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Friday, March 23, 2007

Ellison betrays peace movement

The recent vote in the U.S. House shows a HUGE difference between Democrats and Greens. Greens would NOT have voted to fund the Iraq war.

According to a press release on his web site, “Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minneapolis) announced today he would vote yes on the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health and Iraq Accountability supplemental funding request.”

And in a morning conference call with constituents in Minnesota, Ellison said, “Voting no would be akin to voting for Nader.”

Ellison was particularly difficult for Greens to campaign against, because he was similar to Greens on so many issues.

“He ran on a Green Party platform,” said Jay Pond, Ellison’s Green Party opponent for Minnesota’s 5th Congressional seat.

Ellison’s excuse is that he is “Voting for benchmarks and deadlines….”

The Green Party believes “they should demand a cutoff of war funding and the immediate return of all U.S. troops….”

Our deadline is immediate. Since they don’t have enough votes to override a veto, the only way for Democrats to end the war NOW is to NOT pass any funding bills that can go to the President for his signature.

It sounds like Ellison is second-guessing other congresspeople, instead of representing his constituents. Maybe he’s worried about fellow Democrats siding with Republicans on a bill that’s even worse. Very lame. The right thing to do is to vote against all the bad bills. Lead.

Instead, Ellison voted to fund – not end – the occupation of Iraq – a betrayal the peace movement.


At Fri Mar 23, 10:10:00 PM CDT, Blogger Sheryl said...

Hey Tom, Where did this article come from?

I agree that if he said his vote was based on a reaction to Nader that that is out of line, but I also would like to know the sources of articles, so I know whether to believe them or not. (Considering how much misinformation is out on the net.)

At Fri Mar 23, 10:50:00 PM CDT, Blogger Renegade Eye said...

Again as we both know, the Democratic Party is the main enemy of peace loving people.

Ellison is in the same party as Charles Rangel who thinks the best way to end the war is to reinstate the draft, Hillary Clinton the Eisenhower Republican running for the presidency as a Democrat, and others.

The Democrats are not against the war, they only want antiwar votes.

At Sat Mar 24, 03:50:00 PM CDT, Blogger Tom Cleland said...

Sheryl, I wrote the blog post. The press release is from Ellison’s own web site. http://ellison.house.gov/

My source for the Nader quote was Jay Pond, who was at the conference call.

Renegade, I agree. I hope Rangel’s bill is never taken seriously. He says he wants rich kids to run the same military service risk as poor kids, but I don’t think the draft is the solution. I’d rather see higher military pay (to attract the rich kids), and more non-military opportunities (to attract the poor kids).

At Sat Mar 24, 07:58:00 PM CDT, Blogger Jordan said...

I do not the assumption that a Green would have voted the right way is supported by facts. During his campaign, Jay Pond pecifically
opposed an immediate withdrawal of troops or even a definitive timetable. After some scrutiny and criticism, he returned to the "troops out now" line.
I therefore do not believe that there is a basis to be confident that Jay would have come through. There generally seems to be a recurring lack of vision and conviction within other remaining remnants of the Green Party. it
might be just simplistic fantasy that electing a Green would solve the problem - not only because the Greens are not viable enough to win but also because of significant analytical gaps.

On another matter, it is true that Keith Ellison compared voting against war funding to voting for Nader. I was at the meeting of peace activists and heard provide the ridiculous analogy over the speakerphone. I found it particularly revealing of Keith's character because I have known him personally for many many years, and back in 2000, he claimed to me that he voted for Nader. (Who knows whether it was true). It became more interesting after I saw another congressperson quoted making the same analogy in a New York Times Article. There was yet another quote from a different congress person about the "perfect being the enemy of the good" which is also in Keith's press release. What this all reveals is that Keith, in explaining his vote, is simply repeating Democratic talking points, further establishing that he is acting a mere stooge of the Democratic leadership and not basing his decisions on any authentic independent analysis.

At Sun Mar 25, 09:44:00 AM CDT, Blogger Tom Cleland said...

I'll check back with Jay. Even if he flip-flopped during the campaign, I'm convinced that in the end, Jay would have voted against the funding. I spoke with him personally after he had attended the conference call.

And yes, I am more optimistic about how Greens would have voted, especially since it was in our national press release. It's true, Greens have disappointed in the past, but by and large, I have a lot more faith in us than the dems.

At Sun Mar 25, 09:46:00 AM CDT, Blogger Tom Cleland said...

The following is reprinted with Jordan Kushner’s permission:

In response to the defenses of Keith Ellison's vote in favor of $123 billion in additional funding for the war and occupation against Iraq and withdrawal not scheduled to begin for at least another year, here is why the vote is unforgiveable:

1. Keith broke his promises bigtime - he lied. Regardless of the merits of his position, he made an explicit and repeated pledge throughout his campaign that if elected, he would vote against ANY further funding for the war, period. This was a centerpiece of his campaign. The pledge was critical for lining up enough delegates to get the DFL endorsement and probably a critical part of his support base to win the primary. He would not be congressperson if not for this pledge. He also repeatedly pledged to support IMMEDIATE withdrawal of troops. This pledge was also critical for keeping what was probably a critical part of his support base. While Keith's breaking of these promises might not be significant for other parts of his support base for who were not as concerned about these positions (and perhaps did not even completely agree with them), these promises were critical for many of us who worked very hard for Keith. Many of his supporters undoubtedly did not demand a steadfast and unwavering opponent, but Keith claimed to be one in order to get supporters he believed he needed. From the point of view of those of us who took these promises seriously, their absence would have made him indistinuishable from the other DFL candidates and he would not have warranted our support. If Keith was not really committed to opposing any more funding for the war and demanded immediate troop withdrawal, he was ethically obligated to be honest about it. Otherwise, he had no excuse for not sticking with his pledge. Instead, he cyncially and manipulately fooled an important constituency into supporting him, only to abandon his positions at the first opportunity. For those not concerned about these particular positions, they may still want to consider how it bodes for Keith's future reliability on issues they care about.

2. Keith's vote was WRONG. The suggestion that one needs to provide $123 billion dollars for a war in order to oppose a war is completely Orwellian. This bill is substantively meaningless as an anti-war statement. Even the stated goal of beginning to remove troops in more than a year from now is not worth the paper it is written upon where there is no enforcement mechanism and endless excuses can later be found over the course of the next year for abandoning a political commitment. The bottom line is that the best legislation available was pro-war because most Democratic congress people are pro-war. The completely deceptive attempt to protrary a bill as a statement against the war that funds and perpuates a war is nothing more than a cynical attempt to fool the voters into thinking that the Democrats are somehow fulfilling their political promise to oppose the war. This is worse than just being honest and supporting the war. At least that way the American public would know the truth that their congress is continuing to support the war, and would be able to act accordingly. The suggestion by Keith in his press release that he should support a bill so he is on the opposite side of Bush is also completely simplistic and ultimately cynical and manipulative as an argument. Obviously, a thoughtful position on any issue cannot be determined by just acting opposite to the position of a depraved war criminal. Any principled and serious war opponent in Congress would oppose funding or any support for continuing the war, regardless of whether the proposal came from the Democratic leadership or Bush.

Jordan S. Kushner
Golden Valley

At Sun Mar 25, 08:40:00 PM CDT, Blogger Tom Cleland said...

The following is reprinted with Jay Pond’s permission:

It was my belief and still is today that the way to achieve the end to the war was to stop the spending. It is the tool that Congress has to end the war, it was the tool that got the Vietnam War stopped. My attempt to go deeper into the discussion on the war during the campaign by talking about the Supplemental got turned against me by Doug Mann and Jordan.

I saw Keith's yes vote coming - the Dem Party line has been the same for 4 cycles now. He has from day one been a supporter of Nancy Pelosi and his party. Party trumps all with the Dems.

I would not have voted yes on Friday. I will never support spending money for war, I will never support Nancy Pelosi. I see her as the real problem in DC - she has never stood up to this war or its funding.

Unlike Keith I still call for impeachment, end to the war, and single payer universal. On all of these issues Keith has backed down - even though he's only been in Congress 3 months!

At Tue Mar 27, 12:15:00 AM CDT, Blogger Sheryl said...

Wait, I'm confused. Jay Pond is a Green Party candidate who says he was listening in on a Democratic Party conference call? I'm a little confused.

At Wed Mar 28, 07:55:00 PM CDT, Blogger Tom Cleland said...

Jay is still a constituent of Ellison’s. I think the conference call was like a town hall meeting, open to the public.

Jordan wrote above, “I was at the meeting of peace activists and heard provide the ridiculous analogy over the speakerphone.”

At Thu Mar 29, 02:55:00 PM CDT, Blogger Tom Cleland said...

Another perspective:


At Sun Apr 01, 10:03:00 AM CDT, Blogger Tom Cleland said...

This has a podcast of a subsequent conference call:



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