Modern Whig Party: ‘3,000 members and growing’

The Modern Whig Party says it now has 3,000 members and is growing. An IPR reader reports that the Modern Whigs will be featured in an upcoming issue of the Military Times newspaper.

The Modern Whig Party aims to be a centrist alternative to Democratic liberalism and Republican conservatism. Its Web site says the party is the “fastest growing mainstream political party” in the United States.

The cornerstone issue of the Modern Whig Party is a concept called “economic distribution.” Here’s what’s meant by that:

The Modern Whig philosophy is to empower the states with the resources to handle their unique affairs. The logic is that people in Alabama should not always have to flip the bill for earmarks that occur in New York and vice versa. For example, a senator from Oklahoma is currently using his committee powers to stifle an important transportation project in Virginia. The reality is that the more local one gets, the more in tune with the unique and specific needs of that area. This is why we propose that federal tax dollars be provided to each state in a lump sum every fiscal year based on population. This eliminates the need for most earmarks and pork-barrel spending as the onus will then be on state legislators and governors to allocate funding for issues that they see fit. Of course the federal government will still vote on other special projects and traditionally federal items, but these projects will be more manageable to monitor. In addition, the allocations to the states also provides a better opportunity to balance the federal budget while also forcing local voters to pay more attention to state elected officials.

On other issues:

Iraq: They support pulling U.S. forces out, except for a small base to be maintained in the Kurdish area of the country.

Energy and National Security: The Whigs lump the two issues together, saying it’s important we get off “foreign oil” in order to be secure.

Immigration: They say that while illegal immigrants theoretically should be deported, it just isn’t practical. Instead, the Whigs want to offer American citizenship to immigrants who sign up and serve the U.S. military.

Trade: The Whigs want to offer “tiered subsidies” to American companies that agree to pull out of China.

Israel: They support a two-state solution.

Christmas: Don’t mess with it.

Gay Rights: The Whigs say states can “determine the rights” of homosexuals , but at the same time, the Whigs support federal hate-crimes legislation being applied to gay bashers.

Abortion: Like the Libertarian Party and most of America, the Whigs are split on the issue. They say abortion legislation should be determined at the state level.

Affirmative Action: They’re against it.

Science and Technology: Here the Whigs take an uncharacteristically capitalist stance. They support the privatization of space, because “[t]aking away the government monopoly and allowing capitalism into the exploration business will exponentially expand our technology base and further the growth of mankind.”

Read more about the Modern Whig Party.

44 thoughts on “Modern Whig Party: ‘3,000 members and growing’

  1. Spence

    Interesting. I was wondering if someone had ever thought of resurrecting the Whigs. It’d be pretty hilarious too if they ended up destroying the Republican party someday… revenge irony.

    One thing of particular amusement is that they seem to be more free-market defined than the original incarnation, but I wouldn’t say absolute. They seem to recognize the problems of the status quo and how to grapple with them in the short term. Might be worth future looks.

  2. G.E. Post author

    Spence – Are you coming from the Left? Because from the libertarian perspective, I don’t think these Whigs are very free-market oriented at all — the space exploration plank being a notable (and strange) exception.

  3. thearmyranger31

    G.E. – As a member, I think the organization is actually very free-market oriented. For example, our national party web site states that we understand that oil companies owe a fiduciary duty to their shareholders to make profits. There is more to it than that in terms of solutions, but I respectfully believe it is inaccurate to characterize the Modern Whig Party as anti-free market. It is satisfying to note that people don’t know how to classify the party in terms of political spectrum.

  4. G.E. Post author

    thearmyranger31 – Thanks for posting at IPR. I am editor-in-chief of the site, and a staunch libertarian, but I do not let my personal views interfere with the site’s coverage (or at least I do my best not to). So the Modern Whig Party will receive fair coverage here at IPR!

    When I say the party doesn’t appear “very free-market oriented,” I’m comparing it to the hardcore free-market orientation of hardcore free-market libertarians.

    I’ll provide you some examples.

    Hardcore free-marketeers do not believe energy independence is in any way desirable, and we certainly don’t think the government should have any kind of energy policy whatsoever.

    Hardcore free-marketeers would not support the Whig plank on trade at all.

    Those are just two examples.

    However, I do think that many of your party’s positions are the more popular positions in America, even where I think they’re wrong.

    Good luck!

  5. G.E. Post author

    In the article, as opposed to the comments, I did say that the space plank was “uncharacteristically capitalist.” I think that’s accurate. It is hardcore free-market, whereas the other platform planks are not.

  6. thearmyranger31

    G.E. — Thanks for the clarification! This is an excellent site and I am glad to have found it. One thing that attracted me to the Modern Whig Party is that it doesn’t cater to hardcore anything. Not to call your beliefs fringe, but they really make an effort to stay away from the edges. I view it as very realistic as I personally approve of issues that span the political spectrum. They also don’t pander which I also like. In the emails I get from them on party progress, they always mention that they have no illusions as to how hard it will be to make such a third party viable in the mainstream, but the fact that it was started (restarted) by veterans with no apparent ulterior motive struck me as very refreshing. I hope they can make this happen. As for the space thing, I think the brief mention is a bit out of context but certainly accurate overall. Thanks again for the coverage and comments!

  7. Spence

    “Spence – Are you coming from the Left? Because from the libertarian perspective, I don’t think these Whigs are very free-market oriented at all — the space exploration plank being a notable (and strange) exception.”

    You’re absolutely right, G.E. I’m a fascist, loving, statist-worshipping, social liberal straight out of Norway. I have nothing more in common with libertarianism than a squirrel has with collecting coins…

    -.- If you had read the rest of my post, you would have seen that I clearly indicated that from a party operating within the limits of the status quo, they would make a more remarkable free market transition than the two major parties. Radical implementation in the strains that purists favor is actually, to an extent, inherently detrimental to free markets and would actually cause more destruction than dismantling the status quo through its own rules would.

  8. thearmyranger31

    Here’s a question on this subject. It seems like the prominent third parties (Libertarians, Greens) have been marginalized by mainstream America and the majority never gives it much thought toward a candidate on these tickets no matter how good of a candidate they would be if on a GOP/Dem ticket. Bob Barr likely won’t win anything. Ron Paul did ok as a Republican but if he was LP, it wouldn’t have amounted to much. Perhaps it’s the media and all other stuff fighting for attention. I know I’m new to this forum, but this is just my observation. Going back to the Modern Whigs, I like the fact that they are not running a candidate and seem to be waiting until the 2010 cycle to put all resources into one or two very strong candidates in strong districts. Maybe that’s what the third party movement needs. Someone to blow it up and start from scratch. Just a mindless weekend thought.

  9. thearmyranger31

    From Marine Corps Times…

    Modern Whig Party has appeal to some troops

    No candidates yet, but with moderate stance, ‘it’s starting to catch on’
    By William H. McMichael – bmcmichael@militarytimes.com
    Posted : June 23, 2008

    A political platform of strong national defense and “bold social progression” is not a combination that commonly comes to mind when U.S. troops’ views are considered.

    But the Modern Whig Party, which claims that “about a third” of its 3,000 members are active or reserve service members, takes a consciously middle-of-the-road and independent stance.

    “It’s starting to catch on,” said national chairman Mike Lebowitz, a Washington, D.C., attorney who is also a captain and judge advocate in the Army National Guard. “Our members, particularly in the military, they run the spectrum.”

    In other words, the Modern Whig Party — re-launched last year, more than 150 years after its namesake ceased to be — somewhat reflects the findings of the year-end 2007 Military Times poll, in which 48 percent of respondents called themselves Republicans, 14.4 percent said they were Democrats and 21.1 percent described themselves as Libertarians.

    When asked separately to describe their political views, 38.7 percent said moderate, 37 percent said conservative and 7 percent said liberal.

    Lebowitz admits that “Modern Whig Party,” initially launched as a veterans’ group, is not the snappiest moniker.

    It was chosen, he said, for its historical connection. The party was first formed in 17th-century England. The U.S. Whigs, Abraham Lincoln’s original party, were active from 1833-1856 and supported a strong Congress, protectionism and education.

    The Modern Whig platform calls for giving federal funding in lump sums to each state, based on population; withdrawing from all of Iraq save for Kurdistan, which the U.S. could use as a counterterrorism platform; eliminating dependence on foreign oil; and offering illegal immigrants citizenship in return for military service, with deportation the only alternative.

    The group, with a Web site at http://www.modernwhig.org, is small not only in number. It has no candidates running for office and is registered as a political party only in Florida. It’s more of an organization.

    But “nothing ever came out of doing nothing,” Lebowitz said. “We want to add our voices to the process … to make a mainstream, credible, independent-minded organization that can be involved in advocacy — particularly with veterans issues.”

    200 members are deployed
    That appeals to people such as Army Spc. Joel Dolphin — one of 200 party members who are deployed, Lebowitz said.

    “The Modern Whig Party appeals to me because they cherry-pick between the issues of the GOP and the Democratic parties,” Dolphin wrote in an e-mail from Bagram, Afghanistan. “The party has developed plausible solutions for many problems facing our nation, and they are very realistic and impressive.”

    Lebowitz, who said he served in Iraq in 2005-2006 with the 101st Airborne Division, is not on active duty now. He said he’s careful to avoid running afoul of a recently reissued Pentagon directive that spells out in which political activities active-duty troops can and cannot participate.

    “We’re taking great pains to protect our members,” he said. “I’m speaking as a citizen, not in my capacity as a military officer.”

    That line seemed to have been blurred in the case of Dolphin, whom Lebowitz touted as the group’s “Alaska party chairman.”

    Dolphin, he said, “is currently deployed, where he assisted in successful efforts to lobby the Senate” to help award a former colleague the Medal of Honor.

    But on closer review, Dolphin does not appear to be breaking rules against partisan political activity while in uniform. He says he did not identify himself as a party member in his communications with the Senate. And his party job is currently vacant, reserved for when he returns home, when, he said, he plans to leave the Army for a career in police work.

    Simply holding the office while on active duty wouldn’t be a problem, but acting in an official capacity while on active duty would be, said Army Col. Shawn Shumake of the legal policy office in the Pentagon’s personnel and readiness directorate.

    Shumake said that would include distributing partisan political literature under the auspices of a partisan group.

    “We don’t want to run afoul of the right to petition Congress — we don’t lose that right in the military,” Shumake said. “I think the member could write a letter directly to Congress and express an opinion on the issue. But when the advocacy is part of a Whig Party effort or issue, then I see it as political activity.”

    “That’s a gray area of military regulations,” Lebowitz said. “But we’re certainly not trying to exploit anything. … We’re going to protect our members. We want them to express themselves.”

  10. thearmyranger31

    From http://www.modernwhig.org

    5,000 members: In the past two weeks, the Modern Whig Party has grown significantly. The majority of these new members are affiliated with the Armed Forces. As one new member stated, “the Modern Whig Party is quickly becoming the party of the military.”

  11. Fred Church Ortiz

    Nothing on the Military Times site, it’d be cool if someone scanned the article. I don’t have it on any local newstands.

  12. G.E. Post author

    Maybe Milnes could pursue the M.W. nomination after his GP dreams go up in flames?

  13. thearmyranger31

    Thanks guys… Can’t take credit as I just volunteered to help spread the word.
    Fred, a copy of the article is posted above.
    Can’t wait to see how this plays out for the 2010 election cycle.

  14. Fred Church Ortiz

    Whoa, thanks armyranger. Using the sidebar to follow comments tends to let them slip by.

  15. thearmyranger31

    Modern Whig Party now is operating in Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, Arkansas, California, Alaska, Hawaii, Texas, Florida and has 5,500 members in most other states too as well as deployed overseas with the military. Interestingly, Arkansas has a different viewpoint on Iraq than the national party and Cali is focusing on a “Warrrior Diploma” initiative.

    http://www.modernwhig.org/3.html

  16. thearmyranger31

    Just some Modern Whig Party news and info for anyone interested… I know the group isn’t making its big move until the next Congressional election cycle, but the foundation is quietly being put together.

    6,500 members and counting

    Message from a proud Marine: “Support the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Apparently he has too much common sense and realizes that we are not counter-insurgent specialists but more of a Shock Troop. Although we do a great job at counter-insurgency, we are best fit for Afghanistan.” The writer is a GySgt currently deployed to Iraq and also a member of the Modern Whig Party (July 9, 2008).

    NEWS UPDATE: The Modern Whig Party is pleased to announce that the New York Chapter has officially been recognized. Please check out our “contact us” page to view our state chapters and leadership. (July 9, 2008).

  17. thearmyranger31

    Thanks G.E

    I suppose I don’t want to trouble you personally with the little tidbits of our growth and would actually email the bigger news items as they come out (and apparently there will be some in the next few weeks).

  18. George Thomas

    With the Democrat party off the radar screen to the left and the Republican party, under Bush and McCain, trying to emulate the Democrat party, the Whig party offers an interesting alternative. To point out Lincoln’s affiliation with the former Whig party is not a good recommendation for the new Whig party. Lincoln was no supporter of free press or civil liberty.

  19. The Modern Whig Maverick

    “Lincoln was no supporter of free press or civil liberty.”

    Ah yes, just forgeting the fact about freeing the slaves right?

    He was fighting a war. Remember that, and no, Lincoln is looked up to by a majority of Americans. So that makes him a good affiliation for us.

  20. Trent Hill

    “Ah yes, just forgeting the fact about freeing the slaves right?”

    Lincoln did not free any slaves.

  21. The Modern Whig Maverick

    “Lincoln did not free any slaves.”

    (sarcasm) Right um, I got to go and take a ride down in my stagecoach to my plantation in Alabama so I can watch my slaves that Lincoln never freed work the land for me. Better get my top hat and monicle on! Yee haw! (sarcasm off)

    Oh wait that’s right, LINCOLN DID FREE THE SLAVES. Good god, read a book and learn something.

  22. Billy Goat Eater

    The history of the abolition of slavery was a very long process, and it is ignorant and foolish to say that any one man “freed the slaves.” Lincoln did nothing of the sort.

    Abolition began in the City of London in AD 1102 when the slave trade was abolished there. Iceland followed suit in 1117, and England ended serfdom in 1214 with Magna Carta. Norway followed suit in the late 13th Century and Sweden in the 14th. Japan and Lithuania abolished slavery in the 16th Century about the time of the Spanish Armada. The process continued around the world, arriving in Vermont in 1777. Abolitionism spread through the states, as did resistance to the fugitive slave clause in the constitution.

    What Lincoln wrote in the Emancipation Proclamation did not free any slaves in Northern states, nor any in Union-held territory such as New Orleans. Instead, he only declared free the slaves in the territories of the states he regarded as “in rebellion,” actually states exercising their sovereign Tenth Amendment power to withdraw from the Union. His Proclamation freed no slaves because rule by decree is nonsense.

    Meanwhile, Lincoln imposed the country’s first income tax and drafted men to serve in the military, creating an entirely new sort of slave. Conscription under Lincoln (and Jefferson Davis) was the first of its kind for Americans.

    “The first United States income tax was imposed in July 1861, at 3% of all incomes over 800 dollars.”

    “Conscription was introduced in the Union Army during the American Civil War. … Conscription was not employed again in the U.S. until 1917.”

    Both quotes from wikipedia, which see.

    Lincoln declared that he was willing to preserve the Union at any cost, even if it meant emancipating slaves or enslaving free men. He tried his hand at both, though he was much more inclined toward the latter. Lincoln died 15 April 1865. The Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery was not ratified until 6 December 1865. “At the time of its ratification, slavery remained legal only in Delaware, Kentucky and Missouri.” Again wikipedia.

    You may chose to believe anything you care to believe about the Confederacy. The following are the dates of ratification by state of the Thirteenth Amendment ending involuntary servitude.

    # Virginia (February 9, 1865)
    # Louisiana (February 17, 1865)
    # Tennessee (April 7, 1865)
    # Arkansas (April 14, 1865)
    # South Carolina (November 13, 1865)
    # Alabama (December 2, 1865)
    # North Carolina (December 4, 1865)
    # Georgia (December 6, 1865)

    Florida joined the other Southern states in ratifying in late December 1865 after sufficient states had already been attained to make it part of the constitution. Texas ratified in 1870 and Mississippi in 1995.

    Note especially Virginia’s ratification in early February. The amendment was only proposed at the end of January 1865. Ten days later one of the states allegedly fighting to support the continuation of slavery voted to ratify this amendment.

  23. HS

    Maverick,

    You should remember that you are posting on somebody else’s turf, so to speak. There will always be that small minority of people who view Lincoln as bad president or claim that he had little impact o ending slavery in the US. It’s just like the small minority who believe in a significant government cover-up for 9/11.

    At least on this site, for the most part, those who believe Lincoln wasn’t the catalyst behind ending slavery offer learned opinions. I tend to disagree and can offer equally compelling and widely accepted info to dispute their contention.

    But you are not going to change many minds on a site like this. It’s not a knock on this site, or even the viewpoint we share about Lincoln. In fact, I am often impressed at the lengths people here use to prove their points.

    Perhaps this is indicitive of most established third parties? The out-of-the-mainstream logic and embrace of contradictory theories.

    Finally, Maverick, if you haven’t learned yet, the Modern Whigs don’t necessarily fit in with the established third parties, which makes us a kind of pariah I imagine in their eyes.

    Best thing you can do is maintain composure, remain good-natured, be strong in your convictions and be prepared to support your contentions.

  24. Ed

    “It’s just like the small minority who believe in a significant government cover-up for 9/11. ”

    Not small at all. 36% and growing, last time I checked.

  25. paulie cannoli

    There will always be that small minority of people who view Lincoln as bad president

    I think we’ll grow out of being a minority as more people learn about the real Lincoln legacy.

  26. paulie cannoli

    But you are not going to change many minds on a site like this.

    Not necessarily true; I’ve seen it done.

    Perhaps this is indicitive of most established third parties? The out-of-the-mainstream logic and embrace of contradictory theories.

    If we went along with the herd, we’d join the mainstream parties. The only problems is that the main stream goes down a drain.

  27. The Modern Whig Maverick

    “Not small at all. 36% and growing, last time I checked.”

    You talking about that CNN Internet poll that was most likely intentionally flooded by 9/11 truthers from Infowars.com?

    Zogby took a world opinion poll on 9/11 responsibility: 46% believe it was Al Qaeda, 25% don’t know, 15% say it was the government, 7% say it was Israel, and 7% chose ‘other’.

  28. paulie

    No, this was not an internet poll. And your numbers are very close: 29% believe it was a conspiracy other than Al Qaida and 15% don’t know, either of which would be a significant government cover up if true.

    This means more than half have significant dounts about the official story!

  29. paulie

    And that does not even count those people who think Al Qaida did it but is either a CIA front, got paid to do it by the US or Israelis, or is in fact an anti-US terrorist group but the US government allowed it to happen.

    So, the percentage that accept the official story without question is even lower than 46%.

    Thanks for these new numbers!

  30. Manuel Manjarrez

    I’m more free market oriented. Plus I disagree with the two state issue between Isreal and the Palestinians I say they have to do what they have to do to survive the Isreali’s I mean. Also please don’t destroy this otaku’s way of getting cheap anime online as well. Besides that I would join as well.

  31. Pingback: Wikinews interviews Mike Lebowitz, chairman of the U.S. Modern Whig Party | Kashubian's Blog

  32. Nancy McCollugh

    The Modern Whigs are liars. They do not have 30,000 members, not even close. Real third parties need to investigate their Chairman for fraud.

  33. paulie

    The claim here was 3,000, not 30,000.

    As far as I know, this means people whose email addresses they got a hold of by any mode of communication, whether they support the party or not. Thus, I would be one of the ‘members’, probably.

  34. David Atwood

    Paulie you are correct that you are a member. This is a phone book political party. Everyone is a member. 3,000 to 30,0000 are all lies. They can claim 3 million if they want, it’s all lies. The national party is run by a liar, his name is Lebowitz. Do a records check on him, he’s a Democrat, a Jewish Newspaper Reporter, and Lawyer! OMG!!!

  35. Bill Clinton is a Mobster

    “Do a records check on him, he’s a Democrat, a Jewish Newspaper Reporter, and Lawyer! OMG!!!”

    So what? Many people hold membership in more than one party. And the rest is simply irrelevant and listing it only demonstrating prejudice and ignorance on your part.

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