Friday, October 05, 2007

Policies and positioning for presidential candidates

As we consider the choice of Green Party presidential candidates, it appears to me that two things are happening. Like all of the other parties, the decision seems to be coming down to the issue of electability and causes many Greens to look outside the party for a "name" to carry the Green Flag. The names most mentioned are Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney. Both have been designated to be placed on the ballot for the presidential nomination by the General Assembly of the Green Party of California.

Both feel that they have to deal with the inevitability of the "spoiler myth." Whether on a web site or on radio, it will always come up.

However, if we start by looking at the positions taken by various candidates on significant policy issue, like energy, we would come to the conclusion that others are more prepared than either of these name candidates. As in yesterday's post I called attention to Jared Ball for his recognition of the need to reach an urban population of color, I would call attention today to Kent Mesplay.

Mesplay is the only one of the candidates for the Green Party nomination that has bothered to think through and articulate an energy policy. There is an environmental aspect of being green that has all but disappeared from the progressive agenda. If you look at the issues that are being articulated by McKinney, for example, you won't find any mention of environmental justice, of energy, of climate change and its affects on agricultural policy.

I look at Hillary's set of issues. She also has a fully articulated science policy. Mesplay gives is some attention.
I want an improved political process that allows good candidates to run so that we have public officials who treat science with respect and who actually work to make us more secure rather than catering to their favorite businesses.

There is a list of issues on which all of the candidates take position that are generally considered "progressive." They include support for ending the war in Iraq, affordable health care for all and sound very much like Bill Richardson. In addition, they all talk of the need for electoral reform so that we may never have to deal the the spoiler issue again.

If you take away the question of name recognition and look at candidates based on whether or not they truly represent the values of this party, I would certainly recommend nominating Kent Mesplay and Jared Ball. However, national name recognition is likely to carry the day in the Green Party just as there is little doubt that Hillary's name will carry the day for the Democrats.

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