RALPH NADER: A SERIOUS CAMPAIGN
ZOGBY POLL SHOWS NADER PULLING
INDEPENDENTS, YOUNG VOTERS, PROGRESSIVES
NADER AND THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS
NADER CHOOSES MATT GONZALEZ AS
RALPH NADER GETS A FAIR DOCUMENTARY
NADER: AND NOW THE SLANDER BEGINS AGAIN
SAM SMITH - AP started it in
their lead story on Ralph Nader's announcement that he is running
for president: "He is still loathed by many Democrats who
call him a spoiler and claim his candidacy in 2000 cost the party
the election by siphoning votes away from Al Gore in a razor-thin
contest in Florida."
More on that below, but even
if what the Democrats said were true, the behavior of the party
in the years that followed 2000 did absolutely nothing to correct
the situation. For example:
- The Democrats could have supported
and worked for instant runoff voting which dramatically changes
the effect of third parties on elections and politics.
- They could have avoided gratuitously
angering Green voters through such cheap tricks as redistricting
Maine's one Green state legislator.
- They could have adopted some
Green policies, much as European major parties do when pressed
by from the left or right.
- They could have stopped being
so consistently indistinguishable from the Republicans.
- Obama could have said he would
add one or more Greens to his cabinet just as promised he might
with one or more right wingers.
None of this happened.
YOU WANT CHANGE?
[From a note in Bart Cop]
CHRIS RAY - Ralph Nader was responsible
for the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration,
the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Product
Safety Administration. Nader was instrumental in the adoption
of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Freedom of Information Act,
the Wholesome Meat Act and the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle
Safety Act. It was Ralph Nader who maneuvered the auto industry
into making airbags available on American cars. However, more
than anything else, Nader is responsible for a wholesale shift
in contemporary attitudes toward consumer rights, public safety,
humane business practices, and open government. Nadar may be
in the doghouse now because his strange desire to run for president
and get beat up, but he is a damn good guy and has done a lot
STATE EMPLOYEES USED TO GET
NADER OFF PENNSYLVANIA BALLOT
PITTSBURGH POST - GAZETTE - E-mail
messages exchanged by top aides in the Democratic caucus starting
in 2004 make clear that taxpayer-funded bonuses were given to
legislative employees for their work on election campaigns. The
messages, obtained by the Post-Gazette, are a key component in
an investigation by Attorney General Tom Corbett into the bonuses
and whether they constituted an illegal use of state money for
In startlingly blunt language,
a group of aides, at points working under the direction of then-House
Minority Whip Michael Veon, D-Beaver, rated the political work
of state employees, sometimes adjusting the amounts of the bonuses
based on time they spent in the field or, in one instance, in
getting presidential candidate Ralph Nader off the Pennsylvania
"Mainly, I based my decisions
on the number of days people spent in the field," wrote
Eric Webb, director of Democratic member services, in one of
the e-mails, "but a few people were bumped up for extra
efforts, like being a phone bank captain," or "helping
with the Spanish phone bank."
The system that produced the
pay bonus scandal now roiling the state Capitol took shape at
least three years ago when a cadre of top House aides began tracking
campaign hours put in by Democratic caucus employees and then
tied them to taxpayer-funded salary bonuses.
The records obtained by the Post-Gazette
show that in 2004 managers working inside the Democratic caucus
based year-end payroll bonuses on time spent working political
campaigns. A year later, the same group employed a spreadsheet
that logged political work performed by the employees and used
that data in deciding pay bonus amounts.
A trio of spreadsheets attached
to an Aug. 31, 2005 e-mail by Mr. Webb, who kept track of volunteer
hours, ranked caucus employees as "rock stars," "good,"
and "OK" and assigned bonuses according to the rankings.
In another e-mail, dated Nov. 22, 2004, a House aide advised
Mr. Veon that a list of year-end bonuses was based on "performance
during session" and "Outside activities" which
included election work that encompassed, "specials, general,
The "Nader effort"
is an apparent reference to a Democratic project to challenge
the ballot petitions of the independent presidential candidate,
who they feared would peel away votes from Democratic nominee
Sen. John F. Kerry. Mr. Nader's ballots were later thrown out
as a result of the petition challenge and the state Supreme Court
later ordered Mr. Nader to pay the Democratic party's legal costs.
THE NADER 2000 MYTH
THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY is perpetuating
the Ralph Nader myth, blaming him for Bush's election in 2000.
This is, at best sloppy journalism; at saddest, extreme denial;
and at worst a plain lie. Here are just a few of the actual facts:
- A Review study of poll results
throughout the campaign found no correlation between Bush's percentage
change and that of Nader except in July and August when the change
- For example, in September of
2000, Gore's average poll result went up 7.5 points over August,
Nader's only declined by 1 point. Similarly, in November, Gore's
average poll tally declined 5.7 points but Nader's only went
up 0.8 points.
- In Florida, it was also true.
In nine successive surveys in which Nader pulled only 2 or 3
points, Gore's total varied by 7 points. As late as two weeks
before the election, Gore was ahead by as much as 7-10 points.
- As Michael Eisencher reported
in Z Magazine, 20% of all Democratic voters, 12% of all self-identified
liberal voters, 39% of all women voters, 44% of all seniors,
one-third of all voters earning under $20,000 per year and 42%
of those earning $20-30,000 annually, and 31% of all voting union
members cast their ballots for Bush.
- According to exit polling,
those who voted for Nader were disproportionately under 30, independent,
first time voters, formerly Perot voters, and of no organized
religion. Sixty-two percent of Nader's voters were Republicans,
independents, third-party voters and nonvoters. In other words,
many of his voters did not naturally belong to the Democratic
- The public had a cynical view
of both major candidates with 41% believing that both would say
anything to win votes. Barely half considered either major candidate
honest and trustworthy. And an astounding 51% had reservations
about their own vote.
- Perhaps the most important,
but seldom mentioned, factor in the outcome was the impact of
the Clinton scandals. 68% of voters thought Clinton would go
down in history more for his scandals than for his leadership.
44% said that the scandals were somewhat to very important and
57% thought the country to be on the wrong moral track.
- In short, the individual who
did the most harm to Gore (aside from himself) was Bill Clinton.
If Gore had distanced himself from the Clinton moral miasma he
would probably be president today.
- Kevin Zeese points out that
had Nader not run, Bush would have won by more in Florida. CNN's
exit poll showed Bush at 49 percent and Gore at 47 percent, with
2 percent not voting in a hypothetical Nader-less Florida race.
- Gore lost his home state of
Tennessee, Bill Clinton's Arkansas and traditionally Democratic
West Virginia; with any one of these, Gore would have won.
- Nine million Democrats voted
for Bush, and less than half of the 3 million Nader voters were
- Zeese also notes, "The
Democrats lost the 2002 congressional elections, the California
and New York governorships, and many state legislatures throughout
the country. Surely Nader is not to blame for those defeats."
COURT FINDS FRAUD IN NADER'S
2004 PENNSYLVANIA PETITIONING
- Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader and his running mate
must pay more than $80,000 in expenses for the lawsuit that challenged
their nominating papers and kept them off the 2004 ballot, the
Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in a decision released Wednesday.
There was an implication of "fraud and deception" in
their petition drive, the court said in its ruling.
A group of Pennsylvania voters
sued to block Nader and Peter Miguel Camejo, who were running
as independent candidates, from being placed on the ballot. As
a result of the lawsuit, the state Commonwealth Court found wide-ranging
improprieties among Nader and Camejo's petition signatures and
disqualified nearly two-thirds of the 51,000 signatures they
The Commonwealth Court opinion
described the Nader-Camejo petitions as "the most deceitful
and fraudulent exercise ever perpetrated upon this court."
Signatures were filed for "Mickey Mouse" and "Fred
Flintstone," and thousands of names were created at random,
the lower court found.
Five state Supreme Court justices
said Nader and Camejo must pay the plaintiffs' transcription
and stenography costs and handwriting expert fees.
"Given the magnitude of
the fraud and deception implicated in (their) signature-gathering
efforts, their claim that the Commonwealth Court acted in an
unjust and unconstitutional fashion by assessing transcription
and stenography costs does not pass the straight-face test,"
Justice Sandra Schultz Newman wrote for the majority.
A CONFEDERACY OF DOERS
I had never been invited to dinner
by Ralph Nader before, so I figured I'd better check it out.
The hall where the drinks were
being served could have been at any one of the scores of events
Washington was throwing that night, but the difference soon became
apparent. The difference was in the cause and the crowd. It was
a confederacy of doers gathered to celebrate the 40th anniversary
of the publication of one of the most important books of our
moment in history: Unsafe at Any Speed.
It had to be a large room because
Nader, after all, was the guy who introduced cloning to contemporary
progress. The business of leadership, he says, is creating more
leaders, not more followers and the fruits of his labor were
there: people like Lowell Dodge, Joan Claybrook, Sid Wolfe, John
Richard, Teresa D'Amato, Russell Mokhiber, and Carl Nash. And
reporters who shared or spread Nader's sense that the truth -
whether in a Vietnam village or in a automobile factory - even
if it doesn't set you free, may at least keep you alive. Reporters
like Jim Ridgeway, Bill Greider and Sy Hersh. And people who
had taken the Nader idea and applied it to other things, like
Linda Schade of True Vote, currently leading the fight to make
elections in Maryland safe at any speed of vote count.
Auto safety seems so reasonable
today, but when Nader proposed Unsafe At Any Speed to a big publisher,
he replied that "Alas, I fear it would only be of interest
to insurance agents." Around that time, my wife, then assistant
press secretary to Senator Gaylord Nelson, pitched a auto safety
article to Parade Magazine that drew on Nader's work. They weren't
at all interested.
The auto manufacturers, however,
quickly saw the importance. Jim Ridgeway - whose coverage of
Nader drew the attention of Unsafe's eventual publisher, Richard
Grossman - described in a 1966 article the industry's reaction
to the "lanky Washington attorney of 32 who recently has
been getting publicity because he went after the automobile makers."
His landlady got a call to find out whether he paid his rent
on time. His stockbroker was called by an investigator who claimed
to be representing someone who wanted to hire Nader. The editor
of a law journal for which Ralph had written was approached the
same way and asked about Nader's drinking habits. An attractive
brunette approached him and said that a group of her friends
were interested in foreign affairs and they wanted to get all
viewpoints. Would he join them? He claimed to be from out of
town. Oh that's all right, the woman said. The meeting's tonight.
The next day, the man to whom Nader had dedicated his book, got
a call from an investigator wanting to know about the activist's
sex life and left wing leanings. And later that afternoon, Nader
discovered two men following him as he flew back from Philadelphia
from an appearance on the Mike Douglas Show. . .
If that all seems out of another
time, consider this: from the moment Nader testified to the Ribicoff
committee on Capitol Hill to the time that America had new federal
car safety legislation that is still saving lives took all of
about six months. Try to get anything done in Washington today
in six months.
But that was a time of Phil Hart
and Gaylord Nelson, not Tom DeLay and Duke Cunningham. And a
time of Jim Ridgeway and Sy Hersh and not of TV toy journalists
who look as though their last beat had been covering themselves
at a beauty parlor.
Of course, the stories are still
there. Dr. Sid Wolfe is doing much the same thing with medicine
that his friend once did with the auto industry. Medicine - that's
medicine, not disease - is one of our major causes of death through
such things as adverse drug reactions and hospital infections.
Yet if you read the morning paper,
you will get little idea of the problem other than as incidents
without context, as if each bad drug was an exception to the
general rule of benign health care. Perhaps even the user's fault.
Just like, forty years go, they
said about auto crashes. Until Ralph Nader came along.
NADER HAS TESTY MEETING WITH BLACK CAUCUS
SAM HANANEL, AP - Ralph Nader
had a testy meeting Tuesday with black members of Congress and
rejected their request that he quit the presidential race. At
the same time, Arizona Democrats prepared to challenge Nader's
qualifications to appear on that state's ballot as an independent
candidate. . . Shouts could be heard from inside the meeting
in the basement of the U.S. Capitol with more than a dozen Congressional
Black Caucus members, including Nader's voice, in what proved
to be a rancorous session. One female shouted, "You can't
win," to which Nader shot back an inaudible response. Some
lawmakers stormed out of the meeting for a House vote and didn't
NADER-BLACK CAUCUS RELATIONS WORSEN
HILL NEWS - Tensions between
Ralph Nader and the Congressional Black Caucus flared again yesterday,
after a letter from the independent presidential candidate to
the caucus chairman, Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), demanded an apology
for an "obscene racial epitaph" at a tense meeting
last month. Black lawmakers reacted to Nader's letter with a
combination of anger and disdain, questioning his mental health
and accusing him of acute and advanced egomania.
"He ain't playing with a
full deck," said Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), a member of
the caucus and vice chairman of the Democratic caucus. "I
don't think he gets it," said Rep. Albert Wynn (D-Md.).
Nader's two-and-a-half-page letter,
released to the media before many members of the caucus had a
chance to see it, demanded an apology from Rep. Melvin Watt (D-N.C.).
Nader took umbrage at Watt's choice of words. Watt, Nader alleged,
called him "just another arrogant white man, telling us
what we can do. It's all about your ego, another [expletive]
arrogant white man."
"Exclamations at the meeting
descended into vituperative (e.g., Congresswoman [Carolyn] Kilpatrick's
[D-Mich.] tawdry, anatomical comment yelled loud enough so the
press could hear it outside) and ending with the obscene racist
epithet repeated twice by Yale Law School alumnus Congressman
Melvin Watt of North Carolina," Nader wrote Cummings. As
reported by The Hill, Kilpatrick told Nader to "get your
ass out" at the June 22 meeting.
Caucus spokeswoman Candice Tolliver
ruled out an apology. "It was a spirited exchange with the
caucus," Tolliver said. "We just share two different
strategies, and that's it."
RIGHT WING SOUND SCRIPT FOR
CITIZENS FOR A SOUND ECONOMY - Oregon CSE members are working to
get Ralph Nader on the November ballot! While this sounds completely
backwards-- Ralph Nader opposes nearly every issue CSE fights
for-- but there's sound logic behind Oregon CSE's actions. CSE
does not advocate the election or defeat of political candidates,
but Oregon CSE members feel that having Nader on the ballot helps
illuminate the strong similarities between the uber-liberal Nader
and John Kerry. That's why they've been making calls to their
friends to sign a petition to get Nader on the ballot by attending
a townhall on June 26th, using a phone script that reads:
"Hi, my name is Russ Walker,
director of Citizens for a Sound Economy here in Oregon, and
I wanted to tell you about an opportunity we have to drive a
wedge through the Liberal Left's base of support. In this year's
presidential race, Ralph Nader could peel away a lot of Kerry
support in Oregon, but he has to be on the ballot first. He will
make it if at least 1,000 people show up this Saturday at Benson
High school at 4:00 pm and sign the petition to certify his candidacy.
[[Please note-- this event already occurred on June 26th] Liberals
are trying to unite in Oregon and keep Nader off the ballot to
help their chances of electing John Kerry. We could divide this
base of support by showing up at Grant High school on Saturday.
Poor Ralph Nader: He just wants to make the ballot here in Oregon.
Let's give him what he wants and just watch what happens in November!"
NADER CAMPAIGN SHARES SPACE WITH HIS
James V. Grimaldi Washington
Post - Since October, Ralph Nader has run his campaign for president
out of the same downtown Washington offices that through April
housed a public charity he created -- an overlap that campaign
finance specialists said could run afoul of federal laws. Tax
law explicitly forbids public charities from aiding political
campaigns. Violations can result in a charity losing its tax-exempt
status. In addition, campaign law requires candidates to account
for all contributions -- including shared office space and resources,
down to the use of copying machines, receptionists and telephones.
Records show many links between
Nader's campaign and the charity Citizen Works. For example,
the charity's listed president, Theresa Amato, is also Nader's
campaign manager. The campaign said in an e-mail to The Washington
Post that Amato resigned from the charity in 2003. But in the
charity's most recent corporate filing with the District, in
January, Amato listed herself as the charity's president and
The office suite housing the
campaign, the charity and other sub-tenants had a common receptionist
for greeting visitors. And Federal Election Commission records
show the campaign paid rent to Citizen Works and Citizen Works'
landlord. Nader said the campaign has taken over the charity's
lease on its coveted location on 16th Street NW.
"There is nothing, no
wrongdoing here," Nader said Friday. The shared-space arrangement
was vetted by an outside lawyer and is legal, Nader said, because
his campaign has paid Citizen Works fair market value to rent
office space and buy furniture. "You can search until kingdom
come," Nader said. "You'll find no cross-subsidies
NADER GOES AFTER THE CONSERVATIVE VOTE
IN INTERVIEW WITH PAT BUCHANAN
RALPH NADER - Im not expecting
conservatives to change their minds on certain issues that we
disagree on, but if we look at the issues where we have common
positions, they reach a level of gravity that would lead conservatives
to stop being taken for granted by the corporate Republicans
and send them a message by voting for my independent candidacy.
Here are the issues. One, conservatives
are furious with the Bush regime because of the fantastic deficits
as far as the eye can see. That was a betrayal of Bushs
positions, and it was a reversal of what Bush found when he came
Conservatives are very upset
about their tax dollars going to corporate welfare kings because
that undermines market competition and is a wasted use of their
Conservatives are upset about
the sovereignty-shredding WTO and NAFTA. I wish they had helped
us more when we tried to stop them in Congress because, with
a modest conservative push, we would have defeated NAFTA because
it was narrowly passed. If there was no NAFTA, there wouldnt
have been a WTO.
Conservatives are also very upset
with a self-styled conservative president who is encouraging
the shipment of whole industries and jobs to a despotic Communist
regime in China. That is what I mean by the distinction between
corporate Republicans and conservative Republicans.
Next, conservatives, contrary
to popular belief, believe in law and order against corporate
crime, fraud, and abuse, and they are not satisfied that the
Bush administration has done enough.
Conservatives are also upset
about the Patriot Act, which they view as big government, privacy-invading,
snooping, and excessive surveillance. They are not inaccurate
in that respect.
And finally, two other things.
They dont like Leave No Child Behind because
it is a stupidly conceived federal regulation of local school
systems through misguided and very fraudulent multiple-choice
And conservatives are aghast
that a born-again Christian president has done nothing about
rampant corporate pornography and violence directed to children
and separating children from their parents and undermining parental
If you add all of those up, you
should have a conservative rebellion against the giant corporation
in the White House masquerading as a human being named George
W. Bush. Just as progressives have been abandoned by the corporate
Democrats and told,You got nowhere to go other than to
stay home or vote for the Democrats, this is the fate of
the authentic conservatives in the Republican Party.
I noticed this a long time ago,
Pat. I once said to Bill Bennett, Would you agree that
corporatism is on a collision course with conservative values?
and he said yes.
ANTI-NADER HATE CAMPAIGN COULD
The libelous anti-Nader material
the Democrats are running in TV ads and on the Internet could
well backfire. Normally, when you're trying to win over a constituency
you're nice to them, but in the case of Nader voters, the Democrats
have been conducting a four year hate campaign against Nader
that has gained in intensity with the current race. The underlying
message is: you're so stupid you voted for Nader. Not a particularly
nuanced approach to politics.
Unfortunately, however, the Democrats
- especially liberals - have increasingly stigmatized those with
whom they disagree on some issue, thus reducing their constituency
with little chance of winning it back. The voters being insulted
by the hate Nader campaign join people like gun owners, fundamentalists,
southerners, and abortion opponents as among those rejected by
the Democrats even though they were once a key part of their
Meanwhile, just as was true in
2000, the Nader support is not behaving the way the liberal Democrats
would have one believe. For example, Kerry just lost 11 points
in Minnesota polling but the Nader vote didn't change at all.
Also, while Nader is showing strength in some expected states
such as California, he is also doing better than expected in
places like Indiana and South Dakota. Why? Because, despite the
stereotype, the Nader support comes from a variety of sources:
Greens, ex-Perot backers, the generally pissed off, and those
just wouldn't vote without Nader in the race.
The best plan for the Democrats
would be to cancel their hate Nader campaign and adopt some of
his positions so his supporters might have a reason to back Kerry.
As it is the Democrats are just acting mean and dumb.
NADER SCARING DEMOCRATS AS ANTI-WAR SENTIMENT
WASHINGTON - Polls show the potential constituency for [an anti-war]
movement is growing rapidly. A New York Times/CBS poll last week
found that 46 percent of Americans now believe the United States
should withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible -- a number equal
to those who agree with Kerry and Bush on sticking it out. The
percentage who believed the United States should have stayed
out of Iraq had risen by 50 percent since December.
too, are rising. A Washington Post/ABC News poll showed him at
3 percent in early March, about equal to the 2.8 percent he polled
in 2000. Five weeks later he was at 6 percent in the same poll
and 5 percent in the New York Times and CNN polls. According
to those polls, almost all his support has been drawn from Kerry.
been hoping that Nader, like Ross Perot, will fade in a second
campaign or fail to get on the ballot in many states.
But there is
no sign that's happening. The campaign recently announced that
it had raised $600,000 in its first two months, triple the amount
Nader had at this time four years ago and enough to organize
around the country. A spokesman told the Associated Press: "We're
starting to establish ourselves as the only clear antiwar campaign."
JAMES K. GLASSMAN, FT WAYNE GAZETTE,
- Supporters of John Kerry are kidding themselves if they think
Ralph Nader won't hurt their candidate. In fact, he might hurt
Kerry in 2004 more than he hurt Al Gore in 2000. . . In 2000,
Nader received 2.7 percent of the vote. The latest Gallup Poll,
taken April 5-8, gives him 4 percent. A Newsweek poll of 18-
to 29-year-olds found 12 percent backing Nader, "at the
expense of John Kerry." And Democrats have to be worried
about a survey in New Hampshire last month that found Nader with
But they should
worry more as they look at Iraq. The war there is not going well.
In the first 18 days of April, 99 U.S. soldiers were killed,
and, at that rate, another 1,000 will die before the election.
But the beneficiary, ultimately, might be Bush. Kerry's position
on the war is not much different from the president's &SHY; except
that Kerry says he would manage it better and make it more international.
Nader, by contrast, is fervently anti-war: "I have been
against this war from the beginning. We must not waste lives
in order to control and waste more oil." Nader even believes
that Bush should be impeached because he "led the United
States into an illegal, unconstitutional war in Iraq.".
In early April,
Gallup found that 28 percent of those surveyed wanted all U.S.
troops out of Iraq, compared with 16 percent in January. If the
war deteriorates, the sentiment for pulling out can only rise,
and Nader (that is, Bush) will be the beneficiary. He's the only
anti-war game in town. Under these circumstances, the imprecations
of Nader's former allies ring hollow. The Nation magazine, the
heartbeat of the Left, recently urged Nader to drop out, threatening
that he risked separating himself, "probably irrevocably,"
from those who once admired him. The Times said much the same.
But against an anti-war backdrop that could net Nader as much
as 10 percent of the vote, such views look awfully petty and
The people who
want him to quit don't know Ralph Nader. I have known him for
a quarter-century. He is not like other politicians. While I
disagree with him on practically every issue, I admire his seriousness,
his vigor and his perseverance. This is his life. This is his
movement, and it might be his moment. He is not stepping aside
for anyone. Good for him.
NADER CALLS FOR U.S. TO LEAVE IN SIX
DAVID E. ROSENBAUM, NY TIMES
- Ralph Nader made an explicit appeal on Monday for votes from
the antiwar movement and called for the United States to announce
a firm date for the withdrawal of its troops from Iraq. Mr. Nader,
running for president as an independent, said that President
Bush was a "messianic militarist" and that Senator
John Kerry of Massachusetts, the probable Democratic presidential
nominee, was "stuck in the Iraq quagmire the way Bush is.".
. . He suggested that perhaps the withdrawal date should be six
months from now. Merely announcing "a date certain,"
he said, would "separate the mainstream Iraqis from the
WHY DEMOCRATS AND THE MEDIA
SHOULD STOP BEATING UP ON RALPH NADER
I advised that Ralph Nader not
run this year. It is, however, a long road from such a tactical
judgment to the sort of vilification that is currently being
hurled against him. Here are a few reasons why such excoriation
is not only obnoxious but dumb, since it will only add to the
- Ralph Nader is not the Democrats'
main problem. Their candidate and the party's policies (or lack
- Blaming others for problems
you created is a sign of a dysfunctional, self-destructive individual
badly in need of therapy. Every attack on Ralph Nader is a reminder
of the Democrats' deep denial.
- Not since segregation have
so many with so much power used it so badly, cruelly, corruptly,
and dangerously and with so little public or media criticism.
Many Democrats, including the current presidential candidate,
have participated deeply in this conspiracy of silence. Nader,
at least, has broken the major bipartisan rule for Americans
these days: shut up.
- To expect someone not to run
against the Democrats and Republicans in such a crisis is a further
sign of the arrogance that has made the two major parties so
unappealing. Twenty-five percent of voters are not Democrats
or Republicans. Are they not allowed to have opinions of their
- Nader didn't cause the defeat
of the Democrats in 2000. For example: 20% of all Democratic
voters, 12% of all self- identified liberal voters, 39% of all
women voters, 44% of all seniors, one-third of all voters earning
under $20,000 per year, 42% of those earning $20-30,000 annually,
and 31% of all voting union members cast their ballots for Bush.
Sixty-two percent of Nader's voters were Republicans, independents,
third-party voters and nonvoters. Had Nader not run, Bush would
have won by more in Florida. CNN's exit poll showed Bush at 49
percent and Gore at 47 percent, with 2 percent not voting in
a hypothetical Naderless Florida race.
- This time Nader - divorced
from the Green Party - is going after not the left but the forgotten
middle, in what may be a revival of the Perot constituency. It
is not by accident that where Nader has had to create a party
name for easier ballot access he has called it the Populist Party.
Thus Democrats who think Nader is backed only by leftist malcontents
don't understand what's going on.
- Many people who will vote for
Nader or the Greens are former Democrats who were told explicitly
and implicitly they were no longer welcomed in the party. They
see the difference between the Republican and the Democratic
parties to be slimmer than between either of these parties and
their own views. The assumption that such people are only misguided
Democrats annoys them mightily and further assures them not to
have any truck with their former party. A little more humility
and hospitality on the part of Democrats might help; treating
voters you want as prodigal sons definitely won't.
- While it is not popular in
decadent contemporary America, doing the right thing and letting
God deal with the consequences has a long history of theological
sanction. I'm personally pretty sloppy about such matters, but
I recognize morally based personal witness when I see it and
respect it, albeit vicariously. Democrats and the media assume
that it must be egotism because they have forgotten in this age
of post-modern relativism what a moral response to crisis looks
- Such responses are a fact of
life. Therefore, politicians and the media should quietly take
into account that some will make such responses and not publicly
inveigh against those who refuse to be as corrupt, wrong, and
pointless as they are.
- Scolding people is the worst
possible way to get them to vote your way. Every time the Democrats
and the liberal media scold Nader and his supporters, they solidify
- The Democrats have had four
years to appeal to the Nader constituency and have done absolutely
nothing. It's a little late now to start, but they could at least
try to be as nice to the disenchanted as they are to soccer moms
and campaign contributors. Even more radical would be to actually
come up with programs they might like.
- The worst damage to the Democratic
Party was done during the Clinton years. Since Clinton was inaugurated,
the Democrats have lost 12% of their registered voters, and lost
during his administration the largest number of seats in Congress,
the governorships, and state legislatures of any Democratic White
House incumbency since Grover Cleveland. No Democrats even mention
this, another sign of denial in dire need of treatment.
- Democratic margins have been
declining in the Senate and House since the 1960s, in the governorships
since the 1970s and in the state legislatures since the 1980s.
This is not Ralph Nader's fault.
-I wasn't even planning to vote
for Ralph Nader but you're beginning to piss me off. - SAM SMITH
NADER, THE DEMOCRATS AND THE MEDIA
SCOTT TUCKER, OPEN LETTER - In
general, I admire Smith for his resolutely independent mind and
politics, and for documenting the widening gap between democracy
and the bipartisan corporate system. Smith is correct that Nader
is pitching a "populist" campaign beyond the ranks
of already convinced left wing voters. In principle, this makes
good political sense. But not all populism is progressive-- sometimes
quite the contrary. I was troubled by Nader's opportunist "populist"
politics in the past, and put my views on the public record in
various articles and a book. I have never trusted Nader to understand
the depth and danger of fundamentalism and of cultural reaction.
His economic worldview is likewise mechanical. I have always
thought that the Green Party would be better off letting Nader
go his own way, and taking a clear partisan course of our own.
Sam Smith comes all too close
to the truth when he writes (see column below) that Nader may
be "going after the forgotten middle, in what may be a revival
of the Perot constituency." Both Smith and Nader view corporate
domination as the greatest danger to democracy. I tend to agree.
But there are some deeply reactionary currents among sectors
of the population Smith calls "the forgotten middle,"
a subject Smith tends to treat very lightly. From time to time,
Smith blames the Democratic Party for putting more focus on gays
and abortion than on jobs and the economy. In the spirit of populist
provocation, Smith also says the Democratic Party doesn't appeal
to people who own guns and Bibles. He knows, of course, that
this is not simply about duck hunting and church picnics. There
really are people who want to run the country by making the Constitution
a footnote to the Bible-- and those people are more, not less,
dangerous if they aim to do so at the point of a gun.
Smith also knows (or should by
now) that the Democratic Leadership Council has been pumping
out "populist" propaganda for decades along these very
lines, impatient with "wedge issues," and eager to
get out the straight white male voter. Whether Smith likes it
or not, this is precisely why Nader's flirtations with Buchanan,
Newman, Fulani et al are well worth noting, especially since
a movement of electoral resistance must keep very high standards.
Nevertheless, Smith is quite
right that many of Nader's critics are not serious about breaking
the stranglehold of corporate politicians on public life. Whatever
Nader's faults may be, Kerry's much deeper love affair with corporate
bosses is a much greater danger to democracy-- precisely because
Kerry is closer to actual power. On this subject Smith is persuasive.
WHY LIBERALS LOSE ELECTIONS
ONE RESULT of the Democrat's
hate campaign against Nader and his supporters is a bit more
sympathy for born-agains, hunters and others who have likewise
been expunged from membership in humanity by hyper-righteous
liberals. Here's one recent example from a sociologist at CUNY,
Harry Levine: "In the year 2000, Ralph Nader strapped political
dynamite onto himself and walked into one of the closest elections
in American history hoping to blow it up. He wanted to punish
the Clinton-Gore Democrats for having betrayed him and the causes
he believes in. His primary campaign mission was defeating Al
Gore, but Nader concealed this from his supporters, even as he
went after votes in swing states like Florida. On the day after
election day, when everyone else was grim, and many Democrats
were furious at him, Ralph Nader was a happy man."
Isn't there anyone in the Democratic
Party who understands that you don't win votes with that sort
The Democrats did not do one
thing after the 2000 debacle to improve relations with Greens
and other Nader supporters. Among the possibilities: adopting
some Green programs, avoiding holy wars against Green local candidates
such as carried out against Matt Gonzalez in San Francisco, easing
ballot access laws, and allowing fusion voting. Instead, those
who supported Nader were subjected to a steady stream of blame
and insults based on grossly incorrect assumptions.
Now Nader is running again and
this time, although he has lost considerable Green support, there
are signs he may be creating a new constituency of what might
be called the zapathetics: people who are so pissed off at both
parties that rather than staying home, they will come to the
polls to make their point.
If the two parties make such
a mess that it is hard for any self-respecting citizen to support
them, it is simply a further sign of their corrupt arrogance
for them to blame someone else for being mad about it. What possible
reason is there for someone deeply troubled by the Kerry-Bush
choice to change their mind knowing that they will be joining
those who hold them in such contempt?
While, as a matter of political
tactics, I didn't think Nader's run was a good idea (and said
so) it is grossly insulting to the principles of this county
to argue he doesn't have the right to run or that his decision
to do so akin to the act of a suicide bomber.
People who say things like that
deserve not getting every vote they lose
BELIEVE IT NOT: A NICE PIECE ABOUT NADER
KAREN CROFT, SALON - Nader really
is like a priest. He is little affected by the world he affects.
He has never been married, never had children. No one knows for
sure if he has a love life. He has never owned a car and has
lived in the same inexpensive Washington boardinghouse for many
years. "Fashion" is not a word he could define: He
has the look of a man who cuts his hair with kitchen scissors
and his idea of great bedtime reading is the Congressional Record.
His hero is baseball legend Lou Gehrig because Gehrig was a modest
man who just kept going, playing in 2,130 consecutive games.
Critics would get on Nader's
case for being a nag, for being single-minded, for not getting
certain issues. Gloria Steinem once told me that she thought
Nader never understood the women's movement. He was always more
interested in general consumer issues than feminist causes like
the Equal Rights Amendment or abortion rights. . . Henriette
Mantel, a comedy writer and actress who worked alongside me in
Nader's office for two years, says, "He's just a great man.
He's a walking, talking Jefferson Memorial, except he doesn't
have as much sex."
One hopes Nader would laugh at
this. I once asked him if he ever wanted a wife and kids, to
have a family like the one he grew up with. He said he had considered
it, but felt that he couldn't give all of himself to both family
and work, so he had made a choice.
He chose to work for us. And,
like the priest-ballplayer he is, he sits long into the night,
surrounded by mounds of paper, books and his poster of Gehrig.
When I asked via fax how he wants to be remembered, he wrote:
"For helping strengthen democracy, for making raw power
accountable and enhancing justice and the fulfillment of human
possibilities." Let the record show he has lived up to this
NADER SUPPORTERS HARASSED BY DEMOCRATS
HARTFORD COURANT, ST PETERSBURG, FL - Those who publicly have
stood by their Nader vote here have had to develop a Teflon skin
as well as an appreciation for the all-caps e-mail. After Zundmanis
sent out 700 e-mails to former Nader supporters this week reminding
of the meet up, a reply popped up in her inbox. It read, "ROT
IN HELL." Then there are the family feuds, bumper sticker
defacing and worse.
her eyes wide when she almost gleefully recounted the series
of humiliations since 2000. Worse than the verbal abuse and being
spit on, she said, was the Christmas drive when she casually
mentioned her Nader support to her Democratic mother. "I
could hear the vertebrae in her neck snap her head toward me,"
Palmer said. Her mother demanded Palmer pull the car off the
road and let her out.
Rob Lorei, news
director at the public radio station WMNF in St. Petersburg,
told his story with a more bemused tone. "We got the reputation
that somehow we were backing Nader," he said of the station,
which serves the six counties where Nader drew one-third of his
Florida support in 2000. An odd result, given there are many
more tanning salons here than alternative coffee shops. But there
is at least one distinction: In a landscape of Hooters and amusement
parks, WMNF airs Noam Chomsky lectures.
Many angry Democrats
concluded after the election that Lorei's progressive radio station
was a Nader mouthpiece and it should share the blame. Though
the station broadcast a Nader interview and hosted open call-in
shows that Nader supporters flooded to argue for their candidate,
Lorei said there was no explicit or implicit endorsement. He
points out the station offered air time to all the candidates
but only Nader and other third-party candidates took the offer.
Lorei's protests were dismissed by the callers and e-mailers
that besieged the station with hostility in the weeks and months
after the 2000 results.
DOUG IRELAND, LA WEEKLY - Nader has now jumped
into bed with the ultra-sectarian cult racket formerly known
as the New Alliance Party and its guru, Fred Newman: Ralph was
the star attraction at a January conference of "independents"
that was just a front for the Newmanite crazies. . . The New
York Times reported Nader says he'll "link up" with
existing "independent" parties in New York and elsewhere
- which can only mean the Newmanites (who control New York's
Independence Party and similar remnants of the Reform Party in
This cult is
the antithesis of every value Nader holds dear. A Maoist grouplet
in the '70s, the Newmanites morphed into supporters of Pat Buchanan
in the Hitler-coddling commentator's 2000 takeover of the Reform
Party. Newman recruits and controls his followers through a brainwashing
scheme baptized "social therapy," designed to create
blind allegiance to Newman. He has frequently dipped his rhetoric
in the poisonous blood-libel of anti-Semitism, denouncing Jews
as "storm troopers of decadent capitalism." By French-kissing
the cultists to get on the ballot, Nader has allowed himself
to be used as bait to lure the unsuspecting into the Newmanite
orbit, where they risk being sucked into the cult. That's a betrayal
of the many young people to whom Nader is still a hero. And an
acid commentary on Nader's judgment.
DOUG IRELAND, LTR TO VILLAGE VOICE - Nader quite consciously
allied himself with the odious Newmanites knowing full well who
and what they were because, having brushed off the Greens, Nader
was desperate for their help in getting himself on the ballot.
The Boston Phoenix article I cited quotes Nader's campaign manager,
Teresa Amato, as saying quite baldly that she and Ralph discussed
the Newmanites' odiferous past before he decided to join with
them. And as Ralph runs around the country putting his campaign
together, he is actively soliciting the help of Newman's network
of brainwashed illuminati. Latest example: The March 5 Austin
Chronicle reported that, on his recent visit to Texas, Nader
met with and recruited (for a role in his campaign) Linda Curtis,
longtime head of the Texas Newmanite front group.
NADER CAMPAIGN GETTING MONEY FROM BUSH
WAYNE SLATER, KNIGHT RIDDER -
Nearly 10 percent of the Nader contributors who have given him
at least $250 each have a history of supporting the Republican
president, national GOP candidates or the party, according to
computer-assisted review of financial records by The Dallas Morning
News. Among the new crop of Nader donors: actor and former Nixon
speechwriter Ben Stein, Florida frozen-food magnate Jeno Paulucci
and Pennsylvania oil company executive Terrence Jacobs. All have
strong ties to the GOP.
According to campaign finance
reports, Mr. Nader raised $930,000 through February. During the
same period, Mr. Bush had raised $158 million and Mr. Kerry $41
million. More than 24 Nader contributors of $250 or more &SHY;
about 10 percent of his total &SHY; are otherwise reliable GOP
donors, The News review found.
FROM A LETTER TO THE GREEN
PARTY STEERING COMMITTEE
Dear Friends: As you may have
seen from media appearances and public remarks, our Independent
campaign is advancing a people's agenda of social and economic
justice, protection of the environment and ending the militarization
and corporatization of our country and its policies at home and
Thus far, the campaign has drawn
people from across the political spectrum. We have received calls
from many Green Party members who want to work with Nader for
President 2004. Some Greens are also urging a draft Nader movement.
Some state parties have asked whether I would accept a ballot
line in their state. We have also received support from some
Reform and Libertarian Party members, Independents, first-time
voters and disaffected members of the two major parties.
What is developing is a true
independent coalition of voters who oppose the direction in which
our country is being taken. There are people in all parties and
no party who want to unite to take a strong stand against the
corporatist two-party duopoly that is taking the United States
downward and taking apart our domestic economy. These are people
who are saying enough is enough! They want a government that
is truly of, by and for the people.
After my letter in December to
the Steering Committee, I have been asked by individuals and
representatives of state parties as well as the Steering Committee
to respond to a number of inquiries. First, I will not intrude
on the Party's presidential selection process. As you know, I
am running as an Independent and am not seeking nor accepting
the Green Party nomination. If you do not choose a presidential
candidate in Milwaukee, I would welcome your endorsement and
have said the same to other third parties as well. And if individuals
want to work with our campaign as part of the broad Independent
coalition that is developing, we would be grateful.
Should the national Green Party
decide to endorse my candidacy and have its members focus their
efforts on state and local races, then State Green Party ballot
lines and the participation of Greens in a variety of ways would
be mutually helpful. However, having spent years helping to build
the Green Party, I do not want to be put in a position of responding
to individual state parties and thereby dividing the national
party because of state ballot requirements. So the rest is up
to your decision. With a big task ahead of us we are challenging
an entrenched corporate political system that will not relinquish
any of its power without a mobilized opposition. We need to work
synergistically. As Frederick Douglas said, "power concedes
nothing without a demand."
No matter what the National Party
decides at its convention, I intend to use the platform of my
candidacy to advance many Green values and issues and will also
encourage serious state and local Green Party candidates across
Together, in many ways, we can
expand the challenge to the corporate governments and their political
THE DEMOCRATS: OPEN UP OR
For the past four years, the
only thing the Democrats and their media enablers have had to
say about Ralph Nader is that he was to blame for their troubles.
It was an utter lie that ignored, among other things, the lack
of correlation between Nader and Gore in the polls leading to
the election. For example between August and September 2000 Gore's
average poll results rose 7.5 points but Nader's went down only
1 point. Between September and October, Gore's average went down
5.7 points and Nader's went up .8 points. At least 85% of Gore's
changes were due to something other than Nader.
The Democrat's libel is further
revealed in exit polling which showed that:
34% of union members voted for
Bush but only 3% for Nader 13% of self-described liberals voted
for Bush but only 6% for Nader 25% of gays voted for Bush but
only 4% for Nader 15% of people who voted for Clinton in 1996
voted for Bush in 2000 but only 2% for Nader. 26% of those who
voted for a Democratic candidate for governor split their ticket
to vote for Bush but only 2% for Nader. More significantly, and
totally unmentioned by either Democrats or the media, was the
role that Clinton's corruption played in the electron. Sixty
percent of votes had an unfavorable opinion of Clinton and 68%
said he would go down in history books for his scandals rather
than his achievements.
Further the party remains in
deep denial about what had happened to it during the Clinton
years. It went into the 2000 race having lost under Clinton nearly
45 seats in the House, 7 seats in the Senate, 11 governorships,
over 1200 state legislative seats, 9 state legislatures, and
over 400 Democratic officeholders who had become Republicans.
It also ran as a presidential
candidate a loyal member of the Clinton political machine which
had chalked up criminal convictions for drug trafficking, racketeering,
extortion, bribery, tax evasion, kickbacks, embezzlement, fraud,
conspiracy, fraudulent loans, illegal gifts, illegal campaign
contributions, money laundering, perjury, and obstruction of
justice yet still insisted that its only problem was about sex.
None of this mattered, however.
It was, we were constantly reminded, solely Ralph Nader's fault.
And so we come to the 2004 race
and guess what? Ralph Nader is pissed off and ready to try again.
For four years, while insisting
that Nader and the Greens had cost it the election, the Democrats
did not do one thing to insure that what they claimed was true
didn't happen again. In fact, they went out of their way to insure
that American progressives would feel as unwelcome in 2004 as
they did in 2000.
They made no common cause with
Greens on any issue.
They appointed no Greens to positions
in federal, state or local government.
They took not one step to institute
instant runoff voting which would have eliminated the problem
they complained about.
They refused to recognize that
the policy differences between conventional Democrats and Greens
was greater than between such Democrats and Republicans and failed
to respond to that reality.
They made it clear that any Green-Democratic
unity was a one way street by sending in Clinton and Gore to
help defeat a Green candidate for mayor of San Francisco and
moving immediately to redistrict the first state legislative
seat won by a Green.
This has not prevented a hideous
whining and gratuitous nastiness upon Nader's announcement that
he intends to run again. For example, Tim Russert told Nader
on Meet the Press, "I've got thousands of e-mails from people
over the last several weeks talking about you and your potential
candidacy and many of them come down to three letters, E-G-O,
ego, this is all about Ralph. He's going to be a spoiler because
of his ego. How do you respond?"
A proper response might have
been, "Gee, Tim, it sounds like I must be watching your
show too much" for in fact there is not a scintilla of evidence
that Nader's ego, robust as it may be, is any more hypertrophied
than that of the major party candidates or of the host of Meet
It quickly, however, became clear
that Russert's question was not accidental. It was soon echoed
by others in a way that signals 'talking points' - those widely
circulated, contrived clichés that pass for debate and
discourse. Thus we found Bill Richardson speaking of Nader's
run as "an act of total vanity and ego satisfaction,"
and the chair of the Florida Democratic party speaking of Nader's
'enormous ego.' In Salon, Todd Gitlin wrote, "What Nader's
decision amounts to is not logic but an exercise in monomania."
Robert Scheer in Alternet called Nader's run 'an act of pure
Even the leftwing Counterpunch
ran an article by Bruce Johnson who suggested, "If he were
driven more by principle than ego, perhaps he'd end all this
posing and weaseling and (emulating Buddhist monks in Saigon
and a Quaker on the Pentagon porch during the Vietnam war) he'd
go sit on the capitol steps, douse himself with gasoline and
exit this world of imperfect humanity in a blaze of protesting
Having followed Washington egos
for a good deal longer than most of those analyzing Nader's,
I would rate him a middlin' monomaniac easily outpaced today
by Bush, Kerry, and 72% of the White House press corps.
Nader is not the first to undergo
such an assault this season. The same technique was used effectively
against Dean who, despite being clearly one of the most accomplished,
decent, and best qualified candidates, was turned into a caricature
of inadequacy by the Democratic machine and its servile supporters
in the media. In the process, his supporters were told they weren't
wanted either and the party lost its one chance at meaningful
And when Dean was finally quashed,
what did the victors do? Here's how Frederick Foer described
it in the New Republic:
"Officially, the Kerry campaign
pledges to bring the party together and move past [the] gloating.
But some establishment Democrats both inside and outside the
Kerry campaign still intend to punish the Dean heretics. And,
while well-known politicians, such as [Al] Gore, Harkin, and
Moseley-Braun, may endure the most public abuse, the people who
may ultimately suffer explicit retribution for their Dean-boosting
are cogs in the Democratic machine . . . As one former high-ranking
Clinton administration official put it, 'Will they work again
in this town again? I hope not.'"
Thus, not only are Greens and
Naderites persona non gratis among those in control of the Democratic
Party but also Howard Dean, Tom Harkin, Al Gore, Carol Mosely
Braun and any cog who didn't pick the right candidate. Is this
politics or just another version of "Survivor?" Perhaps
the losers should immolate themselves as well.
With such attitudes, the Democrats
don't need Nader to do them in. They're doing a fine job all
by themselves, and giving plenty of voters reason to stay home
on election day.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote
one of Nader's top aides suggesting that Ralph not run. I had
just finished an article for the Green Horizon Quarterly in which
I reviewed the history of third parties in the U.S. It seemed
clear that the parties with the greatest influence had achieved
it far more through grass roots organizing than through presidential
For example the most influential
forces on left of center 20th century thinking were the Populists,
Progressives and Socialists. Only occasionally did their presidential
candidates do well: once each for Theodore Roosevelt, LaFollete
and Debs. Yet despite this weakness the parties profoundly affected
how American thought about politics right up to the Reagan counter-revolution..
The Populists only got 8% when
they ran for president but they gave us numerous reforms including
the progressive income tax. Eugene Debs got only 11% in his best
run but by World War I the Socialists had elected 70 mayors,
two members of Congress, and numerous state and local officials.
Milwaukee alone had three Socialist mayors in the last century,
including Frank Zeidler who held office for 12 years ending in
1960. As late as 1992, Karen Kubby, Socialist councilwoman, won
her re-election with the highest vote total in Iowa City history.
Other examples were state parties such as Farmer Labor and New
York's Liberals which exercised considerable power without ever
running their own candidate for president.
In my letter I argued, "My
own feeling is that while I share Ralph's annoyance at the arrogant
twerps at the Nation magazine [who had pompously urged Nader
not to try again], presidential runs are the icing on the third
party cake [and] before you can have an even partly successful
run you need far more beneath the icing than we have at present.
"I would only even think
about another run for Ralph if I felt that he had attracted a
much larger constituency than he had in 2000.
"While I understand Ralph's
moral position and think he has a perfect right to run, I come
out of the Quaker tradition where virtue tends to be blended
with pragmatism. Besides, once you decide to enter politics you
are selecting a pragmatic tool for virtue so it is a bit hard
to say that you want to be political but reject the pragmatic.
"By running for president,
Ralph is using the most undemocratic, perverted tool of the establishment
to make his point. He is, in a sense, playing right into the
hands of the establishment. I think the trick is to use your
own tools, in the manner of a guerilla, rather than to play the
most rigged game in town."
My letter had no impact at all,
but it was written not to declare the one true route to virtue
but to argue a pragmatic tactic. I'm sorry my advice wasn't taken
but Nader's choice neither shocks nor angers me. I am far more
disturbed by the disgusting reaction by some towards it, and
to an arrogance that assumes that despite the collapse of the
American republic and despite the bipartisan destruction of the
Constitution, no one is meant to stand up on the table and shout,
It doesn't really matter because
movements don't take orders - especially from those with no vested
interest in their success. The Democrats will have to live with
the vituperative behavior they have displayed towards those they
more wisely would have been sought to attract. If some Dean voters
stay home, if others join the Nader cause, and if Nader does
better than expected, the Democrats have no one to blame but
themselves. They then really will have only one choice: either
to open up or to shut up - either to welcome those they now excoriate
and exclude or have the decency to accept the consequences of
their own greed and stupidity without whining and blaming someone
else. - February 25, 2004
||| NADER, DEMOCRATS &
CINDY - Thank you!!! Much needed
commentary. I live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I was going to
be Nader Trader again in 2004, just as I was in 2000. That is,
I was going to trade my vote with a friend in another state that
was a sure win for Gore. In the 2000 election, I made a personal
agreement with a friend in Massachusetts to cast my Nader vote
there, and I cast her "Democratic Party" vote here
in Florida. Did my vote count? Still not sure, though I did examine
my ballot to ensure that all the chad were absent. (Side note:
by definition, chad is plural! I am so annoyed that the media,
and supposedly brilliant persons, keep using the word "chads"
Spell check even picks up on this.)
As you wrote, I may get pissed
and vote for Nader again, and not trade my vote, since again
Florida is a very important state in the election, and again
the Democratic Party is not paying attention to the liberal base.
I'm weary of being told to "shut up." Randi Rhodes
stated on Air America Radio, "Ralph, I agree with you, but
I can't afford you." So long as the Democratic Party puts
up pseudo-liberals, I just don't think I can afford my conscience
to vote for them. But, Kerry has seven long, long months to change
my mind. I hope he does.
BILL TOWER, WORCESTER MA - Your
April 7 piece on Nader bashing is the best thing I've read on
the subject. So many times, upon hearing the whine of the Democratic
establishment siren, I find myself unable to do anything more
than sputter incoherently at the monumental idiocy of the anti-Nader
"arguments". Thanks for giving voice to my own exasperation.
RICHARD L FRANKLIN - Kudos to
you for taking the anti-Nader attack dogs to task. Ralph Nader,
as the founder of over 50 progressive organizations that have
given incalculable service to the American people, as the man
who has literally saved millions of lives over the years with
his books, political agitating, and Nader's Raiders, as the one
lonely and brave voice speaking up and demanding the impeachment
of Bush, is the person who surely rates as American's greatest
When Progressive Magazine began
attacking Nader as some kind of numbskull who doesn't understand
what he's doing, [the] "Progressive" lost its credentials
as a voice for American progressivism. Although I had nine months
remaining on my subscription, I cancelled it and advised that
so-called progressive rag to send what they owe me to Ralph Nader's
I will be voting for Ralph Nader,
since I cannot morally or psychologically abide choosing the
less vile of two Bonesmen hawks. On the evening of November 2,
I will relax with some good wine, an enjoyable film, and an absolutely
clear conscience. I wonder how many heartfelt progressives voting
for the flip side of the same counterfeit coin will feel as content
and peaceful as I do on that evening.
JERMEY, ROCKLAND CTY, NY - I
just wanted to thank Sam Smith for his editorial in defense of
Ralph Nader. I am too, sick of the Democrats bashing Ralph Nader
out of their own faults and mistakes. Mr. Smith's words were
a breath of fresh air for me.
JIM RIDGEWAY ON RALPH NADER
JAMES RIDGEWAY, VILLAGE VOICE
- Somewhat surprising, on the surface, are the lefties huffing
and puffing about what a horrible thing Nader has done to them.
But they ought to remember that the left, especially the New
Left, never cared for Nader. He actually comes out of the conservative,
small-town, family-values world that politicians love to talk
about. Nader has this in common with Edwards, another lawyer
with whom he shows some affinity, and Kucinich. Nader always
has been attacked on the left as just another liberal because
he put his faith in the court system as a civilized way to seek
fairness and equality. Not only did Nader not run around making
bombs and yelling at the cops during the 1960s, he -unlike a
good number of the former lefty leaders- has not changed his
course one iota. The Republican political strategists apparently
believe that the election could be decided by the base supporters
of both parties. If the Democratic candidates want to lose more
of their base than they already have, then they should go ahead
and attack Nader for being a spoiler.
DEPARTMENT OF SILLY TALK
[Add this to another published
suggestion - that Nader immolate himself - and you get some idea
of the level of psychotic denial abroad in the liberal camp]
HENDRIK HERTZBERG - More than
any other single person, Ralph Nader is responsible for the fact
that George W. Bush is President of the United States. Nader
is more responsible than Al Gore, who, in 2000, put himself in
the clear by persuading more of his fellow-citizens to vote for
him than for anybody else, which normallyin thirty-nine
of the forty-two previous Presidential elections, or ninety-three
per centhad been considered adequate to fulfill the candidate's
electoral duty. Nader is more responsible than George W. Bush,
whose alibi complements Gore's: by attracting fewer votes, both
nationally and (according to the preponderance of scientific
opinion) in Florida, Bush absolved himself of guilt for his own
elevation. A post-election rogues' galleryJeb Bush, James
Baker, Katherine Harris, William Rehnquist and four of his Supreme
Court colleagueshelped, each rogue in his or her own way,
but no single one of them could have pulled off the heist without
the help of the others. Nader was sufficient unto himself.
JAMES RIDGEWAY, VILLAGE VOICE - If the DLC wonks, unimaginative leftists,
and others devoted to the "Beat Bush" agenda can manage
to stop gnashing their teeth over Ralph Nader's "betrayal"
long enough to really think about it, they might just find that
the consumer advocate's candidacy can help, rather than hurt,
their cause. As a practical matter, until Nader gets on the ballot,
his independent bid for the presidency doesn't have much potential
to affect those all-important electoral votes. . . From both
within and outside a presidential run, Nader has the ability
to push issues into the limelight when they are ignored by other
politicians. For example: Universal health care has been spearheaded
by the Nader groups since Hillary Clinton made her famous flop.
Likewise corporate crimeit was the Nader groups in Washington
and their allies in California who were most responsible for
exposing Enron. It wasn't anybody in the Democratic Party, that's
Somewhat more surprising, on
the surface, are the lefties huffing and puffing about what a
horrible thing Nader has done to them. But they ought to remember
that the left, especially the New Left, never cared for Nader.
He actually comes out of the conservative, small-town, family-values
world that politicians love to talk about. Nader has this in
common with Edwards, another lawyer with whom he shows some affinity,
and Kucinich.... The Republican political strategists apparently
believe that the election could be decided by the base supporters
of both parties. If the Democratic candidates want to lose more
of their base than they already have, then they should go ahead
and attack Nader for being a spoiler.
DOUG IRELAND, LA WEEKLY - I wrote columns in support of Nader's
2000 candidacy, and I was one of just two dozen hardy writers
and intellectuals who signed a New York Times ad supporting him
in 1996, as my personal protest against the Clintons' destruction
of the New Deal legacy and the endless Clintonian corruptions.
But the political context this year is dramatically different.
Four years ago, there was a genuine
progressive base for a protest candidacy, and the similarities
in the positions taken by Gush and Bore were quite striking.
Today, the rank-and-filers of disparate American progressivism
are unanimous in their perception of Bush as the most dangerous
president of our lifetime, one whose radical reactionary governance
has given the lie to his infinitely more moderate 2000 promises
of "compassion." Nader is tone-deaf to the fact that
his audience has already left the theater. And John Kerry, for
all his flaws, is far from an enforcer for reaction. Nader himself
has already conceded this point: he said "yes" when
asked by Tim Russert if there would be a significant difference
between another Bush administration and a Democratic one. He
made it explicit the next day on MSNBC, admitting to Chris Matthews
that " Kerry and Edwards would certainly be much better
THE ONLY NON-HYSTERICAL STORY ABOUT NADER
JOSHUA WEINSTEIN, PORTLAND PRESS
HERALD, ME - Ralph Nader's decision to run for president could
reverberate in the Maine Green Party, even though the party's
2000 candidate said Sunday he is running as an independent. In
fact, there is a chance he could show up as the Green nominee
on Maine's ballot in November.
Greens in this state had different
reactions to Nader's candidacy Sunday, with some saying they
wish he were running as a Green and others saying not only should
Nader not run as a Green, but the party itself should not offer
a presidential candidate at all...
State Rep. John Eder, who represents
Portland and is the only Green legislator in the nation, said
he will not vote for a Green for president this year, because
"people are pretty unified in their feeling that we have
to get rid of (President) Bush. And who can argue with that?
Eder said he will vote for the
Democratic nominee this time. He said the party would be better
off focusing on local, rather than national elections this year.
"This is where we're making the most inroads," he said.
Ben Meiklejohn, the party's Maine
co-chairman and a member of the Portland School Committee, said
Nader's announcement "is actually causing a bit of debate."...
Julian Holmes, a retired physicist
who lives in Wayne, switched from Green to Democrat in order
to vote for Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, but is excited about Nader's
candidacy. He plans to switch back to Green and vote for Nader.
Pat Lamarche, who ran as a Green
Independent for governor in 1996 and received 7 percent of the
vote, said she does not think the party should field a presidential
candidate this year &SHY; not Nader, not anyone. "It's of
absolute, utmost importance that George Bush is not re-elected,"
she said. She does not want Democrats to be able to say that
a Green was a spoiler this time around, drawing votes away from
anyone who opposes the president. Nancy Allen, a national spokeswoman
for the party and a Maine resident, said she "was personally
extremely disappointed that he decided not to seek the Green
BECAUSE OF THE CONTINUED SLANDER
OF RALPH NADER by Democrats
in deep denial, we went back and looked at the actual poll results
in the last months of the 2000 campaign. The chart above shows
the change in the average poll percentage from month to month.
You will note that except between July and August during a period
of minimal change, there was no correlation between Bush's percentage
change and that of Nader.
NADER CLAIMS HIS RUN WOULD BENEFIT DEMOCRATS
MICHAEL JANOFSKY, NY TIMES -
Three years after the election in which Democrats say he cost
Al Gore the White House, Ralph Nader is considering another campaign,
and says he will decide shortly. At this point, Mr. Nader said
in an interview this week, a run depends only on his ability
to collect enough money and volunteers to mount a credible effort.
Otherwise, he said, he has a zillion reasons to go ahead - including,
he insists, that doing so would be good for the Democrats. "But
you've got to have money, and you've got to have volunteers,"
he said, though declining to specify the levels he would need
of each. "The verdict is still out, but I'll decide by the
end of the month.". . .
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. At least that
is the rationale he offered in recent talks with Democratic leaders,
including the party's national chairman, Terry McAuliffe; the
Senate minority leader, Tom Daschle of South Dakota; and the
House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi of California. "They
were very polite," Mr. Nader said. "They listened.
They were clearly receptive to the spillover vote."
But while they did not tell him
outright not to run, he said, they remained "seized by the
inaccurate zero-sum mentality" of a presidential field of
just two candidates. He called that a limiting dynamic that forced
Democrats to hew to the center rather than "expand the electorate
with electrifying issues."
WHY I'M VOTING FOR NADER
Sam Smith, 2000
- Too many Democrats these days
are just pro-choice Republicans.
- Third parties move politics
in their direction even when they don't win. The Green Party
already has; that's why Gore is pretending to be a populist.
- If it only takes Al Gore two
weeks to become a populist, he could become a right-wing nut
- I don't think a guy who grew
up ordering breakfast from room service would make that good
a populist, anyway.
- While Clinton will be gone
in January, all those people who have been covering up for him
will still be around. I'm tired of hearing Joe Conasan, Lannie
Davis, and Eleanor Clift making lame excuses for corrupt Democrats.
- If I vote Democratic I'm afraid
I might be liable under the RICO anti-racketeering statutes.
- I voted for Clinton in 1992
which proves my prescience isn't so hot. This time I'm going
to trust my conscience instead.
- Nader hasn't lied to me. No
major candidate can make that claim.
- Nader has done more good for
America than Gore, Bush, Cheney, and Lieberman put together.
- Nader isn't afraid to debate
Gore and Bush, but they're afraid to debate him.
- Nader promises he'll end the
drug war. Gore and Bush only promise they've ended their drug
- Nader is the only one of the
three who supports public campaign financing, proportional representation,
national health care, and an end to the death penalty.
- Nader is the only one of the
three who seems truly concerned about the planet, our democracy,
and the constitution.
- I think the planet, democracy,
and the constitution are at least as important issues as abortion.
- If President Gore says we're
in a crisis, how can I tell he's not just exaggerating again?
- Pro-Gore commentators keep
saying that third parties are ineffective, unimportant, and meaningless.
In fact, while third party candidates often lose, their i programs
often win. From the Populist Party, for example, the Democrats
stole the ideas of a graduated income tax, direct election of
the Senate, civil service reform, pensions, and the eight hour
workday. Not a bad list of accomplishments for a party that got
just 8.5% of the vote in its only national race.
- Clinton and Gore spoiled the
Democratic Party long before Nader decided to run. More major
Democratic officeholders lost their posts or switched to the
GOP under Clinton and Gore than during any Democratic administration
since Graver Cleveland.
-. I'm not worried about wasting
my vote. I wasted my vote on Stevenson, Muskie, Mondale, and
Dukakis. In 1992,1 really wasted my vote by voting for Clinton.
I can't do any worse than that.
- The Clinton-Gore administration
has had the most number of convictions of, and guilty pleas by,
those close to it; the most number of cabinet officials to come
under criminal investigation; the most number of witnesses to
flee country or refuse to testify; and the greatest amount of
illegal campaign contributions.
- There have been 47 individuals
and businesses connected with the Clinton machine who have been
convicted or pled guilty to such things as drug trafficking,
racketeering, extortion, bribery, tax evasion, kickbacks, embezzlement,
fraud, conspiracy, fraudulent loans, illegal gifts, illegal campaign
contributions, money laundering, perjury, and obstruction of
justice. And those are just the ones who got caught.
-. My parents told me to stay
away from people like that.
- For eight years the Democrats
have ignored, discounted, and dissed progressives like me. Now
they say it's essential for us to vote for Gore. If they want
us so badly in November, why weren't they nicer to us in May?
- The Clinton-Gore people get
mean when they think.
- How can we expect politicians
to follow their conscience if we don't set a good example?
- If you always do what you've
always done, then you'll always get what you've always got. I'm
going to try something different