By RUDY MILLER, The Express-Times, Sunday, July 18, 2004
BETHLEHEM -- Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb wants your vote, even if it's not for him.
The 41-year-old construction worker-turned-lawyer told his supporters Saturday in South Side Bethlehem they need to turn to third-party candidates if they want real change in government.
Standing before 30 people noshing on tofu, lentils and other organic treats at the Green Cafe, Cobb said that even if he can't win the White House, he will do everything in his power to get Green Party candidates elected to local and state offices.
Cobb spoke while next to a table covered with literature promoting Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. One onlooker had a Kerry t-shirt; another had a Kerry button. No one wore anything with Cobb's name on it until his aide started handing out "Cobb for president" stickers shortly after his arrival.
"I understand many progressives in Pennsylvania feel terrorized by four more years of George W. Bush," Cobb said. "I have absolute respect for Green Party members who are so terrified of George W. Bush that they will hold their nose and vote for John Kerry. As bad as John Kerry is, George W. Bush is qualitatively worse."
This philosophy separates Cobb from his mentor, Ralph Nader. The well-known consumer advocate ran as the Green Party candidate for president in 2000 and is running as an independent for president this year. In 2000, Nader chose Cobb to manage the Green Party effort in Texas, Cobb's native state.
While Nader may never win an election, Cobb is convinced his efforts will pay off decades into the future.
"Candidates will come and go, but the Green Party is here to stay," Cobb said.
The Green Party believes in protecting the environment, universal health care, ending the war in Iraq and rejecting the "illegitimate, unaccountable rule of corporations," Cobb said. He said 300,000 Americans are registered with the party. More than 200 Greens hold political offices, a number five times greater than the number of officeholders just eight years ago.
At the end of the rally, Cobb convinced 13 people to circulate petitions to get local Green Party candidates on the Pennsylvania ballot.
"The Green Party is getting bigger, it's getting stronger and it's getting more organized with every election and we're doing it against the odds," Cobb said.
Cobb said he travels two weeks out of the month and works in his home in California the other two weeks. He can't afford hotels and stays at the homes of other Green Party candidates while he's on the road. Cobb appeared with Green Party vice presidential candidate Pat LaMarche, a former television broadcaster and radio show host who lives in Maine.
Reporter Rudy Miller can be reached at 610-258-7171 or by e-mail at email@example.com.