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patlamarche's picture

my name is Pat LaMarche and i'm excited to be here!

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vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

We've had a lot of discussion here of late from liberals/lefties/etc. about looking for alternatives to continuing to support the Democratic Party.

Questions, anyone?

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Fairly or not, for many left-of-center citizens, third-party challenges indelibly and painfully recall the 2000 election and 8 years of George W. Bush.

However, the actions (and inactions) of the Democratic majority since the 2006 election -- and the Democratic Administration since 2008 -- provide an extremely strong case against continuing to accept that the Democrats are sufficiently (or at all) "the lesser of two evils."

What is your message to those of us who may never feel good about Nader 2000 but who may be ready to support, say, the Greens now?

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

What are the Greens doing to build local party organizations? There are several spots with very active and successful Green parties, but a lot of places seem to have trouble even fielding candidates for local office.

Also how organized nationally are the Greens? Is there anything like a central plan for building the party?

It seems like the time is ripe for third parties what with the complete FAIL of both of the two legacy parties.

Thanks!

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right -- for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't. " - Eleanor Roosevelt

patlamarche's picture
Submitted by patlamarche on

aw jeepers this is such a multi-layer question. first of all, let me come clean. i was one of nader's nominating speakers in 2000 and so if anyone is looking for someone to blame for bush; i guest you can just choose me. i don't mind. especially because that's exactly who the bums who are destroying the country want you to blame.

they don't want you to remember that gore actually won that election and that the supreme court stopped the counting of the ballots or that gore didn't have the grizzle necessary to fight for out nation. hell, if gore was that afraid of sandra day o'connor... what's the point?

we all just saw the decision that the supreme court made about corporate ownership of our elections and we know that they are wrong... yet the man with the most at stake in 2000 didn't have the tenacity to fight for the rights of the voter in florida. tsk tsk.

they were wrong about dread scott and many suffered then as well. blaming the greens is a convenient way to make sure that no real outcry occurs to correct our broken system. scape goats are like that. they stop us from getting to the root of the problem....

i'll post this and then move on to what that problem is.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... the debate about root causes for Bush's election could be made moot by taking this tack:

Whatever was true of 2000, and we all have strong opinions about it, a lot of us are now in sync with the notion that the Democratic Party is not willing to be the standard bearer for a liberal agenda. So what can we do together now? We have some ideas...

Just a suggestion, but I think the Greens or any other prospective meaningful alternative to the two big parties might do well to compartmentalize 2000 as opposed to trying to get consensus on it.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i hear tell that the greens are just about as willing to throw women's rights under the bus as the democrats have been. how true is this in your experience?

patlamarche's picture
Submitted by patlamarche on

we need two things desperately in this country ... equal and open universal suffrage and instant run off voting. we are the only industrialized without universal access to the polls. we have waiting periods and felony laws and all kinds of garbage that is designed to keep the elite in power.

in other countries it's quite easy to register to vote. you get born. once born you are on the national health plan and when you turn voting age you can automatically vote. yet another reason to call for universal healthcare.

and we've got to break the strangle hold the influence peddlers have on our gov't ... you ain't gonna get that done by electing the dems or repubs... obama ... SADLY ... has proven that.

all obama has 'changed' is his mind.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

This happens to be a pet issue of mine. As someone with a ton of experience registering and doing GOTV, the myriad state rules regarding registration deadlines rule out millions of voters each year. (If I had time, I could post supporting information, but I'm sure our resourceful Correntians can find such info.) What are the Greens doing on this front? Will this only happen with a third party or can we influence the current two parties? Since it is a state rule, can we bypass the feds altogether? (though one law by the Feds could do this rather than 50 separate state laws).

Only tyrants rig elections.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

What was it like to run for Vice President as a Green? Did you feel well-supported by your Party?

Thanks!

Never vote for people who hate you.

ERA Now!

The Widdershins

patlamarche's picture
Submitted by patlamarche on

greens are a collection of volunteers with a political agenda. i'm a green with a true agenda. end the war, educate our young people, you get the picture.

but as long as we are volunteers without paid staffs running our offices we will be as good in any areas as the volunteers can be with limited time and resources.

the best thing you can do to get more green candidates is run yourself. second best thing... find a candidate and volunteer every spare moment for him or her. our country needs us to fight for her. i know where the weapons of mass destruction are... we have them... and for the sake of our planet we must not give up.

patlamarche's picture
Submitted by patlamarche on

i love women's rights and they won't be thrown under the bus by me or any of the greens i know. folks have a right to their opinion and you may meet a green who is a green for environmental reasons or war reasons but has differing opinions on choice. that is inevitable and a person's individual rights.

but as a party with a platform... women's rights are cast in stone and an imperative in a free society.

Submitted by hipparchia on

can i count on a green candidate to put aside their individual preferences and support the party platform? can the green party be counted on to enforce this kind of support among their members who are elected to office?

patlamarche's picture
Submitted by patlamarche on

it was an absolute honor to run for v.p. for the greens.

what a fabulous way to see our country and meet our fellow country persons.

because we ran on a shoe string ... less than a quarter of a million dollars to run two candidates all across the u.s. for the better part of a year ... we got to stay with greens everywhere we went.

i know first hand that nebraskans and californians and mainers are all in love with their families just like i am. the beauty of greens is we love other people's families too. and i'm sure there are so many folks who feel like us but don't yet know that they are green. a nationwide campaign while tough... is a chance to make that point.

it was the most difficult year of my life... but extremely rewarding and gratifying. and when after the 2004 election, john kerry was a total nothing... we had the honor of launching the recount of ohio which proved who the real patriots in this country are... we greens and the libertarians who joined forces with us and the tens of thousands of folks who helped us regardless of party affiliation

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

"You're throwing your vote away," "you're giving a vote to the other party," and many more-snide ones.

What do you see as the value of supporting a third-party in the face of the conventional wisdom that says "they can't win"?

patlamarche's picture
Submitted by patlamarche on

small comfort there aye? considering how many tyrants there are our government.

elections have been rigged since the dawn of time. in 1968 the election was rigged by putting a bullet in bobby kennedy's skull. in 2004 it was rigged by showing howard dean's excited rantings over and over and over again. collusion from assassins or from huge multinational broadcast entities... it's all the same.

when the first ballot access laws were passed they were done so because the printed ballot had been invented. once you could print the ballot you could control who appeared on the ballot and it was the beginning of the end. the same century the supreme court made corporations persons... and another nail went in liberty's coffin.

we must change ballot access laws. MUST MUST MUST

and that is done on the state level. unless we could get a constitutional amendment to make universal ballot access... and as i said earlier... we should do what real countries with representative gov'ts do and tie that to universal healthcare.

Submitted by lambert on

Sorry, the snow of my ignorance remains untrodden on this one. How?

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

patlamarche's picture
Submitted by patlamarche on

many of the votes third parties get aren't stolen from someone else ... they are earned. and all votes are given freely by the voter. sure, many would like to believe if you limit the choices you can control the outcome. the most important people who believe that are our elected officials. and so they do their best to eliminate options in the ballot booth.

imagine if professional sports only allowed drafts from two colleges. eventually the professional teams would totally suck. you don't need to be good enough for the major leagues is you can just get into one of those two colleges; buy your way in or lie your way in... and then there's no competition so the teams are stuck recruiting progressively pathetic players.

this system is designed by the folks who are and have been in charge and it sure as heck ain't designed for someone to come along and be better.

all that said; if we don't revolt from the current system we will live with what we have which i don't think this country or this planet can long endure.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

How optimistic are you that such change will come?

What could be done to facilitate this change?

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

Your sports analogy - that's amazing. I had never thought about it that way.

"Someone needs to point out that elephants produce infinitely more shit than donkeys." Brad Mays

patlamarche's picture
Submitted by patlamarche on

no party can enforce a platform.... once a person is elected they do what they want. the people in vermont were quite upset when their republican senator became and independent and renounced bush and i personally was relieved enormously when the governor of alaska recently realized she was unfit for duty.

elected officials have a right to follow their own hearts. that said. i'd trust a grass roots people funded green's heart over the corporately owned hearts any day.

Submitted by hipparchia on

yeah, that was probably too authoritarian a word choice on my part

patlamarche's picture
Submitted by patlamarche on

honestly i have no hope at all. cynical to the end.

we are a country of shakespearean sheep... strutting and fretting our hours upon the stage ... full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.

my country is spending billions to kill people and i hate it. i have done everything in my power... write a weekly column for years that runs in the bangor daily news each and every wednesday and run for office myself. i've marched in peace rallies and all falls on the deaf ears of our representatives. human life is worthless. twenty thousand die in this country for want of the most simple access to healthcare.

i am ashamed of the actions of my country as we allow mountain top removal and destruction of our beautiful planet and the people and creatures that inhabit it.

am i willing to give up? not on your life. am i full of despair... only when i'm awake.

i have no hope but i can't give up fighting. i run a homeless shelter and see greatness in the most meager individual every day. i work with folks society has thrown away and i do my best to help them recycle their own lives back into something that they find personally rewarding.

we can't quit even though we know that the odds are long.

but i can't help but think of geo. carlin's words... and i'm paraphrasing if man is god's best work... she aimed low and settled for very little. the united states exemplifies that. we have to fight to be better than we have been.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

I'm not one who ascribes to the neo-Lakoff view that messaging is the most important thing (you have to have a product first, etc. etc. etc.). But you do need to have your message heard. Do the Greens as a group/organization have a media plan?

Only tyrants rig elections.

patlamarche's picture
Submitted by patlamarche on

i agree one hundred percent. the dems who claim nader cost gore the election never proposed a single piece of legislation to fix how things are done....

what does that tell you about their protestations?

romeo... me thinks thou dost protest too much

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

"Look forward, not backward" and "move along folks, nothing to see here."

It's essential that facts are always welcome.

But a close electoral result has many authors, and it seems that there's room for a healthy "agree-to-disagree" about the root causes of 2000.

I harp on this point, because I think it may be a real sticking point for people who:

a) Are ready for a third-party message
b) Have unhappy associations with Nader's 2000 run that just may not go away

I've had to go on this journey myself, recognizing that the voice that says "but, but..." about 2000 has no reassuring answer for how dreadful the Dems' performance has been since 2006 and 2008. I'm ready to vote the bums out of office (or at least give it the college try), even as I harbor all kinds of "might have beens" about 2000, about butterfly ballots, Lieberman's blessing of questionable military ballots, and um, other arguable factors.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Instead just say 1992.

The conditions are riper now, than they were then, and Perot, for all his faults, definitely shook things up a bit. Why can't liberals take advantage of these conditions? A Nader like message would probably reach a more receptive audience. In 2000, there was still plenty of reason to disbelieve Nader. Not so much anymore.

He who will not reason is a bigot; he who cannot is a fool; and he who dares not is a slave.
- Sir William Drummond

Submitted by lambert on

Just dropping in for a minute. Lots of good questions, there. I love the $250,000 budget and staying in people's homes. Every one of those visits could be a media event, these days, too, unlike 2004.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

patlamarche's picture
Submitted by patlamarche on

welp, we have a little joke in the green party.

if you want to win; dress like a republican and talk like an anarchist!

but honestly on the local level greens win more than half the elections they run in.

and when a green wins the republican almost always -- if not always -- comes in third. so why the dems don't want us in the race is beyond me.

but those local elections where speaking directly to the voter is what counts we show ourselves as substantial and valuable.

and we win.

so yeah the message is very important. the problem is that in the big races... the races like i ran it... we are targets of ridicule. make fun of the green and maybe no one will take them seriously. whatever. i knew i wouldn't be v.p. at the end of 2004 but ballot access laws required greens to run for the top of the ticket and so we did because it enabled the lower parts of that ticket to run in states all across the u.s.

when you tell folks we win more elections than we lose... they don't know that and it changes their evaluation of us. we're winners and the voters are winners when they get adequate representation.

in portland maine there are only two elected parties: the greens and the democrats. and that is the sort of success that appropriate messaging provides.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

"we win more elections than we lose"

America loves a winner, so that's an impressive attention-getter.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i didn't realize that the greens win more than half the elections they run in until this liveblog.

i also love that the two parties in at least one place in this country are the greens and the democrats. way cool!

patlamarche's picture
Submitted by patlamarche on

thanks for being here ... i always love talking politics.

and about staying in folks homes... we did one better in 2004 that i want our leaders to do. we lived in homeless shelters.

i lived in fourteen consecutive parts of the country in homeless situations. sleeping outside on the ground when we couldn't find a single empty bed

los angeles, chicago, dc, nyc, providence, denver, knoxville, etc.

it was one hell of an eye opener... and i'm a tree hugging hippie freak who has been volunteering and working with the homeless for decades. imagine what a dick like dick cheney could have learned.

if we don't have politicians willing to hope their hearts and their heads to what it's like to be a constituent... sigh... hopeless.

demand empathy from elected officials. or deny them your support. and find a person who represents the way you feel, think, act... and help them get elected. maybe then we can love each other the way we should. maybe then generosity and justice will be our guide as a nation... and not greed and avarice.

you folks here are my hope. go get 'er done!

Submitted by hipparchia on

both for taking time to talk to us today and for your work with the homeless. it's been one of my projects in years past too.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

If you have time to continue a little longer, we'd love to hear more from you.

But if you have to run, let me extend a big Mighty Corrente Building thank you for a lively and informative session!

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Also, Pat, please take a scroll up through the tread to see if there were any previously submitted questions that catch your eye or that you'd like to add commentary on.

Beyond the specific questions today, you have an audience here that is serious -- some of us for the first time -- about taking off the two-parties blinders. We're all ears for suggestions for directions!

sisterkenney's picture
Submitted by sisterkenney on

The rules and regulations for attempting to run for national positions vary widely from state to state, and some are very onerous..would it be possible to get some advice/assistance from the Greens if running as an Independent to end-run around those rules?

"Rule number one: pay attention"-Ded Bob

patlamarche's picture
Submitted by patlamarche on

you will learn more than you can imagine about your state's laws.

there are states where it's actually cost prohibitive to run. right up front ... in addition to organizing signature gatherers ... you have to pay cash to put your name on a ballot.

for shame!!!!!!!

i wish you could see my scolding face right now. i'm so pissed at ballot access bull shit.

but google ballot access news and also contact your local greens. or write to me directly ... i'll do whatever i can to help.

patlamarche@hotmail.com

patlamarche's picture
Submitted by patlamarche on

staying with the republicans or democrats is like staying with your abuser and hoping they will change.

get out the beefsteak and get ready for another black eye!

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

I am doing a political Lysistrata until I see a candidate emerging who will genuinely stand up for women's rights. As the situation stands right now, no one is coming to mind. However, the coming electoral bloodbath in 2010 may encourage a few Dems to tack left, or an Independent to challenge both Parties in 2012 (like Perot, only non-crazy and lefty!).

Never vote for people who hate you.

ERA Now!

The Widdershins

patlamarche's picture
Submitted by patlamarche on

don't think that elected officials care about the electorate... they won't track left... they'll go right... right where their donors tell them to go!

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

I'm under no illusions that either Party gives a hoot about my rights. Notice my signature line.

However, at some point someone will notice the giant potential of the disenchanted and disenfranchised pro-choice women in America. I just hope that it happens soon.

Never vote for people who hate you.

ERA Now!

The Widdershins

patlamarche's picture
Submitted by patlamarche on

let's hope it happens soon.

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

This is really energizing. You've given me real food for thought here. Thanks for sharing with us.

"Someone needs to point out that elephants produce infinitely more shit than donkeys." Brad Mays

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Very informative and refreshingly honest. We like that around here.

sisterkenney's picture
Submitted by sisterkenney on

And so many people are beginning to see that! I hope that this blog resonates through the disaffected/disenchanted left for days to come. You are inspiring!Thank you!

"Rule number one: pay attention"-Ded Bob

lizpolaris's picture
Submitted by lizpolaris on

My first thought is to wonder how much other misogyny you indulge in. The answer might be none, but it's a poor way to introduce yourself.

Belittling others to uplift yourself is what bullies and cowards do. Yes, even in the political arena. Save the satire for where it might have the most effect. Casually using trendy insults is lazy thinking.

Since lambert invited you here, I'll read on to see if you have anything to say for or about yourself. But you've succeeded in lowering my expectations of the Green Party.

patlamarche's picture
Submitted by patlamarche on

i would venture that white washing an entire party with your low opinion of my humor is a tidge unsophisticated thought. but rush to judgment as you may... i honor your right to your opinion.

Submitted by lambert on

I just read it as "You talkin' to me?" verbal gesture; and if you substitute "Hillary" for "Palin" it's got the same effect. We just went through another long thread where the poster couldn't take a hint of sarcasm without going ballistic; I don't see any reason to encourage that, especially here. And I'm not seeing lazy thinking anywhere in what Pat says in the thread. So.

NOTE Sisterkenney, I'm not going there. Sorry.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Submitted by lambert on

I thought this thread was great. If people want to raise the issue, they can post on it; they have privileges.

Ballot access ...

Sleeping in shelters ...

All great tactical pragmatic stuff.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

taking care of my dad, who actually has good insurance. "good," i should type. "good" as in "how long can we keep you here, and how much can we charge you?"

i'm jumping in unread, but i have to say: has anyone brought up Nader and the Wed group, Norquist's little club of Beltway insiders? or the fact that rethug dollars have gone to some of his interests/causes? i don't blame nader for gore's "loss" in 2000, but i'm no nader fan. my ears are open to a defense of what i see as his significant flaws, if someone has facts i don't. but as far as i can tell, nader is just another Villager, albeit from the "left" as the Village constructs it.

party building is hard, hard work. nader could have done a great deal more of that, rather than going on the Sunday Bobblehead shows where he seems most comfortable. but he'd rather promote himself, imho. then there's the way i've read he treats his organization's workers (PIRIG, iirc) none of which is good. again, i'm ready to be corrected with facts if someone has them.

and fwiw: i've had libertarian, dem and thug, even some weird religious cult party activists knock on my door. but not greens. i am not blaming active members in the green party for this, so much as i'm saying: i'm not impressed with your "organization." i have other concerns, but just saying this much is going to get me creamed here, so i'll stop now.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

I hadn't read enough about the Nader funding issue to ask about that, but I have similar issues about him in terms of organization building (admittedly I've only viewed it from afar). So I, for one, am not going to cream you for raising the issues and wish you'd been around to ask.

I think it's tied to a larger issue, which is that in many people's minds Green=Nader and so how you feel about the party may depend on how you feel about him. That's really fair given how many local Greens have held office (and the fact that Nader wasn't even the Pres. nominee in 2008), but it's still an issue for the party.

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right -- for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't. " - Eleanor Roosevelt