June 21, 2004

PICK 2, GET 4?:

Beating Kerry to Punch, Nader Picks a No. 2 (MARK GLASSMAN, 6/22/04, NY Times)

Ralph Nader, who twice ran for president on the Green Party ticket, chose as his running mate on Monday a member of that party. The selection rekindled his association with the Greens and raised the outside possibility that they might endorse him and thereby put him on the ballot in 22 states and here in Washington.

Mr. Nader's choice, Peter Miguel Camejo, 64, was a candidate for governor of California in 2003 and the second-most-popular presidential candidate in the Green Party primaries this year.

But no sooner had Mr. Nader announced Mr. Camejo's selection in Washington than he upstaged it by saying that he would accept the party's endorsement if offered.

He said he would continue to run as an independent but welcomed support from alternative parties because his campaign, he said, aimed to be "an ecumenical gathering of third parties."

The Green Party endorsed Mr. Nader in 1996 and 2000, and many members have indicated that they are ready to do so again at the 2004 Presidential Nominating Convention in Milwaukee, which begins on Wednesday. Mr. Camejo will attend and speak on Mr. Nader's behalf.

Given the personal unpopularity of John Kerry and that he's not running on any of the issues that matter to the Left--especially as regards the War on Terror--that his candidacy offers little reason for blacks to turn out in any great number (making the Left electorate whiter); and that the race may not be close enough come November for folks to grit their teeeth and vote Democratic just because their votes might matter, it seems reasonable to think that Mr. Nader could get to 4% this time.

The Men Who Defeated John Kerry?: Ralph Nader`s running mate, Peter Camejo, is a self-avowed "Watermelon": Green on the outside, Red on the inside. And that may mean trouble for the Democrats. (Lowell Ponte, 6/22/04, FrontPage)

[E]ven though Nader decided to run in 2004, Democrats for a time believed they had dodged a bullet when he refused to seek the Green Party's official nomination. This has opened the door in Milwaukee for Democratic Party ally David Cobb to grab the Green brass ring himself and become the 2004 Green Party candidate.

A lawyer-activist from the shrimpboat village of San Leon, Texas, David Cobb got into third party politics when Nader asked him to manage the Green Party 2000 campaign in Texas. Cobb has traveled to dozens of states courting support from Green Party leaders, but he has fallen short of enough support among the 2,000 expected activists gathering Wednesday in Milwaukee to win outright. Unlike Nader, he has zero name recognition and zero support outside the Green Party itself -- and hence has no hope of approaching the 2.8 million votes that long-famous Ralph Nader got while running as a Green in 2000.

Nader this year is asking not for the Green Partyís nomination but for its "endorsement." His goal is to go beyond the limits of one party and get on the ballot lines of several parties. Nader already has such endorsement and potential ballot access from the Reform Party in up to seven states, including Florida, where an April American Research Group poll found that Nader would win 3 percent, enough to push Bush above Kerry by 46-45 percent. (The Democrats, needless to say, are using everything in their bag of dirty tricks to keep him off state ballots.)

Cobb has pledged not to run a Green campaign in as many as 17 states where he might cause Democrat candidate Kerry to lose. He is, in effect, promising if nominated to turn the Green Party from a genuine political party into just one more leftist auxiliary of the Democratic Party, into another Emilyís List, Sierra Club or MoveOn.org. If nominated, Cobb has pledged to neuter and neutralize the Green Party, removing any reason the Democratic Party might have for including Green Party policies in its platform. Cobb would offer the Green Party as a salad course to be devoured and absorbed by the Democratic Party.

Nader, by contrast, has already exerted serious pressure on Kerry not to move right-ward (that is, to the center). But from the point of view of a hard-Left Green Party "progressive," Kerry is already center-right, a politician who voted for the war in Iraq and has not backed away from that vote. Kerry has admitted committing war crimes and atrocities against women and children himself in Vietnam. Kerry also supported President Bill Clintonís international trade agreements including NAFTA, which according to leftists exploit foreign workers, pollute the global environment and send unionized American jobs to non-union workers overseas. How can any serious Green Party delegate in Milwaukee vote for David Cobb, knowing that Cobb has pledged to help secure votes and victory for the likes of Kerry?

The dynamics of the Green convention in Milwaukee -- a left-wing labor town that proudly hosted the national convention of the Communist Party USA three years ago-- changed dramatically on Monday with Ralph Naderís selection of his running mate, Peter Miguel Camejo.

Don't "progressives" deserve a party too?

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 21, 2004 11:51 PM

Camejo ran against Schwarzenegger in the California recall. He actually did pretty well in the debates (put Huffington to shame). Put him in a debate with Kerry's VP candidate, and I imagine he'll resonate with quite a few on the Left.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at June 21, 2004 11:59 PM

I know a self-proclaimed "Left independent" who's become increasingly disenchanted with Kerry, whom he sees as essentially a Bush clone. Heretofore his desire to see Bush out has trumped - barely - this disenchantment but if Kerry tacks right much longer and Nader keeps establishing his left-wing credentials, I think he's going to bolt.

Posted by: Joe at June 22, 2004 2:20 AM

I watched the debates, and Camejo came across as reasonably articulate, although he didn't field any tough questions. His bio says he's a money manager, as am I. Lots of liberals in the business, and apparently Nader has made a bundle in the market. But seriously, what kind of investment climate does Camejo think his policies would bring about? OK, alternative energy would probably do well, but forget manufacturing, health care, and all the other engines of growth. We'll need a futures market in mud huts and windmills.

Posted by: Dave Sheridan at June 22, 2004 6:00 AM

SCENE: a cubicle in the Op-Ed division of a great metropolitan newspaper.

WRITER: There, at last! It's finished. 800 words of sheer genius: "Why Nader Will Choose McCain as Running Mate." Goodness me, I've really out-done myself this time!

Telephone rings. WRITER answers.
WRITER: Hello . . . What? . . . Camejo? Isn't he a utility infielder for the Mets or something? . . . You're sure they said "Camejo" and non "McCain?" . . . Damn.

WRITER hangs up the phone, reaches into his desk drawer, pulls out a bottle of cheap whiskey and sobs bitterly.


Posted by: MIke at June 22, 2004 6:16 AM

Kerry could still pick an anarcho-libertarian.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 22, 2004 7:14 AM

I have heard (no link, sorry) that Kerry has picked Kerry as his VP. To distinguish the two, running for POTUS will be John Flip Kerry and for VP, John Flop Kerry.

One will run to the left of GWB, the other to his right.

This is a sure winner and if Flip gets impeached, and convicted, then Flop will take over.

Posted by: Uncle Bill at June 22, 2004 8:33 AM

Somewhere between Flip and Flop is Numbing Nuance, a shifty character who at the same time appears grave and absolutely nuts. Sen. Edwards zinged Nuance in debate: "That is the longest answer to a yes-or-no question I have ever heard". If Edwards gets the nod as VP, that bite should play well for the next 3 months.

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 22, 2004 1:53 PM

"Kerry has admitted committing war crimes and atrocities against women and children himself in Vietnam." Yes but that was during the JFK/LBJ war and it was OK.

"Don't "progressives" deserve a party too?" They do ... the Democrat Party.

Send your donations to the Nader campaign.

Posted by: Genecis at June 22, 2004 2:19 PM

Someone should ask Kerry if he did worse than Abu Ghraib? If so, why is he qualified to run now?

Posted by: ratbert at June 22, 2004 3:19 PM

"Don't "progressives" deserve a party too?"

Well, they do in Vermont. It's the Progressive Party and Anthony Polina is their perrenial candidate. They don't think it's very funny when you tell them how "progressive" Stalin was considered, back in the Bad Old Days. But I still do it.

Posted by: Governor Breck at June 22, 2004 5:00 PM

Isn't the writer confusing John Kerry with Bob Kerry? It was Bob Kerry who admitted killing women and children in Vietnam, not John.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at June 23, 2004 1:42 AM
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