Molly Ivins, the Texan who should have been elected president last
year, allows as how the big question of the current political moment
is not whether George W. Bush is a crooked appendage of corporate
America. Not even Republicans can deny that reality without giggling.
The mystery of the moment is whether Democrats who are supposed
to be mounting the opposition to Bush are the other crooked appendage
of corporate America.
Ivins suggests that if Senate Democrat defectors kill campaign
finance reform in coming days, they will prove Green presidential
candidate Ralph Nader was right when he condemned both the Democrats
and Republicans as equally beyond redemption. "Its about whether
there are two political parties or one the Money Party,"
argues Ivins. "Either the Democrats stand for something or they
dont, and if they stand for letting the current system of
legalized bribery continue, then were better off voting for
U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., offers a similar message,
suggesting that if Democrats do not begin to mount a credible challenge
to Bush, they will prove Nader right. Former Labor Secretary Robert
Reich was even more blunt, suggesting that the Democratic response
to Bush proves the party of Roosevelt and Truman is now officially
This sort of talk is music to the ears of David Cobb, a staff attorney
with the Community Legal Defense Fund in Houston and veteran Bush
battler. Dont get Cobb wrong, as a passionate foe of corporate
excess he wants to beat Bush and the Republicans. He just doesnt
believe the Democrats will ever rise to the challenge.
"There are a lot of good Democrats, progressive people who really
believe in all the right things," says Cobb. "But their views are
not being reflected by the national Democratic party leadership.
When Democrats in Washington sell out on basic issues like campaign
finance reform, Democrats at the grass-roots level start asking:
Where is the political opposition to these corporations going to
Cobb is working with Madisons Ben Manski and others to build
the Green Party as a national political force in large part
because he has lost faith in the willingness of Democrats to stand
up to corporate campaign contributors. (An associate of the Program
on Corporations, Law and Democracy, hell speak at 7 tonight
at the UW Memorial Union on how community groups are challenging
corporations on environmental, sweatshop and development issues.)
Like Ivins, Cobb thinks congressional Democrats face a critical
test this spring. If they fail to mount a credible and consistent
opposition to Bush, they will push millions of Americans to look
anew at the message carried by Nader and the Greens in last years
"When people who want a populist, passionate opposition to Bush
realize that the Democrats have let them down," says Cobb, "theyll
start to understand just how much America needs the Green Party."
Copyright 2001 The Capital Times