Campbell To Side with Greens in Drug War

Campbell To Side with Greens in Drug War
Posted by FoM on May 16, 2000 at 15:01:02 PT
By Barry Witt,  Mercury News 
Source: San Jose Mercury News 
Continuing his uphill and unconventional campaign for U.S. Senate, Republican Tom Campbell is slated to join forces today with the Green Party to denounce Sen. Dianne Feinstein's support of a $1.6 billion military aid package to help Colombia fight drug traffickers.
Campbell argues that the program has parallels to U.S. involvement in Vietnam and fails to address the demand for drugs in the United States, which, he says, is the true cause of the drug problem.``If we have demand, there will be supply,'' Campbell told the Sacramento Press Club last month. The alliance with the Greens is unusual not only because the two major political parties generally steer clear of marginal candidates but also because the pairing is between a Republican and a liberal Green, whose party generally is thought to be closer to the Democrats.But on the proposed aid to Colombia -- which includes military advisers and helicopters -- Campbell and Green Party Senate candidate Medea Benjamin see eye to eye. They'll appear at a press conference this afternoon at a San Francisco drug treatment center.Campbell, who represents parts of the South Bay and Santa Cruz County, voted against the aid package when it reached the House floor last month.The aid package is tentatively scheduled for a vote this week in the Senate, where Feinstein, the incumbent Democrat, will support it.``The one area in which the federal government has total responsibility is interdiction at our borders,'' Feinstein said recently in a Senate floor discussion on the Colombia issue. ``The results of drug trafficking, the results of narco-terrorism, only spread. . . . The spread is northerly into our country.''The White House and Republican leaders in Congress also support the aid.Contact Barry Witt at: bwitt or (408) 275-0140 Published Tuesday, May 16, 2000  2000 Mercury Center.  Related Articles & Web Site:The Green Party Green Party USA Democracy Against Traffickers - Barry McCaffrey War and Colombia Deny and Escalate - Arianna Huffington
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #2 posted by FoM on May 20, 2000 at 21:01:55 PT
Campbell Goes Green To Raise Profile 
Campbell Goes Green To Raise Profile Bill Ainsworth Staff Writer 17-May-2000 Wednesday San Diego Union Tribune Senate candidate Tom Campbell highlighted an obscure issue and touted an alliance with an obscure candidate -- all in hopes that this would somehow lift his candidacy out of obscurity.Campbell, who is trailing Sen. Dianne Feinstein vastly both in the polls and in fund raising, shared the stage -- or rather the sidewalk -- with Green Party Senate candidate Medea Benjamin in what is believed to be the first joint Green-GOP news conference in California.Together, the two candidates spoke out against a package of $1.6 billion in U.S. military aid to Colombia, including helicopters and advisers, to help that nation fight a civil war and reduce the flow of drugs to the United States. The package, supported by Feinstein, is expected to come up for a vote in the Senate this week, possibly as early as today.Campbell said the joint appearance with his Green Party rival underscores his ability to reach out to new voters and build unusual coalitions."I'm trying, and I think succeeding, at doing politics differently," said Campbell, a Silicon Valley congressman and Stanford law professor. "This campaign is not business as usual."Several political analysts say Campbell's best and perhaps only chance to defeat the popular, centrist Democratic incumbent is to portray himself as a fresh, new candidate -- something like an intellectual Jesse Ventura."To my knowledge there's never been a coalition between Republicans and Greens," said UC Berkeley political science professor Bruce Cain. "Normally Greens compete for Democratic voters. This all gets back to the very unusual, quirky candidacy that Tom Campbell is running."Campbell's views are like a pendulum. They swing to the left and the right and hardly ever stop in the center."He's to the left of her on some issues and to the right of her on others," Cain said.Campbell supports cutting economic aid to Israel, ending the embargo against Iraq and allowing addicts to be given drugs in a controlled setting -- positions to the left of nearly all Republicans as well as Feinstein.On economic issues, however, Campbell arguably is to the right of many Republicans and Feinstein with his calls to replace the income tax with a national sales tax.In contrast to Campbell, Benjamin is running under the motto "People Above Profits." She supports universal health care and banning genetically altered foods.But on this issue, Campbell and Benjamin spoke with one voice, arguing that the money proposed for Colombia would be better spent treating addicts in the United States than intervening in a civil war. They said the money would help pay for treatment for the 3 million addicts who want to kick the habit, but can't get into rehabilitation."Let's not spend the money in a wasteful way. Let's spend the money on drug treatment in America," Campbell said.The duo tried to emphasize the need for more spending on drug treatment by holding their news conference at the Walden House, a drug rehabilitation center in this city's Mission District.But their plans were changed when a worried drug counselor shooed them out the door and tried to move them across the street."This press conference has to go," the counselor said. "We have clients here. They can't be filmed."Instead, the two candidates had to settle for the sidewalk, competing with both the gusty winds and the honks and blares of passing cars on the busy street for attention.Their struggle to be heard above the street noise seemed symbolic of the lack of attention paid to their issue of Colombian aid.Polls show voters are most interested in education, health care, the economy and public safety. Foreign-policy issues are barely on the minds of many voters."Unfortunately, there's not a national debate about this issue," Benjamin conceded. "The majority of people in the U.S. don't even know about this bill."Feinstein knows, however. She is a strong supporter of the aid package, said her press secretary, Jim Hock. In a recent speech on the Senate floor, she said the aid will help stop the spread of the narco-terrorism afflicting Colombia."It is in the American national interest to stand tall against the (drug) cartels," she said.Campbell said that even if this issue failed to excite voters, he would continue criticizing Feinstein for her support of the Colombian military."If this is a great issue for nobody but me," he said, "I'm still going to keep bringing it up."Published: May 17, 2000Copyright Union-Tribune Publishing Co. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by DianeFeinstein on May 16, 2000 at 19:55:48 PT:
Aid for Death, and Destruction in Colombia
Heres my email address, let me know what you think.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: