The Texas Greens : Making a Deal With the Dark Side

Graphic by James Retherford / The Rag Blog.

When do ends justify means?
The Republicans and the Texas Greens

By Thomas McKelvey Cleaver / The Rag Blog / June 30, 2010

One of the things I have learned the hard way in 40-plus years of working for progressive political change is this: If you use your enemy’s tactics to advance your goals, you will become your enemy; the means we use to achieve an end do in fact absolutely define what that end will be. The end does not justify the means, no matter how easy it seems. As Darth Vader said to Luke Skywalker, “The Dark Side is easier.”

I would think that anyone with the slightest knowledge of the political history of the international Left over the past century would have this basic law of political morality tattooed on their frontal lobes.

Those who laid down their lives for land, bread, and freedom in Russia, China, Spain, Cuba, or Nicaragua (to name only the most prominent) have invariably found their sacrifice stolen by those whose policies made the revolutionaries who fought for those ideals the first Enemies of the State to be liquidated once “victory” was achieved.

How we win matters.

For me, the recent disclosures about the Texas Green Party and their violation of this basic political law isn’t surprising, given the history of the Green Party in America. I wish it were otherwise. I would love to work for, support and vote for a progressive political party that campaigns on dealing with the real problems of America — war, poverty, racism and the environment. Since I would also like to work for a party with the slightest chance of achieving its goals, I have yet to join the Greens and doubt I ever will.

Here’s what’s been happening.

The Texas Greens were petitioning to get on the Texas ballot, but had no money to run a petition campaign. Then they were presented with the “gift” of 80,000 signatures obtained at a cost of $200,000 from a Republican operative.

As reported in The Dallas Morning News: “The liberal Green Party’s uphill battle to get on the Texas ballot this fall has been fueled by a surprising benefactor: an out-of-state Republican consultant with a history of helping conservative causes and GOP candidates.”

The “out-of-state Republican consultant” is Arizona Republican operative Tim Mooney, who set up the petition drive. Who is Tim Mooney? In 2004, he was a major player as part of Capital Strategies, a Las Vegas-based Republican-funded lobbying company that helped Ralph Nader gain ballot access in multiple states, which analysts say benefited George W. Bush by taking votes from Democrat John Kerry.

Had the “close election” in Ohio — where Mooney’s “help” to Nader drained just enough votes to give Ohio’s electoral votes to Bush — gone the other way, the past six years of history would be radically different. Just to be sure of who’s who, that year Mooney’s main business was a get-out-the-vote operation for the Bush-Cheney ticket in Florida.

That’s why this is important. The Enemy — otherwise known as the Republican Party — used left-progressives to derail the slightest possibility of anything that might even remotely slack of a left-progressive agenda ever got close to the halls of power.

This of course brings me to the issue of Ralph Nader, who ran as the “Green” candidate in 2000, on the platform (to quote George Wallace, another would-be third party spoiler) that “there’s not a dime’s worth of difference” between the Republicans and the Democrats.

I beg to differ. Anyone who thinks there was no difference between what might have been with President Gore and what we experienced with eight years of President Georgie-the-Lesser needs a brain transplant.

We all know that it was Nader’s campaign in Florida that sealed the deal and gave us Georgie-the-Lesser’s invasion of Poland, the destruction of the environment from an administration that not only didn’t believe in climate change but actively hunted down those who did, and ended by nearly destroying the entire economic system of the planet with their promotion of the most extreme pathologies of Wall Street.

In the years following that election in 2000, certain facts came to light, the most important being that Nader’s campaign in Florida was financed by Republicans.

Nader’s not the only one. Jump to 2006 and the Santorum-Casey Senate race in Pennsylvania.

Everyone knew the race was going to be closer than close. Santorum — a far-righty’s far righty — was running slightly behind his Democratic opponent. His only chance was to siphon votes away from his opponent. All of a sudden, there was Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli, who came from nowhere, and had the ability to siphon just enough votes away from Casey to give the election to Santorum.

What were the facts there? At one point, literally every penny in Romanelli’s campaign coffers — except for the $30 he donated to himself — came from conservatives supporting Santorum.

Paul Kiel, reporting for Talking Points Memo at the time, nailed the facts:

The Green Party listed a $1,000 check from a Bill Wickerman of Covington & Burling. There is no such person. However, a Bill Wichterman works there. He’s a Republican lobbyist who has also given to Santorum this campaign.

James Holman, who in the past has supported GOP House candidate Howard Kaloogian, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), and Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ), was incorrectly listed by the Greens as “James Howmen.” He disclosed that he was an editor at the San Diego Reader; a James Holman is the publisher there.

The Green Party disclosed that a “Franklin Schoneman” of Pottsville, Pa. gave $5,000. A “Franklin Schoeneman” of Pottsville has given $8,000 to Santorum so far this election.

The same thing was tried nationally in 2008, with Green Presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney — a failed politician who was disowned by the voters in her congressional district for her demonstrated incompetence. When asked if she would question any large donations from people not previously associated with the Green Party to help her gain ballot access, candidate McKinney said she wouldn’t question any contribution. Fortunately, 2008 wasn’t 2000, and Cynthia McKinney wasn’t Ralph Nader.

And now in 2010 we have Texas. Rick Perry, who a year ago was advocating the secession of Texas from the Union (there are times I think “Go! Don’t let the door slap your ass, Texas!”) has been running far ahead of Houston mayor Bill White. He’s been a shoo-in for re-election.

Until last week. A poll then showed Perry holding a 9-point lead over White; this is the kind of lead that can be overcome, this far out. Even the reliably-Republican Rasmussen has Perry up by only 12 in his most recent poll. And a poll from Public Policy Polling — likely to skew Democratic — has the two in a dead heat. This just might be a race that Governor Haircut can lose.

Or it is if everyone who thinks Rick Perry should be swinging by a rope from a cottonwood tree votes for White. A win by White would likely be closer than close, but it could be done. The rabbit could be pulled from the hat. That is, it could be if the Greens didn’t steal the rabbit in a few crucial counties.

As Rice University political science professor Mark Jones said, “It’s good news for Rick Perry, in the sense that the Green Party label draws votes away from White rather than Perry. It’s likely to take a small amount from White. This is only going to have an effect if it’s a very close election.”

I’ve seen this happen before. In 2008, there was an initiative campaign here in California to change the “winner takes all” system of awarding our electoral votes (those 55 reliable votes mean a lot to Democrats) and change it to one in which the electoral votes were apportioned according to the winner in each congressional district. The result would be the addition of at least 20 votes to the Republican presidential candidate.

The campaign had all kinds of “progressive” buzz words about “letting the people choose” and other such astroturf nonsense. The campaign had one goal, and that was to siphon off enough votes so that, in a close election, the Democratic candidate could lose.

Who was working on this stealth campaign to wreck the progressive movement? Tim Mooney. The same Tim Mooney who gave $200,000 worth of free political work to the Texas Green Party because he believes “everyone should have their political voice.” Fortunately, progressives in California spotted this for the Trojan Horse it was, and it went down to defeat.

In 1912, Socialist Party presidential candidate Eugene Debs said “it’s better to vote for what you want, and not get it, than it is to vote for what you don’t want, and get it.” American leftists have used this ever since to promote their various (failed) third party efforts. Interestingly enough, the German Communist Party used this in 1933, as part of their decision not to work with the Social Democratic Party — who they called “Social Fascists” — to oppose the Nazis. Their theory was that if the Nazis attained power, things would get so bad so fast that it would bring on The Revolution.

We all know how that worked out, right?

Myself, I think we are at the American equivalent of the German elections of 1933, We absolutely cannot allow the modern Republican Party back into power. I haven’t voted for Jerry Brown for any office he’s run for since I mistakenly thought he was the good guy back in 1974. But this November, I’m going to vote for him for the first time in 36 years. The thought of Meg Whitman in the Governor’s office after seven years of Ahhh-nuld is just too awful to contemplate.

Sometimes, the lesser of two evils really isn’t evil. I hope my fellow progressive Texans, whose existence is always my best argument against those outsiders who say Texas should be expelled from the Union, will consider that idea come November.

The means by which we attain power defines the ends we achieve. The kind of “morality” shown by the Green Party across the country in the past 10 years is not the kind of political morality I have fought for all my life.

Graphic by James Retherford / The Rag Blog.

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7 Responses to The Texas Greens : Making a Deal With the Dark Side

  1. I think this is nonsense. I don’t know if anyone has ever done a scientific survey of people who voted for Nader in Florida in 2000, but I suspect that most of those voters were sufficiently antagonistic to the Democrats that they would not have voted for Gore if Nader had not been on the ballot. And in any case, in a Democracy, I think they are entitled to vote for the candidate of their choice. The problem in all our elections is our archaic and undemocratic electoral system, not an occasional failure by a major party to suppress votes that threaten its preferred candidates. Vote suppression is a bad thing. I think the Greens and the Libertarians and any other party that gets more than a couple thousand votes in a statewide election should automatically be on the ballot. I intend to vote for White whether the Greens are on the ballot or not, but I think he will very likely lose on his own and will not be able to blame the Greens for it. Cleaver should stop being hysterical.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Get your facts straight. Casey beat Santorum in Pennsylvania. And it wasn’t close. And the Green Party had to pay a pile of money for their attempt to get on the ballot by having fraudulent signatures on the ballot.

    Who wrote this crazy mixed up story?

  3. Lydia Howell says:

    This article is brain-dead swill and inherently ANTI-democracy.

    When Democrats gut welfare and call it “reform”, escalate the “war on drugs” TRIPLING the US prison population, continue to bomb & sanction Iraq,and END the regulations that emerged from the Great Depression which led to the financial meltdown of 2008—- how is this any different than the Republican agenda? That was BILL CLINTON in the 1990s. Today, we have the CONTINUATION of 2 occuaptions/wars, the CONTINUATION of torture, NO ACCOUNTABILITY for the war crimes of Bush-Cheny, plenty of corporate-friendly policies (like being forced to buy bad health insurance WITHOUT a public option that people wanted), and MORE OFFHORE OIL DRILLING LEASES even AFTER the Gulf disaster—-that’s under Barack Obama.

    I’M SICK OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY CLAIMING TO OWN MY VOTE. Blaming Nadder or Greens for 8 years GW Bush IGNORES the way the DLC has “corporatized” the Democratic Party since the late 1980s.
    HALF of Americans DON’T VOTE during presidential elections and EVEN FEWER vote in the “off-years”. WHY? Becasue the 2 parties are too much alike! Duh! ANd the Demopcrats –just like the Republicans–want NO competition and do all they can, short of shooting people–to keep third parties off the ballot, out of the media and unable to have a chance to be heard by the American people.The scaremongering by Democrats is wearing very very thin.

    If there was ever a time that the Democratic Party could have made a 180 turnin a PROGRESIVE direction it was in 2009 with Obama in the White House & a Dem majority in Congress, in the rubble of the 8 years of Bush-Cheney. Yet, it’s still mostly the SAME OLD SELL OUT BS—while still DEMANDING we vote for them.War,torture, corporate welfare, bashing unions, talk of cutting SOcial Security…less than a dime;’s worth of difference these days.

  4. TomD says:

    This article is its own proof that there’s only a trivial difference between the two wings of the Republocrat Party. The author spouts so many of the old lies about why the Democrats lost to Dumbya – twice – that I can’t refute anywhere near all of them.

    Let’s face it: the Democrats lost the 2000 and 2004 elections themselves. Throwing a tantrum and saying “Mommy! The big, bad Greens did it to me!” doesn’t cut it. If the Democrats had really wanted to win in 2000, Clinton would have resigned when his lies about that blow job came to light and moved Gore to the Presidency, where even Rove’s nastiness couldn’t have unseated him.

    OK; enough. If I try to show the truth about every one of the author’s lies, I’d be here all night – and I have better things to do. The fact is, the Democrats – the ones that count, like the Congresscritters – are just as deeply in the pockets, and the payrolls, of corporate interests nowadays as the Repugnicans. They moan about “But Mommy, the big bad Republicans won’t play nice,” when if they truly wanted to pass real health care reform, or real financial reform, or real environmental protection, or … ahh, there I go again, trying to cover all 467,426 bases in one short article.

    The claim that there’s a difference between the Democratic and the Republican wings of the Republocrat Party is just plain bull-byproducts. Some of us, with our eyes open, can see that and work to take action against it; others, like the author, just want to bleat about the unfairness of it all.

    Ebenezer Scrooge had it dead-on: “Bah! Humbug”

  5. Buck says:

    I am a partisan and worked hard for Senator Casey in Pennsylvania. I don’t stand with him on abortion, but nevertheless I worked hard to get him elected. The sentence regarding the Greens in Pennsylvania aggravated me because I KNOW that the Republicans supported the Greens. I was at the counting of ballots of the Greens, famous in Pennsylvania at least, where Republicans, on the first day or two of the count, signed in as members of the GOP, but they were there to support the Green Party. I was fortunate enough to have avoided by accident the dates on which there was fighting (and in which instigators of the fights, from the Greens or the Republican, no one knows which, were thrown out and banned from returning to the ballot counting because of their violent behavior. I know that many of those counting for the Greens did not even know who they were counting for, they were temporary employees. [who incidentally, some of whom ended up counting for us and helping us out even though they were on a temp agency payroll being funded by either the Greens or their Republican supporters, probably the latter. Since they were horrified when they found out who they were working for, a fact which they were not told]) The lawyer for the Green party had to pay a hefty fine, at least in the initial court order [I haven’t followed the appeals and that may have changed there or by time and circumstances] because his client Mr. Morganelli could not afford it.

    However, your facts regarding the election were way off and I carefully read the way you carefully worded your description of this event. There were too many important substories in that election to lie about it, the greatest stories are not told in your accounting.

    I see the dishonesty in your failure to reveal a part of what happened such that you did not actually tell an untruth, but you skipped over important facts to lead some of your readers who do not live in Pennsylvania to come to a different conclusion about who won that election.

    And that did not jibe with your own statement that “If you use your enemy’s tactics to advance your goals you will become your enemy”. And that is what I saw in what you wrote about Pennsylvania. I would expect this kind of writing and presentation of facts from a tea party blog or a wingnut blog. (I do ackowledge that there are number of good, decent Republican blogs, particularly libertarian ones, I just don’t read them. Although the dishonest ones are legions. )

    Nevertheless, your blog is listed on the blogroll of the blog I write at, Bad Attitudes, and this is not something I take kindly to for a blog that is listed on that masthead. So I criticized you for the way you presented the facts. And I think in this case you deserved it. Go and sin no more. And tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But please behave like a true progressive and liberal blogger, or as a socialist or atheist if that is your bent. We need you still, but dishonesty will cause others of your kind to shut the door on you if you keep this kind of writing up.

  6. e b bortz says:

    The blog article and the comment preceeding this comment have prompted me to respond with a link to my own article of 2006 regarding the petition challenge against the PA Greens:

    http://ebbortz.blogspot.com/2006/11/green-roots-harrisburg-blues.html

  7. Richard says:

    Had enough? Both the posting and the comments should remind everyone that a vote for anyone is just playing the man’s game.

    Here’s my suggestion, offered many times before on this blog in postings and comments: Just don’t vote for anyone!!!

    From the comments it is obvious that many will continue to be the suckers in the govt/corporate’s game that only simulates reality.

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