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government selection 2004

Gutless Greens nominate unknown, become irrelevant

U.S. Greens to serve up Cobb, not Nader, for presidency

John O'Conner Yomiuri Shimbun New York Bureau

The U.S. Green Party chose David Cobb, a lawyer and longtime party activist from Texas, as its presidential candidate here Saturday, opting not to endorse the consumer advocate and former Green candidate Ralph Nader, as many had expected it would.

Cobb's nomination by the Green Party, a left-leaning grassroots organization with several hundred thousand members and more than 200 elected officials across the United States, will most likely be interpreted by party members and others as an implicit endorsement of the Democratic candidate for the U.S. presidency, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

"If I'm a Democratic strategist, I'm partying tonight," said Kevin McKeon, 47, a Green Party delegate to the presidential convention here and an elected official in Santa Monica, Calif., who favored endorsing Nader. "My fear now is that we've condemned our party to irrelevance," he said, referring to Cobb's anonymity with national voters. Cobb, 41, does not pose a serious threat to Kerry's election hopes, as Nader's candidacy does, and he has indicated that he will not campaign heavily in several key battleground states, such as Florida and Pennsylvania, where the contest between U.S. President George W. Bush and Kerry promises to be close.

Democratic loyalists are perhaps breathing a little easier tonight, as the rejection of Nader will possibly reduce his impact on this year's presidential election. Many Democrats are still bitter over Nader's Green Party candidacy in 2000, which they contend cost Al Gore the election. Nader received only 2.7 million votes nationwide, compared to Gore's 50,999,897. But some argue that in certain critical states, Nader's presence on the ballot served as the margin of difference for Bush. In Florida, for instance, Nader received 97,488 votes, while Gore and Bush drew almost even with about 2.9 million votes apiece. Bush won the state by just 537 votes.

Democratic Party officials have been pressuring Nader to withdraw from the race, which he has so far steadfastly refused to do. Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry MacAuliffe said recently he has repeatedly asked Nader to drop out. Early this week, Nader reportedly stormed out of a heated meeting on Capitol Hill where about a dozen members of the Congressional Black Caucus tried to persuade him to withdraw his candidacy. Nader later complained to a reporter from National Public Radio that some of the congressmen had "used very abusive language."

In addition, a lawsuit was filed in Arizona last week challenging the validity of petitions submitted by the Nader campaign to get him on the state's ballot. The lawsuit, which has the support of the Arizona Democratic Party, alleges that many of the signatures on Nader's petitions were invalid, either because they came from people who are not registered to vote or were collected by people who were not authorized to do so by the state. A decision from the Superior Court in Phoenix is due at the end of the month.

Ironically, as politicians, Nader and Cobb are more alike than different. Both accuse Democrats and Republicans of being beholden to big business and special interests, and both believe that voters deserve a third option for president.

But the decision to nominate Cobb came only after several days of contentious debate and soul-searching among delegates, and it will almost certainly create upheaval within the Green Party. Many Greens had hoped to endorse Nader, whom they credit with bringing the party to national prominence through his years of tireless advocacy, particularly his high-profile 2000 run.

"Nader is the only candidate who can make the Green Party relevant on the national level," said Young Han, 21, an economics student and delegate from Clinton, N.Y. "And he's the only effective candidate who can challenge the two-party system."

But others felt betrayed by Nader's refusal to accept the Green Party's nomination this year, which was widely interpreted as a move by Nader to free himself from a narrow Green Party platform. "We are very grateful for what Ralph Nader has done for the Green Party," said Norris Dryer, 61, a delegate from Knoxville, Tenn., and an ardent Cobb supporter. "But we think it's time to move along, time to look toward the future. I think the party will heal."

In his acceptance speech, Cobb thanked Nader for his contribution to the party, while emphasizing that the Green's work would go on without him. "Ralph Nader has had more influence on my life than anyone not related to me," he said, adding, "We have demonstrated that it is possible to build a political party without corporate money, and without selling out our principles and values."

Gutless? 27.Jun.2004 13:29

Go Figure

Wait a minute... I thought it was the dems that were gutless??? Now it's the Greens too??? This indymedia stuff can be tough to follow, but I'll do my best to sort out the rhetoric.

Shocking, but not surprising. 27.Jun.2004 14:53

Red neck

The Greens have nominated a phantom candidate. What a waste of time, energy and money. They have nominated a candidate no one has heard of, too late for him to become anything. That of course was the plan all along, even the people who nominated him will vote for Cobb. If the Greens were serious about running a candidate they would have held their convention June 2003. That's the major reason Nader didn't run on their ticket. He learned his lesson in 2000 when the liberal fifth column did a marvelous job undermining his campaign with the same old singsong -We must defeat Bush at all cost. Well, it's the Green party that pays that cost. It's subsidizing the "Democrats"! Think what the Green party could be today if Nader had got that magic 5% all that federal funding combined with all this discontent. "Democrats" worst nightmare!
What this proves is that liberals are still very much in control of the party and as long as they dominate the Green party will remain little more than a auxiliary of the "Democratic" party. If the Green party really wants to grow and prosper, they're going to have to get rid of the liberals (You can start with Cobb) or at least subordinate them. It's inevitable that they're going to join the "Democrats" anyway... and they have the chutzpah to justify this stab in the back as party loyalty. What good is a party you can't vote for it? You have denied at least 5% of the electorate its first choice! How's that for good old liberal paternalism!
This is a tragedy. Not only is it an appalling thing to do to Nader after a lifetime of service, on his last run. It's another four more years wasted.
I'm not trying to disparage the Green Party. Remember the problem isn't the Greens, it's the yellows.

"Ralph Nader has had more influence on my life than anyone who is not a direct relative. I am a lawyer because of Ralph Nader. Without Ralph Nader, this nomination wouldn't have happened,"- David Cobb

Green Party Commits Political Suicide 27.Jun.2004 18:14


The Green Party will realize the signifance of Cobb's nomination when they wake up Novenber 8th and don't have ballot status in any state. The Greens had real power over the democrats and they gave it away without getting any concessions in return. They had the opportunity of a lifetime with Nader/ Greens leading the anti war movement and they blew it.

You don't get second chances with the Dem/Reps. They learned their lesson with Perot and the debates in 1992; they learned their lesson with the Greens and ballot status in 2004. The Greens, at least many at the grass roots level, know the party's official demise date is November 8th, and there is nothing they can do about it.

will Green candidates even vote for themselves? 01.Jul.2004 12:53


LaMarche says she'll vote for whoever can beat Bush

By JOSHUA L. WEINSTEIN, Portland Press Herald Writer

Copyright 2004 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.

AUGUSTA Pat LaMarche, the Green Party's newly nominated candidate for vice president, said Tuesday that her top priority is not winning the White House for her party, but ensuring that President Bush is defeated. She is, in fact, so determined to see Bush lose that she would not commit to voting for herself and her running mate, Texas lawyer David Cobb.

LaMarche, who won 7 percent of the vote when she was the Green Independent candidate for governor of Maine in 1998, said she'll vote for whoever has the best chance of beating Bush.

But "if Bush has got 11 percent of the vote in Maine come November 2, I can vote for whoever I want," she said in an interview with the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.

And if the state is, as it is now, a toss-up between Bush and presumptive Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry?

She could well vote for the Democrat.

"I love my country," she said. "Maybe we should ask them that, because if (Vice President) Dick Cheney loved his country, he wouldn't be voting for himself."

A spokesman for the Bush-Cheney campaign said the vice president is certain to vote for his and Bush's re-election.

Larry Sabato, a political scientist who directs the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said, "It's a rare thing, even for a splinter party, to have a nominee for vice president indicate she is not sure for whom she is going to vote."

LaMarche was nominated last weekend at the party's convention in Milwaukee.

She returned Monday night to Maine, and on Tuesday held her first press conference as her party's nominee in the State House Hall of Flags.

"There are huge issues," she said, listing the war, the environment, health care, the economy and jobs.

Health care was one of her central issues when she ran for governor, and LaMarche acknowledged Tuesday that she does not have health insurance.

But most important of all, she said, is "making sure that George Bush is no longer president of the United States."

LaMarche initially did not think the party should field a candidate for president at all. Her feeling was that many people believe the party's candidate in 2000, Ralph Nader, drew votes away from the Democrat, Al Gore, ultimately leading to Bush's win.

Now LaMarche rejects what she calls an incorrect perception that Nader cost Gore the presidency. She said 6 million Democrats voted for Bush, and there were many irregularities in the 2000 vote.

"There are a million things that are rotten about that last election cycle," she said.

When her party chose to run a candidate this year, she felt compelled to support the decision.

"What we need right now is to make sure that the Green Party grows," she said.

LaMarche plans to use the Maine party's expertise in getting candidates on the ballot to help other state parties across the country do the same.

Although LaMarche does not believe she and Cobb will win the White House, they plan to campaign hard, she said. The two have decided against seriously competing in states that are undecided because of their belief that Bush needs to be defeated.

She said she expects to travel twice a week, but that it's important that she continue to spend time at home with her 18-year-old daughter, Becky, and 17-year-old son, John.

LaMarche is 43 years old and a single mother who lives in Yarmouth. She said she asked her children for permission before agreeing to run for vice president.

The two appeared with their mother at her press conference Tuesday, and had lunch in the State House cafeteria afterward.

While LaMarche, known professionally as radio personality Genny Judge on WEBB (FM 98.5), a country music station, is excited about the campaign, she has new concerns about her personal finances.

She said she'll get no stipend for being a candidate, and that her candidacy has complicated her employment situation.

She said she was "disinvited" from appearing on her usual morning program, but didn't know if the arrangement is permanent.