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Memo to Nader: Get over yourself, already!

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"Memo to Nader: Get over yourself, already!"

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Why has the United States government spent the last seven years thwarting domestic and international action on global warming while underfunding and mismanaging federal clean technology efforts? Well, if, hypothetically, you were the kind of person who liked to compile top 10 lists to answer questions, certainly Ralph Nader’s campaign during the 2000 election would be fairly high on that list.

Not just because he siphoned away crucial votes from Gore in a some key states — but perhaps more because he spent so much time in swing states saying there was no difference between Bush and Gore, breaking a major promise he had made, while forever destroying his reputation as a truth teller. You try running a tight race when a credible (at the time, anyway) third party is trashing you all the time, demotivating your base.

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His 2004 run proves his 2000 run was the triumph over ego over principle. And his newly announced 2008 run conjures up two words: laughable and pathetic. I could go on, but why bother? Everything has passed Nader by, but most especially reality.

If there are any Ralph Nader supporters out there, now is your turn to speak up in defense of him.

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23 Responses to Memo to Nader: Get over yourself, already!

  1. Beefeater says:

    All Nader ever accomplished was to destroy one of the best cars ever built by GM. I’ve always thought him to be an attention hog.

  2. David B. Benson says:

    Amazing, really. Beefeater actually wrote something that makes sense, even if some might still disagree…

  3. Andrew E says:

    It’s unfortunate that someone who has done so much good (in his younger years) can wind up being reviled, laughed at, and feared by the very progressives that used to support him.

    I am not a Nader supporter (although I did vote for him in the “safe” Democratic state of NY in 2000). But because the US has no viable third (or fourth or fifth) party like my new country Canada does, third parties in the states will always be seen as taking votes away from one of the two major parties. And major parties, being major and mainstream, will never take risks on being too progressive.

    (However, as the last 8 years have shown, one of the major parties can be too *regressive*.)

  4. Allan says:

    You’re so right. I mean, how could anyone support a democracy!? What a bloody stupid idea! Having more than two people to vote for; wow, I don’t see how anyone could think that having more than two choices between presidential candidates could be a good thing.
    All sarcasm aside: really? I simply do not understand people who deride Nader for “destroying the electoral process” and “costing Gore the election.” Nader should get over himself? I think you need to get a grip on the definition of democracy and support a principled people who believe that we should have choices. Nader is a brave man who deserves more than these trite rebukes. I am happy he’s decided to run again.
    As a Canadian, I have to say that you US people need to get over *yourselves*. Not having independents involved your democratic processes–only having a choice between two evils–is no democracy at all. You should be proud to have men like Nader who are willing to stand up for the ideals that you country was founded on. To say that he’s damaging your democracy is as idiotic as saying that global warming is a hoax.

  5. Peter Foley says:

    I am actually thinking about sending him some money. The more”green” candidates the better. Shouldn’t he at least get some of the Nobel prize money?– Can any honest person imagine what damage a Gore presidency would done to the US? I’d thank God if I wasn’t an agnostic. A few more years of negative global warming the greens will have to generate another scheme to hijack government. Nader’s presence could help elect politicians that don’t owe vegans, locavores, socialists, neo-Luddites, ZPGers, part time power, cultural devolutionists and various other Gaea sects. Society needs a few years to let go of the latest green fad. I am more then willing to give Mr. Nader to Canada after the 2008 election, But isn’t he just a little conservative ehh, for the northers?

  6. Joe says:

    “A few more years of negative global warming”? No factual basis whatsoever for that statement. Just more denier tripe.

  7. K Leahy says:

    I suspect that those who think we need more choices, or more “green candidates” have missed sight of a key difference between American style democracy vs. what is in much of the world. We are not a parlimentary system — there is no proportional representation when voting for president — it is a winner take all system — whoever gets the most votes wins (normally). Whenever there is a 3rd choice in an otherwise close election, which all are these days it seems, they merely take away votes from whoever they most resemble. If the 3rd party candidate is right of center, they assure the election of a D. If they are left of center, they assure the election of an R. That is the reality, but many of us are not clever enough by half to have figured that out. Anderson elected Reagan. Perot elected Clinton. Nader elected Bush. As a naive youngster, I was happy to “stand on principles” with my Anderson vote in 1980, little realizing the impact.

  8. Jade A. says:

    I can’t believe the tone of your blog! Last time I checked we live in a free country and anyone who’s qualified and has filled out the appropriate paperwork can run for President. Is this whole idea of democracy just a big sham? Should we not be allowed to vote for the most progressive person? It’s funny how we go around the world promoting democracy for all the short comings we have here at home. Ralph Nader has a been a champion of the little guy and the best consumer advocate this country has ever had. If anyone is qualified to lead this country it’s him. I can’t stand it when people complain about third party candidates. If the democrats can’t get a landslide victory after almost 8 years of Republican tyranny then they might as well hang it up and go home. And don’t forget: without Ralph Nader in this election, there’s no debate.

  9. Allan says:

    @K Leahy: That was pretty much my point: “American-style democracy” as you put it is *broken*. Having Nader run and “mess things up” only points out the major short-comings of the system; something that US citizens should be paying close attention to and DOING SOMETHING ABOUT. Complaining that a real democracy messes up your buggered up “democracy” is straight-up stupid.

  10. greg says:

    The solution is practically simple and politically challenging: Instant runoff voting:

    http://www.fairvote.org/?page=19

    Check it out! Spread the word! but remember, until we get IRV, Nader is just an attention starved spoiler-wanna-be.

  11. Mike says:

    Well, I saw him on Meet the Press yesterday, and how did he deal with the two major threats to civilization? Well, on climate he said….nothing. And on terror? He blamed the victim – singling out Israel for rebuke because its civilians are absorbing dozens of rockets from the UNoccupied Gaza Strip every day. Get a life!

  12. Joe says:

    “And don’t forget: without Ralph Nader in this election, there’s no debate.” Ahh, yes, the last refuge of Naderites — there is no difference between Gore and Bush, or between McCain and Obama. I’m afraid real progressives understand all too well the differences, even if you don’t.

  13. Jade A. says:

    Joe-

    I would like you to define for us what the definition of a “real progressive” is. Is your definition of a real progressive someone who censors himself on the campaign trail against his own better instincts? Is your definition of a real progressive someone who tries to stifle debate and dissent? Is your definition of a real progressive someone who tries to keep other candidates off the ballots so the public doesn’t have any real choice? Is your definition of a real progressive someone who opposes a single payer health care system? Is your definition of a real progressive someone who wants to increase budget for the defense department without any investigation or oversight into all the fraud and waste that has transpired? How is that progress? How is that moving this country forward? Seems like your definition of a “real progressive” is something straight out of the ex-Soviet Union.

  14. Allan Ramesh says:

    I completely agree with one comment by Nader – if the Democrats can’t defeat the Republicans in this race, after the disaster of the Bush regime, then they’d better wrap it up and shut down the party. How can anyone vote Republican after they have lied to the world, spent $2 trillion on wars that resulted in about 800,000 Iraqis and 4,000 Americans dead? Unfortunately however, as I have come to learn by talking to my neighbors, Americans don’t know Iraq from Iceland and are likely to fall for the perpetual right wing drum of Limbaugh and O’Reilly on talk radio. Nader is wrong to run. He should step aside and at least give the Democrats a chance to win. However, given how ill informed the public is and how well oiled the Republican machine is about their manifesto, I am not hopeful that a black candidate can topple the money and influence behind the Republicans.

  15. Paul K says:

    When I vote for president, I have a choice of candidates representing Republican, Democratic, Green, Libertarian and Socialist Workers Parties. There is a party that believes in transcendental meditation and one that thinks Queen Elizabeth is a heroin dealer. I can write in the name of any person living or dead or even fictional. This is America and no one’s partisan political desire for power can limit Ralph Nader’s freedom of expression or that of the other tilters at windmills.

  16. Joe says:

    Jade — I think you are defining conservatives. Or people like Ralph Nader, who help get conservatives elected.

  17. Jay Alt says:

    Here is an article 4+ years old from a former Nader supporter. Perhaps it is still appropriate today –

    Nader’s “Grassroots” Campaign…Courtesy of GOP
    http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0720-15.htm

  18. Jade A. says:

    Well all the things that I defined are actually coming from the democratic side. Obama and Clinton are not on board for single payer health care. Their health care plans are fundamentally flawed in that they want to allow the insurance companies a seat at the table. And this whole notion that they don’t want to say that are for it while running against the republican attack machine is so lame. That’s a reflection of character. You can’t negotiate a deal with insurance companies because they are the root of the problem. Hillary Clinton wants to blame Ralph Nader for the 2000 election, which is completely ridiculous. Al Gore won Florida, but it was stolen from him by Catherine Harris and Jeb Bush in that highly politicized court ruling. Also it’s important to note that over 250,000 registered democrats in Florida actually voted Republican. Who’s fault is that? Surely not the Greens. It’s also important to note that if Al Gore would have won his home state of Tennessee, he would have secured the presidency. Is it Nader’s fault as well that AL Gore didn’t win Tennessee? When does this conspiratorial absurdity end? Let’s stop with the fascist overtones in the election cycle shall we. The only thing worse than corporate republicans are corporate democrats.

  19. Joe says:

    Try rereading the First Amendment — which clearly was designed to allow all parties the opportunity to voice their opinion and lobby government. So I’m not sure how you can block insurance companies from “the table” — that actually strikes me as fascist.

    Nader isn’t the only reason Gore lost, but as independent analyst Charlie Cook wrote today: “Nader pulled approximately 97,000 votes in Florida. Exit polls showed that 47 percent of his supporters in the state indicated Gore was their second choice, compared to 21 percent who indicated Bush was their second choice. In the end, Bush’s final margin was 537 votes. So, there’s little question here on Nader’s effect on the Democratic candidate.”

    It’s like the war in Iraq. The main reason we are there is not oil, but if there were no oil in the country, we wouldn’t be there. Similarly, no Nader, no Bush. Simple as that.

  20. Jade A. says:

    Charlie Cook is notoriously inaccurate in his analysis. The Nader effect is a hoax. Just like the war on terror. Al Gore has no one to blame for losing the election but himself. Why wasn’t he talking about Global Warming in the 2000 election. It’s clear that whenever democratic candidates take up more progressive positions it increases their overall support. And let’s get the definition of fascism correct. Fascism is when corporations take over the government. I don’t think anyone would argue that the stranglehold that the insurance companies have on our health care system is wonderfully beneficent. If you like the fact that they make billions of dollars a year denying care to people then I don’t think you are a progressive in the least.

  21. Joe says:

    Hoax? Hard to see how hard data is a hoax. You have to accept reality at some point, dude.

    Yes, Gore made mistakes. But to repeat “You try running a tight race when a credible (at the time, anyway) third party is trashing you all the time, demotivating your base.”

    I must say, Jade, I am rather tired of your making absurd blanket misstatements about me, like your last sentence.

    You apparently have no idea what “fascism” means. Try Wikipedia:
    “Fascism is an authoritarian political ideology (generally tied to a mass movement) that considers the individual subordinate to the interests of the state, party or society as a whole. Fascists seek to forge a type of national unity, usually based on (but not limited to) ethnic, cultural, racial, religious attributes.”

    You might enjoy their explanation of the derivation of the word — it ain’t corporations.

    Now I do agree with Orwell who wrote 60 years (!) ago:
    “… as used, the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley’s broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else.”

    So you may want to come up with a more useful word.

  22. Mike says:

    I think Nader supporters just can’t deal with the guilt…8 years of Bush…the worst President in maybe the entire history of the US!!! That is a heavy burden!!

    While at one time I believed that third parties might have a chance here in the US, I have come to believe that we would really have to go to proportional representation BEFORE they would have any effect. Without proportional representation they can only act as spoilers…not even kingmakers.

    If a massive campaign was waged against winner-take-all FIRST…then maybe.

    I think though our policy does suffer because of winner-take-all. We are too focused on personality, etc. etc.

  23. Ronald says:

    Sure, some want to blame Ralph Nadar for Gore’s loss in 2000. But consider the place we should put on it.

    We recently had a very exciting Super bowl where either team could have won had one or a few of the plays gone differently.

    But let’s say we had 2 wide receivers on the losing team, one who was 9 for 10 and another who was 0 for 10 in receptions. But the wide receiver who was 9 for 10 dropped the ball in the end zone on the last play of the game and that team would have won if he had caught the ball. Will you then blame the wide receiver who was 9 for 10 for the loss or would you blame the wide receiver who was 0 for 10 for the loss? Who deserves more blame?

    There were many reasons that Gore didn’t win the presidency in 2000. If we are looking to blame something, Nadar is available. But does it do any good to look at it only from one possible reason for the democratic party loss? Maybe we should list the 10 most likely reasons for the loss and then rank them according to how much each was the cause. That way we can do better next time because we made a balanced examination of the reasons for the loss and we can then know which things to change and which are more beneficial to change.

    I think that major reason Al Gore didn’t win the presidency in 2000 was because Bush outspent Gore by 60 million dollars. Close to that would be a vice president choice that did nothing or lost support for the campaign. Then not using President Clinton to campaign. After that, maybe the sighing that Gore did in one of the debates or Ralph Nadar or a number of other things.

    I’m making a point of this for a reason and that is I think that the major reason people don’t ‘get’ global warming is because of all the groups who say that global warming is a problem, but then don’t put any resources, money or time, into helping to solve the problem. If the next 50 generations are at risk and we believe that, more should be done. It’s not the deniers that are slowing things down about solutions, it’s that not enough is being done by those who say they are committed to the cause.

    So sure, we can blame the denier of the democratic party cause, Ralph Nadar for the presidential loss in 2000 like we blame the deniers of global warming for the unbelief of global warming of the American people. But I blame Gore having 60 million dollars less to spend on the 2000 campaign for the 2000 presidential loss. Those committed to Gore gave less money than those committed to Bush. Bush won, Gore lost. If the people of the United States don’t do enough to slow global warming, it’s not because of the deniers of global warming, it’s because those people who think that global warming is a problem aren’t doing enough to put the problem into the forefront of peoples minds.

    I’m tired of hearing of another group of the professional and educated groups saying they came to the conclusion that global warming is real, but then spend no money trying to influence people to that position. We should be spending millions of dollars on global warming campaigns. If it is a problem of 50 generations, we should have the effort of people committed to it as if it was a problem of 50 generations.

    If we fail to convince the American people of global warming, don’t blame the deniers, blame the not enough effort of those who should’ve known and done better.