Saturday, February 2, 2008

Nader '08?

It seems that Ralf Nader is mulling yet another run for president. Once again he is may be playing the spoiler just like in 2000. I will admit that Gore ran a crappy campaign in 2000. While he "won" he did not win by enough to keep the election from being stolen in Florida. The primary fault of Gores failure was a lack of fire in the belly. Instead of sighing when W said something idiotic, he should have come out with guns blazing and flat out said " Governor Bush that has got to be the stupidest thing I ever heard" and then explain why. Gore should have called out the moron media slagging of his candidacy. He abandoned his natural penchant for populist rhetoric. He played it safe and boring.

But that does not let Nader off the hook. Nader's whole Meme was (and is) that there is not a dimes worth of difference between Democrats and Republicans. While in many cases we are saddled with the choice of Corporate Democrat vs. Corporate Republican that was not the case at the top of the ticket in 2000. One can not seriously say that Gore would have been the same as Bush. Gore would have read the PDB and acted on it. I could go on issue after issue of how a Gore Administration would have been significantly different than a Bush Administration .

Is anyone crazy enough to suggest that Bush would have gotten those Nader Votes? Not in a million years , Nader sucked votes away from Gore-that is why he got money from right wing Bush zealots. The Texas mafia helped get him on the ballots in many states. Do you think they did that to promote electoral diversity? Of course not, the Texas Mafia knew that a Nader candidatecy hurt Gore. The Nader votes in Florida were more than enough to push Gore over the top in 2000. Without Nader the theft in Florida would have been much harder to pull off.

Now I do admit that Gore should have done some more to reassure the Nader/Green side of electorate- but really how much do these guys and gals freeking want? He got slagged as Ozone man and dissed by the Corporate Media peanut gallery for being too tree-hugging as it was. For crying out loud he wrote "The Earth in Balance" and was the greenest mainstream candidate out there. That is my main complaint with the Greens / Far Left ; the constant demand that we sacrifice the good for the perfect. What happens is we get neither good nor perfect- we get the bad and the evil.

I would rather Greens and others stay in the Democratic Party and work for more and better Democrats. This is not Germany or France or Israel- we do not have a multi-party system. While we have had 3rd parties, they have been temporary affairs ; generational, limited to one specific generation or period of time or issue. Eventually all third parties have been co-opted by one of the major parties or have died from their own irrelevance. The third reason why 3rd parties have died is suppression. The Progressive era died on the hard shores of the Palmer raids. But even before the Palmer raids significant portions of the Progressive platform were lifted by Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. It did not help matters for Progressives that Wilson got the country involved in WWI which was the real reason that the reforming urge was quenched. By the end of the Great War the US was all crusaded out. The War to end all Wars was a bust and the US wanted no part of Wilson's self-righteous foreign schemes.

Since the 20's 3rd parties were as likely to be regressive as Progressive. Remember the Dixiecrats? Neither Jon Anderson nor Ross Perot were stalwart progressives nor was George Wallace- all third party candidates.

Other than screwing over Gore in 2000 my other complaint with Nader is that he is reluctant to do the spade work to really build a serious third party. What did he really do between 2000 and 2004 to build a grass roots organization that could run at the local level? What has he done between 2004 and the present? Other than his two quixotic runs for the presidency how has he moved the Green Party program forward? It is really hard work for any third party to gain traction in the USA. Our winner-take-all system encourages broad-based coalition parties that can appeal to a wide swath of the voters. Federalist and Democratic-Republicans; Democrats and Whigs; Democrats and Republicans : two parties that has been the history. Any third party has had to really work to get it's voice heard. It has to find a geographic niche where it could actually win seats. The Progressives had the Midwest as a base, they even elected Senators like Robert M. La Follette Sr. Even here we can see the arc of the party in his son Robert M. La Follette, Jr. who finally end up as a Republican (and a isolationist to boot.)

Nader has no geographic base, there is no local area he or his party dominate. There are no Green Congressmen, never mind Senators. Unlike Howard Dean ,Nader has never gone into the trenches to build a party from the ground up. His so-called-runs have been strictly national quadrennial affairs. Frankly I think Nader ran in 2000 to assuage his over-inflated ego. While he might have started out as a crusader for good he has since become a inflexible, megalomaniacal, jackass. He is so wrapped up in his own myth of purity and righteousness as to become a menace to very things he claims to support. He has become a dupe , forwarding the interest of people like Carl Rove and George W Bush.

I really do think that the 2000 election in conjunction with the 2004 and god forbid 2008 will seal Nader's doom. If he runs this time; it will do him real harm. There will be no escaping the conclusion that the original run had much less to do with principles than with Nader's obsession with being the pure white knight of US politics. It will finally and conclusively prove that the 2000 run was all about him, about his ego, about his self-righteousness, about his superiority complex, about his need to prove Ralf Nader as the true Philosopher-King meant to save us poor unwashed slobs form the evil corporatistes and from ourselves.
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