Dr. Jill Stein talks with Paul Jay of The Real News Network about her candidacy for president as the 2012 nominee of the Green Party. Democrats will probably find her about as convincing as Ralph Nader was in 2000 and 2004. However, Dr. Stein does (it seems to this formerly ardent Democrat) make the point Nader failed to make (for me) about the similarity between the two major parties much more persuasively, particularly toward the end of this clip. In a nutshell: The Democrats may sound sweeter, warmer and fuzzier than the Republicans, but this is a question of marketing and presentation rather than actual policy. When Democrats are given actual power, they are enabled to take some Republican policies (notably free trade and imperial national security) further by virtue of the taming of the opposition to these policies.
Her remarks on this in transcript form follow the jump.
STEIN: You know, I think it’s important to distinguish between the narratives and the reality, because the Democratic narrative no doubt is warmer and fuzzier than the Republicans’, which is just unabashed, you know, greed and self-promotion for the 1 percent—pretty clear what’s going on there. The Democratic narrative is, you know, much more humane. It’s got some of the trappings of the Democratic Party agenda.
But it’s really important to look at the facts on the ground, you know, not just the narrative. You can talk the talk, but do you walk the walk? Unfortunately, there is now a four-year track record, and it’s not a very good one. And that’s not to say there aren’t some differences, because there are definitely differences around the margins. But when you look at the core policies, it’s really clear that we have been accelerating in the wrong direction under Barack Obama, as we did under George Bush. And, in fact, on most key policies, when you actually look at them, Barack Obama has embraced the policies of George Bush and even gone beyond them. More massive Wall Street bailout—there were $700 billion under George Bush, $4.5 trillion of monies disbursed to the big banks under Barack Obama, and an additional $16 trillion in essentially free money given away as zero interest loans. Look at the free trade agreements, the undermining of wages in this country, and the continued offshoring of our jobs. These free trade agreements have been expanded by Barack Obama massively over what they were under George Bush, and this transpacific partnership is basically NAFTA on steroids that the president is now negotiating in secret. To look at the war effort, it actually expanded under Barack Obama, between the bombing of Pakistan, which was intensified on day three—. Where was the Republican effort forcing his hand to do that? He wasn’t forced. He wasn’t forced to bring in Larry Summers, the architect of waste, fraud, and abuse on Wall Street that was responsible for crashing our economy. This is the guy who’s brought in. You know, the guy who caused it is not going to be the guy who’s going to fix it. To bring in Jeffrey Imelt to be the head of the jobs council. Jeffrey Imelt, the CEO of GE who has single-handedly closed more factories and laid off more workers than any other person in this country has been elevated to be the jobs czar in this country. To look at the attack on our civil liberties, on climate, where Barack Obama has embraced drill, baby, drill and gone far beyond anything that George Bush could get away with, including opening up more offshore oil, the attack on the environment of the Arctic and our national parks, the green light to fracking, the opening up of a whole new generation of nuclear power plants as well, I mean, this president has gone so far beyond what George Bush was able to get away with, because there’s real resistance when you have a Republican in office. When you have a reassuring and endearing Democrat at the helm, it silences opposition.
And at the end of the day, it’s that grassroots effort for democracy, it’s standing up and reclaiming our political voice and our political courage that will actually drive us forward. The politics of fear has brought us everything we were afraid of. It’s time for us to stand up and lead the way, ’cause they’re not going to fix it. That’s eminently clear.
I’m not endorsing Stein, but I do think her candidacy and her ideas about it are worth consideration.