Nader Nader Nader
January 31, 2008 9:10 PM   Subscribe

Nader Nader Nader
posted by NortonDC (184 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
No traction for his Corvair this time around.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:14 PM on January 31, 2008


There is nothing good about who he is or what he does.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:16 PM on January 31, 2008


He makes Ron Paul seems less obnoxious in comparison...

Thank you for alerting us.
posted by munchingzombie at 9:17 PM on January 31, 2008


Nadir.
posted by Jimbob at 9:17 PM on January 31, 2008 [16 favorites]


His four-year cycles of poking his head into presidential politics have gone beyond narcissism and flown off into the realm of megalomania.
posted by blucevalo at 9:20 PM on January 31, 2008 [3 favorites]


So he's going to campaign for McCain after all?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:20 PM on January 31, 2008 [3 favorites]


I saw him getting into his car at Reagan National one afternoon in the late 1980's. At the time he was driving a Volvo.

True story.
posted by smoothvirus at 9:27 PM on January 31, 2008


This will not ralphnader.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:28 PM on January 31, 2008 [3 favorites]


Seeing the cooperations will have two candidates in the next u.s. election; maybe a little fig leaf and have someone to represent the people ... give some semblance of democracy.

pesi or coke ... um you know there is water ... but it guess it doesn't have
electrolytes.
posted by tofupup at 9:33 PM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


He's run every time since 1992. Surely it'd be more of a surprise if he didn't run.

And he only put Bush in once. Mind you, Gore's people must have gotten something badly wrong to not be able to do a deal with him for Florida votes. 97 000 of them.
posted by sien at 9:33 PM on January 31, 2008


Has anyone here seen An Unreasonable Man? It humanized Nader for me. I still disagree with him running and disagree with the idea that Dems and Repubs are exactly alike. (Bush's disastrous two terms should prove that easily enough.) But the film does make good points about how much Dems sell out, drift to the right, and don't really fight a good fight.
posted by wastelands at 9:33 PM on January 31, 2008


I met Nader in 2000 and was convinced that he is really a Friedmanite.
posted by parmanparman at 9:34 PM on January 31, 2008


He killed my Pinto.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 9:37 PM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


We should not split the left vote again, for any reason whatsoever. Nader running is basically the only thing that could possibly keep the Other Side in office after Bush.

'No difference between the parties?" HA!
posted by andreaazure at 9:37 PM on January 31, 2008


I hate that son of a bitch.
posted by puke & cry at 9:42 PM on January 31, 2008 [5 favorites]


Oh no he di'nt.
posted by jtron at 9:44 PM on January 31, 2008


Just when you thought the repubs didn't have a chance for the next presidency....
posted by pompomtom at 9:48 PM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


So is it time to start suggesting once more that you need preferential voting? Oh and no electoral college?

I know, I know...

But face it, your election processes stink from beginning to end. About as bad as you could design it and still half-heartedly call yourself a democracy.
posted by wilful at 9:50 PM on January 31, 2008


Mushroom! Mushroom!
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:54 PM on January 31, 2008 [7 favorites]


In 2000, in the U.S.A., the involvement of the Green Party helped the most conservative party win the election. And in 2007, in Australia, the involvement of the Green Party helped the next most liberal party win. It's not the personalities, it's the system.

I haven't seen any emerging democracies in my lifetime emulating our Electoral College System. We need to do some major Constitutional amending before we can even begin to claim to be a Modern Representative Democracy. And if Nader's quadrennial ego trips start to wake us up to that basic truth, then he will have done more good than harm. But then, it hasn't, so burn him!
posted by wendell at 9:54 PM on January 31, 2008 [6 favorites]


Amending the Constitution to disrupt the two party system is basically impossible, though, proving that our founding fathers were basically high on wig dust and useless wastes of skin and should probably be bitch-slapped even beyond the grave.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:01 PM on January 31, 2008 [4 favorites]


I would also recommend that documentary wastelands mentions, An Unreasonable Man. I don't know if I've seen a film with so much content denigrating its subject; I presume the filmmakers were pro-Nader but it's no puff piece, that's for sure.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:01 PM on January 31, 2008


There were a whole lot of other reasons that Gore lost Florida - and the election. Putting all the blame on Nader is silly. Now, I wouldn't vote for the man because I think he'd make a lousy president, but advocating limiting people's choices in an election because you didn't like the outcome is, well, very Republican...
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:04 PM on January 31, 2008


Please don't use the word 'liberal' to qualitatively describe an Australian political party. Not only is it confusing because one of the major parties here is called the Liberal party (Howard's former coterie of misfits and right-leaning henchmen) but it incorrectly suggests that the party described in the States as liberal has similarities to our left-leaning major party, Labor, which is not really true except by comparison to their respective oppositions).
posted by peacay at 10:07 PM on January 31, 2008


peacay's correct. Please refer to them as the "stinking reds".
posted by Jimbob at 10:12 PM on January 31, 2008


You know, if you guys are so mad at Ralph Nader as a "spoiler," the Green Party has primaries too - it's not Ralph's one-man-show. I'm voting for Kat Swift as the nominee.
posted by BrianBoyko at 10:18 PM on January 31, 2008


but advocating limiting people's choices in an election because you didn't like the outcome is, well, very Republican...

I don't think anyone was suggesting that Nader shouldn't be allowed to run. We just wish he wouldn't, because it will have the practical effect of helping the Republican candidate.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:21 PM on January 31, 2008


I'll vote for Nader once the Republican party is extinct.
posted by Camofrog at 10:28 PM on January 31, 2008


So Nader tricked you into voting for him. You people are morons then. You deserve to lose.
posted by phaedon at 10:38 PM on January 31, 2008


Oh, come on. Stop treating Nader like a spoiler. He was right. There is no difference between the two parties, and he really is the only independent option for ... glarrph ... ggllllooooww ...

Wow. My own brain just tried to leap out through my throat and choke me to death.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:40 PM on January 31, 2008 [8 favorites]


No, Nader didn't "trick" anyone. He seduced the votes of naive young liberals who think principle-oriented voting is more important than results-oriented voting. And then 9/11 changed everything.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:47 PM on January 31, 2008 [3 favorites]


McCain/Nader '08: Both parties are the same, so we might as well let the Republicans win!

Wait. My brain just exploded with the illogic of that.
posted by Avenger at 10:47 PM on January 31, 2008


whine, whine, whine, whine, whine

it's not like you guys are ever going to let yourselves vote according to your beliefs, anyway - it's not like you're going to vote for a real anti-war candidate and a real pro-single payer health care system candidate anyway

no, you're going to settle for the usual half-assed hack (clinton) and you're going to get the government you deserve for your vote

or the other guy - but either way, you can be relied to whine about it

the reason things don't change is that you don't insist on changing them by giving someone like nader enough votes to really shake up the democrats and make them realize they'd better change

our political system sucks because the people suck
posted by pyramid termite at 10:51 PM on January 31, 2008 [6 favorites]


The problem with the argument that Nader spoiled 2000 is that it's based on the assumption that in the absence of Nader, the votes that were cast for him would automatically convert to Gore.

Regardless, are people really concerned that Nader still has spoiler potential? Neither he nor the Green Party that he, to a significant extent, took down with him did much of anything in the last election.

And even if you don't buy that, if the Democrats want to do something about Nader, they need to figure out how to convert those votes, see point one. Maybe they should try catering to some fringier far-left issues rather than trying to scare or shame people into voting for the Correct Person.
posted by nanojath at 10:57 PM on January 31, 2008 [3 favorites]


Anyone here old enough to remember Harold Stassen?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:01 PM on January 31, 2008


So he's going to campaign for McCain after all?

I know! And this after helping to put Bush in the white house twice! What a flip-flopper.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:04 PM on January 31, 2008


Ah, Stassen. Minnesota's permanent candidate for president.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:10 PM on January 31, 2008


the reason things don't change is that you don't insist on changing them by giving someone like nader enough votes to really shake up the democrats and make them realize they'd better change

Pretending collective action problems don't exist doesn't make them go away. It's easy to say "well, if everyone just behaved radically differently than they've ever behaved before, things would be a lot better," but it's not exactly helpful.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:11 PM on January 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


He seduced the votes of naive young liberals who think principle-oriented voting is more important than results-oriented voting.

Naive young liberals get to vote for whomever they damn well please. Calling Nader's candidacy in 2000 a collective action "problem" is entirely a matter of opinion. There is no meaningful basis for your point other than you are a whiny loser.
posted by phaedon at 11:14 PM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Amazingly, I no longer care. And that's saying something, considering my reaction to Nader over the last eight years.

Between Edwards, Kucinich, and Gravel (Dodd? Obama?), the policies Ralph Nader supposedly represents (I say 'supposed' not to disparage the policies, but the notion that Nader actually represents them) were advanced in this primary far more effectively than Nader ever has or ever will, and no thanks to his efforts, either.

The System, 1; Ralph Nader, 0.
posted by spiderwire at 11:15 PM on January 31, 2008 [8 favorites]


Thanks for the mention of Harold Stassen, I'd never heard of him before.
posted by sien at 11:23 PM on January 31, 2008


Whenever I get angry that we still have a stupid electoral system in Canada that prevents the Greens from attaining any sort of political power at all even with a fairly significant percentage of the vote (despite the strategic voting that goes on), I remind myself that it could be much worse: we could have a two-party system. Shortly thereafter, I remember that US elections have significant consequences for the rest of the world and I get angry again.
posted by ssg at 11:25 PM on January 31, 2008 [3 favorites]


Pretending collective action problems don't exist doesn't make them go away.

Yes, but what if everyone pretended they didn't exist?
posted by spiderwire at 11:25 PM on January 31, 2008


Naive young liberals get to vote for whomever they damn well please.

Yes, they do. That's our system.

Calling Nader's candidacy in 2000 a collective action "problem" is entirely a matter of opinion.

Yes, it would be, but I don't think anyone claimed that.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:26 PM on January 31, 2008


It's easy to say "well, if everyone just behaved radically differently than they've ever behaved before, things would be a lot better," but it's not exactly helpful.

Funny. Given the context.
posted by phaedon at 11:30 PM on January 31, 2008


phaedon, I don't think you have any idea what I've actually said in this thread, which is strange, because it's not a long thread, and I haven't really said all that much.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:32 PM on January 31, 2008


The United States is a federation. The Federal government serves at the will of those states. That is the basis of the electoral college which is supposed to represent the will of the majority of the residents of each state.
posted by Cranberry at 11:35 PM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nader has done an amazingly idiotic amount of damage to his own cause.

His efforts undermine people who would assist his cause for the sole reason that those people won't assist enough. It's like leaving all your windows open in the winter time because the glass isn't thick enough to keep ALL the warmth inside.

And in these incredibly divided times, his small impact on the election could be enough to tip the balance yet again.
posted by JWright at 11:36 PM on January 31, 2008


To hell with Nader. He did well with the seat-belts, but it's been down-hill from there. Besides, doesn't Kucinich do what Nader used to do better than he does it (that is, be the more extreme dismantle-the-military candidate that 4% of voters want)?
posted by spiderskull at 11:49 PM on January 31, 2008


phaedon, I don't think you have any idea what I've actually said in this thread, which is strange, because it's not a long thread, and I haven't really said all that much.

I wouldn't beat yourself up over it. It's pretty clear I have contempt for people who uses phrases like "we just wish [Nader] wouldn't [run]" and "[Nader] seduced the votes of naive young liberals who think principle-oriented voting is more important than results-oriented voting." Who the fuck is we, and since when are you captain?

I believe you are trying to imply that there is unanimous consent that Nader did something wrong by running in 2000, by pointing to the negative "practical effect" of his candidacy on the Democratic Party. Well maybe next you should do something worthwhile about it, instead of bitching about the variety of candidates that our election system allows for, as well as the mental infancy of the people that support them.

If it blows your mind that I find this to be the political posturing of a whiny loser, so be it.
posted by phaedon at 11:53 PM on January 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


FFS, the idea that Nader and his tiny cotegerie of supporters on the left is to blame for anything that's wrong with this country is insane. Blame the 50 million Bush voters. They're still out there, walking and breathing free. Until I see a suggestion about what to do about them, any criticism of Nader just seems like principle envy. I recommend camps.
posted by allen.spaulding at 11:55 PM on January 31, 2008 [10 favorites]


and clearly cotegerie is the diminutive of coterie. So cute, those little Nader supporters.
posted by allen.spaulding at 11:58 PM on January 31, 2008


pyramid termite:the reason things don't change is that you don't insist on changing them by giving someone like nader enough votes to really shake up the democrats and make them realize they'd better change

Except that doesn't work, because that's not an option either. If the Democrats adopted those stances on a national stage, they'd never win an election.

Naive young liberals get to vote for whomever they damn well please.

Yeah, and I get to call them retarded.
posted by spaltavian at 12:14 AM on February 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


In 2000, I started a cafepress shop with an "Assassinate Nader" theme. You could buy Assassinate Nader lunchboxes, Assassinate Nader thongs ... well, actually just lunchboxes and thongs. Then I posted it to ask metafilter and cafepress labeled it a hate site and removed it. Good times.
posted by Tlogmer at 12:27 AM on February 1, 2008


Yeah, and I get to call them retarded.

And gosh, ain't you nature's wit.
posted by Wolof at 12:27 AM on February 1, 2008


eight years have convinced me that the lesser of two evils ain't that bad.
posted by nangua at 12:43 AM on February 1, 2008


http://www.naderexplore08.org/

Going by his website design, the Corporate Control looks much more attractive! Who needs boring Nader when you can have very cool thunder and lightning, and a whole list of names that support it already!

What an odd website....
posted by Harry at 1:01 AM on February 1, 2008


Well, as far as Nader being a 'spoiler' let's just remember that Bush didn't win Florida. So what the hell does it matter?

Besides which, telling people not to vote their conscience is, frankly, unconscionable. And as to all of you who say 'Nader hasn't done anything since seatbelts', a big Fuck You.

Read the Nader reports. The man has been the root cause for saving more lives than people you've met. You have zero right to judge.
posted by lumpenprole at 1:14 AM on February 1, 2008 [6 favorites]


eight years have convinced me that the lesser of two evils ain't that bad.

See, call me cynical, but I thought perhaps that that was the whole point of Democratic Party Leadership being so timid and un-impeachy as Bush runs rampant.

I like Nader.
posted by peppito at 1:23 AM on February 1, 2008


your favourite electoral system sucks.
posted by loiseau at 1:25 AM on February 1, 2008


>your favourite electoral system sucks.

True, but not as bad as the US one.
posted by pompomtom at 1:38 AM on February 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


If the U.S. had instant runoff voting, then the naive young liberals could vote for whomever they want without all the anger from the cynical old douchebags.
posted by leftcoastbob at 1:52 AM on February 1, 2008


Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me, uh, you can't get fooled again.
posted by bicyclefish at 1:56 AM on February 1, 2008


I would have graduated first in my class at University if it weren't for the other people who entered the race. Fuckers. I hate them all.

There is great beauty in mentioning Nadar to rabid democrats. It is like paint remover. All the hypocrisy and faux idealism is stripped away and a monstrous, almost republican, hunger for power at all costs is revealed. Ralph Nadar is what you should be not what you should hate. If you can hate Ralph Nadar then you can and probably do hate anything and anyone who gets in your way.

Jesus could return and run for office in the US and the Democratic rank and file would probably hate him stealing votes they feel are their property.
posted by srboisvert at 2:13 AM on February 1, 2008 [19 favorites]


Ever notice that though ralphie atacks corporations etc it is always the Dems he denounces by names and never the Repulicans? If yo want to know what heis really like, ask anyone who ever wokred for him and left.
posted by Postroad at 3:29 AM on February 1, 2008


Since apparently this is the thread where we make obnoxious and unreasonable claims on other people's votes: every 100 votes for Clinton in the primaries guarantees at least one Nader vote in the general. If you don't want him as a spoiler, vote for Obama.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 3:46 AM on February 1, 2008


The best point made in An Unreasonable Man was that the Democrats let Bush invade Iraq but no, ignore the party behind the curtain, Nader is to blame for all of the horrible outcomes of the Bush presidency.

God forbid the Dems having to actually act with principles instead of getting elections handed over to them by a third-party candidate's withdrawal.
posted by XMLicious at 3:56 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


That Forbes blog entry (second link) is fucking awful. Thanks for telling us all how to think, you knob.

A viable third party in the states would be a good thing for for all concerned, and it may be the only thing that could save the world's most ridiculous train wreck of a 'democracy' from repeating its seemingly endless cycle of close elections and recounts...
I voted for Nader in 2000, and I'd make the same choice again, given the same set of circumstances.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:59 AM on February 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


There is nothing good about who he is or what he does.

This is ignorance of massive proportions. Please follow lumpenprole's suggestion and educate yourself a little before you display that shallow view again.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:04 AM on February 1, 2008


I despise the fact that voting one's conscience is being called 'naive' here. Jefferson would be so proud.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:05 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you can hate Ralph Nadar then you can and probably do hate anything and anyone who gets in your way.

I don't hate Ralph Nader, but I did work in the same office building floor as he did for a long time, and all I can say is I'm glad I'm in another building now. The people that worked for/with him were a bunch of tremendously annoying jerks. I don't know if he's entirely to blame for that, but I wouldn't vote for him as dogcatcher.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:09 AM on February 1, 2008


it's not like you guys are ever going to let yourselves vote according to your beliefs, anyway - it's not like you're going to vote for a real anti-war candidate and a real pro-single payer health care system candidate anyway

Ralph Nader does not now nor has he ever represented my beliefs. Don't put your beliefs on the whole of the thousands of people that use this site. As a matter of fact I may happen to believe that radical change and extremist parties are dangerous rather than helpful.

Radical Centrists for Constance '08!
posted by Pollomacho at 4:14 AM on February 1, 2008


wasteands wrote: I still disagree with him running and disagree with the idea that Dems and Repubs are exactly alike. (Bush's disastrous two terms should prove that easily enough.)

Much of what Bush has done has been accomplished only with the collusion of Democrats. AUMF, PAA, MCA, PATRIOT Act are the products of the much vaunted bi-partisanship. This is to say nothing of the unwillingness to really investigate wrongdoing by the administration. The Democrats haven't, as a whole, given me much reason to hope. Folks like Feingold and Dodd, of course, are exceptions.
posted by Tullius at 4:15 AM on February 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


I don't hate Ralph Nader, but I did work in the same office building floor as he did for a long time, and all I can say is I'm glad I'm in another building now. The people that worked for/with him were a bunch of tremendously annoying jerks. I don't know if he's entirely to blame for that, but I wouldn't vote for him as dogcatcher.

What a lovely example of vague, empty, illogical and pathetic character assassination. Whisper on!
posted by srboisvert at 4:24 AM on February 1, 2008


I'm not necessarily a Nader supporter but I do support his right to run even if it is a futile effort. People don't have to vote for him!

The real problem I see here is the simplistic voting system. If we had something like Instant Runoff, Approval or Range voting then spoilers would not be a problem.
posted by tetranz at 4:31 AM on February 1, 2008


You should do something fair like Scotlands Proportitional Representation system - where the votes of minor parties are ' accidentally ' lost.
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:31 AM on February 1, 2008


tetranz: "The real problem I see here is the simplistic voting system. If we had something like Instant Runoff, Approval or Range voting then spoilers would not be a problem."

But we don't. And we're not going to. The constitution needs 2/3s of the states to ratify any changes and since the current system gives a huge amount of extra power to many small states and takes it away from the few large states, that's not going to happen. Montana and North Dakota and similar small states are not going to vote for an amendment that takes away the extra electoral votes that they get just for being a state even though they have no population.
posted by octothorpe at 4:49 AM on February 1, 2008


Didn't Ralph Nader say something to the effect that America needed to have her nose rubbed in it, to feel the pain of business as usual? Can't he hear the whole world crying "uncle"? And what about the fact that there is serious doubt as to whether Bush technically "won" either time? Things could be better, but must he?
posted by AppleSeed at 5:10 AM on February 1, 2008


You people are morons then. You deserve to lose.
posted by phaedon at 11:38 PM on January 31

There is no meaningful basis for your point other than you are a whiny loser.
posted by phaedon at 12:14 AM on February 1

If it blows your mind that I find this to be the political posturing of a whiny loser, so be it.
posted by phaedon at 12:53 AM on February 1

What an abrasive little shit. Look: I don't mind Nader running, I don't blame him for Gore's 2000 loss (I blame the Supreme Court), and I don't care that people might vote for ideals over practicalities, but your juvenile comments are too much. I can see that you are very upset by people expressing their opinions and desires, and by conflating these with demands and ultimatums, but next time you might want to consider either not saying anything, or counting to ten and then making a reasoned and respectful argument. Or maybe you could go to some political blog and spit your venom there.
posted by effwerd at 5:16 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sooner or later, you're gonna listen to Ralph Nader...

The Buzzcocks "Fast Cars"
posted by buzzbash at 5:24 AM on February 1, 2008


effwerd... people up above are saying things like I hate that son of a bitch and burn him and talking about Assassinate Nader lunchboxes, but you think that phaedon calling people "whiny loser" is too venomous for this thread?
posted by XMLicious at 5:27 AM on February 1, 2008


Four years ago, Nader opposed the war and advocated immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. It took thousands of American deaths and tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths to convince most Americans that it was a mistaken grossly wasteful war and that withdrawal will be the best option.

Nader was worth listening to then.
posted by notmtwain at 5:52 AM on February 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's somewhat ironic that so many people who intend to vote Democrat are opposed to Nader even standing, when that simple act would actually enhance the status of the US as a democracy.
posted by roofus at 6:04 AM on February 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


effwerd... people up above are saying things like I hate that son of a bitch and burn him and talking about Assassinate Nader lunchboxes, but you think that phaedon calling people "whiny loser" is too venomous for this thread?

wendell's "burn him" remark is obviously not to be taken seriously. And it was in a single comment. "I hate that son of a bitch" was also a single comment and not much of one. I also didn't take the accusation that Nader killed someone's Pinto very seriously. phaedon was clearly sincere and kept pushing it. Also, I think it too much in general, not as it might apply to this thread. Maybe I'm just in a bad mood this morning.
posted by effwerd at 6:11 AM on February 1, 2008


XM... The phrases you cite are not personal attacks on mefi members as is what Phaedon has been spouting. He's out of line.
posted by Hobgoblin at 6:20 AM on February 1, 2008


What the fuck does this guy actually do between election years, go into stasis?
posted by psmealey at 6:22 AM on February 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


The best point made in An Unreasonable Man was that the Democrats let Bush invade Iraq but no, ignore the party behind the curtain, Nader is to blame for all of the horrible outcomes of the Bush presidency.

Not that the Dems deserve a pass on that, but that's a dim reading of (relatively recent history). The Dems didn't have the numbers to stop Bush from invading Iraq (preparations for which were already underway), and the resolution was mostly meaningless anyway. If Bush didn't think he had the numbers, he wouldn't have proposed and would have gone ahead with it regardless. The Dems signed on because they were afraid of appearing like cowards in the aftermath of 911.

Yeah, I bitterly opposed the war at the point, but to blame the Democrats for not stopping it seems ignorant of history.
posted by psmealey at 6:30 AM on February 1, 2008


For all you hotheads who claim there's no difference between the Repubs and Dems, let's just settle this now--there IS a difference; the latter are leading us to our demise a little slower and a bit more compassionately than the former.
posted by hell toupee at 6:31 AM on February 1, 2008


Fuck Ralph Nader. He is NO better than Lyndon LaRouche or Ron Paul, and his followers show the same brain-dead glassy-eyed fanaticism that is the enemy of any real political progress. I don't even give him the credit for all the consumer safety shit people usually claim he advanced. He's a cult figure, and his followers are largely cultist types, brainwashed to believe that they are the only ones with "principles." I don't accept that if I don't support Nader I must want corporate business as usual, nor do I think Nader cares about me or about America. I think he cares about his own fame as a "spoiler," which is all he has left to offer. A Nader presidency, in real life, would be godawful. Just like a Ron Paul presidency. There is nothing "principled" about voting for a narcissist who has no ideas other than tossing the current system completely. Good luck with that, idiot. Meanwhile, those of us whose "principles" actually commit us to doing things that actually make a bit of real difference to the positive side in the world will be voting *our* consciences just like you Nader supporters. Don't tell me I'm "unprincipled" because I don't support someone who is convinced he's completely right and no one else could possibly be right. That's called megalomania, and it's a sure path to fascism. Nader reminds me more of Rudy Giuliani than any other candidate besides Ron Paul.

Just my opinion. But I'm sticking to it.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:32 AM on February 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


And if there is no difference between republicans and dems, explain how George Bush's presidency has been no better than Al Gore's might have been. Seriously. Screw this country that badly once and most of us are done with you, Ralph. Oh, I know, you didn't really "cost" Gore Florida and have the numbers to prove that. Gore ran a "terrible" campaign. But when you get down to it, the election was close enough for the right to steal it, and Nader said nothing about that. Then we got war, corporate giveaways on a massive scale, and a setback on ALL of the "principled" stands Nader claims to represent. For 8 long years.

Once more, with feeling. . . .*fuck* Ralph Nader.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:35 AM on February 1, 2008


What a lovely example of vague, empty, illogical and pathetic character assassination. Whisper on!

I think you'd say otherwise if you were his nextdoor neighbor. They were the fucking tenants from hell. I could go on and on, but if he can't influence them not to be complete assholes all the time, good luck running the country. So, uh, bite me.
posted by me & my monkey at 6:51 AM on February 1, 2008


"The Federal government serves at the will of those states. That is the basis of the electoral college which is supposed to represent the will of the majority of the residents of each state."

Not for long. The progress of the National Popular Vote movement promises to make this the last election in which anyone would pay attention to Nader. Every state that passes this bill gives the natioanl popular vote more influence over the electoral college. Unless all non-participating states start voting against the popular vote instead of representing their own state's votes, it won't even take a majority of states to make the electoral college completely controlled by the national popular vote, making a minority candidate such as Nader completely irrelevant to the election result.
posted by scottreynen at 6:52 AM on February 1, 2008


He's out of line.

He's being impolite to some degree for sure, particularly with the "morons" comment. But "whiny" really isn't that harsh and, though I'm not certain it applies to MPDSEA, is a sentiment apropos to the topic of conversation.

In any case calling him out as having been especially juvenile or venomous next to Assassinate Nader lunchboxes and the other stuff doesn't really jive for me.

"Dude, be polite" would be a good warning but singling him out as the only one being particularly unreasoning and unrespectful or saying he ought to take his opinions elsewhere is a tad partisan.
posted by XMLicious at 6:52 AM on February 1, 2008


Two points to make here:

1. Naive young liberals voted for Clinton eight years before they "spoiled" the '02 elections, but rather than spend 8 years moaning about the damn kids these days the Republicans worked to get one of their own in office. Rather than look at Nader and whine, perhaps the Dems need to grow a goddamn spine and give naive young voters something to believe in this time around, like Bill did when he appealed to the MTV crowd.

2. How many votes Nader does or does not "steal" is completely irrelevant considering that half the goddamned country can't even be bothered to vote in the first place. Rather than trying to prevent a candidate from "stealing" from a limited pool of voters, how about the Dems focus on increasing the pool by getting people to show up at the polls? Gee, I know it's a novel idea - participatory government - but it seems to be working in those crazy foreign countries we Americans can't find on the map, like "Canada" and "Australia". (Oh wow they even call their money "dollars" too how cute! /sarcasm) For all the bullshit we spout about bringing democracy to the world it's about goddamned time we tried bringing it home.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:55 AM on February 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


You nadar-haters should tear the air-bags and seat belts out of your cars. And replace the collapsible steering column with a solid metal rod that impales you in an accident.
posted by 445supermag at 7:02 AM on February 1, 2008


There is nothing "principled" about voting for a narcissist who has no ideas other than tossing the current system completely.

clinton and romney are narcissists who want to keep the system as it is - if they get their nominations, it's not just going to be an issue of principles or corporate business - they have personality problems that are every bit as bad as the ones you accuse nader of having
posted by pyramid termite at 7:03 AM on February 1, 2008


I believe you are trying to imply that there is unanimous consent that Nader did something wrong by running in 2000, by pointing to the negative "practical effect" of his candidacy on the Democratic Party.

No, not at all. I said we "wish he wouldn't," not that he's doing something wrong. I don't think it's particularly "whiny" to remark that one disapproves of Nader's possible candidacy in a thread about Nader's possible candidacy.

Disapproving of his candidacy doesn't imply that one thinks he should be disallowed from running, that people who vote for him should be disenfranchised, or that his candidacy is somehow wrong. It simply articulates the expectation that his candidacy will be damaging to one's interests.

As for the "we" remark, if you look at the context, I was clearly referring to that group of people in this thread who were being accused of "advocating limiting people's choices." Perhaps it was presumptuous to speak for all five of us (or whatever), but I don't think any of us actually were advocating limiting people's choices, and if anyone was, they were free to pipe in and disagree with me.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:08 AM on February 1, 2008


What an abrasive little shit. Look: I don't mind Nader running, I don't blame him for Gore's 2000 loss (I blame the Supreme Court), and I don't care that people might vote for ideals over practicalities, but your juvenile comments are too much. I can see that you are very upset by people expressing their opinions and desires, and by conflating these with demands and ultimatums, but next time you might want to consider either not saying anything, or counting to ten and then making a reasoned and respectful argument. Or maybe you could go to some political blog and spit your venom there.

I hope this false sense of entitlement works for you. I think it's much more rude to ask somebody to take their ideas elsewhere. Maybe you should count to ten before posting and give yourself a chance to think about making a point next time.

And as for the "whiny loser" remark, it was much less a personal attack, than it was an allusion to the fact that there is no basis to find fault in Nader's decision to run in 2000 other than that part of the population believes it directly contributed to a political outcome that they found undesirable. So be it! That's politics!

But this highly speculative contention has turned into a kind of political mythology for Democrats, something parents tell their babies stories about at night, where Gore is the righteous virgin princess and Nader is some kind of narcissistic, third-party monster. Jesus, get over it. In the context of this particular argument, how can you blame Gore's loss on anything but your own fucking voting base?

Wait, I know, since we all know we'd be living in a better world if Nader were killed before the election, let's make "Assassinate Nader" t-shirts and wear them on campus! That'd totally be awesome.
posted by phaedon at 7:09 AM on February 1, 2008


Will someone please kill him before he fucks up another election. We can thank him for getting Bush elected.
posted by mike3k at 7:11 AM on February 1, 2008


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:13 AM on February 1, 2008


DO NOT WANT
posted by designbot at 7:14 AM on February 1, 2008


psmeasley : The Dems signed on because they were afraid of appearing like cowards in the aftermath of 911.

That's what I meant by God forbid the Dems have to actually act with principles. If they're going to act like that and then try to lay blame elsewhere they've got no ground to stand on criticizing Nader and his principles and actions and motivations.

Yeah, I bitterly opposed the war at the point, but to blame the Democrats for not stopping it seems ignorant of history.

More ignorant of history than blaming it on Ralph Nader? Aren't they at least a little more blameworthy than him? Like, as in, they're actually elected government officials and leaders of a political machine with an enormous power base extending throughout Washington?

Yeah, sure, maybe their hands were tied and decisions were made and stances were taken with utter selflessness and in only the best interests of the country. Coulda happened, whatever. The point is that this is the inescapable lightless well of utter entropy at the heart of a black hole calling the kettle black, for Democrats to blame the war or anything else on Nader.
posted by XMLicious at 7:21 AM on February 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


FAIL
posted by psmealey at 7:35 AM on February 1, 2008


there is no basis to find fault in Nader's decision to run in 2000 other than that part of the population believes it directly contributed to a political outcome that they found undesirable

I wouldn't have a problem with it, except that Nader doesn't actually seem to have a goal other than to be a spoiler. He doesn't have an actual shot at being elected, and he knows that. No matter how long he does this, he won't be able to move his party from the margins, and he knows this too - he has to. He knows he can pull some of the more left-leaning vote away from the Democratic candidate, whoever that might be. His influence strikes me as a lot like what goes on in the primaries; candidates get pulled to comparatively extreme positions to win the primaries, then have to distance themselves from those positions to win the general election. If he had a realistic belief that he could significantly grow his party, or that he could win, I'd understand, but I don't think either of those are the case.

He strikes me as the anti-politician - completely unwilling to compromise. That sounds like a good thing, but is simply not viable for actual political officeholders.

What the fuck does this guy actually do between election years, go into stasis?

He's actually pretty active in DC local politics, and does some good things there. The good things he does, however, don't necessarily make him suitable for public office.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:37 AM on February 1, 2008


Great googly moogly! When is he going to sink into the obscurity he so richly deserves? One question on Jeopardy! every year is all I ever want to hear of him.
posted by tommasz at 7:39 AM on February 1, 2008


Btw, XML, I do agree with you on those points. The failure of the Democrats to do anything of substance during that time is shameful, but it's something that's happened again and again in our history. To blame Nader for it is childish and petty, though, I agree.
posted by psmealey at 7:39 AM on February 1, 2008


Imagine what would happen if Chomsky ran for president. Utter pandemonium on the left side of the aisle.
posted by phaedon at 7:47 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I hope this false sense of entitlement works for you. I think it's much more rude to ask somebody to take their ideas elsewhere. Maybe you should count to ten before posting and give yourself a chance to think about making a point next time.

It does. It is. And it is evident by your very clever use of my words that you got my point.
posted by effwerd at 7:49 AM on February 1, 2008


No . difference . between . the . parties ? HA!

And if you aint got the [ do . re . mi ]. To hell with the dems you have to be naive to believe these friendly fascist are better than the overt fascist. The mental picture I have of the democrats : Kerry and a room of I am guessing like minded people sitting by while some kid gets tortured .... feeling smug because in their opinion the republicans would have joined in. You expect me to believe these people will stand up for human rights?

1963 Lyndon B. Johnson (D) 1969 Richard Nixon (R) 1974
Aug 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Mar 1965 U.S. Troops in Vietnam Mar 1973 U.S. Troops withdrawn

it's . got . electrolytes .
posted by tofupup at 7:50 AM on February 1, 2008


It does. It is. And it is evident by your very clever use of my words that you got my point.

You should just hop in a space shuttle and throw yourself out the airlock.
posted by phaedon at 7:51 AM on February 1, 2008


I want Nadar to bring back the old metafilter.
posted by srboisvert at 7:56 AM on February 1, 2008


while i think most of the "kill nader" and "nader's to blame for what the people who shut him out of the process do" attitudes are really just legacies of the aggressive wedge politics of the right (and a perverse form of scapegoating for some politically disingenuous Dems--a la "Because of Nader, I had to vote for Patriot Act II!") and that, in general, these attitudes are just plain bad for american politics (a sly way of getting even progressives who would otherwise be all for election reforms that weaken the two-party system on board with what's essentially an anti-democratic, right-wing view of the increasing consolidation of political power within the two parties), i think nader would be really misguided to pursue a candidacy in this particular contest, and i can't imagine anyone taking his campaign seriously.

now if ron paul were to launch a third-party candidacy, that would be an interesting development. because he'd be exerting pressure on the right to moderate some of its maniacally hawkish positions at the risk of splitting their traditional small-government, conservative base.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:57 AM on February 1, 2008


Here's a little more info the history of third-parties. (Interestingly, the Democratic party was originally known as the "Democratic-Republican Party.")

Who's standing up for the importance of third parties in the process now? Nobody with any real influence that I can see. That's another win in the anti-democratic column, whether vilifying Nader was part of an intentional strategy to further consolidate the power of the two-parties or not. That said, with this latest move, Nader's probably only hurting the cause.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:08 AM on February 1, 2008


phaedon - calling for effwerd's death, after both you and I have been criticizing the "Assassinate Nader" stuff as unfunny, does seem a bit out of line. Or at least it makes me a bit chagrined.
posted by XMLicious at 8:20 AM on February 1, 2008


Oh, I hate Nader. Hate hate hate. Thanks for posting this, now I can vent my righteous anger at Nader to distract myself from the unpleasant medical procedure I get to endure this afternoon.

By comparison, I'd say having an ultrasound probe shoved up my nether bits sounds practically delightful compared to another Nader run.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:48 AM on February 1, 2008


clinton and romney are narcissists who want to keep the system as it i

No argument there either. In truth, there is no difference between Nader, Clinton, and Romney, because they all suck.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:10 AM on February 1, 2008


Is this the thread for the ritual defenestration of Nader?

Good. Carry on, then.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:11 AM on February 1, 2008


He makes Ron Paul seems less obnoxious in comparison...

By "obnoxious" you mean actually talking about real problems and telling people how you would actually correct those real problems.

By all means, go back to your dreamworld where candidates bicker about who said what about a withdrawl date in Iraq- or who is the real Reagan conservative.


People are idiots. That's why the MSM easily gets away with forcing the bullshit candidates down everyone's throats.
posted by Jay Reimenschneider at 9:35 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I made you out of clay?
posted by kcds at 9:35 AM on February 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


So almost no one here believes sufficiently in political freedom to allow third parties to try to establish themselves, no matter how poorly the other two are doing at representing many of us.

Thanks a lot.
posted by lathrop at 9:39 AM on February 1, 2008


Wow, Ralph Nader sure brings out the self-satisfied pricks in a lot of people.
posted by nanojath at 9:54 AM on February 1, 2008


The United States is a federation. The Federal government serves at the will of those states.

That's the theory, sure.

Now explain to me how states would go about withdrawing their consent to be governed by the Federal government, if they desired to do so?

And why you think it would turn out any better than it did the last time it was tried, in 1861?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:59 AM on February 1, 2008


People Sheeple are idiots.

Dude. So close. You almost won the internets.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:59 AM on February 1, 2008


Wow, Ralph Nader sure brings out the self-satisfied pricks in a lot of people.

That's the first time I've ever heard Nader equated with a porn star.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:00 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


i predict nader will only make a serious bid for the whitehouse if clinton ends up with the dem nomination. so consider whether or not you want to see more of him during the election season before you cast your primary vote, dems.

it's just a hunch. but it might well be that this time around, a vote for clinton is a vote for nader, which in turn is a vote for mccain.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:17 AM on February 1, 2008


I voted for Nader in 2000. Gore lost because he wasn't a persuasive enough candidate to get more than roughly half the popular vote, and it left enough wiggle room for Florida to happen. He was arrogant in debates. It made his opponent, who could barely construct sentences but who was running as a "compassionate conservative" look like a better person. In 2004, Ohio was a similarly dishonest victory after a close race. After months of rallying social conservatives around abortion and gay rights to up their voter turnout, the popular vote was close. And Ken Blackwell was ready for it.

The fact that the Democrats ran against Bush twice and lost is due to A) a failure to determine the conversation (they let the Republicans do that), B) fearmongering C) capitalizing on people's oldest hatreds and D) enough dirty tricks on voting day to take advantage of a close race.

Nader does not deserve to be a scapegoat for the failures of the Democratic Party. The Green Party is not going to go away as long as the two-party system fails to address the issues it raises.

Unless the Democrat nominee has taken a cold hard look at those races and rethought what the Democratic party really stands for, rather than what it feels is safe to say it stands for according to polls, I fear for 2008 as well. People tended to vote FOR Bush or AGAINST Bush. Who the Democrat was each time didn't seem to really matter, and the reason for that and for people in polls saying "I don't know, they seem so similar" is that the Democrats were playing it safe and trying to appeal to everyone. They became not Democrats, but not-Republicans. If they win this election, it will be because people are voting against Republicans. That's ok by me, I like them much much better, but I have yet to hear a candidate considered to be capable of winning this answer a question directly. That's why they all seem the same, even though they're not. The Democrats are still playing to not lose.
posted by Tehanu at 10:38 AM on February 1, 2008


Nader and the Republicans are both totally hampering the Democrats' chances of winning back the presidency! Outrageous!
posted by 1 at 10:38 AM on February 1, 2008


Fuck you, Ralph.
posted by cytherea at 11:09 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


People who vote for Nader are either doing it as a symbolic gesture, an attempt to build up a genuine third party alternative, or in the honest belief that he might win.

If it is a symbolic gesture, then it is an empty one; if it is a strategic move, then it is one that has failed. The gesture has already been made, repeatedly, by supporters of Nader, and by supporters of Perot and Anderson before that. It didn't work then, and there is little reason to believe that it will work now. This doesn't mean that a third party is not a Good Thing (I personally think it is), but that running a solo presidential candidate does not seem to be the way to do it.

So let's assume that at least some Nader supports really do harbor the hope that he is elected. Then here's an honest question: what do you expect him to do if, by some fluke, he is actually elected? He will be a completely isolated individual, with zero political experience other than lobbying on specific causes, and zero political capital (other than the electoral college vote - hardly insignificant, of course). He will face a legislature in which, no matter who is nominally in power, he has no allies to propose legislation and advance his agenda. We have seen - repeatedly - how even a minority party in Congress can stymie a presidential agenda. What will Nader do when the Republicans filibuster some Nader administration-backed legislation? What will he do to prevent Congress from consistently overriding his vetoes of legislation he doesn't like?

Having no ties to the established power structure, political parties, and corporate interests sounds great because it means you are beholden to no one. But it also means that you have no network that will help you push your agenda through. Perhaps he has some hidden charisma, arm-twisting political savvy, or Machiavellean genius - but I have yet to see it. The romance of the outsider generally shrivels once that outsider has to operate on the inside.
posted by googly at 11:15 AM on February 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Nader does not deserve to be a scapegoat for the failures of the Democratic Party.

No, Ralph Nader isn't to blame for the broader failures of the Democratic Party--and God knows they've failed spectacularly over the last 8 years. He is to blame for being a self-righteous, egomaniacal, prick more interested in 15 minutes of fame every four years than in the country, his fans, or the Green Party.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:26 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


If I were the conspiracy minded type, I'd think that Nader Hatredtm is a product of incredibly sophisticated and insidious Republican sabotage of the Democratic party.

For real, when the results came in in 2000, I was in college and at that ridiculous hour of the morning, much of my class was gathered in an auditorium watching the election on a projected screen when the anchor said "I'm sorry. The new projections are looking like it was actually George W Bush that took florida. George W Bush is our new president." the first thing you could hear besides gasps (liberal arts college. hi!) and curses was some dickwad yelling out in a singsong voice, "Nader! Nader! Liberal Traitor!"

Thankfully, someone else had the common sense to yell back "It shouldn't have been that close in the first place!"

And that's the fucking truth, right there. The race between Gore and a mental incompetent should never, EVER, have been that close. And you know what? It probably wasn't. Let's not forget that Bush cheated to win that election. Between hanging chads, tampered voting machines, a recount called for by the victor's brother (who happens to be governor of the state) and everything else we have to blame that election on, it is completely mindblowing to me that there are still people who blame Nader. Nader? Really?

Look, the greatest weapon the republicans had in their arsenal that election (besides election tampering) was that the neocon movement was so much more cohesive and unifying than anything the democratic party was doing. We were busy with petty squabbling and infighting while they were securing the votes of tens of millions of religious fundamentalists in one fell swoop. ANYTHING that draws attention away from the problems within our own party (to name a few: lack of a coherent message besides "don't vote republican," holding tenuous middle ground positions on issues that satisfy nobody, infighting) and puts that attention somewhere else is a net good for the republicans. this nader hate? it's bullshit, and it hurts us. He didn't lose that election for us, it was stolen from us when we weren't losing it ourselves.

Nader was once a great man. Not just great, fucking legendary. Corporate influence on the politics of this country is one of the worst evils we have facing us today. It affects everything from health care to the Iraq War to baby carseats. Not only did he once accomplish more than people thought a single man could for consumer advocacy, but he wrote the words that defined the battle against corporate special interests for every person to have fought in that battle since. Sure, his presidential races have become little more than grandstanding lunacy, and he'd make a terrible president. fine. But the fact is that he keeps running because no one on the democrat ticket ever stands up to corporate interest. What do you think's going to happen if we win this year? Is Halliburton just going to go "oh well, our board member's not in the administration anymore, better pack it up and leave?" Do you honestly think that our criminal involvement in that country is going to end anytime soon? No, because we don't make it clear to our democratic representatives that that's the issue that'll fix more than anything else in this country (except, possibly, for campaign reform and the eradication of the electoral college.) and that THAT'S what we'll vote for.

The people who voted for Nader voted for that. Hating him is essentially hating the idea that we should vote for the people who actually want to fix the country. You don't have to vote for him, fuck I have no intention of ever doing so. the dude's lost his mind. But hating him? For 537 votes? 537 people shouldn't have decided that election. 537 people PROBABLY didn't.
posted by shmegegge at 11:31 AM on February 1, 2008 [10 favorites]


me & my monkey: I wouldn't have a problem with it, except that Nader doesn't actually seem to have a goal other than to be a spoiler. He doesn't have an actual shot at being elected, and he knows that.

This kind of reasoning is why the US still has a two party system. You shouldn't run unless you have a shot at winning, only two parties have a shot at winning, so only two parties should run. It is pretty damn hard to build up a viable third party without ever running a candidate.
posted by ssg at 11:40 AM on February 1, 2008


No, Ralph Nader isn't to blame for the broader failures of the Democratic Party--and God knows they've failed spectacularly over the last 8 years. He is to blame for being a self-righteous, egomaniacal, prick more interested in 15 minutes of fame every four years than in the country, his fans, or the Green Party.

I'm not voting for him now, because because I don't think he'd be a good President. That said, the self-righteous, egomaniacal pricks are the ones who insist we vote for them because they have a good chance of winning. Nader runs to be a different option, similarly to how Jesse Jackson runs to remind people that there have not been, up until now, viable black candidates. I'm not fond of some of what Jesse Jackson does, but I will concede that he always presents people with an option that reminds them how absent that option really is. Painting third-party candidates as egotistical egomaniacs who are crazy and love the limelight is a tactic that keeps eyes and cameras firmly tracking the two parties in power.
posted by Tehanu at 12:39 PM on February 1, 2008


Why in god's name does this asshole get news coverage about running for president again? I understand his relevance in 2004, since the previous time he ran he literally affected history. But he got about 12 votes in the 2004 election, and didn't make the ballot in all but a few states.

Ralph Nader will have about as much influence on this upcoming election as Larry the Cable Guy declaring he'll run for office and deserves just as much, if not less, media attention.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:44 PM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Gore's people must have gotten something badly wrong to not be able to do a deal with him for Florida votes.

Naming that fascist DINO Lieberman as his veep is what kept him from getting this 2000 Floridian's vote.
posted by phearlez at 12:52 PM on February 1, 2008


I voted for Nader in 2000. Gore lost because he wasn't a persuasive enough candidate to get more than roughly half the popular vote, and it left enough wiggle room for Florida to happen. He was arrogant in debates. . . . Nader does not deserve to be a scapegoat for the failures of the Democratic Party. The Green Party is not going to go away as long as the two-party system fails to address the issues it raises.

I don't understand how people who voted for Nader in 2000 can deny the consequences of their actions. They voted for a candidate who had no chance of winning, whereas their vote for Gore would have resulted in the election of a different candidate whose values, though not fully matching their own, were much closer to them than the alternative of Bush. I can appreciate that they may not have understood this at the time, but here we are in 2008 with plenty of water under the bridge in between. So the question now is, do we learn from this experience, or do we go with the whole "let's teach America a lesson" approach again and let's see how that goes for another miserable 8 years?

If you had wanted your vote to count in a positive way (better Gore than Bush) instead of a negative way (teach everyone a lesson and throw my vote), your votes could have been the ones that mattered.

I understand that the election of Bush was not solely the fault of Nader and his happy band of nonpragmatist voters. There were lots of other factors in there that could have given Gore that extra push. But some of these pro-Nader comments seem to be denying that the transferral of the 2000 votes for Nader to Gore would have elected Gore instead of Bush, and that's really a denial of basic math, and is silly. I understand you are not solely responsible, and that's true, but c'mon, you're a little responsible. Own up.

And for god's sake, it's the green party! Who is or was greener than Gore?
posted by onlyconnect at 1:07 PM on February 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Naming that fascist DINO Lieberman as his veep is what kept him from getting this 2000 Floridian's vote.

Yeah, since the conservative democrat, northern, jewish retiree population is so tiny in Florida.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:15 PM on February 1, 2008


If you had wanted your vote to count in a positive way (better Gore than Bush) instead of a negative way (teach everyone a lesson and throw my vote), your votes could have been the ones that mattered.

I didn't vote to teach anyone a lesson. I voted according to my conscience. The 49% of the population eligible to vote in that election who didn't are the only ones who threw away their votes.
posted by Tehanu at 1:17 PM on February 1, 2008


Also Gore was not an environmental figurehead in 2000. That came after. My point is not that he would have been a bad president, but rather that he failed to convince people at the time that he would be a better president than Bush.
posted by Tehanu at 1:19 PM on February 1, 2008


I don't understand how people who voted for Nader in 2000 can deny the consequences of their actions.

onlyconnect, here's a hint: you're wrong to think the people who voted for nader would ever have backed gore. some might have reconsidered by now, but the vast majority of them were not just wayward democrats--they weren't democrats at all. many of the nader voters i knew were prepared to vote republican in that election if mccain had been their candidate. the dems had a lot more working against them than nader back then.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:24 PM on February 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


(and fwiw, i ultimately voted for gore but am a registered green.)
posted by saulgoodman at 1:30 PM on February 1, 2008


onlyconnect should go find the 537 people that would have voted Gore if Nader hadn't run that he feels are personally responsible for the election. then he should go find the campaign manager for Gore's 2000 campaign. (I once heard he hasn't had work since, so he shouldn't be hard to find.) He should get them all in a room together and then tell those 537 people to apologize to the campaign manager, and see if anyone in the room thinks he's not out of his mind.
posted by shmegegge at 1:31 PM on February 1, 2008


Christ. I could possible have some respect for the whiny, irresponsible Nader voters if they could just man up about being responsible for eight years of Bush.
posted by cytherea at 1:38 PM on February 1, 2008


So, serious question: Will the Nader people keep voting for him even after he's dead? Because it's not like being dead would make him any less likely to win than he is right now.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:41 PM on February 1, 2008


Well before the 2000 election Gore had written a book on the environment, founded the GLOBE Program on Earth Day 1994, and strongly sponsored the Kyoto Treaty (symbolically signing it in 1998). Bush was the governor of a state that led the nation "in air pollution, in toxic chemicals released, in factories violating clean water standards" and "according to the Environmental Protection Agency, of having the dirtiest air in America, of ranking 47th in water quality, and having the seventh-highest rate of release of toxic industrial byproducts onto its land." You'd think supporters of the motherfucking Green Party might have seen a teensy-weensy difference instead of saying there wasn't any difference, as Nader himself did.

According to the Florida Department of State election results for president in the 2000 election, Bush beat Gore by 537 votes, 2,912,790 votes to 2,912,253. Nader got 97,488 votes in Florida. If fewer than 1% of Nader voters had voted for Gore he would have won Florida, and the election.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:00 PM on February 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Christ. I could possible have some respect for the whiny, irresponsible Nader voters if they could just man up about being responsible for eight years of Bush.

"Christ. I could possible have some respect for the whiny, irresponsible Nader voters democratic party leaders and supporters if they could just man up about being responsible for eight years of Bush."

On a serious note, it's really troubling that some Democrats still seem so deeply in denial about the problems within their own party and its lack of political effectiveness in recent years. Keep blaming the voters the Democrats have been unable to reach if you find that approach helpful, but you might find it more helpful to do a little soul-searching on the question of why the Democratic party has failed so miserably over the last few election cycles to appeal to what should be its core constituency, and how that failure to energize its base might have contributed to the Republicans' overwhelming dominance.

It's not as if the Presidency was the only part of the US government where the Democrats failed to fend the Republicans off. Both chambers of the legislature ended up with Republican majorities for the first part of the Bush administration. Was that Nader's fault too? And the Supreme Court being loaded with conservatives, with barely a squeak of complaint from the Democrats in congress? Did Nader do that too?
posted by saulgoodman at 2:01 PM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Just a reminder that the very idea of arguing whether or not Nader cost Gore Florida requires believing Gore didn't win Florida anyway. He did, so in an electoral perspective the argument is mostly irrelevant.

You may as well argue if a serial killer ate 36 nuns or only 35; you're ignoring the bigger crime here.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:31 PM on February 1, 2008


Man am I glad Jello Biafra didn't get the Green Party nomination in 2000...
posted by Jimbob at 2:36 PM on February 1, 2008


If fewer than 1% of Nader voters had voted for Gore he would have won Florida, and the election.

There were NINE other parties on the florida ticket. All but 2 of those had more than 537 votes. Any of those remaining 7 could have swung the election the other way.

Clinton and Gore managed to win 2 elections despite those horribly dangerous nader voters voting for nader, and that was when nader was less batshit insane! Man, maybe Nader was less evil then? Yes, that must be it. It's that Nader was less evil then, so he wasn't quite so inclined to sabotage the democratic party.

Or maybe it's that the republicans reframed the debate wildly skewed the voting base by veering away from the undecided middle ground that Clinton had successfully held (and which Gore was still trying to hold onto) and instead targeted the right wing extremists, calling them to the voting booths in numbers never before seen. Maybe it was that plus the other million things that contribute to an election result.

See, you guys are latching onto this tiny statistic as if it represented the entire picture, and it's the smallest sliver of it. It actually represents a smaller portion of the picture than the portion of the entire voter turnout for 2000 that those 537 votes represent.

But I'll tell you what. You want to scapegoat somebody? Here's a better target: Non-voters. Hell, in 2000 I was one of them! I was that scrawny know-it-all college kid in 2000 who thought he was too fucking cool to vote! And I would have voted for Gore! Crucify me! There's a hell of a lot more of people like me in florida alone than the 537 that would have swung the election. Not to mention the entire country!

Or hell, just keep hating on nader voters. Because really, it's completely absurd, but since when do you guys care? He's one man you can point a finger at.
posted by shmegegge at 2:40 PM on February 1, 2008


I agree that the endless debating about who was to blame most for Gore's "loss" in 2000 is tiresome. Any of a number of things would have swung the election, in Florida and across the country; if 538 of the convicted felons or black voters whose votes were suppressed had been allowed to vote, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

For me the important thing is not rehashing the past but figuring out the present. Whether or not Nader is responsible for 2000, I still can't identify a good reason for voting for him other than raising a personally satisfying but ultimately pointless middle finger at the establishment.
posted by googly at 2:54 PM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't understand how people who voted for Nader in 2000 can deny the consequences of their actions. They voted for a candidate who had no chance of winning, whereas their vote for Gore would have resulted in the election of a different candidate...

Only in Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Ohio would Nader voters (and other third-party voters) voting for Gore instead have switched the results in those states in 2000. Nader voters in the other 46 states and DC are off the hook. Those Nader voters can deny the consequences of their vote for the simple reason that their votes had no consequences. No fair blaming them.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:54 PM on February 1, 2008


It seems to me that the real megalomaniacs are the people who fantasize that Nader was responsible for Gore's 2000 loss.
posted by notmtwain at 2:58 PM on February 1, 2008


And the Supreme Court being loaded with conservatives, with barely a squeak of complaint from the Democrats in congress? Did Nader do that too?

In case you don't remember, the vote for Alito was 58-42, with all but 4 Democratic senators voting against him and all but 1 Republican senator voting for him (i.e., even had it been a strict party line vote he still would have been confirmed), following a hold-out filibuster attempt by Democrats that got alot of negative press. See this thread. It was the closest vote since Clarence Thomas. And there was no way to prevent confirmation without Republican votes; only longer (and unpopular) delay could have been achieved by Democrats alone. But in any case, there was quite a bit of "squeaking."

BUT, while occasional wildcard justices surprise the presidents who nominate them, it is pretty much wide-eyed naivete to believe that Republicans won't nominate politically conservative judges and Democrats won't nominate liberal judges, and it's pretty rare for a nomination to get scuttled by Congress.

So duh, of course people should think about Supreme Court nominations when they're voting for president. In my opinion, with cases like Roe in jeopardy, it's grossly irresponsible not to.

DevilsAdvocate: Good point.

Whether or not Nader is responsible for 2000, I still can't identify a good reason for voting for him other than raising a personally satisfying but ultimately pointless middle finger at the establishment.

A++, would favorite again.
posted by onlyconnect at 3:16 PM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I am beyond tired of the people who hate Nader because he offered an alternative to the two corporate candidates. I didn't vote for him to teach anybody a lesson, I did it because the Democratic Party was trying its best to be just like those winners, the Republicans. The Party that I'd supported for so many years had become another arm of Corporate America, and it did not represent me any more. I knew Bush was bad news, though no one could have foreseen* just how bad. I also knew that Clinton had been pretty bad (especially for a Democrat), and had no reason to think Gore would be a big improvement. Anybody remember Tipper's assault on popular music? I honestly did not think the Democrats deserved my vote. That's not Nader's fault, it's theirs. If they had put a little more effort into offering an alternative based on their traditional platforms, they would have had my support. They didn't.

So far, with a couple of exceptions, the current crop of Democrats hasn't realized that it's important to push for what's right, even if they know they'll lose. The people who used to vote Democrat want that. Until they see it happening, they have no reason to support the ersatz Republicans. Saying 'we don't have the votes' is a truly lame excuse for not even trying.

Since I once again don't get to vote for my favorite Democratic presidential candidate because of the fucked-up primary schedule, I'll probably vote for Obama, and hope there's some substance behind all that superficial rhetoric.



*Thank you, Condi.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:25 PM on February 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


andreaazure: "We should not split the left vote again, for any reason whatsoever. Nader running is basically the only thing that could possibly keep the Other Side in office after Bush."

Well, in all fairness, there's also the Democratic Party, which is trying hard.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:33 PM on February 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well before the 2000 election Gore had written a book on the environment, founded the GLOBE Program on Earth Day 1994, and strongly sponsored the Kyoto Treaty (symbolically signing it in 1998).

In 2000, Gore was running within the context of being VP for the Clinton administration. He was hindered by the Clinton administration's track record, and they were in turn often hindered by a Republican Congress. I am fully aware of the difference between his actual environmental track record as of 2000 and Bush's, and of the difference between their likely policies as they stood as potential presidents in 2000. Gore was by far the more environmentally conscious candidate compared to Bush, but he did not convince people of that. Gore was committed to environmental progress, but he was not a figurehead for it yet. He did not represent environmental awareness like he does now. At the time, he was more committed to being president, so the gloves had not come off yet. He was running as Al Gore the New Democrat, not Al Gore the environmentalist. His environmental work started long before 2000, but public recognition of it came much later, when he was no longer hindered by concerns about his image for future political runs and could dedicate himself to advocacy.

I would have vastly preferred Gore as president, but the one tiny silver lining to all the terrible environmental policies over the last 8 years is that Gore the citizen was free to become a spokesperson for global warming. He is in his element there. He shows a passion he never did during his campaign. And now for the first time ever in the US, the public conversation has shifted from "Does evidence support global warming?" to "What are we going to do about global warming?" He failed as a politician, but he's succeeded as an advocate.

Whether or not Nader is responsible for 2000, I still can't identify a good reason for voting for him other than raising a personally satisfying but ultimately pointless middle finger at the establishment.

Increasing the proportion of votes that the Greens get is the reason many people do it. They don't feel that either of the two-party candidates represents their views, so they vote for someone who does. Some people do that to register dissent, but others do it in the hope that the Greens will get 5% of the popular vote and become eligible for funding from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund. In the eyes of many third-party supporters, the real goal is a third party that represents their views becoming viable at the national level, and the PECF is seen as a critical step toward that. Green voters aren't saying "Fuck Democrats" nearly much as they're saying "If these are my options, other choices are necessary."
posted by Tehanu at 3:34 PM on February 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


onlyconnect's point about SCOTUS nominees is important, because it highlights the difference between a candidate who offers alternative opinions and one who gets things done.

People seem to forget that when Clinton first got into office he had sweeping reforms in mind. Remember gays in the military? Remember health care reform? Remember Gore's multifacted ideas about environmental protection? Clinton was hardly a "corporate" candidate - he had Big Ideas about Big Reforms and tried very hard to put them into practice.

He lost on gays in the military, he lost on health care, and he didn't even get a chance to do much on the environment. There are lots of reasons he lost, including arrogance and poor strategic planning. But two of the big reasons were not having enough political savvy (he was only a small-state governor), and a concerted campaign by his political opposition.

Clinton learned a lot from those early losses, particularly about the importance of compromise and outflanking his opposition. He may not have been the best, but he got a surprising amount done considering the opposition he faced. Hell, he got Ruth Bader Ginsburg onto the SCOTUS! She is as bad in the eyes of conservatives as Alito is in the eyes of liberals. And his reward is to be branded "corporate."

I am repeating myself here, but I'll ask again: do people who vote for Nader really think he is offering a viable alternative? Not an alternative of criticism of "corporate" candidates (which is easy), but a vision of specific policies that he wants to enact and an understanding of the means by which he could enact them (which is damn hard)? Nader has even less political experience than Clinton did, will face opposition from both parties, and apparently has even more radical ideas. How exactly is he going to get done.

Ultimately, some people function well by pressuring the executive branch from the outside (MLK), and some by manipulating it from the inside (LBJ). Nader has built an impressive career doing the former, but seems temperamentally and experientially ill-equipped to do the latter.
posted by googly at 3:41 PM on February 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


In the eyes of many third-party supporters, the real goal is a third party that represents their views becoming viable at the national level, and the PECF is seen as a critical step toward that. Green voters aren't saying "Fuck Democrats" nearly much as they're saying "If these are my options, other choices are necessary."

Tehanu, that's a good point. But running a presidential candidate seems to be a failed strategy in this respect. Others have argued that a better alternative strategy is to start in smaller, local-level races to build the party from the ground up - as the green party is already doing. Wouldn't third-party resources be better spent continuing to develop this network?
posted by googly at 3:49 PM on February 1, 2008


It would take both approaches, I think. Local politics might build momentum slowly, but there are many, many localities (entire regions really) where a Green candidate stands an even smaller shot of getting elected than for a national race. National races bring a lot of visibility to third parties and they often use it to highlight their platform and make sure their issues get some air time. I grew up in the southeast, and I went to grad school in a superconservative part of the Midwest. Nader was the literally the only Green candidate I could have voted for. There was guy who ran for city council where I lived, in college, who was Green, but my council district had only one person running unopposed.

I probably won't vote third-party this time around. I don't have any more faith in the Democrats to work within the system. Less, actually, since they are increasingly quasi-conservative and both Clinton and Obama respond mostly with non-answers in the debates. Global warming's barely getting a mention, either. I'll probably vote Democrat because the past 8 years have killed my faith in the ability of voters to change the system.
posted by Tehanu at 4:20 PM on February 1, 2008


Mushroo...oh, done that already.

Ok, Nader-Nader-Nader on the Label-Label-Label.
Heh. Heh.

No?

Y’know, ‘cause of the whole ‘plate of beans’ thing and the commercial an all?
... anyone?
Ahoy?

“ Blame the 50 million Bush voters. They're still out there, walking and breathing free.” -posted by allen.spaulding

Well said. (Although ‘free’ is debatable)

“The people that worked for/with him were a bunch of tremendously annoying jerks. I don't know if he's entirely to blame for that, but I wouldn't vote for him as dogcatcher.”

Yeah, fanatics, passionate folks, and specialists are like that. Guiliani went after the mob. He was a good, straight prosecutor. Lousy public official.
I never understood why going into office was considered a move *up*.
I’ve been in charge. I’ve been on point. I’d rather be the ‘go to guy’ than ‘the man.’
I wouldn’t want to be president. I want to be the indispensable guy the president calls when stuff goes down.
The guy that says “Yeah! Count it off!” when James Brown asks if he can count it off.
In kung fu movies I’d rather be the uberbadass guy that stands there and does nothing while everyone is fighting waiting to explode than the boss.

People like Nader should do the same. Maybe he is a prick. But maybe he’s trying to prove something.

The system in the U.S. is not so much as advertised.
I mean, 95-odd percent of congressional incumbents get re-elected?
The Romans had pretty much the same kind of deal going on.
Looking at how we deal with illegal immigrants, resident aliens, etc, yeah, we’re about there.

Winning though, isn’t everything.
If you agree with the principles a candidate holds, those are your principles. You should not abandon them to expediency.
Perhaps there are better ways to reflect this. Other methods. I wouldn’t contest those either way.
But generally speaking - one should never consider anything as of advantage to oneself that would make you break your word or lose your self respect.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:37 PM on February 1, 2008


Tehanu: He hasn't been on the green ticket since 2000.

kirkaracha: Well before the 2000 election Gore had written a book on the environment, founded the GLOBE Progra on Earth Day 1994, and strongly sponsored the Kyoto Treaty (symbolically signing it in 1998).

*snerk*. During that time period I was reading some of the international press that consistantly identified the U.S. as a major hold-out on just about every environmental treaty on the table. It was pretty darn clear that the Clinton administration wanted to make a show of environmental support, while negotiating for loopholes and exceptions that minimized any actual commitment. And this was at the level of the State Department, no blaiming the Republican congress for this one.

But, in general, Nader right now is a big litmus test on the left. It doesn't matter what you do, or what you intend to do this election, it all comes down to how you voted in the 2000 election, and if you voted green in 2000 whether you express the proper quantity of self-hatred and scapegoating.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:36 PM on February 1, 2008


I am repeating myself here, but I'll ask again: do people who vote for Nader really think he is offering a viable alternative? Not an alternative of criticism of "corporate" candidates (which is easy), but a vision of specific policies that he wants to enact and an understanding of the means by which he could enact them (which is damn hard)? Nader has even less political experience than Clinton did, will face opposition from both parties, and apparently has even more radical ideas. How exactly is he going to get done.

I won't speak on behalf of anyone thinking of voting Nader (though if you weren't planning to vote otherwise, I wouldn't call you names if you said you planned to), but I just want to point out that you seem to be suggesting Bush, who until recently managed to ram-rod pretty much every policy he wanted down our throats, got where he is by being politically savvy?

That's just not true. It's not about political savvy. It's about priorities. The executive is an extremely powerful position (even more so now that Bush has done so much to convert the bully pulpit into a throne). And the real priorities of the POTUS, whether the current occupant of the position admits to what those priorities really are or not, generally guide the direction of the entire nation--though a president may sometimes find it politically expedient to act as if their real policy priorities are being thwarted by the guys across the aisle.

Clinton exerted more energy on welfare reform and NAFTA than on health-care and other progressive reforms, and that was his prerogative.

But let's be clear: Clinton was not some dewy-eyed babe in the woods throughout his tenure in the White House. Compared to Bush, he was a political genius. And yet, here we are eight years later, and we now live in Bush's political reality--one radically different than the one Clinton left behind. Bush has gotten the things he really wanted to get done, done, and in my opinion, Clinton for the most part did, too. Political acumen is important, but at the end of the day, the POTUS can generally get what it really wants.

Leadership, put to good or ill purposes, is about expanding the range of what's politically possible, not about settling for what the conventional wisdom dictates is already possible--I've said it before and I'll say it again: The Republicans know that and the Democrats had better learn it quick.
posted by saulgoodman at 5:40 PM on February 1, 2008


I'm quite amused that people think that voting for Nader would be a vote of principle. I mean, he's done some good things, but the man is NOT even remotely qualified for president. He would be a disaster. Voting for Nader is, for most people I've talked to, a protest vote, NOT a vote for who they think the best candidate is. I'm sure there are exceptions, but a lot of Nader voters I knew didn't really think he should be President.

That seems just as disingenuous to me as those who claim that others are simply voting out of pragmatism.

I may not agree with everything Clinton or Obama says, but both would be 1000 times better at being President than Nader could be, even if he was right on all the issues. He would be completely ineffective, especially since Congress would ignore him.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:45 PM on February 1, 2008


And his reward is to be branded "corporate."

Well, let's see what Nader has to say on the subject of Clinton's administration:
There are changes both the Clinton Administration actively championed that further entrenched corporate power over our economy and government during the decade. He pushed through Congress the NAFTA and the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements that represented the greatest surrender in our history of local, state and national sovereignty to an autocratic, secretive system of transnational governance. This system subordinated workers, consumers and the environment to the supremacy of globalized commerce.

That was just for starters. Between 1996 and 2000, he drove legislation through Congress that concentrated more power in the hands of giant agribusiness, large telecommunications companies and the biggest jackpot - opening the doors to gigantic mergers in the financial industry. The latter so-called "financial modernization law" sowed the permissive seeds for taking vast financial risks with other peoples' money (ie. pensioners and investors) that is now shaking the economy to recession.

The man who pulled off this demolition of regulatory experience from the lessons of the Great Depression was Clinton's Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin, who went to work for Citigroup - the main pusher of this oligopolistic coup - just before the bill passed and made himself $40 million for a few months of consulting in that same year.

Bill Clinton's presidential resume was full of favors for the rich and powerful. Corporate welfare subsidies, handouts and giveaways flourished, including subsidizing the Big Three Auto companies for a phony research partnership while indicating there would be no new fuel efficiency regulations while he was President.

His regulatory agencies were anesthetized. The veteran watchdog for Public Citizen of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Sidney Wolfe, said that safety was the worst under Clinton in his twenty nine years of oversight.

The auto safety agency (NHTSA) abandoned its regulatory oath of office and became a consulting firm to the auto industry. Other agencies were similarly asleep — in job safety (OSHA) railroads, household product safety, antitrust, and corporate crime law enforcement.

By reappointing avid Republican Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve, Mr. Clinton assured no attention would be paid to the visible precursors of what is now the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Mr. Greenspan, declined to use his regulatory authority and repeatedly showed that he almost never saw a risky financial instrument he couldn't justify.
That's why he deserves the 'corporate' label.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:45 PM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


And to the post above mine: while both Bush and Clinton definitely accomplished many of thier goals, they had the support of their parties. Nader would face two parties actively hostile to him, and if anything would probably unite them in thwarting him. I can't see how he could accomplish anything, even his vetoes would probably be overridden.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:47 PM on February 1, 2008


I don't hate people who "vote" for Nader. I hate people who tell me that anyone else is impossibly corrupt and that voting for someone who might actually win (or against someone like Bush) is an unprincipled act.

I have heard Nader say that, in effect, repeatedly and with relative impunity. I don't *care* whether he cost the dems Florida or not. I oppose all cultist candidates who inspire blind, rabid loyalty in their followers and who have a rationalizing comeback for every criticism, and an inability to listen to criticism as constructive. Stop telling me, at least, that Nader didn't cost Gore Florida. It's not why I despise the man. I despise him for exactly the same reasons I despise Rudy Giuliani.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:48 PM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Because the dude shows no ability to sympathize with anyone else's point of view, to be more exact.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:49 PM on February 1, 2008


Any self proclaimed liberal who handed the 2000 election to GW Bush should just retire from politics and never, ever, show their face again. Political Seppuku. Thanks for the Iraq war Nadir. Thanks for turning America into a torture state. Thanks for for helping to ruin our country. A huge FU to you and to every idiot who pulled the lever for you in 2000, and unfortunately there are far too many of those rubes right here on MeFi. Look deep into your hearts - then cry.
posted by caddis at 5:55 PM on February 1, 2008


oh wait, I forgot the domestic spying - thanks for that too you selfish little effer
posted by caddis at 6:01 PM on February 1, 2008


fourcheesemac, thank you for one of the few coherent comments in this thread. Numerous factors, from a not especially well run campaign, to weird Florida ballots, to Gore's mistakes in the early days after the election, to evangelical turnout, all helped Gore "lose" Florida.

But I have two interrelated problems with Nader and his supporters:

1) This blind fanaticism. Ron Paul people remind me of Nader people from 2000. There's this idealism that is totally divorced from political realities and that leads people to defend even the craziest ideas, such as "the two parties are exactly the same" from 2000, and "Ron Paul's ideas on economics are great" this year. Actually the Ron Paul people are a little worse on this count.

2) The utter lack of comprehension of what politics are for and how the political system works. Politics are for getting things accomplished, and our political system, as defined in the national and state constitutions, is a first-past-the-post system. If you want to amend the constitution to change that, be my guest, it's not ideal by any means. But as it works now, your third-party vote either means nothing, or worse, you help your least-favorite candidate. Full stop. If you want to make a protest, fine, but you are accomplishing nothing.
posted by lackutrol at 7:32 PM on February 1, 2008


Nader has a right to run. He's done some things that have helped people in a tangible way. Third parties and independents allow for smaller voices to affect the larger race.

But I got a bad feeling about this.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:18 PM on February 1, 2008


Any self proclaimed liberal who handed the 2000 election to GW Bush should just retire from politics and never, ever, show their face again. Political Seppuku. Thanks for the Iraq war Nadir.

you mean the war that many democrats, including clinton, authorized?

Thanks for turning America into a torture state.

do you really think the cia never tortured anyone before bush ii got elected?

Thanks for for helping to ruin our country.

actually, it's pretty much sucked since 1975 - but you're probably not used to seeing a country that actually WORKED

A huge FU to you and to every idiot who pulled the lever for you in 2000, and unfortunately there are far too many of those rubes right here on MeFi. Look deep into your hearts - then cry.

if clinton wins the presidency, in 2012, insh'allah, i'm going to be asking people how they like still having all those troops in iraq and how they think the war in iran is going

because THAT'S what a clinton presidency will mean for our country

oh wait, I forgot the domestic spying - thanks for that too you selfish little effer

oh you mean the patriot act - the one that only ONE DAMNED DEMOCRAT IN THE SENATE HAD GUTS ENOUGH TO VOTE AGAINST?

any domestic spying going on has been with the full-fledged cooperation of the democratic party - god, it's as if people don't remember the clipper chip ...

your party fucking sucks at having a backbone - don't you think it's time you noticed that?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:04 PM on February 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


As mentioned, I care not at all about Nader himself, but there is something perpetually disturbing about the ignorance of Nader supporters. Ralph Nader isn't an avatar for liberalism -- quite the contrary. There is an argument in favor of protest votes. There is not an argument in favor of liberal protest votes for Ralph Nader, because he's not liberal.

The Ron Paul thing is less mystifying: if you're a Randian Libertarian whose conception of politics has about all the subtlety of Atlas Shrugged, then Ron Paul's pretty much your guy, because he's about as dumb as a stump, too. Cheers. No one's arguing with you, for essentially the same reasons no one plays tennis with a wall. Good day to you.

But if you're a Green Party supporter or a liberal activist who has some pretension toward rational thought, Ralph Nader has about all the appeal of Pat Robertson, who, not uncoincidentally, happens to be buddies with Ralph Nader.

This claim can be backed up with more or less incontrovertible evidence. Most notably, Ralph Nader has done more to screw the Green Party than anyone else living, first by campaigning in swing states in 2000 against the express advice of his Party advisors (and directly contravening the purported 5%-viability goal), and then by splitting Green Party supporters in 2004 with an independent presidential run that was nothing more than a pouty reaction to not getting a Party nomination that he quite arguably didn't deserve by that point, and certainly wasn't entitled to. Ironically, he continues to engender anti-Green animosity as the unfortunate de facto symbol of the Party, despite the fact that he's not actually affiliated with them.

It's a sad accident of history that Ralph Nader was ever inflicted upon the Green Party. Ralph Nader is the happy victim of corporate espionage, and his theory of government is distinguished from Ron Paul's only insofar as Nader thinks that corporations are the tools of government (or perhaps the other way around), rather than distinguishing between the two. In fact, Nader doesn't really distinguish between any forms of political organization, as evidenced not by his actions in the 2000 election so much as his suppression of unionization in his own offices. Now that's liberal.

Ralph Nader's position on almost everything can be summarized more or less as, "No one can be trusted with anything except for Ralph Nader." That's perhaps the only rational explanation for the positions just mentioned, as well as his stance against "feticide" in his American Conservative interview with Pat Robertson, and the fact that he cheerfully sided with the GOP on Schiavo. It's simply not arguable that Ralph Nader is in any way an adherent of liberalism, except for definitions of "liberalism" that include Ron Paul and Ayn Rand, in which case, again, Cheers to those folks for being morons.

I understand, sympathize, and even agree with Green Party members with regard to the argument that the two-party system is constraining, and that they shouldn't necessarily take the blame for Florida in 2000, Nader notwithstanding.

But that's not the same as defending Ralph Nader. Very few people seem to get that Nader isn't actually the thoughtful liberal who got screwed by the system in 2000 that they seem to think he is -- that distinction, rather, goes quite resoundingly to Al Gore. Ralph Nader is a narcissistic crypto-fascist whose continued presence on the American political scene can only be explained by the fact that many of his supporters can't seem to distinguish their inaccurate notions of who Ralph Nader is from the man himself.
posted by spiderwire at 9:08 PM on February 1, 2008 [5 favorites]


** To be fair, many Democratic criticisms of Ralph Nader are as shallow as the defenses of him, but they do have the small virtue of not being directly controverted by the actual reality of what a jerk he is.
posted by spiderwire at 9:12 PM on February 1, 2008


well, actually spiderwire, i've been defending my nader vote in 2000, when he was a green party candidate - (btw, i voted in michigan, don't blame me for florida) - in 2004, i voted for the green party candidate, david cobb, and was rather pissed about nader myself - he should have played ball with the green party instead of going off on an ego trip

this year, if obama wins the candidacy, i'll give him the benefit of the doubt and vote for him

if it's clinton, i'm voting green, period
posted by pyramid termite at 9:17 PM on February 1, 2008


well, actually spiderwire, i've been defending my nader vote in 2000, when he was a green party candidate - (btw, i voted in michigan, don't blame me for florida) - in 2004, i voted for the green party candidate, david cobb, and was rather pissed about nader myself - he should have played ball with the green party instead of going off on an ego trip

Yeah, I'm on the same page as you, and to be fair, the reality of Nader's politics wasn't as blatantly obvious in 2000 -- as with many other things. But I don't think most people distinguish between voting Green in 2000 and voting for Nader, and as you say, that's important.

if it's clinton, i'm voting green, period

In yet another cruel twist of fate, there's a lot of similarity between the Green Party's nomination of Nader in 2000 and, e.g., Clinton's Iraq vote -- both were made for the sake of credibility rather than actual substance. At the end of the day, I think the moral of the story is that positions taken out of tactical expediency seem a lot less wise in retrospect -- but, then again, hindsight is 20/20. The crux of the issue is being honest about past choices. I have nothing against the Green Party nor third parties in principle, but I find generalizations condemning the political system as unpersuasive as those favoring it.

That said, to my mind, defending Nader at this point isn't a sound argument on either principle or substance -- but there's a big distinction between saying that it was a sound position in 2000 and that it was objectively right or wrong in retrospect. The distinction you draw does more credit to the issue than is typical from either side of the debate.
posted by spiderwire at 9:46 PM on February 1, 2008


if it's clinton, i'm voting green, period

** What I meant is that I share your feelings on this point -- but my problems with Clinton are similar to my problems with Nader. In both cases, the image does not accord with reality.
posted by spiderwire at 9:48 PM on February 1, 2008



actually, it's pretty much sucked since 1975 - but you're probably not used to seeing a country that actually WORKED


Yes. Apparently we have a new generation of voters who think politics is just like football, and winning is the only thing.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:25 AM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


The claims that Ralph Nader is narcissistic or a crypto-fascist are made by people who can't argue issues in an intelligent manner.

On the other hand, the points made that Nader relies too much on his own opinion. can't compromise and would therefore be a completely ineffective President do seem valid to me. I supported Nader in '04 because he opposed the war and I agreed with many of his other policies. I thought that he just might turn the 3% of 2000 into a realistic candidacy. (The Red Sox turnaround that year was no less improbable.) Boy was I wrong. Still, I have never understood why people hate Ralph Nader so much. I do believe that he was trying to run a real campaign and that he does it because he cares about issues and the people in this country.

The commentary about the possible legal effect of overturning Roe v. Wade (that all it would do is put the issue back in the hands of the states) is a fine example of a valid point made by Ralph Nader that should incorporated into an intelligent debate on the future of abortion rights. Being able to look dispassionately at something as you analyze it is one of the top qualities you look for in a leader. I disagree that it proves anything about whether or not you care about the issue.
posted by notmtwain at 7:07 AM on February 2, 2008


Some people do that to register dissent, but others do it in the hope that the Greens will get 5% of the popular vote and become eligible for funding from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.

That was my motivation. I sometimes tell people I'd have voted democrat in 2000 if the party had run a Democrat for office. Instead they ran Gore/Lieberman, and while you can now blather "who's more green than Gore?" kinds of things, I'm going to take politicians at their word about what tone they're going to take in office.

Yes, this is where you cue the sneering jokes about political campaign promises, but you do not get a pass from me on forwarding my ideals because of your party label. So when the Gore campaign didn't speak up to my liking on civil rights on the gay issues, they hurt their chances of getting my vote. When they didn't speak up to my liking on welfare and poverty issues, they hurt their chance of getting my vote.

The Clinton administration had made changes to welfare that made societal and economic sense and G/L could have offered up forward-looking talk about programs that cost but paid dividends. Instead the Republicans screamed "midnight basketball!" and made headway while nobody on the democratic side stood up and said yes, midnight basketball - it works, demonstrably so, and for the cost of a coach and some electric light we save thousands on prisons.

So as a voter I was left with the choice of someone who seemed like a useless boob who'd finished mismanaging come corporations, a baseball team, and a state, or someone who seemed to only embrace the things I didn't like about the democratic party - which, as a fiscal moderate and a social liberal, was plenty. Dumbass or sellout.

So I chose none of the above, with no loftier goal than getting the Greens the 5% they need to partially break the stranglehold the two party system has on our country. Looking at the primary date retardedness that's going on now with Florida and their delegates just further convinces me that the system is moronic, if not broken.

Would I do it differently if I could, knowing what I know now? Of course I would, just as I'd make a thousand other decisions in my life differently with perfect hindsight. But you ask me to be sorry for making the decision I did then with the information I had then? No, I am not. I'm sorry things are they way they are, but I'm also sorry that the democratic party has spent eight years being spineless and trite. I'm sorry that the other side is offering a man, McCain, who I once thought had some integrity on issues we agreed and disagreed on, but has since proved me wrong by not even standing up on something so personal for himself like torture.
posted by phearlez at 10:52 AM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't understand how people who voted for Nader in 2000 can deny the consequences of their actions. They voted for a candidate who had no chance of winning, whereas their vote for Gore would have resulted in the election of a different candidate whose values, though not fully matching their own, were much closer to them than the alternative of Bush. I can appreciate that they may not have understood this at the time, but here we are in 2008 with plenty of water under the bridge in between. So the question now is, do we learn from this experience, or do we go with the whole "let's teach America a lesson" approach again and let's see how that goes for another miserable 8 years?

If you had wanted your vote to count in a positive way (better Gore than Bush) instead of a negative way (teach everyone a lesson and throw my vote), your votes could have been the ones that mattered.

[...]

posted by onlyconnect

Christ. I could possible have some respect for the whiny, irresponsible Nader voters if they could just man up about being responsible for eight years of Bush.
posted by cytherea

Any self proclaimed liberal who handed the 2000 election to GW Bush should just retire from politics and never, ever, show their face again. Political Seppuku. Thanks for the Iraq war Nadir. Thanks for turning America into a torture state. Thanks for for helping to ruin our country. A huge FU to you and to every idiot who pulled the lever for you in 2000, and unfortunately there are far too many of those rubes right here on MeFi. Look deep into your hearts - then cry.
posted by caddis



"Self proclaimed liberal[s]," "consequences of [Nader voters] actions," "whiny, irresponsible Nader voters," should "man up"?

This is the most sniveling, querulous and weaselly line of thinking I've seen in awhile.

If you want to start throwing blame around, gibbering about "responsibility" and "throwing votes away," what about your responsibility? The people you voted for who voted for the Patriot act, the war, domestic spying, extraordinary rendition, all the other crap that has fucked with us and the world since 2001, the people you voted for who couldn't be bothered to put a single check on it, to vote against something that was wrong, to even make an effort to stop the Bush administration. I wrote this here over a year ago, and it still stands. Maybe if you didn't have a shitty candidate, run a shitty election, and pursue shitty policy (or, just as importantly, don't pursue good policy,) you don't deserve to win. Who elected you and made you boss? Oh, that's right, you didn't win! Talk about wasted votes. Some Nader voters can say that at least they voted their conscious, while you voted while holding your nose and lost anyway. Just another "wasted vote," in your logic of entitlement.
posted by Snyder at 12:20 PM on February 2, 2008


Snyder, the mistake you are making is that I would have voted for Nader if I could not have voted for Al Gore. I don't like Nader, believe he's a dangerous megalomaniac, and would never vote for him. And all the other "crap that has fucked us and the world since 2001" that you mention? Guess whose policies those are? Here's a hint: It's not Al Gore. I strongly believe we would not have seen that fucky crap from Al Gore.

I'd also like to remind you that with the exception of the Senate in 2000 and with the elections of 2006, it's the Republicans who have had the majority in Congress on both sides of the aisle. Here's a headcount, fwiw:

House:

2000 R majority (221 R to 212 D, 2 Ind.)
2002 R majority (229 R to 204 D, 1 Ind.)
2004 R majority (232 R to 202 D, 1 Ind.)
2006 D majority (233 D to 202 R)

Senate:
2000 Even (50 R, 50D) then bare majority
2002 R majority (51R, 48 D, 1 Ind.)
2004 R majority (55 R, 44 D, 1 Ind.)
2006 Even (49R, 49D, 2 Ind.)

So yes, from 2006 onwards a large portion of blame belongs to the Democratic party for being in charge of Congress and not being able to do much of anything useful with it. And I helped to elect those people. But Bush's crack Justice Department drafted the Patriot Act, and while the people I helped elect did not do enough to stop it, they didn't create it, and in 2006 they tried (though unsuccessfully) to amend it.

I am sorry to keep going back to the election of 2000, which really is not the point anymore, but my point above was not that I have no responsibility for the current state of things, or that the people who voted for Nader have total responsibility. Certainly it's my government and my problem. But for the people who are saying Gore seemed condescending and he was not an environmentalist back in 2000 (??? am I the only one who remembers frat boy Bush mocking "Ozone Man" Gore during the campaign?), or denying that their votes for Nader in swing states could have made the difference -- honestly I just don't think they were paying attention then and are denying reality now. So yeah, own up. We could all benefit from being a little more diligent, I suspect, and from making sure that we do all we can to make our votes mean something.
posted by onlyconnect at 2:42 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Snyder, the mistake you are making is that I would have voted for Nader if I could not have voted for Al Gore.

No, I'm not. I didn't and wouldn't vote for Nader. If you think Gore was the best candidate, great. But it's irrelevant that "...their votes for Nader in swing states could have made the difference..." because the votes of some other candidate could've made the difference, or the votes of people who didn't vote in 2000 (like me,) or that all Gore voters could've voted for Nader, which has about as much relevance to saying that Nader voters could've made a difference and their 'vote count.'

I'd also like to remind you that with the exception of the Senate in 2000 and with the elections of 2006, it's the Republicans who have had the majority in Congress on both sides of the aisle. Here's a headcount, fwiw

So? That's a lame excuse. Living in Arizona, do I get to vote for Bush or the Republican candidate because I'm so outnumbered by Republican voters, and then get all pissy if when Bush does stupid shit and refuse to accept any responsibility for it? Democrats weren't worth shit in Congress. If they were just going to give up and lay back because legislation just dosen't fall into their laps, they're worthless as Congressmen, and might've well stayed home if they were going to be so useless.
posted by Snyder at 4:37 PM on February 2, 2008


If you want to start throwing blame around, gibbering about "responsibility" and "throwing votes away," what about your responsibility? The people you voted for who voted for the Patriot act, the war, domestic spying, extraordinary rendition, all the other crap that has fucked with us and the world since 2001, the people you voted for who couldn't be bothered to put a single check on it, to vote against something that was wrong, to even make an effort to stop the Bush administration. I wrote this here over a year ago, and it still stands. Maybe if you didn't have a shitty candidate, run a shitty election, and pursue shitty policy (or, just as importantly, don't pursue good policy,) you don't deserve to win. Who elected you and made you boss? Oh, that's right, you didn't win! Talk about wasted votes. Some Nader voters can say that at least they voted their conscious, while you voted while holding your nose and lost anyway. Just another "wasted vote," in your logic of entitlement.

The people I voted for didn't vote for or do those things. Sorry pal. You voted your conscious and helped put GW into office. Thanks again for helping to screw up the country.
posted by caddis at 11:06 PM on February 22, 2008


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