George Must Go...But Who Next?
In the last four years George W. has proved at least one thing: a Bush should never again sit in the Oval office. Bush II has presided over the worst recession since Clinton took office, a dramatic loss of jobs, the invasion of Afghanistan, and the first pre-emptive war in the history of the United States. And now, four years later, the economy is in shambles, more than 600 U.S. soldiers have lost their lives due to lies and Bush/Cheney’s thirst for control of Mid-East oil, and rabid anti-gay attacks have reached a level not witnessed on the national political scene in decades. President Bush likes to talk about regime change, and I agree with him. It’s time for a regime change, and I propose starting right here at home.
During the last two years the administration has drastically slashed or “re-allocated” social services monies creating a crisis in the non-profit sector forcing many service agencies to cut staff, reduce services, or simply close their doors. While the President spends his time combating the “evils” of terrorism and gay marriage, and Halliburton stockholders are busy planning new additions for their homes in the Hamptons, the social safety net is sprouting more holes than the ozone layer over Antarctica. The Administration claims there is no money to fund critical social services, yet Bush is proposing an enormous increase in military spending in his 2005 budget. As a matter of fact, if Bush’s military spending proposal is approved, the U.S. government will be spending $935 billion on the military, which is one and a half times the combined budgets of the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, HUD, Food/Nutrition Programs, Labor Department, and the Social Security Administration. There is something rotten in the way this nation does business. There is no question for me that Bush must go. Another four years under a Bush administration would be about as pleasant as a Speedos only hot tub party at Rush Limbaugh’s house. But the question that must be answered is whom should we put in Dubya’s place?
I am, in most cases, not a die-hard realist. I believe that the lesser of two evils voting strategy still leaves us with evil in power. I reject the notion of spoilers. Ralph Nader did not lose the 2000 election for the Democrats. The Democrats failed to mobilize their voter base in swing states, had a lackluster candidate, and developed a poor strategy in the election aftermath in November and December 2000, which resulted in an election stolen by the Republicans. The more than three million U.S. citizens that voted for Ralph Nader voted for him because he presented an alternative to the corporate controlled parties and presented an alternative view that pushed justice and peace over the rapacious economic policies of both major parties. The nation would have been better off with Nader rather than Bush or Gore. And, we would have fared much better domestically with Gore than with Bush. And now, four years later, we find ourselves faced with the same choice but different circumstances.
Four years ago the world seemed to be a little left of center, but now, collectively, we seemed to have embraced a hysterical move to the right. The Democrats had the opportunity to nominate a truly progressive candidate to stand against Bush in the fall elections that would have provided a strong contrast to the Republican candidate, but, instead, the DLC, in a fit of centrist rage, put the entire Democrat machine to work against Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich and the other Democratic candidates that represented something outside of Clintonian corporate centrism.
In fact, Green though I am, before John Kerry wrapped up the nomination, I publicly endorsed Governor Dean’s race for the presidency. But now I find myself in a quandary. John Kerry is no Howard Dean. John Kerry is not even Al Gore who at least had a decent environmental record. Kerry, like Gore, is very much a part of his party machine, and while I believe he will provide a very different domestic agenda that leaves behind many of Bush’s attacks on a woman’s right to choose, LGBT rights, people of color, and the poor, his foreign policy will, I am afraid, not vary significantly from that of George W’s.
And then there is Nader. Nader has declared that he is running as an independent in this election. He has publicly stated that he will not seek the Green endorsement although he will accept the endorsement should the party choose not to endorse another candidate. He entered the race late leading me to question his sincerity in this election, and he has done none of the groundwork necessary to truly motivate and move the voting public. If he had a chance of winning, Nader would be my hands down choice for President of the United States, but I believe his entrance into the race in early 2004 was nothing more than grandstanding. His run as an independent means he is beholden to no agenda other than the one he devises for himself. He lacks a grassroots constituency to which he is accountable. And, as a Green, I cannot support endorsing a candidate that is not willing to accept the duty and responsibility inherent in a party endorsement.
The political reality facing the United States is a stark one. Is the best strategy for moving forward a program designed to remove Bush at all costs or one in which progressives vote their conscience with the end goal of building a strong third party movement? Since Kerry wrapped up the nomination, I have no clear answer to that question. But as each day passes and the death tolls in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to rise; as Bush continues his attacks on gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals living in the United States; and as the working poor and people of color continue to be targeted by this administration, it becomes clearer and clearer that four more years of Bush is intolerable and unthinkable.