Thursday, February 09, 2017

Disparaging Jill Stein

Alternate Title: Democratic Hacks Ask, "Is it ok to punch a hippie?" and answer "YES!"

I'm not really a huge fan of Jill Stein, but she has been a favorite punching bag for Democratic partisans and liberals who ridicule her as "stupid" and irrelevant, but also blame her for Trump's victory and the coming apocalypse. I feel the need to defend her and the Greens because I feel her liberal critics are often misinformed or disingenuous (no she is not an anti-vaxxer who believes wi-fi causes brain cancer). The bitter, scornful critiques of Stein from the middle and near-left spring forth from a political perspective that, honestly, has a lot more to do with the mess we're in now, than anything she or the Green Party have ever done. If you aren't a right-wing Republican and you care about human rights and the future of our planet, you will of course be outraged at what Republicans are doing now, and you should be doing whatever you can to resist their agenda. But this is also a critical moment to shine a light on how the Democratic Party has failed us. Don't demonize or ridicule Stein and the Greens; focus your derision on the far more powerful and far more corrupt Democratic Party.

To illustrate this, here is a list of things Jill Stein did not do:
  • Vote for a war in Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people and left a chaotic situation in the region;
  • Vote in favor of Trump's nominee for Secretary of Defense - General James Mattis, AND his nominee for U.N. Ambassador - Nikki Haley (some people who did both - Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Al Franken, Kamala Harris, Tim Kaine, Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren);
  • Deport over 2 million people (as Obama did);
  • Vote in favor of Trump's nominee for CIA Director, Mike Pompeo (some people who did - Tim Kaine, Chuck Schumer);
  • Vote against a bill that would have lowered prescription drug prices for Americans (as Cory Booker did);
  • Vote in favor of Ben Carson for HUD Secretary (some people who did - Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren);
  • Support free trade agreements that prioritized corporate interests over workers' rights or the environment;
  • Give a speech backing charter schools to an organization chaired by Betsy DeVos, like Cory Booker did;
  • Write an article about how she would affirm an unbreakable bond with Israel and Benjamin Netenyahu (as Hillary Clinton did);
  • and so on ... if we go back to the 90's there is a lot more material.
Stein has mishandled some things and she is certainly not a polished, Washington insider.

For example, there was that Russia Today event she attended where at one point she was seated at a table with both Vladimir Putin and Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn. They weren't making out or anything, and it is likely that she didn't get to choose where she sat, but still. It should be noted, however, that she never called Putin a friend to her family (as Hillary Clinton did regarding Hosni Mubarak) and she doesn't spend her winters with Putin at Oscar de la Renta's beachfront villa (as Hillary Clinton frequently has with Henry Kissinger). And at that notorious event where Stein was at a table with Putin she spoke on a panel and said:
Imagine how much better off the world would be if our two nations could lead the way for the major powers to reduce the size of our military establishments. We could invest the money saved in something truly beneficial - such as job creation to expand renewable energy and stop climate change. Ending our multinational fossil fuel addiction will make disastrous wars for oil obsolete in the first place.
What a monster!

Then there is the most recent example, which motivates my posting on this today. On February 7, Stein tweeted:
This was in reference to to the vote to confirm Betsy DeVos, in which 2 Republicans joined the Democrats creating the tie in the Senate, eventually broken by Vice President Pence. The usual crew of Democratic apologists piled on. Doesn't she know that every Democrat in the Senate voted against DeVos!!!! She was either "stupid" or deceiving her "stupid" base.

The tweet is still up despite all the negative attention it got. For that reason, and because the tweet linked to a Washington Post article that made the unanimous Democratic opposition clear, it seems unlikely that Stein made a mistake. Perhaps her communications team could clarify, but maybe she meant that the Democrats lost the Senate, during Obama's tenure, and didn't win it back in the elections last year, because people who would otherwise vote for them didn't get very excited about politicians who "serve corporate interests." But why give her the benefit of the doubt when she can be demonized and ridiculed, and anyone who would ever dream of voting 3rd party can have all that shame and doubt beaten into their subconscious?