Thursday, January 31, 2008

Runaway Ralph

Hoo boy. Here we go again:

Ralph Nader has formed a presidential exploratory committee, and said in an interview Wednesday that he will launch another presidential bid if he's convinced he can raise enough money to appear on the vast majority of state ballots this fall.

Nader, who ran as an independent candidate in each of the past three presidential elections, told that he will run in 2008 if he is convinced over the next month that he would be able to raise $10 million over the course of the campaign — and attract enough lawyers willing to work free of charge to get his name on state ballots.

If Nader is serious about meeting his own pre-requisites, then it seems very unlikely that he'll go through with it. No matter; we're in for another round of folks gnashing their teeth and getting their tits in an uproar over Big Bad Ralph interfering in, um, the democratic process. It's a perfect complement to Nader's increasingly malignant, incoherent narcissism. Edwards probably wouldn't have had anything to do with him, but surely Kucinich would have welcomed any practical help and support Nader might have mustered. That doesn't seem to be part of Ralph's agenda.

But no matter. Come summer, if we are faced with a nearly indistinguishable contest of Hillary vs. McCain, and Ralph keeps buzzing around, we'll get the usual litany of how if we really cared about the possibility of avoiding the more regressive agenda, we'd just suck it up and vote for Miss Thang, even if we still have no idea exactly what she'll actually stand and fight for (how 'bout Kyl-Lieberman 2: Tehran Boogaloo), and what she'll have to break out her trusty political anemometer for to divine which way the winds are tacking. On the other hand, McCain will be perfectly clear, even when he's pulling shit out of his ass, thus attracting far more fence-sitters.

But people will still find a way to blame Nader, or blame Diebold, or whatever. It's easier than admitting that maybe the system has failed utterly. Because even if Hillary wins, as with the Big Demo Wave of '06, a lot of people will be left holding their dicks and wondering where the promised follow-through is. It's in your hand, bub. You're lookin' at it.


thedevilzone said...

Yeah, thank fuck I don't read TBogg since his move to the Blogmall of America, because I'll bet you a big shiny quarter he's already bitching about it. I tried several times in those old comments to break through the liberal version of Clinton hatred, but jesus, those fuckers just would not hear anything but what they wanted to hear.

At this point, I'm glad Ralph keeps hanging around like Marley's ghost, just to keep reminding the Dems of what useless fucks they are. Hey, guys, here's an idea - how about making him irrelevant by actually being a, you know, liberal party? Nah! Easier to just furiously denounce anyone who doesn't keep their head bowed and just be grateful that the shit sandwiches we keep getting served are at least lukewarm. I hate to sound like a Marxist and talk about heightening the contradictions, but damned if it doesn't seem like it's going to take something pretty goddamned drastic to shake this broken system up.

I have to appreciate on some removed level how all the Democrats would seemingly need to do to occupy the White House is not be Republicans, but in a Clinton/McCain matchup, I could very easily see them blowing it.

Danielle said...

Nader Myth 2000: The Democratic Party uses the Nader Myth to cover up the fact that Al Gore abandoned his supporters and all voters in Florida. Diebold delivered on it's promise.

Nader Myth 2004:Utilizing the Democrats' stigma, Bush's campaign makes support calls for Nader the spoiler. Once again Ralph is targeted for being Ralph, especially when educated Democrats hear the news.

Ralph Nader’s legacy encompasses the spectrum of his life long work, especially his presidential candidacies. He has started a presidential exploratory committee

My political and civic identity was born through exposure to the candidate for whom I caucused for in Nevada, Congressman Dennis Kucinich.

Not only was I going on a limb, scrambling to educate myself on his record, bio, the issues, his campaign style not to mention volunteering for a political campaign, calling radio shows, canvassing, going to a town conference, and attending a free speech rally where I was interviewed for a published newspaper article.


A lot to absorb and digest to say the least.

Part of this process was owning my power as a citizen.

I, after 31 years, affirm:

* Politicians are public servants. They are elected to serve the public. We are the public. We are their Boss.

* When does a Boss grovel at the feet of their employee?

* A vote cast is duty. The highest level of civic participation in this democratic republic. The highest level of critical thinking is a mandatory prerequisite.

* The media’s power lies within the scope of communicative channels of distribution. The more channels accessed produces the variety of information and opinion necessary to serve as background information. Independent research is equally necessary.

Our future, the future of my three boys, everyone, everywhere is deeply affected by civic, social administration and control; in simpler terms, politics and government.

If we are to honor our existence and our time on Earth than we must participate.

Fight off all urges or coercion to be satisfied with the role of spectator.

A long comment, I know.

I strongly support Ralph Nader as an activist, and as a President candidate.

Heywood J. said...


Yes, TBogg has already done his "Nader = teh chlamydia s0rz" post, and IOZ has already linked to the astute commenter of TBogg's who pointed out that, as ever, it is the candidates' job to convince us that they are the right people for the position they're applying for, not our duty to plug any convenient schmuck into a necessary hole.

The Nader thing is so frustrating, on both sides of the coin. On the one hand, you have a genuine pioneering activist, a bona-fide citizens' advocate, who has literally saved lives with his many crusades. However, the increasing impracticality (in the face of real-world circumstances) of his stridency dilutes not only his current efficacy, but his prior record, which was heretofore untouchable. People don't have to agree with that, but it's practically impossible to ignore the thoroughness of that perception.

But the Democrats are still the more frustrating of the two sides in this equation. They fly into this poncey-hairdresser fit every time Ralph says "boo". They could, for once, take a tip from the Republicans, who are more than happy to find wealthy benefactors to bankroll their more ideological characters, in the cause of rounding up more and more cattle. Instead, they rhetorically disenfranchise the people who make the effort to keep them honest, and then capitulate and genuflect to the people who want nothing more to destroy them. And they wonder why they keep snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Barring some unforeseen Clintonian abomination, I will absolutely vote Democratic this fall, because first and foremost, the patient needs triage. Physical therapy can come later; certainly 2000 was one such opportunity, but obviously many circumstances have changed dramatically. (Many others, sadly, have not budged a bit, but that does not mitigate the necessities of the current situation. I have an extended post on that for Saturday, if I can scrounge sufficient money for beer and rum tomorrow.)

I've always been amused (in a good way) by the notion of heightening the contradictions, and the revolutionary tactics of the Marxists, however unfortunate the ends, are never dull. And an empire entering a protracted state of hegemonic attrition might seem ripe for revolutionary change, were it not for the historically anomalous scope and scale of the sheer power and symbiosis of government and media. (This, were I not more of an anarcho-syndicalist in nature, would probably be where I would veer off into dialectical materialism or some such.) In other words, it ain't gonna happen right now, not politically, and if we're not getting off our duffs en masse to force change, we're better off with slightly more tolerable incrementalism (heckling all the way, naturally.)

So I can't shake the feeling that Ralph is just doing what he does because at this stage, it's all about pissing in people's corn flakes. But it's hard to find a group more well-deserving of a golden shower.

Heywood J. said...


By all means, feel free to throw down a link. I supported and voted for Nader in 1996 and 2000, but sad to say I'm not even tempted this time around.

I'm as sick of corporatism and gutless incrementalism as anyone, but a look at the Supreme Court for example, with the four conservative justices probably able to serve for at least the next two decades, should convince anyone of the possibility of a serious rollback of rights and liberties. And though Hillary and McCain have more similarities than differences, there is still a clear, tangible difference in how each would undertake the management of the country, enough to where it matters, if not as much as we'd like.

That said, I do hope the Democrats will temper their whinging, and invite Nader supporters to be part of the agenda instead of petulantly repudiating them out of hand. They need to save their energy for the people across the aisle, rather than trying to make nice with them.

The biggest thing the party faithful ignore, in their rush to dump on Nader, is that far more Democrats defected to vote for Bush than for Nader. When they understand the root of that apostasy, and accept their own role in all this, they can start getting over themselves.