Nader in 2008!

Today on NBC’s Meet the Press, Ralph Nader announced that he is running for President in 2008 again as an independent candidate, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Ever since Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards dropped out of the Presidential race, I have found myself unable to vote for any candidate in the Presidential elections nor any hope that someone with any media visibility would be challenging the status quo candidates on substantive issues like the war in Iraq, the bloated and wasteful military budget, corporate welfare, and true single-payer universal healthcare for every American.

That has now changed with Nader’s entry into the race. Not only is it exciting to actually have a voice again this election season, but also Nader’s campaign isn’t simply about giving voice to millions of Americans whose issues are ignored by the corporate candidates – it’s also about building a citizen’s movement around the country to put pressure on our elected politicians and to break through the trappings of the two-party system that make our dearly bought voter rights nearly meaningless.

Nader can’t do it alone. His campaign will need active and informed citizens in every State to volunteer and dedicate themselves to fighting against corporate control in our lives. One of the first big issues the campaign faces is the struggle for ballot access in all 50 states.

Visit the Nader campaign today and find out what you can do to help!

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  1. Why?

    Why does Mr. Nader feel it imperative to once again undermine precisely the values he champions?

    In 2000, I encountered any number of Mr. Nader’s supporters (including a number of close friends) who said with a straight face, “Bush and Gore: there’s no difference!”

    Seven years, one terrorist attack, two invasions, 4,000 American dead, hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis dead, two reactionary Supreme Court appointments, untold millions of tons of emitted greenhouse gases, and untold billions of dollars in tax breaks for corporate behemoths and super rich later, can anyone, including Mr. Nader, actually say that with a straight face?

    Thanks in large measure to Mr. Nader’s Quixotic campaign, we’ve suffered crippling losses as a nation. And why? Unlike our friends on the right, we liberals and progressives seem bent on self-slaughter. Even now, the radical right is rallying behind a candidate most of them abhor because they understand that winning the presidency will at least allow them to work out their internal differences from a position of strength.

    Indeed, this is the great lesson of the religious conservative movement. Rather than splintering off from the corporate Republican party, they spend the 1980s reshaping their party into a champion of their platform. If they had decided to simply whine about how the Republican party wasn’t socially conservative enough and gone on to form a separate “American Christian” party, those on the radical right would have become what the Green Party and Ralph Nader are, at least when it comes to presidential politics: a colossal irrelevancy.

    Heck, had that happened in 1980, perhaps we wouldn’t have suffered through the disaster of Reaganomics and the incredible growth of the military industrial complex.

    But it didn’t. Why? Because those involved in the transformation of the GOP understood that the only way to enact their agenda was to transform their party from within. It took patience. It took time. It took a lot of unglamorous grass-roots groundwork. But in the end, it worked.

    If Mr. Nader and those labeling themselves “Greens” had done the same, I would not only support them, but would likely be one of them. Working from within the Democratic party to push for a more progressive platform would be an admirable and valuable service. Again, it would take patience and time, but it would be worth it.

    But, sadly, Mr. Nader and his supporters have chosen a different route, one that continues with today’s feeble, pathetic announcement. To hell with hard work when there are photo-ops to enjoy and futile self-righteousness in which to wallow. Why put in the time and effort to gradually build up to substantial and lasting victories when it’s so much easier and more exciting to self-immolate in the spectacular flames of brilliant failure?

    Fortunately, nearly everyone I know who had the least interest in Mr. Nader as a presidential candidate has burped up the Kool-Aid. This time around, Mr. Nader’s self-constructed funeral pyre will likely be nothing but a silly little puff of foul-smelling smoke.

    But, as we’ve learned the hard way, it doesn’t take much to turn an election, and even a cadaverous presidential campaign could do just enough to tip the balance in favor of the forces of corporate greed and military triumphalism.

    Even more troubling, the effort put in by people still enamored with the thrill of third-party politics and/or those who glow with the idea of being Mr. Nader’s acolytes could be going to forming a true grass-roots progressive movement at local levels that could push the Democratic party (and a Democratic president) to adopt our values and positions. That would have to be done on local websites with readerships in the hundreds rather than on fancy-schmantzy sites devoted to an attention-grabbing Quixotic presidential run, but it would accomplish so much more.

    But neither Mr. Nader nor those who operate and run this website are up for that challenge, are you? No, you would much rather enjoy the momentary thrill of the lost cause than put in the effort to mount something that would truly be effective. Ignoring the lesson of the religious right’s transformation of the Republican Party, you’ll claim that the Democratic Party is broken–rotten with corporate interest, and cannot be rehabilitated. Yet, fundamentalists took it upon themselves to turn a party that was devoted to little else but corporate profits and made it into the gay-hating, abortion-denying, public-prayer loving political force that put our current Commander in Chief in the White House (with an assist from your man, of course).

    I share most of Mr. Nader’s values. I probably share most of the values of the people who support him. And my love for these values, my conviction that they are needed for our country’s survival, is precisely why I find what Mr. Nader and you are doing so desperately sad.

  2. I’m goddamned speechless that someone could be so lonely, so out-of-ammo as to believe their only “voice” would be Ralph Nader. Likewise, Dennis Kucinich. I agree with practically everything both of them say, but the only people I’ve ever met who saw Nader as presidential material were flakes, con-men, schizophrenics and repressed control freaks.

    And where the f98k has he been between elections? Orbiting the Earth in his corn silo?

    Nader should try to understand that he might be of better service to Americans and the world if he simply continued fighting the Corporate Establishment, The Man or whatever, through his “grassroots” organizations and the courts and stop taking advantage of the lost souls and push-overs who need a “voice.” He ain’t got what it takes, plain and country-simple.

  3. To Ted R. from an idle lurker:

    In 2004 I might have been persuaded by your reasoning. In 2004 you might even have been right. A Kerry administration’s response to Katrina might have been less disastrous than the current regime’s response. In the wake of the 2006 midterm elections, however, you’re going to have a tough time convincing me to vote Democratic.

    The last year and a half have given us an all-too-unpleasant foretaste of what to expect from pseudo-progressive Democrats once they’re in office. The Bill of Rights will not be restored. Imperialism and torture will continue to be official policy. And, corporations will continue expanding their power and profits at the expense of further impoverishing workers both in the US and around the globe. You can count on all of that with absolute certainty no matter who wins in November. The “forces of corporate greed and military triumphalism” will retain their privileged positions of power even under a Democratic regime.

    This state of affairs is not Nader’s fault. It’s not Nader’s fault that the current administration (with an assist from eager Congressional Democrats) has trashed the Constitution. It’s not Nader’s fault that Bill Clinton did such a good job dismantling the welfare system and pushing NAFTA through. And, it won’t be Nader’s fault if the Democrats can’t pull off a victory this November. If Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid had made even the slightest pretense of trying to change the direction of current public policy, I’d be less inclined to feel like a damn fool for pulling the Democratic lever.

  4. What has Nader done in the last ten years except obstruct legal union organization the the PIRG he has run for his own personal fiefdom? Oh, yes, he has enabled the worst president in history. And he also enjoys the financial largesse of Republicans hoping to split the Dem vote. The GOP owns Nader. Enjoy your tilting at windmills and the ego trip, as that’s all you get when you support Ralph.

  5. Ted R. –

    You and every whining Democrat posting here are using Ralph Nader as a scapegoat for the massive failings of your party and its leadership. Nader is not to blame for the Bush administration nor for the spineless actions of the Democrats in Congress whose approval ratings are incredibly even worse than the abysmal ratings of Bush.

    You argue that people who support progressive political ideas should work within the Democratic party to transform it from the inside. You mean like Dennis Kucinich? Wow. What an incredibly successful route! Oh wait. I think Mr. Kucinich is currently fighting for his political life against the weight of the DLC which grew tired of his progressive political stances.

    You are the one drinking the Kool-Aid if you think that you are going to change the Democratic Party from within to adopt progressive values. Perhaps you may get somewhere with social mores issues such as gay-rights and abortion, just as the Religious Right did within the Republican Party, but when it comes to the issues that truly matter to corporate America such as class issues, economic policy, and foreign policy – you’re simply fooling yourself and wasting your time. You cannot match the power of Corporate America’s dollars.

    Your pathetic loyalty to a party that continues to stomp on the values that you claim to hold dear year after year brings to mind the mentality of a battered wife clinging to her abusive husband.

    I’m not supporting Ralph Nader because I hold any illusions that he will win. Corporate power and its stranglehold on the elections is still far too strong for that and there are far too many people like you clinging to the Republican party or the Democratic party as though these were the only possible choices of political thought.

    I’m supporting Ralph Nader because he is a highly visible candidate openly giving voice to many of the political values that I cherish and advocate. Without Nader running, these issues won’t be out there in the public debate.

    I’m supporting Ralph Nader because he doesn’t just plan on running a Presidential campaign, but is also gathering his campaign supporters together to spark a grassroots citizen powered movement aimed at putting pressure on members of Congress to hold them accountable to their constituents.

  6. desiree.cousteau –

    By “voice again this election season”, I thought it was obvious that I meant in terms of the election as opposed to other often more effective means of political expression.

    In my intended context, it should really be no surprise that neither Obama nor Clinton (and certainly not McCain) give voice to my political values nor yours I should think seeing as you say that you agree with Nader and Kucinich nearly across the board.

    But perhaps you were too busy being rude and dismissive to have thought it all through too carefully.

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