[Originally posted 2003dec05
Last update 2004feb26]
WELCOME to THE GREEN PAPERS, a web site dedicated to the dissemination of facts, figures, tidbits and commentary- in fact, information of many different kinds- on the election campaigns leading ultimately to the General Election on Tuesday 2 November 2004 in which, for the 55th time, a President and Vice-President of the United States will be elected, 1/3 of the United States Senate and the entire House of Representatives of the 109th Congress will also be chosen and, in addition, some States of the Union will elect their Governors and other Statewide officers. We sincerely hope you very easily find the kind of information you are looking for here, perhaps even information- all gathered here in one place- you might not so easily find anywhere else.
The primary mission of this site is to try to explain the process through which candidates for each of these offices are nominated by their respective Political Parties (or achieve access to the ballot by petition if Independents), with our principal focus being- as it originally was back when this site first went online more than four years ago- the "big show" of an election which will determine who will be taking the oath of office as President of the United States on the steps of the U.S. Capitol shortly after noon on Thursday 20 January 2005. We want this, at times rather esoteric, process to become comprehensible to the average person- whether a likely voter or not or, for that matter- in this age of global communication and the World Wide Web, whether an American citizen or not. We hope to be able to tell our site's users things about this process that the usual media may not be able to tell you or, in some cases, may not even consider telling you; we want to get beyond the 30-second soundbites and media "feeding frenzy" in order for you, our site's users, to that much better discern what is REALLY important.
In the past, many of the best known political pundits have called certain contenders for high public office "dead in the water" even though said candidates were still very much alive (until, of course, their "miraculous revival" became all too apparent and then some of these same pundits would thereafter tell us all that they had told us so when, in fact, they hadn't). This site is not about that kind of punditry; we will make our share of mistakes, we are sure (as we have many times in the life of this site)- but, rest assured, they will be honest mistakes: we'll admit them and then explain why they were made and then do our utmost to make sure they are not ever made again. Predicting political outcomes and watching the triumphs and tragedies, failures and successes of those who wish to someday serve in the White House, the Congress of the United States or in a State's Governor's Chair should all be good fun and everything we do on this site will, in the main, be in that spirit.
This site is completely nonpartisan- or at least as nonpartisan as it can possibly be. Those of us putting together this site are, of course, U.S. citizens and, yes, we do care: if we didn't give a hang about America and its politics, why would we even waste our time creating and then maintaining this site? And, yes, like anyone else, we- as citizens- have our own individual political biases. But this site itself has no political bias of its own: there is no hidden political or other agenda behind this site or its contents other than an attempt to provide information about what can, after all, be a rather confusing and often bewildering process and making said information accessible and, for that matter, understandable to the average person who simply wants to know about such things; we support no particular candidate, ideology or party and, when we do comment on the goings-on in the course of the election campaign (or, for that matter, in the general realm of public policy), it is with no attempt to raise the fortunes of or to denigrate one or another of the various Political Parties or its respective candidates for public office.
We are well aware, however, that we live in an age of "spin"- that is, a time when the functionaries of a given candidate's campaign would very much like to have that campaign's own view of various aspects of the process disseminated to the detriment of the "spin" of its opponents or other detractors: "spin" has, of course, been around ever since Politics first appeared among Mankind; it is just that the explosion of information available through radio, cable and over-the-air TV and, more recently, this very Internet has placed a rather high premium on positive "spin" from a campaign and made any negative "spin" about a campaign that much more costly. Thus, "spin" has engendered "anti-spin": the notion that many supporters of a particular party, ideology or candidate too often have that much, if not all, of the negative criticism about their particular viewpoint cannot possibly be based upon any reasonable perception of reality and must therefore be, by definition, the result of hidden, even villainous, forces arrayed against their party, ideology or candidate; thus, they seek to discern just who among their perceived enemies is/are "really" behind those who claim the nonpartisanship we ourselves have claimed for this site.
But this site is an exercise in Free Speech. We certainly support the notion that you have the same right of Free Speech we are here exercising ourselves. You also have the right to, if you so desire, take the position that there is, in fact, some nefarious plot and/or heinous conspiracy, grounded in a nebulous political agenda, behind this site that is aimed solely at derailing the campaign and policy aims or, at the very least, denigrating whatever party, ideology or candidate you might happen to support. We would like you to know that, if you do go on and take such a position that- despite our disclaimer in the preceding paragraph- we might actually have a definite political bias and/or some hidden agenda that you may very well find objectionable, we are actually encouraging you to spread this notion among all those whom you know support the same party, ideology or candidate you yourself support so that they, too, will visit this site- and often!- to confirm for themselves the hideous "web site of intrigue" they will almost certainly perceive because of your reporting to them our alleged conspiratorial scheme as you have conjured it all up in your own mind.
As far as we are concerned, the more hits on this site the better and, should those among the abject paranoid be the primary source of a great number of these, we are not above prostituting ourselves in this regard for more attention and maximum publicity for our site. However, we ask you to take all due cognizance of the following axiom: that, when all is said and done, whatever political bias and/or hidden agenda you may hereafter perceive as you navigate about this site, you will be- without any doubt whatsoever- absolutely 14-carat WRONG in that perception, for the view you have as to the motives of those who have worked so diligently on this site will be solely between the ears of the person you see looking back at you when you are in front of the nearest mirror.
Whatever is written on this site about the diverse candidates for various public offices, their campaigns or the impact of either of these upon the results tabulated herein is simply our version of the truth. It will be our honest perception of that truth and it will be no better than anyone else's "truth"- even yours; however, it will also be no worse than your- or anyone else's- "truth" as far as we are concerned. We will, indeed, "call 'em as we see 'em" and, to paraphrase the Hall of Fame baseball umpire Bill Klem, "in our hearts, we will never call one wrong". Will we be fair? Yes- if, by "fair", one means we give our honest opinions- however misguided they might be- as to what the truth is regarding the course of the 2004 General Election cycle as it develops; you can agree or disagree with our opinions and/or perceptions as you see fit. That's Freedom and that's America.
If, however, "fairness"- to you- is, for example, our not commenting upon the flaws and foibles of the various candidates for public office or their campaigns when either a.) said flaw or foible is, to you (regardless of what we might think), relatively trivial or insignificant or b.) you perceive we have previously pointed out more flaws or foibles of candidates you happen to like than those of other candidates you might not like, then I suppose we will not be "fair" in your eyes; just keep in mind that we don't feel we have to follow your definition of "fairness" in the least- only ours; and please be advised that we are still able to sleep peacefully throughout the night. If you were one of ten cars speeding and we were the state trooper who pulled you alone over, you probably wouldn't think that was "fair" either- but you still were speeding. Likewise, an election campaign run by idiots is, nonetheless, still idiotic.
Politics is, more than anything else, Sport. It is Mankind's oldest continuously functioning competitive endeavor: primitive tribes and clans of Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon engaged in it and, by the time two or more contenders vied for the "championship belt" making one of them the new High Priest for the Akkadian Empire of Sargon I in the late 3d Millennium B.C., it was not all that much different- save for the ground rules and the number of people in the society allowed to participate- from today's American Elections. Forget Baseball, friends: Politics is America's "National Pastime". Forget the National Football League, folks: Politics is, in fact, America's #1 spectator sport. Oh, yes, indeed: a "spectator" sport- because, just as in the major sports the average American sports fan follows on a daily basis, most of us generally leave it to the professionals to actually play the game we all, however reluctantly, have to watch.
It is, of course, much less a spectator sport in an early 3d Millennium A.D. Republican Federal Democracy than it was for Sargon I's subjects in Mesopotamia, but it remains- for the most part- a spectator sport nonetheless. Furthermore, it is a GREAT spectator sport: Politics combines all the high-speed, fast-paced action of Baseball with all the graceful tact and measured courtesies of Ice Hockey and, as one peruses the statute books containing the Election Laws of the several States of this Union, it has a "rule book" as arcane and legalistic as that of the NFL or NBA. And we all can't wait to see just who gets into the "Playoffs" and, of the candidates who do so, who ultimately wins "THE Series" or "THE Cup" or "THE Super Bowl" come that first Tuesday after the first Monday of November every two years.
Politics, above all- like Sport, can also be quite "dirty". But 'twas ever thus! And again just as in Sport, we have a tendency to idealize Politics' past: to us, yesterday's champions gave better performances for more honorable reasons and were, therefore, more worthy of their supporters' accolades. But just as we choose to forget that many of yesterday's champions were flawed men before they became today's demigods and that the past has had more than its share of "fallen heroes", we tend to forget, to take just one example, that one of the dirtiest political campaigns in American History was that between the supporters of two of the men who had once worked together on the wording of the highly revered Declaration of Independence, that contest being the one between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams for the Presidency in 1800. And can anyone possibly believe that the God-fearing Puritans of Massachusetts Bay were particularly "clean" in their denunciation of Quakers and their banishing of Baptists to Rhode Island? If YOU do, it is time for you to review your History textbook or get a new one!
Politics, after all, is the coalescing of ideas and issues into choice between policy options, such choice emerging from a clash- ofttimes a bitter one- between such competing policy options. Politics, therefore, is all about "turf" and turf is, first and foremost, "dirt". Let the dirt get watered-down and spread about in the heat of political battle and it easily becomes "mud" to be "slung". If one side or the other- or, for that matter, both!- on a particular issue of major public import gets it into their heads that they are on the side of Good and their opponents on the side of Evil, no quarter is to be given nor expected and then, more or less, "anything goes": even the most devout of believers (whatever the cause or doctrine- of whatever type, not necessarily religious- believed in) may very well find themselves engaging in behavior which they would normally frown upon and must then either come to terms with their own corrupted morals and ethics or, more likely, rationalize it away instead with concepts such as "that it is better to lie in defense of the Truth" or some such drivel.
In the end, though, Politics is fun. It is not necessarily "good, clean fun", but only because it more usually is often neither "good" nor "clean". It is still one of those things that are much too serious to be taken all that seriously: one of these is Life; among the rest is Politics. Come Friday 21 January 2005 (the day after whoever is elected President of the United States this coming November takes the oath of office)- or, for that matter, Wednesday 3 November 2004 (the day after the General Election itself)- most of us will be going about our daily business as ever and finding that not much will have really changed over the previous two days, regardless of who has been elected to Congress or Governor of the State of Nirvana or some such. Choosing those who will serve at various levels of America's governmental system is a serious business but it is, in a society that is truly free, not THAT serious-- even after the horrific events of 11 September 2001. In that spirit, therefore, we hope that those of you who visit our site use it in the spirit of fun: the various links which will help you navigate about the site are intended to make it easier for our visitors to go from place to place on the site. Have fun with it, however serious your intentions in accessing it in the first place. Take whatever information we present on this site, along with how it is presented and what we say about it herein, with a fair measure of humor: if, however, you don't do so, then that is your problem and not ours.
And, above all, thank you very much for your interest in THE GREEN PAPERS
Sincerely, TheGreenPapers.com Staff