Thursday, June 15, 2006

Greens Mounting a Challenge

Thornton on his Rival Candidates: "They're Insane."

The Hartford Advocate has a story out today about Green Party gubernatorial candidate Cliff Thornton, whose major difference with his rivals revolves around the war on drugs:
...Hartford native and Glastonbury resident Thornton, a long-time drug legalization advocate and first-time political candidate, saw a clear distinction between his campaign and the campaigns of DeStefano and Malloy.

¨I´m not insane. They´re insane,¨ Thornton said. Their insanity, he said, stems from support of drug prohibition.

¨DeStefano and Malloy are applying the same tactics that have been employed for almost a century, in and around drug prohibition. We have had almost a century of the war on drugs,¨ Thornton said. ¨Yet there are more drugs selling for cheaper prices on our streets than ever before. Would you say it´s time to look at something different than what we´ve been doing?¨ (Bulger)

The crazy thing here is that Thornton actually has a point. What we're doing about drugs isn't working. Maybe legalization isn't the answer, but so far no one else is even addressing the problem. Too bad no one's paying attention.

Such is the fate of the Green Party: to be forever ahead of the curve, then forgotten or shoved aside when everyone else catches up. Case in point: Iraq. A lot of Americans are upset with the way the war is being handled. Greens were out protesting it long ago. Another example is campaign finance reform and public financing, which were Green ideas long before Democrats and Jodi Rell discovered them.

So why can't the Greens get their message out? Funding is one issue: they don't have any. Members are notoriously cheap, and the party won't take corporate donations (not that any corporations would give to them). Another issue is the party members themselves: there aren't enough of them, and they don't get along. For example:
¨We´re a party that´s in the process of rebuilding, quite frankly. We´ve had an office we haven´t had a chance to fully staff,¨ Tim McKee, Thornton´s campaign manager, said. In order to get Thornton on the ballot, the Greens need 15,000 signatures by Aug. 9. McKee said they currently have just under 1,000.

Meanwhile, the party is still reeling from defections and from a divisive 2004 election.

¨I think people know that the 2004 presidential race split us quite a bit. Locally, people like [New Haven alderwoman] Joyce Chen switched and became a Democrat. [Hartford City Council member] Elizabeth Horton-Sheff left because she thought we were talking too much about international issues like the war. Quite frankly, this is the first time we´ve had to talk about statewide issues,¨ McKee said. (Bulger)

Worse, the Greens that I remember from my short time with them in 2002-3 were divided into factions, each vying for control of an essentially powerless organization. Infighting in small organizations can be deadly. Some of those fault lines may still remain.

In addition to all this, the Greens still have to struggle with lingering anger over the 2000 election. Paradoxically, some of the anger Democrats and other liberals feel towards the Bush Administration gets aimed squarely in their direction, when people remember that they're there at all.

The future of the Greens as a party seems pretty bleak, right now. They'll be stomped in the election like always, after which they may either revert to trying to win the odd municipal race or two or perhaps disappear entirely.

But their ideas, like radical new directions in drug policy, will stick around, and maybe edge into the political mainstream over the next couple of years. Not that they'll get any credit for them. By then, they'll be way beyond that old chestnut anyway, and on to something even crazier.


Bulger, Adam. "Green Thumbs Up." Hartford Advocate 15 June, 2006.


TrueBlueCT said...

Let me say it again, the Greens should form their own caucus, within the Democratic Party. Then and only then would they have any relevance, and they might be surprised at how many lefties would join them in "Green, and Clean" campaigns.

Right now they are like juveniles on the sidelines, tossing stones. And they are doing nothing to help change/take back the Democratic Party. It's a shame that their energy isn't going to a more positive use.

Gio said...

Drugs ain't about to be legalized and smelly hippies ain't gonna get elected. Simple as that.

Derby Conservative said...

In order to get Thornton on the ballot, the Greens need 15,000 signatures by Aug. 9. McKee said they currently have just under 1,000.

Hang on there Ghengis, you have this guy's website listed in the candidate links and there's not even a guarentee that he'll be on the ballot in November?

If you're going to list his non-candidate site, then you should list Joseph Vollano's, since he is the GOP endorsed candidate for the 3rd District US House.

Genghis Conn said...

Good point, DC. I'd forgotten about him. Added...

BRubenstein said...

GC..i know you were a green..

First of all...multi-party politics isnt indigenous to Americal like it is in EUrope where the Green Party is a force in German,France and other countries.

Secondly..alot of their issues fit comfortably in my party ( Democratic) and therefore the Greens will forever be co-opted.I would argue that the left in the Dem Party is every bit as progressive and far more prductive and effective.

Thirdly you were wrong to say that the Greens were first for campaign finance reform...many of us were fighting this fight upfront and in the legislature long before the Greens were even founded in Ct. Frankly they are no where to be found in the legislative fights to make campaigns clean and on other issues.

Fourthly...many Dems believe that the Greens ruined Al Gore's race in 2000 by running Nader and they might have a rather..shall we say..un-green reception in our party.

Fifth..If the best that Thornton can do is offer us free drugs..i adivise him to see a doctor..any doctor..most of whom are rather free to hand out presriptions like
lolipops. The fact that this is the major green issue in the race..leads me to believe that their party is full of misfits.

Trueblue...we DONT want them..let them stay where they are..cutoff..alone...with nothing to add except crying.

BRubenstein said...

Gio...they arent smelly hippies...just very misguided fools..we dont have a multi party history in America...a few of them may be elected for very minor posts..but who cares..

Usually any major change comes from some radical action...Democrats came from the Revolution of our country,gradually replacing the Whigs..and Republicans from the Civil war...

" political change comes from the barrel of a gun" Chairman Mao

cgg said...

Greens want nothing to do with the Democratic pary, which is why they aren't just democrats. Most Greens that I know see both parties as the same animal.

Blaming Greens for Al Gore's "loss" in 2000 has always annoyed me. Greens didn't feel that he stood for their issues, and really did Gore ever make an effort to reach out to the Green Party? I guess it's just easier to blame Nader than to look at our own mistakes there.

Derby Conservative said...

brubenstein said:
Trueblue...we DONT want them..let them stay where they are..cutoff..alone...with nothing to add except crying.

BR demonstrates yet again that the Democrat Party is an elitist organization. The GOP has the big tent people...come on in!

frenchlick said...

The problem with the greens, or to be more fair, the reason they're not effective is because their leadership seems unable to organize. They set goals for themselves that can't be obtained. Instead of running for governor and getting trounced time and time again running for senate, they should think more local and once and a while pick victories and issues they can actually win. I voted for nader in 2000 because he was the best candidate. But I am a democrat because they are the best party.
If I had to generalize the greens I would say they have good values but have little to no stategic or tactical abilities to further the progressive movement.

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

Derby Conservative said... "
brubenstein said:
BR demonstrates yet again that the Democrat Party is an elitist organization. The GOP has the big tent people...come on in!"

That's right; the only thing we won't tolerate is intolerance!


Eddie said...

¨I´m not insane. They´re insane,¨ Thornton said.

Political commentary at its finest.

Efficacy1 said...

I just love a fight. A lot of what has been said is true. As the days and months go by you will see how we fair.

Efficacy1 said...

BRubenstein The only thing that exceeds your ignorance are the people that condon it. All great truths begin as blasphemies.

" political change comes from the barrel of a gun" Chairman Mao

Or a resonable facsimile

TrueBlueCT Why would we want to join a group of cowards and incompetents.

The truth is,the Green Party is the only party that are addressing
the issues. It is the only party that truly has a democratic process. Look at our slate of candidates. To some of you we look like a bunch of radicals but these are the issues that most people are concerned with.