RETURN TO CAROL MOORE FOR SECRETARY HOME PAGE

HOW A LACK OF PRINCIPLES DESTROYED THE REFORM PARTY
(two news articles)

Subject: With No Ideology, Reform Party Splinters
Date: Sat, 01 Jan 2000 16:56:43 -0500
From: Carol Moore <CarolMoore@kreative.net>
To: LPUS-PLAT <LPUS-PLAT@dehnbase.fidonet.org>

I'm totally behind on LPUS Platform discussions (only part I'm subscribed to right now) and have heard that naughty people have been discussing platform in *other* parts of LPUS. Nevertheless thought this is a very telling development== the Reform Party, a party without hard core prinicples, just wishy washy semi-libertarian urgings, is splintering. Of course, that would happen if the LP toned down it's principles as some people (some of whom belong in the Reform party!) want to do.  Carol in D.C.

> Capitol Hill Blue
> Reform Party Splinters
> December 28, 1999
>
> By LAURIE KELLMAN
>
> WASHINGTON (AP) - The Reform Party's squabbling leadership splintered
> Tuesday into warring factions when supporters of founder Ross Perot spun
> off a separate corporation designed to counter rivals loyal to Minnesota
> Gov. Jesse Ventura.
>
> Hours later, the two sides met in federal court as Ventura's supporters
> sought to stop Perot's leadership from holding the party's convention in
> California.
>
> ``It's a battle for control of the party, of the ideology of the
> party,'' said Donna Donovan of Connecticut, spokeswoman for the Reform
> Leadership Council, announced by Perot's supporters on Tuesday. Creation
> of the group representing 15 states, she said, is ``a way to show for
> sure that the majority of this party joined because of the sentiments
> expressed by Ross Perot.''
>
> On the other side, incoming Reform Party chairman Jack Gargan dubbed the
> council's formation a ``power grab,'' by Perot supporters in an effort
> to dictate the party's direction after Gargan takes office this Saturday
> with the new year.
>
> In a telephone interview Tuesday, Gargan warned the ``Dallas faction,''
> to stop trying to control the party through attacks on its wings - or
> see it perish. The party grew out of Perot's 1992 presidential bid and
> was preceded by his United We Stand, America. Perot ran for president
> under the Reform Party banner in 1996, and the party's first national
> convention was in 1997.
>
> ``A little core of yappers from 15 states does not make up the Reform
> Party. Last I checked there were 50 states,'' Gargan said from his home
> in Cedar Key, Fla., where he'll maintain the party's new headquarters.
> ``If the party is to survive, the Dallas faction is going to have to
> cease and desist their incessant attacks on everything that the party is
> trying to do that doesn't suit their fancy.''
>
> The battle also played out Tuesday in a federal courtroom in St. Paul,
> Minn., where State Party Chairman Rick McCluhan sought a temporary
> restraining order against the national party members seeking to hold the
> annual convention in Long Beach, Calif., instead of in Minnesota.
>
> U.S. District Judge Donald Alsop appeared reluctant to interfere.
> ``You're asking me essentially to get embroiled with a political dispute
> within the Reform Party,'' he said.
>
> Alsop said he would ``promptly'' decide whether to prevent allies of
> Perot from entering into convention contracts in Long Beach, Calif.
>
> The attorney representing Reform Party Chairman Russell Verney - an
> organizer of the breakaway Reform Leadership Council group - argued it
> wasn't a legal matter.
>
> ``This is an overriding political question,'' Dallas attorney David
> White said.
>
> The lawyer representing McCluhan's group accused Verney of trying to
> financially commit the party to the Long Beach site - to the tune of six
> figures - before leaving his job.
>
> ``For this party, $100,000 is a lot of money,'' said attorney Michael
> Padden.
>
> The disputes have grown in number and intensity with the influence of
> the Reform Party in national politics. Because Perot received more than
> 5 percent of the presidential vote in 1992 and 1996, the Reform Party
> qualifies for $12.6 million in federal funding for its presidential
> nominee in 2000. It also boasts Ventura, the party's only statewide
> elected official.
>
> But Ventura now leads the faction opposed to Perot on the eve of an
> election year, and the two highest-profile presidential hopefuls seeking
> the nomination already have taken sides- columnist Patrick Buchanan has
> drifted toward Perot's supporters, while billionaire developer Donald
> Trump plans a well-publicized meeting on Jan. 7 with Ventura in
> Minnesota.
>
> Ventura has scuffled with Perot's supporters on the convention site and
> trade restrictions. Pat Benjamin, a Perot supporter, said Tuesday that
> she also is put off by Trump's attacks on Buchanan in violation, she
> said, of the party's ban on negative campaigning.
>
> Perot's supporters, led by Verney, Benjamin and other party leaders,
> released a statement on Tuesday announcing formation of the Reform
> Leadership Council.
>
> ``The party is at risk of becoming redefined by a very vocal minority
> which is challenging the consensus and democratic decisions of the
> majority,'' the statement said. ``We must unite in steadfast support of
> the principles of reform ... and articulate a vision for the future
> which reflects the vision of our founder, Ross Perot, and millions of
> like-minded Americans.''
>
> Gargan responded, ``It's a power-grab ... If they can't have the power
> to run the party the way they want, they don't want anyone to have it.''
>
> ``How can you entice new people to come into a party that looks like
> it's split six way to Sunday?'' he added. ``They have been and continue
> to be a real detriment to the progress of this good party.''
>
> Verney issued his own warning to Gargan, Ventura and other Perot
> opponents.
>
> ``It's time they stop looking for excuses for their future failures and
> start providing leadership,'' Verney said by telephone from the U.S.
> District Court in St. Paul. ``They like circular firing squads.''

* * * * *

 Wall Street Journal, 2/23/00

 Reform Party:  RIP

 "Lost amid the excitement of the Republican primary battle has been the disintegration of the Reform Party.  With Gov. Jesse Ventura and Donald Trump having bolted, its dwindling ranks are dominated by
 political eccentrics such as the Marxist crank Lenora Fulani and the Texan crank H. Ross Perot. The Reform Party's travails offer an object lesson in the futility of starting a non-ideological third party
 that could conceivably accommodate both Ms. Fulani and David Duke, the ex-Klansman.  Typically, American third parties are MORE cohesive than the two big parties.... The members of the Reform
 Party, on the other hand, can't agree on where to go for dinner....  The Libertarians may not have many supporters, but they can promote an agenda because they have one.  A party that doesn't know where
 it wants to go is likely to go nowhere."

 - Columnist Ramesh Ponnuru, Wall Street Journal, 2/23/00