No Ballot for You
April 6, 2004 8:11 AM   Subscribe

Nader falls short of quorum in Oregon. I take a bit of perverse pride that my fellow Oregonians stayed away in droves. . .
posted by Danf (26 comments total)
 
Dude, read the writing on the wall. Basketball game or no basketball game, he hasn't got a chance of bringing forth any positive results from a presidential run. This is a sad way for a 70 year-old man with a long history of noble consumer advocacy to spend his remaining time on this planet. This time around there's not even a windmill to tilt at, unless he counts causing Kerry's defeat (and Bush's victory) as a goal worth working towards.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:21 AM on April 6, 2004


I think it is pretty disgusting to picket to weaken Democracy. If you do not want the guy, do not vote for him. The protest is one step ahead of posting fliers boosting the wrong election day in the other party's stronghold neighborhoods.

Not that I would ever vote for the rotten old man.
posted by thirteen at 8:35 AM on April 6, 2004


maybe bush is a uniter after all.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:42 AM on April 6, 2004


On the contrary, thirteen, Oregon is democracy in action, albeit democracy of a distinctly political nature. Many, many people - myself included - not only don't want Nader to win, we don't want him to run because we believe there are larger issues at stake (well, issue anyway: preventing another four years of the National Descent into Madness that has been the BushCo administration). Certainly you can see that electoral politics is almost as much about who doesn't run as about who does? And since Nader has no chance of winning, no chance of securing the nomination of a credible third party and nothing to gain but the dubious personal satisfaction of bleeding off votes from any Democratic challenger to Bush, I think there are quite a lot of people who wish Ralph would just get himself a hobby and retire from public life before he does any more damage than he's already done.
posted by JollyWanker at 8:51 AM on April 6, 2004


I think it is pretty disgusting to picket to weaken Democracy.

There's an argument to be made that Bush's reëlection (or a repeat of Florida) would do much more to weaken democracy than these protests would. Besides, free speech is free speech.
posted by jpoulos at 8:53 AM on April 6, 2004


Rotten old man? Do you have any idea what you are talking about? Support him for President or not, this guy invented consumer advocacy (which I'm sure you support). He's done more for the average guy than any of your elected politicans has ever done. He's saved more lives and caused more corporate change (for the better) than anyone alive today. Rotten old man? That's shameful.
posted by fried at 8:53 AM on April 6, 2004


It is a gut wrenching affair, I strongly support additional parties and by and large think the system we have now is skewed towards either side using the same tactics on an individual basis rather then a political party basis. Hell on a issue basis the two candidates are not exactly terribly different. So that part of me wants Nader on the ballot, but another part realizes that our form of electoral process seriously penalizes a population when it has multiple choices. What ends up happening is what happened in 2000, where we have a minority vote candidate win. As the current system heavily favors those in power I don't think it is going to change as there is no reason for them to accommodate. 7 months to the election and already I am starting to hate the process all over again.
posted by edgeways at 9:02 AM on April 6, 2004


Perhaps he was once a “good young man”, but I believe that "Rotten old man" is deserved. Despite his revisionist history, his retaliatory campaigning in swing states in 2000 to spite the Democrats is unquestionably responsible for the past three years of regressive taxes, assault on women’s health, the needless death of 600+ American solders, theocratic influx of fundamentalist wackos in our halls of government, degradation of public benefiting science standards, near universal foreign disdain for our country, imperialistic foreign policy, threats to the solvency of social safety nets, and the general rise of the most secretive and inept administration in history. It is easy to not be politically pragmatic when you are a rich white guy. Other people like the poor African woman who rips open and dies a horrific slow infectious death during child birth because Bush removed small US contributions to UN programs that provide necessary training to midwives simply to appease his radical right wing base may not see it that way.
Nader has become an asshole. Period.
posted by EmoChild at 9:25 AM on April 6, 2004


I would not shut the protestors down, I do believe it is their right to protest this way, but I do not think they are good people for doing it. Obviously someone wants to vote for Ralph, and the protestors want to remove this options for them.

People should not have to give up their freedom to run for president, or to vote for that person because other decide for them that their running/voting is too damaging to their guy. I am assuming these people would not be protesting against potential presidential candidates like the scumbag judge with his 10 Commandments monument if he were to enter the race. If you support this, you are boosting your position at the expense of others, and that is not right.

Do you have any idea what you are talking about?
I do. I know his work, and he is not my advocate. His legacy means nothing to me.
posted by thirteen at 9:25 AM on April 6, 2004


P.S. I would have loved to see the Greens reach the 5% threshold in 2000. Nader could have easily accomplished that by campaigning in safe red states like Utah and Texas with the honest message that a vote for Gore was a wasted vote. Instead he focused on key states such as Wisconsin and Oregon, (forcing Gore to follow and ignore Florida, Tennessee, & Ohio). Nader’s Ego and slash and burn tactics against the Democrats not only placed Bush in office; he threw away an extraordinary opportunity to build a viable third party. Nader is truly a miserable failure.
posted by EmoChild at 9:37 AM on April 6, 2004


Despite his revisionist history, his retaliatory campaigning in swing states in 2000 to spite the Democrats is unquestionably responsible for the past three years of regressive taxes, assault on women’s health, the needless death of 600+ American solders, theocratic influx of fundamentalist wackos in our halls of government, degradation of public benefiting science standards, near universal foreign disdain for our country, imperialistic foreign policy, threats to the solvency of social safety nets, and the general rise of the most secretive and inept administration in history.

Translation: it is without question that Al Gore really won the 2000 election and the vote was stolen by the Supreme Court, with the sole exception of any moment in which we need to blame Ralph Nader.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:40 AM on April 6, 2004


Sort of related: You can listen to this mp3 of Randi Rhodes tearing into Ralph Nader on the first day of Air America.

I for one would be quite happy to see him out of this race.

If you look at the many deaths, lost jobs, and lost liberties we have seen under Bush, Nader has clearly hurt the country far more than the Corvair ever did.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 9:48 AM on April 6, 2004


It feels like the deck is stacked against any evolutionary development of a third party (or more parties) in the US. I can only imagine it happening in an environment so horrific that it makes the current dismal situation look like a picnic. The weight of the least common denominator is suffocating. Would an instant run-off system make it easier for new ideas, parties, and candidates to infiltrate the process?
posted by cairnish at 9:55 AM on April 6, 2004


Where some of Nader's money is coming from? New York Times
posted by TimeFactor at 10:13 AM on April 6, 2004


XQUZYPHYR:

The point is that Nader claimed he was trying to build the Green party, but instead chose destructive, short-term campaigning tactics that did not help the Green party.

I have no delusions regarding the Democratic party's failings, but to specifically attack the Democrats for votes, especially in contested states, was clearly a poor choice, even before November 2000. He utterly pissed off the pragmatic liberal people in this country.

I've voted for Greens for many local and state offices (my city supervisor is a Green, for example), and I donated money early on to Nader's campaign in 2000. As I'm in California, I was going to vote for him, but throughout the summer and fall he persisted with his Republocrat nonsense, and didn't endorse Gore in key states. I knew it was reckless then, so he didn't get my vote in 2000. He certainly won't this year, either. Hell, I hope he's not on my ballot.

You know what would help Nader (and the Green party)? Endorsing and actively campaigning for Kerry. Show us you're more than ideologues. Show us you are truly committed to real progress (rather than merely wishing for it) by being even the slightest bit practical.
posted by justin at 10:14 AM on April 6, 2004


> It feels like the deck is stacked against any evolutionary development of a
> third party (or more parties) in the US.

And a very good thing it is, too. The essence of American democracy is not devolving into 300 instances of Parti Politici Tini-Wini, all neatly lined up from right to left, as in Europe. That's what keeps a political body as large and unwieldy as the United States from balkanizing.

America has the fewest parties you can have (2) and still have a multiparty system, and these two parties can be very hard to tell apart on principles or behavior--as Nader and others have noticed (without comprehending.) The point is not to advance your principles but to get elected, to get into power, and to throw the other guy's people out! [N.b., the "anybody but Bush" folks among you understand this instinctively.]

Competition among principles happens within each party before candidates are nominated, not between parties. As Tip O'Neill said, "In any other country the Democrats would be five parties." Principles are advanced by making sure the hack your party nominates owes something to your (highly principled, no doubt) pressure group, whatever it may represent--business, farmers, rednecks, queers, greens, vegetarians, old people, cheeselovers, etc. etc., so that said hack nominee is nervous about his chances of election or re-election if he blows your group off and stops taking your lobbyist's calls.

For anyone who wants to do homework on this, it's based on Henry Clay's Doctrine of Concurrent Majority. No European knows a thing about it.
posted by jfuller at 10:34 AM on April 6, 2004


Our entire voting system could use reform. Run-off voting is one possibility, and I think we can all agree that the Electoral College is deeply flawed (though it has a purpose).

The problem is that neither the Dems nor the Republicans have any incentive to make a third party more viable, and therefore it will never get changed.

On preview: I would agree with the above that Europe-style 300 parties is A Bad Thing(tm), but there has to be a way to maintain a happy medium.

I'll be damned if I know how, though
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 10:37 AM on April 6, 2004


Another key point about his failure to make the numbers in Portland is that one of his closest campaign advisors, Greg Kafoury, lives here and is well connected. If he can't get people to see Nader this year, Nader doesn't have much of a shot.

And remember, Nader drew more than 10,000 paying people for a speech the last time he came here in 2000.
posted by karmaville at 10:42 AM on April 6, 2004




I think we can all agree ("Nader in 2004" people, "Fuck Ralph" Democrats, happy Republicans) that consumer advocate/lawyer/activist and politician are two entirely different professions.
so you can be great at the former and very bad at the latter.

politics is about nuance. activism is just the opposite.
posted by matteo at 11:02 AM on April 6, 2004


I still don't buy that Nader cost Gore the election in '04, and I have real reservations about saying that anyone should be disallowed from running for President, regardless of who they are.

But it's not a big jump to see that not only have the Right underwritten Ralph's campaign this time around, but he's been surrounded by these people for long enough that he really believes they have his best interests and those of the country at heart.

Ralph's greatest strength is that he doesn't back down from heavy influence, mass indifference or open hostility. The harder we push him, the more resolute he'll become.

Which I admire, and which is a little bit scary. But look at the papers; we bloody well should be scared.

The best way to talk someone down is to be louder and more convincing than they are. Wanna do something? There's where to start.
posted by chicobangs at 11:23 AM on April 6, 2004


jfuller: Competition among principles happens within each party before candidates are nominated, not between parties.

That's what they used to do in the Soviet Union. OK, I don't think that the US today is a dictatorship like the Soviet Union used to be. But I can't see why competing within a party is better than competing between parties. In the former case the party insiders get to elect the leaders, in the latter case the general electorate does.
posted by Triplanetary at 1:35 PM on April 6, 2004


Competition among principles happens within each party before candidates are nominated, not between parties. As Tip O'Neill said, "In any other country the Democrats would be five parties." Principles are advanced by making sure the hack your party nominates owes something to your (highly principled, no doubt) pressure group, whatever it may represent--business, farmers, rednecks, queers, greens, vegetarians, old people, cheeselovers, etc. etc., so that said hack nominee is nervous about his chances of election or re-election if he blows your group off and stops taking your lobbyist's calls.

Which is exactly what happened in 1999-2000. Except that the Clinton Administration was not only declining to take calls from the left, but calling out the National Guard and FBI on them as well.

But remember, only about a dozen states are "in play" this year even with two parties. As a citizen of a state that definitely out of play, I'm still trying to decide if I'm going to throw away my presidential vote and vote for Kerry, or write in Mickey Mouse again.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:10 PM on April 6, 2004


You can listen to this mp3 of Randi Rhodes tearing into Ralph Nader on the first day of Air America.

Good listen.

On their first day out, "Air America" seeks to define the look of the newer, angrier Democrat. I particularly liked it when Nader was critisizing her "interview style" of interrupting and talking over her interviewee; her response: "I'm not interviewing you, Ralph, I'm mad at you." Exactly.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:10 AM on April 7, 2004


CD:On their first day out, "Air America" seeks to define the look of the newer, angrier Democrat.

I *really* liked that, yet part of me wonder how much longer before the Oprah-ize the network with new age bullshit and "touchy feely 'liberals." Remember, they declared the culture war on us, not the other way around. The right wants a fight and we should accommodate them.

In the end its going to be the media who decides whose president and the right's stranglehold on print and TV took a very small hit with such things as blogs and Air America, but hopefully enough to clear out the lies of this administration and expose them for who they are.

Rhodes really gave Nader what he deserved. He's not building a party in 04. He's still giving the same quotes from 00 to the same colleges. He's still doing his republicrat dance, etc. And this is coming from a Nader voter (in a blue state of course) in 2000.

I don't regret my vote and have yet to see convincing proof Nader cost anyone anything in 00, but right now the writing is on the wall. When people are polled between Kerry and Bush, Kerry tends to come out on top. When the polls include Nader then Bush tends to come out on top. Is this what Nader and his followers want? If Nader wants to be a politician then why isn't he running for something he can actually win like a congressional seat. At the very least he could be on the news more often than every 4 years. Congressman Nader goes a long way towards credibility, not to mention speaking gigs. Right now I just see him as a n out of touch vanity candidate.

Nader and his people have officially fallen into the wacko camp of the Larouche. May they make a great third-party alliance along with Buchanan and see if they can out crazy themselves.
posted by skallas at 12:48 AM on April 7, 2004


jfuller: The essence of American democracy is not devolving into 300 instances of Parti Politici Tini-Wini, all neatly lined up from right to left, as in Europe.

Arguable, and it's a bit of leap to say that were America to develop a third or fourth viable party, that it would instantly devolve into the kind of balkanization you describe.

It hasn't happened in Canada, for example.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:43 AM on April 7, 2004


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