Editorial: Independents want what?
by Hasso Hering, Editor
June 9, 2010
Among Oregon’s political candidates, many Democrats and Republicans suddenly also want to become the nominees of the Independent Party. They want the label, but voters may wonder if they also want the ideas.
What ideas? There’s no Independent Party platform. But there are other indications from articles on the party’s website.
Campaign finance reform is near the top of the list. The party would like to see limits on political contributions, especially the contributions of corporations. The Oregon constitution doesn’t allow limits on that form of political speech, so the party position would require a constitutional amendment to carry out.
. . . These ideas have in common that they favor state politics in which the average citizens gain influence and the special interests — especially the interests with lots of money — have less. The details are open to debate, but that’s not a bad program for which to campaign. Read more ...
The website contains an article by Dan Meek, one of the leaders of the Independents, arguing for a legislature made up of one body, not a separate House and Senate. He advances the point that this would make it easier for citizens to follow what goes on in Salem, and harder for politicians to pretend to be for something when they know the other chamber will kill it.
The site carries another article by Meek, written with former Senate candidate Harry Lonsdale. Their proposal: Citizens proposing initiatives would be allowed to place their measures on the primary ballot if they can get a mere 5,000 or 10,000 signatures. Voters would then vote for those measures they would like to see placed on the November general election ballot.
There are references on the site to the level of taxation in Oregon. The thrust is that the share paid by business has declined over the years, and the share paid by private taxpayers has gone up. The reason, supposedly, is that big business can pretty much buy legislators with lavish campaign contributions.
These ideas have in common that they favor state politics in which the average citizens gain influence and the special interests — especially the interests with lots of money — have less. The details are open to debate, but that’s not a bad program for which to campaign. (hh)