It isn’t too often that Berkeley can claim one of its own as a vice presidential candidate.
But it happened Saturday at the Reform Party’s Convention – one of the Reform Parties’ conventions, that is.
The John Hagelin faction of the party nominated Berkeley resident Nat Goldhaber for the post.
Before the anti-Pat Buchanan faction of the divided Reform Party can hope to accede to office, however, it will have to prove it and not the Buchanan forces, has legal status. It may need to go to court to do that.
But in a Sunday afternoon interview, Goldhaber, a founder of various high-tech corporations and a director of UC Berkeley’s College of Letters and Sciences, was upbeat, directing his thoughts more to his party’s goals than the fight with the Buchanan faction.
A long-time supporter of Hagelin, a physicist and head of the Natural Law Party, Goldhaber says he and others in the Natural Law Party, joined the Reform Party because the two parties share an ideology. The Hagelin faction claims the mantle of the party’s 1995 founder, Ross Perot.
“I’m a big believer in having practical solutions to long-term problems,” Goldhaber said in a phone interview. “The government does not always look to long-term solutions.”
Special interest money should not influence political decisions, he said, likening Political Action Committees’ spending to “legitimate bribery by major corporations.” The result is not what’s best for the people, but what’s best for the corporations, he said.
He pointed to oil companies as a case in point.
The oil companies are behind the “real resistance to viable renewable energy,” even stalling the development of the electric car industry, he said, noting that “both Republican candidates are oil men.”
The Reform Party hopes to “break the duapoly” of the dominant Republican and Democratic Parties, Goldhaber said.
But is it realistic to think that, even if the Hagelin faction of the party triumphs as legitimate, it could win the race for the presidency?
Pointing to the surprise win of Jesse Ventura as governor of Minnesota, Goldhaber said it’s not impossible for the Reform Party to take the White House. There’s a great dissatisfaction among the electorate, he said. Ross Perot’s win of 20 million votes in 1992 showed that.
Before bringing its message to the public under the banner of the Reform Party, however, the Hagelin faction is going to have to prove its legitimacy.
“We’ve already appealed to the Federal Election Commission,” Goldhaber said, contending that the Buchanan faction “stuffed the ballot box and tried to cover up a conspiracy.”
The Hagelin faction filed two complaints with the Federal Election Commission contending Buchanan fraudulently claimed the party’s presidential nomination. The faction is seeking to prevent Buchanan from receiving $12.5 million in federal money.
Leonard Goldman, the Hagelin faction’s attorney, said that if the FEC rules in Buchanan’s favor, he will seek a court injunction to freeze the money and file a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington. That action could come within two weeks, he said.
Meanwhile, state chapters in Texas and perhaps elsewhere are expected to take their own legal action to fight the Buchanan nomination, he said.
But Buchanan’s camp says it is confident that any judge will rule in his favor in part because evidence exists that major chunks of the party leadership have stayed on his side. They include Chairman Gerry Moan, who controls the party finances and Treasurer Tom McLaughlin, as well as Perot’s 1996 running mate Pat Choate.
AP Wire Services contributed to this report.