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Appendix D: The Ground War: Campaign Literature given to Newspaper Editors

 

(1) Statement of Bill McGaughey, candidate for U.S. Senate

For a country as democratic, free, and rich as the United States, I believe that we are poorly led. The managerial and professional class, showing little responsibility to others, is busy enriching itself. Politicians are bought off by special interests. Propaganda delivered through the communications media substitutes for reasoned policy. “We, the people” have become politically marginalized.

The first problem has to do with economics. Science and technology have given us great wealth, but that wealth is not evenly shared. Low-echelon workers are falling behind in the struggle to make ends meet, even as they work longer hours. Most economic “growth” is going into wasteful enterprises such as litigation, military preparedness (or war on terrorism), legal and illegal drugs, gambling, extended compulsory education, and other required spending rather than spending for useful products or those which make people happy.

There were two points of failure in the nation’s economic policy: First was that in the late 1950s when, in response to rising unemployment due to automation, the national administration decided to try other remedies than shorter work hours. Even though labor productivity grew at a fast pace, it was decided to forgo general leisure for the sake of “higher output”. In retrospect, that was a mistake. (What we got instead was economic waste.) The second mistake occurred when national administrations starting with Reagan’s pushed through “free trade” agreements which allowed large corporations to move production to low-wage countries and sell the products back in the United States. A union-busting move, this arrangement severed the link between worker and consumer (which Henry Ford once said was “the secret of our prosperity”) and created a huge trade deficit which imperils our future well being.

Ordinary Americans are powerless to withstand these trends. I believe that the key to restoring effective opposition to inadequate or abusive leadership lies in attacking the second problem, a social and cultural problem which is sometimes called “political correctness.” In particular, it lies in restoring the dignity of white males. It is also important that white males themselves take the initiative in restoring their political dignity, that they have the courage to stand up for their rights at the cost of enduring personal criticism, and not let others do it for them. Regaining their courage, they will feel better about themselves and their society and perhaps may want to do something about its poor leadership instead of retreating into a world of private comfort.

That is why I, a white male, dare state as a major principle in my campaign for U.S. Senate that “I believe in the full citizenship, dignity, and equality of white males”, according others the same rights and respect. If this statement stirs opposition, that only proves my case. Such a principle ought to be noncontroversial but it is not because some people want to keep them (white males) in a pit.

Because this proposal is rather subjective, it may help to state assumptions which can be evaluated in terms of fact.

(1) It is a fact that, despite affirmative action, white males still occupy most positions of power and privilege in U.S. society.

(2) That does not mean that other white males, being of a similar demographic type, share in this power or privilege or benefit from it in any way. Most white males are not part of the ruling elite.

(3) The nation’s economic and political elite actively supports political correctness and the theory of white-male group guilt. Otherwise, the ruling class (comprised largely of white males) could do away with it in a minute.

(4) On the whole, white males are not socially or economically disadvantaged. Their disadvantage is psychological and political. Through theories of historically based group guilt, they have been forced to accept something less than full citizenship: legalized double standards adverse to their interests, state-imposed “training” to accept social and political values hostile to them.

(5) The key to understanding this “complex” situation is that it is in the interests of the economic and political elite, whose claim to leadership does not rest on creative performance, to stir the pot of racial and gender animosities and keep the potentially rebellious white males and others in an angry, demoralized state. Little people of the world, unite!

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(2)

The Independence Party and the Future of American PoliticsI am running for U.S. Senate in 2002 because I see an opportunity for the Independence Party to remain an important “third party” force in Minnesota and American politics if it can embrace the right set of issues.

I feel that a political party, to be effective, must be issues-driven. Right now, the Independence Party is known for Gov. Jesse Ventura’s amazing victory in 1998. This year, it has attracted, as candidates, past and present government officials who were elected under the banner of the two major parties. All this is, of course, good. But a political party cannot be simply a party of celebrity candidates or of defectors from other parties. It must stand on its own two feet; and to do that, it needs compelling issues.

The Reform Party (predecessor of the Independence Party) had compelling issues when Ross Perot ran for President in 1992. I would characterize these as: (1) opposition to chronic budget deficits and (2) opposition to NAFTA. Now Gov. Ventura and other IP members are ardent free traders and the deficit issue disappeared with the years of budget surplus. So what is left?

The U.S. Senate position is a policy position. The Independence Party candidate needs to present strong issues that are different from those of the other parties. Jim Moore, the endorsed IP candidate, is a nice guy with energy and dedication but, in my opinion, he is weak on issues. What are his issues? Campaign-finance reform, bringing private-sector-like efficiencies to the federal government, instituting corporate accountability, holding schools accountable for results, among others. Candidates of the two major parties say similar things.

I do not believe that a political party can be effective by espousing a hodgepodge of issues, especially those framed by special-interest groups. The future of the Independence Party does not rest upon well-thought-out positions on abortion, gun control, or any of the other issues that generate so much political noise. It must pick one or two core issues and carve out a position for itself that is sufficiently different from the positions of the Democratic and Republican parties. To do that, it might be helpful to review how those two parties evolved, issues-wise, into what they are today.

The Democratic Party was once an agrarian party in the tradition of Jefferson and Jackson. (My maternal grandfather, minority leader of the Indiana Senate in the late 1920s, was a Democrat of that type.) The Democrats, under FDR, became a party of organized labor, opposing big business.

The Republicans began as an anti-slavery party. Holding power in the period of post-Civil War industrial development, the Republicans became associated with business interests. This position hardened in the 1930s and 1940s as the Democrats became associated with organized labor. The Republicans today remain preeminently the party of business.

During the 1960s, the Democrats nationally turned their backs on their southern brethren who comprised the “Solid South” and instead supported the Civil Rights movement. That began a new political tradition of supporting demographically based groups claiming social disadvantage: first African Americans, then women, gays and lesbians, and recent immigrants. Today the core philosophy of the Democrats is to offer special help to these groups and build a coalition which, representing a majority of the population, can win elections.

If the Republicans are the party of big business, I propose that the Independence Party assume a role, like that of the Democrats in FDR’s time, of favoring government intervention in economic affairs so as to present a check on business abuse. I further advocate governmental regulation to pursue certain economic results - a better deal for working people. If the Democrats are the party of disadvantaged minorities who together have become a majority, I propose that the Independence Party assume a role in opposition to that kind of politics which would serve to check its abuse. In short, it would oppose “political correctness”.

So that people will be completely clear on this politics, I have stated the proposed positions in specific terms. The two sides of my sign read: (1) “I believe that the federal government should reduce the standard workweek to 32 hours by 2010”, and (2) “I believe in the full citizenship, dignity, and equality of white males (and of everyone else, too).”

The Green Party under Ralph Nader’s direction has become a party critical of big business but, like the Democrats, it supports the special position of women and racial minorities. Let the Independence Party make a break on both scores, including overt opposition to political correctness.

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(3a) in your face, Democrats

It’s a long way from poll taxes, segregated buses and wash rooms, and other forms of legal discrimination practiced in the American south in the 1950s to racial and gender quotas, affirmative action, reparation proposals, sexual-harassment and “hate crime” super-penalties in force today. Both situations represent governmental efforts to enforce a certain social order. While we would wish that all groups of people could live together in peace and harmony, the reality is that governments cannot force a hating human heart to change. Religion is the proper instrument of that change (so let religion be).

Much of the demographically based regulation that we have today was snuck through by executive orders, court rulings, and the like. We never had a national debate on the subject. It’s time to do that now. If laws aimed at correcting historical injustices to certain groups are so wonderful, then let’s open them up to discussion. Let the sunshine of full public scrutiny fall upon this subject.

The 14th amendment promises U.S. citizens “equal protection under the law”. How, then, can the law maintain a dual system of protection by which certain birth-determined groups have a privileged status? It can’t. There is no historical antecedent - not slavery or anything else - that can justify such a system. In truth, this is all about politics. It’s about how the Democratic Party in the 1960s found a new formula for winning elections by pitting one race, or religion, or gender against another. The voters do not decide on the basis of honest policy differences but the way they were born. Its legacy is increasing social division and despair. We need to talk about this.

The Democrats are the party of feminist women, a monolithic African-American voting bloc, Hollywood moguls, trial lawyers, unionized teachers, and assorted opportunists. (The Republicans have these opportunists, too.) What would Jefferson or FDR think? What would they think of people practicing intolerance in the name of tolerance and demonizing others in the name of love? Political correctness is government-imposed thought control which violates First Amendment rights in order to divert attention from our society’s poor leadership.

As a white man, I know what other white men think. While there some self-haters out there, most resent the political indoctrination which they receive at employer-sponsored “diversity training” sessions, the many double standards of gender and race, and the general untruthfulness of discussions on such topics. For self-preservation, most of these men clam up. Many are ashamed of themselves for being powerless to stand up against the lies. Some come to harbor “racist” attitudes not realizing that it is not black people who are their enemies but an elite power group which profits from this situation. Left to their own devices, the ordinary people of all kinds work things out.

In your face, Democrats! The free ride is over. You can intimidate some of the people all the time, and all the people all the time, but you can’t intimidate all the people all the time. You can’t, for instance, intimidate me. No self-respecting person should have to submit to being a political doormat. “I believe in the full citizenship, dignity, and equality of white males (and of everyone else).” With that opening statement, let the discussion begin.

Prepared and paid for by McGaughey for Senate Campaign, P.O. Box 3601, Minneapolis, MN 55403

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(3b) in your face, Republicans

I am old enough to remember when politicians talked of rising living standards. Working people could look forward to better wages, shorter hours, and improved “fringe benefits” even as one wage earner could support the entire family. We don’t talk about that any more. Of course not. Real wages for lower-echelon workers are declining or flat, required working hours are increasing, and employers are finding ways to move people off the payrolls or cut their health or pension benefits. Young mothers are moving out of the home and into new opportunities for paid employment in the corporate or professional rat race if not the factory. They call this “having it all”.

Our political leaders would want us to think that this downward spiral of “living standards” - what an archaic term! - just happens. It is a result of global competition or technological change, not of bad policy. Free markets ruthlessly maximize efficiency of production and distribution. Some people lose but there are also many winners. The winners, we know, are the CEOs we have been reading about at Enron, Worldcom, and other places who enjoy 9-figure annual compensation regardless of how well their companies perform. Several years back, we had one of those 9-figure guys heading a financial firm in Minnesota which got bought out and then fell on hard times. The “free market” supposedly picked them for the job and determined how much money they should receive.

Enough of fairy tales. I believe in free markets but I also believe in government as a countervailing superior force which creates the conditions in which the free market operates. If government is irrelevant to the process, then why does big business support a huge staff of lobbyists in Washington and each of the state capitals? While the lobbyists court Republicans and Democrats alike, the Republicans are traditionally more friendly to business and more hostile toward organized labor. When is the last time that a Republican tried to sponsor legislation that would “improve average living standards”? It may have happened in my lifetime, but I don’t recall.

Without spending much money, government has the power to regulate the economy in a way that would bring about a great improvement in workers’ living standards. I refer to hours legislation. The Fair Labor Standards Act, passed during FDR’s administration, provides a model of this. The problem is that the enforcement mechanism, the overtime premium, has become an ineffective deterrent to scheduling long hours. It needs to be raised from time-and-a-half to double time. However - and this will be controversial - the extra half-time premium cannot go to the worker. The entire amount should be taxed away. Otherwise, chronic overtime will become a substitute for higher wage rates.

After sixty years of the 40-hour standard, it’s also time to think of reducing the standard workweek to 32 hours. This change will bring more people back into productive enterprise who would otherwise have gone into such “growth” areas as gambling, corrections, and security. Don’t say our trade competitors will kill us. China reduced its workweek seven years ago and has thrived. Japan has done the same Europe is light-years ahead. We are the laggards whose employers, Scrooge-like, require long hours. In your face, Republicans! The breadbasket issues of improved wages and shorter hours are not forgotten.

William McGaughey, candidate for U.S. Senate in the Independence Party primary

See next item in Appendix.


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