Marc Cooper on Arianna

Eli Stephens elishastephens at hotmail.com
Thu Jul 31 17:02:47 MDT 2003


Red-baiter/ANSWER-baiter Marc Cooper's take on the recent Arianna meeting,
taken from http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0731-10.htm.

Two sentences I'll pull out of the whole:

Peter Camejo, who recently met for three hours with Arianna, has publicly
suggested that he would withdraw and endorse her perhaps late in the
campaign. Huffington could emerge as the consensual candidate of the
California left if Camejo does the right thing and withdraws immediately.

and this:

But thinking about the alternatives -- retaining Gray Davis or electing one
of the myriad Republicans who are running

He doesn't even consider the possibility,  which IS a real one, that Peter
Camejo  could actually win the election. The funny thing is, I'm convinced
that, from a completely bourgeois perspective, Camejo is easily the most
qualified candidate in this race to run the state of California, far more so
than Huffington who is an interesting columnist but hardly a politician or a
manager, and WAY more so than Arnold Schwarzenegger who is actually taken
seriously. The bourgeoisie and their hangers-on don't see it that way, of
course (or at least don't acknowledge it if they do think that way), NOT
because Camejo is espousing positions any more radical than Huffington, but
purely and simply because he is running as a Green. Huffington's nominal
"Independent" status  doesn't worry them, since her goal is to revitalize
the Democratic party, not to break from it.


Published on Thursday, July 31, 2003 by the L.A. Weekly

It's the Governor, Dahling - Arianna Gathers Her Friends to Talk About
Sacramento

by Marc Cooper


Better you don't try out the lesser-of-two-evils argument on Van Jones. At
least when it comes to the Gray Davis recall election. "We can't afford
another three years of these state budgets," says the 35-year-old Yale Law
School graduate and director of the Oakland-based Ella Baker Human Rights
Center. "In my town we've got classrooms of 30 kids who have to share six
books. We've got classrooms without chalk. We've got a state where prison
spending has risen 650 percent in 20 years. We've got a prison guards union
that, in the midst of this budget crisis, is getting a 7 and a half percent
pay raise. California has become the biggest incarcerator in the world. From
our point of view this recall election is a survival struggle. We're
disgusted and appalled by Gray Davis, and we're afraid of the Republicans.
We need another choice."

So while a few weeks ago in these pages I mused about Arianna Huffington
possibly making a populist run for governor, Van Jones has actually done
something about it. He's put his prestige as one of America's leading young
black activists on the line and ginned up a Draft Arianna Web site and --
more importantly -- has been helping put together a real-life exploratory
committee for her candidacy.

For anyone who knew Arianna in her past life as a "compassionate
conservative," the meeting of that informal committee at her sprawling
Brentwood home last Sunday afternoon would have seemed unimaginable. Van
Jones, environmentalists, leaders of the anti-war movement and some of the
most effective advocates against the drug war crowded onto Arianna's sofas
and divans to hear her come just short of a formal announcement. The several
dozen activists included an ex-president of LULAC (the leading Latino civil
rights organization); Marge Tabankin, who once ran the Hollywood Women's
Political Committee; Salon.com founder and editor David Talbot; producer and
liberal activist Lynda Obst; Lara Bergthold, from Norman Lear's operation;
the radical educator and former Crossroads School president Paul Cummins;
former RTD official and onetime mayoral candidate Nick Patsaouras; Jerry
Brown's former campaign manager and current Code Pink organizer Jodie Evans;
and civil rights attorney Connie Rice.

"Let's say I'm exploring this seriously," Arianna said with a big smile. And
she'd be running as neither Democrat nor Republican nor Green, but rather as
an independent.

With the formal deadline to file as an official candidate still a week away,
Arianna's dodge seemed only a legal technicality. Everything else about that
meeting said she was definitely in the race. Peter Camejo, who recently met
for three hours with Arianna, has publicly suggested that he would withdraw
and endorse her perhaps late in the campaign. Huffington could emerge as the
consensual candidate of the California left if Camejo does the right thing
and withdraws immediately. It would be quite a spectacular and historic role
reversal for someone who once counted Newt Gingrich among her best friends.
"This is not a Nader Nightmare scenario, this isn't a spoiler candidacy,"
Jones assured Arianna's gathered supporters. "This recall presents a unique
opportunity for progressives. Whatever candidate gets the most votes wins.
And Arianna can win."

Also present at the meeting was veteran progressive political consultant
Bill Zimmerman, introduced by Arianna as "the man who would be managing the
campaign if it happens." Zimmerman's presence at the helm should dissuade
any serious observer from guessing that a run by Arianna would be merely
some sort of media gimmick or symbolic candidacy. Zimmerman has worked on or
run more than 250 professional campaigns, including Gary Hart's 1984
presidential run and Tom Hayden's 1976 senatorial campaign. Zimmerman also
designed and ran two successful California ballot initiatives, for
legalization of medical marijuana and for drug treatment instead of jail
(Proposition 36).

Without discounting new Internet campaign techniques, the availability of
"free media" and the punch that can be delivered by an authentic grassroots
campaign, Zimmerman reminded the group that a campaign by Arianna would
still need to raise a hefty $10 million or so to compete in the statewide TV
ad markets.

Zimmerman's right, of course. And as someone who had publicly encouraged
Arianna to consider the run, let me be among the first to openly acknowledge
the scope of the challenges her candidacy would face, beyond that mountain
of $10 million or so. In an extraordinarily compressed campaign window
between today and the October 7 vote, Arianna needs to craft an
understandable and coherent program that offers serious alternatives to both
Republicans and Democrats yet retains mainstream appeal; she must convince
voters that, if elected, she has the executive oomph both to manage the
current crisis and to effect real policy reform in Sacramento. And she must
be effective in blunting what will be the inevitable attempts by the media
and other candidates to marginalize and trivialize her independent run. For
starters, she's going to have to directly confront the problem of her
ex-husband and former senatorial candidate Michael Huffington, who has also
floated his name as a candidate. Now that would be a truly trivial
candidacy. And it seems he has announced only to annoy his ex-wife (not
unexpected from a guy who first let his two children hear about his public
coming out as bisexual by reading it in the press). If he continues in the
mix, he can only distract from and damage Arianna. Michael Huffington's
little summer prank has to be ended immediately.

These all constitute formidable obstacles for Arianna. But thinking about
the alternatives -- retaining Gray Davis or electing one of the myriad
Republicans who are running -- convinces me, as it does Van Jones, that it's
quite worth the gamble. The current governor is much less than even the
lesser of two evils.

copyright 2003 LA Weekly

_________________________________________________________________
STOP MORE SPAM with the new MSN 8 and get 2 months FREE*
http://join.msn.com/?page=features/junkmail




More information about the Marxism mailing list