McKinney Gets Green Party Nod, Pro-Israel Activists Yawn

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

James Besser in Washington

The Green Party has apparently decided to accelerate its plunge toward political irrelevance.

Last week the party, most remembered for its spoiler role in 2000, nominated former Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) as its presidential candidate.

McKinney, you will recall, lost her House seat in 2002, in part because pro-Israel campaign givers, angered by her persistent criticism of Israel, helped finance her Democratic opponent. Her father, speaking on local television, explained on a local television station why she lost:  the “J-E-W-S,” he spelled out, adding to the former lawmaker’s reputation with Jewish voters.

McKinney regained her seat two years later – but lost it again in a 2006 primary.

The response from the pro-Israel world to her nomination as the Green Party standard bearer?

Mostly, a collective yawn. Not a single organization sent out a press release or made a statement criticizing the nomination, mostly because almost nobody believes it will have any significant impact on the election.

The Greens have come a long way from their initial focus on issues like the environment and energy, analysts say, and American voters don’t seem much interested.

While the party, with perennial candidate Ralph Nader at the top of the ticket, snagged about 2.7 percent of the vote in 2000, it didn’t even get to .2 percent four years later as many Green voters apparently decided that their earlier vote – with a little help from the Supreme Court –  had just ensured the Republican victory.

The Greens apparently hope McKinney will win a substantial portion of the African American vote, but that seems pure fantasy with Sen. Barack Obama heading up the Democratic ticket.

And Nader, who long ago revived memories of Harold Stassen, is running once again, this time as an independent, thus promising a split in the miniscule Green vote.

Anybody care to guess how much of the Jewish vote McKinney will capture in November?

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.