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government selection 2004

Several weeks before we know if Nader is on Oregon ballot

Too close to call. Gutless Greens wimp out. Democrats are fascist pigs. No more votes for piggies.
The Oregonian
Sunday, June 27, 2004


Nader draws crowd, but ballot status still unclear
Hundreds gather to try to put the independent presidential hopeful on Oregon's ballot, but the count will take weeks


JAMES MAYER and JEFF MAPES

Ralph Nader attracted more than 1,100 people from all colors of the political spectrum to a sweltering Portland high school auditorium Saturday night.

But it remained unclear whether it would be enough to put the independent presidential candidate on the Oregon ballot in November.

Nader, 70, needed the signatures of at least 1,000 registered voters. Elections officials collected 943 signature sheets, but several contained more than one signature.

"The most I could say, it's going to be close, up against the wire," said Kristen Zubel, a Nader campaign volunteer.

The signatures must be verified by the counties, and an official result will not be known for several weeks.

The assembly also nominated Green Party activist Peter Camejo for vice president.

The air in the Benson High School auditorium was thick with street-level politics, as much a fight among Democrats and Republicans as an opportunity for independents to nominate Nader.

Conservative groups with strong Republican ties urged their members to attend the convention to help get Nader on the ballot, while Democrats asked their members to show up, and not sign the petition, in hopes of thwarting the Nader effort.

The counting began about 5 p.m. At 6:05 p.m., after election officials estimated the hall held more than 1,000 people, the doors were shut and Nader was nominated by several boisterous voice votes.

With formalities concluded, Nader came out firing, blasting Democrats in particular.

"Shame on them," Nader said. "You've got to be the most stalwart voters in the city to come out like this in the face of such sabotage."

The Democrats, he said, were "close to a dictatorial strategy that will destroy them."

Moses Ross, an official with the Multnomah County Democrats, estimated there could be as many as 100 Democrats in the room. If it throws off the count, "it will accomplish our goal," he said.

For many liberals, the defeat of President Bush is paramount.

"This is probably the most important presidential election in my lifetime," said Regna Merritt, an environmental activist who works with the Oregon Natural Resources Council.

Presidential election calculus explains why all sides view Nader's presence on the ballot in Oregon as critical. If he qualifies, he could be a major factor in whether Kerry or Bush wins the seven electoral votes of this swing state in November. In the 2000 election, Nader got 5 percent of the vote in a state where Democrat Al Gore won by 6,765 votes, less than one-half of 1 percent of the total vote.

The Nader campaign welcomed the Republican voters, and that outraged some progressive leaders and Democrats, who called on Nader to cancel the event.

"For Ralph to abandon his principles and everything he's worked for all his life to join forces with the Republicans is appalling," said Laura Bridges of the state National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., wrote Nader asking him to cancel the convention "until you can assure Oregonians that only true Nader supporters are participating in your ballot qualifying efforts."

Nader took aim at Wyden. "He's in cahoots with the corporate wing in Washington, D.C.," he said.

Greg Kafoury, Nader's chief adviser in Oregon, said Nader has vigorously courted "classical conservatives," but the campaign had nothing to do with the pro-Bush efforts to boost his ballot chances. He added that Republican interlopers run the risk of being converted to Nader's cause.

In a setback to his national campaign, Nader failed to gain the endorsement of Green Party on Saturday. Delegates to the party's presidential convention in Milwaukee voted to nominate David Cobb, a Texas lawyer.

Nader, who ran as a Green in 1996 and 2000, was not a candidate for the party's nomination this year. Instead, he hoped to persuade the party to back him instead of mounting its own presidential candidate.


James Mayer: 503-294-4109;  jimmayer@news.oregonian.com

Jeff Mapes: 503-221-8209;  jeffmapes@news.oregonian.com

homepage: homepage: http://naderoregon.org

Onthe 27.Jun.2004 12:53

Mark

Since the Democrats decided to stack the room with people who don't sign to Nader from getting on the ballot, then let the democrats know that their behavior has insured that I will NOT vote democrat. I was not even planning to vote for Nader and likely would have voted for Kerry (and held my nose) but I will now write Nader's name in on the ballot.

The Democrats think they can do anything and get away with it because people know they have to get rid of Bush. I will not validate the unscrupulous and unethical actions of the Democratic Party by giving them my vote. I believe it is more important to act in an ethical and responsible manner, than it is to get rid of Bush at any cost.

Did anyone see attendees who didn't sign? 27.Jun.2004 13:51

James

There were three people in my row who didn't sign. I asked why and they said they weren't Oregon residents. I'm not exactly sure what Democrats look like, but they didn't look it. They were young and a bit punky in their dress. (Their hygiene was quite acceptable though, a marked difference from the last Nader nominating convention).

yes Mark, all democrats are 27.Jun.2004 14:33

not

exactly the same and believe in exactly the same tactics. you've sure got this black and white world pegged.

well, let's show that we are not the same 27.Jun.2004 14:54

Kerry voter

The problem is that the democrats are not speaking out against these acts of sabotage. I am; I'm writing a letter to John Kerry asking him to denounce these tactics. I will post it to this site when I send it. It's true that we are not the same any more than any other group is the same. There are republicans with integrity and democrats with integrity. The question is, are they the ones who are vocal within their parties and do their voices affect the policies and statements of the candidates. I intend to find out.

Democratic leaders are fascist pigs 27.Jun.2004 15:39

George Bender

I noticed that almost the whole auditorium was filled before they passed out the petition sheets. Afterwords, when Nader started to speak, there were whole rows that were empty. Obviously these were not Nader supporters that left, they were Democrats there to sabotage the process, as instructed by "Moses Ross, an official with the Multnomah County Democrats."

Then there was the day before the convention smear campaign launched by Ron Wyden and Howard Dean, telling the press that the Nader campaign was working with the Republican party to get Republicans to the convention, which was a lie. The Nader campaign has no control over what Republicans do, and Wyden's demand that we call off the convention, if we couldn't make sure everyone who attended was a Nader supporter, was ludicrous. That would have meant giving up.

And all the Nader posters that got torn down in Portland and Eugene.

No, all Democrats are not the same. Some are decent people who actually believe in democracy. I have friends who are Democrats. But the leaders and many members of the party are fascist pigs who will not allow democracy to happen if it gives them any competition. They will use any means, however dirty, to stop any third party challenge. And I don't see any of the decent Democrats speaking out against this. That makes you complicit.

So I won't vote for any Democrats from now on. If Nader isn't on the ballot I just won't vote in November. That will have exactly the same effect as if Nader were on the ballot. No one can force us to vote for Kerry. That also means that my vote will not support anything else that may be on the ballot that liberal Democrats would support. I hope it was worth it to you, because you just burned your bridges behind you.


The Democrats! The Republicans! 27.Jun.2004 15:59

James

"Afterwords, when Nader started to speak, there were whole rows that were empty. Obviously these were not Nader supporters that left, they were Democrats there to sabotage the process, as instructed by 'Moses Ross, an official with the Multnomah County Democrats.'"

Interestingly, the Democrats cite that same thing as evidence of Republican support. They say the Republicans showed up, signed the petitions, and then left as Ralph took the stage, not wanting to hear his speech.

Personally, I didn't notice droves leaving while Nader was speaking. Remember, the convention was still occurring as Ralph took the stage. It wasn't ended until perhaps five minutes after Ralph began speaking. I didn't see many people leaving during that period. I don't think I was watching closely throughout the speech though.

Nader's ballot try in doubt 27.Jun.2004 16:22

R-G

Register-Guard
June 27, 2004
 http://www.registerguard.com/news/2004/06/27/a1.wst.nader.0627.html


Nader's ballot try in doubt
By Brad Cain
The Associated Press

PORTLAND - In his second bid to get on Oregon's presidential ballot, Ralph Nader drew more than 1,100 people to a convention Saturday night, but it appeared doubtful the gathering would produce enough valid signatures to win Nader a spot on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Under state law, the event must yield 1,000 valid signatures from the 1,150 people who took part, and elections officials said the margin might not be a wide enough if some of the signatures are found to be invalid.

State Elections Director John Lindback said Nader supporters turned in 950 petition sheets, most of them with a single signature although some of the sheets contained several signatures.

``Their margin is extremely thin,'' Lindback said, adding that it would take a few days for local election officials to tally the signatures and verify whether they are from registered voters.

It would be an embarrassing second fizzled event for Nader, who put on a similar convention in Portland in April and drew only about 750 people.

Still, Nader said Saturday night he remains hopeful the convention will put him on his first state ballot for the 2004 vote. He also noted that under Oregon law, he can also qualify by mounting a signature gathering drive later this summer.

``It doesn't matter. We'll get on the ballot,'' he said.

But Democrats said the apparent flop of Nader's second event shows that the 70-year-old consumer activist's support has eroded and that progressives are going to back Democrat John Kerry against President Bush this fall.

``Ralph Nader just does not have the support of the people of Oregon,'' said Moses Ross, spokesman for the Multnomah County Democratic Party. ``It's also a realization by Democrats that we have to rally around our candidate, and not around an egomaniac.''

If Nader qualifies for Oregon's ballot, polls suggest that he could be a factor in whether Kerry or Bush wins the seven electoral votes of this swing state in November. With these high stakes, both Democrats and Republicans tried this week to sway the outcome of Nader's convention to their benefit.

On Thursday, two GOP-leaning groups conceded they had been calling people around Oregon this week urging them to attend Nader's gathering and sign the petition - in an overt effort to draw votes from Kerry and to help President Bush.

And on Saturday, Ross, the Multnomah County Democratic official, sent an e-mail to party members asking them to attend the Nader event to take up seats in the hall while not signing the petition supporting Nader's candidacy.

``We need as many Oregon Democrats as possible to fill that room and NOT sign that petition,'' Ross wrote. ``If we attend in large numbers and politely refuse to sign, Nader is denied his needed numbers. It's that simple. Please make every attempt to attend this important event.'' Ross said that the e-mail was his idea and not sanctioned by state party leaders.

Nader seemed to welcome the Republican effort as above board but condemned the e-mail from Ross.

``The Democrats are going to get themselves in deep trouble, because authoritarian tactics become illegal tactics after a while,'' Nader said after the event. ``That offends the sense of fairness of the American people.''

Of any Republicans who attended, he said, ``any registered voter is invited here.''

Despite the slim margin, Nader campaign spokesman in Oregon Mark McDougal said he remained hopeful.

``These are Ralph's die-hard supporters'' and their signatures will have a high validity rate, he said.

In Milwaukee, meanwhile, the Green Party nominated Texas attorney David Cobb as its candidate for president Saturday, rejecting Nader's efforts to secure the party's formal endorsement and likely access to the ballot in key states like Wisconsin and California.

Nader, the party's candidate in 1996 and 2000, had told Green officials months ago he would not accept the party's nomination for president, preferring to build a coalition of third-party groups and independents rather than running under one banner.

Still, he openly courted their endorsement as a means to get on the ballot in the 22 states and Washington, D.C., where the party has a ballot line.

But 408 delegates voted for Cobb on the second ballot to give him the nomination.

Nader's supporters at the Green Party convention argued that an endorsement for him was the only real option if Greens hoped to maintain their national profile and play a role in the presidential race.

But Cobb has touted himself as a homegrown Green who would work to build the party from the ground up, while Nader has maintained he is not a member of the party and does not plan to join.

Cobb went out of his way to praise Nader in accepting the nomination but said later the vote was a sign the Green Party ``has gotten out from under the shadow of a man who has probably cast a larger shadow than any other living American.''

The party's endorsement would have given state chapter officials the option of presenting Nader as their choice for president to election officials.

Nader tapped Green activist Peter Camejo as his running mate last week, a step his supporters hoped would bolster his chances of winning the party's endorsement.

Nader recently was polling about 6 percent nationally.


NADAR said, 27.Jun.2004 16:58

Ralph Mouth

`any registered voter is invited here.''

Guess that would include democrats now wouldn't it? And I guess that would mean that they could choose to endorse Ralph or not.

You can't have it both ways Ralph. If you can't take it don't dish it , Wuss!

Go Kerry!

vacant seats at Nader 27.Jun.2004 19:02

sitting in the back

i got there just before 6pm or so---after facing the gauntlent of angry dems and greens, some of whom were downright insulting--which is their right of course, it is their right to make themselves look bad, as well as the dems and greens that they say they represent.

it crowded and hot and i ended up sitting just about at the very back--and the place was packed on the ground floor (i don't know how full the balcony area was).

once the signature sheets were collected---and the doors were open---people did start leaving. and that continued during Nader's speech--though people who were initially shut out for arriving too late--starting filing in.some of the people who came in post-signature gathering were protestors that i'd seen outside, who clearly waited to come in *after* the clicker counting and signature sheets had been done---so at least those few weren't there to disrupt the overall idea of 'democracy'. they came in to ask specific
questions of Nader, which is important in a healthy debate (though one guy seemed so angry that he just couldn't contain himself to the point of interrupting Nader as he answered his original question *and* yelling out again as Nader answered the question of another audience member.)

by the time the break ended between speech and q&a, there were soooo many empty seats that i could move up towards the front to hear the q&a and enjoy a little more breathing room in the heat.

Don't Tar Everybody With the Same Brush 27.Jun.2004 20:19

Cheney Watch

It's a shame that people have to draw lines and be so contentious. I thorough dislike it when I hear anybody spouting hatred at "liberals" and "conservatives", "republicans" and "democrats" in general as though every one of them was a pea in a pod with identical ideology. Things are not that black and white anywhere in life.

George, just because decent registered democrats aren't posting their opinions about some topic on IndyMedia doesn't mean that they aren't concerned about what is happening . . . or writing the papers or their congressmen and women with their concerns. I write constantly although I often get the feeling that my letters go directly to a staff member who issues a generic response and - from there - into the round file.

Ralph Mouth 27.Jun.2004 21:19

George Bender

"Guess that would include democrats now wouldn't it? And I guess that would mean that they could choose to endorse Ralph or not."

You appear to be deliberately unclear on the concept. This was a nominating convention, and people were invited to nominate Nader, not fill up seats to keep out supporters. The doors were closed when we had a count over 1,000. But you understand that, you're just being a worthless asshole.

Cheney Watch:

We didn't start this war, it was started by Democrats over 4 years ago. I was walking by Pioneer Courthouse Square before the election in 2000, wearing a Nader button, and some asshole yelled, "You're going to elect Bush!" The pressure has been constant ever since, and the insults. And now the smears and the cheating.

If you don't like being blamed for this let's see your letters to the editor about Ron Wyden, Howard Dean and "Moses Ross, an official with the Multnomah County Democrats." Tell these people publicly what worthless scum they are.

Could someone give more details of the convention? 27.Jun.2004 21:27

josie

Hello,

I came up from Eugene and volunteered at the April convention but wasn't well enough to make the trip yesterday. I would love to hear what it was like.
The papers lie and I wrote some critical letters to the editors of the RG and Oregonian because all they did was talk about the few anti-Nader protestors outside. Even Jeff Golden of the Jefferson Exchange did the 'Nader is in bed with
the conservatives' thing on his Friday show. I called in to talk about fraud in the 2000 election, but he didn't want to go into.

Thanks to everyone who went, I wish I could've joined you!

Peace.

Re: Mouth 27.Jun.2004 22:28

get real

Why do the Kerry apologists call Nader 'Nadar'? Are you unaware of the spelling mistake? Do you know that 'nadar' means 'to swim' in Spanish?

Hoo Boy 27.Jun.2004 23:17

Cheney Watch

George, call me paranoid if you want, but I never post letters I write to public papers or elected officials in IndyMedia. This is for a very good reason; a reason I do not feel obliged to share with you. I SIGN letters to these people and my letters to the editor are often published. I prefer to remain anonymous when posting in IndyMedia. It wouldn't take a rocket scientist to compare letters and figure out who I was. Besides, why should I have to post my letters here to "prove" anything to you? My word's not good enough? You aren't suggesting that I am a liar, are you? The only thing I asked of you was to consider giving individual members of various parties the benefit of the doubt, rather than judging them as a single-minded mass.

Onthe 27.Jun.2004 23:30

Mark

Of course there are many decent people who are registered Democrats. But that is not who is controlling the party. That is not who is using sleazy tactics to stack a convention. The well meaning Democrats have not lived up to their responsibility to steer the party in a positive direction.

Nader did not lose Gore the election. Gore did not have the courage to fight when it was brazenly stolen. The democrats are simpering whiny cowards who go after Nader because they do not have the courage to tell the truth and challenge Bush.

Anyone with half a bain and some basic honesty knew that the excuses for attacking Iraq were lies. It was all over alternative websites, and the foreign press before Congress gave Bush war powers. Please explain how so many democrats went along with the lies? How ignorant can they be?

Bush should be swiftly impeached and imprisoned for treason. All the necessary evidence is there. The cowardly Democrats however, are going to rely on an election that may well be rigged and possibly even a foregone conclusion.

The pathetic, cowardly behavior of the Democrats is almost impossibly infuriating. They actually have enough power to do something and it is utterly wasted. Worse, they do great harm.

observations 27.Jun.2004 23:43

evolutionary

George Bender and Cheney Watch, I just want you to know that I have enormous respect for both of you. I don't always agree with you but I have come to respect your opinions because they come from independent thought. I wrote a long post with my views on the issues you raised, in an attempt to keep alliances strong while the level of antagonism on the site moves from its elevated state back to normal. But I don't think I need to do that, as much as just thank both of you for your work and contributions. Most of us do a lot of work, more than we let on, in posts to indymedia, and in the rest of our lives. Let's not forget that.

Let's also not forget that their is a difference between the people who align themselves with a party and the politicians of that party. Both republican and democrat politicians deserve condemnation for their crimes, but the people may not depending on their actions. Maybe that goes without saying but when I criticize democrats, I mean the politicians, but I can understand how people who label themselves democrats could take it personally if I wasn't specific. And they should only take it personally if they agree with and support the reprehensible actions being committed by some but not all democrats.

Fuck Demofascists 28.Jun.2004 11:20

not a fascist

I'll never vote for a democrat again. Screw you fascists.

Cheney Watch 28.Jun.2004 22:26

George Bender

I think I may have been unclear in what I wrote. "George Bender" is a pen name I use. I do not often post under my real name either, for the same reasons as yourself and most others on this website.

What I was trying to get across is that I want to see letters to the Oregonian from decent Democrats condemning the anti-Nader smears and dirty tricks being done by the leaders of the Democratic party. When I see some of those letters I may be convinced that there is actually some difference between Democratic leaders and followers. But you need to speak up publicly about what has been done to Nader, not just about other issues. It is not enough to just write about the war in Iraq, you need to repudiate your party's leaders.

Even better, stop voting for them.


It's time to stop the two-party madness 29.Jun.2004 09:02

EndTheDuopoly!

George Bender,
You are entirely correct. Now, these same democrats who have failed in nominating anything near an acceptable candidate try and prohibit people from seeking representation that is truly representative of the people. Instead, Kerry is a candidate who has been quite loyal to Bush's agenda. The democrats again and again refuse to address the pressing issues and necessities of this country, they refuse to oppose imperialistic wars and occupations, they refuse to stand up to corporate interests, they refuse to run fair elections and debates, they refuse to have a campaign based in sound policies. Instead, AS ALWAYS, they use Bush to fear monger and force people to accept their coronated candidate. They and go out of their way in order to stifle real representation in this country. How truly undemocratic. It's time for people to put their foot down.

Democrat followers who are not actively engaged in politics, dialogue, and holding their party responsible are also culpable for the wrongdoings which have occured. I wrote my DEMOCRATIC congresman several times about the war (in another state) and other matters, and because of his responses back I came to understand the absolute and shameless complicity that Democrats have in this war. I was absolutely disturbed by my congressman's response,s and that caused me to do my research and pay attention. Democrats, including Kerry, have actively engaged in perpetuating Bush's lies. Can I trust someone who perpetuates Bush's lies to be "anybody but Bush"? Hardly.

So why do democrats trust Kerry? Hatred of Bush is no excuse to trust Kerry. There is a call to unite behind Kerry, but who is Kerry united with? This is a question democrats need to ask themselves. Are you ready for yet another round of good cop bad cop while both incarnations of the ugly corporatist machine act in collusion to drag us further away from the true democracy we deserve and further into a frightening future of fascism? Or do we do the sensible thing and refuse to submit to this ongoing and devastating two-party rule?

www.votenader.org