Friday, December 21, 2007

Green Party presidential candidates announced

1. Jared Ball, independent journalist; radio host (WPFW 89.3 FM Pacifica Radio in Washington, D.C.), hip-hop scholar, assistant professor of communications studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md.

2. Elaine Brown, 2005 Green candidate for Mayor of Brunswick, Ga.; former leader of the Black Panther Party; organizer of Mothers Advocating Juvenile Justice and National Alliance for Radical Prison Reform.

3. Jesse Johnson (YouTube clip, not official website), 2006 US Senate candidate and 2004 gubernatorial candidate for the Mountain Party in West Virginia (now affiliate state party of the Green Party of the United States); filmmaker.

4. Kat Swift, Kat Swift, Texas Green organizer; former Campus Greens leader; activist with Clean Money San Antonio and San Antonio Democracy Now.

5. Kent Mesplay, 2004 candidate for the Green presidential nomination; former president of Turtle Island Institute; environmental engineer, alternative energy activist; California Green organizer.

6. Cynthia McKinney, former member of the US House of Representatives (Georgia), 1993 to 2003, 2005 to 2007; former member of the Georgia House of Representatives, 1988-1992.

7. Ralph Nader, 1996 and 2000 Green candidate for President; 2004 independent candidate for President; consumer advocate (Howie Hawkins of the Green Party of New York State has consented to serve as a 'placeholder' candidate until Mr. Nader announces his intentions for the 2008 election).

I’m going to offer my take, as a 2004 Green Party voter, and financial contributor once since then.

I’m going to start with the bottom two candidates on the list, intentionally put there by my precisely because they’re the only two known to non-Greens.

I doubt Nader will get the nomination, just as an official Green caucus denied him the 2004 nomination. However, I would be shocked if he actually harnesses his ego enough not to run an independent campaign.

Cynthia McKinney? Stereotypes and smears related to 9/11 aside, her temper, and sense of entitlement, do concern me. She also (and this coming from someone who doesn’t come close to supporting the Israel lobby) can flirt with the boundaries of something approaching anti-Semitism.

So, let’s look at the not-so-famous candidates.

I’ve already seen a copy of Brown’s platform. She tries to out-Sweden Sweden by calling for a $25/hour minimum wage. Given that, even for full-time employees, U.S. per capita income isn’t a lot more than that, and is a lot below that in the heartland, this isn’t close to realistic.

I have a bit of familiarity with Swift. Clean money is a good emphasis and I don’t see anything wrong with her.

Mesplay, with his background in alt-energy, has a strong “core Green” issue, and one of importance.

I know less about Ball (though a real journalist from Pacifica Radio can’t be too bad, IMO) or Johnson.

More info on all candidates is here.