Thursday, May 15, 2008

Political Party Animals

Who: VN Publisher Joseph Connelly, VN Managing Editor Aurelia d'Andrea, VN Senior Editor Jennifer Pickens, plus independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader, his would-be VP Matt Gonzalez, and a roomful of their supporters
What: A fundraiser/meet-and-greet
When: Sunday, May 11
Why: To raise money for the Nader/Gonzalez 2008 ticket
Where: Tony Serra's North Beach law offices in San Francisco

The Scoop: If you caught the last Clinton/Obama debate, you know all about contemporary politics' snoozefest potential. Whatever happened to revved-up rallies and energetic, heartening debates about issues that really mattered? Where have all the good politicians gone? Well, turns out we had a couple of 'em right under our noses in San Francisco last weekend, just waiting for folks like us to turn up to their fun, feisty fundraiser.

Lucky for us, we heeded the call and got a much-needed political recharge. Stoked! 

Ralph Nader, a three-time presidential candidate, is best known as a consumer advocate (his most famous book, Unsafe at Any Speed, exposed the auto industry's dirtiest secrets and became a national bestseller in the '60s). Former San Francisco supervisor Matt Gonzalez is a local hero, having run for mayor as the Green Party candidate in 2003 (he lost, but by a slim margin). Together, they're presenting themselves as a smart alternative to McCain, Clinton, and Obama, and had at least one VN staffer mesmerized with dialog about the dominant power of corporations over politics, and why you can't be anti-war yet still authorize excessive military spending.

To temper the soaring blood-pressure levels (which were rising in a good way), there was plenty of wine, food—all veg, hurray!—and fun people to chat with once the speeches were complete. The evening ended with a Nader booksigning (that's Joseph with Ralph Nader, below. Note the autographed copy of Unsafe in Joe's hand) and a series of photo ops. Look for Nader and Gonzalez on a ballot near you this November, if you dare!

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