Tuesday, July 6, 2004

The Constitution Party has nominated a presidential candidate who wants to outlaw abortion.

Meanwhile, the Libertarian Party’s presidential hopeful — Michael Badnarik — is taking pokes at President Bush, saying he is weak on gun rights.

Independent candidate Ralph Nader’s 5 percent in the presidential polls remains durable and reliable, even as he continues to hit obstacles in his ballot-access bids.

Third parties, the bane of the political establishment, are making things tough on Mr. Bush and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, at least rhetorically.

Michael A. Peroutka, who accepted the Constitution Party nomination June 25, appeared last week at a rally in Seattle with former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. Mr. Moore was removed from the bench last year after defying a federal judge’s order to take down a monument of the Ten Commandments from the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building.

Mr. Peroutka said his first priority as president would be to outlaw abortion, followed by establishing a government that acknowledges God.

He added that government’s purpose is not to provide health care or to educate children, and said such efforts are “socialist goals right out of the Communist Manifesto,” said a report in the Seattle Times.

By aligning himself with Mr. Moore, the candidate seeks to garner some Republican voters who are unhappy with Mr. Bush’s expansion of government and decry the country’s move toward secularism.

Mr. Badnarik, aware that his party pulls more disenchanted Republicans than anyone from the left, is taking a stab at Mr. Bush’s efforts to mainstream his message at the expense of issues.

Gun rights have long been among the top issues for Libertarians, and many took note when the Gun Owners of America issued an alert that Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, was considering slipping her proposal to ban semiautomatic weapons into another bill, perhaps this week.

The president, Mr. Badnarik said, has promised to sign a ban on semiautomatic weapons, but Republican lawmakers have prevented the measure from reaching a vote.

“That Feinstein would use parliamentary procedure to slip in yet another attempt to deprive us of one of our most fundamental individual rights is not surprising,” Mr. Badnarik said. “The even scarier issue is that Bush has already promised, in advance, to sign such a bill.

“Clearly, when an issue as major as the assault weapons ban is supported by Feinstein, [Sen. Charles E.] Schumer [New York Democrat], Bush and [Sen. John W.] Warner [Virginia Republican], it is yet another indication that both of the major parties are, in fact, the same.”

Meanwhile, the Green Party rebuffed Mr. Nader and nominated David Cobb. Mr. Nader continues to fight for ballot access in some key states.

In Arizona, the Nader campaign last week was thwarted in its ballot access bid by two Democratic voters, who filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of a petition the campaign had submitted to get on the ballot.

“The Democratic Party is doing everything it can to keep us from getting on ballots,” Nader spokesman Kevin Zeese said. “It shows a real insecurity on their part and it shows that they are not confident that their candidate can get enough votes.”

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