2012 Questionnaire: Kevin Zeese

Reply by Kevin Zeese, to the GPUS Outreach and exploratory questionnaire for the 2012 GPUS presidential nomination
received July 26, 2011

1. Are you interested in seeking the Green Party 2012 presidential nomination? Are you considering seeking the nomination, but have not yet made up your mind? What factors are you taking into consideration?

I have not thought through a question like that. The challenge for me is that I have a lot of other projects going and stopping to run for president would undermine all of them. So, the odds are against me running. And, I know what a big task it is to seriously run for president. It would require raising about $20 million to really put on a campaign. It would require managing scores of volunteers around the country. And, it would involve exhausting travel. None of that sounds very inviting. But, I have not thought about it. What I’m mentioning here are stumbling blocks.

2. What do you believe the goals should be of the 2012 GPUS presidential campaign? If you were the GPUS presidential nominees, how would your campaign work to achieve them? (Will your campaign succeed?)

Among the goals:
– Getting a progressive message into the presidential campaigns and debate among candidates.
– Strengthening local parties and supporting local candidates
– Showing the public the fraudulent nature of the debate commission
– Getting on every ballot
– Unifying all progressive parties behind one candidate
– Breaking the 5% mark for future funding
– Achieving matching funds status
– Affect the outcome of the election by running especially hard in swing states. The power of third party and independent candidates come in close elections where we can make a difference. That is when our issues are heard and one of the two big parties will be forced to accept them if we run and run and run, every year, with extra emphasis on swing states.

3. Please list five issue areas that you feel are most important and what would you do about them. (Who are you?)

– End the wars see ComeHomeAmerica.US
– Cut the military budget see ComeHomeAmerica.US
– Democratize the economy (this includes lots of issues — single payer health care, shrink the wealth divide, progressive taxation, increased corporate tax payments,end crony capitalism or corporate welfare, make the Federal Reserve part of the government, transparent, representative of the economy not just banks and democratized, tranform corporate welfare into taxpayer investment, strengthen worker and union rights — see www.ItsOurEconomy.US
– Democratize the democracy — long list of voting reforms are needed
– Reverse the degradation of the environment — carbon-free/nuclear free energy economy, sustainable economy, face-up to climate change, strengthen clean air/clean water laws see www.ItsOurEconomy.US

4. What parts of the GPUS platform* do you feel most closely aligned with? What parts do you disagree with, if any? Are there parts you would improve upon and how? (Who are we?)

It has always been a great platform that rings true with me.

5. What in your background qualifies you to be a credible presidential candidate? What assets would you bring to your campaign in addition to those already existing within the Green Party? (What do you have to offer?)

Here’s a bio.
Kevin Zeese is an attorney who has been a political activist since graduating from George Washington Law School in 1980. He works on peace, economic justice, criminal law reform and reviving American democracy. He advocates for democratizing the economy as co-director
of It’s Our Economy and works to oppose to war and shrink the military budget through Come Home America. Zeese serves on the steering committees of the Bradley Manning Support Network which advocates for alleged whistle-blower, Bradley Manning, and October2011.org which seeks to end corporatism and militarism.

His recent election integrity work has included challenging the activities of the national Chamber of Commerce through StopTheChamber.org, as well as the activities of Karl Rove’s Americans Crossroads as part of AmericanCrossroadsWatch.org and seeking to overturn the Citizen’s United decision, including filing complaints against Justice Clarence Thomas, as part ofProtectOurElections.org. Zeese has also led the effort to prosecute Rupert Murdoch of NewsCorp for hacking into private phones and bribing officials.

He has been active in independent and third party political campaigns including for state legislative offices in Maryland, governor of California and U.S. president, where he served as press secretary and spokesperson for Ralph Nader in 2004. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 2006 and was the only person ever nominated by the Green Party, Libertarian Party and Populist Party.

Zeese serves as president of Common Sense for Drug Policy. He is a co-founder of Voters for Peace, Prosperity Agenda, True Vote and the Drug Policy Foundation, now known as Drug Policy Alliance.

6. Presidential campaigns are legally independent entities from the political party whose nomination they received. Yet most successful political campaigns meld candidate and party synergistically. If you were the GPUS nominee, how would you envision that working relationship? (How can we work together?)

I would support local candidates and local parties, try to help them grow stronger as one of my key priorities Open to suggestions on how we can legally work together but in the end campaign decisions should be made by the candidate as it is his/her name on the ballot and held responsible.

7. Do you believe that an independent party like the Greens can succeed in the US? How would you define such success? How can it happen? (Will we succeed?)

Yes, but not now. We need to build an independent movement like we are working to do with www.October2011.org along with independent politics and independent media. Out of that mix will come success. I appreciate people working to build independent politics, but most of my focus is on building an independent movement. Out of that movement will come our future leaders.

8. There is some interest within the Green Party of having the party’s nominee run together with a Green Cabinet, that would feature prospective cabinet members and federal agency heads that would serve in your government, should you be elected president. Such an approach could demonstrate what a Green government might be like and would do so during the election, promoting transparency. It could expand the number of people campaigning, with Cabinet members on the road and in the press in addition to the nominees. What do you think of this approach? Who might hold positions in a Green Cabinet? How would you see your candidacy interacting with those individuals during the campaign? (How might we connect the dots?)

I’ve long liked that approach of bringing more people into political campaigns.

9. Can we publish your reply on the GPUS web site in a public section reserved for such responses?

If you think it would be helpful, although I did not have a lot of time to do this, so don’t consider it to be worth a lot of attention!