Monday, February 25, 2008

Bastard of the Day

Damn it, Ralph Nader, do not screw up another election for the Democratic Party. Running a hopeless campaign for president is not the way to spark debate. Siphoning just enough Democrats over to your side so that the conservatives who have been destroying this country can steal another victory is not taking the high ground, no matter how pure your motives.

I agree with many of Marty Kaplan's thoughts about Nader's candidacy:

But despite Nader's wishful thinking, we don't have a parliamentary system. Any votes he attracts will be drained from the Democratic nominee and conceivably cost an Electoral College victory; they will not result in a new government being forced to enter into a coalition with his supporters. Nor, I think, will his presence in the race reframe the issues, refocus the choices, or push the envelope of the campaign...

What troubles me, though, and what his bid throws a spotlight on, is how hard it is for anyone in America to shape the national conversation on anything. One way or another, it takes big money -- the fortune to run for office, the cash to buy full-page ads in newspapers, the bankroll to own a network, the marketing budget to create a celebrity's star power.

Nader's ideas aren't bad; I agree with many of them. Like Kaplan, I wish we could debate Nader's "issues like single-payer health insurance, labor law reform, Pentagon waste, corporate crime, 'the illegal occupation of Palestine,' and impeachment."

But Barack Obama reminded me that Nader went a little too far in 2000: "He thought that there was no difference between Al Gore and George Bush, and eight years later I think people realize that Ralph did not know what he was talking about."

Had I been blogging in 2000, I don't think I would have called Nader a bastard before the election. Gore seemed likely to win anyway, so I didn't mind Nader and the Greens trying to draw attention to some issues. I could not imagine there were enough dolts in the United States to elect someone as obviously unqualified as George W. Bush. Of course, I was wrong.

Being much more politically involved and astute now, I don't want to see a replay of 2000 this November. That's why I'm calling Nader a bastard at the first opportunity. And if he doesn't go away, I'll probably do it again.

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