Thursday, June 12, 2008

Nader Hater v. Naderite

This entry is from an e-mail convo I had with someone I know that I will keep anonymous. I thought it was a stimulating enough diaogue to put on to the blog. It also seems relevant as we start getting into the meet of the '08 elections.


Ok, all you Nader lovers, heres an article arguing that Ralph changed the Democratic party by blocking Al Gore and that we have him to thank for Obama's rise. It can be summed up as follows: "it's becoming ever clearer that by playing the third-party spoiler, Nader won the argument about the future of the Democratic Party."
This may be true, Nader pushed the Democrats to the left, I just wonder if it was worth mortgaging the nation's future given the disaster of the past 8 years (Ashcroft, Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, John Bolton, Gonzales, Cheney, Clear Skies initiative, the further depletion of the EPA, rejection of Kyoto, tax cuts, tort reform, gay marriage, Alito & Roberts, our new buddy Musharraf, gas prices, global warming denial, etc., etc.). So you will forgive me if I forget to thank Nader for all that he has done to move the party left.
Ok, thats my rant for this morning.

As a "Naderite" let me just say that:

1. Al Gore ran a bad campaign... against a village idiot! Had Al not acted like Gorebot, had Al distanced himself from the corporate Dems, had Al brought up the environment as a major issue he wouldn't have had to worry about Ralphy. He also wouldn't have had to worry about Nader if he had destroyed George in the debates.
Cookie-cutter moderate Dems turned off the left. Abandoned the left in truth. Those swing voters were more important than a good chunk of the Dem base. Al and his peeps are to blame for the '00 loss. I blame like minded Dems for '04 as well. That, and voting "irregularities".

2. No one imagined the insane amount of power that came to Bush post 9/11. with that power (partially bestowed on him by many Dems) and with the blind support of an enraged country he was able to do most of the evil things that you listed. If not for 9/11 it would have been four and out and the executive branch would not have been able to do whatever it is they wanted. Neither Naderites nor Goresters(?) could have predicted 9/11 or what came after.

3. I told (a friend) in the summer of '00 that it was going to have to get worse before it got better. A lot more green campaigns out there now that the weather is getting crazy and a lot more political involvement from the people now that unemployment, gas prices, and an ongoing war are taking their toll. The golden cage can be a pretty cool place. Why change when it feels so good? Was it better under Slick Willy and his buddies at the DLC than under Bush? God yes! But were those guys in blue really a solution to inequality, social injustice, globalized militarism, or environmental degradation? No. They were just nicer about it. Dems offered the scenic route to hell. Republicans offered the express lane.
Now, there is a guy responding to the whole enchilada who says "'We' must be a part of change, together." And all this is why Nader will not be a factor for Obama in '08.

Ok, so Gore ran a bad campaign, true. I also agree that the Clinton way was not the best way, by a long shot. And maybe no one "imagined" the power Bush would get after "fear itself" became popular (again). Nevertheless, Bush's opportunity was handed to him, in small part, by Nader and other "disaffected Dems."
As for the "worse before it gets better" part of it all, that may not have depended entirely on Gore/Bush. The warmer weather, 9/11, and so much more, was likely to happen regardless of who was president. Leadership on these issues may have been a crucial first step toward a better result. I think Gore would have been a better leader than Bush, but thats just my opinion.
Finally, I think that Nader played a dangerous game that can be boiled down to this: I will risk the immediate future (Gore's election) for a chance at a better tomorrow (liberalism triumphant!). Well, ok, fair enough. But I think that it put us all at risk by placing policy before what was best for the country. Nader wasn't going to win. Gore might have won without Nader's campaign. So, maybe Nader got a little of what he wanted: the Dems pulled to the left. What did the rest of us get? Oh yeah, 8 years of insanity and damage that cannot be undone in the next 8. Nader rolled the dice; the nation lost.
Apples to oranges, I suppose.


Hindsight is always 20/20 isn't it? Yes, gore would have been better than the worst prez ever. As my pa likes to say "Our dog would be better than Bush!" As for the office being "handed to him" in part by guys like me? I still don't buy it. The way I see it is my party left me. I didn't leave my party. Granted, some might argue that's a convenient absolution for my guilty soul but... NAFTA: Bad. Salvage-Rider: Bad. 3 strikes and your out: Bad. And let’s not forget that bill could have signed Kyoto before bailing out of office but I guess he had his pardons to take care of.

See, lefties saw that the Dems had sold out, starting as early as 1984 really when Mondale’s defeat signaled the end of liberal populism. Dems track record over the last 20 years to stand up for their principles is pretty pathetic. Spineless really. Just look at their part in the Iran-Contra Affair.
I was raised blue. I thought the red to be in league with the devil! I never wanted to see them win any election so you gotta understand that my Nader support was in reaction to a failing (and flailing) party that I had been taught to love.
So I would argue that the mainstream Dems bet on being moderate and the nation lost. As (Howard) Dean pointed out: Dems thought the key to Willy's success was that he was a moderate but the truth was that he was “Slick Willy”, Mr. Charisma. It was more about his saxamaphone than his policies that made him a 2 term prez. Obama is proving the power of charisma over policy right now. Just ask Hill.

And that statement to (my friend)? Well, it was about the whole shibango, not just the seat of power. And again, Gore would have done better than Bush.
But back to the chicken vs egg… Who came first?
Nader and the lefties went green as a reaction to the Dems. I would have never voted as I did if my party wouldn't have sold me out. True, they did o.k. with the economy (unless your job went overseas). They did fine with the environment (unless you hate clear cuts and SUVs).
I say: Dems rolled the dice and the nation lost. My apple to your orange. Nader was just a product of the Dem's betting on being moderate/corporate. Rather than get the tree huggin hippies re energized they bet on those "independent" voters. You know the type: fiscally conservative, socially liberal. Dems also bet on corporate America. They lost it for us and I ain't taken the blame. Maybe the Clinton funded, militarized police force herding me with rubber bullets, batons, and tear gas while I was peacefully assembled with my fellow citizens engaging in free speech left me a bit sour. What can I say?


Blogger spasticfreakshow said...

interesting discussion. i think i'm going to keep on throwing my vote to the spoiler parties. the u.s. is not a democratic state today and i can't imagine who's going to save the day by bringing democracy to the u.s. except woken up americans. since i despise nader, you've just persuaded me to vote brian moore!

(just kidding)

7:14 AM  

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