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David Cobb Interview
(Green Party Presidential Candidate)

David Cobb ran for President of the United States in 2004 on the Green Party ticket.

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, 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 this bad?
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 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. I don’t 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 begin with.

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 win?
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.

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