UPDATE: Nader announced yesterday on Meet the Press that he was running. It is a sad day for anyone who views themselves as progressive in this nation. I was trying to think of historical analogies to this act of rash, egomaniacal foolishness. The Charge of the Light Brigade and Pickett’s Last Charge come to mind. But the most apt is Gen. George Armstrong Custer’s utter idiocy in riding his 300 men into the path of 10,000 Native American warriors. You’ll recall that Custer deliberately broke his force in two in order to gain some kind of imagined advantage. That act and not waiting for a reunion with these men before riding into the Little Big Horn caused the fool to meet his fate.
Ralph Nader too is dividing up the nation’s progressive forces and thereby giving Bush the best shot he’s had in months of continuing the right-wing coup d’etat against our beloved democracy. Shame on him.
Ralph likes to think of himself as sole champion of progressive values on the campaign trail. No doubt, he thinks constantly of his legacy. Well, I’ve got news for him. He won’t be remembered (if he’s remembered at all) as the savior of democracy, but rather as the man who cemented the right’s vise like grip on the levers of American power.
In case anyone doubts the man has a huge case of meglomania check out this quotation from the New York Times’, Relax, Nader Tells Democrats, but the Math Says Otherwise:
His support will come largely from “conservatives and independents who are very upset with Bush administration policies,” Mr. Nader said, and he urged “the liberal establishment to relax and rejoice.”
Nader also is quoted as saying “This candidacy is not going to get many Democratic Party votes.” If he honestly believes any of this crap then he’s lost his political bearings and possibly his mind.
I have a better suggestion: why not a Bush-Nader ticket? Hell, there might as well be one. Ralph Nader cinched Bush’s victory last time and it looks like he’s trying for the quadrennial double by doing it again in 2004. What I want to know is what this guy’s smokin’? Ralph wants you to believe that a Nader run would “benefit the Democrats.” Right. You have to devise some weird calculus to figure that one out. But here goes according the New York Times story, Nader Says a Run Would Benefit Democrats
Mr. Nader, says defeating him [Bush] and ending Republican control of Congress are his chief goals. And those goals are more achievable, he says, if he joins the race.
That may be a hard sell to many Democrats, given the effect he had on the 2000 election. He finished with 3 percent of the national electorate and won more than 97,000 votes in Florida–thereby denying Mr. Gore the state, even if, as in Mr. Nader’s calculation he won as many votes from Republicans as from Democrats. Mr. Bush won Florida by only 537 votes, and with it the presidency.
By hammering away at populist themes like a higher minimum wage, union rights and occupational health regulations, all of which he says have been neglected, he would force the leading Democratic contenders to move left. That, he says, would expand the party’s base, drawing out more liberal voters, some angry enough at him about 2000 that they would vote for the Democratic nominee instead, and many who would vote Democratic in close House and Senate races.
That’s beautiful logic. What the Democratic Party needs to win the presidency is a move to the left?? Pardon me while my blood pressure hits the ceiling.
Don’t get me wrong. I place myself strongly to the left within the Party. But even I am not such a fool as to think that if the Democrats moved left they’d carry anything, let alone the presidency. Ralph Nader may be a brilliant thinker (he reminds me in some ways of Noam Chomsky’s steel-trap mind). He may expound wonderfully progressive views on the major issues confronting this country. If this were the best of all possible worlds maybe Nader would make a great candidate. But we’re down here in the salt mines of the real world while Nader and his allies are flying high in the sky like the luftmenschen they are. It is unfortunately true that “you can’t always get what you want” as the Rolling Stones instructed us so memorably in the late 1960s. But if you try sometime–and make a few compormises that enable you to create a viable centrist candidacy (as I believe Howard Dean is doing)–then you just might find you get what you need–which is a Democratic President in 2004.
Ralph Nader is a positive danger to Democratic chances in the next election and thereby to the nation as well. I say this because another four years of Bush will seal so many more nails in the coffin of the progressive Democratic agenda. If he runs, there must be an energetic, dogged and vociferous effort to foil his campaign at every opportunity. I say to the Democrats, take off the kid gloves. Do some negative research. Go get this guy. Whether his intentions are good and honorable (and there’s no reason to believe they aren’t) or not, he will do irreparable harm to this nation by running. He must be stopped with every intellectual and political weapon at our disposal.
I am writing because of a startling revelation I had. I know
sometimes that Congressmen start investigations into “allegations of wrongdoings” in big business, when they need money. They announce
that they are doing something good for the people then behind the
scenes are silently taken care of by the very business they are
supposed to be investigating.
Acknowledging that my revelation came this way…and I was stunned…
Ralph Nader is not a patriot. After all his good work through the
years; his legacy may be just that. Let me tell you how I came to
1. He knows he is not going to win the Presidency.
2. The reason he is running is not clear. If it is to “shed some light on environmental issues” this is not the time. There are larger issues, more serious than that. I am not saying it is unimportant but stopping a madman from starting another war in another country with thousands of deaths should be a higher priority.
3. Will the people who vote for him be the ones that would have voted for Bush? I think not. He will just be taking precious votes away from the Democratic Party.
Considering all of this…why would he run? Because he is getting
something behind the scenes. Why else would he enable Bush to win a
second presidency? And that is exactly what he is doing. It worked
the first time, but maybe people will take notice of Naders’ real
reason this time. I have always held him in high esteem but now I
feel that he is nothing more than a traitor to democracy. His legacy
will be worse than Bushs’ because people will know that he really
knew better but sold out.
Hank Roth says
Go Ralph Go!!
What makes anyone who opposes a Nader candidacy think, by any stretch of the imagination, that Kerry, Edwards — or anyone else running as Democrats would do anything differently — than they have always done — which isn’t any better or different than the Republicans which are just another side of the same coin? Nader is another voice and another choice. If we want democracy we must have those choices — OTHERWISE, all you are advocating is the same old dictatorship of the two-party, single big business interest system. The (corporate) two-party, despotic ruling elites are not worth voting for. If voting is to count for anything it must be for choices that matter.
Paul Thompson says
St. Ralph of the Perpetual Virginity running for president again? Why not do a “two-fer” and claim that he is also the Messiah?
I just get SO aggravated with these Nader Nutcases who claim that St. Ralph is the only person pure enough, clean enough and holy enough to save us. I don’t want to be saved. I want to remove people like Tom Delay, Grover Norquist, John Ashcroft, Bill Frist and Orin Hatch from the levers of power. 4 more years of these insane wackos will finish off democracy.
Phil Carter says
I love a leftist, but Nader needs to wise up.
We cannot afford to keep loosing to the Bush machine.
Once this administration gets the courts in his pockets,
everything nader wants will be overturned.
Nader–time to bow out and work for those
on the left in the demo party. Help us out here.
michael glantz says
nader has taken his eye off the prize — getting the dems back in office. his ego has gotten into the way. the difference between 2000 and 2004 presidential election is that in 2000 it was not known what the impact on the presidential election might be. so, one can attribute that experience to bad luck. today, however, nader can see himself as a broker (or so he thinks) with ways to influence the democratic platform. he is dreaming; he did not get that many votes as a green party candidate and many of those who did vote for him have renounced him as a viable candidate. the bottom line is for the greens that a half a loaf of bread is better than no loaf at all. the sad thing is that nader goes down in history not as the hero that he used to be in past decades but as a spoiler with delusions of power. mickey glantz
I would like to see Bush & company out of Washington. I would also like to see Clinton & Kennedy & John Kerry out of there! The corporate media continues to propagate the idea that voting for anyone other than a Republicrat is throwing away a vote – and this will be true as long as the American people continue to believe it. Change starts with you! Voting for a member of the existing ruling class is throwing away your vote! If nothing changes, nothing changes. I’m voting for Nader.
AZ Richard says
Mr. Nader reacts with outrage when it is suggested that his running isn’t in the best interest of the country. It’s his RIGHT, after all. I’m sure his having acted within his rights will be a great consolation to him as he enters his cell at Guantanimo, put there by John Ashcroft, for whom Nader’s Arab extraction will be proof positive of Nader’s connection with Al Qaida. What a vain, petty, scanctimonious little man Mr. Nader has shown himself to be. He and Ashcroft deserve each other.
Rachel Scott, MD says
Thanks for the website–the power for people to speak out and be heard is enormously increased as a result of the web. I once thought Ralph Nader was really the knight on the white horse–that was before I worked for him–in fact, Ralph Nader’s attitude towards employees is no better, possibly much worse, than that of the corporations he bashes.
I consider myself an environmentalist and a pacifist, and I am concerned that we are at a point beyond reversing global warming, extinction of multiple species, and yet George Bush refused to participate in Koyoto, plans to relax the mercury standards, allowing more mercury pollution–it is already unsafe to eat tuna and sea bass among others, and 44 states have advisories regarding fishing in state waters. Any of the Democratic candidates running would reverse these policies that threaten our very existence; to say the Democrats are no different than the Republicans is nonsense.
The fact is that Ralph Nader is different–Ralph says the right things, but if he cared about the future of the world, faced as it is with crises of the environment, crises of terrorism, of unprecidented breakouts of new killer diseases, secondary to population pressures, he would work for the Democratic candidate rather than put himself out as a third candidate. Last time, his reason for running, he said, was that if the Republicans were elected, the result would be so catastrophic that it would cause an uprising of the people for change. Hey, thanks, Ralph. The first part worked. The result has been catastrophic. George Bush has created a thousand terrorists for every one he has killed, maimed or captured.
The bill of rights has been nullified by our president, who wraps himself in the flag and talks about compassionate conservatism. The so-called “Patriot Act” is a license to invade the privacy of any American citizen. As someone else said, I think it was Howard Dean’s wife, if conservatives were compassionate, you wouldn’t have to add that qualifier.
If we want the United States that we once knew as the champion of human rights, a power for peace in the world, a progressive nation in search of better environmental standards for preservation of species of extinction, reversal of global warming, returning jobs to Americans, any one of the Democratic candidates running has championed these causes. We don’t need Ralph Nader running down these candidates, and the eventual Democratic nominee as a patsy to the corporations.
All this would accomplish is confusion, painting the Republicans and Democrats with the same broad brush, when there are in fact wide differences between them. A vote for Ralph Nader, while intended as a vote against corporate domination, will really be a vote for the status quo. And what particularly annoys me about it, is that Ralph Nader paints himself as so much above the influence of these forces. Maybe he cannot be corrupted by money, but he has read for so long about what a great man he is, that he has come to believe it to the extent it has warped his judgment. He’s not nearly so great as he’s been portrayed by the media. There are a number of books written by former volunteer/employees for Nader’s organizations that will give you the details about his faults. Why haven’t you seen this in the newspapers? I asked a reporter friend of mine that once, and he shrugged and said, “because he does so much good.” Well, it’s time to take off the gloves, and talk about Ralph Nader, the man, and whether he lives up to the standards he sets for others.
mark patterson says
ANOTHER STUPID ARTICLE ON NADER, WHEN ARE YOU PEOPLE GOING TO WAKE UP, NADER HAS NO ELECTORAL VOTES,NO ELECTORAL VOTES, NO PRESIDENT. WHAT PART OF THIS DO YOU PEOPLE NOT UNDERSTAND. ONLY A IDIOT WOULD VOTE FOR A MAN WITHOUT ENOUGH ELECTORAL VOTES TO WIN, BUSH IS HAPPY FOR PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO WILL PUT HIM IN POWER AGAIN. nader is a liar, he said in the last election REMEMBER, that he was going to drop out if bush could win, he sure as hell did that, be truthful to your readers and tell them about the electoral colleg vote before it is too late AGAIN!!!!
Richard Silverstein says
Hey, Mark Patterson, cool your jets, bud! If you’d slow down long enough to read what was actually written here you’d see that almost no one (including me) supports Nader. So what are you going on about?
Thanks, Rachel for an especially thoughtful critique of Ralph Nader. My wife worked for Ohio Public Interest Research Group in Ohio during college & spent time around Nader & agrees with you that his ego is bigger than a house. I think he’s a totally mixed bag. He’s done great public interest work throughout his career. But these presidential races have been a disaster.
And now he’s running on the Reform Party line. Those are the folks who brought us that other natural wonder, Ross Perot. Hard to reconcile those two into a single party’s ideology, no?