The early emergence of so many 2008 presidential candidates is a great antidote to the malaise that typically follows midterm elections. But that means extended exposure of these mortals to the combined forces of the press, the blogosphere, and talk radio. Combine this with the most destructive forces of allthe imprecations they will launch against each other, and their own foot-shooting tendenciesand we may be left with no viable candidates by the time the election finally rolls around.

Just look at the early leaders of the Democratic Party. Questions of Is he black enough? are countered by Is she man enough? Experience is touted as a good thingunless one has too much of it. Biden has been at it so long hes accused of being entrenched in the system. Maybe Obama should adopt a campaign slogan of Im too inexperienced to be part of the problem. Adding to the miasma is the innuendo over Baracks pesky middle name, Hillarys pesky last name, and Joes pesky mouth. Good grief. What if all of the candidates are fed into the political/media meat grinder and no one emerges? Whats a voter to do?

Subscribe Online & Save 33%Do not despair. Hope springs in a multitude of alternatives to the two major parties. If the major-party candidates take each other out or self-destruct in the process, youre sure to find your alternative within the list at To paraphrase Sinatra, if you cant find it there, you wont find it anywhere. The choices range from the Airenson Socialist Partywhose horribly misspelled motto, WE BELIVE IN FREEDOM, WOMANS RIGHTS, AND THE FIRST EMENMENT!, may be the reason they as yet have no canidateto Party-X. (Sadly, there are no parties Y or Z, although Z Party would be phonetically delectable.) Somewhere among these riches, there just has to be a party for you. Some parties, like the Libertarian National Socialist Green Party, have names that seem oxymoronicor just plain moronic. Others, like the Solipsist Party (motto: E Unus Unum), make it clear that joining is a practical impossibility. It would seem logical that the Superhappy Heterosexual Evolving Robots & Neuroscientific Party would want you to be a super-happy heterosexual, but apparently you must be a happy super-heterosexual as well, because its constitution requires that you get a PhD, MD, and/or law degree. Still, the majority of parties are welcoming enough, if you subscribe to their beliefs and agendas.

The Heart Party is open to anyone who has one. The Light Party invites Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Greens, but beware: their inspired, practical, synergistic, 7-point WIN-WIN program is anything but light reading. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, you might consider joining the Monster Raving Looney Party, whose manifesto includes the issuance of battery-operated personal fans so that, in the event of an impending hurricane, everyone can line up on the beach, activate their fans, and send [the hurricane] scurrying back from whence it came. While the effectiveness of the MRLPs fans may be debatable, there can be no debate that a fan is a more amiable accoutrement than the Scorched Earth Partys symbol, a bloody lead pipe. Of course, the SEPs contention that the world will continue to deteriorate until 90 percent of its population is eliminatedan outcome to be facilitated by the lead pipesclearly is inconsonant with any hope for a large membership.

On a lighter note, the Pot Party seems more inviting than, say, the National Nihilist Party, although its hard to tell for sure since the Pot Partys Web page is just a bit, ah, muddled. But for laid-back peace lovers, the sine qua non of parties has got to be the Thermodynamics Law Party, whose Defense Through Non-Entropy platform proposes safeguarding against negative foreign forces through Kelvinian Meditation, scientifically proven to reduce our national entropy and thus shield us from malevolent invaders. Take that, all you evil emperors.

Former French President Charles de Gaulle once raised the rhetorical question, How can you expect to govern a country that has 246 kinds of cheese? Substitute political parties for cheese, and it looks as if whoever winds up in the White House might just find him- or herself mired in a fromagerie of disparate ideologies. America rightfully is called the great melting pot, but who would have predicted a pot overflowing with a political fondue of such cheesythough unquestionably tastyingredients?

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