held by exactly one person. So, there's only one person who has a chance of winning the election. The only real question is who that person is. Maybe letting anyone who has the ability and want to win should be allowed to speak in the debate
      • in the US the Presidential Office is held by exactly one person. So, there's only one person who has a chance of winning the election.

        There is only one person (at most) who will actually win the election. Everyone else (who meets the constitutional requirements) has a chance (even me!), however slim that chance may be.

        Here is a more common example that will, hopefully, illustrate "chance" more clearly: If you flip a coin, only one side will face up once the coin has landed and stopped moving. But until t

      • I don't know what country you're from, but in the US the Presidential Office is held by exactly one person. So, there's only one person who has a chance of winning the election.

        Perhaps English is a second language to you, but "chance" means "possibility." So if one says that only two men have a chance of winning the election, it means that the race is down to those two men. It means that there are no other people with a foreseeable possibility of winning.
        • No, English is not my second language. If you want to define it as possibility, then either there's the possibility that one person will win or there's the possibility that anyone who meets the qualifications will win (limiting it to those with enough ballot access is another definition, given that I don't believe all states allow write-in). Claiming only one of two men has a possibility of win seems disingenuous. For quite some time, the President of the US has been elected by a plurality (about 50% of t
          • If you want to define it as possibility,

            I don't define words. Dictionaries do: "The likelihood of something happening; possibility or probability."

            then either there's the possibility that one person will win

            That's a given: Only one person will win.

            or there's the possibility that anyone who meets the qualifications will win (limiting it to those with enough ballot access is another definition, given that I don't believe all states allow write-in).

            No, that's not a possibility. There is ZERO chan
            • How can you claim there is zero chance Cobbs will win given that he's on enough ballots *to* win? The same goes for Badnarik. While I agree that there are currently two strong contenders, that doesn't mean Badnarik or Cobbs can't be made a third if enough people just decide to make him one. I certainly choose that for Badnarik. Why can't you?
              • How can you claim there is zero chance Cobbs will win given that he's on enough ballots *to* win? The same goes for Badnarik.

                Because there is a difference between a mathematical possibility and an actual chance.

                While I agree that there are currently two strong contenders, that doesn't mean Badnarik or Cobbs can't be made a third if enough people just decide to make him one.

                I think that we are talking at cross purposes. I'd be demanding that Badnarik share the stage with Bush and Kerry if Badnarik had
                • But where do you get the 35%, 35%, 30% except from the vote itself? You can't very well use the standard on who gains 15%+ in an election as a basis for who gets to speak in the debate before the election. Using such for parties that gain 15%+ on the previous election might be a basis, but even then both Democrats and Republicans are automatically dismissive of there being a strong third party even though half the country doesn't vote which clearly leaves enough people to vote a third party candidate in.
    • Simple question, simple answer.

      Make a provision for what qualifies a candidate:

      Any candidate that is on enough state ballots to THEORETICALLY win the election, is invited to the debates.

      Write ins and anyone not on enough ballots, are not. To invite them would cause too many logisitical problems that you outlined above. But if winning the election is atleast a possibility, then they would be welcome. I believe this would make it a 3 man debate(Cobb is on enough, i believe), I don't believe Nader is on eno
    • Well, democracy usually implies that you have more choices than just the two branches of the business party (ahem, excuse my sarcasm).

      Anyway - here in Norway (and it's the same in pretty much any other democratic country) we have about 8 main political parties, and quite a few smaller ones, ranging from communist to ultra-rightwing. In the pre-election TV-debates even parties which only have about 0.5-1 percent in polls are represented - in total around 10-12 people.

      Now, I've been following the US presi

    • If these were real debates, I'd disagree. But the fact is that these are little more than mostly scripted, well rehearsed, mutually and contractually agreed soapbox speeches.

      If these were real debates, then it's important that you bring in as many views as possible, not because the "smaller" candidates might have a chance of winning the election, but because they are the ones who will ask the hard questions and to help expose the truth behind the candidates so that the population can make a more informed
    • Why not just invite those candidates who can win the electoral college? That seems like a very sensible requirement.

      That would mean inviting the following:
      Badnarik - 49 states, 527 possible electors
      Cobb - 28 states, 286 possible electors
      Nader - 36 states, 299 possible electors (in court in 5 more for a total of 41 with 388 electors)
      Peroutka - 38 states for 366 electors ( 1 in court that would add 4 electors)

      See isn't that easy. These four, along with Bush and Kerry are the only candidates that can win the
      • See isn't that easy. These four, along with Bush and Kerry are the only candidates that can win the electoral college. Why not allow them in the debates?

        Becuase you would cut, by a factor of three, the time that Americans could hear from those who have an actual, rather than mathematical, chance of winning. I'll admit that polls aren't perfect, but when Cobb isn't even showing as a blip in the polls, he just can't win, so why take precious time out of a debate to let him participate?

        The Democrats had d
  • so how do othe rviable candidates actually get heard

    so sad
    this is a travesty to democracy

  • In 2000 Nader had a ticket to attend the debates but was turned away anyway.
  • In 2008, if my fledgling party gets off the ground enough to pay for the plane tickets, we will have whoever our primary candidates end up being at every debate- if nothing else than to break the rules of the debate by heckling the stage.
  • Michael Badnarik is going to be there and attempt to cross the line with Cobb at the same time. It's not a Green Party protest, it's going to be done jointly by Badnarik and Cobb together at the same time.

    I smell a rat in that The Green Party seems to be getting the publicity for this when the Libertarians have opnely made it a joint deal and mentioned the Greens in their press release, but there's no mention of the Libertarians or Badnarik in the story or on the Green website right now.

    If they are smar

  • Excuse me the off-topic, but I live in Argentina; I read the New York Post, I check Electoral Vote nearly everyday, and I enjoyed the BushBashing on the last debate (go Kerry!).

    That said, I cannot figure out why the silly rules that the candidates cannot speak to one another, can't come near the other, etc... WTF? I'd prefer the Democrats to win, but why are so wussies? Can't they say "we want a debate and Kerry'd like to call Bush a LIAR to his face!" ?

    Maybe if I lived in the US I'd understand this thing
  • Badnarik plans on crashing as well. Text of campaign email:

    *"IT IS NOT TOO SOON FOR HONEST MEN TO REBEL ..." Badnarik: I will debate or be arrested*

    October 8, 2004 For Immediate Release Contact:
    Stephen P. Gordon Office: (512) 637-6867 Cell: (256) 227-8360
    communications@badnarik.org
    {mailto:communications@badnarik.org}
    Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian Party's 2004 presidential nominee, will debate John Kerry and George W. Bush in St. Louis on Friday. Or he'll go to jail instead.

    "A majority of Am

  • Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian Party's candidate did so as well.

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