A lot of progressives in this area are going to be playing for the Green Team this time around in the US Senate Race.
Ideologically, I don't blame them a bit. Harold Ford is not exactly my dream candidate. Truth be told, I can't read through his voting record without antacids. I stand so far to the left of him that we could only communicate through smoke signals.
But if you need a better example of why we need to stand behind him, just take a look at the Green Party.
I have no idea what Chris Lugo's financials look like. He has yet to release them. To me, the total absence of disclosure seems to fly in the face of the transparency of government that has long been a Green plank. In fact, it's a pattern I detect as I try to cross-reference Green Party candidates with known donor databases. I''ve picked five names at random from a list of their 2004 candidates for federal races, and I'm not finding anything.
But in the races where disclosures are being made, you have to try pretty damn hard to not see a disturbing pattern.
In Pennsylvania, Green candidate Carl Romanelli has raised over $66,000 to campaign against Bob Casey and Senator Rick Santorum. Okay, maybe I've used the word "raised" a little loosely. Romanelli gave $30 to his own campaign, and every other penny has come from a Rick Santorum supporter. And that's after the Santorum staff helped him gather signatures.
This is not a new strategy. Ralph Nader's 2004 presidential campaign drew significant support from the Republicans. Perhaps they were so fond of him because of the way he helped tip the scales in 2000. One in ten of Nader's 2004 donations over $1000 came from Bush/Cheney donors. Considering that 50% of Nader donors gave $200 or less, you can imagine how significant those $1000+ donors were in building up his $4.5 million.
Ideologically, we've all got a lot in common with the stated goals of the Greens. We want an end to the war in Iraq. We want better energy alternatives. We want to keep the air clean for our kids.
The problem is that by shifting towards the Greens, we undermine the only party that actually has a chance to accomplish any of that. By weakening the Democrats, we don't do anything to accomplish our goals--- All we do is increase the likelihood of uninterrupted one party rule for the next several decades while the Greens find their feet.
It's not a great chance, but there is a chance that sending Ford to the US Senate this year will give us the majority there. The people that want to impeach the president will find that useful--- It gives us subpoena power. It also means that we get to pick the committee chairmen, and I can't even begin to stress how important that is. The Republicans have been using the "They offer no ideas" meme for the last four years in relative safety--- 74% of Democrat-sponsored legislation is killed in committee.
Want an end to the war? The Republicans won't do it on their own, and the Greens carry less clout than a flea. You've got to strengthen the Democrats for that.
How about healthcare? The last time the Republicans tried to do anything about it, it was a bill to deregulate the insurance industry that would have lifted the requirements that insurance companies cover most pre-cancer screenings such as mammograms, pap smears, etc. The Democrats were only able to hold together a filibuster by a razor-thin margin to keep that from going to the House, where it most assuredly would have passed with flying colors. The Greens couldn't have done that, and the Democrats wouldn't have been able to either if the Greens had helped split a few more votes during the last election cycle. I've not seen a Democratic plan yet (They learned the mistake from the Clinton health plan--- By the time he had a chance to implement his, the previous year of Republicans bashing it had taken its toll), but it couldn't be any worse than "Let's give back every bit of progress in the war on cancer that pre-screening has given us".
Wany gays to be able to marry? Most of us progressives do, but that one's not going to happen overnight. You have to change the people first and the representatives second. Doing it the other way just means that you AND the representatives are both marginalized. I can promise you this, though--- No Democrat is going to sponsor ballot initiatives that use you as political scarecrows.
Harold Ford is far from my ideal candidate. And a vote for Chris Lugo definitely sends a statement.
Unfortunately, that statement is "I'm willing to roll my dice with the Republicans".