Vice Presidential candidate Matt Gonzalez, running as an independent with Ralph Nader as his running mate for President, spoke to the press just outside downtown Columbus Ohio this afternoon about the rationale for his campaign. Below is my video recording of his remarks, with a transcript following:
My name’s Matt Gonzalez. I’m Ralph Nader’s running mate.
One of the themes that we’ve been trying to push is to counter the themes coming out of the two conventions of the major parties — particularly the Democrats who are trying to posture themselves as opposition to George Bush and a critique of his regime. They decry the crimes of George Bush, but they don’t tell the truth about their complicity and their, in effect, capitulation to George Bush’s policies. They have supported his war appropriations, they have voted for the Patriot Act, they voted for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act amendments, and you know see the Democratic nominee — who also supported all those things — changing his position on issues like offshore drilling.
Both candidates of these major parties — John McCain and Barack Obama — believe that we need to increase military spending. This despite the fact that we’re spending about $189 Billion a year in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. But we’re also in addition to that spending $507 Billion a year on our military, and that’s from Travis Sharp, he’s a military policy analyst at the Arms Control Center. We don’t support that. We are trying to change and expand the political discourse in this country.
And, of course, we’d like to debate our opponents. We did an event recently. We did an event recently with Governor Jesse Ventura in Minnesota. He shared with us his experience of having been at 9, 10 percent in the polls when he ran for Governor. He was allowed into the debates, and he won that contest within 7 weeks of being in that first debate with 37 percent in the polls at closing time. So he was elected Governor with those numbers in a three-way race.
I served as President of the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco, California. I ran for Mayor in 2003. I started that contest in the polls at 4 and 6 percent. I was allowed into the debate and finished that contest with 47 percent of the vote.
I think you know Mr. Nader’s long history. He’s worked on all kinds of legislation from clean air, clean water, helping create the Environmental Protection Agency, the Freedom of Information Act. We think he has a legislative record that is far superior to the nominees of the two major parties.
I myself represented a jurisdiction as the President of the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco, a city whose budget of over $6 Billion is roughly equivalent to the budgets of the states of Alaska and Delaware combined. I represented a city that’s larger than the state of Alaska’s population, larger than the state of Delaware’s population. When I ran in 2003 for Mayor, I got more votes than Joe Biden the first time he got elected to the U.S. Senate.
The point we’re trying to make is, we’re experienced and serious politicians. I helped in creating the largest, highest minimum wage in the United States of America with an indicator for inflation that goes up on its own. We’ve worked on serious legislation, and we think that we have the qualifications to engage the American people — if we’re given the opportunity.
I’ll close just by saying as members of the press I would urge you to reflect on the importance of conveying this message. You know that this democracy needs to be repaired. You know that it’s not appropriate to present this contest as simply a two-party contest. We can’t fix things without your help because you help get that information to the public. And when people try to say to us, “Oh, you’re not serious, you don’t have enough support” and that sort of thing, it’s a sort of chicken-or-the-egg, horse-before-the-cart type thing. What comes first? If you don’t let us in the debates, we can’t reach millions of Americans. Thank you.