June 23, 2004


Ralph Nader tried to explain to the Congressional Black Caucus what the hell he's doing in the presidential race ... and it didn't go so well.

Apparently, his explanation is that "he will help elect presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry in November by splitting the conservative vote and siphoning support from President Bush."

In what world does that make sense? Which conservatives are gonna say, "You know I was gonna vote for Bush because I'm a pro-life supporter of the war in Iraq, but now that Nader's involved I just gotta make sure that whacko liberal doesn't get elected. Count me in John Kerry!"

Ralph Nader, I invite you to explain yourself at your earliest convenience.


Gwynneth said...

Until I started to read your blogs, I didn't know you were this liberal. It isn't a bad thing...just an observation

goldman said...

You are a coward, Ralph Nader! Sending my brother's girlfriend to defend you instead of showing up in person.

So, there certainly are conservatives who won't vote for Bush. Those upset about the deficit, libertarians who don't like his social policy, veterans upset about the treatment of the rank and file.

However, none of those groups are more likely to vote for Nader than they are for Kerry. None!

If you're a libertarian, who believes that government should be as small as possible, why would you vote for a Green? Let alone Ralph Nader who really doesn't like the idea of you driving SUVs anymore.

It's like Stalin up and deciding to privatize the USSR.

And, yeah, I did compare libertarians to Stalin.

Dgcopter said...

Careful there, bro. Yer gettin' awfully close to Godwin's Law.

goldman said...

Nice! Godwin's Law came up at lunch yesterday but no one could remember the name. God bless you Wikipedia!

And fuck you, Ralph Nader. Fuck you in your stupid asses.

If your ego trip of a candidacy gives us another 4 years of Bush - another 4 years in which the man doesn't even need to worry about being re-eleected - you're worse than the Nazis.

That's right! I said it.

You're, like, Nazis+. Or is it -.

Anyway, your refusal to own up to that in this most public of spaces is appalling.

Nazi coward.

Steve said...

Word, Jason.

Much as I'd like to believe otherwise, Democrats just don't win by moving left. (When was the last time you can remember one who did?) Yeah, you might pick up a few people here and there, but that's almost never enough to make up for the swing voters you lose. This is, I suspect, in no small part because, for example, each would-be Kerry voter who votes for Bush is, in practical terms, worth *two* would-be Nader voters (or nonvoters) who votes for Kerry.

Why don't Republicans have the same problem? I don't know exactly, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that hard-core Republican interest groups have tons and tons and tons of money. Not only that, but, in part because they don't have to worry about not being to put food on the table, or losing their health care, or getting harrassed by the po-po, etc., they can spend all their free time getting organized and shit.

And, it's worth noting that independents/moderates/swing voters may finally have caught onto the fact that the GOP has gone off the deep end. So it may be that not even the Evil Empire can get away with pandering to the wingnuts forever.

I guess my thinking is, We've got a two-party system, and that ain't goin' away -- Ever! -- and this means the median voter rules all. And the sooner our people come to grips with this, the better off we'll all be.

So screw you, Ralph, and the high horse you rode in on. There are real people who have real problems whose lives will actually be materially affected by the outcome of this election, and they can't afford to throw their votes away.

Matt said...

Yeah, but to extend your analogy, if your brother had just taken the controller, you'd've kicked his ass, right? There isn't a massive mandate out there for a progressive agenda, and if the demo's were to swerve to the left, they run the risk of losing swing voters in the middle. Nader pulls single digits, remember, so it's not like there's massive support for him. Dems swerve left, and we lose votes. As evidence, Clinton was massively successful and extremely centrist (welfare reform, third way, nafta, etc).

As for godwin, the law just sez that at some point that discussions will reference nazis, not that this is a bad thing. And when it comes to libertarians, I don't think comparing them to genocidal maniacs is all that unfair. I mean, most of these people like Ayn Rand books, for chrissakes.

goldman said...

They like Ayn Rand books and raping bunny rabbits in the name of Liberty. And I'll be damned if those bunny fuckers are gonna hijiack our country.

Additionally, whereas you can say that Al Gore should have been a better candidate and thus won by a margin sufficient to keep the 2000 election out of the hands of the Supremes, it nonetheless remains an empirical truth that he would've won Florida if only 1 in 10 Nader voters had voted for him. I guarantee that 1 in 10 of those folks feels pretty fucking retarded right about now.

Look, California is one of the most progressive states in the union and we still have a blind spot when it comes to affirmative action, immigration and former movie stars who wanna play Governor. The point being, as Steve and Matt point out, America's not on the verge of becoming a progressive country.

We're on the verge of becoming a fascist theocracy and that needs to be the primary concern right now.

goldman said...

Chester, your devil adocacy is well argued. But let's go back to the issue of Lucifer himself. The fact is that we will or will not be kept from Apocalypse by how several thousand folks in Ohio, Florida & Missouri end up voting in November.

As a result, every voting bloc is consequential. If we had a system of proportional representation, it would make sense for those groups to try to get as many of their MPs in Parliament as possible. And then they could build a minority coalition or, like, eat crumpets and shit ... whatever it is they do.

But given that we have a strong two party system those groups are just fucking up by voting third party in the battleground states. Let's say that progressives get nothing under Kerry. They'll also get nothing by voting Green/independent except a < 2% showing. However, they get buckwheats - literal, flaming AssDeath - for 4 years if Bush is re-elected. The winning, responsible strategy is to vote against that happening.

If you're in Cali, fine, vote for the progressives. There's a valid progressive strategy to keep the Dems honest. That is the time and place for progressives to stop "sublimating their goals" - by showing the progressive programs can work at state and local levels (I'd be psyched, incidentally, if just San Francisco could show that progressive programs can work).

With respect to Howard Phillips, the members of the Official Constitution Party are a bunch of New World Order conspiracy theorists whose founding political principle is "our full submission and unshakable faith in our Savior and Redeemer, our Lord Jesus Christ."

In short, fuck those people. Those who voted for Howard were going to do so regardless of any underlying political reality.

I believe that's not true for 1 in 10 Nader voters. I believe 1 in 10 didn't stop to consider the consequences of their actions. I believe that Nader used his name recognition to sway Gore voters away - folks who would have gone to the polls and voted Gore and saved us from this national nightmare.

Matt said...

hey chester, I just looked at your profile and I noticed that you'd listed Heaven's Gate as a favorite movies. While I suspect that this was a bit of humor on your part, as you also listed films like Ishtar and Howard the Duck. I just saw a couple of scenes from Heaven's Gate, and they were amazing to look at.

Imagine a camera dollying along from left to right, so that you see an old west town in the background. In the foreground, there's a photographer who takes a picture at the beginning of the camera movement, such that the flash's chemical explosion causes a great billowing smoke cloud that follows the camera. Amazing stuff.

I understand your Nader argument, and I can sympathize, but I really just don't see Nader as a viable candidate. I mean, do you really think that Nader could handle North Korea? I'm no fan of American foreign policy, but is it really wise to support somebody so completely foreign to the political process and the status quo? Is it a good thing to have revolution-level change happen? What does that mean for the stability of society? Could Nader work in any way with the congress?

Nader is a fantasy, and as appealing as he may be (if you share his convictions), we're talking about the real world.