Nader’s Latest Run

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Subtitled: Monkey Wrench or Cattle Prod? By Stephen Fleischman via Counterpunch.com.

“Here we go again,” murmured the old guard Democrats when Ralph Nader officially announced his candidacy for president in 2008, on Tim Russert’s “Meet the Press” show, Sunday, Feb.24th.

Surely you’ve noticed this reaction. It’s on almost all of the ‘progressive’ sites I visit and post to.

“Nader–the spoiler,” they called him since the 2000 election when Al Gore lost the presidency to George W. Bush. “It’s all Nader’s fault!” they cried. Nader was a good scapegoat, a good person to blame, so they wouldn’t have to examine their own souls.

Al ‘lost’ by 537 votes, and the assumption is that he would have gotten most of Ralph’s votes if Ralph wouldn’t have run. Perhaps, or maybe those voters would have stayed home. We don’t know. Also, don’t forget Tennessee, or the fact that ‘Holy’ Joe Lieberman was the VP candidate. Oh, and there was the non-full recount in FL, W’s brother and Kathrine Harris and the Supreme Court…all controled by Ralph.

The US Commission on Civil Rights conducted an extensive investigation of irregularities during the 2000 presidential election in Florida, published in The Washington Post on June 5, 2001, said: “the most dramatic undercount in this election was the nonexistent ballots of the countless unknown eligible voters, who were wrongfully purged from the voter registration rolls, turned away from the polls, and by various other means prevented from exercising the franchise.”

Ta-Dah! It’s Ralph’s fault! I guess it’s his fault for the following:

The two Democratic candidates talk endlessly about Universal Health Care but neither of them mentions those two little words, “single payer”, the only way it can ever happen. Both are afraid of bucking the mammoth health insurance industry in this country. Maybe Nader can prod them into fighting a little harder for what they claim they want.

Guess what folks? If BO, HRC or JM are elected, we’re not getting single payer (well, if the Congressional Dems show some gumption and replace Nancy with Dennis and Harry with Russ, maybe). Ralph’ll be pushing for single payer.

We know Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is on the Armed Services Committee in the Senate and in the pocket of the defense industry, but then Barack Obama talks about increasing the military buildup instead of cutting the bloated military budget that we have. The sheepish Democrats might need a little cattle prod for moving on this issue.

I wonder if JE will make the connection of the bloated military budget and the failing economy in his new ‘movement?’ You know BO, HRC or JM won’t. Ralph’ll be pushing for cutting the bloated defense budget.

The article also mentions corporatism. Needless to say, Ralph’ll be the only one pushing against that.

And if you’re scared that Ralph might manage to pull away enough votes for the Dems to lose, here’s what he told Timmeh:

As Nader said to Tim Russert in the “Meet the Press” interview, “If the Democrats can’t landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up, close down, emerge in a different form. You think the American people are going to vote for a pro-war John McCain who almost gives an indication that he’s the candidate for perpetual war.”

Sure, on the really big questions of running the government, there won’t be any huge difference. We may, and I am not convinced that we will, get better SCOUS members with the Dems. Maybe, just maybe, we need to have a voice from the real left to move the candidates in the ‘right’ direction.

Otherwise, we’ll have to deal with ‘hope,’ triangulation or Metamucil

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  1. Just get Ralph on the stage for at least one of the televised debates.

    • H2D on February 29, 2008 at 8:09 am

    if Ralph Nader was really serious about doing anything besides stroking his massive ego, why doesn’t he run for Congress?  Or another office that he might actually have a chance at winning, and thereby gaining some influence?

    Also, isn’t he from Connecticut?  I can think of two races he can run for there – against Lieberman or Shays.  He’d be doing all of us a favor if he took out either one of them, but I ain’t holding my breath on that…

    I definitely agree that the 2008 ‘race’ has turned into a sick joke, though…and I was for both Russ and John Edwards at one time or another.  Now instead, I’m working on local and state races…and my presidential vote in November will be for whoever has the D after their name…but neither of them excite me at all, and I can’t help but think of what could have been this year…

    I had real hope just a few months ago…and not just the pre-packaged kind sold by phony politicians who wouldn’t ever consider really changing the way we live…

    ……………….

    I’d welcome a real voice from the left any day, but Ralph Nader is not that voice today.  He’s just a giant ego who pops up onto the national political scene every four years to serve his purpose as the Republican Party’s “useful idiot”…

    • plf515 on February 29, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    jackass.

    It’s not all Ralph’s fault, but if Ralph hadn’t run, Bush wouldn’t have won.  Are others to blame? Sure.  Bush most of all. And Cheney and so on.  And Gore didn’t run the greatest race.

    But Nader is supposed to be on the ‘good’ side.  Yeah, right.

    The dead from Iraq can be comforted by that holiness and purity.  Yeah, right.

    Ralph should go back to doing what he does well: Consumer advocacy.  He won’t be able to fully make up for the harm he’s caused the world – well, maybe if he lives to 200 or so – but he could make a start.

  2. I’m not sure that the 2000 Al would have kept us out of Iraq.  After all, he was part of an administration that kept NoFlyZones over Iraq which resulted in ~500k dead Iraqi kids.  I know he has given some kick-ass anti-war speeches since.

  3. and steadfast community organizer and a lefty, a scoffer at the differences between the party’s, a local DJ for KBOO called Dhrama Drums, was an ardent Nadar supporter in 2000. In 2004 she went to his first Portland campaign rally. She proceeded to rip her bumper sticker (she has many) which read: ‘Don’t Blame Me I Voted for Nader” off until it read “Blame me I Voted for Nadar”.

    while I appreciate his work against Corporations his political behavior is appalling. His scorched earth, they all stink may be true, but are destructive, short of violent revolution.  He ruined the Green Party, he wants to ?. when I asked my neighbor why she did this her reply was. “His ego. He cares nothing about how to build, but everything about how to prove his point.” We all know what we deal with, us from the left, the answer does not lie in proving ones point. Not when it takes from the right to vilify the left.      

  4. isn’t Ralph Nader — it’s the Nader-haters.  Only in America, see, does the so-called “Left” discourage its own candidates for running for President.  The Nader-haters have composed a Potemkin village of false premises around their hatred, in order to be the political glue keeping what’s left of the American public stuck to the two right-wing political parties.

    The foundational myth motivating the Nader-haters is, of course, the one we all know: Republicans bad, Democrats good.  Republicans are mean-spirited conservatives, Democrats are pure-hearted liberals.  Of course, the real story is that both parties are a front for an elite united behind neoliberalism.  The difference between the two parties, then, is the difference in PR tactics each of the two parties must employ to rope in two very different constituencies.  Their similarity is neoliberalism, the “Washington consensus,” a totalizing ideology of the “free market” which is corporate domination.

    Anyone who has read Chomsky knows this story; but the Nader-haters don’t hate Chomsky because Chomsky doesn’t provide any political force against the foundational myth.  Nader, on the other hand, does.  Plenty of American Presidential elections have been cruel jokes, but only Nader dares to present an organized political force against both of the candidates.

    Further exacerbating Nader’s vulnerability is the fact that Nader’s political strength depends upon the fact that Nader is the boss of his political organizations.  Now, this works well, organizationally, or at least it does for Nader, who is probably obsessed with organizational control.  Nader’s form of political organization allows him to run Presidential challenges to the two-party system in a way that no other organizational force currently dares to do; but it hardly marks Nader as any sort of revolutionary.  Rather, Nader is a reformist who has come to a few radical conclusions regarding the political system.  

    Revolutionaries, you see, would prefer an organization where power is not dependent upon leadership.  Leadership can be “neutralized,” to use the CIA’s word — when leadership is spread throughout the organization, on the other hand, it can be immunized against counterinsurgency tactics.  Such tactics were employed against Nader by Kerry forces in the 2004 election.  They worked quite well for what they were intended to do: Kerry “lost” another stolen election, Nader gained only 0.36% of the vote, and the US government stayed in neoliberal hands.

    Now, in 2000, Ralph Nader ran with the blessings of the Green Party, a rather disorganized, utopian concept on the political horizon.  Thus, now, the Green Party has also become the target of the Nader-haters’ wrath.  Of course, the Green Party can be hated for many of the same reasons Nader is hated — presenting an oppositional force to the two-party system being the primary one among them.

    At any rate, if we are to have any sort of serious political discourse in America, we can’t be scapegoating our own.  So in that regard, here’s a list of good debunkings of the Nader-haters’ political bad jokes:

    Message (1) to Nader-haters: Nader will not “steal votes” from Obama/ Clinton.  Nobody is obliged to vote for Nader, and neither Obama nor Clinton are entitled to anyone’s votes.  The ideas that people are obliged to vote for Nader if he runs, and that Democratic Party Presidential candidates are entitled to their opponents’ votes are, then, urban legends.  Democrats should be more worried that Republican candidates will steal their party’s votes, a phenomenon much more in evidence in past Presidential elections.

    Message (2) to Nader-haters: Back in 2000, Nader wanted to “hurt the Democrats” because the Democrats were running on a neoliberal party line.  Neoliberalism is the party line of that fraction of capital that would rather see Earth’s ecosystems fatally compromised than experience a slight dip in the profit rate.  If you support neoliberal politicians, you support neoliberalism.  This is what made, and makes, Nader angry.  It should make you angry, too, if you care about the future of Planet Earth.

    Message (3) to Nader-haters: Your argument that Nader-voters would vote for the Democrat if Nader weren’t running is countered by Nader’s argument that a lot more people are pulled into American democracy by his candidacy than would otherwise participate.  There’s no way of proving who’s right between these two positions.  There is, then, no proof that Nader-voters would vote for the Democrat if they were deprived of voter choice.

    Message (4) to Nader-haters: Saying that Nader is “slimy” or “arrogant” or any other playground names is missing the point.  Voting does not serve you if you cannot vote for whomever is the best candidate, and the best candidate is not the least “slimy” or “arrogant” candidate but, rather, the candidate (and his/her appointed team) who will give us the best policies.  Seriously: if you are electing people to the White House so they can be “un-slimy” or “humble,” it says more about you than it says anything about Nader.  Did you think you were electing someone to the post of “saint”?

    Message (5) to Nader-haters: Waiting for instant runoff voting before voting for the best candidate means you will never vote for the best candidate.  You will only wait.

    Message (6) to Nader-haters: A demand that the Green Party only field candidates for local offices is a demand that the Green Party give up on the publicity that a Presidential candidate brings, which will probably be the difference between ballot status and no ballot status in dozens of states.  Basically you are demanding that the Green Party die so that the public can be deprived of the Green Party as a voter choice.  Is this a realistic demand?

    Message (7) to Nader-haters: Claiming that “Nader won’t win” falls under the argumentative fallacy of “self-fulfilling prophesy.”  Nader would win if enough people were to vote for Nader, and no second-guessing of the election outcome can eliminate this possibility.

    Message (8) to Nader-haters: Insisting that your candidate have “political experience” of the kind Nader doesn’t have is a misjudging of the task of being President.  Eight years of the George W. Bush Preaidency and eight years of the Ronald W. Reagan Presidency should have taught you that any fool can be President.  What matters about a Nader candidacy are two things: 1) what kind of policy would we see from a Nader Presidency, and 2) what kind of political team can we expect Ralph Nader to appoint were he to be elected President?  

    My guess is that Nader-haters, lacking any meaningful response to Nader’s actual agenda, have constructed their house of lies in order to distract from said agenda.

    Message (9) to Nader-haters: supporting a reactionary Democrat against a reactionary Republican does not make you a “liberal.”  It makes you a reactionary.  Claims that “I will support the right-wing Democrat until he/she is inaugurated, and then re-join the Left thereafter” are fatuous, as people who argue thusly will not stop employing “lesser of two evils” rationales just because a Democrat is inaugurated into the White House.

    Message (10) to Nader-haters: Nader is not responsible for Bush’s “election.”  Bush was “elected” by the Supreme Court in 2000 with the blessings of Katherine Harris (who was rewarded for her deed with a seat on the Council on Foreign Relations), and Bush was “elected” by Ohio’s hacked Diebold voting machines in 2004 with the blessings of Ken Blackwell.  Nader is also not responsible for Democratic Party complicity in 1) refusing to investigate or protest the 2000 Florida vote recount, or 2) pass Bush’s initiatives in Congress.  It is also far from clear that past Democratic Presidential candidates, were they to actually have made it to the White House, would not have repeated Bush’s mistakes.  Therefore, Nader is not responsible for Bush’s misdeeds.

    Message (11) to Nader-haters: The vote-counters do not add Nader’s totals to the Republican candidate’s totals.  Thus it means nothing to say that “a vote for Nader is a vote for McCain”; if Nader voters really wanted to vote for McCain, they’d vote for McCain.

    In conclusion: At this point in the game, Nader has been reduced to near-insignificance as a political force.  This is what he gets for wanting to keep the leadership of “his movement” in his hands.  Nader-haters, however, are in the driver’s seat, as already-low political participation is driven even lower.

    American politics could have a Left wing, if it weren’t for the amazing efficiency with which said Left wing represses itself for the sake of the Democratic Party.  Expect America to meet its ultimate end at some point rather soon, with no Left wing to save it.

    That’s enough for now.

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