Monday, February 19, 2007

Get yer' Ralph Nader bashing here!

Over the last month or so there has been grumbling about Ralph Nader from a diverse group of liberal bloggers. Most recently at TAPPED in reaction to the movie "An Unreasonable Man".

One argument by Nader supporters (frequently found in comments to Nader-themed posts) is this:
Don't blame Ralph. Everyone is entitled to run for office and your ire should be directed at those who cast votes for Nader, if anyone.
Which says, in effect, that we're all adults, the major parties shouldn't have a monopoly, that in every election a lot of minor candidates run, people deserve what they get in a democracy, etc.

All true. But those voters who did pull the lever for Nader were, unfortunately, not acting with a clear understanding of the situation. Why?
Because Ralph Nader, trading on his reputation for integrity, lied to the electorate when he said there was no difference between Democrats and Republicans.
You can argue about how much difference. (This blogger thinks it was, and remains, enormous.) But many, many of those who voted for Nader believed what he told them was true. And they acted accordingly. And now we've had Bush and all the consequences that followed.

That's the charge: Nader lied, people ___________ (fill in the blank).


More accurately: in the 2000 Presidential Election, there wasn't much apparent difference between the two campaigns. Gore was running away from Clinton and global warming and his running mate is not even a Democrat anymore. Bush was against nation-building and "living" in an ecologically advanced ranch.

Not many people knew the extent to which Bush was going to go all WWIII or that Gore could make a Powerpoint presentation interesting.

So, in fairness, Nader was presenting the superficial view as fact, not lying. Obviously, we'd all be a lot better off if he had just worked to get Gore elected, but about 17% of Americans are feeling like that right now, too.

By Anonymous Occulize, at 2/19/2007 10:44 AM  

I just saw Nader last week on The Daily Show pimping this movie, and he's still telling the same lie. He's still saying Democrats are equally as beholden to corporations as Republicans. I agree with occulize's statements that both campaigns were trending toward the same appearance, but I think it's been widely accepted as a mistake. Gore certainly changed his tune after the election (well, after he came out of hiding).

Nader's statements can only be considered lies now, especially now. He's a dangerous man. I will probably agree more with his stance on issues than the person who comes out of the Dem primary (unless it's *preferred candidate redacted because it's off-point*), but he will only drain votes away from libs, and we just can't afford him now.

By Anonymous PseudoNoise, at 2/19/2007 11:26 AM  

Shoot, I forgot to add:

Something that really bugged me about his appearance is the applause line, "Well, everyone knows that Gore won the election and Bush stole it." It's crass pandering, because everything he's saying about and around that point is still "but they're still exactly the same". I don't know why, but that really bothered me--like he's innoculating himself from blame.

By Anonymous PseudoNoise, at 2/19/2007 11:27 AM  

occulize wrote, Not many people knew the extent to which Bush was going to go all WWIII...

I agree that at the time of Election 2000, it would have been difficult to come up with a reasoned prediction that Bush would want to invade Iraq and then conduct the very nation building he was eschewing at the time.

On the other hand, there was quite a bit of evidence in hand that Bush would be an extremely right-wing president who would harm the nation. Which is why I, for one, voted Gore and not Nader.

To make matters worse, Nader has, at least from time to time, persisted in his "not a dime worth of difference" fantasy even after the invasion of Iraq.

Don't get me wrong---there's a lot to dislike about the Democrats. (My main problem is that the people holding the real power in the party aren't very liberal; years ago, they would have been described as somewhat right-of-center, until the "center" got moved to the right of Attila the Hun.) But compared to the Republicans, who really are proto-fascists, they're wonderful.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/19/2007 1:12 PM  

pseudonoise wrote, He's still saying Democrats are equally as beholden to corporations as Republicans.

I agree that Republicans are more beholden to corporations than the Democrats are, but that (very broad) issue is one of those which has the least sunlight separating the two parties.

The real problem with Nader, IMHO, is that he appears to think that the problem of excess corporate power is the only serious problem in America, overlooking things like neoconservative imperial overstretch, reproductive rights, issues of economic inequality and lack of opportunity not really connected to corporate power, freedom from the establishment of religion, freedom from government invasions of privacy, etc etc etc.

A lot of people ruin their reputation before they pass from this world. Nader's one of them.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/19/2007 1:16 PM  

Blaming a man like Nader for the sum total of the past 6+ years of events on Earth is useless to say the least. Nader did contribute to the loss of the Gore-Lieberman ticket, but to place it fully or by a majority on him is asinine.

Put it this way, a substantial part American public was then and still is having ongoing questions about teaching evolution, sex ed and birth control, anthropically driven global warming, gay people as parents, and a whole host of things similar. The problems people want to link back to the election of 2000 fall more squarely on the general populace. Even with Lieberman on the ticket, the election should not have been close if there was some resemblence of an informed and thinking public.

Overall, I think it is a little too convenient to say without the Nader campaign things would have been better. Pretty much every adult in the United States in their own way contributed to what we have today, and using Nader as a focal point takes a lot of people off the hook making the real changes needed to correct the course this nation is on currently. If Nader had ruined the Democratic chances in 2000, then I wonder how it was that they lost again 4 years later. In four years George and Dick demonstrated they were about the worse pairing for their jobs. Election rigging possibilities aside, tens of millions chose Republican ticket in 2004. That is the problem more then one man's campaign.

By Anonymous Dr William Dyer, at 2/19/2007 1:27 PM  

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