Tuesday, February 26, 2008

An Obligatory Ralph Nader Commentary?

Stop me before I devote a single column inch to this moron.

I feel the pressure building. Looking for a sock to stick in my mouth. But the compulsion is overwhelming. I'm glad I have to go to work, now, because I'm thinking the only thing that can keep the cork in this bottle is if someone drops a bomb in tonight's debate.

It’s too late. Have to get this toxic poison out.

  • any competitor, entrant, or candidate who has no chance of ultimate victory but does well enough to spoil the chances of another
Ralph Nader cost the American people (and Al Gore) the election of 2000. Not alone, of course. A lame media had a part in it. 5 million Republican voters had a part in it. But Nader unmistakably and willingly played the part of a useful idiot in bringing Busheney to power. People have done the research and run the numbers:
…. research estimates the likely voting behavior of Nader voters if he had not been a candidate in the presidential race. Bivariate analysis of ANES data suggests that Nader voters fit the profile of likely voters and have a distinct preference for Democratic candidates. We utilize multinomial logit analysis to include the possibility of abstention as well as the option of voting for Gore, Bush, or another third-party candidate. The results suggest that Nader voters closely resembled the typical voter in educational achievement, and therefore it is likely that a majority of these individuals would have participated in the 2000 election if Nader had not been a candidate. In addition, it is likely that these individuals would have voted for Al Gore over George Bush.
Nader was wrong in 2000 when he said there was no appreciable difference between Gore and Bush: it didn't matter who won; or, that it didn't matter much.
…. Gore's a D-plus, Bush's a D-minus.
Nadir wasn’t just a little wrong, wasn’t off by a matter of degrees. He was categorically and catastrophically wrong – off the charts. (Reference the speech Al Gore made against the invasion of Iraq as early as 2002.) Not that Nader cared, much. After the election, he flippantly told the National Press Club,
Al Gore cost me the election.
Nader is not motivated by a sense of statesmanship or strategic political thinking. In fact that is precisely where his blinders are. On 7-Mar-2001 he co-authored a groveling commentary for the Wall Street Journal. In the article, he actually wondered if Bush would show
… the political courage to offend the very corporate fat cats who funded his campaign …. If it took Richard Nixon to go to China, could George W. Bush be the president who ends corporate welfare as we know it? … in a budget outline that offers little reason to smile to those concerned about the concentration of corporate power, the Bush administration has offered a glimmer of hope on the corporate-welfare front …..
Fast forward to 2004. Nader didn’t have a 3rd party behind him this time, so he shamelessly relied on Republican money raising and petition canvassing. In the middle of the summer, Howard Dean caught up with Nader and confronted him in a debate later transcribed by Salon:
….you accepted the support of a right-wing, fanatic Republican group that is antigay in order to help you get on the ballot in Oregon. . . . . .This is not going to help the progressive cause in America. The thing that upsets me so much about this is, you have the right to ... get in bed with whoever you want to, but don't call the Democratic Party full of corporate interests. They have their problems, we all have ours, none of us are pure. And this campaign of yours is far from pure. . . . . It is true, that the Oregon Family Council, which is a virulently antigay right-wing group, called up all their folks and tried to get them to go to the Oregon convention to sign your petition. I don't think that's the way to change the party. . . . The way to change this country is not to get into bed with right-wing antigay groups to try to get yourself on the ballot. That can't work. . . . . I urge you not to turn your back on your own legacy . . . . I'm not running for president right now, not just because I lost in Iowa, but [because] I made the calculation that if I did, I would take away votes that would otherwise go to John Kerry and result in the reelection of George Bush. This is a national emergency, and we cannot have it. My argument simply is, When the house is on fire, it's not the time to fix the furniture.
With the Republican party still married to Bush’s Iraquagmire, our national (emergency) house is still on fire.

Not that Nader cares. Ralph Nader doesn’t give a hoot about what happens to this country anymore. At worst, he and his followers comprise caricatures as the useful idiots of ‘movement conservatism’. At best, he’s demagogue who really has no political loyalties outside of his own self-absorption. He obeys only his addiction to the television camera. Between national elections he wanders, bereft of notice, through his own personal wilderness of good intentions; every fourth year he can strap political dynamite onto himself and aspire to blow things up again.

For years, Bush and his loyalists have been roundly dismissed – wrongly, IMO – for being stupid and arrogant. But they are the ones who have been playing offense for a decade and have scored exactly all the points they said they wanted. Meanwhile, how long will we allow this dysfunctional creep named Ralph to continue distracting our defense from the side lines? We need to regain possession of the ball. The end of politics is policy. Our varsity is all fired up and ready to go! It’s game time.

Someone tell Nader to get off the field.


  1. No worries Vigil. I felt compelled to devote several column inches to this clown.

  2. Just send Nader's sorry ass to Gitmo. If there is anyone who needs to be waterboarded (beside Bush, Cheney, Gonzo...ahh hell you get the idea.) it would be Nader who in a way helped Bush to get in office. I really need a beer.

  3. Beach Bum, please let me know how I can help.

  4. How come Beach gets all of the sympathy?

  5. I had a scotch. Beer makes me fat.

  6. Well, Vig. We could all work together as a team on this one. BTW, speaking about Nader: Bottom Feeder

  7. Mike, beer has no effect on me. I'm already fat. You just gotta get over that hump. Then it's all down hill sledding!

  8. On the Ralph Nader front, I feel compelled to bring up another issue.

    A coalition of anti-war groups is vowing to protest this summer’s Democratic National Convention in Denver under the rubric “Re-create ‘68,”

    This seems to me to very poorly-advised. In 1968, there was no unity on the left. The most eloquent charismatic leaders of the anti-war left had - Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy - had been ripped from us by assassin's bullets. There was no one left to lead the Democrats - who could unify them. Eugene McCarthy was a nice guy who was in favor of peace and Hubert H. Humphrey was an obsequious and fawning stooge of Lyndon Johnson and as pledged to pursue LBJ's ruinous war as McCain is married to Bush's Iraquagmire. There was no hope to beat the Republicans. Today, there is every hope to beat back the Republicans and dismantle their warfare state.

    To demonstrate at the Democratic convention instead of at the Republican convention is to create another RalphNader-esque distraction. As Todd Gitln, who was at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago says,

    “In the ’60s, there were competing strains: the desire for results and the desire for self-expression. This seems to belong squarely in the self-expression camp ...

    What’s the political calculation that speaks to them of the wisdom of civil disobedience - which means a massive media spectacle - on the brink of a Democratic campaign that could plausibly put a Democrat in the White House who’s committed to withdrawal from Iraq? If the objective is to put a belligerent Republican in the White House, they should keep up the good work.

    In other words, these fools are out to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. Yet again.

  9. Diamond Dave DigglerFebruary 28, 2008 at 7:25 AM

    I have to disagree with everyone here. I think people who lash out at Ralph Nader need to turn that microscope on themselves and their party and wonder why a guy with NO CHANCE to win the election would:

    1). Run, and

    2). appeal to enough people to threaten the Democratic party's apparent sure thing.

    If it's ego that makes him run, as is so often stated, why would Nader take the blasting that he has the past two election cycles AND the horrible losses?

    Maybe, just maybe, he wants to try to keep the conversation in American politics where it belongs, on the health care system, getting the hell out of Iraq, corporate governance, worker explotiation, etc. etc. Things that have been painfully absent since John Edwards left the field.

    Sorry, but I'm not voting for corporate democrats anymore. I think Barack Obama has the POTENTIAL to be a great leader. He needs to let loose, get off the high horse, get down in the muck, and throw those who deserve it in Washington (even in his own party) under the bus. If he shows me that it will not be 4 more years of increasing corporate power, terrible and overpriced healthcare, and an out of control defense budget, I'll CONSIDER voting for him. Otherwise, Nader is the only guy telling it like it is.

    Plus, it's a free country, in theory, last I checked.

  10. Yep. It's a free country. No laws against foolish cowboys. As a matter of fact, we even have one as president. As a matter of fact, he's on my fucking TV right now. Ralph Nader made it possible for foolish cowboys to rule. You're in bad company, but you DO have company.

  11. The bottom line is that Ralph Nader is a bottom feeder. I don't know what that makes people who vote for him.

  12. Diamond Dave DigglerMarch 1, 2008 at 9:24 AM

    Boris, For a guy who's blog is called "Nothing is off the table", you seem exceedingly closed minded. Obviously for you, anything but a two party election is off the table. Also, way to use the republican attack strategy by belittling those who don't agree with you. You have just proven to me that it's useless to talk to you because reason is not something you are concerned with. Thanks.

    Vig, I am aware of your feelings on the man. I just think they are wrong. I don't want the American people to face the tsunami of unimportant issues that will dominate this election if there is not a true populist voice somewhere in it. Obama and Clinton are quickly proving that they are NOT that voice. They left the populist rhetoric behind as soon as Edwards dropped out.

  13. Cowboy, (on more time):

    We have heard from Gravel, Kuicinich, and Edwards in the Primary. Where was Nader? He obviously didn't think he wanted to compete with those guys. Nader has nothing to offer. He has never held elective office. He is not qualified to serve as POTUS.

    As Vigilante says, the Varsity is now suiting up. Spring training is over.

  14. Vig, I posted an article today that you may want to check out. It turns out that Nader has strong ties to McConJob.