Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The narrowing effect of American politics

First off, I am a self-identifying libertarian, so you can take what I’ll say with a grain of salt. I’m no political science major, either, but I do have a passion for politics, albeit on the fringes of the spectrum.

The GOP debate was hosted by CBS News and the National Journal this past Saturday night.  Typical of a Republican debate, it was a dais full of candidates invariably pandering to evangelical beliefs and hawkish foreign policy inclinations. The sole voice of sanity and integrity though out the entirety debate and the series of debates thus far has been Rep. Ron Paul, a devout libertarian and constitutionalist from Texas.

In Saturday’s debate, which was broadcast for an hour on CBS, Paul was allowed to speak for exactly 89 seconds. Eighty-nine seconds out of a possible 3,600 seconds. Whether intentional or not, CBS News is undoubtedly guilty of convenient concision and piss-poor journalism.

A debate, by definition, is an interactive argument. What was absent Saturday was exactly that –an argument. When every candidate save for Paul and Jon Hunstman advocated the illegal torture of terrorists, and a predisposition to go to war with Iran if they were to become nuclear-capable, how then is it a debate? When Paul isn’t given a chance to air his grievances with modern conservative logic, how then was it a debate?

In Noam Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent,” Chomksy states that the ownership of mass media outlets in America is concentrated to just a few international corporations, allowing them to pick and choose what’s fit to print, and what will be seen on air. So when someone like Paul holds beliefs that don’t jive with the political and media elite, naturally, they are summarily shut out of the discussion. The mass media holds the power to narrow the field of candidates before primaries by shutting them off from publicity and exposure.

To me, it is a travesty. A two-party political system is inherently flawed. For someone like me, electable officials rarely come into the fray. Same with any person with who believes socialism is the correct route. Luckily, libertarians do not have to deal with the stigma that socialists have to contend with. A two-party system largely benefits the elites by coalescing hundreds of issues into just two parties – that way no palpable progress or differences can be made in a sound amount of time. It makes sure that the system in place stays in place to benefit them. In 2008, Hilary Clinton was treated with some contempt in debates, while President Barack Obama was lobbed softball questions.

I realize Paul won’t get nominated. I’m not delusional. I just feel as though the system that is intact isn’t entirely fair to politicians, and more importantly it is not fair to the voters who decide the direction of our country. It’s impossible for two political parties to represent the diversity of ideas and viewpoints within a populous of 310 million.

Mark Bruso can be reached for comment at [email protected].

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  • M

    Mike LinnehanNov 30, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    @Sanjay, Ron Paul says he’ll do a lot of things once he’s president, but the truth is that he would have no such power. Return to the gold standard? Worst…idea…ever. How could that even be implemented now? It can’t, as there is more money than gold.

    He doesn’t believe in evolution and instead believes in creationism. So we’re just going to fall further behind developed and developing nations in science as we’ll be too scared to enter that field.

    He also wants to shut down a LOT of government agencies (Department of Education, for one) that a lot of private companies rely on.

    I support him over other Republican candidates, but I’m still voting third party, as I always have.

  • D

    David Hunt '90Nov 30, 2011 at 8:11 am

    I met Ron Paul in 2007. He and his groupies were at a table next to mine at a GOP fundraiser. His acolytes WOULD. NOT. SHUT. UP. Even during the speeches by the other candidates or representatives, they kept talking. Occasionally one of the Paulians around the room would jump up holding a Ron Paul sign and interrupt another person’s speech with “RON PAUL!”

    During all this Dr. Paul said not one word of reproach. Which means that either he has no use for the social niceties, like letting other people speak, or he has no ability or interest in controlling his devotees.

    Add to this his naivete in foreign relations (one of the reasons I am no longer a Libertarian), and he is unfit to be President.

  • R

    Robert R.Nov 29, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    There’s a new game in town, a really innovative way for third-party candidates to get on the ballot. Check out This is the cause that university students can really get behind and have some credibility in shaping this society for the better. I went to UMASS in an age of pointless, embarrassing protests over non-issues. Frankly, college students have been embarrassing themselves with stupid protests for 40 years. The electoral system is broken…Americans Elect has a simple, effective solution to try to change that. Best of all, it is party-agnostic and not pushing any particular political agenda. The point is to get good people with limited resources or who are not staunch party extremists a platform to have a chance to compete. I’d love to see some smart UMASS activism for a change instead of Occupy morons hogging the headlines. Believe me, the Occupy movement is a laughing stock in NYC, I’m sure it’s the same attention-seeking faux-intellectual, rebels without a cause camping out on the campus pond or whatever. Here’s your chance Generation Zero. Do something.

  • B

    Barry LyndonNov 29, 2011 at 5:57 am

    Hi there,

    Nice article, but you seem almost apologetic for your beliefs (“you can take what I’ll say with a grain of salt”). I’m a Libertarian and I think Liberty is the best policy, because it can incorporate every other philosophy below it. You can always be a socialist without having to get the state involved (philanthropy, social enterprise etc.) and those things are good because they are voluntary and more effective for that reason. So people don’t have to antagonize each other with opposing views of how the state should be.

    As for Ron Paul, I don’t know if you realize, but he’s in the lead for Iowa and second in New Hampshire. If he wins Iowa (and he probably will- there is a massive push going on there) that will create a snowball effect. But there’s another hidden aspect: Paul has predicted that rapid inflation is going to come pretty soon. If that happens in early 2012, people are going to look to him for the solution since he predicted it in the first place. There has been talk that since Paul has such wide bipartisan support among war-weary democrats and independents he could form a unity government of both right-wingers and leftists. And with debt now past the total GDP of the United States, I think it’s fair to say bad things are on the way that could lead the people to turn his way very rapidly, as they already are doing so far.

  • S

    Sanjay SinghNov 28, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Obama = Romney = Gingrich. Different puppets, same deceitful/ traitorous Federal Reserve/Bankster masters.

    Gingrich = endless wives, $1.8-Million Freddie-mac bribe, medical care dictatorship, $16-Trillion/bailouts, endless wars/empire, free health/education/food/house/amnesty for 3rd world invaders, racist quotas, bankster funded campaign.

    Romney = abortion, gun control, medical care dictatorship, $16-Trillion/bailouts, endless wars/empire, racist quotas, bankster funded campaign.

    End the wars/empire, end the federal reserve/IMF/World Bank/UN, end racist quotas, 3rd world welfare, end TSA/DHS/ADL/SPLC and other Orwellian crime syndicates.

    Ron Paul will restore sound money, strong national defense, liberty, free enterprise, local government, strong traditional families, Western Civilization.

    US forces gave 3-times as much $ to Paul as all other GOP candidates (prostitutes) combined. Paul supports voluntary aid to Isreal.

    Read these 3 books to restore America now: