Ralph Nader in Oregon in 2004: A recap of what happened.

Ralph Nader's lawsuit against the Democratic Party alleges, in part, that DNC officials conspired to keep him off the ballot in Oregon in 2004.

Here at BlueOregon, back in 2004, we covered Nader's attempts to get on the ballot in intricate detail. Here's a recap...

On the day that BlueOregon launched - July 17, 2004 - Jeff Alworth noted Nader's trouble getting on the ballot in Oregon:

Poor Ralph. Just four years ago, he was running as the Lefty King, and Oregon was his spiritual homeland. He had rock-star appeal, able to muster large hordes with a single press release. Now, even with the help of the hard right, he can't get a thousand people to attend his speeches.

On August 11, 2004, Alworth noted that the right-wing anti-tax group FreedomWorks had offered its help to Nader. Quoting the Statesman-Journal:

Citizens for a Sound Economy/FreedomWorks, a conservative group that helped overturn the Measure 30 tax package in February, has sought to help Nader in an open effort to help President Bush’s prospects in Oregon. But the group’s Oregon director, Russ Walker of Keizer, said that the Nader campaign hasn’t exactly embraced his offer of support. "What we’re doing is directing our volunteer members to request petitions directly from the Nader campaign," Walker said.

On August 15, BlueOregon posted a press release from SEIU 49 alleging "widespread fraud and forgery" on Nader's petitions. In particular, they found that only 32% of the people whose names appeared on Nader's petitions reported that they had actually signed their name.

On August 19, Medford's KTVL-10 found a Nader petition circulator - who admitted that he was hired by the REPUBLICAN National Committee. Quoting KTVL:

Reporter: Rhodes says his company, called APC, was hired by the Republican National Committee to get people to sign his petition to re-elect President Bush, however what Rhodes was asking voters and what voters were actually signing seem to be two different things.

Reporter: “You’re saying you’re here to re-elect Bush but the signatures don’t go for that, they go for Nader? Is that true?”

Rhodes: “Yes.”

Reporter: “It is true? So you’re saying its really for Nader?”

Rhodes: “Correct.”

Then, in September, we saw a series of rulings on Nader's petition drive. On September 1, BlueOregon broke the story that Nader had been denied ballot access - because he fell 218 signatures short (out of 15306 required.)

In a turnabout on September 9, a Marion County judge ruled that he should be on the ballot.

Finally, on September 22, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that Nader was off for good.

Nothing like a blast from the past. Thanks, Ralph.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    The accounting is incomplete without also mentioning HB 2614 in 2005 as that sprang directly out of the Nader experience in 2004.

  • Jeanette Doney (unverified)
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    I'm glad Nader is suing and like his being blocked from the debates in 2000, he's going to win. An Independent candidate has the RIGHT to be on the ballot.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    An Independent candidate has the RIGHT to be on the ballot.

    Yes, and when a candidate calls an assembly of electors, I have a RIGHT to attend. But Nader apparently thinks it's ok to (literally) shut the doors on people that want to participate so that he can skew the results in his favor.

    Explain, please, how that's in accordance with Nader's professed beliefs. (?)

  • Travis Diskin (unverified)
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    I repost here from the other Nader thread....

    Let's be completely honest here. Regardless of the factuality of the historical "coverage" of what happened here are two things you should know:

    1> Well over 1200 people were in the room for the nominating convention. The SoS REQUIRES that you shut the doors at some point and move forward with the signing. It took over 45 minutes to get people into that room and they were getting cranky. So, when there were over 1200 people in the room, the doors were shut and the signing started with full confidence that the 1200 people were enough. [by the way, I was locked out and there were about 12 others that didn't make it in.] But....

    Some people didn't sign. Well over 200 came to that nominating convention. Filled the seats and did not sign. Why would they do that?

    2> The Nader campaign collected well over 22,000 signatures to put Ralph on the ballot. But 3,000+ were thrown out because of unwritten rules on the numbering of the petitions. Not that the signatures of Oregonians were invalid, but that the clerical numbering of them did not meet some unwritten rule. In the first ruling in favor of the Nader campaign, Judge Lipscombe did not rule on the numbering issue because his ruling on other unwritten rules put enough signatures back in the mix to qualify the candidate. Later appeals then removed those signatures. All the legal actions to prevent access were undertaken by union lawyers with interceders from the DPO.

    So there are the facts.

    I'll leave it to others to discuss the merits of those attacks on our democracy.

  • Undemocratic (unverified)
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    Nice recap!

    Too bad you're skipping over the lawyerly intimidation of signature gatherers, and the seat-stealing plan for the nominating convention.

    I stopped by that convention after hearing about the email from the Democratic Party Chair, and was so disgusted by what I saw that I have had a hard time voting Democrat ever since.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    The Democratic Party got what it wanted for the 2004 election. Essentially a one-on-one with Bush against Kerry wearing the Anybody-But-Bush mantle, the only thing he had going for him to give him a chance of winning. No Nader to split the vote. Kerry lost and deserved to lose for the sorry campaign he ran and for coming across as a phony - and proving he was a phony when he reneged on his promises to fight vote rigging that occurred in spades in Ohio and New Mexico.

    If we are stop the collapse of the American republic we need another party to oppose the Demopublican duopoly.

  • (Show?)

    The accounting is incomplete without also mentioning HB 2614 in 2005 as that sprang directly out of the Nader experience in 2004.

    Huh? How can a bill that was introduced in 2005 have had an effect on whether he got on the ballot in 2004?

    To be sure, the experience of 2004 influenced what happened in 2005 - but not the other way around. There are no time machines in politics.

  • (Show?)
    Huh? How can a bill that was introduced in 2005 have had an effect on whether he got on the ballot in 2004?

    Nader's alledging that the Dems deliberately tried to foil a candidate - him - from outside of the Duopoly. The DPO/RPO proved that's exactly what they wanted with HB 2614 the very next year and citing Nader's convention as the excuse. Of course it's part of the picture. Paring it out strikes me as an attempt to frame the situation in the best possible light for your side - the DPO.

  • Secret Conspiracy Theorist (unverified)
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    Nader's alledging that the Dems deliberately tried to foil a candidate

    That's nothing... I heard that in 2008, the national Democratic Party is going to deliberately try and foil the candidacy of whoever gets the Republican nomination for President! Shocking.

  • (Show?)

    Really? What did you hear that the DNC is going to do to prevent any Republican from making the ballot?

    LOL - if you're gonna try your hand at snark you ought to at least think it through first.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    If Nader had run in 2004 Kerry and the DLC could have blamed him for losing just as Gore's supporters and the Democratic Party blamed Nader for Gore's loss in 2000. I hate the thought of Hillary being the Democratic candidate, but to give her and her campaign credit they appear to be much more competent than Gore, Kerry and their campaigns.

  • (Show?)

    Does any of this chatter change the fact that two years after drawing 10,000 paid attendees to the Rose Garden, Nader was unable to draw 1000 fans to a free event at Benson High to put him on the ballot?

    If he'd had just 25% of the people who showed up at the Rose Garden, no amount of "seat grabbing" would have made a difference.

    In 2000, he claimed that Gore and Bush were exactly the same. Whether you're a Nader guy, a Bush guy, or a Gore guy, I'm pretty sure you can't plausibly argue that the world today would look the same after nearly seven years of President Gore.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Right on Kari! I am so tired of hearing about the great and powerful OZ NADER.

    And this: "But 3,000+ were thrown out because of unwritten rules on the numbering of the petitions. Not that the signatures of Oregonians were invalid, but that the clerical numbering of them did not meet some unwritten rule"

    So, this was the only time in history that numbering of petitions changed an outcome? Seems to me that there were some long time initiative people involved in the Nader campaign, but they didn't know it was important to number the petitions correctly, and that lack of knowledge is the only thing which kept Nader off the ballot?

    Do you Naderites really believe that Citizens for a Sound Economy/Freedomworks (the same groups which appear in that Yes on 50 ad so well satirized in the YOU TUBE underground ad) would have said nothing but nice things about Ralph if he had gotten on the ballot? Or maybe were so scared Bush would lose that this was the only way they thought they could win?

    For all you Naderites, there is an Eagles song I'd like to dedicate to you.

    GET OVER IT!

  • Conspiracy Theorist (JHL) (unverified)
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    "LOL - if you're gonna try your hand at snark you ought to at least think it through first."

    Kevin, if Ralphie had applied the same thought process to running for the Presidency that you advocate for mere snark, then we wouldn't be having this conversation.

    Fact is, your boy Ralphie ran a piss-poor campaign and blamed everyone for its shortcomings but himself. It's not a particularly unique story in the history of politics.

  • LT (unverified)
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    CT(JHL), you and I agree. With all the skill and experience Nader has had, to have made such a mess of the process that people complain about seat stealing shows he is losing his touch.

    Any campaign which puts people's names on petitions rather than getting them to sign themselves deserves to lose. "In particular, they found that only 32% of the people whose names appeared on Nader's petitions reported that they had actually signed their name."

  • (Show?)

    Bill Bodden The Democratic Party got what it wanted for the 2004 election ... a one-on-one with Bush against Kerry ... No Nader to split the vote. Kerry lost

    Not in Oregon, he didn't.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Does any of this chatter change the fact that two years after drawing 10,000 paid attendees to the Rose Garden, Nader was unable to draw 1000 fans to a free event at Benson High to put him on the ballot?

    This was 2004 when non-Republicans were in an anybody-but-Bush mode and otherwise loyal Naderites were urging him to not run to give Kerry a chance of winning even though Kerry proved to be an incompetent loser as many of us thought he would.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    For all you Naderites, there is an Eagles song I'd like to dedicate to you.

    GET OVER IT!

    The same point can be applied with more accuracy to the pro-Gore/anti-Nader camp. Gore lost because of his and his campaign's incompetence and obvious flaws in his character. This latter point suggests that the proposition that things would be different today is, at least, in part wishful thinking. Gore was part of the Clinton team that that kicked UN inspectors under Rolf Ekeus out of Iraq in 1998 because they were getting close to proving Iraq did not have WMDs. The same gang then initiated unnecessary bombing of Iraq in 1998, the year the Project for the New American Century wrote Clinton urging war on Iraq.

  • (Show?)

    Wow. I can agree with just about everybody on this one!

    First off, I heartily agree with Bill Bodden, Tom Civiletti (from the other comment thread) and others who allege a conspiracy to supress Nader. I was part of that conspiracy. I also agree, that this is unhealth and leads to Corporatist supporter "A" on the Dem side over Corporatist supporter "B" on the Repub side.

    IMO all candidates for public office are required to have an ego that is ...shall we say....differently developed than the rest of us who don't run for office. Inside that subgroup, no one surpasses Nader on the self-love meter. No one.

    This will always lead to a vision that veers from reality, colored as it is by self-righteousness.

    <hr/>

    Ultimately, there is not a one-to-one trade off between corporate shills like Hillary or Kerry and truly malignant power grabbers like Bush and Cheney. The latter are much, much worse, and Naderites need to get a clue about moral purity when the rubber meets the road in these desperate times.

    <hr/>

    Hara Kiri has never been considered an honorable or practical solution for the American political Samurai, and I see no reason to try to make that the new reality.

  • Michal (unverified)
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    While our people are dying ostensibly to bring democracy to Iraq it should be considered simply treasonous for any dirty politics or Democratic conspiracies to keep Greens or any other candidates off of any ballot.

    Here in New Mexico the Greens have been "threatened" with ballot disqualification BUT the Secretary of State and Attorney General won't make up their mind. It's been months now, since August in fact, that our party has been demanding an answer and they will not rule one way or the other, nor will they answer queries from county clerks! The election season has started, possible candidates want to know if a ballot line exists and to start collecting signatures themselves since we have a double collection process here but the Dems are stalling, probably hoping we will run out of time or patience. Is this any way to practice democracy? Do they/you still believe that you have a monopoly on progressive politics whilst you squander any number of chances to make good on your promises to the electorate?

  • Michal (unverified)
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    While our people are dying ostensibly to bring democracy to Iraq it should be considered simply treasonous for any dirty politics or Democratic conspiracies to keep Greens or any other candidates off of any ballot.

    Here in New Mexico the Greens have been "threatened" with ballot disqualification BUT the Secretary of State and Attorney General won't make up their mind. It's been months now, since August in fact, that our party has been demanding an answer and they will not rule one way or the other, nor will they answer queries from county clerks! The election season has started, possible candidates want to know if a ballot line exists and to start collecting signatures themselves since we have a double collection process here but the Dems are stalling, probably hoping we will run out of time or patience. Is this any way to practice democracy? Do they/you still believe that you have a monopoly on progressive politics whilst you squander any number of chances to make good on your promises to the electorate?

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    No Nader to split the vote. Kerry lost

    Not in Oregon, he didn't.

    Just in case you missed it, Steven, we were talking about a national election for president, not a state election for governor or dog catcher. Kerry not only lost the election he lost most of whatever respect he might have held before the election.

  • (Show?)

    Bill Bodden Steven, we were talking about a national election for president, not a state election for governor or dog catcher.

    And in case you missed it, Bill, the Presidential election is run 50 separate State elections, each which are tallied individually prior to being added together. And today's subject is Nader whining about not qualifying to be a spoiler in Oregon State, not kicked off some mythical national ballot.

    The irony is that the people whining that Oregon Democrats played old-school hardball are exactly the same guys who whine that Florida/Ohio Democrats didn't.

    Make up your mind, OK?

  • (Show?)
    The irony is that the people whining that Oregon Democrats played old-school hardball are exactly the same guys who whine that Florida/Ohio Democrats didn't.

    Woah! I've never advocated that anyone anywhere hamstring democracy. And that's exactly what the DPO did in Oregon.

    Besides which, aren't you proffering irony of the same flavor here, Steve?

  • JHL (unverified)
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    While our people are dying ostensibly to bring democracy to Iraq

    You know, I just decided that Greens don't get to argue along these lines.

    Because while the rest of the country was being reasonable about their ballot and looking to elect the best candidate (not the perfect candidate), the Greens were looking to put George Bush in the White House so they'd be noticed by the Democrats.

    Or maybe some Raider would like to explain to us what the phrase "crashing the party" means? Or why, in 2000, after promising the Democrats that he would not campaign in Florida, he went and campaigned in Florida?

    I'm not blaming Nader for the war in Iraq... but it's obvious to me that he doesn't care enough about ending it (or having not started it) to get on the train with the most chance of ending it.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Ultimately, there is not a one-to-one trade off between corporate shills like Hillary or Kerry and truly malignant power grabbers like Bush and Cheney. The latter are much, much worse, and Naderites need to get a clue about moral purity when the rubber meets the road in these desperate times.

    I don't agree with Pat Ryan on this, but I can well understand his point which basically has been and remains very persuasive. The trouble is the American people have been going along with it for generations, and look at where it has us - choose between Hillary and Rudy. Basically, they are the same, both owned by corporations, including the military-industrial-media complex, which has no limits to its desire for more power and wealth regardless of the destructive consequences. If the winner of the 2008 contest doesn't become a dictator building on the Bush/Cheney consolidation of power then look out in 2016. Truthdig has an excellent article by Chris Hedges on Nader - An Unreasonable Man that is well worth reading.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Ultimately, there is not a one-to-one trade off between corporate shills like Hillary or Kerry and truly malignant power grabbers like Bush and Cheney. The latter are much, much worse, and Naderites need to get a clue about moral purity when the rubber meets the road in these desperate times.

    As above, I maintain there is little choice between Hillary and Rudy. The only practical possibility that offers any hope, albeit slim, is for the people to elect enough senators and representatives in Congress to put a brake on the collapse of the republic; that is, what is left of it. That is one reason I am for Steve Novick and why I would like to see more of his type be elected to Congress and for more already in Congress to get some spine and live up to their oaths to defend the Constitution - like Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul.

  • LT (unverified)
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    May I remind Bill and others that in 1968 some of us voting for the first time for president were discouraged and didn't see much diff. between Humphrey and Nixon. But simply by who they would have appointed to cabinet and lower offices there was a big difference.

  • (Show?)

    But simply by who they would have appointed to cabinet and lower offices there was a big difference.

    EXACTLY. The President doesn't run the Federal government. The President's executive branch appointees run the Federal government. Democratic Presidents fish in a far different pond for those appointees than Republican Presidents do.

    Then start thinking about the Federal bench.

    There is no reason EVER to vote for a Republican for President, no matter how suboptimal the Democratic nominee may be.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    There is no reason EVER to vote for a Republican for President, no matter how suboptimal the Democratic nominee may be.

    This is one of the most absurd statements made in a long time on Blue Oregon. In other words, my party right or wrong. I have reservations about Ron Paul, but if I had to choose between him and Hillary there is no question that I would vote for Ron Paul for the simple reason he has demonstrated that he takes his vote to defend the Constitution seriously while for Hillary (and all those who voted for the war on Iraq) the Constitution is meaningless. With Hillary getting support from Rupert Murdoch and in debt to him, Stephanie, you will find out to the nation's detriment how suboptimal she can be if she becomes president. How about Hillary appointing Murdoch to be our Orwellian Minister of Truth with more FoxNews hacks like Tony Snow in charge of the White House stenography pool?

  • Ted (unverified)
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    I went through a phase where I really struggled with Nader. Good guy or agent provacateur? Nader's self propogated image is one of somebody who rents an apartment and lives simply so he can fight for the poor. The reality is that he lives in a multimillion dollar house in the DC area which he "bought for his brother." Nader has never publicly disclosed his investments. Those are not good signs.

    But what I find most odd is that, with all the things he could rail about and use his public image to draw attention to, he's always biased against the Dems and spends about 75% of his energy attacking Dems. Clinton refused the PNAC guys when they wanted him to attack Iraq in the 90s. Clinton didn't authorize torture, CIA renditions, illegal wiretaps, etc. So with all those serious threats to democracy and the civil liberties Nader professes to support, he's decided to draw national attention to this issue in Oregon. It's hard to see how he sees getting the most return on his efforts by doing so.

    I must agree with Kari, too. The world would look a lot different if Gore had been elected in 2000. I don't think 911 would have happened, no war, no private computers taking/counting our votes, no Gitmo torture-mart, no additional $5 trillion in national debt, no plummet in the US dollar, etc, etc, etc. What we really need is a constitutional ammendment that allows Americans to opt out of insane policies so that those who vote for them are responsible for them. All those red-white-and-blue cool aide drinkers who wanted to bomb the world after 911 should be the ones paying for this mess.

  • (Show?)

    Bill,

    Can't disagreee with any of your points.....well....except for you senatorial choice.......but what happens when some single digit or low double digit number of us vote for the pure play candidate? (Not talking about the Dem primary here)

    a trap question of course, for the specific election.....'cause I think we can agree that it will always be the "worst" candidate that gets the initial boost from the altruistic pick by the informed voter.

    So I guess the real question is can anyone demonstrate an accrued benefit over time?

    I tend to think not, but that's only based on evidence from the last half of the 20th century. I do know that both of the two big parties, were not around in early US history but have evolved out of earlier iterations.

    That said, I think that the current level of tech makes it harder rather than easier to pull off.

    I'd like to be wrong........

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    There is no reason EVER to vote for a Republican for President, no matter how suboptimal the Democratic nominee may be.

    Here is another reason why this statement is absurd. Both parties have been around for a long time which means means that people who determine the character and other qualities of these parties have come and gone with the consequence that both parties have changed. Today's Democratic party is no longer the party of FDR, nor is the Republican party that of Barry Goldwater. So for Democrats who adhere to the credo expressed above, what would you do if a Mussolini, a Franco or a Cheney became the head of the Democratic Party and a John Kennedy, a Howard Dean or a George McGovern became the head of the Republican party? Would you still adhere mindlessly to voting the label or would you come to your senses and vote principle and what is best for the nation? There have been some Republicans and Democrats that have abandoned their former parties because of principle. What are your opinions of them? The ex-Republicans are good guys for raising their standards and rejecting the Republican party but the ex-Democrats are traitors?

  • LT (unverified)
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    Bill, there are instances of that happening. Moderate Republican Wm. Weld was elected Gov. of Mass. after Silber (annoying, preachy right wing type) got the Democratic nomination.

    That was a little over a decade and a half ago.

    Longer ago than that (closer to a 1/4 century) the guy who got the Democratic nomination for State Senate in a district incl. part of Salem had a lot of local friends who turned out to be friendly to Republicans. More importantly, when it was learned that the Dem. nominee had previously served in the House when Norma Paulus was there and consistently voted to the right of Paulus, local people sprang into action.

    This led to billboards and a radio commercial with famous local Democrats with the tagline "And that is why we say, vote for LB Day".

    Whatever anyone thought of ol' LB (and I worked on a campaign against him at a later date), he had worked with Tom McCall and was a better person/better legislator than the Dem. nominee would have been.

    And if, by some fluke, the Republican nominee in 2008 were Huckabee (or something like a Huckabee - Hagel ticket) and the Dem. ticket sounded like 2 Lieberman types, I would have to think long and hard.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    local people sprang into action.

    If ever we needed more of that, the time is now. I stick by my positions that the American electorate needs to vote on principle and voting for the lesser evil begets evil. However, I'm sufficiently realistic to recognize that it is unlikely that the average American voter will raise his or her ethical and moral standards and we'll get more of the same in 2008 with Democrats and Republicans voting for their particular crook. My theories suggest a badly needed cure, but I have no illusions that the patient will pay attention to my prescription. I'll vote my conscience which means a vote for Steve Novick. As for president, that is a year away and remains to be seen. As for the Democrats and Republicans if they give us Hillary and Rudy it doesn't say much for their standards.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    My time is limited just now, but here is a quickie in response to those using examples of what happens when the greater evil gets elected - Nixon and Bush.

    Humphrey was a strong supporter of the Vietnam war so in that regard he offered no advantage over Nixon. If I recall correctly Lyndon Johnson was not enthused about Humphrey becoming president.

    Obviously, the election of Bush and Cheney has been a monumental disaster, but two points should be noted. Nobody outside the Bush/Cheney inner circle, including maybe Bush, had any idea that they would promote a war on Iraq. Neither the Democratic Party nor the Gore/Lieberman campaign ever suggested anything along that line. Had they made a plausible case, those of us who voted for Nader would have voted for Gore. As for Gore, there is no guarantee that he would not have gone to war with Iraq. He had a lot to do with anti-Iraq hostilities while working with co-presidents Bill and Hillary Clinton, including maintaining the sanctions on Iraq that cost an estimated half million Iraqi children their lives. Madeleine Albright said, "We thought it was worth it." "We" must have included Gore. And with the Likud party's man in Washington, Joseph Lieberman, as his vice-president in what is now Cheney's office Gore would certainly have been encouraged to attack Iraq. I can't say with certainty that Gore would have gone to war, but others are in no better position to guarantee he wouldn't.

  • (Show?)

    Humphrey was a strong supporter of the Vietnam war so in that regard he offered no advantage over Nixon.

    Maybe not with regard to Vietnam, but certainly for many, many, many other reasons, he would have been better than Nixon.

    As for Gore, there is no guarantee that he would not have gone to war with Iraq.

    Sure. It's a parallel universe. Everything is speculative. But knowing Gore's character, you can bet it would have been a different kind of war, with a different attitude toward civil liberties, etc.

    And beyond the war, there are many reasons why Gore would have been vastly better than Bush. Judicial appointments, tax policy, environmental stuff, the list is nearly infinitely long.

    You simply cannot make the case that Gore and Bush would have been the same sort of presidents. Maybe on one issue here or there (free trade?) but hardly across the board.

    There are many of us (millions of us) who knew that Gore and Bush were fundamentally different from each other, both ideologically and by character.

    But the Naderites liked to claim that they were two branches of one political party. That there would be no difference between the two.

    In the late 1990s and the year 2000, America was prosperous and at peace. (Thank you, Bill!) We thought the prosperity and peace would last forever. Our politics was small. Pop culture dominated politics, and even in our politics, we spent our time worrying about blow jobs, rather than war.

    In that context, maybe it was to be expected that ideological liberals would treat a presidential election like a vanity contest dominated by "message sending" instead of "leadership electing".

    But you can never know the future. One should never, ever vote to "send a message" when that vote will result in a substantially worse leader being elected to high office.

    The fact remains that the voters in Florida who would have voted for Gore over Bush, but instead chose to vote Nader to "send a message" handed the White House to George Bush. If they had voted for Gore, it wouldn't have been close, we'd never have learned all about hanging chads, and the Supreme Court would have never gotten involved.

  • (Show?)
    The world would look a lot different if Gore had been elected in 2000. I don't think 911 would have happened, no war, no private computers taking/counting our votes, no Gitmo torture-mart, no additional $5 trillion in national debt, no plummet in the US dollar, etc, etc, etc.

    I'm sorry, but this is just fantasyland thinking.

    Training and planning for the 9/11 attacks were well under way before the outcome of the 2000 election was decided. They weren't thrown together in just a few months after George Bush took office. The people at the operational levels of the various US security agencies were career professionals, they didn't come into existence between late January 2001 and mid-September 2001. The dysfunctional computer systems, the problems with sharing intelligence, inter-departmental squabbling -- all of that's been a part of the national security apparatus for so many years it's the stuff of spy novels going back decades. It's possible that with a more attentive president the 9/11 plot might have been exposed, but there's no guarantee that it would have been or that all four groups of highjackers would have been discovered.

    As Bill points out above, one of the primary pushers of the Iraq war was Ahmed Chalabi's good buddy Joe Lieberman, who would have had Gore's ear. Lieberman was brought onto the ticket precisely because he was seen as an aggressive proponent of American power overseas. It's obvious that the Iraq war was something a large part of the foreign policy establishment in the US supported even before the 2000 election. There would have been "evidence" leaked through Republican members of Congress, calls by the GOP to take out Saddam because he was building WMD, and the same people who supported the war in 2002 and support action against Iran now in the face of a lack of hard evidence of any actual threat would have been pressing Gore to take action.

    A Gore/Lieberman war in Iraq might have been different than a Bush/Cheney war, but a lot of Iraqis would have died, people would have been tortured (can you name a war where they weren't?) and there would have been a clampdown on the rights of American citizens. Just look at the way a number of Democrats in Congress have been more than happy to team up with Republicans to enact restrictive legislation.

  • (Show?)

    Darrel - looks like you and I were typing at the same time.

    I'd be curious about your thoughts on the above. To me, it's not just about the war.

    And even on the war, where you're mostly right above, I do think that the character of the war would be fundamentally different.

    As a child, George Bush liked to torture animals. As a fraternity president, George Bush liked to torture freshmen. As a Governor, George Bush mocked a woman sitting on death row. I am, for one, not surprised that he condones torture as president.

  • (Show?)

    As a fraternity president, George Bush liked to torture freshmen.

    In my day (which was a few years later than GWB's day) there was also a persistent legend in New Haven involving the historical abuse of livestock (specifically sheep; yes, ladies and gentlemen, I said sheep) in the pledging rituals of that fraternity.

    I always wondered what farmer in his right mind would rent a sheep to a fraternity.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    But you can never know the future. One should never, ever vote to "send a message" when that vote will result in a substantially worse leader being elected to high office.

    The thing about electing a president is that you never really know what you will get. It is like someone once told a prospective bridegroom to not worry about the woman he was going to marry because she would be a different person after they were married. Who would have thought Lyndon Johnson would have escalated the Vietnam War? And, since no one has called me on an earlier comment, who would have thought Bush and Cheney would have gotten us into this war.

    The world would look a lot different if Gore had been elected in 2000. I don't think 911 would have happened, no war, no private computers taking/counting our votes, no Gitmo torture-mart, no additional $5 trillion in national debt, no plummet in the US dollar, etc, etc, etc.

    I'm sorry, but this is just fantasyland thinking.

    Darrel is exactly right calling the preceding comment fantasyland thinking. Let's recall a comment I made but had to be ignored for anyone to think 9/11 would not have occurred. Gore was part of the troika in the White House maintaining sanctions on Iraq that cost an estimated half million children their lives. Arabs are strange people. They are not like Americans who might see this as an opportunity to sue the killers for a bundle of money. Arabs tend to be more primitive, and as Mike Scheuer, a former CIA analyst in the bin Laden unit, indicated the deaths of these children was one of several reasons for 9/11. So, with Gore, one of the troika in charge of the sanctions in the White House as president you could have bet your last nickel that bin Laden would have continued with his plans for the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and probably the U.S. Capitol.

    And even on the war, where you're mostly right above, I do think that the character of the war would be fundamentally different.

    War is war and it is always hell. Gore's and Lieberman's war, if it took place, would have been just as barbarous as the Bush/Cheney war. The Air Force would not have replaced the cluster bombs in their bomb bays with Halloween candy, and the poorly trained and scared soldiers and marines would have broken down doors to homes and humiliated the men, women and children in them. Corporal Graner and his team of jerks would have abused their prisoners in Abu Ghraib. Guantanamo might not have existed as a torture/concentration camp, but that would not have made it a "nice" war.

    Just look at the way a number of Democrats in Congress have been more than happy to team up with Republicans to enact restrictive legislation.

    The pro-war wing of the House Democrats got pro-war Steny Hoyer elected as majority leader over end-the-war-but-keep-the-pork-flowing-to-Pennsylvania Jack Murtha.

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    The thing about electing a president is that you never really know what you will get. It is like someone once told a prospective bridegroom to not worry about the woman he was going to marry because she would be a different person after they were married. Who would have thought Lyndon Johnson would have escalated the Vietnam War? And, since no one has called me on an earlier comment, who would have thought Bush and Cheney would have gotten us into this war.

    I just have to respectfully disagree. It's true that none of us here are Jeanne Dixon or Nostradamus and have an ability to predict the future with much certainty, but by the time someone runs for President we generally know enough about him or her to make some very educated guesses about the way he or she is likely to respond to different kinds of events and stimuli or provocations.

    I would also submit that active members of the Democratic Party generally, as a pool of talent, are far more closely aligned with my own values than active members of the Republican Party. This is as close to a sure thing as there is in politics these days, and I will always vote for the Presidential candidate who is fishing in the former pool for executive branch and judicial appointees. Even if an individual with progressive values managed to get nominated by the Republican Party as a Presidential candidate, and win, that president-elect would still be a Republican, and would be surrounded by Republican supporters with home-state friends and associates waiting to jump on all the political jobs in the executive branch ... most of whom would by definition NOT share the president-elect's progressive values.

    And to say you would vote for RON PAUL over Hillary Clinton is very disturbing to me. Ron Paul would like to abolish every Federal agency that progressives care about. He's against the war, and good for him. He is an honest man of principle. I'll give you that. But they are not our principles. I'm not sure I could vote for Ron Paul unless he was running against Sam Brownback, and even then I'd strongly consider selling my house and moving to Holland first.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    I have strongly criticized the foreign policy actions of Democrats as well as Republicans on BlueOregon and elsewhere, but Democrats have never behaved with the level of disregard for international consensus, international law, and civil liberties that the Shrubbery has displayed.

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    The thing about electing a president is that you never really know what you will get.

    If that were actually true - that the candidate, pre-election, has zero correlation with the president, post-election, then there would be no point to a democracy.

    More specifically, if YOU believe the above, then there's no point in voting.

    Which is absurd on its face.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    The thing about electing a president is that you never really know what you will get.

    If that were actually true - that the candidate, pre-election, has zero correlation with the president, post-election, then there would be no point to a democracy.

    Perhaps I should have added some emphasis to "know" to preclude the above response which seems to have interpreted my point to mean "you can't believe" or something of that nature. And the term "zero correlation" is carrying that rebuttal point much too far.

    The history books suggest that many people had no idea that Truman would be the president he became. Prior to that he was considered little more than a potted plant filling the vice-president's office. Some in the Democratic party didn't believe he was worthy of that office in the first place.

    Voters were led to believe that between Goldwater and Johnson, Goldwater would be the warmonger, but it was Johnson who expanded the war in Vietnam.

    People voting for Carter believed he would become a force for good, but his presidency was noted more for its failures, thanks in great part to the Democratic party leaders and his national security adviser, Zbig, undermining him.

    Did anyone on this thread ever suspect and warn the American people that Bush and Cheney would start an illegal war, shred the Constitution and make the imperial presidency more imperial than ever?

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Let's get back to Gore losing the election for president.

    There is a consensus among many people, including some Democrats, that Gore ran a pathetic and incompetent campaign. Now let's consider the last days of that campaign after the votes were in and it became obvious that Jeb Bush, Kathleen Harris and the Republican party in Florida had been playing dirty politics by, among other vile acts, denying thousands of African-American (and mostly Democratic voters) their civil right to vote and have their votes counted. Gore, his campaign staff and the Democratic party stood by and let the Florida branch of the Bush Mafia get away with it.

    The Democrats and the Republicans entered into a Kabuki dance in the courts where justice is raped every day, but only Republicans took the fight in noticeable numbers to the streets - or more specifically to the county courthouses where votes were being counted.

    Hell should have been raised by Democrats over the obvious dirty tricks to deny African-Americans (therefore mostly Democrats) their votes, but Gore and the Democratic Party chose instead to surrender. This was the Bush Mafia’s first move to shred the Constitution, and Gore and the Democratic Party “leadership” stood by and let them get away with it setting the pattern for the Bush presidency and Democratic complicity.

    Clearly, Florida was no Ukraine and Al Gore was no Viktor Yushchenko who led his people in protests against a corrupt dictator favored by the Russian giant. Similarly, the Democrats had nothing in common with the Ukrainians who supported their challenger and took to the plazas. But, then, the Democrats didn’t have a leader. Maybe the difference is that Ukrainians believed in a democratic republic and were willing to fight for one while Americans, Democrats and Republicans, just talk about what’s left of theirs as if it were still alive and well.

    Instead, the decision was finally turned over to the Supreme Court with its long history of supporting slavery, segregation and other abuses of human rights. To the surprise of no one with a clue of how that court and its role in the system works five of the Republican "justices" awarded the prize to the Republican candidates.

    Then, when Congress assembled in January 2001 to put its seal of approval on the election members of the Black Congressional Caucus rose to protest the outrages against their fellow African-Americans in Florida, not one senator, not one Democratic senator rose to give them the support they needed. Gore as president of the senate forcefully gaveled the protesters down hammering the final nail into his own presidential coffin.

    Why did the Democratic leadership not encourage the people to rise up in protest? Because they are like their counterparts in the Republican party. They don't want to turn their power over to the people because it may be habit-forming and they prefer the people to continue behaving like sheep.

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    And even on the war, where you're mostly right above, I do think that the character of the war would be fundamentally different.

    I think the character of the war in Iraq would have been different, but the main point is I still think there would have been a war in Iraq. Sure, it might have been more competently executed, but that wouldn't have changed the basic facts that Iraq didn't have any WMDs, didn't have any anthrax-spreading drone aircraft, didn't have any ties to al Qaeda, and posed no threat to the United States. So maybe only a half a million Iraqis die in a campaign of aerial bombardment in one version of the war instead of a million in a multi-year occupation. That's not a significant improvement.

    Don't forget that all of the current crop of Democratic presidential candidates who were senators in 2002 supported giving George Bush the authority to use military force in Iraq. 60% of the Democrats in the Senate and 40% of the Democrats in the House voted to give George Bush the authority to go to war in Iraq.

    For whatever reasons -- because they believed Iraq was a threat, had WMD, or because they thought it was time for a change in the Middle East -- most of the Democratic foreign policy establishment supported the Iraq war. That's the only way that so many of the most influential people in the party -- including all but one of the of the DLC-affiliated senators -- voted to give George Bush a go-ahead in Iraq. Lieberman was the DLC chair until he was nominated for VP. Gore was a founding member. The fact that Bill Clinton had spent eight years in office meant that many of the top party leadership positions were affiliated with the group.

    While everyone's whining about how Nader spoiled everything and let a dangerous nutjob like Bush into the White House, let's not forget that it was a Democratically-controlled Senate that loaded the gun in his hand and opened the door for him in Iraq. That story about torturing frogs dates back to before November 2000, it doesn't seem to have influenced the opinions of the portion of Democrats who were eager to get into Iraq.

    On civil liberties, you know the story about the warrantless wiretapping supposedly having started before 9/11? Like February 2001, less than a month after Bush's inauguration? That would only have been possible if the government had plans drawn up already. Sort of like how the bombing of Cambodia was planned during LBJ's term but dusted off and implemented by Nixon in his first month. These things don't happen overnight. In all likelihood, those plans were waiting for implementation during the Clinton administration in the case of, say, a national emergency, and the Bush people decided to run with them. If Gore had faced an emergency, he might well have taken the same tack. Certainly nobody on the Democratic side kicked up any fuss about it until it was exposed, and even now with a Democratic Congress the rules are just getting more and more bent.

    So, yeah, I think the war and civil liberties situation would have been different, but I think there still would have been a war. You tell me whether a pointless war run by a bunch of incompetents is better than a pointless war run by people who were willing to give the incompetents free rein.

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    People voting for Carter believed he would become a force for good, but his presidency was noted more for its failures, thanks in great part to the Democratic party leaders and his national security adviser, Zbig, undermining him.

    The funny thing is, Carter was one of the leaders of the Anyone But McGovern movement of party stalwarts at the 1972 Democratic convention. Carter was a die-hard supporter of the Vietnam War and thought McGovern was a big pansy because he'd had been arguing the war was a mistake since 1965.

    Carter and Brzezinski were the bright minds behind funding the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan in an attempt to draw the Soviets into their own private Vietnam. When the Soviets complained about CIA influence, Carter denied it, then when the Soviets invaded he could get all huffy and denounce the invasion, boycott the Moscow Olympics, and cut off US grain shipments. Then again, as Brzezinski says: "What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?"

    Or three decades (so far) of chaos in Afghanistan.

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    I find it bizarre that y'all think that there would have been a War in Iraq if Al Gore had been president.

    Remember, this was a war of choice. We weren't attacked by Iraq. There was nothing urgent about the timing of our choice for war.

    I find it hard to believe that Richard Perle and his neo-con friends would have found much favor in a Gore White House.

    And as for all of that Florida stuff - Gore's dumb choices, Kathleen Harris's perfidy - none of it would have mattered if Nader's Florida voters, or even just a small percentage of them, would have voted for Gore.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    The funny thing is, Carter was one of the leaders of the Anyone But McGovern movement of party stalwarts at the 1972 Democratic convention.

    Darrel: Thanks for this info. I was out of the country most of 1972 and missed this. I hope my comment about Carter doesn't put me with both feet in his camp. I have mixed feelings about him seeing both sides of his presidency.

    And to say you would vote for RON PAUL over Hillary Clinton is very disturbing to me. Ron Paul would like to abolish every Federal agency that progressives care about.

    Stephanie: I presume from this statement that you are like Hillary and don't care about shredding of the Constitution. Ron Paul may "like to abolish every Federal agency that progressives care about" but he wouldn't do any of that as president unless Democrats in Congress went along with him. (I believe your "every" is exaggerating.) I would say it is a safe bet that President Hillary would do more damage to this nation shredding the Constitution in alliance with Rupert Murdoch and other branches of corporate Amerika than Ron Paul could ever think of doing.

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    I find it bizarre that y'all think that there would have been a War in Iraq if Al Gore had been president. Remember, this was a war of choice. We weren't attacked by Iraq. There was nothing urgent about the timing of our choice for war.

    By the same standard, I find it bizarre that John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Chris Dodd, and Joe Biden all voted to support giving George W. Bush the authority to go to war in Iraq. We weren't attacked by Iraq. There was nothing urgent about the situation in Iraq. Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda organization that put together the 9/11 attacks were in Afghanistan and Pakistan. All of our major international allies except for England, Australia, Italy, and Spain (don't forget Poland!) opposed US intervention in Iraq. The UN opposed military action in Iraq. Nearly 60% of the Democrats in Congress (both houses) voted against the AUMF.

    But the leadership voted for it anyway. Like I said, I think it would have been a different war, but you can hardly argue that the same Clinton administration foreign policy advisors who told people like John Edwards and Hillary Clinton to support a war in 2002 wouldn't have been just as influential in a Gore/Lieberman administration.

    You explain to me why they wanted to go to war in Iraq. Even I knew Iraq didn't have WMD. Edwards was on the Intelligence committee with Wyden (who voted against the AUMF). Sure, now they say that they weren't authorizing a war, but what part of "military force" didn't they comprehend? And giving that power to Bush and DIck Cheney? Seriously, does anyone want to explain how that was a good idea? It was a war of choice, but the Democratic leadership chose the war just as readily as the GOP. Some of the same people are siding with the administration now on warrantless wiretapping. What was it? Only Feingold and Wyden voting against it in the Intelligence committee?

    There would have been GOP members in Congress pushing the idea of a link between Saddam and Osama. There would have been people in conservative think tanks excoriating the administration for being weak on the Islamofascists. Vice president Lieberman wouldn't have needed to be convinced, he was already a buddy of Ahmed Chalabi, who thought he'd make a great replacement for Saddam. Documents would have leaked out of nowhere "proving" Saddam had WMDs. Cable networks would have run with stories fed to them by Republicans about the threat of Saddam. Maybe I'm just too skeptical, Kari.

    Wars have been ginned up by forces outside the administration before. You may be forgetting the role of the Hearst newspapers and the Spanish-American war, in which the US invaded Cuba (it's how we got Guantanamo Bay in the first place!) and the Philippines, where we killed hundreds of thousands of natives, tortured them (with procedures that included waterboarding, which was found to be torture in a court-martial in 1901), and produced Gen. Charles Henry "Iron Pants" Martin, the right-wing Democratic governor or Oregon from 1935 to 1939. (Just threw that in for an extra local flavor.)

    LBJ -- who was usually on the action end of a shoving match -- let himself get convinced that Vietnam was a good idea. I don't think Gore is more forceful than LBJ was.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    I find it bizarre that y'all think that there would have been a War in Iraq if Al Gore had been president.

    Kari: Again you are distorting what some of us are saying. On Gore and a war on Iraq, we are not saying "there would have been" one. We have been saying that the possibility of one could not be ruled out which is quite different.

    Remember, this was a war of choice. We weren't attacked by Iraq. There was nothing urgent about the timing of our choice for war.

    Tell that to Hillary and Chuck Schumer and all the Democrats who signed Bush's blank check to get into that war.

    And as for all of that Florida stuff - Gore's dumb choices, Kathleen Harris's perfidy - none of it would have mattered if Nader's Florida voters, or even just a small percentage of them, would have voted for Gore.

    In other words, no matter what the causes of Gore's defeat were you and other pro-Gore/anti-Nader commentators are going to give all the blame to Nader even if there is a lot of blame to go around. As for the numbers you allude to, I'm not prepared to concede that point but am not in a position to dispute it at this time. I'll work on it.

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    The fact remains that the voters in Florida who would have voted for Gore over Bush, but instead chose to vote Nader to "send a message" handed the White House to George Bush. If they had voted for Gore, it wouldn't have been close, we'd never have learned all about hanging chads, and the Supreme Court would have never gotten involved.

    Maybe Gore could have given those people a reason to vote for him.

    The whole idea that everyone was voting to "send a message" and that if Nader hadn't run they would have voted for Gore is just silly. People who wanted to send a message could have done the same thing by just not voting for either Gore or Bush (or one of the other third-party candidates in Florida).

    Maybe Gore could have picked someone other than Joe Lieberman as his running mate. I mean, who could have predicted he'd turn into a sanctimonious, right-wing nutjob?

    Quick on the Trigger: Are you prepared for Gore's foreign policy?
    by William D. Hartung
    The Progressive magazine, November 2000 ... Gore was an early and consistent supporter of using force in the Persian Gulf. In 1991, he and Lieberman were two of only ten Democrats in the Senate to vote for the resolution authorizing the air war against Iraq. Lieberman also called for the use of U.S. ground troops to drive Saddam Hussein from power, despite the fact that such a move would have violated the U.N. resolution that had authorized U.S. intervention in the conflict. ... Meanwhile, Gore's running mate has an unblemished record of support for sustaining a tough embargo on Cuba. Lieberman's conservative stance on this issue dates back to his decision to embrace the Cuban American National Foundation and its late founder, Jorge Mas Canosa, during his first run for the Senate against Republican moderate Lowell Weicker in 1988. In fact, Republican Vice Presidential candidate Dick Cheney has a far more progressive stance on the Cuba embargo than Lieberman does. During an appearance on Meet the Press earlier this year, Cheney criticized the Helms-Burton Act. "Unilateral sanctions almost never work," Cheney said. "They are usually politically motivated, responding to a domestic constituency."
  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    And as for all of that Florida stuff - Gore's dumb choices, Kathleen Harris's perfidy - none of it would have mattered if Nader's Florida voters, or even just a small percentage of them, would have voted for Gore.

    OK, Kari, you got your simple arithmetic right, but that is all. If a small percentage of the Nader voters in Florida had voted for Gore, Gore would have won. But the real problem for those of you in the Democratic Party who are still locked into this Nader phobia is that you didn't look at the whole picture. Consequently, you didn't learn a damn thing from Gore's debacle so that Kerry went on to make the same mistakes, and the prospects of doing the same thing in 2008 are there; although, Hillary seems to have more sense in her campaign, which may be the only good thing we independents can say about her.

    One of my sources for checking the numbers was the California Green Party which quoted the San Francisco Chronicle as saying, "Twelve percent of Florida Democrats (over 200,000) voted for Republican George Bush" (Nov. 9, 2000) and then went on to say, "If one percent of these Democrats had stuck with their own candidate, Al Gore would easily have won Florida and become president."

    Instead of spouting all the nonsense they did on Ralph Nader, if the DNC, the DLC and unthinking party members had asked why 200,000 Democrats voted for Bush instead of Gore, then they might have gotten their act together by 2004 and Kerry might have won. But no, they kept their heads in the self-created Nader dust storm and didn't have a clue how to win. (This suggests an interesting debate: Who ran the more incompetent campaign - Gore or Kerry?)

    As for "all of that Florida stuff" may I suggest that this comment implies that you are, like Gore and the party oligarchs, indifferent towards the corruption of the voting system and the denial of their voting rights to thousands of African-Americans? I would hate to think that is so; therefore, I'll take the liberty of charging it up to being a hasty response that wasn't fully thought through.

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    Speaking of the warmongering of Joe Lieberman and Democratic willingness to follow the right's lead on foreign policy, how could I have forgotten the 76-22 vote for Lieberman-Kyl last month? A 2002-style Democratic majority in the Senate produces a vote nearly identical to the Iraq AUMF, sponsored by Al Gore's former running mate. I suppose when the bombing starts there it'll be described as a "war of choice" too. But it's not as if the 29 Democratic senators -- including Hillary Clinton -- who voted for it didn't have plenty of warning about the consequences of letting Bush and his buddies loose. Last time, all you could do was conjecture that a psychopathic administration being given the authority to invade a country it didn't care about would do. Now there's concrete evidence, but still 60% of the Democrats in the Senate voted for it.

    Even Ron Wyden was making noises about the threat from Iran at the August town hall when people questioned what could be done to stop an expansion of the Iraq war. He cited evidence that Iranians were supplying arms to groups inside Iraq that were killing US soldiers, comments that drew some boos as I remember. He seemed a little perplexed at the response. Personally, I wouldn't be at all surprised if weapons are coming over the border from Iran (and Syria, and Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, and even Turkey). After all, the countries share hundred of miles of borders. It would be incomprehensible if a country whose smaller neighbor was invaded, where groups in the the two countries shared some religious and ethnic ties, and which thought it might pick up some of the pieces from the chaos of the resource-rich country's collapse wasn't directly or indirectly supplying arms to factions attempting to take power. Iran potantially exploiting a power vacuum in Iraq was actually one of the reasons many people opposed the war.

    Aside from it being a bad idea, generally.

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    I voted for Nader in 1996 because I was pissed at Clinton over punishing his friends and rewarding his enemies, attacking civil liberties with his "anti-terrorism & effective death penalty act," welfare deform, DOMA etc., etc. I did not vote for him in either 2000 or 2004.

    Bradbury clearly manipulated the signature count against Nader. It was disgusting. I am not impressed by the fact that the Oregon Supreme Court ruled in his favor. That doesn't make them part of a conspiracy, it just means that Oregon law is tilted in favor of the D-R duopoly. All the ruling does is say that an secretary of state from the duopoly parties has the discretion legally to manipulate signature validation within certain parameters.

    I think it likely that had it been a petition-based third party candidate posing an equal perceived threat to Bush votes with exactly similar petitions, instead of Nader, Bradbury would have let them pass. Frankly, much as I hate to say so because I so loathe the substance of the initiatives, the extreme closeness of the signature numbers for the recent anti-civil & human rights initiatives makes me suspect similar manipulation. That extreme closeness of course resembles the Nader case.

    The Supreme Court characterizes the most relevant complaint on which they upheld Bradbury thus:

    "The second claim for relief alleged that the Secretary of State "has apparently rejected over 3,000 valid and verified voter signatures" due to 'some errors' committed by persons who circulated signature sheets or by the Nader campaign. Plaintiffs alleged that the refusal of the Secretary of State to count those signatures 'is beyond his authority, is arbitrary and capricious, and is otherwise unlawful.'" The court ruled that the refusal was within his authority and fell within established procedures and was lawful. That doesn't make the law that established that authority, granted it to a partisan secretary of state, & enabled the creation of rules & procedures to enforce it that create latitude to support the duopoly morally right or good public policy.

    The argument that "we care about who gets elected" so that "candidates without a real chance" should be excluded is circular. There are ideas that I believe could gain popular footing (e.g. publicly funded national health insurance), allowing candidates who backed them to get elected, that can be more effectively marginalized from exposure now, as ideas, because of limitations on "third party" candidacies.

    There is a reason why Ds (then the party of disfranchisement of both blacks and poor whites in the South) and Rs collaborated to ban fusion voting in the "progressive" era. It was because fusion was allowing the People's Party to get ideas into "realistic" political circulation that the party bosses of those days and their funders didn't like.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Personally, I wouldn't be at all surprised if weapons are coming over the border from Iran (and Syria, and Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, and even Turkey).

    There have been credible reports of Saudi Arabia, a Sunni-dominated nation, funded the Sunni insurgents who were fighting and killing U.S. soldiers in Anbar Province. Nobody in the Bush Administration nor among the Democrats who are going along with the anti-Iran war whoops said anything critical of the Saudis. This suggests that many of the Democrats are as much in the pockets of the military-industrial-media complex as the Republicans, and there is no doubt that Hillary is in Rupert Murdoch's snare with the support he is giving her for her campaign.

    Even Ron Wyden was making noises about the threat from Iran at the August town hall when people questioned what could be done to stop an expansion of the Iraq war. He cited evidence that Iranians were supplying arms to groups inside Iraq that were killing US soldiers, comments that drew some boos as I remember. He seemed a little perplexed at the response.

    This echoes a Wyden "town hall" meeting in Redmond before the vote to fund the Iraq war. Fortunately, he listened to his constituents then and hopefully he will heed them again in the case of Iran. While Wyden has done some good things, I just don't trust him.

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    If Gore had run a stronger campaign in 2000, he wouldn't have had to depend on a tiny margin of pissed off lefties in Florida. As I recall, polls at the time showed that most of the Nader voters would have either written him in or otherwise abstained if he had not been on the ballot.

    The number of Nader voters in Florida is swamped by numbers of votes that likely would have swung Gore's way if he'd demanded a full-state recount.

    The question of blame actually isn't just Nader or Gore. The strength of the pro-Nader vote in 2000 across the country is very much down to Bill Clinton, just as the abstentions in 1968 were down to Johnson. My parents, who had been McCarthy voters in the primary in '68, had a huge fight over the general -- one voted for Humphrey because of Nixon, the other abstained (maybe wrote in McCarthy) because of the war. Then of course there was the George Wallace factor. It's a nice question where his votes would have gone in '68 had he not run.

    Voting for Nader in 2000 was essentially an abstention in its effect. Clinton's blame arises because his many triangulations gave the "no significant difference" argument credibility it would not otherwise have had.

    Clinton's civil liberties record was saved by Congress. Most of the provisions of the so-called USA PATRIOT Act were in the original Clinton/Reno draft of the 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, but were watered down (not eliminated as they should have been) in Congress.

    Bush mocked a woman on death row. Bill Clinton unconstitutionally executed a retarded man for political advantage, Ricky Ray Rector, who asked to have part of his last meal saved for him to have after the executioin.

    A Gore attack on Iraq seems highly unlikely to me.

    This whole discussion makes me see Schumer & Feinstein's cave-in on Mukasey as in effect a pro-Hillary Clinton step, though it is a bit hard to think that it's the actual intention. It increases the pressure to vote for HRC should she be nominated, because it is clear that we can't rely on a sufficient number of congressional Democrats to oppose extremist nominees by Republican presidents.

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    A Gore attack on Iraq seems highly unlikely to me.

    Why, Chris? Democrats at places like The New Republic were champing at the bit to attack Iraq. Don't you remember all of the gnashing of teeth about the billions of dollars embezzled from the Oil for Food program? The hand-wringing about how Saddam was going to be free from UN sanctions and would begin his plan for world domination? Concerns about the cost of the no-fly zone enforcement and how wonderful it would be if we didn't have to pay for that any more? It wasn't just Republicans banging the war drums.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    A Gore attack on Iraq seems highly unlikely to me.

    Why, Chris? Democrats at places like The New Republic were champing at the bit to attack Iraq.

    What the heck. Clinton and Gore already initiated unprovoked bombing of Iraq in 1998, so upping the ante to a full-scale war on Iraq after Gore's ascendancy to the presidency is at least plausible.

    Here's another aspect of the 2000 election to consider. Of the three main candidates, Gore, Bush and Nader, Nader was by far the most ethical and had the greatest integrity. In fact, when it came to those two qualities we might reasonably question whether Gore and Bush possessed any of them except in the smallest measures. So why did 90-some percent of the American people give their votes to the least ethical of the trio with the only one capable of claiming personal integrity with a straight face getting the rest? What does that say about the character of the American people? I'm not claiming Nader didn't have his share of human frailties, but they were insignificant when compared with deep flaws possessed by Gore and Busn.

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    Bill Bodden Clinton and Gore already initiated unprovoked bombing of Iraq in 1998

    Bwah ha ha ha. You're so funny, Bill. Surely you're not so stupid as to believe that Clinton bombed Iraq just for fun.

    Or hell, maybe you are.

    Anyway, President Clinton gave a detailed explanation of the provocation that caused him to perform limited nighttime bombing of Saddam's remaining chemical weapons facilities. In a nutshell, it's because that's when Saddam effectively kicked the international weapons inspectors out.

    But thank you. You've inadvertently highlighted the differences between Republicans, Democrats, and Greens.

    1] Republicans hate our allies (especially France) and think the response to every tinpot dictator's minor provocation should be a full scale invasion and mass slaughter. They love torture. 2] Democrats like our friends, try to reason with enemies, engage in diplomacy and embargoes, but when all else fails, refuse to stand mute and ineffective in the face of genocide and open acts of war. 3] Greens coddle and excuse the actions of dictators. In any international dispute, they immediately assume that the U.S. is not only wrong, but evil. They cheer dictatorial actions (such Chavez shutting down Venezuela's most popular T.V. station because of it's government criticism) if they perceive it as anti-American. They hate Republicans, but no where near as much as they hate Democrats, who they blame for betraying the one true faith: 60s-style American Protest Communism.

    OK, I admit I'm painting with a broad brush. But that's the core of it.

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    Steven said:

    Surely you're not so stupid as to believe that Clinton bombed Iraq just for fun.

    I don't think anyone ever said "unprovoked" was the same thing as "for fun". Did Bush attack Iraq "for fun"? It was certainly "unprovoked". Does one imply the other?

    Clinton's excuse for bombing Iraq is essentially the same as Bush's excuse for invading, just dressed up in the kind of language an Oxford scholar can mouth that appears to be beyond the capabilities of a Harvard MBA.

    I love it when Steven gets into the two-minute hate parts of his rants. There's nothing like being called anti-American by portraying themselves as a Democrat to start your day, especially when they use the same kinds of language the right uses about relatively conservative Democrats like Jimmy Carter ("coddling dictators!"). Wake me when our allies in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia or Columbia aren't killing or crushing their political opposition.

    A broad brush indeed.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Darrel: I find it better to ignore SM. I would sooner debate a Republican troll than him. You know he's not the brightest when he cites Bill Clinton, noted liar among other character flaws, as his authority on Clinton actions.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Steve Maurer:

    Anyway, President Clinton gave a detailed explanation of the provocation that caused him to perform limited nighttime bombing of Saddam's remaining chemical weapons facilities.

    Bob T:

    That was a lot more than a "limited" bombing campaign. It was a massive bombardment in terms of bomb tonnage etc. Bigger even that 1991's bombing campaign.

    Bob Tiernan

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    Well said Darrel. Steven, the question of whether given leaders of other countries are evil is separate from the question of whether given U.S. actions are. Unfortunately the U.S. has done a great many evil things internationally in my lifetime, as well as historically. They've been done under leadership that has deliberately and consciously sought to minimize partisan differences "at the water's edge," on the whole.

    An incomplete list of examples ranges from Johnson/McNamara warfighting strategies in Vietnam to Nixon/Kissinger's destruction of Cambodia to funding terrorism in Nicaragua, Angola, Mozambique and elsewhere, and propping up kleptocratic dictators in many other countries, to maintaining murderously ineffective sanctions on Iraq under Clinton long after the policy had obviously failed.

    As an historian of Africa, I find your claim that Democrats refuse to stay mute in the face of genocide astonishing. It is laughable in the way that provokes cynicism. Bill Clinton and Madeleine Allbright actively obstructed U.N. intervention in the Rwandan genocide for well over a month, at least doubling the final death toll. Clinton at least had the good grace to admit the error later, unlike the case of his murderous Iraq policies, but fat lot of good that did those 400,000 or so Rwandan dead.

    I don't assume U.S. actions are evil, but I don't at all accept that even U.S. actions, should enjoy a strong presumption of being good just because the U.S. does them. That kind of thinking is exactly how Bush justifies enormous evils today -- a war of aggression against Iraq in violation of international law, torture (today we hear the CIA's "rendition" kidnapping, and torture threats, are being extended to wives and children of terrorism suspects) and militarist domestic political doctrines undermining rule of law, civil rights and liberties, and constitutional government in the name of pursuing those evils abroad.

    Darrel and Bill, Clinton's bombing in Iraq was more or less continuous, conducted in "retaliation" for violations of the "no-fly zones" and then in further "retaliation" if the Iraqis shot at the bombers. As in the first phase of the long war, in response to Iraqi aggression and conquest of Kuwait, and the most recent phase, U.S. aggression against Iraq, the bombing targetted a great many elements of civilian infrastructure argued to have potential "dual use." The murderous qualities of the sanctions regime were produced by a danse macabre between the Clintonites and the Saddam Hussein, in which destruction and prevented reconstruction of the conditions of modern urban life in a very urban country by the U.S., combined with corrupt refusal to invest in reconstruction by Hussein, combined to produce a mammoth public health disaster, particularly deadly to very young children and to the old.

    That said, the war-mongering forces around the New Republic, the Washington Post & some sections of Democrats in Congress were in a minority and were not the dominant element in the Democratic foreign policy establishment in the early 2000s. They gained their power by allying with the forces of international lawlessness & U.S. impunity in the Bush administration, backing an aggressive drive, not generating it.

    Many of the Democrats who voted Bush his war powers in 2002 did so in the mistaken belief that he was telling the truth when he said he'd give the U.N. inspectors time to do their work. I never believed that, but actually thought he was planning to wait longer so that the war would be closer to the 2004 election.

    While a Gore-led all out war of conquest on Iraq isn't impossible to imagine, it still seems highly unlikely to me. Continuation of the failed low-scale war and aircraft carrier/cruise missile "diplomacy" of the Clinton years seems more probable. More especially I think it is unlikely that a Democratic administration would have used the September 2001 terrorist attacks as a pretext for attacking Iraq. War against Afghanistan, yes. Stronger focus on Al Qaeda, maybe. Unpredictable stuff produced by being scared to look "soft" in the face of Republican partisan bellicose posturing, probably. But I think you're discounting the effects of the narrow Bush/Cheney base among the energy interests, which raised the allure of fantasies of controlling Iraq's oil and the desire to deflect blame for Al Qaeda from Saudi Arabia. The interest pressures on Gore would have been rather different.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Chris: I'm basically in agreement with your comments, but in the case of "Many of the Democrats who voted Bush his war powers in 2002 did so in the mistaken belief that he was telling the truth when he said he'd give the U.N. inspectors time to do their work" I don't accept that plea of deception as an excuse that Democrats make for voting for AUMF. It is like claiming ignorance of the law to justify a verdict of not guilty. They were voting for a war so they should have done their homework given the gravity of military aggression, and there was plenty of information and evidence to reject Bush's claims and be aware of the grave risks such a war could create. Until they can give me evidence to the contrary, I remain convinced these Democrats voted for personal political expediency or they had a pro-war mentality without any comprehension or concern of what a war could mean in this part of the world. Certainly, the Democrats on the intelligence committees in the House and Senate knew that the "intelligence" shared with the public was contradicted by the real intelligence they got in committee.

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    Isn't that sweet: Bill, Darrel, and Bob Tiernan all just holding rhetorical hands and singing kumbaya. You guys should all go form a political party together. Seriously. Hey, and I know exactly the guy to lead you. Pavel Goberman. He can be your intellectual. You need one.

    Chris, you're just proving my point. In the 90's, children died in Iraq at about the same rate that they did in then-democratic Pakistan (a tragic post-war decline for Iraq). So who do you blame? Saddam and the Sunni Bathists waging economic war against the Shi'ia as punishment for them rebelling? Why no! That's far too well documented, as were the dozen overwhelmingly opulent palaces Saddam built for himself. It must be the American "sanctions regime" instead. That way you can Blame America First.

    And how dare Clinton authorize the military to fight back against the Bathists turning on their AA radar in the attempt to shoot down our planes? Who does he think he is, concerned about the safety of our own service people? Thank goodness we now have President Bush, who doesn't.

    Oh, but wait. We're at fault for not intervening too. President Clinton deciding not to push for our troops to get involved in what seemed to be an internal dispute in Rwanda is now our fault because he didn't realize what was actually going on. Not the Hutus, who murdered their neighbors with machetes, of course. No. It has to be the United States. Blame America (and Democrats) First.

    You Greens share more in common with Republicans than you think. You both prefer to mold inconvenient facts to your indelible opinions. Clinton had an actually valid reason to bomb Iraq: they were directly threatening U.S. patrols, and had, in the words of the UNSCOM, made it "not able to conduct the work mandated it by the Security Council". (UNSCOM said just about the opposite prior to the Bush invasion.) But since you don't like that absolute irrefutable documented fact, you just pretend it isn't true, in the exact same way that Bob Tiernan wishes that "tonnage" is the way you calculate injury, rather than actual bombing deaths.

    Oh, and darrelplant, I know that you think that subjecting you to facts that you aren't emotionally prepared to deal with may indeed seem to you like "two minutes of hate" from the Orwell books. (You read! That's good!) But to quote Harry Truman. "I don't give em hell. I just tell the truth, and they think it's hell".

    And if you don't like it, go found GreenOregon. There you won't have to debate, and you can lie to yourself all about Clinton's "lies" all you want.

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    Steve, I don't have to make my points by pretending that anyone I disagree with is some sort dupe of "the enemy", using the same types of tactics as Joe McCarthy, Bill O'Reilly, and Ann Coulter like you seem to need to. That's not "subjecting me to facts", that's just crazy talk, the same way it's crazy talk when O'Reilly gets all red in the face and shouts it at the camera.

    What you may have forgotten is that you've called me names before and I laughed at you then, too.

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    Steven, your vehemence and vitriol toward greens would be better placed if more Democrats would have stod up against the President in the buildup to war, and if more Democrats would work to throw out "leaders" who insist on selling out America's middle class, their colleagues, and our environment for big money contributions and/or personal political gain.

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    I wonder if there's any relation to Steven Maurer the Clackamas County Judge? That would be kind of scary. According to an old copy of the Oregon State Bar newsletter my wife has lying around that Steven Maurer was the chair of the Judicial Conduct Committee of the State Judicial Conference. It'd be kind of creepy if that Steven Maurer was going around accusing people of being in league with America's enemies without any evidence. Doesn't exactly sound jurisprudent, if you know what I mean.

    Then again, I guess if you were in charge of the Judicial Conduct Committee you could do whatever you wanted to.

    Probably just someone posing as him, though.

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    Many of the Democrats who voted Bush his war powers in 2002 did so in the mistaken belief that he was telling the truth when he said he'd give the U.N. inspectors time to do their work.

    Seriously, Chris, they trusted George Bush?

    I'm sorry, but that just doesn't wash. Most of the Congressional Democrats voted against the AUMF. The claims of the administration were ludicrous on their face. There was no evidence of WMD in Iraq, the drones that the administration claimed threatened US shores were far beyond the technical capacity of a country with no computer industry or aerospace industry (the US had just managed to field armed Predator drones in 2002), and despite the claims that "everyone thought there were WMD in Iraq", country after country told us that they didn't consider Iraq a threat and declined to join the Coalition of the Willing.

    That should have been a bit of a wake-up call for the Democratic leadership. Instead, they all but pulled the trigger for Bush.

    I also have to disagree with your perception of the influence of the Democrats who were pro-war. The entire DLC was pro-Iraq War -- for whatever reason -- and that included most of the people who were just out of the Clinton administration. There's a reason that out of a pretty large group of candidates for president this year, the only ones who didn't vote for the AUMF were either not in Congress in 2002 or are Dennis Kucinich. The big-name Democrats almost all voted for the war.

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    The Steve Maurer that posts comments here is actually named... Steve Maurer.

    I don't believe he's a judge.

    For that matter, it's worth noting once again that the Bob Tiernan that posts here is Bob the Libertarian from Gresham -- not the former State Rep and union-buster Bob Tiernan (R-Lake Oswego)

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    The darrelplant who posts here is Darrel Plant a one-time Democratic primary candidate for the Legislature, not someone who fits this description by Steven (probably not a judge) Maurer:

    They hate Republicans, but no where near as much as they hate Democrats, who they blame for betraying the one true faith: 60s-style American Protest Communism.
  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Who is Steve Maurer? He is No. 2 on my list of people to ignore.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    "60s-style American Protest Communism"

    What? Oh, I get it. Like this:

    We don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee; We don't take our trips on LSD We don't burn our draft cards down on Main Street; We like livin' right, and bein' free.

    I'm proud to be an Okie from Muskogee, A place where even squares can have a ball We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse, And white lightnin's still the biggest thrill of all

    We don't make a party out of lovin'; We like holdin' hands and pitchin' woo; We don't let our hair grow long and shaggy, Like the hippies out in San Francisco do.

    And I'm proud to be an Okie from Muskogee, A place where even squares can have a ball. We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse, And white lightnin's still the biggest thrill of all.

    Leather boots are still in style for manly footwear; Beads and Roman sandals won't be seen. Football's still the roughest thing on campus, And the kids here still respect the college dean.

    We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse, In Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA.

    There's some cogent social analysis for you.

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    Sal Peralta Steven, your vehemence and vitriol toward greens would be better placed if more Democrats would have stood up against the President in the buildup to war

    Sal, if it hadn't been for the Greens doing everything they possibly could to prevent Al Gore from becoming President, Democrats wouldn't have been put in the position of going against the 80% tide of manufactured consent for going to war.

    And that's what it really comes down to. Anyone who says or ever said "There's no difference between Al Gore and George Bush; they're tweedledee and tweedledum" has no business second guessing anything the Democrats ever did to try to mitigate the resulting damage. This so called "betrayal" by a minority of Democrats who decided to give the benefit of the doubt to the President of the United States over the word of Saddam Hussein, is nothing compared to the Green and Naderite betrayal of the country in 2000.

    And yes. I'm pissed off. I, and every other progressive Democrat in the nation has a right to be.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Sal, I have to agree with Steven on this one. There was nothing constructive (as in standing up for the middle class and against the corrupting effects of large contributions) in the LET RALPH DEBATE shouters when Tipper Gore spoke in Salem in 2000. There were people who had worked for just those ideals you mention on campaigns during the 1990s, but an attitude in 2000 that if some of them joined the Nader campaign and the others didn't, the Nader supporters just didn't want to speak to each other any more did no one any good.

    Which should be a lesson for the future. Whether it is people who find John Frohnmayer inspiring vs. those who want John given the cold shoulder because by golly if they are inspired by either Jeff or Steve, everyone else should be too!, or whether it is some other 3rd party campaign of the past (like those who chose a 3rd party candidate in 1996 rather than choose between "the slick one and the chinless one" aka Smith or Bruggere), that does no one any good.

    Here's a radical idea: I find this candidate inspiring, and I hope you do to--but if not you have a right to your own opinion

    Personally, I think that approach would gain more votes. Eyes on the prize and all that.

    Sometimes people get into office and their supporters love what they do. However, I have known people who helped elect someone and then in a future election helped "unelect" that same person for their lackluster (or worse) performance in office.

    Steven and Sal, I have met one of you in person and another of you over the phone, and you are both a credit to whatever campaign you work on.

    But in my humble opinion, neither of these comments is going to get a single vote to get a good person elected.

    Posted by: Steve Maurer | Nov 6, 2007 2:04:03 PM

    Sal Peralta: Steven, your vehemence and vitriol toward greens would be better placed if more Democrats would have stood up against the President in the buildup to war

    Sal, if it hadn't been for the Greens doing everything they possibly could to prevent Al Gore from becoming President, Democrats. <<

    So can we try to forget how angry some are (no, I have never forgiven AuCoin for the 1992 primary nonsense, but yes, there are other things to consider) and just work to get good people elected?

    On another topic, someone made a remark about "the schmoo in the mall parking lot probably can't name a lot of current elected officials".

    But truth be told, there are a lot of close elections (think of the year Rep. Barker and Rep. Komp each had an election margin under 100 votes, or anyone who lived through a recount, for instance). And in those elections, the deciding votes might just be cast by people described as the schmoo in the parking lot. What my friend called the 95% of the population who are not political junkies but they do vote.

    I have seen lots of votes decided by things people here might not think about (someone knows the candidate's family, the candidate or staffer or volunteer personally impressed the voter, the campaign said/did something inspiring, had more substance than the opposition, etc.).

    I have never known anyone to vote for a candidate because 2 people were arguing about the treatment of a 3rd party candidate (and having worked on a few 3rd party campaigns, I have been on both sides of that issue).

    No one is helped because good people get angry at each other (sometimes strain friendships) over such things. The energy would be better spent asking candidates to speak to important issues than generalized anger that a group did something. Groups are made up of individuals.

    I wasn't involved in the 2000 campaign for a variety of reasons from what I was involved with at the time to political burnout to not being inspired by the campaign. We were at a family wedding during Dem. convention week and thus saw very little of it. I had been involved in Gore 1988 and met 3 members of his family, and voted for him, but not much more than that.

    Not only was I turned off by Nader's attitude that he had the revealed truth and if we were smart we would never question his wisdom, but a friend who was leaning towards Nader heard Ralph on the radio (ad or interview, I'm not sure) and that decided him for Gore. It wasn't actions by "the Greens", it was Ralph's own words.

    And do we really know that had Ralph won and not been a spoiler that his Administration would have been any better in the actual implementation than Jesse Ventura's governorship was?

    There are many excellent candidates out there for 2008, but I think we would be best served by putting the 2000 election behind us and concentrating on attracting voters for 2008.

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    Tom Civiletti What? Oh, I get it. Like this:

    [Third rate 60's anti-protest poem, apropos of nothing, deleted.]

    No, Tom. More like this.

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    Steven, if Gore had chosen a progressive as his running mate in 2000, and had he been willing to speak to Nader's issues -- corporate control over our political process, and public interest public policy -- he would never have faced a 3rd party campaign from Nader.

    He didn't do that. Instead, he nominated a tool of insurance companies and investment banks and spent a year running away from a progressive agenda.

    I voted for Gore. I think Gore is a good man. But Al Gore deserved to lose campaigning like that.

    You may not like the fact that the Nader ran in 2000 and 2004, but in my view, the Democratic candidates bear a significant share of the responsibility for his candidacies.

    Nader became alienated from the Democratic Party the minute that the Clinton administration pushed through trade policies that Democrats had opposed for 80 years.

    Nader publicly stated in 2004 that he would not run if Kerry would make prosecuting corporate criminals and standing against free trade agreements that have decimated America's working class. Kerry refused. Nader ran.

    I have never once asserted that there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans. But all one needs to do is look at the fact that 8 of Hillary Clinton's top 10 soft money contributors are the same investment banks that were Bush's top financial backers in 2000 and 2004 to know that the fix is still very much in with regard to free trade and tax policies that are decimating America's middle class.

    You can question the wisdom of his efforts, but that's what Nader is fighting against. He's basically trying to build a bloc of voters that will veto Democrats who in all-too-many cases are helping to preserve and promote corporate control over our political process.

    If Democrats don't want Nader to run in 2008, they have a simple solution: Vote for John Edwards in the Democratic Primary.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Given the comments above, it is no wonder that the public's opinion of Congress dropped after the Democrats gained the majority. Too many Democrats appear incapable of learning anything from history.

    In 2000, millions of Democrats and independents voted for Bush or Nader instead of Gore. Many Democrats and independents might have voted for Gore instead of Bush or Nader if Gore hadn't run such an incompetent and insulting campaign. After Bush became president and went on a roll to become an imperial president, the majority of Democrats in Congress rolled over with all but very few having the guts to stand up to the way Bush, Cheney, Rove and company were shredding the Constitution. In the senate only Russ Feingold had the integrity to vote against the first version of the Patriot Act that no one but the authors in the Republican party had read. Somewhere around half of the elected Democrats in Congress in cowardly, contemptible behavior reneged on their oaths to defend the Constitution and transferred the right and responsibility to declare war to Bush.

    And Nader gets all the blame. Give me a break! Get real. This isn't some Third World country with nearly 100 per cent illiteracy where people vote for a picture or other label. Some people have some intelligence and knowledge and make decisions about whom to vote for based on their knowledge or perceptions of the candidates. And the perception of Gore and Lieberman for many people was that they were worse phonies than Bush and Cheney. And despite this experience, Kerry used the same playbook.

  • (Show?)
    This so called "betrayal" by a minority of Democrats who decided to give the benefit of the doubt to the President of the United States over the word of Saddam Hussein, is nothing compared to the Green and Naderite betrayal of the country in 2000.

    In one sentence you're simultaneously condemning Ralph Nader for betraying the country by turning it over to George W. Bush in 2000 and saying there's nothing wrong with Democrats giving the benefit of the doubt (without a shred of evidence, I might add) to George W. Bush in 2002. No wonder you're confused.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    The following is from a commentary on Robert Parry’s "Secrecy & Privilege" at Consortium News: "But a sub-theme of Parry’s book is how Bill Clinton and other accommodating Democrats failed to hold George H.W. Bush accountable for his behind-the-scenes abuses of power and thus opened the door to the Bush restoration in 2000." Was Nader also to blame for that?

  • LT (unverified)
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    Steven, if Gore had chosen a progressive as his running mate in 2000, and had he been willing to speak to Nader's issues -- corporate control over our political process, and public interest public policy -- he would never have faced a 3rd party campaign from Nader.

    He didn't do that. Instead, he nominated a tool of insurance companies and investment banks and spent a year running away from a progressive agenda.

    I voted for Gore. I think Gore is a good man. But Al Gore deserved to lose campaigning like that.

    Sal, you are right that Lieberman was a stupid choice. But you have more faith in Nader than I do to say Gore " would never have faced a 3rd party campaign from Nader. "

    I'm old enough to have seen the great young Ralph Nader speak locally to a college audience (may have been OSU) in what was probably the early 1970s. People can change over decades, and I don't think the Ralph Nader who ran for President in the last several years is the same guy---not the first time a hero of my youth changed in disappointing ways.

    What I have seen from that perspective is someone who seems more like a person on an ego trip than the crusader who wrote UNSAFE AT ANY SPEED, started Nader's Raiders and other organizations (wasn't OSPIRG originally one of those decades ago?).

    This Ralph Nader was on the radio in I think 2000 lecturing us on how stupid we had been to vote for Death with Dignity--not only the wrong vote but the wrong reasons. I'm not sure that if Al Gore had chosen Russ Feingold or Paul Wellstone for VP that Ralph wouldn't have run.

    Nader wouldn't have been able to say "not a dime's worth of difference", but faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I lost faith in Ralph Nader just as I lost faith in lots of other people over the years. That is what being politically burned out means--hard to have faith in any but the most inspiring people who have never done anything disillusioning.

    I agree with you about John Edwards.

    Did you see the Paul Krugman column in today's print Oregonian? Reminded me of the internal Democratic battles over campaign finance, income inequality, and other related issues over the last couple decades.

    The 1989 House (last Democratic before 2007) passed a campaign finance reform bill with bipartisan support, but it took many hearings to do it. The Speaker Pro Tem was one of the sponsors. The Majority Leader was violently opposed.

    Majority Leader Dave Dix--one of Steve Duin's great contributions was columns about Dix's majority office problems. There were those who blamed those problems on losing the House--the bookkeeping was atrocious, there was some sort of incident with Wiederanders in the Sec. of State office trying to take an original C & E or something. This is why phrases like "the Democrats" annoy me--there were internal fights about how many active Democrats Dix really represented (if the Republicans are smart, they'll do some soul searching about whether they lost the House in part because Scott was in some ways a Dix type figure.) It is also why some of us who were active back then tend to distrust consultants. Dix was a political consultant by profession.

    The state chair and exec. director back then couldn't be bothered to pay much attention to those 1989 campaign finance reform hearings, as I recall--not a high priority.

    In 1991 when the state party office moved to Portland, one of the reasons given was "to be near the high rollers". HUH?? Is that what really happened? Or did it take the Democrats from 1990-2006 to regain the House because they were out of touch with the rest of the state?

    Oregon Democrats had a very strong grass roots component when the party office was in Salem. There are downstate people now who make cracks that DPO means Democratic Portland Organization. Until the Bus Project and Howard Dean brought grass roots campaigning back into fashion, the "money is all that matters and only professionals know how the game is played" mentality ruled both parties, to the annoyance of those of us who'd been involved in the county, cong. district, and state central committees prior to 1990. And for the last decade, the fastest growing party has been no party at all.

    But that isn't what I heard Ralph Nader talking about in 2000. He deserved to be in debates because he said so, his ideas were the only ideas, and not much that I ever heard from him about reforming the political system. For instance, did he ever come to Oregon for Measure 9 campaign finance reform in 1994 or was that just a Common Cause bill? Did he speak out when the Oregon Supreme Court threw it out?

    There has been a systemic problem with income and campaign finance inequality which a lot of Democrats don't want to talk about. They are great on min. wage as an issue, but how many Democrats consider min. wage workers potential voters? How many don't target either retail workers or apt. dwellers because "they don't vote"?

    Funny, it wasn't that many years ago that lots of people with political or journalism backgrounds were saying "young people don't matter because young people don't vote". Then along came the Bus, Dean, and this year the legislators called the "5 under 35".

    And in all that, I don't recall Ralph Nader's involvement. John Edwards has been a lot more visible on these issues, it seems to me.

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    But that isn't what I heard Ralph Nader talking about in 2000. He deserved to be in debates because he said so.

    LT, I think that Nader deserved to be in the debates because he was polling at something like 20 percent. I may not have agreed with Ralph's candidacy, but I just don't like the lengths that the two major parties are willing to go to lock out 3rd party candidates.

    I guess we'll never know for certain whether or not Nader would have dropped out in 2000 had Gore agreed to meet with him, hear his concerns, and address them in his candidacy. I tend to think that he would have done so, since every account I've seen suggests that this was the deal he was trying to broker in both 2000 and 2004.

    Nader may be bull-headed, strategically challenged, or whatever. But I don't think that anyone has ever seriously questioned his personal convictions or his integrity.

  • LT (unverified)
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    You may be right, Sal. As I mentioned, 2000 was one of those years when I wasn't very involved in politics.

    Thank you for saying "Nader may be bull-headed, strategically challenged, or whatever". There were Naderites who got angry at anyone suggesting he could have made the slightest mistake, as he was perfect and only stupid or subversive people wouldn't admit he was not perfect.

    If there were a standing rule that anyone with at least 20% in the polls should be in at least one debate, then he should have been in at least one debate. But shouters trying to drown out Tipper Gore's outdoor speech at the state capitol was going to make that happen?

    One of my political beliefs which drives some people crazy is that I reserve the right to decide for myself who is inspiring and who convinces me they are so obnoxious that they don't want my vote.

    To my mind, Nader fell into the latter category. I don't care if he is as honest as the day is long, owns no investments in any corporation, contributes to needy causes, and serves Thanksgiving dinner in a soup kitchen every year. He still struck me as someone who is full of himself--and therefore, would have a very high hill to climb to every get my support for anything.

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    Sal, you are right that Lieberman was a stupid choice. But you have more faith in Nader than I do to say Gore " would never have faced a 3rd party campaign from Nader. "

    Let me perhaps tweak Sal's comment, LT.

    If Gore had picked someone other than Lieberman he might not have faced a 3rd party challenge from Nader.

    In other words, If he had tried to appeal to Democratic voters who (rightly) viewed Lieberman as a foreign policy nightmare, or who saw him as beholden to insurance and defense industry lobbyists, Nader would never have gotten as many votes as he did. The career arc of Joseph Lieberman over the past six years sort of lends credence to the objections progressives had about him as a VP choice in 2000.

    It's an open question how many votes on the right he would have lost if Gore didn't have Lieberman, but when you take a guy who's spent his entire life on the conservative side of the main stream like Gore and team him up with a true nutjob like Lieberman, alarm bells should have started to go off somewhere in DNC HQ.

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    Steven,

    I'm a registered Democrat & have never been a registered Green, was briefly registered R as a college student here in Oregon to vote for John Anderson in the R primary (NOT the general). I voted for Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004. The only time I have not voted D for president in my life was in 1996 when I cast a protest abstention vote for Nader (who was not a Green at the time, Greens were not a national party at the time; and of course Nader was not actually a member of the Greens in 2000, just their nominee, sort of like William Jennings Bryan and the People's Party in 1896). I've even been enough of a partisan Democrat in my time that I voted for Joe Lieberman over Lowell Weicker in Connecticut in 1988 (absentee, from Swaziland) because Weicker was head of the R Senatorial Campaign Committee that year. Worst vote of my life, based on inadequate understanding of Lieberman.

    You can go ahead and pin smear labels on my if you want. Sometimes I do blame America first. Sometimes America deserves it. Sometimes I don't, because sometimes it doesn't.

    I rarely if ever blame Democrats over Republicans. I do, however, blame those Democrats who act like Republicans lite, who triangulate on other Democrats, and who let themselves be rolled out of fear of Republican spin, for empowering the Rs.

    The appropriate comparison of the civilian death rate in Iraq in the 1990s is not Pakistan but Iraq's historical civilian death rates. Also if you look at what I wrote before, I said quite explicitly that the blame for civilian deaths under the sanctions lay substantially with Hussein as well as the U.S.

    But the fact of the matter is that Clinton and Albright persisted in that policy long after it clearly had failed to have the effects they wanted and its consequences for civilians were clear. They drew political benefit from it at home, just as Hussein used them to prop himself up with nationalism. That unspoken collaboration is what I meant by danse macabre. I still don't know how to interpret Albright's statement that the deaths of 200,000 Iraqi kids was "worth it" as utterly cynical machtpolitik, vacuous stupidity, given that the "it" -- what "we" gained from the murderous policies -- was very little indeed, or just a lie in the face of an embarrassing question to give minimal cover to a policy she knew had failed.

    On Rwanda Clinton and Albright did more than decide not to send U.S. troops. They actively obstructed the U.N. from taking a stand on it and from creating a context in which other countries could have intervened with U.N. backing, actively worked to pull out a small but substantial U.N. presence rather than building it. Clinton at least acknowledges that he made grave mistakes in handling the situation. Part of the reason he took the stand he did on Kosovo, which is what I assume you meant when you said that Ds oppose genocide, was because he recognized that mistake. Maybe you should listen to him. In Rwanda it was a viciously pathetic and highly blameworthy performance, as well as one that gives the lie to your generalization, which you also haven't acknowledged.

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    Bill and Darrel,

    I didn't mean to be defending the war powers vote. The main motive of many or most who voted for it, & certainly for Kerry and H.R. Clinton, was to create an impression of toughness. It was a disgusting spectacle -- although David Wu made a memorable speech in voting no, in which he pinned down a lot of the larger implications. Nonetheless Bush did claim he was going to give the inspectors "time to work" as one of the lies he told, along with cooking the National Intelligence Estimate with pressure on George Tenet from Rumsfeld's "alternative" analysis operation in the DoD.

    Darrel, the DLC really aren't the same as the R Neocons. Although Clinton & Gore helped start the DLC, by the time of his presidency Clinton's relationship to them had become ambiguous, and Gore had moved away from them. Insofar as the DLC has substantial overlap with the "Israel can do no wrong" forces in the DP, it would have been more likely for them to bring pressure for stepped up confrontation with Iran (as indeed we see them doing in the primary now). But in general I also think they tend to have more influence on domestic matters where it is easier for their anti-liberalism to get a purchase.

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    Steven,

    One more thing on Rwanda. The idea that Clinton/the U.S. didn't understand what was happening in Rwanda is bunkum.

    Just because you don't have much time to spend thinking about Africa or much access to information, doesn't make the same thing true for the state department or the intelligence agencies. Clinton wasn't just relying on spotty coverage in the press.

    Central Africa was an area of great interest in the time in question for various reasons including the collapse of Mobutu's rule in Zaire (now the Dem. Rep. of Congo). More specifically the U.S. had been actively involved in trying to resolve conflict between the mainly Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) led by Paul Kagame, an exile army that had helped President Museveni gain power in Uganda, and then had invaded Rwanda, and the Hutu-controlled government of Rwanda under Juvenal Habyarimana.

    An agreement for a new government and ethnic powersharing was brokered in negotiations at Arusha in Tanzania by the U.S. (to a degree patron of Museveni & by extension Kagame) France (to a degree patron of Habyarimana) and the African Union. Hutu ultra-nationalists opposed this agreement and started mobilizing an internal campaign of ethnic hatred. The genocide was touched off when a plane carrying Habyarimana and the president of Burundi was shot down, probably by Hutu extremists (both presidents were Hutu).

    The U.S. was intimately involved in all of this and had quite a good picture of what was happening in Rwanda. The basic facts were widely known to Africa-oriented academics & at least some Africa journalists, and undoubtedly the State Department and intelligence agencies knew more. No one predicted genocide on the scale that occurred, but evidence of it started being available even in public within a few days and it was quite clear within a week that massive killing was going on.

    Of course the Hutu extremists who organized the killings bear the primary responsibility for their actions. The French have their share of the blame, and the French and the U.S. jointly in terms of being focused on geopolitical shadow-boxing over influence in the region. The French have unique responsibility for enabling the escape of many of the genocidaires into the D.R.C. as the RPF army was began to take control of the country.

    But the U.N. forces already in the country (mostly Canadians) were prevented from intervening more to give shelter to Tutsi and moderate Hutu, and then forced to leave instead of being reinforced to expand such shelter, largely by U.S. obstruction in the Security Council, abetted by the French.

    Clinton was also partly influenced as well by learning the wrong "lesson" from George H.W. Bush's supposed debacle in Somalia, an intervention which actually probably saved a couple hundred thousand lives that have been almost entirely forgotten, due to the deaths of 19 brave servicemen who were the victims of bad policy as well as the mobs that killed them. Since you think I only blame Democrats, let me say that I'm also critical of Bush's precipitous withdrawal from Somalia.

    Again, all of this is partly a response to your flat claim that the DP is the party that stands up against genocide. Wish it were so, but things are just more complicated than that.

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    Fine, Chris. I will apologize for misinterpreting what you originally wrote. It looked, in context, like you were just piling on with the "Clinton is worse than Republicans" meme that the green-nuts around here like to pretend is true.

    It's perfectly reasonable to say that Democrats make mistakes, sometimes ones with terrible consequences. But there's a huge leap between that and attributing malicious motivations to leaders dealing with incredibly complex situations and conflicting moral impulses.

    We will also have to agree to disagree on just how "obvious" the Rwandan genocide was at the time it was happening. Intelligence is more art than science, especially in third-world countries in which telling bald-faced lies is ubiquitous (as opposed to the more subtle "reinterpretation" type lies and lies of omission popular in the West). There was a revolution going on, and such power struggles rarely occur without a single drop of blood spilled. Rhetoric becomes so heated in such an environment, that actual unfiltered information is not easy to come by.

    Further, the typical revolutionary situation is not like what actually happened in Rwanda: one side absolutely overwhelmingly evil, the other almost entirely victims. Far more commonly, it's like it is in present day Iraq: both sides equally evil, provocative, and able to defend themselves through bloody struggle. So the initial actions Clinton's state department took - trying to get the "negotiations" back on track - seemed reasonable at the time. I have no reason to disbelieve President Clinton when he said, "all over the world there were people like me sitting in offices, day after day after day, who did not fully appreciate the depth and the speed with which you were being engulfed by this unimaginable terror."

    In other words, Democrats do stand against genocide. We just don't think we should be intervening in everybody's minor civil war - usually because we end up just making things worse. Or most of us believe that; you may be an exception. I suppose there still is some theoretical moral backing to liberal military interventionism (even though I almost never agree with it). But it is a minority Democratic view, and one that skirts dangerously close to neo-con ideology.

    Finally, on a completely different topic, if the oil embargo of Iraq was in any way responsible for the increase in the death rate in Iraq, why did, in Kurd-held northern Iraq, the infant death rate decrease so substantially over the same period? When the Kurds successfully took advantage of the Bathist weakness to establish their own internal territorial state, they lost all (theoretical) Iraqi oil revenue. Yet far from suffering, their fortunes increased when they went from oil/Saddam to no-oil/no-Saddam.

    In short, you don't need oil revenue to staff hospitals. Plenty of nations get along with none. But you do need a noncorrupt government. So therefore I accept no premise that gives any moral culpability to the U.S. for what Saddam did to his own people in the 90's.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Steve Maurer,

    I have seen many hundreds, maybe thousands of signs at scores of protests. I have never seen one like that. So, it seems your concept is as much a dyspeptic fantasy of "60s-style American Protest Communism" as was Merle Haggard's "Okie from Muskogee"

    Some decades ago many talented Americans were blacklisted, denounced as commies and commie sympathizers. Is that you idea of progressive political discourse?

  • (Show?)
    Darrel, the DLC really aren't the same as the R Neocons. Although Clinton & Gore helped start the DLC, by the time of his presidency Clinton's relationship to them had become ambiguous, and Gore had moved away from them.

    Chris, I didn't say they were the same. There is a significant overlap in their foreign policy however, and that was certainly in evidence with the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act sponsored by then-DLC chair Joe Lieberman. If February of that year, Lieberman had argued for a US military strike against Iraq.

    WASHINGTON (Feb. 13) -- A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee says he is puzzled and frustrated about the lack of support from allies and Iraq's Arab neighbors for a U.S. military strike against Saddam Hussein. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) argues Iraq is breaking promises made to the world community, including Russia, through the United Nations. "It's not just the United States that's threatened by chemical and biological weapons in Iraq; in fact, it's not first the United States . It's the moderate Arab countries, it's Israel, it's even more closely our allies in Europe."

    Many of Gore's friends from his Senate days were DLC-affiliated, as you might expect from an organization he'd helped found. And I find it difficult to comprehend why you believe Gore had moved that far away from them when he picked the chairman of the organization as his running mate.

    Al Gore's career was built on Democratic centrism. That's the mantra of the DLC. They advocate domestic economic policies that are just this side of Republican views, social policies that are a bit further in line with the average Democrat, and a foreign policy that is just as aggressive -- if usually less kookily bellicose -- than the average GOP politician. They're the outgrowth of Lieberman's hero Sen. "Scoop" Jackson (D-WA), from whose office sprang the likes of neocons extraordinare Richard Perle, Frank Gaffney, Bill Kristol, and Elliott Abrams, and who was a buddy of Norman Podhoretz, one of neoconservativism's founding fathers. Jackson perfectly embodied the DLC. Here's DLC "thinker" Marshall Wittman, just a couple of years ago:

    For the Democratic Party, Clinton offered a new and successful approach to presidential politics and leadership. Like many Americans, I left the Democratic Party in the early 1980s because I believed that its liberal philosophy had ossified and it represented big, ineffectual government at home and weakness abroad. As a Henry "Scoop" Jackson Democrat, I no longer felt at home in my party, and Ronald Reagan put out a welcome mat for many political refugees like me. Clinton, however, was able to bring many of these disaffected Democrats back to their ancestral home. Had I been paying close attention while I toiled in the Republican vineyards, I would have noticed that there was a ferment within the Democratic Party. The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) was forming, and a then-little-known Arkansas governor was rethinking progressivism. At the time that I was busy with my duties in the George H.W. Bush administration, the transformation of the Democratic Party was well under way.

    Warms your heart, dunnit?

  • (Show?)

    I think it's important to parse out what you mean by some of these terms. "Centrism", if by that you mean a willingness to work in a bipartisan fashion in the spirit of compromise, is something that I support.

    What I do not support are economic policies, including tax and trade policies, that generally serve to benefit those who hold large amounts of capital at the expense of everyone else. I also do not support government programs or agendas that place the militarization of our economy above core social needs such as health care or education from kindergarten through college, including training in the trades.

    The threat of someone like Hillary Clinton is not that she is a centrist. Nor that she is not a reliable vote on women's issues, civil rights, etc. She is.

    The real threat is that she is also a reliable vote for the investment banks and other multinational entities that are pushing trade and tax policies that have been devastating to the middle class and working class of this country.

    I hope that I am mistaken in that assessment. But it should not be lost on anyone that Hillary is the biggest recipient of money from investment banks, insurance companies, defense contractors, and telecommunications companies out of all Presidential candidates, Democrat and Republican.

    In short, she is the candidate of choice for multinational corporations. And I think that raises a fair question, if you are not a major shareholder in businesses involved in those sectors, is she the right candidate for you?

    Contrast her fundraising with that of John Edwards. His largest single source of contributions to date is ActBlue.

    Think about it.

  • (Show?)

    Tom Civiletti I have seen many hundreds, maybe thousands of signs at scores of protests. I have never seen one like that. So, it seems your concept is as much a dyspeptic fantasy...

    Yes, yes, who am I to believe - You or my lying eyes?

    It is certainly true that you don't see this stuff as openly as it was done in the '60s, just as wearing the old KKK stuff has become passé in the South. But that doesn't mean either extremist fringe has actually changed their opinions much. Instead, euphamisms and code words are substituted for ideas considered unacceptable in polite political discourse.

    And if I'm going to denounce the fringe right wing nutcases who've taken over the GOP, I should do exactly the same to the pathological Green crypto-communists who can't see the difference between Al Gore and George Bush.

    And no, nobody's calling on a boycott. Of course, you'd bring that up. Extremists like to claim they're being persecuted - it feeds into their need to consider themselves morally elite.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Steve Maurer,

    You sound like a nutcase moderate ready to denounce anyone out of the mainstream, steeped in the supposed moral superiority of the conventional.

    By the way, I see a difference difference between Al Gore and George Bush; and always have.

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    Steven,

    What makes a communist in your eyes? To me it pretty much means members of parties that practice so-called democratic centralism in the various branches of the Leninist tradition.

    Actually the Greens are not communist in any sense. They are a species of social democrat. Their platform resembles that of groups that work with or inside the DP, like Working Families Party or New Party, groups that work "inside & outside" like Democratic Socialists of America or Committees of Correspondence for Socialism & Democracy, and most closely, groups that also reject working with or as Democrats, like the Labor Party or Solidarity. None of these groups have Leninist-style internal ideological "discipline."

    It is true that various Leninist groups were active in 1960s protest politics & came to have significant influence in student politics, notably including the role of Maoist factionalists in destroying SDS over the course of 1969-70.

    But they were hardly characteristic of the overall anti-war movement.

    Your rhetoric here is remarkably close to that of Freepers on a website devoted to smearing John Kerry, which among other delights makes out Chuck Schumer, Pete McCloskey, Shirley Chisholm, Ed Muskie and Mark Hatfield to be communists or fellow travellers because they listened to Vietnam Veterans Against the War. They draw heavily on J.E. Hoover-end-stage-era F.B.I. sources; Hoover likewise notoriously, maliciously and completely falsely smeared Martin Luther King, Jr. as a communist, because he pursued protest politics and came out strongly against the war in Vietnam in 1967.

    These are the same folks who "reason" thus: Democrats include the Progressive Caucus (e.g. Peter DeFazio), who have a couple of members, out of 40 or so, with affiliation to Democratic Socialists of America (AFL-CIO president Sweeney belongs too) plus independent socialist Bernie Sanders, and of course socialist = communist, so Democrats are communists, q.e.d.

    Is this really company you want to keep? You're not a Freeper or a Swift-boater or a latter-day Hooverite as far as I can tell.

    Really it is no more true that Greens are communists than that there is no difference between Dems and Republicans. Or that Vera Katz or the American Friends Service Committee were communists because they ended up in Portland Red Squad files.

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    Steven,

    On Iraq we are just working from different assumptions, in the kind of way that makes a meeting of minds unlikely at best. In my view, U.S. governments of either party (or any others) have responsibility for the predictable consequences of their actions, even if that responsibility is not the U.S.' alone. You're coming at it from some other place.

    On Rwanda, I'm sorry, you're just wrong factually. Part of the context of what happened was that Kagame's RPF had invaded from Uganda, so there was a pre-existing civil war going on; the invasion led to great intensification of Hutu extremist hate-mongering. But Hutu were not all evil or genocidaires. The negotiations to which you refer could only go on because the Hutu-dominated government was not with the extremists and had many Hutu backers favoring reconciliation.

    The idea that the Clinton folks wanted to "restart negotiations" is bizarre; the proximate spark setting the genocide off was the assassination by the extremists of the Hutu president who was key to those negotiations, part of an extremist Hutu coup. There were no negotiations to restart.

    The misunderstanding of the severity of what was going on that you describe was true for a week or so, at very most two weeks on the outside. U.S. obstruction of action by UNAMIR, and more especially U.S. forcing of the removal of UN forces and then U.S. obstruction of UN backed intervention took place mostly after that period.

    It was quite clear after two weeks what was going on, the administration was facing strong criticism both intenationally and domestically, and refused to listen. Much of the domestic criticism was from Democrats.

    My criticism is not just about the choice not to intervene directly, but of the actions to obstruct others from taking action.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Sal Peralta made an important point about Hillary Clinton's backers.

    Chris Lowe provided some all-too-often-forgotten historical information and important perspective on political categorization.

  • (Show?)

    Chris Lowe In my view, U.S. governments of either party (or any others) have responsibility for the predictable consequences of their actions

    Yes. You are what I call a "responsible Democrat". You weren't in favor of going to war in Iraq, but now that were there, you feel that the U.S. is "responsible" for fixing it. All that presupposes, however, that our presence isn't actually making things worse (and/or this would change under a "responsible" Democratic president like Hillary, as opposed to Bush). Let's just say that I think that such a proposition is debatable, and we'll agree to disagree.

    I also wish I could be as sanguine as you are about Greens. And understand, when I talk about American Communists, I mean exactly that. I grew up in Berkeley (Berzerkley), California, I know of what I speak. (I've spoken to quite a few.) And setting aside the S.L.A. as a notable exception, American Communists never posed much of an actual physical threat to the wellbeing of Americans. They were never monsters; they were merely idiots.

    And these days, even though many crypto-communists (much akin to crypto-racists on the right) refuse the label that so clearly defines their beliefs, it's still pretty clear who they are by the way they talk. Like the American Communists I knew in my youth, they reflexively blame America for any bad thing going on in the world, take a rosy colored view of communist history and socialist despots, and attack not just certain bad actors among the business community, but the entire concept of corporations and free trade. Generally they dislike Republicans, but reserve their passionate hate for Democrats and Progressives, because we pervert their one true faith.

    Also, like many extremists, they subscribe to a a rather common alienation ideology I term the "bad people theory of everything" which holds that the world would be perfect if some large indistinct class of "bad people" could only be eliminated from the world, or at least subjugated. It incenses them to see any kind of compromise at all, and in this, their ways of reasoning are very similar to neo-cons.

    This is how they can honestly argue that Bush and Gore are "Tweedledee and Tweedledum" - meaning absolutely identical on everything that matters. And it IS true that if you judge both Bush and Gore solely on their willingness to tear down the entire international system of free enterprise and trade, then you can indeed convince yourself that they are identical.

    As I stated in my original comment, I'm perfectly aware this is painting with a broad brush. Not every Republican is crypto-racist, nor is every Green a crypto-Communist. But even in broad brushes, there is truth. Racists vote Republican, not Democratic. And crypto-communists vote Green, and spend most of efforts trying to figure out ways to tear the Democratic party apart. Most are also obnoxious sanctimonious moralizers rivaling the right-wing's pharisaic "Christians", but that's another topic entirely.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Steve Maurer,

    I cannot remember that last time I heard a serious defense of Josef Stalin, by a Green or by anyone else. Perhaps these crypto-Communists do not exist outside the Berkley of your youth.

    And you create a straw man when you suggest a person with all the attributes you list above. Thom Hartmann attacks "the whole concept of corporations." Does that mean he must also have a "rosy colored view of communist history and socialist despots" and vote Green? Yes, there is some reality in what you write, but the extremity of your view is divisive and damaging.

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    Steven,

    It sounds as if we may not disagree as much as you think about Iraq today. In general I favor extracting the U.S. as expeditiously as practicable and giving up Bush plans for long-term occupation, which he compares to S. Korea but really is nothing like. The "responsible" way to do this in my view would be with a combination of internal Iraqi, regional, and U.N.-based diplomacy. Because of our past actions, the U.S. is not in a position to be an honest broker. But with the application of some clear thought and in some cases of Western allies who wisely stayed out of Bush's adventure (France, Germany, Norway? Denmark? Netherlands?) perhaps pressure, plus participation of regional neighbors guaranteeing no one will be overwhelmed in a sectarian manner, it might be possible to get an agreement to a ceasefire when the U.S. left and have a robust multinational peacekeeping fors that could avert or mitigate the worsening of the civil war predicted as a reason to keep our current present.

    It might also well be that to get a really more stable settlement there would have to be a new round of constitutional negotiations. The current constitution may be too tainted by the U.S. involvement in shaping it for it to be the vehicle for Iraqi reconciliation. But that could be hard for some of those who have been participating.

    On communism, basically you are using it as a metaphor. I know whereof I speak too, and more recently than Berkeley in the 1960s and 1970s, having worked in coalitions with various self-decribed communist grouplets in the anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s and some other contexts more recently.

    I still maintain that actual communists call themselves that, look to Lenin as their font of wisdom, & adhere to certain basic nominally revolutionary principles and practices that Lenin articulated in splitting the Bolsheviks from the Russian Social Democratic Federation (a democratic socialist grouping) during the Russian revolution. On this we probably do have to agree to disagree.

    You seem to use it to mean something like "stridently ideological and irritatingly self-righteous advocates of "third party" politics with an anti-corporate bent, who reject the DP wholesale as a capitalist or corporate tool." The funny thing about that sort of definition is that the actual Communist Party of the USA, the one aligned with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, supports working for and voting for the most progressive Democratic candidates available, and oppose the Greens. Some of the Trots oppose the Greens because they oppose all electoralism. Others may "critically support" them perhaps, not sure.

    Tom, the Maoists, most prominently these days the Revolutionary Communist Party, do actually defend Stalin.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Chris Lowe,

    It's been a while since I ran into a Maoist in Clackamas County, but they may be hiding here somewhere.

    Anyway, whatever the ideology, when promoting it is more important than humanity, it matters little to victims which flavor of despotism afflicts them.

  • (Show?)

    Tom,

    Yep, you're absolutely right.

    Trying to remember if I've seen the RCP at any of the anti-war demos recently. Definitely were more visible aroung 1980. There may be some presence of Vietnam Veterans Against the War - Anti-Imperialist, which was a Maoist factionalization of VVAW.

    cheers, Chris

  • (Show?)

    Actually most self-described Communists I met were either Maoist, or far more commonly, Trotskyist. Very few were actual card carrying members of the A.C.P., because most American Communists considered the Soviet Union to be a hideously flawed mockery of what Communism was supposed to be.

    So I'm sorry, but just because someone doesn't defend Stalin, one of the absolute worst dictators on the 20th century, doesn't mean the label doesn't apply. There are plenty of people who, when you listen to what they believe in, talk about something one could only describe as "American theocratic fascism". But that doesn't mean they defend Hitler (who was notorious for invoking the blessings of God).

    So it's not just a metaphor. Although I'll admit that plenty of people are unclear on the concept, history, and just about everything else. Che, commandant of a notorious Cuban "reeducation" prison (and who in the course of 6 months signed off on the political execution of 500 men, women, children, artists, and homosexuals) now adorns designer label t-shirts in upscale boutiques no janitor can afford.

    More to the point, Chavez, who has has used at least some of Venezuela's oil wealth to help the poor of his country (although he hasn't done much at all to stem the country's endemic corruption), is cheered not only for that, but also for outlawing popular opposition TV news stations and seizing grocery stores because they've stopped carrying meat that he's price-controlled below their cost. That is neither Democratic nor democratic. It's communist. There really is no other word that fits. Socialism is by no means that unrealistic or despotic.

    Now as for Thom, while he's a good guy, I think even he'd admit the idea of eliminating corporations is far outside the Democratic, and even Progressive Democratic, mainstream. Think about it: if you got rid of corporations as a legal concept, who precisely would pay their taxes? I'd say that he's in the Democratic tent largely because of our winner-take all politics forces such broad coalitions. In Europe, he'd probably be a member of a Socialist party allied with center-left Social Democrats in parliamentary elections. And far from being insulted, I think he'd probably agree with that assessment.

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