• Exclusive: Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala on Romney, Biden and Being Un-PAC'd

    Cheri Honkala and Jill Stein Green Party candidates

    Hello again from the Green Party convention in Baltimore! Indecision just chatted with the two women at the top of the Green Party ticket — presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein and vice-presidential candidate Cheri Honkala.

    First up, Ms. Honkala, pictured here on the left. Click through for the full interview, plus our conversation with Dr. Stein (yep, the one on the right — of the photo, not the political spectrum).

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    Comedy Central's Indecision: So when did you find out you were going to be the Green Party's VP candidate?

    Cheri Honkala: I was notified weeks ago that I was on a list, but I figured… there's no way in hell I'm gonna be chosen. Then I got the call from Jill in my living room, and I had to make the hardest decision of my life. My little boy Guillermo did the happy dance in the living room: You can't tell a 10-year-old you're running for vice president and then change your mind.

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    CCI: Now, historically, presidential and vice presidential candidates are quite wealthy. Can the American people relate to someone who's not a millionaire?

    CH: I think the majority of people can relate to things I have to deal with, like cars breaking down, dodging bullets when you take your kid to school, figuring how to get enough money to buy a gallon of milk, figuring out which bill you're going to pay.

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    CCI: Not only are you not a millionaire, you're not famous. That's another thing we like in our national candidates.

    CH: But as the press has been pointing out, I have a famous son.

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    CCI: Yes you do. So you're in with Big Hollywood.

    CH: They're just gonna be jumping on the bandwagon. No longer is money going to go to Romney or Obama. My poor son, Mark Webber, will have the burden of making sure it all comes this way. Really, though, I have taken a lot of pointers from him. He's let me know I shouldn't believe anything anybody writes about me, except Comedy Central.

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    CCI: Could you beat Joe Biden in a debate?

    CH: I'd be far more interesting.

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    CCI: Yesterday rumors started that Romney was considering Condi Rice for his running mate. What do you think about that?

    CH: I think that would be really special. Wow. That would be fascinating, that would be hilarious. He'll probably pick a woman.

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    CCI: Really? Oh, right, because Dr. Stein did.

    CH: Yeah. I'm sure every morning he gets up and determines his next steps based on where Jill and I are at in the polls.

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    CCI: Does your campaign have a slogan?

    CH: We don't have a slogan, but we've been talking about the politics of courage. We're going to need shields of courage every single day in this. People have very strong opinions: either they love us, or they represent corporate America and they hate us. There's not a lot of gray area. Not a lot of gray in the Green.

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    CCI: We asked our Tumblr followers what we should ask you, and of course someone suggested we find out why it's not easy being Green.

    CH: Where should I start? It's a list of about 175 things. One would be that the mainstream media loves to marginalize us, black us out of the media, but Cheri Honkala has entered the campaign. I've been known to do things like ride horses through neighborhoods, ride on the back of motorcycles with veterans. We'll do whatever we need to do to ensure that the American people know there's a real choice out there, no matter how hard it is to be Green.

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    CCI: You have Finnish ancestors. I have to ask, is this country ready for a Finnish-American vice president?

    CH: If not, we're finn-ished.

    Ms. Honkala would have been fully entitled to drop a mic at that point, but she didn't have one, so she just shook my hand and moved on to her next interview. I sat down with the Greens' presumptive nominee for president, Dr. Jill Stein.

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    Comedy Central's Indecision: Let's start with a tough question. How much money do you have in offshore bank accounts?

    Dr. Jill Stein: Definitely under 250 million. I'm pretty confident of that. Unfortunately, most of it is in a private trust, so I have no idea where the money is or what's being done. All I know is, offshore is good.

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    CCI: Wow, you're really playing to win.

    JS: This is a new national value, to disinvest in America, isn't it? And in fact this is the subject of this election — who is the biggest outsourcer.

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    CCI: And how many jobs have you outsourced in your career as a doctor?

    JS: I don't outsource. Well, modern medicine does, as we know. Your x-rays are being read on the other side of the world. Medical transcripts, all sorts of things are being outsourced. This is not what a viable economy looks like. This is part of why we run. We need an insourced economy.

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    CCI: How many super PACs do you have?

    JS: None.

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    CCI: No super PAC? Not even a little one?

    JS: Not even a pathetic one. We're completely un-PAC'd.

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    CCI: I asked your running mate this, and she confessed, she's not a millionaire. Are you?

    JS: My income falls short of a million dollars.

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    CCI: What kind of car do you drive?

    JS: I have to admit I drive a Prius. You could have predicted that.

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    CCI: Do you have a plan to become rich and famous between now and November? Because that would really help.

    JS: That's why I'm running: to become rich and famous, and then become a lobbyist, which apparently is the goal of the political system. No, there are everyday people out there who think this celebrity millionaire reality show of politics really really sucks. We need real people running for office who get that we need jobs, not more Wall Street bailouts. That we need a health care system that delivers health care, not just disease care. There is a rebellion that is going on, in full swing, of this corporate paradigm. The American voter has dropped out of that system and votes in it only from necessity, because they're kept in the dark about their choices.

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    CCI: This morning you got some major press in the New York Times. The profile mentions that you were in a band, but the Times failed in its journalistic duty of reporting your band's name.

    JS: The name of the band was Somebody's Sister. It goes back a ways. Either I was going to spend a lot of time practicing my chops [air-strums] or come up to speed on policy and boring things like that. That won out. I found myself concerned as a mother and a medical doctor, it won out over the artist in me.

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    CCI: You ran against Mitt Romney in the 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial race. Are you eager for the rematch? Will you get him this time?

    JS: I think I did get him in 2002, that's why they took me out of the debates. I was being voted winner in those debates… he was able to mobilize a lot of troops, and we couldn't… but from ordinary voters we had a huge amount of support. And many of the journalists reviewing the debate said I was the one voice of reason in the room.

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    CCI: You think he's scared of you?

    JS: I think he's scared of his own shadow.

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    CCI: It is a well-grooomed shadow.

    JS: It is, but it's hard to control your own shadow, and Romney and the .00001% seem to need a lot of control over things these days. I think it was hard for him to deal with facts, with a reality check, and with community values. Running the country like a better business is basically like running it into the ground as we continue to shape policy to promote corporate profit and CEO salaries. That has become the new standard for what a good business is, that's the corporate model of business as opposed to the small, community model of business. And it's a losing proposition.

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    CCI: I'm a blogger for a comedy website. Have you heard much from the real news media?

    JS: We are in a media storm right now. We'll see how long it lasts, maybe it's part of this climate change thing we're going through. The media is in a record-breaking storm right now over Green Party things, and I think there's good reason for it. The New York Times article was a great example.

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    CCI: It's almost like you're running for president.

    JS: Almost like it's a democracy here and journalists considered it part of their job to inform the public! I'm really proud of the New York Times for opening the floodgates and making it okay for other journalists to cover us.

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    CCI: Okay, one last question. Recently Mitt Romney described a glass of lemonade as "Lemon. Wet. Good."

    JS: [Friendly but confused expression]

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    CCI: Oh you didn't hear about that! He was at a Fourth of July parade, and someone gave him a glass of lemonade, and when they asked how it was he said "Lemon. Wet. Good." So now, using that same formula–noun, adjective, judgment–please describe Mitt Romney.

    JS: Oooh. Okay. Noun. I'd say robot, but I don't want to denigrate him. Hmm. Human? Earthling. Earthling. Rich. Strange.


    Tags: Cheri Honkala, Green Party, Green Party Convention 2012, Indecision Exclusive, Jill Stein, Third Party

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