Green and Greenerer

Matt Yglesias linked to my original Green post and got some good responses from Greens, former Greens, and Democrats really angry with the Greens. CalPundit got even more comments on the same topic here. In my comments, as well as theirs, one line of argument keeps resurfacing from the Greens: “If only Gore and the DNC would have thrown us a bone or two in 2000, we would have voted for him.” And I just can’t for the life of me figure out how they felt that Gore didn’t offer them anything more than Bush did. Most notably, Gore is very strong on the environment (e.g., Love Canal. See also his book).

Here’s a quick list off the top of my head of “bones” that were thrown to the alleged progressives in the Green Party. Note that each of these were known well before 9/11, so the line that the attacks changed everything is not a good excuse:

  1. Progressive taxes
  2. OSHA and various work-safety standards
  3. Better corporate governance. Yes, Enron and WordCom mostly occurred under Clinton but Clinton’s SEC chief Arthur Levitt tried to tighten up regs many times, but was stymied by the Republican congress. Post-scandal, Dems would actually have done something; Republicans put on a quick show and dropped the issue
  4. A minimum wage
  5. Environmental regulations
  6. Civil Rights and Affirmative Action
  7. Against media consolidation
  8. Not privatizing Social Security and Medicare.

Republicans are against all of these things–always have been and always will be. Plus, Gore had a lockbox. The only substantive issue that the Greens disagreed with Gore on was free trade and NAFTA. Bush purported to also be in favor of free trade, so they were about the same on that one issue (though we quickly saw that free trade only gets lip service from Bush if the threatened domestic industry is in a swing state–Steel and Textile tariffs). And even on free trade, which party is more likely to tie MFN status to things like worker safety and child labor restrictions?

So does Green opposition to free trade outweigh all the rest? If that’s your case for working to elect Bush, then make that argument. But saying the parties’ economic and social policies are the same is just wrong. I really just don’t get it. Seriously, what’s the objective? To say “Ha Ha! You’re all the same!” as the progressive tax code, economy, deficit, environment, and international relations all go to crap?


P.S. It’s not technically a joke, but since Molly Ivins wrote it, it’s funny and apt (and Ivins supported Nader, just not in swing states):

My voting philosophy is simple: In the primaries, go with your heart; in the finals, vote your brain.

As a veteran Texas voter, I am an artist in the art of lesser-evilism. I have voted for more dreary, worthless characters than I care to recall, on the excellent grounds that they were a shade better than the other guy in the race. And what I have learned is that the lesser of two evils `does’ make a difference, especially to those of us on the margins of society.

To put it inelegantly, we live in a society where the sewage flows downhill, and those on the bottom are drowning in it. To those who are barely keeping their noses above the sewage, it makes all the difference in the world whether, for example, you pass an awful welfare reform bill or you pass an awful welfare reform bill with an especially nasty amendment by Phil Gramm attached to it.