Catching Up With Carol Moseley Braun
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Matthew Cardinale
"Right now I'm a recovering politician and a committed private
citizen," said former Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun in a phone
interview for the progressive news community.
The former US Senator, US Presidential Candidate in 2004, and US Ambassador
to New Zealand, Samoa, the Cook Islands and Antarctica, is currently
focusing her energies on her new law firm, Moseley Braun, LLC, as well
as her new small business.
During the past year, spent largely out of the public eye, she's continued
her lifetime work of public service on behalf of the disadvantaged through
private practice. However, she still has a lot to say about politics,
past, present and future.
"I'm a lawyer and I've been practicing law since the end of the
campaign," Braun said. "My legal practice includes international
affairs, organic agriculture, and low-income housing."
"I'm enjoying the practice," Braun said. "Food is fundamental
and if we can help people eat healthier, that's a public service in
itself. Helping to keep the UN viable also helps people. And, of course,
people need housing," Braun said.
"With the widening gap between rich and poor people, the working
class are having a harder time getting affordable housing," the
former US Presidential candidate said.
"The company is an organic produce company," says Braun. The
focus of the company's work is distribution and infrastructure, she
explains. "I'm trying to expand opportunities for people to get
fruits and vegetables all over the country," Braun said.
Although Ambassador Braun is no longer serving as ambassador, her worldwide
travels continue. "I'm very active with the UN, and of course have
a number of friends around the world," she said. "I'm simply
a volunteer advocate."
Ambassador Braun expressed great contentment with her exciting experience
of having run for President in 2004, although with some concerns about
the lack of support she received from the Democratic Party as an institution.
"It was an opportunity to speak to issues that have yet to be fully
revealed," Braun said. "I believe the American people are
ready for health care and peace and a change of priorities away from
Bush and his extremist friends. It's important to call them what they
are," she said. "A bunch of extremists."
"It's a mistake to blame John Kerry for the loss to George Bush,"
"There's an old saying: Success has a thousand parents and failure
is an orphan. [Kerry] was a good candidate. The difference had to do
with speaking to constituents. George Bush was a standard bearer of
an organized political machine. Karl Rove confused and lied to people
about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, about the connection between
Iraq and 9/11. They did every dirty trick in the book. And they manipulated
and mastered the election mechanism," Braun said.
Ambassador Braun also expressed a great deal of concern about the election
process and many aspects of that process that went wrong in the 2004
election, particularly in regards to electronic voting and the lack
of voting booths in some districts.
"We have to look at electronic voting, and at how many voting booths
are in a given community. I've seen elections won on who was controlling
the precinct," Braun said.
Ambassador Braun also offered some insight on how to bring the 50% of
Americans not participating in politics back into the process. "It's
going to be a matter of getting to people where they live," Braun
"People who don't see the process as having any relevance in their
lives aren't gonna vote," Braun said.
"Here's an analogy I like to use. I like sports, but I'm not a
real sports fan. I couldn't tell you who the quarterback of the Bears
is. For many, sports occupies that place. But they don't know who their
Senator is," Braun said.
"It all has to do with advocacy. Getting out and preaching the
gospel, so to speak, of citizenship to individuals. Letting people know
their vote matters, that it has relevance to their quality of life and
the quality of life their children will enjoy. If you make the case
to the American people, they will respond," she said.
Also important is "access to the ballot," Braun explains.
"If you make someone have to go through more changes to register
to vote than to get a driver's license," it will be discouraging
to many voters, she says.
Ambassador Braun asserts that progressive advocates should work towards
"making [political] participation easier for people. Making certain
their votes will be counted. We can't have their votes going out into
Among the most important issues on the table are health care and Iraq,
"Iraq. I don't know if you've noticed. Iraq's a word nobody wants
to talk about. We've had 2,000 American deaths in a continuing violence,
what, for Saddam Hussein? There were no WMDs. We don't go to war because
we don't like people, because we can't go around the planet starting
wars," Braun said.
If Saddam Hussein or another leader mistreats their own people, "You
go to the UN," she said. "You talk to people and help them
build civil societies to help them help themselves," Ambassador
Speaking of helping people, Carol Moseley Braun still could use some
of the progressive community's help, too, it appears.
"I still have a campaign debt," Braun said. "The Democratic
Party gave me no money and the fundraising wasn't substantial, resulting
in what for me was a substantial personal debt."
Howard Dean, another anti-war Democratic candidate in 2004, whom Braun
endorsed after she withdrew from the race, has since become the Democratic
National Committee (DNC) Chairman and has vowed to support local parties
and empower the grassroots.
"I don't know how it's going to come out," Ambassador Braun
said about Dean's new role at the DNC.
The Ambassador hopes to soon unveil a new website that will highlight
her ongoing efforts for peace, justice and equality.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
Matthew Cardinale is a freelance writer, advocate, and graduate
student in sociology at UC Irvine.
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