By Richard Knee
September 23, 2012
Green Party candidate Jill Stein believes that as president she could overcome partisan differences with Congressional Democrats and Republicans by using the media to rally public pressure to her side.
Stein made the assertion Saturday night when a reporter asked why progressive voters should pick her over Peace and Freedom nominee Roseanne Barr or Democratic incumbent Barack Obama, especially since the president is expected to have at least two Supreme Court nominations to try to move through the Senate during the next term.
Speaking to a small but enthusiastic crowd in a cavernous storefront headquarters for several local candidate and issue campaigns in Berkeley, Stein said it was public pressure that caused GOP Congress members to abandon an effort earlier this year to pass the Stop Online Piracy Act, known for short as SOPA, which opponents had argued was censorious.
“People got on the phone and the internet, and that bill was stopped on a dime. The president can be not just commander-in-chief but also organizer-in chief,” she said.
She also told a reporter she was working with other minor-party candidates – those appearing on ballots in states aggregating the 270 or more electoral votes needed to win the presidency – to try to gain inclusion in the presidential debates due to start on Oct. 3. So far, only Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, are the ticketed participants.
During her main speech, to roughly 60 attendees, Stein spent nearly 45 minutes harping on familiar themes such as Democratic and Republican coziness with Wall Street, and Obama’s continuation and expansion of wars abroad and attacks on civil liberties at home. Wars for oil and corporate bail-outs are annually costing $2 trillion that could be used for education, health care and other publicly beneficial services and programs, she said.
Saturday’s speaking engagement was the first of six Stein has scheduled in northern California. The others are slated Monday at College of the Redwoods in Eureka and at Humboldt State University; and Tuesday at Sonoma State University, at Napa Valley College and at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Palo Alto.