Modern Whig Party recruiting in Cobb

by Marcus E. Howard Marietta Daily Journal   There’s a new political party in town. The…

Georgia (Sep 28, 2009)

by Marcus E. Howard
Marietta Daily Journal
 
There’s a new political party in town. The Georgia Modern Whig Party was established six months ago, and its state party leader, a Cobb resident, is recruiting members among disaffected voters in the county.
 
Robert Madayag III of Marietta, an intellectual property lawyer in Atlanta, is the party’s state chairman. The party has fewer than 100 members statewide, but he is organizing seminars to attract new members. The first will be at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1 at Mountain View library at 3320 Sandy Plains Road in northeast Cobb.
 
Nationally, the Modern Whig Party has about 30,000 members, said Madayag, 37.
 
“The Modern Whig Party - we understand some people have opinions on the far left and far right,” Madayag said. “It’s basically a group of people that have opinions that vary across the political spectrum, but 80 percent of our opinions are pretty close to being in the center.”
 
Madayag said he is a former Republican who voted for George W. Bush and John McCain in the last two presidential elections. But, he said he started growing uncomfortable several years ago with the extreme right direction the party was taking. He considers himself economically conservative and socially progressive.
 
“After two presidential elections in which I voted against somebody, rather than for somebody, I said ‘Now it’s time to start putting your money where your mouth is and do something,’” Madayag said. “And I founded the (Georgia) Modern Whig Party.”
 
The Modern Whigs see themselves as a continuation of the Whig Party that existed in the early 1800s. They strongly believe in states rights. Former Whig Party members include Daniel Webster and Abraham Lincoln.
 
“The original Whig party was an anti-Andrew Jackson party. They were opposed to his policies, which they considered to be autocratic and authoritarian,” said Kerwin Swint, a Kennesaw State University political science professor. “Many were in favor of states rights, such as Henry Clay. The party didn’t last long and was torn apart over the slavery question.”
 
Madayag, a Navy veteran, said many Modern Whig Party members are also military veterans. Several state chairs around the country are veterans, he said. He said he hopes that the Obama administration will use more diplomacy than the Bush administration in solving national-security issues.
 
“When someone has to fire the round or dodge the bullet, they tend to take a different approach to war than people in (Washington) D.C. that basically legislate war from a distance,” Madayag said.
 
Madayag described his positions on a few other political issues facing the country today.
 
On health care: Madayag didn’t take a position on the public option that some Democrats have proposed to help pay for health care. He said other measures such as proactively keeping people healthy need to be looked at to cut costs.
 
Abortion: Madayag said it should be left up to individual states.
 
Immigration: He said the U.S.- Mexico border needs to be secure. He is not in favor of amnesty, but believes illegal immigrants should be accounted for and pay taxes. “Yes, (illegal immigrants) are breaking the law, but if you allow someone to continuously break the law, who is actually at fault there,” he asked.
 
Judges: Madayag says only judges who decide cases based on precedent, and don’t legislate, should be appointed to the bench. “The political aspect of it is something we would like to remove,” he said.
 
Taxes: He said more transparency and objective measures need to be placed in every spending proposal.
 
Gun rights: Madayag said he believes in the Second Amendment, but acknowledges some limitations are needed.
 
Swint said he isn’t surprised that a group like the Modern Whigs has formed, given the polarizing nature of political affairs these days. However, he doubts that any rival third party alternatives, such as the Green, Reform and Libertarian parties, can be successful at the state and federal levels, absent a galvanizing issue.
 
“National-level politics requires much more organizational strength and money behind it, making it difficult to break through. Ballot access requirements at the state level also makes it difficult,” Swint said.
 
“Independent voters would be a prime target for new party organizations, but even independents are hesitant because of the feeling they would be wasting their vote. Many, many Ralph Nader voters in 2000 feel like they helped elect George W. Bush, for example.”
 
Given the stronghold that the Republican Party has in the county, Cobb GOP Scott Johnson said he does not believe the Modern Whigs are a threat.
 
“I’m not aware or particularly concerned about the Modern Whig Party,” he said.
 
Andrew Scholtens, 24, of Marietta, grew up in Cobb and was a member of the College Republicans at Georgia Tech. He is now vice chairman of the Georgia Modern Whigs.
 
“We will get a great response, I have no doubt about it. The question is one of innovation. Cobb is Republican because it has two choices, left or right,” Scholtens said.
 
“(The) Whig Leadership group will develop, post, improve and eventually endorse solutions and plans for the fixing of the defined problem. When everything is said and done, we will have the best solution to a problem, not an ideological stance. We are, internally to the party, replicating a working republic, which is what the Founders had intended all along.”
 
Nevertheless, the Modern Whigs have their work cut out for them.
 
After speaking at a recent Gwinnett Rotary Club meeting, former Gov. Roy Barnes - a Democratic candidate for governor - reportedly lamented about politics at the state capitol, saying, “I’m fed up with both the Democrats and the Republicans. I’d be a Bull Moose or a Whig if they still had a party.”
 
More information about the Georgia Modern Whig Party can be found online at www.gawhigs.org.

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http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2009/09/marietta-daily-journal-modern-whig-party-recruiting-in-cobb/


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