The Caucus, NYT’s political blog, gave a brief interview with Dr. Stein.
The comments section was pretty positive, too. I hope this is the first of many… Enjoy!
And an awesome, and much more comprehensive, 30 minute audio interview was given by the Progressive Magazine, which I would recommend everyone listen to. I did a quick paraphrased transcription of the highlights for everyone to read.
Matthew Rothschild, Editor: Why are you running?
Dr. Jill Stein: I was not intending to run, but the debt ceiling debate & the president putting Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block made it clear someone needed to provide an opposition candidate.
Rothschild: This was an imposing task to take on, wasn’t it?
Stein: It’s been the most exciting & fun campaign I’ve been on. There’s such a profound need for alternatives, it’s been like giving out candy.
Rothschild: What is your critique of Obama? Where do you think he’s gone wrong? Has he done any good?
Stein: *chuckles* I wouldn’t say he hasn’t done anything good, but there has been widespread disappointment that he did not live up to his promises.
The White House has been occupied by Wall Street, the withdrawal from Iraq was on Bush’s timetable & he would have stayed if he could have gotten blanket immunity. On civil liberties, he’s abandoned all hope, he’s brought the battlefield to American soil.
We need a politics of integrity. There is enormous public support for our solutions. It would be an outrage to continue to let Democrats sell us out.
Rothschild: What is the effective response? Would it be better to raise these issues within the Democratic party? Nader had name recognition, and only got 3%. What is the use?
Stein: That is the question isn’t it?
If an effort isn’t made, it’s clear what direction we are going in. The solutions are only getting further away.
An effort has already been made to do this within the Democratic party; it’s not a question of if it should, but as a practical matter, it’s just not going to happen.
Many good people have tried a debate within the Democratic party; but the party has been so moribund that there is no prospect of debate on these issues, or salvage from within.
It’s time to close the door on the discussion and move forward.
It’s not that people want to, but it’s become a necessity.
Millions of people are losing their jobs.
Millions of people are getting kicked out of their homes.
Students can’t afford to go to college, and have no prospects other than being indentured servants for the rest of their lives.
What’s driving this isn’t discretionary, and it’s outrageous. It’s clear the time has arrived to push an alternative.
We need to be there as the old paradigm is falling apart, and as it continues to fall apart. We need to be there to keep the discussion active, and keep these solutions for a just, green future on the table, and build support for them.
Rothschild: What about the spoiler question that comes up; that you are going to elect Romney or Gingrich & they will be worse than Obama.
Stein: That argument does not stand the test of time.
The politics of fear have brought us everything we were afraid of.
Obama has embraced or intensified all of our worst fears of George Bush. We have learned that silence is not an effective political strategy. We are on the economic cliff, the climate cliff, the education cliff, the healthcare cliff… We are on the path of devastation. It’s not easy, you know?
The question is do we bring back democracy here? And if we absent ourselves right now, and by ‘we’ I mean those who are not corporate sponsored or Wall Street, if we disappear right now, we are going to get more of the same.
We have to at least engage the fight; we’ve got to at least do that. Then other things become possible. If we don’t at least engage fight, it’s all over… Move to another planet because this one will not survive…
And when you talk about ‘spoiling,’ in the eyes of most people what’s being ‘spoiled’ is their healthcare, their education…
They are not thinking about ‘spoiling’ some politician’s career…
This is about reclaiming our lives. When you talk to young people, you realize they are the ones paying the supreme price for our generational injustice. You ask them how things are, and they’d tell you that things are pretty ‘spoiled’ right now…
Rothschild: What about Ron Paul supporters? He has been very popular with young people on college campuses.
Stein: We find young Ron Paul supporters quickly coming into our camp.
We’re also talking about the same issues, and in addition, we also want to make all higher education free. A college degree today is what a high school diploma used to be; we believe in making higher education available and free to all as a right.
Many have said if Paul loses the Republican nomination, “we’ll be in your court.”
Rothschild: You were in Massachusetts when Mitt Romney was governor. What was he like?
Stein: *laughs* Indistiguishable from Deval Patrick.
When the baton passed, you could not tell the difference, aside from superficial appearances. Many members of Romney’s cabinet remained in Patrick’s. It was like what Obama did when he was in office when he retained Gates from Bush’s Defense department. There were no distinctive policy differences between the two.
In fact, the GOP opponent in my last race, Baker, had been Patrick’s 1st choice for Lt. Gov. in his initial Democratic bid for governor. That speaks volumes about the differences between these guys.
Massachusetts is a Democratic state; it’s wall to wall Democrats, but we are having the same problems as red states: the same war on workers, the same unbearble economic disparities, teachers are under attack and scapegoated, embrace of Bush’s test policies… Massachusetts is leading the charge on that, and even in a completely Democratic administration, the Democratic agenda was basically abandoned. So a Romney administration wouldn’t scare me a whole lot more than Obama, but at least we would have a fight to stay his hand and build up an opposition, which we don’t have now.
That’s not to say there aren’t any differences, or it would be better. It’s kind of a toss-up. But at least we would gain our voice back.
And our campaign represents that voice, and what happens around the campaign is not nearly as important as retaking our democracy which is on life support.
Obama’s healthcare plan was modeled on Massachusetts, but here medical bankruptcies have not declined one iota. And the state is going bankrupt trying to pay for this privatized system.
The problem with his plan is that it distracts from real reform: Medicare for all. His plan doesn’t even help you when you get sick, unfortunately. What we are finding here in Massachusetts is that these insurance policies tend to evaporate. They are still ducking people who need healthcare; you will get dumped. They are still gaming the system.
And if you haven’t already, check out Mike’s diary on Rocky Anderson too.
[Note to ed.: Edited for length, per request]