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Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Be Careful What You Wish For: Well Known Green to Challenge Cantwell

Posted by on March 8 at 7:06 AM

Last Friday, I did a Slog post titled: “She Voted Against It Before She Voted For It. And Vice Versa.” It was a post about Sen. Maria Cantwell’s vote to fillibuster the Patriot Act and her subsequent vote for the act—all in the context of her vote not to fillibuster Alito and her subsequent vote against him.

That post sparked a lengthy discussion about liberals’ frustrations with Cantwell (she also voted for the war and CAFTA). This gave way to a discussion about the Green party as an alteranative to the Democrats. And that gave way to a discussion about the folly or wisdom of running Greens against Democrats. One Green whose name came up during the heated discussion was Aaron Dixon.

Well: The discussion is no longer academic.

Today, the PI reports that Dixon, a respected activist in Seattle’s black community (and founder of Seattle’s Black Panther Party nearly 40 years ago), will declare his candidacy for Cantwell’s senate seat on Thursday.

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Why doesn't the Stranger find some fourth and fifth party candidates to take some votes from the right flank of the Republican candidate. Maybe there is a Libertarian candidate who should get a little respect. Maybe you could find a Christian Identity candidate to run a campaign from his bunker in Colfax.

Cantwell has been triangulating very well. The danger to her is that a candidate with passion, commitment, and charisma might siphon off votes.

My goodness, whatever would become of us if we end up with a wider variety of voices in the political discussions?

Thanks for bringing this discussion forward Josh. Like I said in the earlier discussion, I am not enthused about the Greens, but I think Aaron Dixon deserves a listen as a progressive individual and I hope he can build a strong coalition a la Paul Wellstone. Hard, but doable. The problem for Aaron is going to be getting the traditional "people of color" vote, since most of those will go to the Dems, I dont see Gossett(former radical) or MacGyver or James Kelly giving him their backing. I’m sure they'll support him in spirit. =) Another problem will be getting some progressive Dems to vote for a Green since they still see them as just spoilers, or see Greens as nothing but a bunch of hippies with showering problems. I think Aaron should and needs to go after more than traditional Green votes and he can give Cantwell a run for her money.

Cantwell is a dud, just another conservative Democrat a la Joe Lieberman, and has nothing but contempt for progressive urban politics.. Im sure "pragmatists" will make the case for her and will point out her ocassional good votes, but as Chris Rock says "You're SUPPOSED to give us good votes" unlike Patty Murray,she has not made her case and she obviously doesn’t care about the progressive urban vote.. So why should progressives vote for her?

Yeah, let's get some "more voices" in the pointless debate sphere so that more Republicans can get elected. Aaron Dixon guarantees McGavick's election. That's all you need to know. The perfect is the enemy of the good; I've never been keen on Cantwell but she's a moderate in a moderate state (nothing like Lieberman). As the Alito and Roberts nominations show, IT MATTERS whether Republicans get in or not. We're SO CLOSE.

Thanks, Mr. Dixon for allowing the puff of cotton candy you call your "conscience" to crap on the possibility of a post-Bush world.

Self-important "urban progressives" simply don't know how politics work. If you can't win, you DON'T MATTER, and Dixon can't win and doesn't matter. He's not going to "influence the debate", he's just going to help McGavick get elected off his right flank without having to even glance at the center.


Patty Murray doesn't give a fuck about urban politics. She told the Mayor to *fuck* himself regarding viaduct money, while Patty routinely earmarks money for sewer systems in Mason co. or highway interchanges in Grant co. Patty Murray voted against the war, CAFTA, and against cloture, so urban liberals think she is one of them.

Maria Cantwell is rated as only slighty less progressive than Murray, and much more liberal than Lieberman. Also, Cantwell doesn't fuck the party like Lieberman does on issues of importance. ("Fuck the party" means speak out against fellow Democrats, or openly work with the GOP against the Dems)
Maria Cantwell is a leader on SOME progressive issues (I don't need to list them, right?) but not ALL.

Exactly--and because Cantwell isn't an urban prog's wet dream candidate--which is why she's in the Senate in the first place--they're all going to line up and put Skeletor's proxy McGavick back in there. Genius. Then they can all congratulate themselves that "one of us" got 11% of the vote, while the R's sit back and revel in their unexpected bounty. McGavick replaces Santorum in the Senate heirarchy.

Nice work, progs.

Aaron Dixon's candidacy might not have been official before, but it was pretty well known already. The Stranger could have written that article if it wanted.

People can vote how they want. Lots of people who liked Nader's politics didn't vote for him. Lots of people who never would have voted Dem voted Nader. Cantwell earned this one. Let the voters decide at the polls, instead of rigging their choices beforehand. And let all the Democrat outrage that is pent up, that they refuse to unleash at Republicans, be directed at the Green Party. And let's see how progressive Dems look then, as they lick the boots of Republicans and spend their days abusing their friends with fear tactics.

Self importance has nothing to do with it, please spare us with the tired stereotypes.

I said he (Dixon) deserves a listen, and has earned the right to try to make his case, and of course Urban progressives know damn well, how politics work, its not rocket science man and urban progressives participate fully in the electoral process and vote for Dem candidates more times than they do Greens. And when elections are close, guess who comes a knocking looking for votes?

You might be making broad generalizations and lumping all progressive voters in with Greenies. Not true. Progressive voters are a lot more diverse man, and you need to get out more.

If Cantwell loses is because she didn’t make her case, like I said, Murray made her case and I disagree with you that Cantwell is a moderate, I think she is a conservative Democrat and conducts herself that way. It’s that swing vote that the Bushies can count on from time to time. I do agree with you that a lot of times progressives dont consider the center as a reasonable option, but in this particular case that is not the case.

I don’t know what kind of campaign Dixon is going to run, for all I know he can come out as just another Green dud, and if he does than he does not make his case, but if he comes out looking to build something worthwhile than the man deserves a listen. What are you afraid of? What if he turns out to be another Paul Wellstone or another Ron Dellums? Why settle for a conservative Dem? Yes, I understand the importance of winning and of controlling the senate, but settling for a dud like Cantwell just doesn’t cut it anymore.

The accusation of your helping elect Mcgavick is tired and corny as hell, and frankly sounds a lot like Dubya’s “you’re either with us or against us”

Simple as that.

"Progressive voters are a lot more diverse, man"

Thx for the comma Zale. ;)

As a practical matter, we have a two party system. The Greens may get some votes, but they have no chance of winning a senate seat (which is a statewide vote). They are much more likely to win a house seat (if they can swing a very progressive district).

Jim McDermott, for example, is widely considered to be among the most liberal in the house, and very popular in the 7th District. He wins with 80% margins time after time. He owns that seat for life if he wants it. If he gets bored some day and decides to retire, a strong Green candidate might have some real chance of succeeding him in that district. Yet he would have a very difficult fight if he were to run for any statewide office. Republicans would label him as a near-communist, and he'd have a hard time trying to get much of the center vote.

Given the reality of a two party system (at least on a statewide level), then neither Republicans nor Democrats can win by appealing solely to the extremes of their party. For the last couple of decades the Republicans ran far right wing candidates for governor, and never even came close. Last time around Rossi nearly won because he ran to the center, and promoted himself as a mainstream candidate (regardless of whether or not there was any truth to that). I dislike Rossi, but you have to grant that it was smart politics. And it came within 200 votes of working.

Likewise, Cantwell, and any other Democrat, has to at least give a nod to the center, and make some compromises. I might not necessarily agree with what she chooses to compromise on, but like Rossi, I see it as smart politics. She is still a far better choice than McGavick, which is the only other realistic option.

You "think Cantwell is a conservative". That's nice. Check some facts next time.

Cantwell is consistently rated 100% by NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood, and 0% by the National Right To Life Committee. She gets high ratings from the ACLU (78% in 03-04), the NAACP (95% in 05), the Human Rights Campaign (88% in 03-04). She consistently gets very low ratings from ultra-conservative groups -- 0% from the Christian Coalition in 04; 0% from the Eagle Forum in 05. She always gets very high ratings from environmental groups and the US Public Interest Research Group. The Gun Owners of America give her 0%. The American Public Health Association gives her 90-100%. Labor gives her very high ratings; SEIU gave her 100% in 04.

The top liberal interest groups give her extremely high ratings: 95% from Americans For Democratic Action, 95% from the National Committee For An Effective Congress, 92% from People For The American Way. According to the Natioal Journal, a rightie rag that rates the senators, she was more liberal than 77% of all US Senators on economic, defense, and foreign policy issues in 2005. Breaking that down further in 2004, they rated her more liberal than 77% of all senators on social policy issues, more liberal than 58% on economic policy issues, and more CONSERVATIVE than 39% on economic policy issues.

This is a more liberal voting record than Joe Lieberman, and it's DRAMATICALLY more liberal and more progressive than McGavick is going to vote. I know you believe otherwise, but you're wrong. Look it up.

George Bush won nationwide office by appealing soley to the extreme of his party. Twice.

The only question I have for Cantwell is whether or not she will vote my way more often than a Republican would. If she wouldn't, then I'm happy to help a third party siphon off votes the Democrats think they own (but don't), letting the Republican have the seat.

If the Republicans have a clear enough message to discourage third parties from their right flank, and the Democrat's don't, then I suppose the Republicans deserve to win, don't they?

If you are under the impression that McGavick or ANY Republican is going to vote "your way" more often than Cantwell, then you're an idiot, or a Republican.

If you think that the balance of power in the Senate doesn't matter, then you're a flaming moron.

If you think being on the losing side of votes over and over and over again is some kind of progressive badge of honor, you're just plain confused.

If you think that Bush only appealed (or appeals) to the extreme right, you're just plain wrong. Remember "compassionate conservative"? Remember "I'm a uniter, not a divider"? Bush isn't bad news because he's such an incredible right-winger; he's bad news because he's an incompetent, a liar and a criminal.

The real conservatives are lying low right now. They rode in on George Bush, but they're even unhappier with him now than liberals are. I know there are a lot of Democrats, moderates and even progressives, who think that if the Republicans could just get rid of mean ol' George, and go with that nice Mr. McCain instead, that they'd be a lot better off. But McCain is MORE conservative than Bush ever dreamed of being. People who vote against imperfect liberals like Cantwell because they don't conform to their checklists are going to end up even sorrier than they are now if they're not careful.

Personally, the only vote that mattered to me was the Alito filibuster vote. I was happy with some things she did and not happy with other things, but if she had voted for the filibuster then I would have supported her again.

After the vote, I thought about the election, and how the local Democratic party would be expecting me to canvass my precinct in support of Cantwell. The thought of that made me sick to my stomach, so I resigned as PCO.

As it is, I don't think I'll be voting at all. But I'm not deluded that my vote would matter. Cantwell has this locked up already, Green or no Green. The election will not be especially close. She's the Democratic incumbent in a Democratic year in a Democratic state.

I mean, if Cantwell actually lost because this crazy ass Green got too many votes, my reaction would be: wow, Democrats really suck. They have everything going for them here. If they can't win here, "balance of power" in the Senate really isn't going to come into play.

Slade Gorton lost to Maria Cantwell in '00 by a margin of votes well within the number of votes recieved by Jeff Jared, the Libertarian in the race.

WA is a blue state, and we've seen what Democrats who mistakenly see their race as being sewn up (Gregoire)

This race could be very, very close. Chosing the Green party candidate is, in effect, choosing McGavick for senate. I hope Seattle batshit crazy liberals who think McGavick will be "progressive" or who think voting Green will result in better enviromental policy will think again.

Cantwell voted against the filibuster because, correctly in my opinion, she believed it was a lost cause. Alito was going to be confirmed no matter what, and Democrats with their eye on the big picture knew that forcing a pointless confrontation they were sure to lose would just make them look even weaker than they are. The R's have so changed the rules by which both houses operate that even if you're in a minority by one vote you might as well not even exist. Save it for when it might get you something.

The Greens and the Naderites are masters of the pointless gesture that makes their supporters feel righteous, but the Democrats should be aiming higher than that.

Nobody admires the Democrats when they let the Republicans win without a fight. Nobody says how smart they are. What they say is that Democrats are spineless, and don't stand for anything. And because they're spineless, they lose elections. Especially Presidential elections.

So now they're laying the groundwork to remain out of power in Congress, in preparation for the long term goal of losing the Presidency in '08. Thus the time is now ripe to preemtively blame the Naderites, Greens and radical left. And middle America for being too dumb to vote their own self interest.

Doesn't work on me. La la la I can't hear you la la Democrats lose because they are spineless and won't fight back la la la...

Hey Christopher (who resigned as a PCO),
Can you e-mail me at

So... if you do a whip count and find out you're going to lose, the logical thing to do is vote for the other side?

I don't get it.

And You are all forgeting that Maria Cantwell has the personality of a feral cat.

>>If you think that the balance of power in the Senate doesn't matter, then you're a flaming moron.

If you think being on the losing side of votes over and over and over again is some kind of progressive badge of honor, you're just plain confused.

Yes, well you answer your own question, honey. For the last 15-20 years the balance of power in the Senate is not related to the number of Democrats or Republicans currently in that chamber. The majority of Democrats act as the centrist wing of the Republican Party. The numbers of Democrats does not correlate to progressive voters. There is no opposition in the Senate beyond a handful of progressives that consistently speak out and stand up for progressive values.

And as long as the Democrats tend towards conservativism there will be an increasing number of voters that are unwilling to put up with the Democrats. And no amount of abusive threats and slanders by Democrats will sway them.

In 2004 many many people held their noses and voted for Kerry. Then they waited for the Democrats to take the initiative and be an opposition, and they have failed. And, so they will continue to lose voters. It's simple.

From Molly Ivins:

"I don’t know about you, but I have had it with the D.C. Democrats, had it with the DLC Democrats, had it with every calculating, equivocating, triangulating, straddling, hair-splitting son of a bitch up there... Every Democrat I talk to is appalled at the sheer gutlessness and spinelessness of the Democratic performance."

I think the vast majority of Western WA Democrats, who are not radicals in any way, would agree with Ivins. And they need to tell that to Cantwell-- by not giving her a pass in the endorsement process, and really sticking it to her.

Regarding "And You are all forgeting that Maria Cantwell has the personality of a feral cat." comment above.

Many feral cats can be (re)housebroken and make good home companions. Others can either will never be nice or pee all over the carpet or both.

That said, I dont want to vote for McGavik (the republican) in this case, so I am not voting for Dixon. Why doesn't he really help the Green party grow and actually try to take some local or state government races? This is the troubling part. Greens just dont want to do the real work of building a party. Seems like they just want to yell look at me, look at me in the middle of the Democratic party.

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