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Monday, October 25, 2004

Ralph Speaks!

Of the zillion depressing things that have happened this year, few have depressed me as much as the non-stop attacks on Ralph Nader. People who whine endlessly about the latest swiftboat ad for its negative campaigning turn around and call Ralph every name in the book. Supporters of a candidate formerly best known for his principled opposition to the Vietnam who supported and continues to support the ongoing war crime in Iraq have unmercifully attacked Nader for "abandoning his principles." And their candidate, rather than make Ralph a non-factor by stealing a few planks from his platform, instead just dares progressives to vote for Ralph by stealing plank after plank from Bush's platform.

Anyway, Ralph has an answer for his critics. Here's an excerpt:
The liberal intellectual and political leadership has shown itself un-willing to fight for its beliefs, hiding behind the claim that George Bush is such a unique threat that courage, reason, and studied belief all must be abandoned this year. Is Bush really more sinister than Nixon? More frightening than Reagan with his missiles and unworkable missile defense? Think of those times when the missile-loaded US and the USSR were less than an hour from mutually assured destruction. Will the intellectual leaders of the left feel more comfortable with the next GOP nominee in 2008 or 2012? If not, is it too soon for them to prepare for their next surrender? Is there any end-point logic to the "least worst" candidate?
Those who have influence over others have a special obligation to consider--and reconsider--their role in terms of the old labor ballad: "Which side are you on?" Are you on the side of the citizens, the workers, the families of America, or the global corporations that have no loyalty to our country? Those who consider themselves on the side of the people, justice and democracy must stop cowering in fear. They need to call the anemic Democratic Party to account for its ten years of losses--local, state and federal --to the worst of the Republicans. If they do not exert open pressure on their Party, progressives can surely expect more of the same.
Frankly, I think that the powers behind the throne have gotten exactly what they wanted. What they wanted wasn't a Bush victory due to Nader "taking" votes from Kerry (sorry, folks, my vote belongs to ME, not Kerry), they wanted to eliminate third-party challenges and the progressive ideas they represent. And they have succeeded beyond their wildest imaginations. With a few Repugs offering insignificant support to Nader, they managed to have DEMOCRATS do the dirty work of denigrating Nader for them. I think the story of Nader's recent removal from the Pennsylvania ballot speaks volumes. "Republicans" helped with his petition drive, but their help apparently consisted of filling out hundreds of petition sheets with names like "Mickey Mouse" and "Ralph Nader." The courts ruled that two-thirds of the signatures were bogus, leaving Nader without enough valid signatures to qualify. Whether he could have qualified without the Repug help is unknown, but by the time of the ruling it was too late to get any more. Kerryistas were practically dancing in the streets at the ruling, laughing at Nader and the "Republicans" who helped him.

Now, Nader supporters are probably hard-headed; quixotic, even. But I'll bet that the vast majority of actual supporters out petitioning for him wouldn't dream of forging signatures. I'd guess that some 90% of the bogus signatures came from the "Republicans" who "helped" him. I don't know if these were actually Republicans or what, but whoever they were, I don't think their goal was to get Nader on the ballot. This was done on purpose to guarantee that he wouldn't be on the ballot, and to discredit him besides. Most Kerryistas probably wouldn't stoop this low, but the powers behind the throne would. And they care more about keeping progressive issues out of the election than they do who wins between Bush and Kerry (actually, as I've said before, I believe they're working for Kerry now).

In any case, their strategy has worked like a charm. They've got most "progressives" in this country badmouthing the best-known progressive candidate at every opportunity.

One more thing for Kerryistas to consider: If Kerry gets Wellstoned, there won't be a viable candidate on enough ballots to defeat Bush--Bush would probably get over 60% of the popular vote and all of the electoral votes. You may not have thought of that, but I'll bet Dick and Karl have.