13 October 2008

The Presidential Candidates: Ted C. Weill

Such as it is, Weill's candidacy is historically significant as an indicator of the shambles that the Reform Party has become. Created largely as H. Ross Perot's campaign vehicle for the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections, and the inheritor of the ballot lines and matching funds Perot earned, it has crumbled since he departed from the scene. Pat Buchanan's 2000 candidacy pretty much finished Reform as a national force, and Ralph Nader's 2004 effort did little to help.

Ted Weill is an 83 year old CEO who sought the Reform nomination four years ago, but yielded to Nader. This time, his major challenger was Frank E. McEnulty, who is running as Weill's running mate while conducting his own presidential run with the New American Independent Party. Weill doesn't have a campaign website of his own.

The Reform Party's objects remain pretty much what they were under Perot. The platform calls for eliminating the national debt and ratifying a Balanced Budget Amendment. It seeks to abolish "corporate welfare" and wasteful or outdated government programs. It calls for enhanced border security, a temporary freeze on legal immigration, and stronger legal liabilities for employers of illegal immigrants. It also calls for a constitutional amendment eliminating the automatic grant of citizenship to anyone born on American soil, reserving it instead for the children of actual citizens.

The Reformers want a stronger Securities & Exchange Commission to enforce existing laws against fraud and insider trading. Their demands include: "Ensure that punishment and fines fit the crime. Give corporate criminals real jail time. Money collected through fines should be reimbursed to stockholders, retirement funds or 401(k) plans. Fines should be commensurate, not small percentages. Revoke professional licenses for lawyers, accountants, stock brokers and bankers found guilty of fraud. "

Without mentioning specific countries, the Reform platform advocates the non-intervention principle and calls on the U.S. to stop supporting " foreign despots who utilize torture, murder and genocide to control their people." At the same time, it calls for "Respect for the sovereignty of all nations, and rejection of the belief that the United States should use its military power to engage in nation-building." The party is most concerned with securing advantageous trade agreements that protect American labor standards and eliminate incentives for outsourcing. The "giant sucking sound" Perot warned of echoes in Reform's emphasis on fair-trade issues.

The Reform Party illustrates the unfortunate dependence of parties on personalities outside the Bipolarchy of Republicans and Democrats. Much of what Reform stands for is as sound as when Perot spoke for it, but somehow the party fell into the hands of a nonentity, and the party's website hasn't even been updated to acknowledge Weill as its nominee. Meanwhile, a splinter group has endorsed the Republican ticket. It seems as if the party fell apart, assuming it was ever very coherent, because it's independent standing left it open to any interloper, with practically any agenda, who wanted the access to ballot lines and funds that Perot had earned. As soon as Perot renounced politics, probably, the Reform Party ceased to really stand for anything, and poor Weill is left to inherit a broken carcass. He sits at an apparent dead end of American political history.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What is your education plans?