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Statement of Michael Morrill Concerning the PA Green Collaboration with the Santorum CampaignEdit

8/11/2006

Statement of Michael Morrill Concerning the PA Green Collaboration with the Santorum Campaign

I have not made any public comments about the scandal surrounding the Green Party of Pennsylvania’s collaboration with the campaign of US Senator Rick Santorum despite my private anger and extreme disappointment. I had hoped to stay out of the matter since I resigned from the Green Party earlier this year. However, numerous rumors have been circulating in the media concerning my position, especially regarding whether Carl Romanelli should remain in the US Senate race. I am therefore issuing this statement so that there will be no uncertainty about where I stand.

First, let me state unequivocally that I have not asked Carl Romanelli to resign from the US Senate race. While I am profoundly disappointed in his recent choices, I do not think it is my business to ask Carl to withdraw. The decision about whether to stay in the race is solely Carl’s and should be based on whether his sense of morality and ethics will allow him to continue the race in good conscience.

Second, I also want to register my absolute outrage at Pennsylvania’s egregious ballot access requirements. There is no justification whatsoever for asking independent candidates and emerging parties to gather more than 30 times more signatures than the two old parties. Requiring that many signatures is merely an attempt to keep people with different ideas off the ballot. Unfortunately, it is a successful strategy as evidenced by the inability of third parties and independents to gain any statewide ballot positions this year.

That being said, I must also state my disappointment at the decision by the Romanelli campaign and the Green leadership to collaborate with the Santorum campaign. When I first heard the rumors that the Greens were colluding with Santorum I dismissed them as election year propaganda. However, when the news reports verified the rumors I was shocked and angry. The Green Party that I knew would never have knowingly accepted contributions from a weapons dealer, a Halliburton and big oil lobbyist, a big pharmaceutical lobbyist, and major funders of anti-LGBTQ and anti-reproductive rights organizations.

Mr. Romanelli has tried to dismiss criticism of taking this money by saying, “"I have friends in all political parties. It's just that my Republican friends are more confident about standing with me than my Democratic friends. And as a group, my Republican friends are a little better off.”

I have known Carl for a number of years. To my knowledge, his circle of friends does not include people in California who have spent over a million dollars of their own money to support a ballot initiative to limit a woman’s right to choose. I seriously doubt that Chevron’s lobbyist is on Carl’s speed dial. The truth is that every one of the donors to the Romanelli campaign has ties to the extreme right wing of the Republican Party or major industries that benefit from exploiting workers and the environment. These people are not and never have been friends of the Green Party and I do not believe that they are really Carl’s friends.

What I believe is that the Green Party abandoned its principles for the sake of campaign contributions. That is a statement I could not have imagined ever saying before this scandal emerged. When I joined the Green Party I joined it because it was a party of principles. They had no money and very little power. But they had integrity. Now they have nothing.

I firmly believe in the right of alternative parties to run for office, no matter what impact it might have on candidates I support or oppose. I dismiss the argument proposed by many in the two larger parties that a third or fourth candidate will “take” votes from their candidate. No one owns someone’s vote, so an alternative candidate can not “take” anyone’s vote. I support the right of anyone who wants to run and “spoil” the election by earning votes that would otherwise go to one of the two major parties. Those are the consequences of an outdated “winner take all” election model.

However, it is one thing to run for office as a third party candidate and let the chips fall where they may. It is quite another thing to plot with the enemies of working people to get your votes. That is what the Green Party has done this year and it is inexcusable. Yes, the ballot access rules are without justification. Yes, money is the prime determinant of victory in our election system. Yes, the lack of proportional representation silences minority voices. But these systemic problems do not justify mimicking the worst in the two dominant parties simply to get on the ballot.

The Ten Key Values of the Green Party summarize the best of human aspirations. It’s too bad that the Pennsylvania Greens could not make them incarnate. When I first heard the details of the collaboration with Santorum I was angry at the betrayal of those values. Now I am simply saddened as I witness the death of what could have been.

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