Ralph Nader, the Democrats, and I

Response to "Ralph Nader, Rocky Anderson, and the Green Party: A Political Un-Love Story"

In his article, William Kaufman has obviously sought to mislead his readers by failing to disclose material information he must know exists. Is that what he means by “politricks” and “the dark side of politics”?

Here’s the truth: (1) Ralph Nader is supporting my candidacy. He said he doesn’t “endorse” candidates because that connotes agreeing with everything the candidate may say along the way. Kaufman tries to make it appear that my campaign is misleading people about Mr. Nader’s support of me, stating that “the Anderson campaign” represented on Facebook that Nader “endorsed” me, referring to a post by a campaign staffer. What Kaufman fails to disclose is that I immediately clarified on Facebook with the following comment: “Rocky here: The above main post was written by a staffer who wasn’t present in Oregon. Ralph didn’t ‘endorse’ – he doesn’t do that. But he does ‘support’.” (See the April 10 post and comments.) Who is misleading whom, Mr. Kaufman?

Kaufman then characterizes my campaign, without any basis, as being “shadowy” and “equivocal”. He obviously hasn’t been paying attention. I would urge anyone to check out my website and the numerous interviews (click on News and Videos) available there. What is “shadowy” or “equivocal” about any of it? Kaufman then describes me as a “center-left pol who expressly abjures any identification with the left.” Again, he offers no evidence for those absurd characterizations. Check out City Weekly article; Salt Lake Tribune‘s “Rocky Anderson says adieu to the Democratic Party“; Deseret‘s “Former S.L. mayor Rocky Anderson divorces himself from ‘gutless’ Democratic Party,” then you can determine for yourself how “equivocal” or “shadowy” my campaign and I are. And when and where have I “expressly abjure[d] any identification with the left”? Kaufman once again gets it entirely wrong. Seeking a broad-based political movement that can actually achieve change is different from “abjuring identification with the left.” Just look at my history – from my law practice (e.g. expanding rights for inmates, suits for police abuse), my presidency of the Board of the Utah ACLU, my work with Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, my progressive leadership as Mayor of Salt Lake City, and my founding of High Road for Human Rights – and you’ll see how absurd Kaufman’s mischaracterizations are. In fact, please check out “Rocky Anderson.” I’ll put up my record of accomplishments and commitment to progressive principles against Kaufman’s – and any candidates he supports – any day. Also, can Kaufman possibly know that I was the only major city mayor who advocated for the impeachment of George Bush and say what he does?

Kaufman refers to my endorsement of Mitt Romney when he ran for Governor of Massachusetts, without disclosing the whole truth – including numerous public statements I have made about the new Mitt Romney since he has been running for President. Following the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, I endorsed Mitt Romney for Governor of Massachusetts. Of course, that was THAT Mitt Romney – a very moderate, reasonable person who, for instance, supported gay and lesbian rights and a woman’s right to choose abortion. I thought it was terrific that a Republican would take the positions Romney did at that time. Romney wouldn’t have won the race in Massachusetts had he not held himself out to be moderate, even quite liberal. But see some of my public comments about the difference between THAT Mitt Romney and the right-wing extremist running for President: (calling Romney a “political prostitute”), “Former Salt Lake City Rocky Anderson on GOP Presidential Candidates Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman,” and “Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson Slams His Friend Mitt Romney for ‘Flip-Flopping’ on Abortion, Stem Cell Research, Torture in Attempt to Win GOP Presidential Nomination.” Kaufman neglected to disclose any of that to his readers. Perhaps because it didn’t fit his unbelievably dishonest characterizations of me?

On climate change, Kaufman misleads once again. He refers to one half of a sentence in my position paper about reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But he fails to disclose the rest of the sentence. Here is the entire sentence in my policy paper: “Champion a market-based approach to reducing the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, but support and defend the authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gas emissions if market mechanisms are not promptly put in place by Congress or prove insufficient.” Why would Kaufman have omitted the last part of that sentence except to mislead? And why would he represent, by using quotation marks, that I was referring only to cap-and-trade when I didn’t even use the term? Taxing emissions is also a “market-based” strategy — but Kaufman apparently doesn’t know that. Other facts that Kaufman has neglected to disclose are that (1) cap and trade systems were successfully utilized to address both acid rain and the destruction of the ozone level; (2) we likely will not know the GHG-reductions effect of taxes on emissions until it is too late to avoid catastrophic effects of climate chaos, particularly without a concomitant cap and trade system and direct regulation by the EPA; and (3) my position paper, with details and nuances entirely absent from those papers and positions of other candidates, is entirely consistent with the Presidential Climate Action Project. See “The Wingspread Principles on Presidential Climate Action Project” (“Deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions demand and will drive innovation. Our economy will innovate most efficiently if it is given the flexibility to achieve ambitious goals through a variety of means, including marketbased incentives and/or trading.”). Among the members of the Advisory Committee of the Climate Action Project are former Senator Gary Hart, Van Jones, Gus Speth, Hunter Lovins, and many other top experts in climate change policy. I have been clear about my position for more than 15 years: We must urgently achieve a cap on greenhouse gas emissions, without waiting to see what effect taxes alone will have on emissions. I favor taking every measure possible to reduce GHGs, including taxes on emissions, an effective cap-and-trade system, and direct regulation/limits on emissions.

Kaufman continues to mislead, this time in connection with my position on health care. He says I acknowledge the virtues of single-payer, but also tout a variety of European multi-payer schemes that retain a role for private insurers. Of course I “tout” a variety of multi-non-profit-payer systems as being far superior to the U.S. system. The French system, for instance, is ranked by W.H.O. as the #1 system in the world. The German system is far superior to the U.S. system. Every system in the industrialized world is far superior, in terms of cost, medical outcomes, and universality of coverage. But if Kaufman means to mislead his readers about my support for a single-payer Medicare-for-all system, which he apparently endeavors to do, one only needs to refer to my position paper on Health Care. There you will find the following statement: “We must end the bizarre reliance in the United States on for-profit insurance companies for essential health care. We should adopt a health care system like Taiwan’s single-payer system (the most efficient in the world) or Canada’s single-payer system (which is consistently Canada’s most popular social program). Another option might be a system like France’s (#1 in the world, according to the World Health Organization), but it’s multi-payer non-profit system would likely be more expensive and less efficient in the U.S., particularly in light of the immense difficulty in the U.S. of achieving the sort of regulations that serve the public interest rather than corporate (even so-called “non-profit”) interests.” Is this not doctrinaire or clear enough for Kaufman?

Kaufman can’t even get it straight about Michael McGee’s status. He lives in France – and certainly is not my campaign manager. Does Kaufman just make all of this up as he goes along?

It has never been our strategy to seek positions in government with any other party. That may be Mr. McGee’s approach, but it certainly is not mine or the Justice Party’s. Also, we’ve never adopted anything close to a safe-state strategy. I’d be surprised if Mr. McGee said anything like that – but I wouldn’t be surprised, given his approach to the rest of this, if Kaufman simply made that up too.

There is so much else in Kaufman’s piece to which I’d like to respond, but I think the reader likely gets my point. When people like this mislead and attack, it reflects poorly not only on their own integrity, but also on the party and candidate they support.

  • See also rejoinder from William Kaufman: “Rocky Anderson’s ‘Progressivism’.”
  • Rocky Anderson is the Justice Party's candidate for US President in 2012. Read other articles by Rocky, or visit Rocky's website.