Thursday, June 30, 2005

Kudos for Lynn Woolsey

Here are some comments by that erudite scholar, Thomas Gangale, author of the innovative approach to Presidential primary campaigns originally known as the "California Plan."

Tom will comment more on this after this post, so go to the comment section and check in.

Let the Green Dog know what you think.


Here's Tom's post on our very own Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey:

Woolsey's Sound Bites for Peace

Copyright 2005 by Thomas Gangale

In reading Chris Coursey's "Opposing War in Five-Minute Increments," which
appeared in the "Santa Rosa Press Democrat" on March 28, 2005, I gained an
increased admiration for Rep. Lynn Woolsey. Her lonely evening vigil in the
nearly-deserted House chamber, where she bears witness to the folly and
evil of war, may seem quixotic on the surface. On the contrary, her
campaign against the Iraq War is exactly the sort that one should wage
against an opponent of superior force: small, incremental victories that
wear down that opponent over time. It is the strategy of Fabius over
Hannibal, Washington over Cornwallis, Giap over Abrams.

Nearly 2200 years ago, Marcus Porcius Cato the Censor invented the sound
bite by ending every speech in the Roman Senate, regardless of its subject,
with the words "Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam" -- "In
conclusion, I believe that Carthage must be destroyed." One can imagine
that Cato's colleagues thought him quixotic, and some may have laughed at
him in secret when he brandished a branch of figs, allegedly of
Carthaginian origin, as "proof" of Carthage's resurgence as a Mediterranean
power and a mortal threat to Rome. Yet armed with this flimsy evidence,
much as Colin Powell played tape recordings to the UN Security Council two
years ago, Cato eventually won the day. Carthage was destroyed.

But Cato could not have foreseen the consequences of victory. Whereas many
of his contemporaries were only too glad to believe that Rome's pre-emptive
war against Carthage was an act of self-defense, history has judged
otherwise. Rome paid dearly for its hubris; in the course of the next
century its republic was battered down by its own imperialism. Rome was

Quo vadis, America?

It is a historical fact that the persistent drumbeat of oratory can drive a
great nation down the road to war. Perhaps our generation can answer this
question: can the patient vigil of one person of conscience move a great
nation down the road to peace?

In conclusion, I believe that Lynn Woolsey must be reelected.


Thomas Gangale is an aerospace engineer and a former Air Force officer. He
is currently the executive director at OPS-Alaska, a think tank based in
Petaluma, California, and an international relations scholar at San
Francisco State University. He is the author of the California Plan to
reform the presidential nomination process.


Tom Gangale said...

Hello all,

Here's the latest news on the American Plan to reform the presidential nomination process:

As the country approaches another Fourth of July holiday, a non-partisan think tank headquartered among the pleasant farms of west Petaluma in Northern California is making headway at changing the way Americans nominate their presidential candidates. OPS-Alaska's American Plan has been unanimously endorsed by the California Young Democrats (CYD). The CYD is a statewide network of chartered clubs representing college and young Democrats in virtually every county of the state. Recognized as the official youth delegation of the California Democratic Party, CYD also holds affiliations with national organizations such as the Young Democrats of America, the College Democrats of America and the Democratic National Committee.

At the same time, an article written by Thomas Gangale, author of the American Plan, has been adopted for inclusion in the 10th edition of Points of View: Readings in American Government and Politics, a popular college textbook edited by Robert E. DiClerico and Allan S. Hammock and published by McGraw-Hill.

In short, the American Plan is a system for nominating presidential candidates in a graduated and random fashion that favors no state or region. The structure of the system enables the widest possible political debate in the early stages of the presidential primary schedule, yet provides a gradual winnowing process as the schedule becomes more difficult with each successive round. Adoption of the American Plan would not penalize large states like California in the electoral process, would be friendly to candidates without large preliminary campaign coffers, and would avoid the front-loaded extravaganzas such as Super Tuesday and Mega Tuesday that have destroyed presidential candidacies by the score.

The plan originally had a scholarly name: The Graduated Random Presidential Primary System. But, this was later shortened to the California Plan. However, the Center for Voting and Democracy, headquartered in Takoma Park, Maryland (, began calling the plan the American Plan and the name stuck.

OPS-Alaska's Executive Director, Thomas Gangale, author of the plan said, "I knew we were getting someone's attention when Bill Gardner [New Hampshire's longtime Secretary of State] called one Friday and talked with me for over an hour and a half." After the telephone conversation with Gardner, there followed a talk with Leslie Reynolds, Executive Director of the National Association of Secretaries of States. OPS-Alaska soon learned that Pedro Cortes, Secretary of State of Pennsylvania, distributed copies of one of Gangale's articles on the plan at a meeting of the Pennsylvania Election Reform Task Force. Representative Lynn V. Woolsey (D-CA 6) has also endorsed the plan. Then, in March, the Center for Voting and Democracy endorsed the plan and began actively lobbying on its behalf. Just a few days ago, the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley voted to endorse the plan and recommended it to the Los Angeles County Democratic Central Committee for further action.

There is a history of attempting to reform the way Americans choose their presidential candidates. The Delaware Plan was shelved at the 2000 Republican National Convention. In more recent times, the Rotating Regional Primary Plan, which was developed by the National Association of Secretaries of State, has become the "front-runner." Gangale calls his American Plan the dark horse candidate in this race. "But, it is a better plan," Dr. Marilyn Dudley-Flores, founder of OPS-Alaska said, "and we are pleased that it is beginning to be recognized as such at important state and national levels."

"The Rotating Regional Primary Plan has all the drawbacks of a single-day national primary and none of the advantages," Gangale said. "Far from eliminating front-loading, it institutionalizes it, merely rotating it from region to region. Whoever wins the first regional primary of the season will be the presumptive presidential nominee, and everyone else might just as well stay home and not vote. We've had enough of that. The American Plan structures the primary schedule as a gradually accelerating process that keeps the campaign competitive longer, and gives the American people more time to make an informed decision regarding whom their next leader will be."

"Reforming the presidential nomination process is a stealth issue," says Gangale. "The structure of our political system receives very little public attention or press coverage. The Democratic Party has empanelled a commission that will recommend reforms by the end of this year. People need to know that the way they will select the next Democratic candidate for president is being determined right now. The American people have a huge stake in this, and they need to take an active role in this process."

/ / / / /

Meanwhile... is anyone up for an exercise in futility? Go to the DNC Commission on Presidential Nomination Timing and Scheduling's website. Now, try a few links:

"Details on the first meeting held March 12, 2005, are available here."
No, they're not! 404!

"You can read the transcript and view the agenda [of the May 14, 2005 meeting]."
No, you can't! 404!

"Future Commission Meeting Dates "
Oh, really? 404!

There's no way to know what they've done so far, or when they're going to do something next. Is this a transparent process or the old smoke-filled room?

Tom Gangale said...

Continuing my support for Lynn Woolsey, I responded to the following post on

Democrat Woolsey Supports War in Afghanistan
by Socialist Sunday, Jul. 03, 2005 at 10:25 PM

The good Democrat Lynn Woolsey proudly announced on an interview on KPFA's Morning Show at the time of the invasion of Afghanistan to secure the route for the oil pipline from the Caspian Sea that she proudly supports the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan. The good Democrats on the Morning Show were silent when she said that, and we have never heard her on the Morning Show again, thank goodness. Both the Democrats and the Republicans are the twin parties of capitalism, and thus the twin parties of war.

My response:

The Afghan War and the Iraq War are two separate issues, and conflating them only proves how effective Karl Rove's propaganda machine has been... even among progressives!

The Afghan War was a direct response to the 11 September attacks, and Lynn Woolsey had excellent reasons for supporting that effort. Under international law, the Taliban government bore responsibility for harboring Al Qaeda, a terrorist organization. Terrorism is an international crime. Therefore the 11 September events constituted an attack by Afghanistan upon the United States. The US had every right to respond militarily in proportion to the threat. It was a just war.

However, the justification for the Iraq War has been an embarrassing tissue of lies, and should be opposed. There was no connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, and Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. On neither count did Iraq present a credible threat to the United States. It is an unjust war.

With regard to proposals for oil and natural gas pipelines in Central Asia, there can be no doubt that such projects have the potential to develop the infrastructure and economy of this desperately impoverished region, and to improve the material lives of its people. However, the repressive and corrupt regimes of the region make problematic the equitable distribution of the economic benefits of these projects to the people. There are difficult problems to solve in Central Asia, but knee-jerk opposition to such projects can only serve to keep Central Asians impoverished and prostrate under the boots of dictators.

Anonymous said...

There are some flaws with the Delaware Plan and the American Plan that are not readily apparent.

There's a detailed analysis of this at

Primary Schemes