David Cobb is serving up his own brand of suicidal Cool-Aid to the Green Party of the United States and if, my fellow Greens and progressives, we do not dump Cobb now, he will take the party over a cliff.
Before and during the by now widely-discredited and rigged Green “convention”, and continuing to this day, Cobb has offered only one rationale for his candidacy: He says over and over he will “grow the Green Party.”
If this is growth, we should regard shrinkage as a method of promoting expansion.
In reality, Cobb has no campaign. He has no paid staff and only a handful of people working on his non-effort, which he runs out of his house, using a P.O. Box, part-time. The Cobb for President Meet-Ups attract all of 167 people, WORLDWIDE: up from 57 people WORLDWIDE before the convention. (Cobb lost every Green primary he entered and only prevailed at the “convention” because he rigged it with the help of Democratic operatives whose only goal is to deny Ralph Nader as many ballot lines as possible.)
But it gets worse. Cobb is missing the deadline to get on the ballot in state after state, assuring that he will be on the ballot in many fewer states than the 43 that Nader was on last time.
Cobb’s ally -- the oblivious-to-hypocrisy Medea Benjamin, who is anti-war but supports the pro-war Kerry -- has written that Cobb should not campaign in 23 battleground states. Assuming Cobb gets on the ballot in 33 states -- a reasonable assumption -- this mean Cobb will be running a 10 state or less non-campaign.
How is the non-candidate doing on money? So far he has raised about $150,000, around what is needed for a medium-sized town council race.
How about message? Well you have to admit this campaign is unique. Cobb’s VP candidate, Pat LaMarche, when campaigning in her home state of Maine, announced at a press conference that she was NOT committed to voting for her running mate, David Cobb, and would vote for Kerry unless Kerry was 70 points ahead in Maine, in which case she could safely vote for Cobb. Well, since Kerry is not going to win any state by 70 points, that means LaMarche will not be voting for the top of her own ticket. And if LaMarche’s logic guides the hapless Cobb ticket, it means the two of them will just sit on Cobb’s front porch (and campaign HQ) and whittle wood until November 2. (When LarMarche’s comments were reported, a spokesman for Dick Cheney assured a reporter that he was, in fact, voting for George Bush.)
Cobb’s claim that he will grow the Green Party may be the biggest lie of a campaign season peppered with fabrications. Everyone knows that he will get, at most, 250,000 votes nationwide. This means Cobb will have shrunk the Green Party to 1/10 of its size in terms of votes (Nader received 2.7 million in 2000) and to less than 1/20 of its size in terms of money raised. Growth by shrinkage is a new concept in American politics, and one that Greens should reject.
Cobb does offer one argument in his used-car salesman stump speech. He says the Green Party has doubled its number of elected officials from 200 to 400 nationwide in only three years. (Not that Cobb had anything to do with that.) He is confusing rate of growth with growth. That is like saying that because a rabbit has a greater rate of acceleration than an Amtrak train, the rabbit is the better vehicle to bring a human to New York from Washington.
Since Cobb has no legitimate campaign, he has resorted to attacking Ralph Nader in a negative campaign that employs, well, tactics borrowed from Democrats and Republicans. In an article in the Santa Fe New Mexican on April 26, 2004, Cobb “questioned Nader’s motivation this time around, saying he has no apparent goal and is taking contributions from people Cobb called ‘thinly veiled racists.’”
Cobb had no basis for this untrue statement. When I showed the statement to Cobb supporter Medea Benjamin, she said she had no problem with it and Cobb has refused to retract the statement.
Recognizing that Cobb has no people, no money and no message other than to help the Democrats win (For this we need a third party?) and that his VP isn’t even sure she will vote for him, a Green rebellion has begun. Vermont’s Green leaders last week voted to put Ralph Nader on their ballot instead of David Cobb and Utah just voted not to give their line to Cobb.
Every progressive and Green Party member should follow Vermont’s lead and place Nader on their state’s Green ballot. It is the only way to save the party. Each Green Party member has an obligation to move now to remove Cobb and his tiny band of Democratic Party deal-making brothers and sisters.
When the dust settles on November 2, Green party members should remember who worked with the Democrats to diminish America’s most vibrant third party: Cobb, LaMarche, Benjamin, Ben Manski, Marnie Glickman and Ted Glick, the supposed champion of independent politics who actually takes money from Democrats.
As to progressives like Norman Solomon and Jeff Cohen, who are new converts to the Green Party and David Cobb, they are on the wrong side of history. Joining forces with a Potemkin candidate foiling for the pro-war, pro-corporate John Kerry is not going to advance progressivism in America.
Carl Mayer served on the Township Committee of Princeton, New
Jersey and ran on the Green Party ticket for Congress. He is the author of
Shakedown: The Fleecing of the Garden State. He can be reached at: