[Marxism] Quoting Winston Churchill and not looking like a "nut"

Brian Shannon Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Wed Aug 11 09:26:56 MDT 2004

I put the NUT word in quotes, because I was quoting Camejo, who, in 
discussing his national TV debate for governor of California said that 
it was important for progressives not to appear like a nut.

And as many of us know, some commentators said that Camejo did the best 
job. There were, however, many supporters who were disappointed.

Before coming back to that, a short comment on TV appearances. In 1969 
I was the campaign manager for the Boutelle for Mayor campaign in New 
York City. At one point we had a well-attended press conference at the 
headquarters on Union Square. Boutelle was a young (mid-30s), slim 
African-American who had been Fred Halstead's running mate in the 1968 
Presidential campaign. He made a short, sharply-worded but moderate in 
tone, presentation. It was beautiful and one of the cameramen knew it. 
He acknowledged that he had missed it, but wanted to get it again. He 
asked Paul to repeat it, which Paul did. However, this time, although 
the content was the same, the decibel level was magnified, the 
gesticulations were broader and Paul's demeanor reflected anger instead 
of sincerity and severity. You could see the consternation on the 
cameraman's face. He had hoped for a home-run. He got a strike out.

Lesson: the intimacy of TV presentation is different from a street 
corner rally or taking over a building. Howard Dean would tell you the 
same thing.

Back to the Camejo TV presentation. Except for a rapid-fire laundry 
list at the end that was completely unconnected to anything that he had 
said before, Camejo's points were well behind the curve of many 
capitalist politicians.

He was so interested in damning Gray Davis that he ignored the fleecing 
of California's consumers by Enron and other utilities. Apparently, he 
wanted to lay California's financial mess entirely on Davis, only 
arguing that Davis was incompetent.* But Enron's activities were 
well-known, even before the recent tapes showing Enron traders laughing 
about California grandmothers getting screwed.

Advocating a "flat tax" for California, Camejo said nothing about the 
national tax cuts, apparently under the assumption that California was 
a sovereign state. His tax proposals were completely within the context 
of being a better executive for California. His proposals had nothing 
to do with the capitalist system, let alone naming it.

This kind of argumentation opened the door for Scharzenegger, 
McClintock and Bustamonte to say that they also could do better than 
Gray Davis.

Finally, he did not connect the cost of the war in Iraq with its impact 
on taxpayers in California and throughout the U.S. In passing, he could 
have made a strong argument for the Green Party throughout the country. 
He could have presented progressive proposals linking California to the 
U.S. and to the world in a very straightforward manner, particularly at 
the beginning, where he had an opportunity to lay out his fundamental 
line, instead of cramming some of it in at the end.

This is the chief reason why Camejo got so much praise. It was not just 
his demeanor. It was also his sweet reasonableness with proposals that 
stayed entirely within the state-federal Procrustean bed.

from Brian Shannon

* I also agree with those who were against the referendum itself and 
criticized Camejo for jumping on the Dump Davis bandwagon. It is 
political ABC for socialists to DEFEND the political process against 
the Right. Of course there was anger against Davis--otherwise it 
wouldn't have worked at all. Afterwards, once the referendum was in 
place, running for governorship was entirely legitimate.

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