Former Green Party leader Jim Harris says meeting first Green MP will be “like being in Berlin the day the Berlin Wall fell” and “like being in South Africa when Nelson Mandela was liberated from jail… .”
Former Green Party leader Jim Harris can barely contain himself:
Today is a day of days. It’s the first day of a new era. It’s a day that you don’t want to miss. Come to Guelph today. There are tectonic forces at work in Canadian politics.
I imagine it’s like being in Berlin the day the Berlin Wall fell. It’s like being in South Africa when Nelson Mandela was liberated from jail — or the day he was inaugurated as President. Imagine being in Berlin or South Africa while history was shifting . . .
We are in such a moment. Funny thing is not everyone sees or feels the moment in terms of how profound it is until later — when history books are written. Carpe Diem! Seize the day — today is the day we all get to be part of history. It’s the day we’ll tell our grandchildren about — I was there when . . .
Meet Canada’s first Green MP in Guelph today (Sunday, August 31)! Blair Wilson, the former independent MP who is now the Green Party’s first MP in Parliament, comes to Guelph with Elizabeth May to support Mike Nagy’s campaign.
To quote Johnny Rotten, “ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” After a rousing buildup like that, I was expecting a bigger pay off than “meet Blair Wilson!” If the superfluity of parody was ever in doubt…
Self-described “card-carrying Green” Stuart Hertzog is none too pleased that Blair Wilson is now Canada’s first Green MP:
Why don’t I see this as good news? Because in accepting Blair Wilson into its ranks, Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May has shown that she’s prepared to throw out fundamental Green political principles just so she can be included in the nationally-televised leadership debate. Put simply, that sucks.
[W]hat effect will this appointment from ‘on high’ of a fallen Liberal star as Canada’s history-making first ‘Green’ MP have on local Green Party members? Were they consulted about this, or did they learn about it from the media?
I’m not living in that riding, but as a card-carrying Green I’m disgusted with this display of old-style, back-room political thinking that believes that secret negotiations to persuade star candidates to run under the Green Party banner is the way to open, democratic politics and ecological security.
Such shenanigans may create a brief flurry in the media — but at what cost? Blair Wilson MP has done well in the past by toeing the Liberal Party line, but the Liberal party’s environmental record is not good. Canadians saw little genuine progress in environmental enforcement during the decades it was in power.
Has Blair Wllson suddenly discovered a new ecological consciousness as a newly-minted Green? Or is his greening as pale as the current attempt to paint the Liberal Party green after its decades of environmental neglect? What are his Green credentials? He may call himself a Green MP — but is he really one?
Green politics was supposed to be different, an alternative to the moral and financial corruption of old-style politics. But Canada’s Green parties seem to have drifted away from these Green ideals. As the Green ‘brand’ grows in popularity, a new wave of political opportunists are hopping aboard the Green Party wagon as it trundles slowly but seemingly inevitably towards Ottawa.
Make sure to read the whole thing. I think pogge nails it when he says (in comments; scroll down) “[t]he way to fix a broken electoral system isn’t to game it even more by exploiting whatever loopholes you can find. That’s a recipe for making voters [and, apparently, ideological partisans--mb] even more cynical than they already are.”
I can’t help but be, oh, a little bit skeptical of Republicans’ sudden interest in the glass ceiling. After all, this is the party that threw women like Lilly Ledbetter under the bus, in favor of businesses that practice wage discrimination. The party that stymied the Equal Rights Amendment. The party that not only wants to force women here and abroad to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, but also wants to deny them access to a range of contraception options.
It’s clear that Republicans believe that what made Hillary Clinton such a good candidate was her gender, not her political experience or positions on the issues. And McCain’s decision to pick Palin shows he took this message to heart and chose to add her to the ticket primarily because of her gender. In so doing, McCain has turned the idea of the first woman in the White House from a true moment of change to an empty pander.
Why is this a pander? Because Palin is not a woman who has a record of representing women’s interests. She is beloved by extremely right-wing conservatives for her anti-choice record (fittingly, she’s a member of the faux-feminist anti-choice group Feminists for Life). Palin supports federal anti-gay marriage legislation. She believes schools should teach creationism. Alaska is currently considering spending more on abstinence-only sex education. And when it comes to a slew of other issues of importance to women, such as equal pay, she’s not on the record.
Of course, I’m of the belief that more women in politics — across the ideological spectrum — is always a good thing. On a superficial level, nominating a woman to the Republican presidential ticket is indeed a milestone. But the real reason many women were excited about Hillary Clinton’s candidacy is that she was the whole package — a politician with a solid record on issues like choice and fair pay, and with a lot of experience, who was also a woman. Even feminists I disagreed with during the primary made the compelling point that it wasn’t just about Hillary’s gender. It was about her record, too.
- Ann Friedman, McCain’s Sexist VP Choice
The day that Mr. Emerson “crossed the floor” to the Conservative party was a dark day for Canadian democracy… He has betrayed his supporters and the entire electorate in Vancouver Kingsway. He has put his personal goals ahead of those of the electorate.
Oh, snap! Welcome to prime time, Liz.
The Green Party has wooed Independent MP Blair Wilson to its ranks, giving the party its first politician in the House of Commons and as a result, a spot in the televised election debates.
Because the party now has a MP, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May will be entitled to participate in the televised leaders’ debates in the election that is expected to be called within days.
“Democracy is threatened when legitimate national leaders are barred from what is arguably the single most important political event in an election – the televised debates,” Wilson said in the release issued by the Green Party.
“It is shocking that the Green Party was excluded from the debates in the past, but by joining the Green Party, I can help guarantee that this travesty will not be repeated in the next election,” he said.
Campion-Smith calls the suprise maneuver “a stunning strategic victory for May” prior to an election widely expected to take place October 14th. However, it’s hard to muster much enthusiasm for yet another round of vote-free Parliamentary seat-rearrangement. As noted by Campion-Smith, Wilson campaigned and was elected as a Liberal, and only left the Grits last fall as a result of a financial scandal (although an Elections Canada investigation recently found “minimal evidence of financial wrongdoing.”, according to North Shore Outlook, which led Wilson’s attorney to declare that Wilson had “been exonerated of everything serious.”)
pogge, who notes that “as recently as two weeks ago [Wilson] was still trying very hard to be reinstated as a Liberal and wanted the Liberal nomination in West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country”, is (imo rightly) skeptical about what this means for Wilson, May and the Greens:
This sudden elevation of the Green Party and of Elizabeth May’s status isn’t the result of a choice by voters. It’s the result of one guy who was, rightly or wrongly, kicked out of the party he originally chose and couldn’t get back in. On a rational basis I don’t believe that qualifies Elizabeth May to participate in a debate where she’ll be the only leader arguing that some other party’s leader ought to be Prime Minister.
When I think of the current state of Canadian Federal politics, the word that almost immediately springs to mind is cynicism. Maneuvers like this–to say nothing of Harper’s opportunistic jettisoning of his own fixed election reforms–do little to increase voter confidence in the health of our Parliamentary system. No wonder, as noted in today’s Halifax Chronicle Herald, some eligible voters (including yours truly) may have felt a little “campaign envy” this week as history unfolded before our eyes south of the border:
If an election does come, there are no gripping issues, merely the end of the game of who triggers it and when.
The likely outcome is another minority government requiring the same sort of bipartisan compromises that supposedly can’t be made now. Not exactly the stuff of mile-high enthusiasm.
There are practical reasons electoral energy cycles are out of sync across the 49th parallel.
Canadians have nothing like the historic choice of electing the first black president, or the first woman vice-president now that John McCain has boldly picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.
Well, I wouldn’t quite go that far. Since this editorial was published, Canada has boldly made a small-town cheap contribution to the annals of political history. Yep–watching a tainted ex-Liberal hitch his political fortunes to a party dedicated to, um, electing Liberals certainly gives me hope for this fall’s homegrown electoral festivities; finally, a little bit of change that we as Canadians can, if not outright believe in, at least feign indifference towards.
Rounding up coverage of Biden reaction last week, I quoted former Clinton adviser Howard Wolfson, who thought that Obama going the old white political insider route “gives an opening to the McCain campaign to pick a woman or make an out-of-the-box selection.” Well, today the McCain campaign took that opening and charged through it:
(h/t Petulant for the vid)
Now, before you get all ZOMG glass ceiling shattered!!1 at the prospect of a female veep (which begs the question: why didn’t McCain vet Senator Clinton, hmm? No. Re. Spect.) keep in mind that Palin is, by and large, a Trojan hammer, as NARAL president Nancy Keenan outlines in the following press release:
Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said that Sen. John McCain’s selection today of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate is further evidence that a McCain presidency will be just another four years of the same old Bush-style anti-choice policies. Just like McCain, Palin opposes a woman’s right to choose. Palin has also stated her opposition to abortion even in cases of rape or incest.
“John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate proves just how rigid and extreme his administration would be when it comes to a woman’s right to choose,” Keenan said. “For 25 years, McCain has opposed a woman’s right to choose, and we know that he will continue to push anti-choice policies in the White House. McCain’s pick of anti-choice Sarah Palin is further evidence that his White House will be just another four years of Bush-style policies. Any remaining doubts about McCain’s extreme anti-choice position should be put to rest when voters learn about the combined anti-choice records of Sarah Palin and John McCain.”
Palin, a member of the anti-choice group Feminists for Life, said during her campaign for governor that she is opposed to abortion, even in cases of rape or incest. [Juneau Empire, "Abortion Draws Clear Divide in State Races," accessed 8/29/08 and Anchorage Daily News, "Governor’s Race: Top contenders meet one last time to debate," 11/03/06.]
“Americans are tired of the kind of divisive anti-choice policies that Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin have pledged to continue to support. The contrast between pro-choice Sen. Obama and anti-choice Sen. McCain is clear. Voters are looking for a leader who respects women’s freedom and privacy. Barack Obama is that leader.”
Sen. McCain’s selection of Palin as his vice-presidential running mate is especially troublesome for the unique audience of women voters NARAL Pro-Choice America is targeting: Independent and Republican pro-choice women in suburban and exurban swing districts. These women play a pivotal role in the presidential election. Recent polling confirms how, once these voters know McCain’s extreme opposition to a woman’s right to choose and family planning, they will switch parties to support Sen. Barack Obama.
NARAL Pro-Choice America, which tracks all choice-related votes in Congress and ranks all 50 states on the status of women’s reproductive rights, classifies Sarah Palin as anti-choice.
This 2005 Nerve article by Lynn Harris gives some background on Feminists for Life:
According to its tastefully designed website, FFL — describing itself as a “nonsectarian, nonpartisan, grassroots organization … shaped by the core feminist values of justice, nondiscrimination, and nonviolence” — “recognizes that abortion is a reflection that our society has failed to meet the needs of women.” The goal of the group: “systematically eliminating the root causes that drive women to abortion — primarily lack of practical resources and support — through holistic, woman-centered solutions.”
Well, that’s refreshing. No railing against the ladies for making selfish choices, no little pictures of tiny feet. A commitment to non-violence, a focus on the “root causes” — they use the word ” holistic,” for God’s sake. It all sounds entirely reasonable, doesn’t it?
Try radical. The group believes abortion is an act of violence that is unacceptable under any circumstances. Unacceptable under any circumstances. Including rape, incest, major fetal defects, and danger to the mother’s life. This position — “holistic solutions” aside — puts [FFL] to the right of their sister organization, Attila the Hun for Life.
Not only that, but FFL is sketchy about birth control. “Preconception issues, including abstinence and contraception, are outside of our mission,” reads their website. “Some FFL members and supporters support the use of non-abortifacient contraception while
others oppose contraception for a variety of reasons.” So it’s not clear precisely how FFL would go about reducing unwanted pregnancies. Or, for that matter, rape and incest.
Katha Pollitt disputes FFL’s appropriation of the ‘feminist’ moniker:
It is indeed feminist to say no woman should have to abort a wanted child to stay in school or have a career–FFL’s line is thus an advance on the more typical antichoice position, which is that women have abortions to go to Europe or fit into their prom dress. You can see why their upbeat, rebellious slogans–”refuse to choose,” “question abortion,” “women deserve better”–appeal to students. (But what do those students think when they find that the postabortion resources links are all to Christian groups and that FFL’s sunny pregnancy-assistance advice includes going on food stamps or welfare?) Exposing the constraints on women’s choices, however, is only one side of feminism. The other is acknowledging women as moral agents, trusting women to decide what is best for themselves. For FFL there’s only one right decision: Have that baby. And since women’s moral judgment cannot be trusted, abortion must be outlawed, whatever the consequences for women’s lives and health–for rape victims and 12-year-olds and 50-year-olds, women carrying Tay-Sachs fetuses and women at risk of heart attack or stroke, women who have all the children they can handle and women who don’t want children at all. FFL argues that abortion harms women–that’s why it clings to the outdated cancer claims. But it would oppose abortion just as strongly if it prevented breast cancer, filled every woman’s heart with joy, lowered the national deficit and found Jimmy Hoffa. That’s because they aren’t really feminists–a feminist could not force another woman to bear a child, any more than she could turn a pregnant teenager out into a snowstorm. They are fetalists.
All of which makes me wonder if, by picking Palin as his running mate, McCain is actually making a play for pro-life Evangelicals and Catholics, rather than disaffected Clinton voters. By tapping a socially conservative abortion foe, the McCain campaign may be attempting to once again make the Christian Right vote a factor in November, after many believed religious conservatives didn’t trust McCain enough to wholeheartedly support him. David Waters of WapO’s On Faith points to a recent CBSNews.com interview with Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission:
CBSNews.com: Who’s on the list of people mentioned for VP that you think would most excite Southern Baptists and other members of the conservative faith community?
Richard Land: Probably Governor Palin of Alaska, because she’s a person of strong faith. She just had her fifth child, a Downs Syndrome child. And there’s a wonderful quote that she gave about her baby, and the fact that she would never, ever consider having an abortion just because her child had Downs Syndrome. She’s strongly pro-life.
She’s a virtual lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. She would ring so many bells. And I just think it would help with independents because she’s a woman. She’s a reform Governor. I think that, from what I hear, that would be the choice that would probably ring the most bells… .
And, true to Land’s prediction, (church) bells are ringing in exultation, as noted by Waters:
Evangelical leaders were elated Friday.
Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council:
“Sarah Palin clearly addresses the issues so many conservatives are concerned about. It balances out the ticket,” said Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council. “She’s also really a checkmate for the Democratic Party because folks who were looking to make history for Barack Obama can make history by voting for John McCain in seeing the first woman elected to the vice-presidency. It was a very strategic move by John McCain.”
Pro-life advocates and website were buzzing Friday about McCain’s choice.
“Sarah Palin is the whole package. There couldn’t be a better vice presidential pick,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an influential pro-life PAC. “By choosing the boldly pro-life Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain has taken his stand as the one true, authentic pro-life ticket.”
“[T]he one true, authentic pro-life ticket.” I have a feeling McCain’s [deliberately ambiguous] latter day pro-life branding effort has completely answered any lingering doubts conservative Christian voters may have held regarding his commitment to key socon issues. Instead of an ‘out of the box’ decision, choosing Palin as his VP nominee amounts to more of the same from John McCain: “a classic, Rovian appease-the-base choice.”
To paraphrase The Strokes, “Mile High city cops/they ain’t too smaaart”:
A police officer was videotaped Tuesday shoving a CodePink protester hard to the ground without any apparent sign of provocation.
Footage of the incident prompted the city’s independent monitor to call for a review and the police department’s Internal Affairs Bureau to request a copy of the tape.
Police arrested Alicia Forrest, 24, a Los Angeles resident whom CodePink representatives identified as the woman involved in the altercation, shortly afterward as she was addressing reporters just outside Civic Center.
The arrest – in which Forrest was grabbed and hauled away from reporters – also was caught on camera, and CodePink legal liaison Sally Newman said Forrest was doing “nothing violent at all” to incur either the shove or the arrest.
“Horror, shock and total support of Alicia,” said CodePink spokeswoman Jean Stevens, describing the reaction when she and other members of the antiwar group viewed the video for the first time. “We wish we could help. We wish we could be with her.”
Three guesses what the police spin is:
Lt. Ron Saunier, a Denver police spokesman, said the 30-second clip was “kind of jumpy” on his computer and that it doesn’t provide enough context.
“Just shown in that context, you don’t get what the whole dynamics or the full situation is,” he said.
Yeah, who are you gonna believe — a sniveling PR flack, or your lyin’ eyes?
[Forrest]…is tired from the ordeal, but “she’s optimistic for further CodePink action and progress for the week,” her organization said in a statement.
“I was standing up for my free speech rights, showing support for a fellow activist,” Forrest said in the statement. “If anything, this has showed me how powerful standing up for your beliefs can be, and how necessary it is for the truth to get out even in the face of resistance.”
Powerful and, therefore, as far as those who are empowered to demand obedience at all costs are concerned, a threat (to their authority, their ego, their apparently fragile manhood).