Write-In Moves To Contest Kerry
At an MIT teach-in last night, Forsberg clarified her candidacy and spoke out against the Bush administration’s plans to attack Iraq.
“Bush is taking the law into his own hands, and is completely overturning all standards of international law,” she told the gathering. “The government has been seduced and corrupted by the arrogance of power.”
Forsberg said many Massachusetts citizens no longer wanted to vote for the incumbent senator after he supported the Senate resolution, and that she decided to offer an alternative.
But she also said her candidacy is not strictly a protest against Kerry’s stand. She said she hopes to draw attention to the portion of Massachusetts voters who oppose the war.
“I am not running as a symbolic gesture. I am running to win,” she said. “There has not been enough protest against the war. It’s gathering steam, but too slowly to prevent actions, and it’s important to crystallize the issue.”
“Votes for me will be taken as votes against the war in Iraq,” she said.
In an Oct. 18 open letter to Kerry, Forsberg said that she and peace activists around the state were “extremely disappointed that you [Kerry] voted for the War Powers resolution.”
Forsberg said Kerry’s motivation in voting for the resolution was based on bolstering his potential bid for presidency in 2004 and that this position has alienated many of his liberal supporters.
“I think that [his vote] reflects such terrible judgement about what is in the best interest of the U.S., and I cannot imagine why he thinks he has the qualities to be president,” she said.
Forsberg, a Democrat, founded and heads the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies—a Cambridge think tank that monitors international arms control and military policies.
She has published several books on disarmament and arms control and said she has briefed President Bush, as well as Bill Clinton, the U.N., and U.S. and foreign legislative committees, on arms control issues.
Kerry has no Republican opponent in the Nov. 5 election, a fact that Forsberg said contributed to her decision to run.
“I would not want to be in the position of contributing to a [majority-minority] change in control of the Senate,” she said.
Forsberg said she first got the idea for a senatorial run when she met her now-campaign manager, Amy Hendrickson, at a memorial event held in Harvard’s Paine Music Hall on Sept. 11 of this year.
Forsberg spoke about alternatives to war in responding to terrorism at the event.
But Institute of Politics (IOP) Director Dan Glickman said Kerry’s support of the resolution was deliberate and well-thought out.
“The Senate did debate it very fully, and Kerry came down on the side with 80 percent of the Senate, including many Democrats,” Glickman said. “I’m sure he knew that his vote would engender controversy, but I think he made his vote based on conscience. He’s not someone who would make this kind of vote cavalierly.”
Kerry’s spokesperson echoed that sentiment.
“John Kerry is listening to and working for all the citizens of Massachusetts, fighting for their security,” said Kelley Benander, his press secretary.
Forsberg is also currently directing the “Urgent Call” national campaign to protest the Bush administration’s arms control and nuclear arms policy and to make disarmament a major issue in the 2004 elections.
“I really see nuclear policy as a spearhead issue for challenging the entire approach to foreign affairs, which are imperialist, militarized and elitist,” she said.
Glickman said that Forsberg’s campaign will contribute to the dialogue about potential conflict in Iraq but that he doubted she would be successful in her bid for the Senate seat.
“In the sense that democracy is always served by contested campaigns, it’s probably more helpful than not that there is an opposition candidate, but I don’t think it poses any serious threat,” he said.