Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Oh Ralph. Will you ever not lose?

Poor Ralph Nader, the Linux of politics. I'd be shocked if he came out victorious in a game of checkers. He loses more than just elections. He also gets beat up by 97.3% of this nation's voters and pundits at every opportunity. This week, his publicist announced that the Ralph Man is starting to raise money to start thinking about considering running for the White House next year. (Full article here, via Paul Bruno via Kevin Drumm, but you hafta register and activate your account with your email and give out your address. Way to be a pain in the ass, LA Times. Pfffttt.)

In short, Dems who feel Nader "robbed" the election from Al are yet again devising unflattering terms and vitriol to the Man in Gray. They fear once more that he will prevent a Democratic victory by giving uber-liberals an alternative to Dean/Kerry/Clark/Gephart/InsertInoffensiveDemocraticCandidateHere in November. The phrase "handing Bush a victory" is undoubtedly waiting in the bullpin along with the cute monikers "thief" and "spoiler" and "stupid Green poopy pants."

I'm registered Green, I've voted Green at every opportunity, and I've even given $11 to the party during my lifetime, so my personal insight into the matter may be appreciated here.

First, I don't buy the Green argument that Democrats are just as bad as Republicans. Democrats, or at least certain ones, have proven to be just as nefarious as our friends at the GOP at accepting lobby money, supporting war, destroying Welfare, supporting vouchers, supporting the death penalty, not standing up for gay rights, etc. But the good portion of Democrats only participate in these un-liberal tactics in a watered-down form (accepting less lobby money; supporting war, then changing their minds; supporting "civil unions;" etc.). And some Democrats, like Dennis Kucinich, refuse to water down a thing. I think the current House and Senate Dems have been decidedly aquiescent to Bush's Hate Machine. I can only attribute this trend to the desire for reelection in an increasingly conservative environment.

But back to Nader. No, the average Dem is not just as bad as the average GOPpy. I can respectfully disagree with Ralph on that one, and I'm sure he won't harbor any hard feelings. He's cool like that.

But back to Nader. Nobody can make you vote for Nader. Nobody in Florida was forced to vote for Nader. Those voters could have cast their ballots for Gore or Bush or Buchanan (ha ha) if they had so chosen. So the idea of Nader "stealing" votes is ridiculous. Would those Nader voters have voted for Gore had Nader not run? Probably. Some of them wouldn't have voted at all, but the vast vast vast majority of them would have probably voted Democratic in 2000, and Gore would be in the White House right now. (If Pat Buchanan hadn't run, Bush would have been elected without any controversy at all.) So why not "blame" the voters instead of casting Ralph Nader as a hateful jerkface who hates Democrats and is a big jerk and wants to make life Hell for liberals? If Nader were really that persuasive a public figure, he'd have gotten enough votes to be in the debates.

But back to Nader. (Boy, if I got a nickel for every time I used the word "Nader" in this damn post...) I personally don't think a Nader presidential campaign will accomplish anything this upcoming election, except to engender a little more bitterness all around, and to give disgruntled liberals like myself who live in states that are so far Democratic or so far Republican that the Green vote won't matter thanks to the asonine Electoral College someone for whom to vote in good faith. I also believe that a strongish third party will help keep the two big parties on their toes.

Having Bush around for another four years will be tenfold more destrucive to this nation and this planet than will having a three-quarter-assed liberal like Gephart leading the Free World. The chances of another Bush term are increased if Nader runs. But when it comes down to it, a Democrat victory is in the hands of the Democrats and in the hands of the voters, not in the hands of one skinny unenigmatic man with a lazy eye.


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