Third Party & Independents Archives

Why I am Green, John Kerry, Part 5 of an Ongoing Series

The 2004 election surfaced as featuring one of the most hated incumbents in American history. Yet this incumbent, George W Bush, was victorious. What happened in 2004? It is my belief that by playing to moderates and the right with John Kerry, Democrats abandoned progressives and did not bring a real difference to Bush. Yes, this piece discusses the 2004 election, but if the Democrats continue down this slippery slope you will see a Republican in office in 2008.

Progressives were not only abandoned and used by the Democratic Party; many progressive news outlets abandoned their progressive values to Kerry. Either the power of the ‘Anybody but Bush’ mantra by the Democrats or the fierce neo-conservatism of Bush caused progressive voices in the media to bow down to Kerry, most likely it was a combination of the two. In an article for The Nation Naomi Klein displayed this abandonment of progressivism when writing, “This madness has to stop, and the fastest way of doing that is to elect John Kerry not because he will be different but because in most key areas- Iraq, the “war on drugs”, Israel/Palestine, free trade, corporate taxes- he will be just as bad,” Klein continues, stating, “So Anybody But Bush. And then let’s get back to work” (40).

The Nation was not alone in its abandonment of progressive values to Kerry. Sadly In These Times is guilty as well. In an article for In These Times, writer Craig Aaron brings abandonment of progressivism to new levels in writing, “John Kerry is going to win. Repeat after me: John Kerry is going to win…to beat George W Bush we all better start saying…that our guy (and, like it or not, he’s our guy) is going to be the next president” (41). Worse yet is that Aaron magically remembers his progressive values a month later, when it is no longer required to be a tool of the Democratic party, in another article stating, “A month after the election, I’m still nursing a hangover from downing too much Kerry Kool-Aid. (My previous column taught me a valuable lesson: Never drink and divine” (42).

The result of these actions by The Nation and In These Times is two fold. First, by publishing such articles these progressive news outlets gave John Kerry, and the Democrats, a blank check to continue to abandon progressive values and move further to the right in an attempt to capture conservatives and moderates. Secondly, such endorsements of John Kerry, with zero accountability, serve to discredit true progressive candidates, such as Ralph Nader, and in doing so again the Democrats are allowed to move rightward in order to capture the ‘swing voters’.

The attitude of Democrats during the 2004 elections was such that any and all respect for the rights of progressives to make up their own mind in voting was absent. This is seen in the way Democrats patronized, and as we will see later blatantly harassed, the campaigns of progressive candidates. During a round table discussion for Tikkun Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb was asked the following question, “So are you advocating that people in the states that seem to be deafly either for Bush or for Kerry vote for you but that in states where the race is closer they join a united front against Bush and vote for Kerry?” Cobb responded to the question stating, “No I won’t advocate that” (43). The mere fact that the question would even be asked suggests that progressives do not have a right to run for office against the Democratic candidate and thus that progressives do not have the right to vote for whom they wish. Unfortunately, however the Green Party did accept a sort of safe states approach, appearing on only 28 states ballots, down from 44 in 2000 (44).

40. Naomi Klein, “Ditch the Distraction in Chief,” The Nation 279 (5) (August, 2004).
41. Craig Aaron, “I Think He Can, I Think He Can,” In These Times 28 (25) (November, 2004).
42. Craig Aaron, “A Little More to the Left,” In These Times 29 (3) (January, 2005).
43. “The Progressives’ Dilemma in the 2004 Elections,” Tikkun 19 (5) (September 2004).
44. Wikipedia, “Green Party: United States,” Available at

Posted by Richard Rhodes at May 24, 2006 1:57 AM
Comment #150783


I bet you were the darling of your graduate department. My professors would have eaten this line of thought up with a spoon and begged for more.

But do you seriously expect that a candidate with the views you espouse can be elected? Your premise does not seem to recognize that compromise is necessary in order to build a support base large enough to potentially win a national election. True, Kerry lost, BUT it was a very close election. I believe the only reason that he was able to muster as many votes as he did is because he went to the center.

If there was truly support for a far left candidate then Kucinich would not have been such a dismal failure.

I supported Bush in both elections because I wanted a war president. Now I am considering the Democratic view, if only for the preservation of abortion rights. However, if the Democrats embrace the far left, they will give the election to Republicans.

Are you only interested in symbolic victories or would you actually like to see a moderate shift to the left in America?

Posted by: goodkingned at May 24, 2006 2:28 AM
Comment #150788

goodkingned said: “Richard, I bet you were the darling of your graduate department. My professors would have eaten this line of thought up with a spoon and begged for more.”

This line shows your complete and utter ignorance of academia. While I may be young and have little ‘real world’ career experience, academia is my realm. Anyone familiar with the current state of academia should realize that, as for quite a while (this will make more sense when discussed an a future article), ‘liberal’ Democrats have ruled academia.

In order to write this piece I had too stringently research more than ever before, because everything I found was either conservatives criticizing Democrats, which was not the angle I wanted to push, or Democratic liberals worshipping Kerry and pronouncing he is the only answer to Bush (see my section about the media and Kerry above in this article). So this piece is far outside of the norm in academia, which in large part is ruled by partisan Democrats. Too make this point my graduate program contains about 70 percent Democrats, 20 to 25 percent Republicans, and 0 to 10 percent of Greens or Libertarians or other Independents, Democrats rule the world of academia currently and do not like debate from the left.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at May 24, 2006 3:00 AM
Comment #150792

I might not be so ignorant as you think, but it is the perogative of the young to be arrogant so I will excuse your tone.

It sounds like you have been the victim of political correctnes, the ugly monster that applauds free speech, if you follow the script.

But, surely you recognize that if the Democrats truly supported the far left initiatives they would be unelectable giving the field to the Republicans.

I ask you are you merely interested in symbolic victories?

Posted by: goodkingned at May 24, 2006 3:17 AM
Comment #150797


Don’t encourage him. Richard still has a hundred pages of this stuff and he intends to post them all. As it is, we’ll be reading this until 2008.

Posted by: Aldous at May 24, 2006 3:52 AM
Comment #150812
But do you seriously expect that a candidate with the views you espouse can be elected?

Wow. I actually agree with goodkingned. :)

Seriously, Richard, you guys hitched your wagon to Kerry and the Democratic Party because there was no other palatable choice. Who was the Green Party candidate in 2004? Why didn’t you vote for him? Why are you blaming John Kerry for the Green Party’s neglibable voter base.

Here’s my advice — again. Put some Greens in office at the local level. Prove to us that you guys can keep cops on the street and get the garbage and recyclables picked up on time. Gain some trust, and THEN shoot for the big one.

The Democratic Party is a big tent, and we share more of your values than the Republican Party — but the Democratic Party isn’t the Peace Party, nor is it the Communist Party, the Libertarian Party, or the Green Party. It’s the Democratic Party.

Posted by: American Pundit at May 24, 2006 7:41 AM
Comment #150826

Richard Rhodes doesn’t seem to know his Green base well enough.

At an tabling event at a Berkeley Farmer’s Market for my former East Bay for Kerry group in 2004, I ran into several of those in the Green Party who not only supported John Kerry because they wanted President Bush out of office but also because of Kerry’s pro-environment stances and activism. So basically put, Kerry’s got more support of progressives than people might think and even during the 2004 campaign, it wasn’t just blind support. Not only that, at least two Green Party members were furious at Ralph Nader for running for president, regardless of whether it was as a Green or as an Independent.

The fact is, a Democrat would have had to win to beat President Bush in 2004 because the third party base is not only not large enough but also doesn’t have the resources to battle the Republican war chest.

Abandoning third party principles? Not really. Just wanting President Bush out of office because of the damage he did prior to being re-elected and the damaged once he was into his second term. Hell, John Kerry met with Ralph Nader to talk about the 2004 race so obviously there was some input.

Posted by: Michael at May 24, 2006 10:08 AM
Comment #150949

“This line shows your complete and utter ignorance of academia.”

Ouch! A bit rough, don’t you think. Perhaps this attack evinces your “complete and utter ignorance” of proper etiquette.

Posted by: jj at May 24, 2006 2:48 PM
Comment #150967


I don’t mind Richards attitude. He has a rough lot if he is waiting for Kucinich to assume the mantle of national leadership. Also, they take no prisoners in the Realm of Academia. The Death of a Thousand Papercuts awaits those who violate their stringent unyielding rules, like not keeping proper office hours or dating co-eds.

Posted by: goodkingned at May 24, 2006 3:16 PM
Comment #151126


You know I hope you suceed in the academic world. I considered it. It’s a nice gig and whatelse do you do with a master’s in sociology?

Posted by: goodkingned at May 25, 2006 2:10 AM
Comment #151131

Actually a Master’s in Political Management at GWU. Anyone willing to try to stand up for John Kerry, anyone?

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at May 25, 2006 3:00 AM
Comment #151133

No, you misunderstood me. I have a masters in sociology. Political Management is much more employable, especially if you get your doctorate.

Posted by: goodkingned at May 25, 2006 3:05 AM
Comment #151134

Oh ok sorry about that man. And yes I am getting my doctorate immediately after this program, most likely at John Hopkins.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at May 25, 2006 3:09 AM
Comment #151135

Wow! I see that you are also benefitting from the total college experience by your reading list. I found the extracuricular activities to be very broadening. My school, alas, was rated only in Playboys Best Party Schools. Apparently, it has continued its tradition of fine education, since I have seen the city, Hattiesburg, recently referenced in several cool sources.

Posted by: goodkingned at May 25, 2006 3:16 AM
Comment #151137

Aww too funny you mentioned the Playboy thing. The school I went to for undergraduate was the only private school to be on the best party schools list (although as an honorable mention) for two years running.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at May 25, 2006 3:27 AM
Comment #151138

I took my time getting educated getting my four year undergraduate degree in a mere five years.

Posted by: goodkingned at May 25, 2006 3:41 AM
Comment #151380

Good Ned, but that has nothing to do with anything.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at May 25, 2006 6:54 PM
Comment #151499


You need to stop and smell the roses sometime.

Posted by: goodkingned at May 26, 2006 5:36 AM
Comment #152947

Fraud is what really happened in 2004!

Proof of Kerry non-response Bias in 2004 Midnight Exit Poll

Taking into account the finite limits on the supply of voters in each category of the midnight exit poll here is proof that all major rights to claim non-response bias in the National 2004 exit poll belong to John Kerry instead of media darling George Bush.

Posted by: BOB YOUNG at May 31, 2006 11:01 AM
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