Monday, September 25, 2006

Patrick McGonegal Launches Write-In Campaign For U.S. House From Alaska


Special Note: Re-posted September 28th to correct the misspelling of Patrick McGonagel's name through the body of the original post. My humble apologies.

In Sunday's Anchorage Daily News (September 24th, 2006), Juneau resident Patrick McGonegal (pictured at left, courtesy of his campaign website) announced his intention to run against Congressman Don Young as a write-in candidate. He claims no party affiliation, running as an independent. He identifies himself as a long-time Juneau resident, having originally moved there with his parents in the late 60s. He attended Auke Bay Elementary, Floyd Dryden Junior High and Juneau-Douglas High School before his family moved to Hawaii during his junior year (1983). He spent a year in Italy as a foreign exchange student and then spent two years in Utah on a church-sponsored mission. He married a Utah woman, Marna, producing two children so far. He also attended college in Utah and received his Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Weber State University.

He returned to Alaska in the fall of 1999, currently working for the City and Borough of Juneau as well as maintaining a private web development and graphic arts business. He considers Alaska to be the finest place in the world to call home, citing the wilderness and the beauty of our great State.

His announcement was published as a letter to the editor, entitled "Write-In House Candidacy Is Aimed At Getting The Money Out Of Politics" (scroll down to the second LTE). Because the Anchorage Daily News requires you to register to view its website after a certain number of clicks, I reproduce his LTE below, in its entirety:




Write-in House candidacy is aimed at getting the money out of politics

It seems like you can't even open the paper any more without hearing about corrupt politicians. It doesn't matter what party they represent, or which community. All across the nation it is becoming painfully obvious that money controls our political system. It is about time for a change.

In this vein, I have decided to run as a write-in candidate for the seat in Congress currently held by Rep. Don Young. My campaign, however, will be very different from his in that I will spend no money -- nor accept any. Should I be fortunate enough to get elected, I will carry this principle with me into office. I will accept no money other than the salary of the position. I want to be beholden to the voters of Alaska rather than to the special interests of corporations and organizations. I want Alaska's representative to represent Alaskans.

In order for representative government to work, however, voters need to take the initiative to learn about the candidates for whom they may be voting. To this end, I am not asking you to vote for me. I am asking you to find out who I am and what I stand for so you can make an informed decision. To learn more about my campaign, as well as my views on current political issues, visit my site www.didjuneau.com/campaign.

Patrick McGonegal

Juneau


Click here to access the main page of his website, which is an informative, organized site not infested with the customary gaggle of graphic bells and whistles which slow down loading and cause hanging of so many websites nowadays. On the Views page, he addresses six core issues: Election Reform, Party Affiliation, Gun Control, Abortion, Same Sex Marriage, and Death Penalty. This page further leads to an essay written back on March 30, 2005, entitled "Guns, Drugs, and Babies", which he maintains are the only significant differences betwenn the Republican and Democratic parties. He also reveals himself to apparently subscribe to the libertarian philosophy. Here are brief explanations of his core issues:

1). Election Reform. McGonagel wants to scrap the political party system, hold politicians legally accountable for campaign promises, limit campaigning to formally-scheduled debates, outlaw campaign commercials, and dissolve the Electoral College.

2). Party Affiliation. McGonagel would work to neutralize the effect of any particular party in Congress. Currently, these party lines are controlling committee memberships, ethics investigations, budget oversight, etc. This needs to change. Committees should include those most qualified for the position. Investigations should proceed regardless of the party affiliation of those implicated. Budgets should be approved or denied based on their merits rather than the party of those proposing them.

3). Gun Control. Supports the Second Amendment. Instead of further gun control legislation, McGonagel wants to further discourage gun misuse by holding gun owners responsible if they use or store them in a criminal or negligent manner which could result in injury or loss of life.

4). Abortion. McGonagel does not take an explicit position. Instead, he prefers to reduce the impetus for abortion by providing individuals with the knowledge and products they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

5). Same Sex Marriage. McGonagel supports it.

6). Death Penalty. McGonagel supports the death penalty as appropriate punishment for specific crimes, although he questions whether or not it's been used appropriately.

McGonagel also encourages people to e-mail him with comments about his existing issues, or suggestions for additional issues. Two of the hottest issues he should consider are immigration reform and elimination of affirmative action and other forms of racial and gender preference. Perhaps he doesn't think Alaska has an illegal immigration problem. He should have been in Anchorage on May 1st, when 1,000 people showed up to rally in support of amnesty for illegal immigrants. Or perhaps he missed the story about an alert Alaska State Trooper calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement on 25 illegal Mexicans in Kenai this past July. Reports estimate at least 5,000 illegal immigrants in Alaska.

His support for the Second Amendment is gratifying, but many of his other ideas are unrealistic. To get rid of political parties would create a danger of dictatorship. A constitutional republic needs multiple political parties to guarantee liberty. What is necessary is to reform the way political parties operate, and in particular, those legislative caucus rules which penalize a lawmaker for voting against the caucus for the sake of the lawmaker's constituency (the cases of Reps. Bob Lynn and Nancy Dahlstrom come to mind).

Holding politicians legally accountable for camapign promises is not only unrealistic, but we currently can do so by voting them out of office the way we did with Frank Murkowski in August. Furthermore, how would he do it? This strikes me as overkill.

His position on abortion is fuzzy. Is he conditionally pro-life or absolutely pro-choice? He needs to define himself.

His position on the death penalty is absolutely on target. He's right to question our methodology in order to avoid Illinois' debacle in 2000 when then-Governor George Ryan had to suspend executions because of procedural irregularities.

However, in a desire to renounce "politics as usual", McGonagel seems to be acting more like an "anti-candidate" rather than a candidate (sort of like the difference between an anti-hero vs. a hero). He needs to accept the fact that he will have to spend at least nominal sums of money to get his message out. He also should quit saying he doesn't have a chance; this will simply drive voters away. He should be more optimistic, and simply admit he's a longshot, but very much in the race. Just because he's a "write-in" candidate doesn't make him any less of a candidate.

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2 comments:

  1. I figured I ought to chime in since these are my viewpoints you are interpreting, so here goes:

    First of the name is McGonegal (like it appears in the title of this post). I definitely won't get elected if folks write it like you have. :)
    1). Election Reform. McGonagle wants to scrap the political party system, hold politicians legally accountable for campaign promises, limit campaigning to formally-scheduled debates, outlaw campaign commercials, and dissolve the Electoral College.
    I don't want to scrap anything, what I want to do is change our political system into something better.
    2). Party Affiliation. McGonagle would work to neutralize the effect of any particular party in Congress. Currently, these party lines are controlling committee memberships, ethics investigations, budget oversight, etc. This needs to change. Committees should include those most qualified for the position. Investigations should proceed regardless of the party affiliation of those implicated. Budgets should be approved or denied based on their merits rather than the party of those proposing them.
    Accurate
    3). Gun Control. Supports the Second Amendment. Instead of further gun control legislation, McGonagle wants to further discourage gun misuse by holding gun owners responsible if they use or store them in a criminal or negligent manner which could result in injury or loss of life.
    Accurate
    4). Abortion. McGonagle does not take an explicit position. Instead, he prefers to reduce the impetus for abortion by providing individuals with the knowledge and products they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
    I support a woman's right to choose. But, as my site says, I also qualify that by saying they are responsible for their choices--and if we were to provide women (everyone) with readily accessible birth control products, we could minimize the occurance of abortion. I personally do not agree with the idea of an abortion but I also firmly believe that our country is based on the fact that we hold different beliefs and those beliefs must be respected. If we can help people to avoid the situations wherein they have to make these types of socially-volatile decisions, we will all be better off.
    5). Same Sex Marriage. McGonagle supports it.
    Accurate
    6). Death Penalty. McGonagle supports the death penalty as appropriate punishment for specific crimes, although he questions whether or not it's been used appropriately.

    McGonagle also encourages people to e-mail him with comments about his existing issues, or suggestions for additional issues. Two of the hottest issues he should consider are immigration reform and elimination of affirmative action and other forms of racial and gender preference. Perhaps he doesn't think Alaska has an illegal immigration problem. He should have been in Anchorage on May 1st, when 1,000 people showed up to rally in support of amnesty for illegal immigrants. Or perhaps he missed the story about an alert Alaska State Trooper calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement on 25 illegal Mexicans in Kenai this past July. Reports estimate at least 5,000 illegal immigrants in Alaska.
    There are many, many issues currently weighing on our society. I asked readers to contact me if they had concerns that I had not addressed. Rather than guessing that I don't consider anything I haven't posted on my site as important, why didn't you just aske me what I thought about immigration?
    I think we need better enforcement. I think we have perfectly good legislation that isn't being funded (enforced) well enough. I don't think we need any more legislation to "legislate away" our problems--I don't agree with amnesty of any sort. We have existing channels for illegal aliens to apply for citizenship. These need to be enforced.

    His support for the Second Amendment is gratifying, but many of his other ideas are unrealistic. To get rid of political parties would create a danger of dictatorship. A constitutional republic needs multiple political parties to guarantee liberty. What is necessary is to reform the way political parties operate, and in particular, those legislative caucus rules which penalize a lawmaker for voting against the caucus for the sake of the lawmaker's constituency (the cases of Reps. Bob Lynn and Nancy Dahlstrom come to mind).
    You made my argument for me. I am not arguing to establish a single party system. I arguing to establish a no-party system. Only then will politicians be allowed to vote their conscience. Personally, I believe it would be easier to nullify parties than it would be to try to curtail how these parties operate while maintaining their political structures.
    Holding politicians legally accountable for camapign promises is not only unrealistic, but we currently can do so by voting them out of office the way we did with Frank Murkowski in August. Furthermore, how would he do it? This strikes me as overkill.
    You can only vote someone out of office when they are up for re-election. And voting them out of office does nothing to hold them accountable. Why should our politicians--who control the very workings of our economy and the rights to our natural resouces--be held to any lower standard than a contracted business? If a politician makes spurious claims simply to get elected, they should be held accountable. Their campaign promises are their contract--their application for employment, if you will--for their position. Why shouldn't the citizens have the same right as any other employer to hold their employee accountable for false statements in order to gain employment?
    His position on abortion is fuzzy. Is he conditionally pro-life or absolutely pro-choice? He needs to define himself.
    See message above. I am pro-choice.
    His position on the death penalty is absolutely on target. He's right to question our methodology in order to avoid Illinois' debacle in 2000 when then-Governor George Ryan had to suspend executions because of procedural irregularities.
    Thank you.
    However, in a desire to renounce "politics as usual", McGonagle seems to be acting more like an "anti-candidate" rather than a candidate (sort of like the difference between an anti-hero vs. a hero). He needs to accept the fact that he will have to spend at least nominal sums of money to get his message out. He also should quit saying he doesn't have a chance; this will simply drive voters away. He should be more optimistic, and simply admit he's a longshot, but very much in the race. Just because he's a "write-in" candidate doesn't make him any less of a candidate.
    I have never said I don't have a chance. I admit freely I am a long-shot candidate. I disagree that money needs to be spent to get my word out and your post is proof of that. I think the world is getting smaller and smaller as technology makes it easier to communicate over distance. We are just starting to see the effects of this in our society, but it will continue to get stronger. Word spreads rapidly.Thanks for helping to spread it a little further :)

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  2. Thanks for your response. I apologize for misspelling your name through the body of my post - I will correct it and re-post.

    The real difficulty with hot-button social issues like gay marriage and abortion is judicial activism (or as I like to call it, judicial "terrorism"). If these changes were accomplished democratically through the legislative process rather than undemocratically through an elite judiciary usurping the legislative function, they wouldn't stir up so much antagonism and ferment.

    I've chosen to highlight alternative candidates like yourself to compensate for the lack of mainstream media publicity. The mainstream media is obsessed with the "Big Four" gubernatorial candidates. All declared candidates deserve publicity. Good luck in getting your message out.

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