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A Progressive Interview with Matt Gonzalez

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Kevin Gosztola     Permalink
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I had been told that the Democrats were different when it came to Supreme Court justices, treatment of the poor, and the environment. (He already addressed deregulation so I didn’t have to ask about that difference---I now knew it didn’t exist.)

Gonzalez said on Supreme Court justices:

“Every time the election comes around we’re told that this is a difference. We have a conservative Supreme Court now and when they made a decision like advancing the abolition of the death penalty with that recent Kennedy decision, Barack Obama criticized it and in effect wanted to join Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts in their reasoning.

Barack Obama has been a bad vote on Bush’s federal appointees. He supported some of the most extreme ones or if he’s voted against them, he’s done it in a perfunctory manner where he votes with the Republicans to end discussion on the issue essentially in a cloture vote to end a filibuster and then votes against him knowing full well that because of his vote to end debate they would be confirmed.

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Gonzalez addressed the fuss progressives like to make over the Supreme Court:

I think people put too much stock in what the Supreme Court can and cannot do. The court follows public opinion in our culture. Look at the Supreme Court decision in California around gay marriage. Out of the seven justices, six were appointed by Republicans. In fact, the first judge that had heard the case, Richard Cramer, is a Republican. They made a decision that favored this right [gay marriage]. You look at the Lawrence v. Texas decision---the over-turning of anti-sodomy laws. That was by a conservative U.S. Supreme Court when a more liberal one that included Brennan, Marshall, and Blackman couldn’t do it.


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Gonzalez suggested that the suggestion that Democrats and Republicans are different when it comes to Supreme Court justices is a “scare tactic.” And then went on to describe the idea that Republicans and Democrats are different when it comes to treatment of the poor:

“You don’t treat the poor well when you support things like the Republicans on class action reform, when you fail to advocate single-payer health care and continue to try to come up with a health care plan that’s going to keep this bureaucracy and insurance companies and help providers, etc.

It’s great if you’ve got somebody who can say they’re a community organizer, but I went to law school with a lot of guys who when they were leaving law school had hopes to entering politics or doing something like that. They were all planning how they could get there “street credentials” working in the community. And then you have to hear them talk about it for the next three or four decades while they vote for bad laws.”

So, they weren’t different on deregulation, Supreme Court justices, or treatment of the poor. What about the environment?

“Look at the Clinton-Gore environmental record, it was pretty abysmal. Gore---of course outside of politics we know he was a Nobel winner---but as a senator and a congressman, he was scoring in the sixties and the seventies from the National League of Conservation Voters. The Clinton administration ran interference for companies who were polluting rivers in Tennessee and the Carolinas. They had no interest in signing on to the Kyoto Accords."

Gonzalez described Obama and how he unfortunately supports offshore drilling, which Republicans are for. He then illuminated Obama’s stance on “clean coal” and nuclear energy:

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“Obama’s call for “clean coal”, which is an oxymoron, and his support for nuclear (of course, the candidates all say “safe nuclear”). The French example already has leukemia clusters around the reprocessing of nuclear fuel plants. There’s been contamination in the water off the coast to the Arctic Circle. Now [they’re] trying to export nuclear waste and trying to do these deep geological drilling to find ways to bury it. He’s a big ethanol supporter.

So, those issues, which I thought the two parties were different on, were issues the party actually can find common ground on, unfortunately.

Does this make corporations happy?

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for OpEdNews.com

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