Thursday, September 13, 2007

Third Party Watch

covers the McKinney announcement here. I find the comment from the Constitution Party supporter to his party members to be careful about Alan Keyes, as he might "abandon" the CP the way McKinney "abandoned" the Green Party.

Ballot Access News covers the announcement as well.

I feel terrible that we have not gotten ourselves well enough organized to bring a candidate like McKinney what she needs to attract her to the campaign. I feel particularly terrible because she, as a Georgian, could potentially have gives substantail time to the growth of the party here, which we badly need.

It's hard to think of a non-black political candidate who can understand the need for a focus on growth in the south. This area is under constant attack from nuclear and anti-environmental forces at the corporate and governmental level. Being an economically depressed area suffering at the hands of out-of-state polluters and a still dominant plantation mentality and wealth structure which all too often goes back generations, the south is ripe for the sort of populist message that a McKinney campaign could have brought.

It's not that Nader couldn't do the same thing, it's that he won't. He'll express that message, but will only hit a southern state once or twice during the campaign. Wrongly or rightly, I had hoped we would benefit from more frequent and well coordinated presidential campaign appearances.

In fact, I had hoped that Elaine Brown would seek the nomination as well, leaving us potentially with two Georgia women seeking our state party votes at the convention, and thereby coming to the state a few times. Now it seems that such is not to be.

Which is in some ways a real tragedy. Because we are not well enough organized to give them what they need to make a run, we lose out on the growth they could have brought us. Let's not try to fool ourselves into believing that a run by an unknown and unqualified Green candidate will do absolutely anything to grow the Green Party. Indeed, instead of growing the party, another no-name campaign by an unqualified candidate will only secure our position in the minds of the voters as "those guys who run for offices and never win."

It's not that we must run a campaign that results in our nominee as president, but that the campaign be behind someone dedicated to the growth and maturation of the Green Party. The non-voter must be persuaded that being a Green voter is better, and worth the time investment. The person who is abused by the system must find safe-haven in our midst, and self-determination in her future. I would like to think that we are well enough advanced to show someone like McKinney that we will follow her lead in growing the Green Party. I would like to think that someone like her would be able to see a core of sane and solid citizens in the Green Party who can work with her to craft the powerful force for change we all know we need.

But I think that part of the problem is that we have so many folks who want their way rather than wanting Green success and Green growth. Being able to post long missives against this or that Green, as I have myself done, seems more important to some than being able to celebrate Green victories where they happen.

Mike Feinstein wrote a long missive to the national Green Party, and no, I don't have a copy, in which he says that the California Green Party must address the problem of inability to cross the electoral threshold in partisan races. It's not the inability to win a congressional seat that has him concerned, but our inability to win county council, state legislative, judicial and other seats which are partisan. I'm not sure which seats are partisan, but those listed often are.

These sorts of questions, how do we get Greens elected as Greens, are much more important that who we run for President. I just want to be able to run a presidential campaign which is a credit to the Green Party and does not leave us weaker than we are now.
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Okay, let me stick my neck out and say something here.

I wanted Cynthia McKinney to run and partly for selfish reasons. I am an African-American and in any election around here in South Los Angeles I'd be running in a predominantly African-American/Latino district. I would have loved running for office on a Green ticket headed by Cynthia McKinney. She's progressive. She's smart. She's nationally famous. I agree with her on every single issue. I would have loved to run for office with her at the top of the ticket.

[I can just remember a big billboard for Paul O'Dwyer for U.S. Senator in New York in 1968 with the big banner:

"Support the McCarthy Team!"

I could see myself putting up lawn signs around here saying:

"Vote for Alex! Support the Cynthia McKinney Team!"

Having Said That ...

It's time we faced this major truth: It's gonna be damned hard for anybody to fill Ralph Nader's shoes.

Why?

Ralph Nader is not a politician.

Ralph Nader is a prophet -- almost in the same class as Gandhi and King.

Think about it.

It has been seven long years since the fateful 2000 election. The Democrats (and their Amen Corner in the "liberal" media) still hate his guts. They have poured over every single thing he's done over his extraordinary forty-plus year career in public service and in his personal life and... they got nothing!

After all this time the only thing they can come up with is that he's a "spoiler" and an "egomaniac" for pissing on their corrupt little parade.

The "Negatives" for Cynthia McKinney and Elaine Brown

First, Cynthia McKinney has a reputation for being thin-skinned and you must have a very thick skin to be at the top of a Green Party ticket.

People say she's "crazy." They say she's a 911 conspiracy nut. They say she's anti-Semitic. That's not fair. She has never said or done anything you justify those charges, but her father did say that "the J-E-W-S" were responsible for her 2002 defeat. More recently she sued several media outlets for defaming her. She's right but no politician can "win" in a fight like that with the media. She has debts left over from her congressional campaigns that need to be taken care of before she can even think about raising money for a national campaign.

Elane Brown's negatives, frankly, are far more serious. Elaine Brown goes around the country boasting about her past as leader of the Black Panther Party in the 1970s. And sure enough, that shit never fails to impress the "Lefties" among us (Malik Rahim always boasts about his Black Panther street cred, too).

Well, I know this may come as a shock to some people, but those are high negatives among "normal" people in California. Just this summer Chauncey Bailey, distinguished African-American editor of The Oakland Post was cold-bloodedly assassinated in broad daylight in Oakland by a bunch of wackos from an institution called "Your Black Muslim Bakery" (see my blog post at http://www.greencommons.org/node/761).

At a California Plenary this past weekend, several Alameda County Greens got up and gushed about how Elaine Brown would be a big hit in the African-American community in Oakland. With all due respect to my dear Alameda Green brothers and sisters, outside of the usual "Lefty" circles, I seriously doubt it. More than most, those folks up there know that in it's last years the Black Panther Party, frankly, was not much more than a common vulgar, gun-slinging, drug-addled street gang. By the time the mainstream press starts dredging up old charges that Elaine Brown ordered "hits" to cover-up for the Panthers' crimes (to say nothing all the charges she also ratted for the government), her "negatives" will be the only thing people will be talking about.

We need a candidate who can talk about things like environmental racism and shitty health care in inner-city Oakland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. We need a candidate who can talk about traffic and pollution and consumer rip-offs in the suburbs. And we need a candidate who can talk about water issues, pesticides, and such in the rural areas. Finally, we need a candidate who can then go on and coolly talk about the most radical ideas about confronting the military-industrial complex, deep democracy, and economic justice without looking weird or sounding crazy in a dark business suit.

Ralph Nader could do that. Filling his shoes ain't easy.
 
Constitution Party
 
I agree with your sentiments wholeheartedly.
 
I had hopes for Cynthia McKinney. Of all the names that have been bandied about in the past eight years, she and David Cobb were the only ones that came out to California and explored before the race began.

To me Elaine Brown was just another name like Robert Redford. The kind of person we ask because they are so famous it would be a head start in name recognition, but they say no and we say we asked them. You know that game...

I'm worried that the Green Primary is going to be a cake walk for Nader. None of the other names that are left ring bells for me right now.

BTW: I get a charge out of the idea Alex Walker will be running for office! I think that's going to be the real growing race for Greens next year.
 
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