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Darlene Hooley and the Greens

In the last election a Green candidate made a deal with Hooley and then dropped out. The Greens will not challenge a Democrat if they think it could cost the Democrat the election. They will only run candidates against Democrats who have safe seats, like Ron Wyden.

The only way the left can have any electoral impact is to run against Democrats in close elections and try to make them lose.
August 27, 2004

Situational Democracy
The Show Me the Green Party?

Early this year, CounterPunch co-editor Jeffrey St. Clair and I met with a couple of Green Party activists over lunch in Oregon City. Daniel Bonham is a Union organizer who decided that, with the Democrats continuing to back policies that hurt workers--NAFTA, GATT, WTO, etc.,--and Oregon leading the nation in unemployment and poverty, it was time to give the Greens a chance. He'd jumped in full on and was attending party meetings and plotting strategy.

Part of that strategy was to run the other fellow at our meeting; laid-off, high-tech software engineer Mitchell T. Besser for Congress in Oregon's Fifth District, a position I ran for as Pacific Green Party (PGP) candidate in 1998. The seat has been occupied for seven years by the thoroughly uninspiring Centrist Clinton-Democrat Darlene Hooley, a member of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC).

Since its inception, the Fifth has been one of the "swing" Districts, with a D, then an R, then a D, then an R and now a D. The one thing they have all had in common is: every winning candidate (all five of them) got divorced within a year of taking office. Hooley filed for divorce a couple months after taking office in 1997. Hooley's predecessor, Republican Jim Bunn, who ran with major support from the Christian Coalition as a "family values" Republican, dumped his wife and five children for his 19-year-old, $97,500 per year chief of staff just months into his single term. His predecessor, Democrat Mike Kopetski left his family and took up with comic Paula Poundstone and would still be in office except for the little run-in he had with a couple DC hookers and the cops. (To his everlasting credit, Kopetski did push through a bill to end Nuclear Testing during his brief Congressional career.)

Mitch, We Hardly Knew Ya

Upon filing for his run, Besser was asked the question on a PGP candidate statement form that pretty much defines the Greens circa 2004, "If there is a progressive Democrat in the race, will you have an 'exit strategy'?"

He truthfully answered, "There is no progressive Democrat in the race."

Fast Forward to August 23rd and Mitch Besser announces that he is pulling out of the race. "I certainly don't want to be considered a spoiler," said Besser.

Besser was summoned to a meeting by the incumbent herself. Hooley then met with him along with her chief of staff and Oregon AFL-CIO president Tim Nesbitt last Friday and shortly thereafter Besser announced his withdrawal from the race.

The local Salem Statesman-Journal characterized it this way, "Pacific Green Party candidate Mitch Besser said Monday that he is pulling out of the race for Oregon's 5th Congressional District, providing breathing room for incumbent Congresswoman Darlene Hooley, D-West Linn."

The Pacific Green Party website states, "Mitch Besser withdraws from 5th District US Congress race after receiving concessions from Darlene Hooley." (Emphasis in original). A meeting follow-up letter from Hooley to Besser, called the "concession letter" by the PGP, is posted on their website. In a missive attached to the letter, Besser notes, "Please be sure to put a copy in a safe place just in case Darlene should go back on her word"

"This whole arrangement stinks," stated Hooley's Republican opponent Jim Zupancic. "Hooley takes the state's largest union President with her to meet with the Green Party candidate who just happens to be starting a new organization to unionize high-tech workers and shortly thereafter he drops out of the race? This raises serious questions. Hooley and Besser need to provide answers as to the nature of this agreement."

Follow the Money

Perhaps we can provide some of the answers: A quick check of funding sources reveals that Hooley's main funders are Big Money (commercial banks, credit card companies, etc.) and Big Labor. She takes in about $150,000 from each per election cycle. She also was a major recipient of funds from Emily's List--a PAC dedicated to funneling money to women candidates.

Big Money gets it's money's worth--Hooley has been a strong supporter of Bush's tax cuts and against consumers. She takes all the usual positions on Emily's list of concerns. But for Big Labor, it's been decidedly little gain. Hooley has voted for so-called "Fast Track" authority for trade agreements. She voted for the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, while voting against withdrawing from WTO. And, she is a strong proponent of and voted for Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China.

So maybe we can't answer why Big Labor continues to shill for her and had a hand in whatever "concession" deals she made with Besser. But, as far as Emily's List, the Democrats and the PGP, one need look no further than former Emily's List Deputy Director of Major Gifts and Hooley fundraiser Marnie Glickman.

Who is Glickman?

Currently Glickman is one of three members of the national Green Party's Coordinating Committee--the top spots in the organization!

Before she left the Democrats and Emily's List (or did she?) and joined her fellow attorneys and East Coast carpetbaggers who have come to dominate the PGP, Glickman bragged of raising over $10 million for a host of Democrats, including Congresswomen Nita Lowey (NY), Jan Schakowsky (IL), Darlene Hooley (OR) and Elizabeth Furse (OR), as well as Bill and Hillary Clinton and Senator Paul Wellstone (MN). During the 1996 election cycle, Glickman was the Finance Director for Clinton's hand-picked candidate Tom Bruggere for U.S. Senate (OR) (a sordid story in itself, which led to right-wing Senator-for-life Gordon Smith) and Nancy Kaszak for Congress (IL).

Glickman, along with yet another East Coast refugee/attorney and PGP co-founder Blair Bobier, has been a major behind-the-scenes actor in the undemocratic nomination of David "safe states" Cobb as the Green presidential candidate. Bobier serves as Cobb's Media Director.

It's understandable that Bonham and Besser would wash their hands of the Greens. These union guys' foray into the inner circles of the Greens was not well received by the assorted self-promoters and Trust Funders who dominate the PGP. These guys are used to getting things done. The Green Party's penchant for reams of discussion followed by inaction, no matter how important the issue, couldn't have sat well with them. Perhaps they even got a decent deal from Hooley, though Besser's lock box caveat is apt.

At any rate, Glickman's chums in the Democratic Party must be pleased. Glickman, Bobier and the others in the inner circle of the PGP agreed to "not pursue a replacement candidate."

While the Oregon Libertarian Party is running for 32 elected spots statewide and even the Constitution Party is running a full slate, the PGP is running but seven candidates, none in the five Congressional Districts--four with Democrat incumbents. One candidate who was running against Furse's successor Rep. David Wu (D-OR) in the First District changed over at the last minute to the Senate race where Democratic incumbent Sen. Ron Wyden faces little challenge from the GOP. The upshot is not a single incumbent Oregon Democrat member of Congress has any possibility of the PGP impacting their reelection. Add in Cobb's current polling at 0% and some might say "Mission Accomplished."

Situational Democracy

We have also seen the unions, notably the SEIU here in Oregon, shamelessly (and illegally) go after Nader supporters as they tried to qualify Nader for Oregon's presidential ballot.

In addition to hiring a big time law firm and filing nuisance lawsuits against the signature gathering efforts, the Democrats and the unions had their members pack a convention where Nader supporters tried to get 1000 signatures and thus qualify under Oregon's arcane rules.

A few hours prior to the convention, Multnomah County Democratic Party official Moses Ross sent out an E-mail to Democrat and union lists urging them to attend and not sign, as did a number of Big Green honchos. Neel Pender, the state Democratic Party's executive director, weaseled on the issue and said Ross was acting on his own and that the state party "disavowed" his efforts.

After taking up many of the available seats, the Unionists, Democrats and "greens" left without signing the petition, causing it to fall 50 signatures short. Of the 1150 people at the meeting, over 150 were Kerry supporters who did not sign.

"The dirty tricks of the Democratic Party have succeeded," Nader's Oregon campaign chair Greg Kafoury said. "We were sabotaged."

So the Naderites went to Option B and set out to generate enough signatures to place the 70-year-old consumer activist on the ballot as an independent. With 15,306 signatures necessary to qualify, the unions went into top gear. A pre-emptive lawsuit was filed challenging the legitimacy of the signatures before they were even submitted. Petitioners were frequently harassed and signers were maligned. Some union folks who signed the petitions were called repeatedly at home by union staffers demanding that the signers deny they signed it or claim they were coerced into signing.

So, it's hardly a surprise that fledgling unionist Mitch Besser withdrew from the Fifth District race. The combination of the AFL-CIO, the Democrats and Glickman's PGP Democratic Caucus proved insurmountable.

This week, despite the odds, Nader's folks submitted enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. All that stands in the way is the series of anti-democracy lawsuits. The PGP has that "concession" letter locked away. Cobb, Glickman and Bobier are "playas" certain to get handsome sinecures with the usual pro-Democrat foundations. Cobb will get his 0% in Oregon. And, the PGP/Mitch Besser marriage to Hooley, even with the pre-nup, is certain to follow the usual Fifth District script.

MICHAEL DONNELLY of Salem, OR is a longtime forest activist. He is a contributor to CounterPunch's new book on the 2004 elections, A Dime's Worth of Difference. He can be reached at  pahtoo@aol.com
Thanks to George Bender -- 16.Apr.2005 22:25

Progressive Democrat

-- for excellent research and locating the key link on this subject.

I really tried for over an hour to google this stuff before I posted my incorrect comment (responding to George Bender) at my Hooley story. But I didn't try CounterPunch. (I have come to appreciate what it is that people like about CounterPunch, although I still have no use for its chief editor, Alexander Cockburn.)

It still sticks in my mind that a Green had announced for the 4th District (running against DeFazio) but dropped out in the spring. I guess that story doesn't matter much compared to the big story told by Michael Donnelly.

I shouldn't have been so cock sure about any of this because in 2004 I was off-line and involved in health, financial and family problems such that I wasn't really following anything during the summer months.

My acquaintance with the name, "Blair Bobier," has only been through FairVoteOR.

I was at one time in the PGP and promoting the idea that the PGP should have a better labor platform -- namely calling for repeal of Taft-Hartley. I believe the GPUSA platform now includes that. But it never occurred to me that the PGP would be subject to the kind of insider big labor pressures that apparently were brought to bear on the candidate who was running against Hooley.

Also, thanks for the detailed and important background on what big labor Democrats in Oregon did to torpedo Nader's ballot access in 2004.

I always get the numbers of Oregon's five congressional districts mixed up. The district that runs from the central Willamette Valley to the Coast is the 5th (Hooley); Eugene and south is the 4th (DeFazio); Portland (East side) is 3rd (Blumenauer); Eastern Oregon is 2nd (Walden); and, the metropolitan area of Portland (West side) is 1st (Wu). (I think.)

Thanks again to George Bender for excellent and valuable research.

I don't know what to do about all of this. It appears that many Democrats are disastrously trapped within an exceedingly narrow vision. Apparently some Greens are similarly disposed. I guess it's a hangover from Florida 2000. Whatever the roots of it are, it's really stupid.

I intend to keep working within the Democratic Party to promote the kind of ideas that are expressed by Jesse Jackson, Jr., at his web site.






I share with Jackson the idea that it is more important for progessives (of all parties) to hold together than to worry about any imagined party loyalty to the Democratic Party. That said, I do not buy the argument that lesser-evilism is always or categorically a wrong call. Reality is such that we are constantly choosing the lesser evil -- like every time we go somewhere by fossil-fuel powered vehicles, we are choosing a lesser evil. Thus, I will not fly and have not flown since before 9/11. But I do drive a small car.

Hooley's "concessions" to Besser 16.Apr.2005 23:33

The Green Choice, Sept. 2004

Mitch Besser withdraws from the US House District 5 race

Mitch Besser has withdrawn his challenge to Darlene Hooley for the District 5 congressional race upon winning important concessions from Rep. Hooley. The full text of her letter to Besser is available at . Key points include a written promise to support a progressive trade agenda with "specific language in all trade agreements reflecting international core labor standards, including the rights to associate and bargain collectively as well as prohibitions on child labor, forced labor and workplace discrimination. . . . I cannot and will not support the CAFTA agreement in its current form [with reference to labor standards]." She has also committed to promoting Instant Runoff Voting and other pro-democratic voting reforms.

[Google: Darlene Hooley Greens]

More about the concessions & Hooley 16.Apr.2005 23:45

Greens for Impact

For Immediate Release: September 29, 2004

David Segal  segal@greensforimpact.com
Minority Leader of the Providence, RI City Council
Chair of Greens for Impact



Greens for Impact urges Ralph Nader and candidates at all levels to follow Mitch Besser's example.

LAKE OSWEGO, OREGON - Last month, Mitch Besser, Green Party candidate for Oregon's 5th Congressional District, dropped out of his race after receiving important labor-rights concessions from the Democratic incumbent, Darlene Hooley. Besser, a labor organizer, decided to challenge Hooley precisely because the incumbent was vulnerable against her Republican challenger. Hooley recognized that Besser's candidacy would be attractive to many voters who might otherwise support her, thus Besser could potentially serve as a so-called "spoiler." Hooley voted against the Iraq War and is highly supportive of environmental initiatives and women's rights, but she was a less-consistent advocate for workers' rights and organized labor.

In August, Besser agreed to meet with Hooley and brought with him the president of the Oregon chapter of the AFL-CIO. As a consequence of the discussions that ensued at that meeting, Hooley later wrote a letter to Besser indicating that she had adopted his positions on opposing the Central American Free Trade Agreement and supporting AFL-CIO workers rights standards. She also indicated her willingness to pursue important electoral reforms, such as Instant Runoff Voting, that would level the playing field for third parties like the Green Party, while solving the "spoiler" problem.

Confident that he had moved his Democratic opponent to the left, Besser agreed to drop his candidacy, and on the eve of the candidates' filing deadline, he declined to submit the documents that would've officially placed him on the ballot. As such, he left the Democrat with a good chance of winning, and an opportunity to make her concessions to Besser manifest themselves in tangible public policy.

Besser always contended that his "race wasn't about winning. It was about raising issues." He did not "want to be considered a spoiler," he said.

After he left the race, Besser successfully fought attempts by the Green Party to run another candidate in his place.

According to David Segal, Minority Leader of the Providence, RI City Council and Chair of Greens for Impact, "Mitch Besser's example is one other progressive candidates without a chance of victory should follow. Besser moved his opponent to the left in concrete ways, but he also left her with a chance of winning. In contrast, if we alter a candidate's rhetoric and policy positions, but then contribute to her or his defeat, we've accomplished nothing. Even worse, we risk doing significant harm by easing the election of our political opposites, as occurred with Ralph Nader and George W. Bush in 2000."

"Ideally, concessions received by candidates under these circumstances would be related to those electoral reforms, like public financing and Instant Runoff Voting, which must be in place if third parties are ever to be a viable part of our democracy."

Greens for Impact (GFI) is a committee of pragmatic Green Party leaders who advocate cooperative solutions for progressives. Their strategy, outlined at  http://www.GreensforImpact.com , is to mobilize progressive voters to defeat George W. Bush in November while still growing the Green Party. They hope to accomplish this by advocating for a "split-states" voting strategy that supports John Kerry in swing states and Green Party nominee, David Cobb, in safe states. Meanwhile, GFI asks voters to register Green and actively push for the use of Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) wherever suitable, alongside ballot access reform and full public financing of campaigns.

Bender, you really need to get a life! 17.Apr.2005 10:01


How many years do we have to endure the predictable "anti-green" rhetoric from you Bender?

It is this type of "petty bitterness" coming from the Naderites that is typical of the reasons that the "left" can't come together to achive common goals. The "Counterpunch" gang suffers from the same lack of objectivity that seeks to divide people who agree on essentially everything.
It is childish and politically immature, but it is not surprising.

As to "Besser's concessions" to Hooley, once again you have shown a complete lack of respect for the truth while submiting editorials as though they were proof of something. It would be humorous if it were not so "Karl Rove-esque" in the depth at which it is willing to try and deceive people for nothing more than bitter feelings about past disagreements.

The reasons that Besser ultimately pulled out of his race against Hooley had almost nothing to do with any concessions Hooley agreed to make. Although Mitch did use the opportunity to put pressure on Hooley on her upcoming free trade vote.

Mitch pulled out of the race because he realized he was not prepared to launch an effective campaign.
He didn't have the time, he didn't have any money, he had not put together a campaign team, he was never a serious candidate.

A cursory few minutes of investigation would of made that quite clear.
But then that would only be the case if the "truth" were desired, which the Counterpunch articles and Bender's hyperbole were clearly not really interested in.

I think it might be time for "self described" progressive Democrats and bitter former Nader supporters to take off the blinders and come to some hard understandings about what we are up against in this country. We don't have time for this petty political nonsense about the greens and spineless democrats or Nader.

We need to mount an effective opposition made up of a diverse coalition that will directly challenge the one party two wing rule we now endure.

That can't happen from within the Democratic party and it should be obvious by now to even the most loyal dems.
It won't happen with grandfatherly consumer advocate icons.

It's got to happen with a new emerging party that stands for all the things we agree on like social justice, protecting the environment, protection of our civil liberties, and sustainable lifestyles.

That party is the Pacific Green party.

So instead of looking for what you don't like or don't agree with, perhaps it's time you got involved and provided the leadership in the direction you think the party should go?

Of course it is easier to cite counterpunch articles as fact and offer the same predictable anti-green rhetoric that has been spewed here by the same couple of people for several years than it is to try and build an effective coalition.

Steve 17.Apr.2005 12:29

George Bender

"As to 'Besser's concessions' to Hooley, once again you have shown a complete lack of respect for the truth while submiting editorials as though they were proof of something."

The last two comments above yours, which I also posted, are from your own sources. They appear to confirm Donnelly's account as to why Besser dropped out. If you want to check this out, go to your own Pacific Green website ( http://www.pacificgreens.org/) and do a search on "Hooley". Hooley's letter to Besser is there. So is his application to run on the Green ticket, which includes the question, from your party, quoted by Donnelly, "If there is a progressive Democrat in the race, will you have an 'exit strategy'?" How do you justify asking your candidates to make way for progressive Democrats?

It seems to me that you are the one showing a lack of respect for the truth. If you are going to maintain a website you should understand that it is also available to the rest of us.

The point in posting this is to follow up on Progressive Democrat's call for the Greens to run someone against Hooley. It looks to me like your party's philosophy and strategy make it unlikely that you would ever do this. You appear to have a consistent strategy of not opposing Democratic candidates when it might actually cause them some pain. If you're claiming that isn't actually the case, let's see some credible Green campaigns against Hooley and Wu. Your candidate against Wu switched to the Senate race, where she was no threat to Wyden's safe seat.

Progressives cannot depend on the Greens, and we are not going to work with you. You set that up yourselves by being too cute. Become a real opposition party -- opposed to the Democrats -- or die.

Specific issue: CAFTA 18.Apr.2005 00:02

Progressive Democrat

This all seems to come down to whether the long-standing "conventional wisdom" still stands -- that the American people do not need to be consulted as to any so-called "free trade" expansion. That matter is also related to the issue of whether, or to what extent, the Congress can be or has been bought by international financial interests (also known as "global capital"). These are not trivial questions, although some may be of the opinion that the purchase of Congress is a done deal and not something that can be doubted -- but that is a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, because if we cannot imagine Congress as representing anything other than global capital, then it will certainly never become anything other than that.

There is one question here of whether the Greens DID get any important concession from, or come to any meaningful shared understanding, with Darlene Hooley. That is a different question from whether the Greens should be conducting such negotiations directly with a Democratic candidate or office holder.

I guess in practical politics such negotiations are inevitable and maybe not to be categorically condemned. Obviously, as can be seen here at PIMC, many people are upset at the prospect of negotiations over specific issues between Greens and the Democrats. It is interesting to me that these negotiations have become as public as they now are.

Ralph Nader's campaign for the presidency was predicated upon the idea that putting pressure on the Democratic Party to shift toward the left is a good thing, even if that might help the Republicans to keep Bush in office. That objective of causing the Democrats to shift toward the left appears to be what the "impact Greens" are up to -- shifting mainstream Democrats to the left. The difference between those Greens and the Naderites is that the "impact Greens" are doing this on specific issues about specific votes by specific office-holders. The "Nader" approach -- as presented by George Bender -- is to actually defeat some Democrats even at the cost of increasing Republican control of the government, thereby putting the fear of God into the Democrats; while the "Green impact" approach is, by merely suggesting defeat, to get some meaningful concessions from some Democrats. (The straight Nader approach is to run for president, probably in the hope of having some sustainable impact from outside the two major parties -- as was done by Ross Perot in the 1990's.)

Whether the outcome of the conference between a Green candidate and Darlene Hooley should be considered as "concessions" or whether it represents rather a meeting of political minds is unclear to me. What is important now is whether CAFTA-enabling legislation will be enacted by this Congress and how significant Hooley's vote will be on that issue -- and, also, what her vote will be.

My impression is that Darlene Hooley has been a "free trade" Democrat so far. Wu, on the other hand, has been opposed to at least some "free trade" agreements. (That's my impression, but I haven't taken the time to research all the votes on such matters over the past 10 years.) So, if Hooley has been converted on trade issues, that's something.

Meanwhile, CAFTA has been concluded by the Bush administration. All that remains is approval of Congress, which now seems doubtful! According to a recent article at IndyBay, "CAFTA Passage Far from Certain" --

"There is strong bi-partisan opposition to CAFTA in the United States House of Representatives. If presented to Congress for a vote today, they predict the agreement would fail."


Accoding to Roll Call ("The Newspaper of Capitol Hill since 1955"), the CAFTA battle is expected to shape the entire trade agenda of the 109th Congress --

"The battle over trade is about a lot more than just opening markets with six developing countries. Lobbyists on all sides of the agreement, known as CAFTA, say it will shape the entire trade agenda for this Congress."

See, "CAFTA and the Shafta"


Isn't this like really old news? 18.Apr.2005 14:40

Green Andy

I ain't sayin I agree or disagree with how this race was handled, but didn't this all come out a year ago? Is everything now going so well in the progressive world that we can really nitpick everything that happened so long ago?

Green Andy 18.Apr.2005 17:32

Progressive Democrat

What's relevant now in 2005 is that it may be possible to defeat a "free trade" agreement in Congress -- for the first time! Hooley has committed, we hope, to voting against CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement), which is supposed to come up for approval in this current Congress later this year. Even if the Republicans don't take it to votes in both houses of Congress -- that will still mean that it was defeated because of pressure on Congress from the people (as well as because of the fact that there are committed progressive Democrats and some conservative Republicans in the Congress who regularly oppose the "free trade" agenda).

Green Andy 18.Apr.2005 19:31

George Bender

If you think last year is "so long ago," then you are operating on a completely different time scale than I am. How old are you, 19? For me, last year is like yesterday. I think it's bizarre that both Democrats and Greens complain bitterly whenever we bring up anything that happened in the past. Do you really think the past, especially the recent past, has no relevance to the present? If so, I think your mind is missing some essential cogs.

The general pattern of American politics has not changed in decades.

We are not nitpicking. A central issue that progressives, especially radicals, have with the Greens is their apparent unwillingness to stand up to the Democrats. If you are not willing to do that, then you are politically useless, and have no right to speak for the American left.

green party 19.Apr.2005 04:51

bern haggerty votehaggerty@yahoo.com

Thanks Portland Indymedia for another lively green discussion thread.

1. Some greens are unwilling to stand up to the democrats--some greens, even some green candidates, ARE democrats. I am waiting to hear word of a democrat who pulled out of a race because of concessions from a green! The democratic party machine needed a former president, a car-load of money, and who knows what else to elect that millionaire over Matt Gonzales in SF. Why didn't they simply negotiate concessions from the greens?

2. I love the green party! The fact that it is so easy to frustrate, infiltrate, destablize, take over, divert, and distract proves that it is truely democratic. And, the fact that we still exist despite at least ten years of pompous posturing means we must be doing something right.

3. So, if you don't like how the green party has been doing its work in america, join up and take over. I think there is going to be a national meeting in Tulsa in July; get some friends together and take control. Don't hate the green party; be the green party.

4. Or, join a green party in another country--Canada, Cascadia, etc. I joined the BC Greens, even though I am not a citizen. I think they are glad to have me. Unlike the democratic and republican parties, the green party has a global reach and an increasing knack for confounding the american corporate and military empire. This may seem like wishful thinking, but the list of alternative global politics is not very long, with all due respect to that one-big-one-hundred-year-old union (IWW).

5. Remember to tell your friends in BC to vote green May 17.

Bern Haggerty.