David Cobb Interview
(Green Party Presidential Candidate)
David Cobb ran for President of the United States in 2004 on the Green
A native of San Leon, Texas, he worked construction for several years
before attending college.
Once in college, he waited tables to put himself through (college) and
graduated from the University of Houston Law School in 1993.
He had a successful law practice until early 2000 when Ralph Nader asked
him to manage the Green Party effort in Texas. He coordinated the ballot
access drive in Texas that collected over 76,000 signatures in 75 days.
David lectures and facilitates “Re-thinking Corporations/ Re-thinking
Democracy” seminars and workshops across the country which explore
the social, legal, and historical context of how corporations have become
the dominant institution of our times.
He serves on the Steering Committee of Democracy Unlimited, a citizen’s
group dedicated to contesting and challenging the illegitimate corporate
usurpation of our (the American) Constitution and our government.
David Cobb talked about his views on the topic of the day and his campaign
for the Presidency.
Q – David, why would anyone want to be President
of The United States? It seems like such a thankless job.
A – Well, I’m running for President as the Green Party’s
nominee in order to help grow and build the Green Party as the electoral
arm for the growing movement for peace, justice, democracy and ecology
in this country.
Q – Why can’t the American people
see a debate with all of the Presidential candidates? Why is it just
the two parties?
A – Well, because the Democratic and Republican parties have created
their own corporation called The Commission On Presidential Debates. The
Commission On Presidential Debates literally took the debates over from
the League of Women Voters. Most folks think that the League of Women
Voters still sponsor them, but, they do not. The Commission on Presidential
Debates which by the way is literally funded by Anheuser – Busch
and Phillip Morris Corporations which are beer and tobacco corporations,
create the format and completely control those debates. They’re
not really properly called debates, because the questions are pre-determined,
the format is controlled and camera placement is controlled. They’re
really more info-mercials. If you really want to pursue this, you can
check out a group called opendebates.org, a group of folks who have created
another entity called The Citizens Debate Commission on Presidential Debates
to lay out a need for actual debates at the Presidential level which would
include criteria that would allow people besides Democrats and Republicans
to participate. The Commission on Presidential Debates excludes anyone
except the Democratic or Republican nominee.
Q – Have you or the Green Party approached
a network such as Fox News about carrying a debate with all the candidates?
A – We’ve approached the major broadcast media.
Q – And?
A – They’re not interested.
Q – I see voter apathy as one of the biggest
issues facing all the candidates this year. How can you motivate people,
especially the younger voters to get out and vote?
A – Well, I wouldn’t call it apathy, because apathy means
people don’t care. I would call it cynicism, because people think
that it doesn’t matter. Young people are participating in various
movements. The Global Justice Movement is being led by young people. The
newly radicalized Feminist Movement is being led by young people, mostly
young women. There are so many different organizations fighting for social
change that are being driven by the energy of young people. So, I think
it’s incorrect to say young people are apathetic. I do think there
is a challenge to convince young people that participating in electoral
politics means anything. So, that is what the Green Party is attempting
to do, and we are in fact having some degree of success. More and more
young people are joining the Green Party and many young people are in
genuine positions of leadership in the Green Party.
Q – According to your bio. you saw up close
and personal how the system is designed to prevent working class people
from getting ahead and how working hard usually just gets you calluses.
So, the key to bettering yourself is education?
A – Well, I would say it’s a function of education, hard
work and luck because lots of people who get educated and work hard still
don’t get ahead in this country. So, don’t discount the role
that just plain luck plays. Most people in this country are working very,
very hard but actually don’t get ahead. We have a systemic problem
in this country. The Green Party is advocating a change so that everybody
has a genuine opportunity.
Q – What would you and the Green Party do
about the erosion of jobs in America?
A – First and foremost repeal NAFTA, the North American Free Trade
Agreement, and abolish the World Trade Organization and completely re-vamp
U.S. and international trade policy and trade agreements which currently
have this country in a literal race to the bottom of the world really,
in a race to the bottom for both jobs as well as environmental protection.
Q – Who’s responsible for things getting
A – Well, it was actually Bill Clinton. Both Ronald Reagan and
George Bush Sr. tried to push NAFTA and it failed. But, Bill Clinton pushed
it through a Democratic controlled Congress when he was President. The
second thing to do is to raise the minimum wage to a true living wage,
so everybody makes enough money to raise themselves above the poverty
level and live in dignity as a result of their own work and effort. This
would actually stimulate and spur the economy because there would be more
money available to the American workers and far more money would be circulated.
If it was applied universally this living wage would actually benefit
all businesses. The third thing is to increase the taxes on the very large
transnational corporations and change our policy which is currently, literally
encouraging outsourcing and benefiting only the very few super large transnational
corporations. The reality is job growth has been driven by small business
people and entrepreneurs in this country. The huge corporations have been
a net loser in jobs, yet our current tax and legal, system literally subsidize
them. It’s completely bone-headed and wrong.
Q – What would the minimum wage be then?
A – We’re saying tie it to the region because the cost of
living is so different across this country. A living wage is much different
in New York than it would be say in El Paso, Texas. So, if you go to the
website universallivingwage.org it will show the difference. But, rule
of thumb would be about 10 bucks an hour.
Q – The Middle East-----can we ever broker
a peace agreement there?
A – Sure. It would actually be quite possible if the United States
government would stop supplying military aid to Israel and bring together
the civil society and local peace groups that already exist amongst
the Palestinians and Israeli citizenry and bring those folks together.
think peace is going to actually be brokered between Ariel Sharoun
and Yassar Arofat, but, the people on the ground are actually leading
the way now. Those are the folks that ought to be brought together in a
more visible and public way.
Q – What would you do about the war in Iraq
and can we ever repair the damage to our reputation with our allies?
A – First of all, let’s understand the war in Iraq was illegal.
Under international law it was immoral under any set of ethics, and unconstitutional
under the laws of the United States. The Green Party opposed it from the
get-go. So, here’s what to do about Iraq: if I’m elected President
Of The Untied States on November 2 nd (2004), remember I don’t take
office until January 2005; on November 3 rd 2004, I would issue a public
apology on behalf of the people of the United States for the reckless
and immoral war that the prior administration had waged. Step 2 – I
would immediately rescind all the corporate, crony contracts that Bush
and Cheney had entered into with Haliburton Corporation, Bectel Corporation
and others. Instead of making those tens of billions of dollars available
to these corporate buddies I would make available to the people of Iraq
(the dollars) in order to rebuild their country. And, I would define that
money as it properly should under international law and call it reparations.
Step 4 – I would immediately bring together a civil society in Iraq,
not the puppet government that’s being installed by the Bush administration.
I would start to bring together a civil society in Iraq under the auspices
of the United Nations to begin negotiations immediately to let them know
that in January when I take office I’m going to issue an order withdrawing
U.S. troops. Those negotiations would be to insure that if the Iraqi people
believe that there is a need for an international peace keeping force
to create the safe space necessary to rebuild their society and their
country, those troops operate under the auspices of the international
community and the United Nations and that ideally such troops come from
the Islamic world if you speak Arabic, to insure that we de-escalate the
clash of civilizations that Bush-Cheney created by waging this war to
Q – How did you arrive at this conclusion?
Do you have advisors?
A – Sure. I have a set of advisors. And, I am aware and read what’s
happening in Iraq. From the very beginning it was clear that the U.S.
military was not an army of liberation, but an army of occupation. You
can tell the difference because liberators are greeted with candy and
flowers and dancing in the street. Occupiers are not. And, it’s
clear that the U.S. military is viewed as occupiers. The corporate media
in this country especially on Iraq is basically propaganda.
Q – Have we come to the point where you
have to be rich to run for President of the United States?
A – Well, they’re all millionaires, except for me, that’s
for sure. I’m the only Working Class person who’s running
for President in this election cycle, but, I believe that American history
demonstrates that only when there are a large and broad-based social movement
can you get real social change in this country and the Green Party is
advocating for real social change.
Q – When November 2 nd, 2004 ends, how will
your life have changed and what do you go onto the next day if you don’t
A – I’ll continue to be a Green Party organizer, lecturer.
I’ll continue to travel the country helping to grow and rebuild
the Green Party and actively participating in helping to change this
country. The Green Party is getting larger, stronger, and better organized
with every election-----and we are not going away.
© Gary James All Rights Reserved