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Government Shutdown: What Would A Green Party President Do?

A few months ago, 2012 presidential candidate Jill Stein and a crew of her allies in the Green Party joined together to create a Green Shadow Cabinet.  This shadow cabinet has no real power to enforce laws, but exists as a showcase of how things might be different if America had a Green Party president.

Now seems like a good time to consider the alternative history that the Green Shadow Cabinet represents, because the real president has led our country into a shutdown (Yes, I know, Democrats, that it’s actually all the Republicans’ fault and that Barack Obama had nothing to do with it, because he is the Victim In Chief and has no power to stand up for himself.)

So, what would Jill Stein do, if she had been elected President, to face down the House Republicans’ determination to shutter the national government of the USA?  As it happens, RT, a news network aimed at Americans but based in Moscow, Russia, invited Dr. Stein on television to ask her that something quite close to that question.  Here is her response:

“I think it’s more in the hands of the American people than Obama, to tell you the truth. We should not give in to extortion and blackmail on the part of a wing of the Republican Party that really represents the unhinged one percent. And I think it’s really the American people who need to kick in here in the same way we stopped the war, we need to kick in to say, ‘Let’s stop this government-by-extortion.’ We need to continue with the funding of the budget, we need to raise the debt ceiling, and let’s get down to restoring jobs, to creating our democracy, to solving the climate crisis, to downsizing our military. I think we need consistent public pressure, starting with, let’s fund the continuing resolution on the budget. I think we need to bombard Congress with phone calls.”

So… basically Jill Stein doesn’t have any ideas about how to handle the shutdown differently than Barack Obama.  That’s not a sign that the Green Party is ready to lead.  It’s a shame, because the opportunity for a coherent response exists.  Here’s what I wish Dr. Stein had said:

“The root of this problem goes back to Obamacare.  Barack Obama refused to even invite the proponents of single payer health care reform to the White House to be part of the negotiations back in 2009.  The premise of that move was that, as flawed as Barack Obama’s health care reform package was, it was a package that could be passed into law and put into effect, because Blue Dog Democrats and moderate Republicans would accept its compromises.

The constant attacks on Obamacare since its passage, including the current government shutdown, show that this premise was faulty.  Obamacare compromised, but still could not earn the approval of Republicans.

Right now, the one part of Obamacare that is getting support from Republican politicians is the plan’s slight extension of Medicare benefits.  Republican governors are actually endorsing that provision.

So, what I would do, if I was in Barack Obama’s place, would be to say, “Okay, Republicans, if you don’t like Obamacare and its requirement to purchase insurance, that’s fine.  We’ll scrap that plan, as you have urged, through legislation that repeals the 2009 law, and establishes in its place a more simple plan – an expansion of Medicare to everyone in the country.  Families earning over $200,000 will be asked to pay an additional tax to cover their own costs, but everyone else gets it for free.”

Okay, now back to reality: Republicans are still insisting that the country doesn’t really need a federal government.  Democrats are still insisting that Obamacare is the best thing since sliced bread.  The Green Party still hasn’t figured out how to clearly present an alternative.

3 comments to Government Shutdown: What Would A Green Party President Do?

  • A Green Party president would take positive action as commander in chief. The Green Party president would make raising the debt ceiling unnecessary. The Green Party President would immediately save $100 billion tax dollars by bringing tax dollars and troops home from Afghanistan. A Green Party President would do the fiscally conservative, and responsible thing of cutting big government spending – half of all discretionary spending is at the Pentagon. A Green Party President as commander in chief could order the tax payer spending cuts required to balance the federal budget immediately. The fiscal year 2013 that just ended on Sept 30, 2013 had a deficit of about $700 billion dollars. As former Green Party Presidential candidate Ralph Nader noted in an October 4th article, and quoted in a Green Party press release today – the military budget essential made up the entire deficit. So a Green Party President would use her powers as commander and chief to balance the 2014 federal budget by finally bring U.S. military spending to common sense levels. There are a host of other money making actions a Green Party president would do. Put solar panels on the roofs of every federal building to create profit making electricity. Install geothermal heating and cooling in every federal building.

    A Green Party President – as Commander In Chief – would take this fiscally conservative, and responsible solutions for the ecology, for the economy, and for America’s financial and national security.

  • J Clifford

    So says you. That’s not what Jill Stein said. Time and again, the Green Party leaders are missing remarkable opportunities to offer a relevant political alternative.

    Maybe you ought to be the Green Party presidential candidate in 2016, Carey.

    • Bill

      J, I’m smiling ironically just now. I was so proud of myself this morning for successfully resisting the urge to post something snarky about solar collectors on the White House roof (much as I’m all for ‘em) being the answer to our nation’s problems. Alas, your own reply to Carey practically invites me to snark out. MUST. RESIST. URGE.

      So the real question…and the debate I’d love to see engaged here at IT…is this: how do we identify real third party candidates with a real chance, and then really empower them to take their best shot? Sitting around waiting on wannabe dress-up players clearly isn’t getting the job done. Your thoughts?

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