Sunday, July 15, 2012

Roseanne: The Green Party's greatest gift in 2012

written by Ann, Ava and C.I.

"The Green New Deal ends unemployment in America," declared Dr. Jill Stein Saturday as she gave her acceptance speech at the Green Party's national convention in Baltimore.

Before that came the delegate voting.  294 votes were offered, 17 for Kent Mesplay, 72 for Roseanne Barr and over 190 for Jill Stein.  Roseanne Barr, in fact, loomed over the convention with her absence and derogatory remarks she made starting Wednesday and continuing through Saturday.

The actress, stand-up comic and author was not pleased with the Green Party, with Jill Stein or with Jill Stein's choice of running mate.  (For more on that, see  "Roseanne Barr's sour grapes" and "Stein's choice is Honkala" from last week.)

"You're a woman," says Diana Prince (Lynda Carter) to an intruder (Jessica Walter) on "The Return of Wonder Woman," season two's first episode of Wonder Woman.  "We shouldn't be enemies."   Possibly not, but political rivals don't have to get along and, in May, Roseanne made clear she didn't get along with Jill Stein.  This was in contradiction to her earlier stance.

In February,  Christie D'Zurilla (Los Angeles Times) reported Roseanne had Tweeted, "I will run until the convention in July in Baltimore-I fully expect Jill Stein 2b the nominee& I will support her, but til then-I'll serve."  That clearly changed on Wednesday when Roseanne targeted the Green Party and Jill Stein with non-stop Tweets slamming both.  The sudden switch, on the day Dr. Stein was to announce who her running mate would be caught many by surprise.  For example, The Washington Post was only one of many outlets running articles that day about how Stein might pick Barr for her running mate.  When Stein announced Cheri Honkala (pictured below) was her running mate, The Post and others had to update their earlier reports.

cheri h

And after that announcement was made, Barr Tweeted she would not be attending the Green Party convention where she was scheduled to speak on Saturday.

"You're a woman. We shouldn't be enemies," Diana Prince said.  But that's a cartoon.  In the real world, political rivals often don't get along.  Politics is a competition and there's no reason for candidates to 'play nice.' That's especially true of women where the dictates to get along stems not from sisterhood but from sexist images of what women should be (genteel).  Hiding behind 'sisterhood,' a number of women trashed former US House Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman in 1992 when she decided to run for US Senator.  To get the Democratic Party nomination, she would first have to face a number of challengers and it wasn't the male challengers that had a number of women in a tizzy, it was Geraldine Ferraro.  Cries of 'how can she do that to Gerry?' became common place throughout the primary.  Why couldn't she run a serious campaign?  And if she had questions about Ferraro's ethics, why couldn't she and shouldn't she put them front and center?

Ferraro didn't have a great deal of success in Congress when she served in the House of Representatives when compared to Holtzman's tenure (Holtzman served eight years, Ferraro served six) but Ferraro had been the first woman to be named a vice presidential candidate by one of the United States' two dominant parties (in 1984, Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale named Ferraro as his running mate).  For her loss in 1984 and her historical first, some argued that every woman needed to step aside and let Gerry stroll to the nomination.

That's not politics.  No one expected the men to play that way but Holtzman was repeatedly attacked within the press for not being 'ladylike.'

So we say, "Good for Roseanne."  She's not happy and she's not going to pretty it up.  This isn't a beauty contest and everyone doesn't have to be all smiles and hugs.

Some will argue Roseanne's doing damage with her comments about racism in the Green Party.  The one doing damage?  A presidential candidate and a vice presidential candidate who are still uncomfortable responding to the charges.  They better get used to it.  Roseanne announced today she's still running for president -- an independent run -- and has dubbed her campaign the Green Tea Party movement.

Why is Roseanne running?


Maybe for similar reasons that Jill Stein pictured above) gave Saturday.

Dr. Jill Stein:  I keep fighting because when it comes to our children, mothers don't give up. [. . .] In fact, the politics of fear has brought us everything we were afraid of.  What democracy needs is not fear and silence but voices and values.  It's time to answer the politics of fear with the politics of courage.

Roseanne was the story going into the convention and she remains the story now.

What is Jill Stein's Green New Deal Program?

We don't know and we won't know if Jill Stein doesn't know how to campaign.

In accepting the vice presidential nomination on Saturday, Cheri Honkala declared, "I stand here today as a formerly homeless mother, a single mother of two children, Mark [Webber] and Guillermo Santos."

[Disclosure C.I. loosely knows Mark Webber and finds him impressive. C.I. also knows Roseanne and finds her "inspiring and insightful."]

That's an interesting story.  It's one that goes to her experience and her qualifications.

She continued, "Something just didn't seem right to me, especially that day when I had to tell my nine-year-old son Mark that we were no longer going to be living in an apartment.  Instead, we would have to move in to our car.  But on a cold winter night in Minnesota, I lost my home the car when I parked my car and a drunk driver hit and totaled it.  Unable to find shelter in the dead of the winter in Minnesota, I faced an important decision: Occupy a heated, abandoned house or risk freezing to death on the streets of America."

Campaigning is getting your message out and you have to do that beyond a political convention attended by your supporters.

The problem every four years for the Green Party and other third party and independent candidates is that the media has no real interest in them.  Roseanne's given the Green Party a huge gift.


Roseanne is very popular and has a large fan base.  They're aware of Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala as a result.  Roseanne also is a name who has to be covered.  That benefits Stein-Honkala as well.  Add in that, as Roseanne herself will admit, there are members of the media who just don't like Roseanne (witness the creation of a scandal out of her performance of the National Anthem during Poppy Bush's presidency).  When the media's hostile to one side, the other side starts out ahead of the game.

For the second time, the Green Party has nominated an all woman presidential ticket.  That's good and it's good for women.  What Roseanne's doing is also good for women.  She's showing that you don't clutch the pearls, you don't run and hide, it's not the woman's job to smooth things over.  Yet again, Roseanne's advancing the notions of women before a nation wide audience.  

As a result, this could be the Green Party's most visible presidential race.  But that only happens if Stein and Honkala learn to pick up the ball.  Roseanne's out on the court, shooting hoops while Stein and Honkala are sitting in the bleachers.  All their pretty words at the convention don't mean a damn thing if they can't compete with Roseanne.

That is what they're in right now, a political competition.  If they want to be taken seriously, we don't need a repeat of 2008 when certain non-Democratic Party and non-Republican Party candidates walked away from events that would have garnered serious attention (including an announced debate that Green Party nominee Cynthia McKinney walked out on for a set of reasons that differed depending upon what outlet she was speaking to).  You're a third party, you need to be tough and you need to be strong.  You need to be out there with your message every day.  (Yet they can't even post the text to Jill Stein's acceptance speech at the Green Party's website or Stein's own website over 24 hours after she's given the speech.)

Accepting her nomination, Jill Stein declared, "Without our voices, there will be no real debate.  We intend to drive that debate forward."  But Roseanne threw down the gauntlet on Wednesday and Stein and Honkala still have no ready response to Roseanne's remarks and challenge.  If Stein and Honkala can meet the challenge Roseanne's offering -- and run a more visible and stronger campaign as a result -- or they can continue in the current fashion and make Roseanne's argument for her: That they're nor really ready to run for office, let alone be elected to run one.

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