This week marks the debut of Fox Business’ new political roundtable show called ‘The Independents.’ It is hosted by Lisa ‘Kennedy’ Montgomery, and co-hosted by Matt Welch, and Kmele Foster.
Kennedy, best known for her tenure as an MTV VJ turned conservative political pundit, acts as the show’s anchor/moderator, steering the 5-person panel through multiple topics and brief news segments.
Her co-hosts, both with notable conservative bona fides, include Reason magazine’s editor-in-chief Matt Welch and Kmele Foster, who sits on the board of directors for America’s Future Foundation. So what does this independent voter think about the show following its opening week?
Before getting into the show’s substance, the name warrants some scrutiny. If a show is going to have a panel with three libertarians on it, it would make sense to just call the show ‘The Libertarians.’ Yes, it is true, many libertarians are not affiliated with either major party, in essence qualifying for the ‘independent’ label, but the concern here is the purveyance of the common misnomer that an independent voter is automatically a Libertarian. Or for that matter, he or she would identify as conservative/liberal or any of the traditional labels used to neatly categorize political preferences without thinking too hard.
The best example of how this fundamental yet repeatedly ignored fact appeared in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. When Kennedy laid out the direction for the show she said, “We want to have liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans all on the show to talk about the issues that they’re invested in.”
Yet all could be forgiven if, substantively, ‘The Independents’ managed to foster a robust and intellectually challenging discussion with 60 minutes of air-time.
Unfortunately that’s not the case. The format itself seems utterly incapable of meeting that goal. The three co-hosts are less ideologically diverse than a groupthink convention. In addition the two guests come on essentially as representatives of their respective parties, one Republican and one Democrat. As a result, the show pretty much devolves into four conservatives all agreeing that the one Democrat is wrong on everything.
To be clear, the problem here isn’t that this is a conservative show, with conservative guests, that promotes a conservative world-view. The problem is that the label, ‘Independent.’ is being fundamentally, and perhaps disingenuously misappropriated. Independent does not mean conservative, or liberal, or libertarian, or socialist ect. It means, to me at least, holding an open mind. One that’s receptive to a diverse series of opinions. Then evaluating ideas based on their own merits. So this show begs the question, how can you make an informed decision while being exposed to what amounts to one world-view, counteracted by a single, minority, voice?
Regardless of ones feelings about the word ‘independent,’ Fox’s programming, or that the show’s host technically only has one name, the fact that this show even exists at all and wrapped in the marketing veneer Fox is promoting it with, holds a very clear message. The message is both parties no longer appeal to the majority of Americans.
Whether or not ‘The Independents’ will become the bastion for diverse discussion on the pressing issues that face voters today remains to be seen. Out of the gate, however, it looks like cynical lip service geared towards an ideologically homogenous constituency.
Join the discussion Please be relevant and respectful.
This show is clearly geared towards Libertarians. Full disclosure, I am a libertarian for the most part and an independent so I love the content. The name "The Independents" is a misnomer.
WHAT KIND OF PERSON WATCHES "THE INDEPENDENTS"?
Funny you should ask. Here's a handy link. These people gather every weekday evening in a Reason.com chat room in eager anticipation of the start of the show, at which time they make hilarious comments. I am not making this up.
The "independent" hyenas at Matt Welch's Reason.com launch a silly and adolescent personal attack against ideological enemy Ezra Klein. Note the envy and indignation over the fact that Klein, a professional journalist, is more wealthy and famous than they, the libertarian chatting class. It just isn't fair! Libertarianism is the Truth, yet Klein -- whom every libertarian knows is a liar -- has a huge audience! Where is the justice? Why isn't our mocking having any effect? Why are non-libertarian Americans so stupid?
I am not making this up. Behold jealousy, the green-eyed monster of libertarianism:
"Klein is so staggeringly stupid...He's the perfect example of who deserves him."
"The fact that he has had success speaks volumes about the utter stupidity of his readers."
"Klein thinks his sh*t doesn't stink. He is a nearly perfect example of undeserved success."
"I have a BA in poli sci from UC Irvine, which means I have the exact same credentials as Klein."
"I would say I am at least twice as qualified to write about the subject than Klein is."
"Klein actually believes he knows anything. He deserves none of the success he has had."
THIS IS WHAT LIBERTARIANS ACTUALLY BELIEVE.
Anyway, if you want to know what Matt Welch's libertarians REALLY think, visit his blog at Reason.com and read the comments. This is what libertarians actually believe.
Here's an article that explains how -- SURPRISE! -- America is just as bad as Syria when it comes to torture and murder. I am not making this up.
"[T]he show pretty much devolves into four conservatives all agreeing that the one Democrat is wrong on everything."
Imagine that. "The Independents" is clearly modeled after its hugely successful cousin on Fox News, "The Five," wherein four very unfunny and shrill Republican operatives gang up on the token "liberal" as they gossip about pop-culture personalities and pluck easy yucks from their target demographic, the nation's 50-85-year-olds. This waterboarding-like entertainment is tagged as "Fair and Balanced." Predictably, "The Independents," too, is self-promoted as being neutral and objective and free of team politics. But libertarians, who pride themselves on their superior political prowess, are as unself-aware as their cultural nemesis and go-to whipping boy, the "progressives."
Libertarians engage in the same dreary team politics as their ideological enemies, all the while insisting that they themselves are not a team. They're half-right, insofar as a team plays by rules, whereas libertarians -- being closet anarchists -- eschew rules, laws, philosophical consistency and civilized behavior in favor of the "freedom" to "do their own thing." In this regard, libertarians are trapped on the same rung of the evolutionary ladder as their despised parents and grandparents (and cultural soul-mates), the hippies.
I agree, they should call it "The Libertarians" and be done with it.
I have tried to watch this show and can't get through more than 30 minutes. All I see and hear are some really young kids, who talk like young kids, who have some great ideas, but have yet to be tempered with reality and experience. The obligatory Ron Paul sound bites add even more to the "meh" effect.
I'm left asking if any of them actually have real world experience, or if they are just the libertarian version of the typical liberal who never ran anything and merely spouts theoretical pap all day..
Also, libertarian is not conservative. Painting with admittedly a broad brush here, but....... Conservatives agree with libertarians on just about everything when it comes to domestic/ social policy, but we think the "Paul Doctrine" of foreign policy is foolish and dangerous. There-in lies the big difference and the rift.
I'm not advocating invading all our enemies, but neo-isolationism/ non-interventionism only invites others to fill the vacuum. See: the Middle East with Obama's incompetence on display while Putin fills the void.
Conservatives understand history, and have learned the lessons of Carthage and others who thought they could just "mind their own business" and be left alone. Libertarians often have either never been instructed about history, or are too young to understand its harsh lessons. Be the windshield or be the bug, geopolitical reality gives you no other alternative. Project influence and power, or have it projected on to you.
Robert Heinlein summed it up the best.
Means you can think for yourself and decide how to vote. I'd say that most independents run toward the conservative side. They, at least, have the ability to not we swayed by sweet talkers. Most of the time! Lol
Independent doesn't mean sensible or reasonable, don't give it any sort of false attribution. It simply means they are outside of an organized platform or party.
I read the article. I'm sorry, but that is the stupidest analysis I've ever read. Feel free to inquire why my estimation of that article is so rock bottom.
Within reason, of course. I for one cannot hold to many progressive ideals as they have been proven time and again to have adverse effects on many aspects of society. Detroit being one example, and Obama being the best example. I use my brain, rather than my heart to vote whenever humanly possible, but as many of us are aware, recently it has been more of voting for the lessor of two evils. The democrats of today appear to bear little, if any, resemblance to democrats of the Kennedy era. I cannot and will not waiver from the Constitution or the original intent of our founders when they wrote it. I have been called a Tea Partier, and a Constitutionalist, if the shoe fits...
Anyone who considers themself to be a conservative or a liberal is actually a moron. Those labels are part of the brainwashing process that causes simpletons to choose between the perceived lesser of two evils. Only morons make that choice. Unfortunately, 99% of voters prove to be morons in every election. If you read more of what I have to say, you can escape from the brainwashing.
Independent means you think for yourself. You do not buy any one party rhetoric without carefully dissecting it piece by piece and forming your own ideas about it. It also means you are not going to vote by party but by who you think is going to do the best job.
William L -- that's the whole point!! Independents are just that -- independent !!!! There is not "third group" to whom we belong. We make up our own minds and aren't restricted by stupid labels !!
That show was terrible. It wasn't even about compromise. They talked about how one party is going to beat the other. I think that I'll send them the definition of the word independent...
My mantra: "We need to change the voter mindset to elect citizen candidates willing to serve a short term at local average wage as their ONLY income at EVERY election." All we need: 50%+1 to be elected. Independents rock! It would be great if all the States would put "N.O.T.A." (None Of The Above) on every ballot.
Sadly, most independents I have come across are really just extremist republicans who consider the republican party a bunch of liberal communists.
@Kaveh Kabir"The name "The Independents" is a misnomer."
If by "misnomer" you mean a lie, then you're right. The libertarians on that talking-heads show are no more "independent" than any other partisan political ideology. (They're on a Fox network, after all.) But they are "independent" in one respect: they are independent of widespread popular support, credibility and efficacy. The "independents" are outsiders who desperately want to be insiders. But who is going to watch a political show called The Outsiders? That's too defeatist-sounding even for libertarians, who are no strangers to defeat. And doesn't every puppet, sheep and milquetoast -- in the privacy of his own mind -- believe himself to be independent?
As noted in the article above, the title of this particular reality show is calculated to annex all the self-identified "independent" voters in the U.S. (who invariably vote R or D when it's crunch time) into the Libertarian Party, with or without their permission. The Independents, ironically and cynically, are presuming to speak for every American who is currently unhappy. The show is a marketing strategy, a gimmick, not a serious forum of ideas.
@Kizone Kaprow What kind of person watches FoxNews/MSNBC/CNN ?
@Kizone Kaprow Hi Mary.
@Kizone Kaprow What are you talking about? You make as much sense and an insane asylum patient..
@Kizone Kaprow " wherein four very unfunny and shrill Republican operatives gang up on the token "liberal" That sounds like all the shows on MSNBS...
"whereas libertarians -- being closet anarchists" Sorry, you shouldn't speak on a topic you know nothing about. You can't compare people who want NO Government to people that want limited Government. Better comparison would be democrats and republicans.
@Kizone Kaprow Spot on. I am so frustrated that the libertarian ideas are spreading so quickly and being overwhelmingly adopted by young people. People like Ron Paul make me sick. Let's hope this Libertarian fire gets put out soon.
Wow Kizone, you are truly a tireless, impassioned champion of hatred of all things libertarian, aincha?
Looking through this blog, I see your name pop up like 50% of the time, with just a tirade of empty things to say about libertarians.
Your post are filled with ad hominems, epithets, snide comments and just all around nastiness.
What happened, did a libertarian kick your dog or something?
What I notice missing from your posts is anything more than name calling, that's all you do - critical thought seems to have passed you by when they handed out the goodies.
Just a stupid playground mentality.
Before, I considered you annoying, but now I see you just don't have anything to say, other than nya nya nya with your thumbs in your ears.
"What kind of person watches FoxNews/MSNBC/CNN?"
The same kind that watches The Independents: political partisans who are convinced of their own righteousness and who prefer programming that reinforces their own flawed philosophies. The comical thing about libertarians is their belief they they -- and they only -- are objective political analysts. Reason-brand™ libertarians in particular swallow that site's propaganda hook, line and sinker and are utterly oblivious to the fact that they are being manipulated. They are gullible puppets, dancing and jerking to their masters' commands, as the comments reveal. These human Pavlov's dogs are not unique, of course. Every news site, every blog of every political stripe has them.
I posted the link above as a public service to anyone who may be interested in what Reason-brand™ libertarians -- fans of The Independents -- actually believe. These people are that show's core audience. All 18 of them.
@Francisco d Anconia
Considering your delusional paranoia, "Francisco," wouldn't a more fitting Atlas Shrugged character for your pseudonym be James Taggart?
"You shouldn't speak on a topic you know nothing about."
Thanks for the warning, and I appreciate your concern, but I know more about political philosophy than you'll ever learn. The overwhelming majority of westerners who call themselves "libertarians" are far closer to anarchists than limited-government capitalists. Most "libertarians" cannot even agree on the essentials (see, for instance, the continuing libertarian debates over abortion and intellectual property rights).
There are more "libertarian" sects than Baskin-Robbins has flavors. Why? Because libertarianism has no consistent, integrated philosophical base. Libertarian amateurs try to do politics while eschewing the fundamental branches of philosophy on which politics is dependent: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics. The result is a hodgepodge of contradictory and warring factions, each huddled under the same leaky tent of "libertarianism." Observe the anarchists, the minarchists, the mutualists, agorists and voluntaryists; the geolibertarians, the left-Rothbardians, the green libertarians, dialectical anarchists and radical minarchists...
The list goes on and on. The only qualification for membership: hatred of government and all things associated with government. "Libertarians," at their core, dream of a world without governments, where undefined "rights" and "property" are protected by vigilante gangs instead of police, where disputes among men are settled with guns, not courts, and where "the law" is whatever the biggest gang says it is. That a few libertarian pragmatists are willing to concede the utilitarian value of government does not in any way diminish their core belief in the possibility of a utopian, anarchic world.
That's right, you had touched a nerve when I actually took your vitriol for a significant opinion.
Until I realized your only opinion is ad hominem criticism.
And as usual, you attempt to impute me by calling names and invoking inapplicable rules that have nothing to do with my post.
You are simply a silly person. And silly people are by definition inoffensive.
(and if you want to call that a personal attack, then so be it)
No need to go out on a limb, I already said who I was, an official in the NY Libertarian Party.
@garyonthenet Wow, Gary, looks like I touched a nerve.
"You are truly a tireless, impassioned champion of hatred..."
"Your post are filled with...all around nastiness."
"Just a stupid playground mentality."
Did you overlook the IVN Etiquette guidelines in regards to personal and partisan attacks, Gary? I'll go out on a limb and assume that you're a partisan libertarian who is offended by the opinions of others. My advice to you: if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Libertarians are not anarchists, in fact the two are mutually exclusive.
You truly do not know what libertarianism is, and do not understand the political expression of it.
I am a libertarian political theorist, and the Treasurer of the NY Libertarian Party, and I do know what I am talking about on the topic.
Like I said, don't speak of a subject you know nothing about. And stop pretending you know all libertarians.
Stick to whatever you believe and leave the rest of us alone... but I have a feeling that isn't gonna jive with your mindset...
@Kizone Kaprow @livingthemusic @Mich Connor I agree, Libertarians are frauds, and they are incapable of thinking. I just makes me so mad to see all these young people flocking to Libertarianism and seeing this Ron Paul guy's ideas changing the republican party. Trust me, I'm just as bitter about it as you are. Why are there so many young libertarians? Because any simpleton can be one. Disgusting.
@livingthemusic@Mich Connor Mich was being sarcastic, sarcasm being the favorite rhetorical device of libertarians. And why not? Both sarcasm and libertarianism are fraudulent: sarcasm is the tool of the mocker, not the thinker, and libertarianism is not a belief but a disbelief. Why do we see so much sarcasm on the internet? Because any simpleton can do it.