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Greens target Senator Wellstone.
June 18, 2002 7:44 AM   Subscribe

Greens target Senator Wellstone. "What could possibly explain this idiocy? Natural selection? Ever since Wellstone built the most vibrant left-leaning organization in the nation, any Minnesota progressive with the intellect to tie his shoes has been a Democrat -- leaving the Greens with the sandaled, the shoeless, and the slow. This could just be some Minnesota exceptionalism. But it's not."
posted by boltman (15 comments total)

 
You know, I've always been at least mildly sympathetic to the Greens but this sort of strategy is mind-boggling to me. Do they really think that if they get rid of Wellstone and Waxman and some of the others on the left of the Democratic party that the Greens are going to swoop in and take their seats? Republicans are going to get these seats and as a result they are going to shift the country even more to the right. You can't win the battle of ideas when you don't have any visible spokepeople.
posted by boltman at 8:25 AM on June 18, 2002


From The Nation:
Apparently Wellstone's unpardonable sin was to have supported the US military action after September 11 and to have voted, along with ninety-eight other senators, for the USA Patriot Act.

But here comes the really troubling part of this story. Green candidate McGaa, a veteran of both Korea and Vietnam, says he also supported a military response to last year's attacks and that he opposes the Green Party's plank on the war against terrorism.

In other words, the Greens--in the name of principle--are risking the defeat of the greenest member of the Senate by running a candidate who agrees with Wellstone on what the party evidently thinks is the make-or-break issue. Talk about not being ready for prime time.
But then, on the other hand, there are Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair: "In the Clinton years, when [Wellstone] could have tried to build a national coalition against the policies of the Democratic Leadership Council, he mostly opted for a compliant insider role." I get the feeling Wellstone could have introduced a bill to turn the means of production over to the proletariat and the Greens would still be complaining about him.
posted by subgenius at 8:31 AM on June 18, 2002


Far leftists have this thing about ideological purity, and sometimes destroy themselves by refusing to make any compromises whatsoever. Read Arthur Koestler's account in The God That Failed of being a Communist in Germany in the 1920's. The German Communist Party sounds like it had much the same trouble making coalitions with other progressive parties, and the same suicidal dedication to absolute ideological purity as the Greens have. Koestler was of the opinion that that was one of the reasons it ultimately lost to the Nazis, at a time of political turmoil and opportunity when left and right wing forces had a roughly equal chance of becoming the future of Germany.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:31 AM on June 18, 2002


im apalled..... coming from the very inside of wellstone's campaign staff.... he IS a closet green. Nader managed to give us 4 years of the least evnviromentally friendly president imaginable - and now they are working on giving that very president a republican senate as well. What the f**k!!!!!
posted by specialk420 at 10:09 AM on June 18, 2002


Nader managed to give us 4 years of the least evnviromentally friendly president imaginable - and now they are working on giving that very president a republican senate as well.

This is like the Nets blaming their loss to the Lakers on the Celtics. If the only way the Democrats can compete is by eliminating all other possible options then they just don't deserve to win.
posted by srboisvert at 10:53 AM on June 18, 2002


I just don't get the Greens strategy, if you can call it that. The net result of their actions is to exacerbate exactly the politics they deplore. Any notions that Bush and Gore are exactly the same thing should be well dissolved by now.

The problem is zealotry. We have right-wing zealots and left-wing zealots, complete with their own flavors of litmus tests. Stray beyond the ordained positions and you're out. The left-wing zealots are angered because the Republicans coopted their zealots (who have lots of money) and the Democrats ignore their zealots (with no money).

Yes, the Democrats have painted themselves into a political corner. Yes, they've sold out. But to tear them down is a frantic act of frustration, accumulated from years of losing against the moneyed zealots.

Nader: Where the Democrats "are winning 51 [percent]-to-49 percent," he said, "we're going to go in and beat them with Green votes. They've got to lose people, whether they're good or bad."

But when you deny that your actions and positions have resulted in intensifying the problems you rail against, it's time to pull your head out.
posted by billder at 11:21 AM on June 18, 2002


I am glad I am not a Green, because it would be a real drag to have to vote Democrat all the time.
posted by thirteen at 12:11 PM on June 18, 2002


it is a problem, but what are you going to do? there are people who think that the democrats and republicans are the same, in that they both take money from corporations and are indebted to them, promoting globalization etc. these people have valid points. our system is set up so that only 2 parties can exist.

people say, "how can they go against democrats?" you want the party to neuter itself, and not attack people too similar to it. and that's a valid view, attacking people like wellstone does harm a liberal agenda. but when you say you don't want the green party to run in liberal areas, where they have any chance of getting votes you have to also realize that you're advocating an end to the green party, and any third party. you're also saying that, in the eyes of these people, it is impossible to change the system through democracy. to me the green party is optimistic, they think they can vote their way to a better government. in reality that can't work, and their actions are even harming the government we already have.
posted by rhyax at 2:24 PM on June 18, 2002


I met the Green Party candidate for MN governor while he was campaigning last election. I was not impressed. He approached in a coffee shop while I was diligently trying to study for an upcoming tax law exam (boooorrrrrrinnnng), so I was open to any diversion. He shakes my hand and I asked him what he planned to do about affordable housing and he said he would "work on it." Wtf? Work on it? Minneapolis has a 1% apartment vacancy rate. Rents have been skyrocketing since the mid-90s and Patel was going to "work on it?" That was the moment where the MN Green Party lost me. Get some better candidates and maybe I'll think about it.
posted by Juicylicious at 8:37 PM on June 18, 2002


I agree, it's stupid to attack the green party for wanting to win elections.

Also, if the democratic party gets fucked enough times they'll have to capitulate to Green demands.

Finaly, one of the main reasons I voted for Nader was because I got sick and tired of people telling me I couldn't.
posted by delmoi at 11:53 PM on June 18, 2002


delmoi: they won't "capitulate to Green demands" because they believe (probably correctly) that doing so would cost them other portions of their political base and especially their funding. What good is it to gain the (relatively small) Green vote only to lose the (much larger) suburban middle-class vote?

I'd have no problem with them "going after" DLC losers like Lieberman and Breaux. I just think its myopic lunacy to go after the only real liberals in the democratic party. These guys are going to be replaced by Republicans not Greens.
posted by boltman at 7:15 AM on June 19, 2002


This is still the typical Green bashing / Democrat apologist rhetoric from those who blame Nader for costing them the election. Consider me unimpressed. If Wellstone is such a great candidate and a champion for the little guy, that why should he worry about a small percentage of people that will vote Green?

I hate to tell the Democratic Party this, but it's a free country and I can vote for anyone that I damn well choose to. The "lesser of two evils" fallacy is why we have such mediocre leaders to begin with. If the Democratic leadership would grow a backbone and start standing up to Bush, I might actually have a little respect for them.
posted by mark13 at 10:04 AM on June 19, 2002


it's a free country and I can vote for anyone that I damn well choose to

heh, just wait until Bush gets a few more conservative justices on the Surpreme Court. They've already done a number on your civil rights and liberties in the last 3 years or so. I'm sure they'll get to the Voting Rights Act eventually.
posted by boltman at 9:40 PM on June 19, 2002


The Green Party: Enabling The New Conservative Revolution!tm
posted by owillis at 10:52 PM on June 19, 2002


The author assumes that the Green party is simply a more radical version of the Democratic party, and that a Democrat in office is thus preferable to a Republican. This is not necessarily the case. Both Democratic and Republican parties place economic development at a higher priority than social justice or environmental protection; from this point of view, they are more alike than different.

It's really not much of a loss to have a Republican in office instead of a Democrat. The Democrats pay more lip service to Green concerns, and tend to be more sympathetic to Green ideals, but the actual results are much the same either way.
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:12 PM on June 19, 2002


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