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Nader running in 2004
February 22, 2004 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Ralph Nader announces 2004 presidential bid. Nader revealed on Meet the Press this morning (transcript here) that he will run as an independent candidate for the 2004 presidential race. (Follow-up from here and here)
posted by XQUZYPHYR (174 comments total)

 
Hooray! Run, Ralph, Run!
posted by davidmsc at 9:53 AM on February 22, 2004


Nader's official website, or the semi-official Don't Run Ralph website, whichever's your flavor.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:55 AM on February 22, 2004


Boo! Stumble and Fall, Ralph, Stumble and Fall!

For him to repeat the lies that there are no differences bet. dems and repubs is just sad. And he's not even bothering to use the greens to legitimize his run this time. Is it ego, or just wanting Bush to get 4 more years?

Meanwhile, i'm starting a DraftJudgeMoore movement.
posted by amberglow at 9:57 AM on February 22, 2004


after four years of george w., i think nader'll get less votes than he did last time.
posted by h00dini at 10:01 AM on February 22, 2004


Can anyone honestly dispute that this isn't ego? There is no progressive moment to draft Nader (as there was for Wes Clark), and even a magazine like The Nation asked him not to run.
posted by owillis at 10:04 AM on February 22, 2004


i think nader'll get less votes than he did last time.

I hope so. (And one of those votes last time was mine.)

If you feel you have to throw away your vote on someone who actually stands for something, at least write in Dennis Kucinich.
posted by LeLiLo at 10:08 AM on February 22, 2004


ahhh...Moore's already thinking about it -- i bet he gets more votes than Nader, too.

I think Nader thinks he'll get Dean's people, but most are going for Edwards or dropping out of the process, I think.
posted by amberglow at 10:09 AM on February 22, 2004


Tom Tomorrow on Nader 2004. That pretty much covers my opinion.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:11 AM on February 22, 2004


What a profoundly myopic,ego-driven decision. Fuck him.
posted by subgenius at 10:12 AM on February 22, 2004


This isn't really surprising. I believe that him and his supporters genuinely believe there is no difference between a Democrat and a Republican. It's just like those of us on the left side of the fence often can't see the difference between a pair of Republican candidates. To be honest, if I were allowed to vote I'd vote for a fiscally conservative but socially liberal candidate regardless of their political party.
posted by substrate at 10:18 AM on February 22, 2004


I want to hear Nader's answer to one question - "Would you have run if Dean was the nominee?"
posted by superchris at 10:22 AM on February 22, 2004


Jebuz on a stick. Enough, Ralph. Enough. Not this year. Stop it.
posted by dejah420 at 10:26 AM on February 22, 2004


Nope, the vast majority of Deaniacs will not vote for Ralph. There are enough of them that Kerry/Edwards/Whoever will have to at least address their concerns. Political cartoonists and some commentators are already talking (drawing?) about how Dean re-invigorated the party, made them focus on the right thing, and got the "I'm mad at the system and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" crowd headed in the ABBA (Anybody But Bush Again) direction.

As for Ralphie Boy, it sounds like Kerry is already planning to address his concerns, co-opt ideas where necessary, debunk ideas where necessary, and manage to do all this without ever mentioning Ralph.

On preview: To be honest, if I were allowed to vote I'd vote for a fiscally conservative but socially liberal candidate regardless of their political party.

Amen, substrate. But the current crop of Republicans are neither. Exhibit A, the gutting of socially responsible programs that have proven their worth, such as Head Start and Section 8. Exhibit B, the budget deficit.
posted by ilsa at 10:27 AM on February 22, 2004


One problem that needs to be faced: Nader constantly harps about the big interests running the govt. He is opposed to this. How will he manage to get them togo away? He will demand congress stop taking money and single handedly pass leg. prohibiting lobbies? In short: Ralph has a war cry and no weapons...This a guy who has no beneifts for those who work for him and will not allow his own people to organize anything like a union! A fraud.
posted by Postroad at 10:33 AM on February 22, 2004


if the asshole screws this up for bushhaters, he's dead meat, just like the corvair.
posted by quonsar at 10:35 AM on February 22, 2004


<tinfoil>Gotta wonder how much Rove paid him.</tinfoil>
posted by darukaru at 10:38 AM on February 22, 2004


Nader reacted to the "Ralph Don't Run" site by blaming the liberal intelligentsia. Surely he realizes that there is too much at stake this year for him to take a stand for the legitimacy of third-party politics? He knows he won't win, so he will simply have to campaign for a year, lose with his 1%, then sit back and bitch for the next four.

Hey, just what the heck has he been doing to put food on his table since 2000?
posted by grabbingsand at 10:42 AM on February 22, 2004


darukaru, that's not as far-fetched as you might think. Considering the manifest lack of a draft-Nader movement, the obvious and premature tanking of their candidate, and Bush's alienation of his own base, I wouldn't put it past Republican deep strategists to (a) encourage and (b) fund a Nader candidacy.

Nader's ego, self-absorption, and delusions of relevance make me quite literally sick to my stomach. I know I'm not alone. So high do these feelings run, it's not impossible that Ralph is putting himself at physical risk by running.
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:53 AM on February 22, 2004


Hey, just what the heck has he been doing to put food on his table since 2000?
Issuing press releases, I think.
posted by amberglow at 10:54 AM on February 22, 2004


Lame. After the nader campaign spammed me four times asking me if he should run or not I said no, and he still runs.

Idiot.
posted by mathowie at 10:57 AM on February 22, 2004


im all for ralph running - if he does the right thing: hammer the shit out of bush and his policies, then withdraw his candidacy before the general election and throw his support behind kerry (one of the top defenders of the environment in the us senate).

bring 'em on.~!
posted by specialk420 at 10:58 AM on February 22, 2004


I was for Dean and Ralph won't get my vote. Fuck him and his monster fucking ego.

Blah
posted by jmgorman at 11:03 AM on February 22, 2004


If I believed in karma I'd say this was fair enough considering that H. Ross Perot made sure we were stuck with Clinton.
posted by konolia at 11:07 AM on February 22, 2004


Sounds like the Repubs have found it necessary to purchase another "opposition" candidate -- besides Al Sharpton, I mean. I sure hope someone digs into from where Nader's campaign money is coming.
posted by mooncrow at 11:11 AM on February 22, 2004


I have to think that the main demographic cheering Ralph's entry into the 2004 race are the special interests that support Bush & Co. Without Nader they'd still be the lunitic fringe rather than the maniacs in power.

With both Kerry and Edwards out-polling Bush, the best chance the right has for a 2004 win is Ralph Nader.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:14 AM on February 22, 2004


konolia: that prosperity sure did suck.
posted by shagoth at 11:15 AM on February 22, 2004


If I believed in karma I'd say this was fair enough considering that H. Ross Perot made sure we were stuck with Clinton.

yes, god, what ever *did* happen to those wars that started up after clinton's imperial invasion of a sovereign intern?
posted by quonsar at 11:15 AM on February 22, 2004


Oh, yes. And let me also add my "fuck Nader" to the pyre. It made sense to me to blame Gore for the loss in 2000, even though he would have won without Nader in the race. But this is different. By running Nader this time is clearly expressing his disdain for this country.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:17 AM on February 22, 2004


"that madwoman has stains of mass ejaculation and is not afraid to use them, which represent a clear and present danger to the united states."
posted by quonsar at 11:18 AM on February 22, 2004


"You'd never find that type of thing in Canada or the Western democracies in Europe," Nader added. "It is an offense to deny the millions of people who might want to vote for our candidacy."

Nader is the Oasis of politics.
posted by the fire you left me at 11:19 AM on February 22, 2004


I watched Nader's appearance on Meet the Press. Ralph seems to think that third-party access to the ballot is more important than lying the country into a war, $7 triliion deficits, and the continuing pillage of the treasury for the benefit of campaign donors. I don't see what anyone ever saw in this guy, but it'll be nice to stop hearing that he's doing all of this to help the Greens (the second party he has abandoned). He is, quite appropriately, now a party of one.
posted by rcade at 11:33 AM on February 22, 2004


Ralph who?
posted by whatnot at 11:33 AM on February 22, 2004


Yeah, I pretty much blame Al Gore for losing the 2000 election, which, let's face it, should've been a slam dunk -- but it can't be denied that without Nader in the race, Gore would've won. I've yet to meet someone who's said they'll vote for Nader in this election, so I scoff in the face of those "4%" polls. Blah.

Keep in mind that I actually wanted to vote for Nader in 2000 in the name of helping to foster a multiple-party system -- but that year, I was registered to vote in Florida, and I knew how important that state would be. Turns out I had NO idea...
posted by logovisual at 11:36 AM on February 22, 2004


Count me as someone who voted for him last time (and doesn't regret it), but realizes that idealism only goes so far when George is the acting president.
posted by adampsyche at 11:37 AM on February 22, 2004


lies that there are no differences

I'm not a Nader "follower", but lessee: Kerry is a Senator, Kerry is rich, Kerry belonged to S&B, Kerry is willing to support a marriage amendment . . . etc. etc. . . . in short, Kerry is as establishment as they get. Even, no especially, the haircut. Was anyone fooled by the motorcycle?

Tommorow's right, we don't need four more years. We didn't need it in the first place. We didn't vote for it in the first place, the Supremes did.

Kerry would have passed for a moderate Republican in the 60s. That *is* different from rabid chicken-littleism. But it's a long, long way from Democrat.

Winning is more important than principles? Tell that to Pete Rose, he'll be happy to hear it. And hey, pass that picture of Kerry standing next to Jane Fonda. *Remembers fondly when the terrible Russkies did that stuff*.
posted by Twang at 11:42 AM on February 22, 2004


I also voted for nader last time, but i'm in texas so my presidential vote doesn't count. even so, there is no way in hell i will vote for him again.
posted by rhyax at 11:45 AM on February 22, 2004


I'm not a Nader "follower", but lessee: Kerry is a Senator, Kerry is rich, Kerry belonged to S&B, Kerry is willing to support a marriage amendment . . . etc. etc. . . . in short, Kerry is as establishment as they get.

It's interesting how Nader's critique in 2000 was based on similarity of policy -- which is somewhat different, I think, from this echo.
posted by tingley at 12:03 PM on February 22, 2004


owillis wrote:

Can anyone honestly dispute that this isn't ego?

No, they can't. It's pure, unadulterated vanity on his part.

If he honestly gave two bits about progressive politics, he would decline to run and throw his weight in behind Rep. Dennis Kucinich(D-Ohio), because Nader's platform pretty much equals Dennis' platform, and Nader has said as much himself.
posted by spirit72 at 12:07 PM on February 22, 2004


i'm in texas so my presidential vote doesn't count

Brilliant.
posted by moonbird at 12:09 PM on February 22, 2004


Yeah, but Kucinich is running as a Democrat, so he would have to throw his weight behind Kucinich if (when) he goes independent.
posted by abcde at 12:15 PM on February 22, 2004


You eeeediots. The plan was to draft Pat Buchanan, not Nader. Buchanan's populist drivel would pull some of the anti-war protectionist social conservative types away from Bush, giving the Dems the edge in the midwest and southwestern states.

Seriously, though: What an asshole. I hope nobody listens to him.
posted by PrinceValium at 12:21 PM on February 22, 2004


With both Kerry and Edwards out-polling Bush, the best chance the right has for a 2004 win is Ralph Nader.

Not necessarily. Nadar will only be a minor (very minor) problem to the Democrats if Edwards gets the nomination. There are enough truly conservative Republicans who are fed up with Bush and would love to vote him out, but are concerned about voting for the big, bad Liberal Kerry. Nadar offers a safer alternative 'Republican protest' vote. This is especially true if Bush is portrayed as having a big lead. I don't think Edwards has as deep a Liberal (at least fiscally) stigma and if he's the Dem nominee, he'll get his share of conservatives who are will to cross over.
posted by ElvisJesus at 12:26 PM on February 22, 2004


You guys seem upset that some people might volunteer their vote for Nader instead of Kerry? The gaul. Seriously, to object to ANY candidate running is to spit in the face of democracy.

A candidate should earn their votes; it seems like some are arguing here that the progressive vote is Kerry's birthright.
posted by reverendX at 12:29 PM on February 22, 2004


I agree with Twang here...can someone explain to me why I should vote for Kerry? As far as I can see, he's just Bush wearing a longer face and a Democrat sticker. He voted for the war, he voted for NAFTA, and he won't get rid of Bush's tax cut. How is this man good for our country, or for the Democratic party? As I see it, four years of him might force our country further conservative.
posted by graventy at 12:29 PM on February 22, 2004


no one is saying to vote for Kerry--try Edwards.
posted by amberglow at 12:41 PM on February 22, 2004


Hooray! Run, Ralph, Run!

that's a strange thing to hear from you. does your guy need the help?
posted by mcsweetie at 12:43 PM on February 22, 2004


You guys seem upset that some people might volunteer their vote for Nader instead of Kerry? The gaul. Seriously, to object to ANY candidate running is to spit in the face of democracy.

A candidate should earn their votes; it seems like some are arguing here that the progressive vote is Kerry's birthright.


the reality is that if someone volunteers their vote for nader, they're voting for the republican party.
posted by h00dini at 12:43 PM on February 22, 2004


Twang: Kerry opposes a federal marriage amendment but is in favor of gay civil unions. And the photo of Kerry standing next to Jane Fonda was a fake.

The notion that Kerry and Bush are indistinguishable on the issues is equally bogus. Kerry's getting hammered all over the place by Bush backers because his lifetime rating with the Americans for Democratic Action, a liberal group, is 93 out of 100. Anyone who says that Kerry is indistinguishable from Bush on the issues needs to spend less time ralphing and more time reading.
posted by rcade at 12:47 PM on February 22, 2004


I am not the biggest John Kerry fan (and he has to defend his vote for the war on his own) but I don't see a President Kerry pushing for "voluntary" pollution standards for big industry, cutting taxes for Ken Lay & Co. while cutting funding for education and homeland security. I don't see much hardcore policy differences between Kerry, Edwards or Dean (again, besides the war). None of them are way-left Kucinich style liberals (thank God) but they're all Democrats.

There seems to be this strain of thought that if Dems aren't "San Francisco/Berkeley/Boston-type" liberals that they aren't really Democrats. The mainstream of the Democratic party is in the center-left of the political spectrum, and isn't likely to change anytime soon.
posted by owillis at 12:54 PM on February 22, 2004


And the photo of Kerry standing next to Jane Fonda was a fake.

it depends on which picture you're talking about
posted by h00dini at 12:59 PM on February 22, 2004


the reality is that if someone volunteers their vote for nader, they're voting for the republican party.

No. The impact is only half.
posted by trharlan at 1:02 PM on February 22, 2004


> if the asshole screws this up for bushhaters, he's dead meat, just like the corvair.

Come not between the bushhater and his bushhating. Or he will not slay thee in thy turn. He will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shrivelled mind left naked to the Lidless Eye.


> Meanwhile, i'm starting a DraftJudgeMoore movement.

If only there were somebody over to the right of George. How about DraftJudgeDredd?
posted by jfuller at 1:03 PM on February 22, 2004


And the photo of Kerry standing next to Jane Fonda was a fake.

it depends on which picture you're talking about


This one remains unverified.
posted by homunculus at 1:07 PM on February 22, 2004


As a non-American, I'm quite confused by the reaction to this announcement.

Isn't America supposed to be a democracy, in which any man can run for the position of President, may the best man win?

Opposing Nader's decision is to oppose democracy, as far as I can tell.

In other countries, as far as I can tell, democratic process celebrates "any man can run." In Canada we run the full spectrum of weirdos, from the beer-promoting Rhino party which promises to quit if they're elected, to scary reform groups that are about as appealing as a Nazi party. In Italy actual prostitutes get elected to parliment, and in Britain they have parties that are literally Looney.

Ralph would fit right in to the democratic process in these countries. Hell, if he had anything intelligent to say, he might even stand a chance of getting elected to at least a seat in government. That wouldn't be a bad thing, as far as I can figure.

Why the panic over a single, strongly opinionated guy running in a democratic election, then? I just don't understand.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:14 PM on February 22, 2004


fff, we don't have proportionate representation (or whatever it's called)--it's all or nothing.
posted by amberglow at 1:19 PM on February 22, 2004


fff: In Canada, you don't have the Electoral College.
posted by AstroGuy at 1:19 PM on February 22, 2004


FFF: Because we have a two-party system, more or less? Because the practical effect of Nader's candidacy is to tilt the scales in favor of the party Nader claims to most strongly oppose? Because he refuses to acknowledge that?
posted by subgenius at 1:21 PM on February 22, 2004


vote for Nader instead of Kerry? The gaul.

leave the french out of this.
posted by quonsar at 1:25 PM on February 22, 2004


The conventional wisdom it seems that Nader would suck votes from the traditional far left (green, anti-corporate) crowd. We are so used to the belief that the traditional "right versus left" dicotamy promulgated by the media. We havent had time to really fathom that perhaps new paradigm is emerging in this country. Although they probably would'nt consider it themselves, I think if the
far traditional conservative and Christian Right and the Far Left Greens in this country could work on putting aside some differences on some core issues they are ideologically closer together than most people would care to admit. Call it the Community values and the Corporate values party.
posted by thedailygrowl at 1:32 PM on February 22, 2004


Opposing Nader's decision is to oppose democracy, as far as I can tell

Sadly, no. I oppose Bush's decision to run again as well, but that doesn't mean I want to pass a law or somehow making it impossible for him to do so. The reaction here amounts to, "If Nader really holds dear the goals he says he does, the most practical way to achieve them is to throw his support behind the Dems" And to Nader voters, "Supporting Nader is politically stupid." That is democracy. Nobody is saying we shouldn't allow Nader to run, just that he's an asshole for doing so.
posted by McBain at 1:44 PM on February 22, 2004


Opposing Nader's decision is to oppose democracy, as far as I can tell.

No, opposing Nader's decision to run is opposing the possible consequences of his running. In 2000, his running was in part responsible for Bush winning, which is a bad thing.

In other countries, as far as I can tell, democratic process celebrates "any man can run." In Canada we run the full spectrum of weirdos, from the beer-promoting Rhino party which promises to quit if they're elected, to scary reform groups that are about as appealing as a Nazi party.

Oh, horsefeathers. Anybody that wants to (that's over 35, a natural-born citizen, and meets the residency requirement) can run if they get enough signatures to get onto a ballot in one or more states. Shit, you can run from prison, if you want to.

And it's, if anything, easier to effectively run for office in the US than in Canada or most European democracies, because the major parties are essentially defanged. If you win the Democratic primary, you *are* the Democratic nominee, and there's nothing the party leadership can do about it. Unlike most other countries, where party leaderships can and do restrict access to the ballot under their labels.

The odd weirdo, or the Official Monster Raving Looney party, or the Gremloids, are amusing because they're quite harmless -- I think even they would be horrified if they discovered that their running had sucked enough votes away to throw the Tories back into power. Which is what happened, in part, in 2000. Or in France recently, where protest votes meant that the actual choice was between Chirac and LePen.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:47 PM on February 22, 2004


Your priorities and judgement are out of whack, Mr. Nader. Clearly you are not qualified to ever be president, a position where judgement and prioritization are essential. Thanks for making that clear...now go away, please.
posted by rushmc at 1:55 PM on February 22, 2004


Ralph Nader admits that Gore would be in the White House if not for his candidacy:
In 2000, exit polls showed that 21% or 25% of my vote would have gone to Bush, 38% or 41% to Gore, and the rest would not have voted.
That 16-17 percent difference is more than enough to have wun New Hampshire for Gore and put Florida completely out of the reach of Republican skullduggery.
posted by rcade at 2:07 PM on February 22, 2004


If Nader wants to change the system so badly, why doesn't he run for offices beside US President? A governor can't affect change? A congressman can't fight to make this a stronger country? Or are those offices beneath Nader?

Nader's terrible. Jesse "The Body" has done more to legitimize strong independent/third-party candidates.
posted by herc at 2:08 PM on February 22, 2004


Hold up... You're telling someone else not to run for President and you're calling THEM an egomaniac, an idiot, a fucker, an asshole? It's time to look in the mirror.
posted by fried at 2:09 PM on February 22, 2004


It's time to look in the mirror.

I guess nobody here can comment on anything in any thread, then.
posted by McBain at 2:12 PM on February 22, 2004


Although it means nothing, I'd like to say that I thought about voting for Ralph before, and now I think he's a big weeny.
posted by mecran01 at 2:19 PM on February 22, 2004


fucknader.com
posted by glenwood at 2:22 PM on February 22, 2004


You're telling someone else not to run for President and you're calling THEM an egomaniac, an idiot, a fucker, an asshole? It's time to look in the mirror.

no, it's time for you to figure out what's going on in the world. see, it's not difficult, any one of millions could explain it to you.
posted by quonsar at 2:25 PM on February 22, 2004


Hold up... You're telling someone else not to run for President and you're calling THEM an egomaniac, an idiot, a fucker, an asshole?

If someone is an egomaniac, an idiot, a fucker and an asshole, what would you expect us to tell them, "Please do waste money and time by running. Ya got my vote, fucker!". Notice, no one here is proposing that Nader shouldn't be allowed to run, only that he's an incredible tool for doing so.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:26 PM on February 22, 2004


Hold up... You're telling someone else not to run for President and you're calling THEM an egomaniac, an idiot, a fucker, an asshole?

Yes, I am. Thanks for asking.
posted by AstroGuy at 2:35 PM on February 22, 2004


You Democrats up there, do me a favor and vote for Edwards, at least in the primaries. I would much rather have him as a Democratic president than Kerry. I do disagree with him on some major issues(which is why I am sticking with Bush) but I think he is the real deal regarding jobs. And judging from his campaigning style at present, I think he and Bush would actually campaign on issues instead of throw poo at each other. And that would be so nice for a change...
posted by konolia at 2:40 PM on February 22, 2004


throw poo at each other. And that would be so nice for a change...

Have you heard of this guy Karl Rove? I think you might want to look into him a little bit.
posted by McBain at 2:44 PM on February 22, 2004


...I think he and Bush would actually campaign on issues instead of throw poo at each other.
ROTFL!
posted by kickingtheground at 2:48 PM on February 22, 2004


Hahahaah! It looks totally fake. Besides, when did 'association' become such a loose term? Try again!

That last remark is not for Mr Nader.

I voted for Nader once.

Once!
posted by john at 2:52 PM on February 22, 2004


Just a thought, but wouldn't the best thing for democracy in the US be if more of you actually voted?

What about trying to persuade the 60% who didn't vote last time to do so? They might all quite like to vote for someone different (but, I know, they probably won't).
posted by lerrup at 2:55 PM on February 22, 2004


there's absolutely nothing wrong with Nader running for president. his only fault is that he's too popular. no one gives a rat's ass if this guy runs, and he, likewise, has a lot in common with Dennis Kucinich, who would be my Democratic choice.

instead of castigating Nader, you all should simply convince voters why they shouldn't support him (and on preview, as lerrup says, convincing millions of poor people to vote). seems simple enough to me.

until the Democratic Party commits itself to reforming the political system to allow proportional representation (or comes up with some decent new ideas), i won't vote for any of them (never say never, but still ...). polarized politics is getting us absolutely nowhere. it's just a giant pissing match with poor people getting the golden showers.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:02 PM on February 22, 2004


the Senate (and Pres) would have to change the election system, and they wouldn't...it would hurt them and throw many out of office.

mrgrimm, who are you going to vote for?
posted by amberglow at 3:12 PM on February 22, 2004


instead of castigating Nader, you all should simply convince voters why they shouldn't support him (and on preview, as lerrup says, convincing millions of poor people to vote).

As a soon-to-be-appointed Democratic precinct committeeman, I intend to do exactly that. Unfortunately, due to the damn 18th century holdover that is the Electoral College, my vote (in Indiana) and the votes of Democrats in my area won't count for a damn.
posted by AstroGuy at 3:18 PM on February 22, 2004


is there a good site that shows the Rep/Dem distribution over the years in all the states?
Like Rhyax said, there is no (practical) point for a Democrat to vote in Texas or for a Republican to vote in Massachusetts. So is it all always only about 8-9 borderline states or these things actually tip from time to time in many states?
posted by bokononito at 3:48 PM on February 22, 2004


Wow, I am shocked at the number of fuck him posts about Nader. I thought there would be a few, but it dominates this thread. The fact that you have all resigned that this kills the Dems chances in the 'real' world is sad. I guess if everyone hates him as much as the demographics here indicate then you have nothing to worry about, but I doubt that's the case.

I never understood the Dem anger over 2000 w/ this, and really don't get it now. Sorry that your candidate was/is too busy playing the political game that they can barely register over half the votes and Nader 'costs' them the election. Gore was no Clinton. And he obviously wasn't even a Bush given that that election was his to lose. Let's see if Kerry prevails so he can barely get 50% and Nader can 'cost' him the election too and I can hear injustice cried across the country.

I for one (and a very few here) welcome his running. I have no love for the Bush presidency and would love to see him unseated, but this is ridiculous. Quit whining and find a candidate who can distinguish himself.
posted by dig_duggler at 3:50 PM on February 22, 2004


I really enjoy how the fucknader.com site offers a link for comments but then uses administrator@nader2004.info as the mailto link. Get 'em all riled up and then point them at your opponent.

Nnnniiiiiccccccce.

Nader without the Green Party has very little appeal to me. Sure it's about ego, it was last time too. Then again, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Of course Nader takes it a bit further and I'm not quite positive about how I should view the enemy of my enemy of my enemy.

David McReynolds it is then.
posted by Fezboy! at 4:11 PM on February 22, 2004


> due to the damn 18th century holdover that is the Electoral College,

The eighteenth century was a dam'site more intelligent than yours. Go powder your wig!


> no, it's time for you to figure out what's going on in the world. see, it's not
> difficult, any one of millions could explain it to you.

quonsar--I say this without a trace of ego--you shall not run for president.
posted by jfuller at 4:22 PM on February 22, 2004


whoops. strike my comment. nader2004.info is the same collection of folks...
posted by Fezboy! at 4:30 PM on February 22, 2004


If only we had instant run-off voting for the Presidential election. Then no one would care if Nader ran or not. Apparently, Howard Dean, John McCain, and Dennis Kucinich are supporters. Which just makes them even cooler in my eyes. John McCain: my favorite Republican Senator. I still can't believe he didn't get the nomination in 2000. I think if he had, we would be living in a brighter world. At the very least, the rest of the world would probably hate America less than it does now.

Full disclosure: I have no party affiliation. I voted for Nader in 2000 to help the Green Party get its 5% share of the popular vote (it didn't). Nader without a party? Meh. I don't even know if he's that much of a strategic threat to the eventual Democratic nominee this time around. He's got good things to say, but he has neither that warm, charismatic glow about him, nor that straitlaced, patrician air of authority, at least one of which one needs to be a viable independent candidate. That, or gobs and gobs of money to put yourself on prime-time national TV.
posted by skoosh at 4:40 PM on February 22, 2004


And he obviously wasn't even a Bush given that that election was his to lose.

Anyone who says this truly doesn't understand how the mainstream press went into the fucking tank for Bush. I sentence you to a reading of The Daily Howler archives.
posted by McBain at 4:41 PM on February 22, 2004


Wow, I am shocked at the number of fuck him posts about Nader. I thought there would be a few, but it dominates this thread. The fact that you have all resigned that this kills the Dems chances in the 'real' world is sad.

Was the consensus, "Jeez, this kills the dems [sic] chances," or was it, "Fuck Nader"? Because I could have sworn I wrote "Fuck him" [i.e., Fuck Nader] and not "Jeez, this kills the dems [sic] chances." Feeling a lot of anger about his ego and myopia is a far cry from believing his mere presence is going to control the outcome of the election. To conclude: Fuck Nader.
posted by subgenius at 4:45 PM on February 22, 2004


Sorry that your candidate was/is too busy playing the political game that they can barely register over half the votes and Nader 'costs' them the election.

This isn't about "my" candidate. This is about keeping a moronic lunatic from gaining a second term. Sorry you can't see the big picture beyond your own naive little ideology.
posted by jpoulos at 5:00 PM on February 22, 2004


Was the consensus, "Jeez, this kills the dems [sic] chances," or was it, "Fuck Nader"? Because I could have sworn I wrote "Fuck him" [i.e., Fuck Nader] and not "Jeez, this kills the dems [sic] chances." Feeling a lot of anger about his ego and myopia is a far cry from believing his mere presence is going to control the outcome of the election. To conclude: Fuck Nader.

Cleary because I use an abbreviation (Dems [sic]) I am a moron?

For him to repeat the lies that there are no differences bet. dems and repubs is just sad. And he's not even bothering to use the greens to legitimize his run this time. Is it ego, or just wanting Bush to get 4 more years?

ahhh...Moore's already thinking about it -- i bet he gets more votes than Nader, too.

I think Nader thinks he'll get Dean's people, but most are going for Edwards or dropping out of the process, I think.


Jebuz on a stick. Enough, Ralph. Enough. Not this year. Stop it.


And that's in the first 12 posts. Pretty sure those all hint at Nader costing an election. Or getting Moore to. etc.

And maybe a moronic lunatic that half the country votes for wouldn't get the chance if a compelling candidate ran. And I thought Dems [sic] were scared of Dean....
posted by dig_duggler at 5:13 PM on February 22, 2004


Cleary because I use an abbreviation (Dems [sic]) I am a moron?

No, because you don't know how to punctuate a plural possessive.

And maybe a moronic lunatic that half the country votes for wouldn't get the chance if a compelling candidate ran.

Like who, Ralph Nader? What planet do you live on where this guy makes a good president? I'm glad he brought the Greens into the spotlight (at least a little) in 2000, but if you think he'd actually make a good president, you're drinking some serious Kool-Aid.
posted by jpoulos at 5:23 PM on February 22, 2004


Hooray! Run, Ralph, Run!

Boo! Stumble and Fall, Ralph, Stumble and Fall!


No, take a nice, long drive, Ralph. Here's keys to a Corvair...
posted by jonmc at 5:40 PM on February 22, 2004


Puncuate a Plural Possessive. Positively Priceless.

Did I say Nader was a compelling candidate? He's not. But I wish the Democrats would find one.

I'm out. I'm not doing this all night.
posted by dig_duggler at 5:42 PM on February 22, 2004


> due to the damn 18th century holdover that is the Electoral College,

The eighteenth century was a dam'site more intelligent than yours. Go powder your wig!


What the hell does that mean? Are you saying you think the EC is a good thing today?
posted by AstroGuy at 5:55 PM on February 22, 2004


John McCain: my favorite Republican Senator. I still can't believe he didn't get the nomination in 2000.


didn't you hear?
he fathered a black kid out of wedlock!
looks like he was also in favor of something called the "Fag Army" (sounds like a great name for a gay bar, btw)
and, he was also barking mad, because of his living in a cage for seven years, or something.

that's why he didn't get the nomination!

oh, and also said "gook"


a quick note for my friend konolia:
In particular, the anti-McCain attacks by outside groups allowed Bush to present an image of himself taking the high road in the campaign. And, in fact, voters in South Carolina said that it was McCain—not Bush--who had run the nastier campaign



and it worked like a charm.
you have to admit that push-polling thing is very, very effective
posted by matteo at 5:57 PM on February 22, 2004


you have to admit that push-polling thing is very, very effective

I don't understand why everytime it happens the media doesn't start a shit storm of investigation, tracing the money, etc... Most people have no clue what was done to McCain by Rove.
posted by McBain at 6:02 PM on February 22, 2004


Like Rhyax said, there is no (practical) point for a Democrat to vote in Texas or for a Republican to vote in Massachusetts.

And that is why so many voters don't bother to go to the polls. Especially after the last election, where the candidate with the most votes didn't inhabit the White House. If anything, that election showed people that their individual votes don't make a bit of difference.

I'm in Texas. I know for a fact, no matter how I vote, that the state electoral votes will go to Bush. I'm still going to vote, because I feel like it's my duty as a citizen, and a privilege of being in a nominal democracy...but I don't pretend to believe that it makes a difference any more than I believe the weekly letters I write to my Congresscritters makes any difference. I still do it, because they're "my" representatives, and they get paid to listen to me tell them how I think they should vote. Then they promptly ignore me and vote with whomever has the most money that week...which is never going to be me.

See, the thing I think that people outside of American borders don't understand is that America isn't a democracy. It's a republic. Republics and Democracies are two radically different things. There is no "one man, one vote" thing when it comes to national elections.

Which is why I'm voting for Dennis in the primaries, and I'll vote for whichever rich white guy the Dems try to pass off as a populist during the real election. But I do it knowing full well and good that my vote doesn't matter. Has never mattered. Will never matter, as long as the electoral college exists.

If only we had instant run-off voting for the Presidential election.

Amen to that.
posted by dejah420 at 6:11 PM on February 22, 2004


I'm in Texas.


OK, but if I were you I'd be damn proud that it was a fellow Texan who rammed the Civil Rights Act down the South's throat. A Texan did that, not a wussy Connecticut guy or something (OK, with a little help from his Boston former boss, but still).
That fact alone is worth, in my opinion, these last 40 years in the political wilderness for Texas liberals, when it comes to Presidential elections.
I'd just look at this picture, every once in a while, and feel good about my State. no matter how bad its current politics and the electoral college are screwing me over right now
posted by matteo at 6:28 PM on February 22, 2004


But I do it knowing full well and good that my vote doesn't matter. Has never mattered. Will never matter, as long as the electoral college exists.

You don't need to abolish the electoral college. Just get the 48 other states to do what NE and ME do: assign one electoral vote to each House district, and two to whoever gets the most votes in the state. Your vote still won't make a damn bit of difference, but it'll be one out of 700,000 or so instead of one out of umpty-million in Texas, if that matters to you.

States aren't likely to do that, though, since doing so would make them less of a prize to win in the election, which would presumably lead candidates to not make promises to the state that they'd otherwise make.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:37 PM on February 22, 2004


Dejah: There are 300,000,000 Americans. Your vote will never matter. The electoral college is the only reason a few hundred votes in Florida matterred.
posted by jpoulos at 6:39 PM on February 22, 2004


No, take a nice, long drive, Ralph. Here's keys to a Corvair...

Please tell me you don't have to be as old as I am to know just how funny that statement is.
posted by konolia at 6:41 PM on February 22, 2004


Do you want your voice to matter?

Get involved at your precinct level. Seriously. Join your local Democratic or Republican party. I bet quite a few of you could be precinct chairmen with little effort. This is where it begins.

BTW if you ever work for any candidate anywhere the best way to get your guy/gal elected is good old fashioned door-to-door politicking.
posted by konolia at 6:47 PM on February 22, 2004


Actually, konolia, my mom had a Corvair in the 60's. This is in keeping with the the family tradition of tragicomic misadventure.
posted by jonmc at 6:52 PM on February 22, 2004


If Nader really gives a damn about American democracy and about the American people (and he's exactly right on many of the unpleasant truths he tells), he'd do deliberately what Howard Dean did accidentally, except more so : try to tell truth and deal with real issues. He'd pull the whole discourse a notch or two back toward reality, point without fear, because his honesty would be unbought and without bad consequence, at the evil and greed of the current administration and the system as a whole, and hold the bastards' feet to the fire (both Republican and Democratic bastards, of course).

Then, a few months before the election, he'd bow out, and ask any people he'd successfully radicalized to throw their energy and votes behind the Democratic nominee, 'cause bad as whoever it might be might suck, there's no way in hell that he'd be as bad as the sockpuppet 'War President' George W Bush.

'Course that probably ain't gonna happen.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:20 PM on February 22, 2004


Or : Don't be an idiot, Ralph : Game The System!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:22 PM on February 22, 2004


i hope at least this time nader questions where his donations are coming from. the republicans financed his campaign in florida in 2000.

Just get the 48 other states to do what NE and ME do: assign one electoral vote to each House district, and two to whoever gets the most votes in the state.

i'm in texas too, and i agree that my vote doesn't count. this wouldn't even work in texas thanks to the recent redistricting. non-republicans in texas are just fucked.
posted by centrs at 7:36 PM on February 22, 2004


abcde wrote:

""Yeah, but Kucinich is running as a Democrat, so he would have to throw his weight behind Kucinich if (when) he goes independent."

Not really, seeing as Ralph said before the primaries began that his decision on running would largely depend on how Kucinich fared in the primaries, since according to him if Kucinich did well, he would have no reason to enter the race.

This *could* come back to bite Nader. Granted, Kucinich has only had 3rd place showings in Washington and Maine thus far. But, we're not even halfway through the primaries yet, he is now one of 3 candidates(ok, 4 candidates)......and, the Ohio primary has not taken place yet.

See, I've not looked at the polls for Ohio yet, but I'm thinking that Ohio could potentially unbalance everything for the DNC. Not only is it Dennis' home state, but unlike the rest of the nation to whom the media has introduced him as "Dennis who?", Dennis is actually well known and well respected among Ohio Democrats. He has a long history of defeating incumbent Republicans, in a congressional district known for its population of more conservative voters.

Expect Dennis to place at least 2nd in Ohio, and it's even *conceivable* that he could edge out Kerry here. The talking heads could pass that off as a fluke, but they definitely would not be able to ignore him any longer.

konolia wrote:

" I think he[Edwards] and Bush would actually campaign on issues instead of throw poo at each other. And that would be so nice for a change..."

Have you seen Kucinich in a debate? In a one-on-one debate, my money says he'd leave Junior Bush staring at the camera like a deer caught in headlights.

Look no further than the way he told Ted Koppel where to shove his polls on national television.(RealPlayer clip)

Now, that's my kinda candidate.
posted by spirit72 at 8:30 PM on February 22, 2004


What Stavros said (several comments above). I've thought the same.

Also - I heard Nader being quizzed, on NPR, about the spoiler factor : about his possible ability to throw a tight race to George W. Bush.

Nader just avoided the question and instead insisted on shrieking about how he was being oppressed by 'fascists'. I found it unfortunate - for Nader's long record of public service - and quite embarrassing as well.
posted by troutfishing at 8:48 PM on February 22, 2004


So high do these feelings run, it's not impossible that Ralph is putting himself at physical risk by running.

pack up it up griggsy, Operation Corvair is no-go

posted by clavdivs at 8:50 PM on February 22, 2004


my money says he'd leave Junior Bush staring at the camera like a deer caught in headlights.

Well, let's face it though, Big Bird could do that.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:02 PM on February 22, 2004


Wow. This thread has been quite illuminating.
posted by MidasMulligan at 9:21 PM on February 22, 2004


Midas - Do tell.
posted by troutfishing at 10:13 PM on February 22, 2004


Shhhh... I think he's referring the the Bavarian Illuminati, our secret rulers, and the true power behind the Bush White House.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:18 PM on February 22, 2004


Will Nader Matter At All?

“THE BEST WAY TO MARGINALIZE NADER IS STILL THE SAME: STEAL HIS ISSUES: In the fall of 2000, Gore backers spent millions of dollars and immense amounts of time and energy seeking to demonize Nader. They came off as desperate and anti-democratic, and in some instances actually reinforced support for Nader.”
posted by LeLiLo at 2:07 AM on February 23, 2004


If this thread is any indication, Ralph Nader won't come anywhere close to his 2000 vote this time around. This used to be a place where you could get shouted down by Nader supporters.
posted by rcade at 3:59 AM on February 23, 2004


It does seem like the people who voted for Nader are the same people who understand that they shouldn't do so now when it's imperative that Bush not get re-elected.

Hopefully the Dems will use Lelilo's sound idea - steal Ralph Nader's best campaign issues and thus his votes.
posted by orange swan at 6:46 AM on February 23, 2004


He has issues?
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:04 AM on February 23, 2004


He has lots of issues.
posted by rcade at 7:18 AM on February 23, 2004


You guys enjoy having your candidate chosen for you by the party elite? Got your rubber stamps ready to validate this farcical primary? Willing to look the other way and ignore the sabotage the DNC conducted against other candidates so as to secure the nomination for their boy? I don't know about you, but I don't want to end up like Powell, selling my soul to preserve at all costs a bureaucracy that doesn't respresent my interests and is unresponsive to its base membership.

[X] Nader, Ralph (I)
posted by RavinDave at 7:38 AM on February 23, 2004


Sorry, I think you meant:

[X] Bush, George W. (R)

Tomato, Tomahto.
posted by subgenius at 7:49 AM on February 23, 2004


Find a new bogeyman. The DNC pretty much assured a Bush win by annointing Kerry. It's not on my conscience.
posted by RavinDave at 7:55 AM on February 23, 2004


You guys enjoy having your candidate chosen for you by the party elite? Got your rubber stamps ready to validate this farcical primary?
Most of us have yet to vote in the primaries, so we'll see.
posted by amberglow at 8:05 AM on February 23, 2004


Although the Electoral College can't easily be reformed, any state could very easily adopt an instant run-off system for its own Presidential votes. If Florida had had such a system, every voter would have been asked for his/her "second choice" as well as first choice. After Bush and Gore's votes were counted up and neither was an absolute majority, Nader, Buchannan, and the other minor party candidates first choice votes would have been retallied in favor of the second choice. This would have been likely to throw the overall tally in favor of Gore.

Democrats have shown NO support for such measures, and thus have only themselves to blame if Nader costs them key states again in '04. (In San Francisco, where Greens pushed through an IR system in a ballot initiative, the Democrats have successfully stalled its implementation.)
posted by MattD at 8:06 AM on February 23, 2004


People who criticize Nader are taking a very short-term view. The Democratic Party, and the political center of the country, will continue to drift right so long as the left wing (Democrats and non-Democrats) allows Democrats to win elections by playing to the middle. Only by playing tough, with third party candidates as a key strategy, can the left remove the Democrats' temptation to move right to win close elections.

I'm not left (far from it), but I cannot imagine how the left would be willing to reward the Democratic establishment for the way it skillfully sabotaged Howard Dean and systematically marginalized the authentic voices of Dennis Kucinich and Carol Mosley Braun while showering an absurd amount of attention upon Al Sharpton, who's nothing more than a rabble-rousing, race-baiting buffoon. Seeing John Kerry soft-pedal his opposition to the Vietnam War (at which he was truly a leader of national consequence) in favor of his junior officer combat role preceding it (at which he was utterly insignificant) can only make the pain worse, and that's to say nothing of the hard-right moves that Kerry is doubtless exploring as we speak (he is going to have a Sista Souljah/Rickey Ray Rector moment of his own, without doubt).
posted by MattD at 8:17 AM on February 23, 2004


The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.

- H.L. Mencken

Which is to say that it's a remarkable stretch to suggest, glibly, in a witty rejoinder such as "fuck him," that a man of Ralph Nader's integrity is driven at this point by "ego" and not either a) a genuine belief - which you're welcome, yes, to disagree with - that a two-party system largely controlled by corporate interests is inimicable to the practice of democracy; or b) what stavros said about wanting to shift the debate.

And as for this -

Nobody is saying we shouldn't allow Nader to run, just that he's an asshole for doing so.

- and other replies to the confusion on the part of fff and a few other non-American posters, let me add that I think this is one of those blind spots many Americans have as to how bewildering their national political culture is to non-Americans. (Gun control is another fine example.) It's nearly impossible, for example, to imagine a scenario in which left-leaning Canadians would so violently oppose the fringe-party candidacy of another left-winger. They might get angry if their chosen party picked a lousy leader or something, but nothing like the vitriol in this thread. It's also hard to imagine a Canadian scenario in which the failure of a given huge, wealthy, powerful party would be blamed on a fringe party. Hence our slight confusion as to the indignation over Nader's exercising of his democratic (as opposed to Democratic) rights.
posted by gompa at 8:26 AM on February 23, 2004


Perhaps Canadians are predisposed against violent opposition to anything, given the country's pathetic commitment to free speech and freedom of the press.

RavinDave: Who was the last Democrat you voted for in a presidential election? You sound like someone who would rather be right than in office. There's nothing wrong with that, but Democratic voters can do a lot of good this year simply by preventing George Bush from doing more harm.
posted by rcade at 9:41 AM on February 23, 2004


David McReynolds it is then.

Walt Brown is the SP candidate this year.
posted by maurice at 9:47 AM on February 23, 2004


MattD, thank you for the interesting points. I appreciate reading level-headed anaylsis from conservatives that isn't of the form "join us, Luke. I am your father." The factors you listed were why I was a member of the Useless Texan Liberals for Nader Brigade in 2000; but right now all the left can do is put on the brakes - winning Congress is very unlikely - so the 2004 presidential race just isn't the place for that fight. So don't denounce Nader. Ignoooorrre him!
posted by furiousthought at 10:03 AM on February 23, 2004


rcade ...

I once read a great piece of wisdom here on MeFi to the effect of: "The greatest success of rightwing talk radio is to convince people that the rich are an oppressed minority". I offer the following instead: "The greatest success of rightwing talk radio is to convince the Left that they can only get elected if they present themselves as GOP-Lite." This concerns me more than anything. If the price of winning is to sacrifice our core principles, it is Pyrrhic.
posted by RavinDave at 10:26 AM on February 23, 2004


I wonder if the Republican Leadership Council will buy ads supporting him again, like in 2000.
posted by amberglow at 10:31 AM on February 23, 2004


Thanks for posting that, amberglow--I'd never come across another source for that besides Sidney Blumenthal's The Clinton Wars, which has only slightly fewer conspiracy theories than a Thomas Pynchon novel.
posted by Prospero at 10:57 AM on February 23, 2004


anytime, Prospero--it was going to be a very dirty campaign even without Nader in--now it'll be worse.
posted by amberglow at 11:08 AM on February 23, 2004


I think this is one of those blind spots many Americans have as to how bewildering their national political culture is to non-Americans

In .uk/.ca terms --

Imagine the Commons is, but for one district, tied between a center-left party and an arguably-center-right (but probably really rather firmly right) party. Nobody has control of Parliament.

Now, in that last riding, votes are split nearly evenly between the center-left and arguably-center-right. But the riding goes to the center-right because a splinter-left candidate siphoned off the, say, 50 votes needed to give the center-right candidate the plurality.


So because this guy got 50 votes in one riding, you're stuck with Maggie Thatcher instead of Tony Blair (who, for all his failings, is at least not Thatcher). Even though substantially more people voted for the center-left party than the center-right nationwide!

And now the schmuck is trying to do it *again*. Would you not be pissed at him?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:17 AM on February 23, 2004


If the price of winning is to sacrifice our core principles, it is Pyrrhic.

I think it's possible that just having a Democratic president, even a centrist one, can shift minds and bring the country closer to the liberals' core principles. I think that the Democrats have been running to the right because the country in some ways has. I don't think anybody's demonstrated that the way to pull the country to the left, long-term, is to run losing but ideologically liberal candidates. It just makes the party look more marginalized and out of touch.
posted by callmejay at 11:27 AM on February 23, 2004


Find a new bogeyman. The DNC pretty much assured a Bush win by annointing Kerry. It's not on my conscience.


Hundreds of thousands of Evangelical fundys all over the US are laughing their God-fearing, anti-Roe, gay-hating asses off right now.

they know better than vent their righteous anger in ultimately self-defeating Quixotic campaigns.
The various Evangelical ayatollahs didn't really like the secular, Eisenhower-style, mainstream-Presbyterian, basically-tolerant Republican Party? Cool. So, they just took over the Party.

Anybody ever noticed how Pat Robertson et al are not running for President anymore? no Houston 1992 KulturKampf convention disaster?
ever noticed how they'd rather have their candidate speak loudly -- during the campaign -- about non-divisive issues like "education", "reading", "compassion" to avoid scaring off the centrist majority, only to reap the benefits after they guy got elected (or voted in by the SCOTUS, whatever).

but of course they're actual grown-ups. unlike a certain other political faction, they've managed to keep their tantrums for themselves.
posted by matteo at 11:46 AM on February 23, 2004


Still waiting to hear about the last Democratic presidential nominee you voted for, RavinDave. I don't think Nader will be a factor this time around, but it'd be nice to get a clearer picture of the diehard liberals who are supporting his Toonces candidacy.

Another question I'd love to see answered: Kerry's getting bashed by the right for his almost-perfect score on some liberal Congressional scorecards, and bashed on the left for being GOP-lite. Which is it?
posted by rcade at 11:56 AM on February 23, 2004


It's also hard to imagine a Canadian scenario in which the failure of a given huge, wealthy, powerful party would be blamed on a fringe party

With all due respect to my northern bretheren and sisteren, it's hard to imagine a Canadian PM who could be such a danger to the world as GWB. I wasn't nearly as pissed at Nader three years ago as I am now, having seen how the damage Bush has done to my country and to the rest of the world. Again, it's not about sour grapes that "my guy" didn't get in. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, the fate of the world literally rests with the November election.

I didn't support Nader in 2000, but I understand why some people did, and I respect them for rejecting the two-party, corporate-controlled system. I would love to see a three- or four-party system in my lifetime. But some even more serious issues than our fucked-up political system hang in the balance at this particular moment in history . The fate of dozens of nations and millions of people is at stake here. That's where all this vitriol is coming from.
posted by jpoulos at 2:14 PM on February 23, 2004


Another question I'd love to see answered: Kerry's getting bashed by the right for his almost-perfect score on some liberal Congressional scorecards, and bashed on the left for being GOP-lite. Which is it?

Both. Neither. I for one am fairly pleased at how the election cycle is unfolding. Either Bush or Kerry will win, and both are likely to produce little other than minor permutations of the status quo. A few table scraps will be thrown to interested constituencies (be it fundamentalists and oil companies, or unions and trial lawyers) ... in as dramatic and public a fashion as possible, but the bigger picture is simply not going to change much.

I am slightly surprised at Democrats - lordy folks, Kerry is actually more of an upper-class, wealthy elitist than the Bush folks are. In the circles of wealth, there are distinctions made between the east-coast priviledged - who view themselves as better-educated, cultured old money, and the heartland priviledged - who see themselves blunt, salt-of-the-earth. The Martha Stewart - Hamptons crowd looks down on the likes of the Ross Perots (who still drives an old pickup) and Sam Waltons of the world (WalMart execs still share hotel rooms at conventions). The heartland rich, however, see the east coast wealthy as insufferably pretentious boors.

What this election is about is a contest between those two elites - Kerry is deeply emeshed in the east-coast circles, and Bush is almost the definition of what the heartland wealthy are. It is a bit of a giggle to see Kerry coming out all populist - but don't believe for a moment it is not with a nod-nod, wink-wink to his own social circle. There will be a big difference between Bush and Kerry in terms of window dressing ... but at the end of the day he will not betray his social class. Or, to put it another way, the wealthy are likely to see little functional change in their lives regardless of whether it is Bush or Kerry.

So far as Nader goes - I'm kinda suprised at all the vitriol here. He's not a player this time - and will likely have no effect at all on the race. Those who are deeply condemning him needn't bother ...

In realpolitick terms, this race (as evidenced by this thread) is between Bush, and not-Bush. I have spoken to very few people that actually are jazzed about Kerry (in the way Dean's followers loved him). Nobody even seems to particularly care what he stands for. He's just not-Bush. The funny thing is that in the virtually fanatical quest to unseat Bush, the power-structure of the left destroyed Dean (don't blame the right wing folks ... Hillary & Co. made certain that poor bastard got chewed up and spit out), and is now excoriating Nader - both people who's principles are far more in line with the traditional left than Kerry will ever be.

The bottom line of the upcoming election (in my opinion) is this: the Presidential race is virtually a moot point - because the difference between the two candidates (relatively speaking) is minor to the point that the real issue will become the outcome of the House and Senate races.
posted by MidasMulligan at 3:02 PM on February 23, 2004


the fate of dozens of nations and millions of people is at stake here. that's where all this vitriol is coming from.

Trust me, jpoulos, your northern brethren and sistren are well aware of this. In fact, according to a survey just published in our national newsmagazine, 85 percent of us would join the Anybody But Bush party if we could.

All I'm saying is that I think Democrats should stop scapegoating Nader for the tie game in 2000 and blame the ones who lost the election: Al Gore and the spineless, visionless DNC. And if Nader's argument is truly less accurate and less relevant now than it was in 2000, it'll be John Kerry's job (by the looks of it) to make that case convincingly - 'cause so far, as Midas just said, he looks a lot like the DNC's new improved Vietnam-Vet Gore (with built-in patriotism shield and easy-to-steer inside-the-Beltway grip).

Oh, and rcade: nice troll. You shouldn't keep it all caged up like that, though, not when the wilds of Soviet Canuckistan beckon.
posted by gompa at 3:16 PM on February 23, 2004


Kerry is actually more of an upper-class, wealthy elitist than the Bush folks are

Perhaps, but will he be a better president? That's the more important question for most people, I'd wager.
posted by kindall at 3:28 PM on February 23, 2004


How is it a troll, gompa? If you want to compare our forms of government, it's worth pointing out that yours criminalizes speech that makes a group feel bad and can order the press not to report about ongoing trials. Personally, I think free speech and a free press are more important than the fact that you folks can handle third party candidacies with more aplomb than we do.
posted by rcade at 3:32 PM on February 23, 2004


sistren?
posted by crunchland at 4:10 PM on February 23, 2004


Kerry is actually more of an upper-class, wealthy elitist than the Bush folks are

Perhaps, but will he be a better president? That's the more important question for most people, I'd wager.


Actually ... I really don't think that's the more important question for most people. Would be nice if it were, but it isn't. The left hated Bush before he'd even done anything. There is no objective judgement - look at MeFi. Daily anti-Bush screeds ... people scouring the web to find even the slightest hint of something they can slam him for ... without even the slightest pretense of looking equally hard (or, in fact, at all) for things he's accomplished well.

And a good deal of that hatred seems to revolve around "Bush and his rich buddies" rhetoric. From my perspective - he's been an idiot in some areas, competent in others, and damn good in still others. I do happen to have money, and own a company (and have stakes in a couple of others). Bush gave me undeniable tax breaks - at both the personal and corporate levels. Know what I did? Invested the personal in other companies, and at the corporate level, was able to afford to hire a number of new employees ... in other words, leave more money in my hands, and I'll use it to expand my business. I'm acting exactly as supply-side economics predict. Certainly some companies don't, but a lot do ... I do believe the recession (that started during the end of the Clinton era) would have been deeper, and would have lasted much longer, without Bush policies. (My new employees, by the way, think so too).

I also think, however, Bush has been a bit of a twit in terms of things like the current gay marriage foolishness. (To this day, I can't for the life of me figure out why the hell I should give a flying shit about what anyone else does in their own bedrooms ... I have a wife I'm passionately in love with, but I was almost 40 before I finally found the love of my life ... it is such a rare and wonderful thing ... and if my next door neighbor happens to find that same thing with a woman or a man seems incidental - the government just simply shouldn't fuck with love - it needs to be treasured and enabled no matter what form it comes in).

Bigger point being that objectively speaking ... I think Bush is just human - and has produced a mixed bag of results. I think the same thing about Clinton.

But genuine objectivity, and calm analysis, is absent from modern day politics. By those that hate Bush, Kerry will be liked and supported before they even know what he stands for. (Just as to those that hated Clinton, Bush was liked before they knew what he stood for).

I do, personally, believe (and was trying to quietly point out) that those that have already decided upon Kerry (because he is not-Bush) may be in for a wee bit of a surprise if he actually gets into office. Objectively speaking, he'd be better in some ways, and not as good in others. But be real clear about this folks ... he is not Nader, or Sharpton. If what you hate the worst about Bush is that he stands up for his "rich buddies", you're simply changing the "specific buddies" part, not the "rich" part, if you campaign for Kerry. They are from different factions in that social class, but they are from the same class.
posted by MidasMulligan at 4:27 PM on February 23, 2004


If what you hate the worst about Bush is that he stands up for his "rich buddies", you're simply changing the "specific buddies" part, not the "rich" part, if you campaign for Kerry.

Well, find me some prominent "buddies" of Kerry's who supported black/white segregation, advocate remaking the United States into a Christian theocracy, and plan to enshrine anti-gay discrimination into the Constitution, and then we can talk about how Kerry and Bush are the same, blah blah blah. You're right in that a lot of people hear "rich" and assume "evil," and it's a major problem. But it's unbelievably false -- and indeed, it's the same side of the coin that you're bemoaning -- to assert that Kerry's rich allies will be just as morally bankrupt as the Bush administration's. The "there's no difference" argument holds ZERO logical weight, and I really don't understand why it hasn't vanished from political discourse -- oh, that's right, it's because Ralph Nader's fucking running again and spouting it to anybody who'll listen.
posted by logovisual at 5:32 PM on February 23, 2004


rcade: Still waiting to hear about the last Democratic presidential nominee you voted for, RavinDave.

My answer is bound to be misleading. I did not support Clinton -- but I would have (and I'd vote for him tomorrow), had he not placed Al Gore(*) on the ticket. You will recall that Gore championed such obnoxious opportunistic fare as Clipper, V-Chip technology and the whole PMRC publicity stunt; things I find abhorent and antithetical to the Democratic philosophy. Before that, I backed every major Democratic presidential candidate, excepting for Jimmy Carter ( I supported John Anderson's Independent run that year). My heart wasn't always in it (I would have prefered Biden over Dukakis), but I defered to the majority then because I thought the process was overall fair (except for an errant dirty trick or two). I no longer believe the DNC has enough confidence in their membership to allow the process to unwind naturally. I can still chide the GOP for sabotaging McCain's candidacy and essentially forcing George Bush on its membership -- you guys can't, because the DNC has adopted the same policy with Kerry.

(*) NOTE: My dislike for Gore does not mean that I don't believe he was royally shafted by the SCOTUS. He was.
posted by RavinDave at 6:03 PM on February 23, 2004


If what you hate the worst about Bush is that he stands up for his "rich buddies", you're simply changing the "specific buddies" part, not the "rich" part, if you campaign for Kerry.

Do you really think Kerry would have made the same sweeping tax cuts for the wealthy? It's one thing to be wealthy and perhaps throw some bones to your wealthy friends and supporters, another thing to hand the treasury to the richest 1%.
posted by callmejay at 6:35 PM on February 23, 2004


Bush gave me undeniable tax breaks - at both the personal and corporate levels. Know what I did? Invested the personal in other companies, and at the corporate level, was able to afford to hire a number of new employees ... in other words, leave more money in my hands, and I'll use it to expand my business.

Bravo, midas. But that was a personal ethical and business decision on your part. Wouldn't we be naive to expect that all wealthy people would show the same largesse? Many people vote for Bush out of self-interest. Certainly understandable. But you should expect us non-wealthy folk to do the same.
posted by jonmc at 6:43 PM on February 23, 2004


Forget Nader. Draft Moore.
posted by homunculus at 7:16 PM on February 23, 2004


How is it a troll, gompa? If you want to compare our forms of government, it's worth pointing out that yours criminalizes speech that makes a group feel bad and can order the press not to report about ongoing trials.

This, in fact, is why it's a troll. Because you linked to an article that slaps together a bunch of court cases out of context and doesn't provide any background whatsoever, and then make wildly inaccurate blanket statements about the way Canada's various institutions balance individual rights and the public good.

The evolving balance between Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, its hate-speech laws, and its court-case publication bans is way off-topic in this thread, and I'd only derail further by trying to explain what's wrong with the info in that link and with your summation of same.

Ergo: Troll.

Oh, and crunchland, jpoulos started that 'sistren' thing. I was just playing along.
posted by gompa at 7:48 PM on February 23, 2004


Oh, and crunchland, jpoulos started that 'sistren' thing. I was just playing along.

"sistren" is hardly a jpoulos term. I've heard it used pretty commonly for quite some time now. Just saying.
posted by Ufez Jones at 8:04 PM on February 23, 2004


lelilo: “THE BEST WAY TO MARGINALIZE NADER IS STILL THE SAME: STEAL HIS ISSUES: In the fall of 2000, Gore backers spent millions of dollars and immense amounts of time and energy seeking to demonize Nader. They came off as desperate and anti-democratic, and in some instances actually reinforced support for Nader.”

Bingo. I can't remember an presidential election in which there has not been at least 5 candidates on the ticket. This puts pressure on the big parties to do some actual coalition building. The primary reason why the Republicans have managed to keep Buchanan and Robertson in check has been because in recent history they've been quite good at building coalitions that avoided bad feelings and serious scisms. Both the radical right and the pragmatic libertarian right may not be entirely happy with the Republican Party as a set of big tent compromises, but no one feels particularly taken for granted from what I can tell.

In contrast, 1998-2000 revealed that there were some pretty deep scisms in the coalition on the left. With massive world-wide protests regarding U.S. trade and environmental policy, the Dems should have recognized that the message of "four more years" was not going to hold things together.

Ultimately, it was Gore's responsibility to rebuild that coalition. He failed to do so, miserably.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:50 PM on February 23, 2004


Do you really think Kerry would have made the same sweeping tax cuts for the wealthy? It's one thing to be wealthy and perhaps throw some bones to your wealthy friends and supporters, another thing to hand the treasury to the richest 1%.

Kind of a tired argument here ... but the US has a very "progressive" tax system. Cutting taxes equally, across the board, would naturally "benefit the rich" ... because the rich pay a disproportionately large percentage of the taxes to start with. Close to 50% of Americans pay no income taxes at all ... so naturally if you cut taxes, and look at the amount "the rich" (in the top tax bracket) get back, as opposed to "the poor" (who are already paying no taxes), you can say "it benefits the rich". If, that is, you want to be a really sleazy, disingenuous politician.

Bravo, midas. But that was a personal ethical and business decision on your part. Wouldn't we be naive to expect that all wealthy people would show the same largesse?

Ahhh ... now here I think we have a fundamental difference between perspectives - and probably no middle ground. First, it is not "largesse" - it is self-interest ... that also happens to benefit my employees. And customers. And suppliers. This is the foundation of capitalism. The deeper issue, however, is the underlying attitude in both your comments, and the previous one - the assumption that the government is somehow giving me something when it lowers my taxes. It is not - it is taking less of my money than it previously did.

Democrats appear to believe that the government has the right to take anything it wants, and spend it on anything it wishes. And business owners are considered selfish, and greedy, when they believe that they have the first right to money they earn. Apparently, the wealthy need to justify keeping their money, but the government has to no need to justify taking any of it that it wants to take.

Thus, if I risk a good deal of my own money, and that of my investors, work 18 hour days for months at a time, and manage - through skill, effort, and luck - to get a thriving business going (a business that hires employees, and supports entire families) ... somehow the Deans and Naders of the world believe that they - and the government - have the perfect right to arbitrarily decide my income is more than I need, that close to 40% can justifiably be taxed ... because they've decided it's "my fair share" ... and they have high and noble things they want to do with it. Horseshit.

Many people vote for Bush out of self-interest. Certainly understandable. But you should expect us non-wealthy folk to do the same.

Oh yes ... I most certainly do expect that. In fact ... I am happy to hear it stated that bluntly. You at least are not trying to hide behind some moral smokescreen. If someone is poor, and they find a legal means by which to just take money from someone that is rich, they will take it. If that means is called "voting liberal", and (better yet) if the liberal they vote for manages to demonize those with money as being "greedy" (thus providing a warm and fuzzy justification) - so much the better. (Though why someone that wants to decide to do with their own money is greedy, and someone that wants to decide what to do with someone else's money, isn't ... seems a bit peculiar).

Yes ... it is purely and simply self-interest. The unions are not endorsing Kerry because they "believe" in him. They expect payback. (But remember, businesspeople do have the freedom to open businesses in other countries). Edwards doesn't have a boatload of funding from the trial lawyers because they love his populist message - but because any thought of tort reform would be effectively dead were he elected. (Just don't complain when you see doctors - especially in many rural areas - simply leaving their practices, because they can no longer afford to practice medicene).

The peculiar thing is that the old democratic rhetoric hasn't really been working very well. While corrupt corporations certainly do get all sorts of press ... the fact is that most of the businessmen and businesswomen I know do operate with ethics. They do feel responsible for for their employees. They do still consider their word to be their bond ... and neither they nor their employess consider their interests to be opposed to one another. This is far more the rule than the exception.

That's what's kind of sad. My employees - nearly to the person - understand that their success and mine are identical. I'm fairly rich - and my best secretary isn't. But at the end of 2002 (having just started things) I took no income from this business, but made certain she got at least a small bonus. In 2003, she learned a bunch of new skills, and contributed above and beyond the call - as most of my folks did. Because of Bush's tax cuts, I was able to hire a friend of hers, and on top of that, had a much better than expected year (because my clients had more money to spend than originally expected) ... and with her 2003 bonus she just bought a new car. We are not enemies. She doesn't like Bush - but I'll tell you what, she sure as hell feels as though her "self-interest" is served a helluva lot better by letting me - instead of the government - decide what to do with company profits ... and any democrat that wants to go too far with the "rich are evil and just want to screw you" rhetoric had better be quite careful.

Far more than a few of the "non-wealthy" are not buying the class warfare line anyomre ... because in many instances it is, in fact, bullshit.
posted by MidasMulligan at 8:51 PM on February 23, 2004


Of course, the fact remains that the average CEO is earning 400x or more than their frontline workers.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:12 PM on February 23, 2004


Funny there's no mention of any of the corporate loopholes and avoidance of taxes by businesses--if corporations and other businesses didn't spend millions each year to avoid paying billions in taxes due to the government, we would have money, say, for our crumbling infrastructure and inadequate electricity grid, or decent public schools for all. And that holds true for wealthy individuals too--most don't pay anywhere near their share in taxes, as opposed to middle-class and low-income taxpayers, and that was before Bush's cuts. I guess that's ok, tho, because you can say you employ accountants, no?
posted by amberglow at 9:15 PM on February 23, 2004


Midas: If you know a lot of ethical business owners, I'm guessing you don't rub elbows at the Ken Lay level where corporate CEOs demonstrate absolutely no civic responsibility to this country, incorporating in offshore tax havens, lining the pockets of politicians to feed at the corporate welfare trough, and commiting other abuses that invite comparisons to the robber barons of the 19th century. Those are the people who will never be reined in under a Republican president.

Gompa: I linked to the Washington Post article because it demonstrates some of what I was talking about. I wasn't offering it as an encyclopedic discourse on the entire sorry subject of freedom of expression in Canada.

Aside from childishly calling me a troll -- you got me, I've been biding my time and waiting to strike since I joined MetaFilter four years ago -- you've offered nothing to identify the "wildly inaccurate" statements I supposedly made.

Canada criminalizes as "hate speech" remarks that makes a group feel bad, even if no specific member of a group can demonstrate injury. And as the Homolka case demonstrated in the mid-'90s, your judges can order the press not to report about ongoing trials.

Both of those things, along with others you should already know, demonstrate a commitment to free speech and freedom of the press that's practically North Korean.
posted by rcade at 9:21 PM on February 23, 2004


Of course, the fact remains that the average CEO is earning 400x or more than their frontline workers.

(Leaving aside the veracity of the highly questionable statistic), um, so what? There certainly have been years when I made a helluva lot more than the flippin' janitor did. Course, there have also been years when not only did I take no salary, but actually paid that janitor's salary out of my own pocket.

Oddly, you, and Ralph Nader, and all manner of other people aparently think that your opinion of what is a "just" differential should somehow matter. (Even more bizarre is the fact that you feel morally justified).

The life of the "average" CEO has virtually nothing to do what is shown on TV mini-series, or written about in newspapers (journalists, on the whole, seem to have quite a skewed perception). And sure as hell has nothing to do with the weird caricature that seems to be an accepted truth on MeFi.
posted by MidasMulligan at 9:44 PM on February 23, 2004


Midas: If you know a lot of ethical business owners, I'm guessing you don't rub elbows at the Ken Lay level where corporate CEOs demonstrate absolutely no civic responsibility to this country, incorporating in offshore tax havens, lining the pockets of politicians to feed at the corporate welfare trough, and commiting other abuses that invite comparisons to the robber barons of the 19th century. Those are the people who will never be reined in under a Republican president.

Actually, I've worked with the CEO's of a couple of the largest financial institutions on earth. One of which may be the single most ethical man I've ever met. It is not about size ... there are Ken Lays in everything from the tiniest business to the largest. They are the exception, not the rule.

And by the way - so far as your last sentiment goes? Might be worth pointing out that the very people you are talking about were, in fact, reined in under a Republican President (or you wouldn't even be talking about them) - a good number of them have been caught, and their shenanigans stopped, under Bush. Most of the real abuses, most of what they got away with, happened under Clinton.
posted by MidasMulligan at 9:55 PM on February 23, 2004


without even the slightest pretense of looking equally hard (or, in fact, at all) for things he's accomplished well

When someone kills your mother, you don't much care how nicely he washes his hair.
posted by rushmc at 12:48 AM on February 24, 2004


Bush is almost the definition of what the heartland wealthy are.



Midas, it is highly likely that being too busy making trillions of dollars you missed the memo of Bush being a Connecticut banker/Senator's grandson and CIA director/VicePresident/President Presbyterian New Englander's son.
George W. Bush's post-addiction discovery of Evangelical fundamentalism, his tough talk and only-4 years-old Texas ranch shouldn't really blind you to the fact that you can hardly get more elitist than your President.
you seem to be confused about the difference between being aloof and being elitist. Kerry is certainly aloof, and certainly incapable of pulling old Republic Studios B-western-movie stunts such as the unforgettable "there's an old poster out West that says, 'Wanted: Dead or Alive", that's for sure. But more elitist than Bush? Bah. Again you seem to be confusing manners (and accents and elocution) with substance.
I suggest you take the time to read former Republican Kevin Phillips excellent book about the Bush family business and intelligence ties. it's good. and former Nixon man Phillip's hardly a commie traitor, I daresay

re your Bush-hate analysis: by now I've given up and won't point out the fact that you can't seriously compare Clinton-hate-from-day-1 and Bush-hate-from-day-1
the reason? Florida-Jebby-KatherineHarris-FiveFour...
that makes 1992 and 2000 radically different. and that's a fact. unless of course you think Clinton had his (cokehead, not governor) brother and his (4, not 5) Democrat Justices steal the '92 election, too
;)


oh, and a bonus quote to entertain you between peaceful swims in your moneybin:

an unnamed European official told the Financial Times: "They keep telling us how successful their system is - then they remind us not to stray too far from our hotel."


don't stray too far from your hotel/mansion/whatever, Midas
posted by matteo at 4:05 AM on February 24, 2004


Before that, I backed every major Democratic presidential candidate, excepting for Jimmy Carter ( I supported John Anderson's Independent run that year).

Do you have some sort of fear of success? :-)
posted by jpoulos at 6:19 AM on February 24, 2004


My employees - nearly to the person - understand that their success and mine are identical. I'm fairly rich - and my best secretary isn't. But at the end of 2002 (having just started things) I took no income from this business, but made certain she got at least a small bonus. In 2003, she learned a bunch of new skills, and contributed above and beyond the call - as most of my folks did. Because of Bush's tax cuts, I was able to hire a friend of hers, and on top of that, had a much better than expected year (because my clients had more money to spend than originally expected) ... and with her 2003 bonus she just bought a new car. We are not enemies. She doesn't like Bush - but I'll tell you what, she sure as hell feels as though her "self-interest" is served a helluva lot better by letting me - instead of the government - decide what to do with company profits

Midas. You may run a wonderful business, but even so, don't you figure the your position of power over your employees makes it a bit hard to see into your employees' hearts? (Especially your best secretary's!) For an employee to say their interest is that of their boss, that's a polite fiction that smooths things over at the workplace, but catch 'em talking about work in their free time and you'll hear a different story. People have different goals - different work-related goals, even - than their employers do, even in great lines of work where everyone loves their boss.
posted by furiousthought at 7:20 AM on February 24, 2004


I, for one, welcome another four years of our Nader-created Republican overlords.
posted by darren at 7:59 AM on February 24, 2004


Kerry's a "blueblood elitist", I guess....ummmm.

He's actually part Jewish, on his paternal grandfather's side.

I haven't done the comparison, but Bush's familial wealth goes back at least 3 generations. Also - Bush and Kerry are 16 cousins, twice removed.

But elitist is as elitist does. Kerry took bullets, earned medals, and hauled his men out of the line of fire while GW Bush was avoiding Guard duty and probably smoking pot.

Anyway......



"Far more than a few of the "non-wealthy" are not buying the class warfare line anyomre ... because in many instances it is, in fact, bullshit." - This is an odd double negative construction ( /grammar police )

Meanwhile, Bill Gates' father has some very interesting observations on "class warfare" : "The father of one of the richest men in history believes, as he put it during a visit here this week, that the inheritance tax "is the most intelligent tax ever devised."

Why? Because it doesn't tax labor or investment. It encourages each generation to build new wealth. And it accepts the idea that the very wealthy owe something back -- not just to society but to government itself. "


_____________________________________________

Ralph - Shrivel up. At least through November.
posted by troutfishing at 10:05 AM on February 24, 2004


Both of those things, along with others you should already know, demonstrate a commitment to free speech and freedom of the press that's practically North Korean.

And what I'm saying, rcade, is that there's no point even having a debate if it begins from a statement like this, which is so categorically untrue and displays such a profound ignorance of Canadian society, its political system, its legal traditions, and so forth, that frankly I think you should really just bury your head back in that 'free-thinking' Washington Post of yours and content yourself with the staggeringly erroneous notion that Canadian personal liberties are even on the same spectrum as North Korea's while you choose between two candidates in a series of debates bought and paid for by the parties themselves and give thanks that the FBI doesn't have reason to believe you're a threat to national security (or a possessor of a half-ounce of weed) and enjoy your round-the-clock coverage of the Michael Jackson trial and wait for your federal government to decide it's in the nation's security interests to issue you a national ID card and thank your lucky stars you don't live in a police state like Canada. Mmmkay?
posted by gompa at 11:04 AM on February 24, 2004


You still haven't offered a correction to any statement I have made, gompa. What's the point of stringing together all of that largely true anti-American hyperbole if you aren't going to cap it off with some kind of factual refutation to my "wildly inaccurate" statements about the frozen North?
posted by rcade at 12:45 PM on February 24, 2004


'Well, rcade, I was avoiding debunking the crap in that link - and in some of your posts - because it struck me as having little to do with Nader's candidacy, but since we're the only two left in this thread, here goes . . .

The first example in that Washington Post story is of an American entrepreneur wanting to sell his product on Canada's taxpayer-funded broadcasting network using an ad that a good portion of Canadians would find racist. Now, the CBC turning down an ad because of its own standards and practices and/or the perceived sensitivities of its audience is well within its prerogative as a broadcaster. In fact, it's pretty much the exact same justification ABC gave for not taking Moveon.org's Super Bowl ad, which either means that America's just as anti-free speech as Kim Jong Il-like Canada, or else that neither of these indicates an infringement on free speech.

But wait - in fact the ABC decision is even closer to infringement, because it was an American organization being shut out of an American broadcast. In the Washington Post's example, we've actually got a non-Canadian claiming his free speech was somehow infringed upon by the public broadcaster of a nation where he doesn't live, doesn't hold citizenship, and thus holds no Charter rights. Much as the US government can - and does - refuse Canadians entry to the United States arbitrarily, so can the Canadian government's TV network arbitrarily refuse to air an American's message.

But wait yet again - because it wasn't even an arbitrary refusal, but rather on the grounds that the ad in question might be deemed offensive to native Canadians (or, frankly, to any Canadian who dislikes seeing the traditions of native Canadians infantilized for the purposes of selling dodgy insurance).

But wait still further - because in fact the CBC is given Canadian taxpayer money to broadcast content that's deemed specifically in the national interest and in the public good, and in fact if the ad had aired, why Canadians would've been well within *their* rights to suggest that an ad for an American company that insults Canadians is in no way in the Canadian public good.

But wait yet further again - because if "New Yorker Harold Mollin" were in fact Torontonian Harold Mollin - if, that is, his free speech rights were protected under the Canada's Charter of Rights & Freedoms - well, then, if he truly felt CBC's refusal to broadcast his insurance ad was an infringement on his freedom of speech, why, he could take the CBC to court, and if he could prove this was so, why then the CBC might well have to air his ad.

These are just a few of about 2.8 million ways (I lost count) that Canada's system of government differs fundamentally from that of North Korea: we have due process of the law, we have constitutionally protected rights, we have a public broadcaster answerable to the taxpayers.

So that's what's wildly inaccurate about just the first example in the Post article, and it's one of the ways that your outlandish "North Korea" dig was wrong, and I think that's enough on this topic for now. If you really want to keep this debate going, though, dig up ample evidence of Canada's North Koreaness, post it as an FPP with a tagline like "Canada: North America's Very Own Police State," and I'll refute some more of your evidence.

And by the way, it's not even the "frozen North" - just at the moment, it's about 8 degrees Celsius here in Calgary.
posted by gompa at 1:53 PM on February 24, 2004


ABC is a private company, not taxpayer-funded like the CBC.
posted by jpoulos at 2:01 PM on February 24, 2004


jpoulos, that was sort of what I meant. As a public broadcaster, it actually has a far greater responsibility to its audience than ABC does, and would be in much deeper trouble if it was willfully disseminating offensive material. It's also got an explicit mandate *not* to be an outlet for non-Canadian and/or purely commercial interests. It's actually been instructed not to air stuff like this guy's insurance ad. Whereas ABC is somewhat arbitrarily deciding it doesn't want to air certain kinds of political ads. And does so on a public broadcast band it leases from the American government.

Actually, how does that work in the US, anyway? Could someone like Moveon appeal to the FCC on First Amendment grounds? Because a Canadian political organization could certainly appeal on legal grounds if it was arbitrarily refused access to the CBC. Which was what I was driving at.
posted by gompa at 3:13 PM on February 24, 2004


In Canada, you can swear on the radio and see naked people having sex on broadcast television (during certain hours). Until we can do the same in the United States, I don't think we should be criticizing Canada's free-speech purity.
posted by skoosh at 12:56 PM on February 27, 2004


Gompa: Do you understand the difference between a factual assertion and hyperbole? Fact: Canada criminalizes speech that makes a group feel bad. Fact: Your government can order the press not to report about ongoing trials. Hyperbole: Canada's commitment to free speech and expression is "practically North Korean."
posted by rcade at 2:21 PM on February 28, 2004


Criminalizes hate speech? I'm not so sure of that; I don't believe any of the holocaust deniers ended up in jail.

I don't understand your issue with closed court proceedings. You'd rather see it all televised for public entertainment like it is in the USA? Thanks, but no thanks.Tabloid tales of rape and murder are a nasty exploitation of the victims, thoroughly distasteful.

Canadians have a polite and civilized society with a healthy respect for individual privacy and responsibility.

I don't think the same can be said for America.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:19 PM on February 28, 2004


Canada doesn't just close court proceedings. They can (and have) forbidden the press and public from discussing a trial as it was happening, on the grounds that publicity was damaging a defendant's right to a fair trial.

As for politeness, perhaps they are more polite, but I would be too under hate-speech laws that we would find draconian in the U.S.

Canadians can be jailed for two years under extremely broad hate-speech laws.

There are free speech concerns in the U.S. as well, but frankly, I can't believe how far they've taken hate-speech prosecution in Canada. It's enough to make me think we should wipe all similar laws off the books in the U.S. before they grow any bigger.

Example: This newspaper ad was defined as "hate speech" and resulted in a $4,500 penalty for the advertiser imposed by the country's Human Rights Commission.

The law it broke can be read here. It illegalizes any speech "which exposes, or tends to expose, to hatred, ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of any person, any class of persons or a group of persons; because of his or their race, creed, religion, colour, sex, sexual orientation, family status, marital status, disability, age, nationality, ancestry, place of origin or receipt of public assistance. "

Hundreds of messages posted on MetaFilter could be prosecuted as hate speech in Canada.
posted by rcade at 6:52 AM on February 29, 2004


You do realize that that newspaper ad says that gay men should be put to death, right?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:28 AM on February 29, 2004


And, too, you realize that this sort of issue is what we have a court system for, eh? If someone were to care enough to take this to the Supreme Court of Canada, we'd find out absolutely whether one can use the public media as a means of promoting the murder of a class of people.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:33 AM on February 29, 2004


That sort of issue is what we have a First Amendment for.

As Fred Phelps and others demonstrate, in the U.S., we have an extremely broad right to refer to ugly things.

Leviticus 20:13 is an ugly passage, but if an American paper were to run an ad referring to it, that should be an issue for the paper's advertisers, readers, and staff. If you illegalize provocative speech you abhor, it's inevitable that you'll cause speech you favor to fall into the same tar pit.
posted by rcade at 11:28 AM on February 29, 2004


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