Monday, February 23, 2004
Nader for Non-President
At VoteNader.org .
I'll be blunt. Ralph's run for the Roses in 2004 is very problematic to just about any Green. We had to spend one year convincing people to vote for him, had to spend the next three explaining to people why a vote for Nader wasn't a vote for Bush, and then will probably spend all of 2004 explaining why not to vote for Nader.
So what do we write up 2004 to? Ego, or madness?
You have to admit, if you're looking at a resume -- and Kerry is indeed the all-resume candidate -- Nader is the way to go. I mean, where do you start? Where do you stop ? Consumer advocate? Author? Investigator? Reformer? If any senator had accomplished a fourth of what Nader has accomplished in his long and varied life, we'd be speaking of the man as presidential timber.
And now, Nader is on the campaign trail again. Oddly enough, no one complained about his being a Green in 1996, when he took about 1% of the nationwide vote. The complaints didn't start until 2000, when Nader had enough support to be taken more seriously.
I've come to this conclusion: Nader is a man in favor of the "Young King Stork" strategy. This is from an old fable about how the frogs were clamoring for a king. Zeus sent the frogs a log as a king. The frogs were unhappy. Furious, Zeus sent a stork. The stork proceeded to eat the frogs. Be careful what you wish for.
If I were asked to read Nader's mind, I'd come to one of two conclusions. The first is that Nader has the perception that the Democratic Party has, in essence, betrayed progressive values. It's a hard argument to shake with the ascendancy of the pro-business "New Democrats", of whom include Kerry, Edwards, Lieberman, Gephart, Hillary Clinton, and probably Bill Clinton and Wesley Clark. The only Dems not in that list were Dean and Kucinich.
The second conclusion I'd come to is that Nader thinks the Democrats won't fight. When you look at the track record of Gephart in the House and Daschle in the Senate, it's not surprising that he came to that conclusion. The rise of John Kerry probably has confirmed that thought.
Therefore, Nader concludes that things have to get worse before they get better. He believes that the Democratic Party has two options. Either it goes to the left and begins representing the values of working people, or it will be destroyed by the movement that Nader hopes to lead as Nader hopes to shave enough votes away form the Democrats to deny them elections.
And Bush running the country between 2004 and 2008? Well, another Bush presidency will galvanize progressives. In Nader's eyes, the country needs to be shaken down to its roots, stripped apart by Bush before America finally wakes up.
As a Green, that price is too high to pay. Bush has already done enough damage, and we do not need Bush for four more years in the White House. Will Kerry start the healing? PLEASE. The man is up to his expansive forehead in hock to special interests. But at least he won't do damage at the rate that Bush is doing it. And allowing George Bush to be put in the White House is like giving a pyromanic the keys to the gasoline refinery.
However, Ralph is on a crusade. He is literally the man who would rather be right than be president. He hopes to bring a new army of true believers behind him, a group of people whose purity of motives cannot be swayed by appeals to compromise.
It will be a great movement -- if Bush allows it to survive. Which he will not. Ralph either thinks that Bush is merely a caretaker of corporate influence and not a reactionary advocate, or he knows it and frankly, doesn't care. You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, as Ralph would say. Or perhaps, you can't make a Progressive Paradise without letting America go to the dogs. Personally, I'd rather not see my country ripped apart, so I guess that makes me too ideologically impure to join Ralph's crusade.
Indeed, Bush's pseudo-democracy might be one of the greatest dangers to world civilization since the end of World War II. Bush's presidency is not about the expansion of democracy, it is about the dismantling of democracy. It is about voter fraud. It is about fixed voting machines. It is about the piecemeal sale of the country to the corporations. It is about contempt for international obligations, indeed, about contempt for moral obligations. It is about the rule of lies. It is about living under a state of permanent emergency. It is about the establishment of a state religion. It is about perpetual warfare.
Bush has already turned his spyware on Greens and on progressive moments outside of the Democratic Party. Imagine what George Bush would do with a real mandate. You'd never see a Democratic president elected again, not in your lifetime. Soon, the Republicans wouldn't even have to pretend. They'd just Diebold the voting machines, finally take control over the mass media and you would finally have your one-party state, like Mexico. The Democrats would exist only as a thoroughly tamed political party, a party of Joe Liebermans and Michael Dukakises. Hell, they're halfway there now. Just look at them.
Bush is the candidate that the hard right has been looking for for years; they've been looking for him ever since Richard Nixon. The only democracy they want -- or need -- is one in their hands, wholly owned.
I would feel better if the Democrats spoke out more on these issues. Unfortunately, I'm going to make a third prediction for all of us. Ralph Nader will have more interesting and more relevant things to say about the state of America than John Kerry will. All Kerry has going for him is that he's not George Bush. And somehow, he's going to have to defeat both Nader AND Bush. If you ever prayed before, I suggest you start praying now.
posted by Green Voicemail 2/23/2004 01:35:00 PM
State of the Blogging
Ah, where to start. No serious updates in about two weeks now. What's going on?
Well, blogging is what you plan to do, then you have other plans. There's work, there's the online game, the online fandom, the wife, everything that falls into place and I do my best to keep everything strictly fragmented. So I don't know if Green Voicemail is going to survive. We'll just keep throwing stuff up here and see if anyone happens to notice it.
posted by Green Voicemail 2/23/2004 12:55:00 PM