Arianna Huffington on Principles & Values

2004 former Independent Challenger for CA Governor


Third World America: we are slipping as a nation

"Third World America": It's a jarring phrase, one is deeply contrary to our national conviction that America is the greatest nation on Earth--as well as the richest, the most powerful, the most generous, and the most noble. It also doesn't match pour day-to-day experience of the country we live in--where it seems there is, if not chicken in every pot, then a flat-screen TV on every wall. And we're still the world's only military superpower, right?

So what, exactly, does it mean--"Third World America"? For me, it's a warning: a shimmering foreshadowing of a possible future. It is the flip side of the American Dream--an American nightmare of our own making.

I use it to sum up the ugly facts we'd rather not know, to connect the uncomfortable dots we'd rather not connect, and to articulate one of our deepest fears as a people--that we are slipping as a nation.

Source: Third World America, by Arianna Huffington, p. 3 , Sep 2, 2010

No elected officials led Civil Rights movement; people did

In this time of Lilliputian public figures it's clear that to end the hijacking of America by the Right each one of us needs to take up the gauntlet and stand up for the truth, no matter how many in the corridors of power or at the top of the media food chain would prefer to maintain status quo. Leadership is a risky business requiring wisdom, courage, and fortitude. Leadership has always been about seeing clearly while most around you have their vision clouded.

The American genius is about bringing out the extraordinary in ordinary people. It wasn't elected officials who led the struggle for civil rights or drive for women`s rights or the right to end the war in Vietnam or the war in Iraq. It was the people. And once again it will be the people trusting the truth they see--no matter how often it is denied by those people in power--that will put America on the road to goodness and to greatness.

Source: Right Is Wrong, by Arianna Huffington, p.330-331 , Apr 29, 2008

Supports the Democratic nominee as the only way to beat Bush

Given the stakes, and the way our political system is currently structured, it’s going to have to be the Democratic candidate who replaces the dark grasping of the Bush administration. There you have it. This is my endorsement for the president in 2004: The Democrat.

That I should pick a side for 2004, especially one I’ve been criticizing as tired, intellectually bankrupt, and complicit in the current crisis, rather than advocate some new progressive coalition, is a big turnaround for me. I’ve been more comfortable on the outside of the two-party system because only from the outside, I believe, is the true geography of our national crisis visible. But from that perspective I have seen the crisis deepen alarmingly in recent times. We can’t wait any longer for some sort of tectonic change. So while keeping the fires of reform burning, I’m sticking my nose in the Democratic tent, hoping that the Democratic nominee will offer the progressive transformation this country so desperately needs.

Source: Fanatics and Fools, by Arianna Huffington, p. 3-4 , Apr 14, 2004

Ran “Shadow Conventions” coinciding with Dems’ and GOP’s

Feeling that the whole system had to be shaken up, I cast my vote in 2000 for neither Bush nor Gore. Instead I marked my ballot for “none of the above” as a protest against the broken status quo. But that wasn’t enough. So I helped organize the Shadow Conventions to coincide with the Republican convention in Philadelphia and the Democratic convention in Los Angeles and put the media spotlight on the fact that neither major party was addressing three key issues facing us:
  1. The painful truth that we’ve become two nations, separated by an ever-widening economic gulf- not just in income but in educational opportunities, access to health care, even in the quality of air that we breathe and our statistical chances of living to an old age;
  2. The way money is corrupting our politics and campaign contributors are buying public policy; and
  3. The nation’s failed $40-billion-a-year war on drugs, which has turned into a war on the poor and minorities.
Source: Fanatics and Fools, by Arianna Huffington, p. 7 , Apr 14, 2004

Will she run again? Unequivocally “Maybe”

In case you haven’t heard, I ran for governor of California in 2003. During the seven weeks I was a candidate, I did learn a hell of a lot-both about myself and about what it’s gong to take to fix our broken political system. My experience as a candidate was inspiring and frustrating, exciting and exhausting, fun and funny, maddening and surreal. When people ask me if it was worth it, I answer unequivocally “Yes.” When people ask me if I would ever do it again, I answer unequivocally “maybe.”
Source: Fanatics and Fools, by Arianna Huffington, p.199 , Apr 14, 2004

Supports Green values but not Green presidential votes

I love the Greens. Back in 2000, the Greens and I agreed that stopping Bush was less important than changing the system. We also shared the belief that the Democrats had effectively become the Republican-lite Party as they veered ever further away from Democratic principles in search of money and votes. But by 2003, I had become convinced that Bush’s reelection posed an imminent threat that had to take precedence over all other considerations.

The fundamental difference is that, both in 2000 and during the recall, the Green Party was thinking in the long term, and the Greens are still in the process of building a party.

But in 2004 I have to ask Greens everywhere to ask themselves if modest gains in building party infrastructure can really offset major losses in areas of core concern to most Green party members: the environment, social equality, criminal justice, and civil rights. The urgent must now take precedence over the important.

Source: Fanatics and Fools, by Arianna Huffington, p.211-212 , Apr 14, 2004

Recall not a question of right or left-it’s right or wrong

I’m not a conventional politician but these are not conventional times. I will always tell you the truth, rather than what the pollsters tell me we want to hear. We will never be able to clean up the mess if we keep electing the same politicians, funded by the same special interests, who got us into this mess in the first place. This is not a question of right or left. This is a question of right or wrong.

It is not enough to change governors, we have to change the way we govern. The people of California do not really want a recall. They want a revolution. And I promise that I can be that independent leader who will make this happen.

The first American revolution took place on the east coast. And it was about freeing ourselves from an oppressive king. The next American revolution is taking place right here, right now. And it is about freeing ourselves from oppressive special interests.

Source: Recall debate in Walnut Creek , Sep 3, 2003

Cruz is assassinator of 2003, stopping independent election

HUFFINGTON: Cruz, I wonder sometime whether you stay awake at night worrying that you could spoil the only chance the people of California have to elect a truly independent progressive governor: myself?

BUSTAMANTE: No, I don’t. At least not yours.

HUFFINGTON: Cruz, do not be the assassinator of 2003. This is our chance to have an independently elected governor.

Source: Recall debate in Walnut Creek , Sep 3, 2003

Mother state: good schools, and healthy safe world

I will make the priorities of our state the priorities of a mother. A good school. Healthcare. A clean and safe world to live in. I will balance the budget by making corporations and gaming interests pay their fair share of taxes. Together, we can really take back our state and together we can rebuild it.
Source: Recall debate in Walnut Creek , Sep 3, 2003

It’s time to overthrow a rotten government system

Our government today is slow, unfair, corrupt, and peopled by politicians living on graft and sinecure. And, most troubling of all, it’s become notoriously resistant to reform. Election after election, new candidates step up to the podium, exhorting us to throw the bums out and let them, the reformers, in to clean house. And election after election we watch as they take possession of their predecessors’ cushy jobs, take money from glad-handing lobbyists, and slowly but surely become overtaken by the seductive allure of incumbency.

The fact is, beneath the thin veneer of prosperity our politicians seem so eager to celebrate, America is a fast-ticking time bomb. It’s time to do something about it, before the clock runs out.

The first step will be for the American people to take back their country-to overthrow a governmental system that has gone rotten at the core, and replace it with a reinvigorated democracy that serves all the people, all the time. Let us begin.

Source: How to Overthrow the Government, p. xxxi-xxxii , Jul 2, 2000

Dems & GOP are identical cousins

Today’s Democrats and Republicans have become like Beltway versions of the identical cousins in the old Patty Duke Show: they walk alike, they talk alike, sometimes they even think alike. In fact, the differences between the two have become so narrow that they should consider changing their names-as some have suggested, how about the Pro-Life Corporate Party and the Pro-Choice Corporate Party?

As Bob Dole so passionately said: “The Republicans want government to grow by 14% while the Democrats want it to grow by 20%.“ Wow, I guess we’re lucky we avoided civil war. No wonder so many Americans are sick of the political process-how can you get excited when all you’re offered is a choice between two versions of the same outdated agenda?

This bipartisan identity crisis has already begun to shred the fraying coalitions that have defined the two parties for years. Traditionally loyal factions seem readier than ever to pick up their marbles and play the third-party game.

Source: How to Overthrow the Government, p.126-9 , Jul 2, 2000

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Page last updated: Apr 30, 2021