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February 24, 2008 8:06 AM   Subscribe

Nader's done it, once again.
posted by gman (263 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Hopefully people won't be completely stupid this time around, right?

right?

please tell me I'm right.
posted by the dief at 8:08 AM on February 24, 2008


*snore*
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:10 AM on February 24, 2008


A non-factor this time, thankfully.
posted by bowline at 8:11 AM on February 24, 2008


I loved Nader's cause of consumer empowerment. But that just pales... He has caused SO much death, debt and pain in this country since he helped get Bush Jr elected the first time. He has totally lost my respect.
posted by zwemer at 8:12 AM on February 24, 2008 [10 favorites]


Does anyone else besides Huckabee have humility in this campaign?
posted by pedmands at 8:13 AM on February 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


<gag>And here I was thinking there'd be nobody worthwhile to vote for in November.</gag>
posted by hexatron at 8:13 AM on February 24, 2008


Nader makes me want to embrace religion, so that I can believe that he'll spend an eternity suffering in an unspeakable manner.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:14 AM on February 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Hopefully people won't be completely stupid this time around, right?

Yes, hopefully the Democrats and the rest of the political establishment will stand up and do what is right, rather than trying to blame everything on Nader. It seems unlikely but it would be awesome if they all developed real backbones that don't depend on them having political power at the moment.
posted by XMLicious at 8:14 AM on February 24, 2008 [35 favorites]


You guys are kidding, right? Were you *really* looking forward to a campaign of nothing but bullshit from McCain and Obama? I sure wasn't. At the very least, this will keep the pressure on Obama to keep talking about why he's not talking about universal health care.

Could be a much more interesting conversation now. I'm all for that.
posted by mediareport at 8:14 AM on February 24, 2008 [8 favorites]


Nader is as much of a problem as anyone he is slamming announcing his entry in to the race at this point. He may have been useful and relevant many years ago but now he is just running on fumes. He thinks he reflects the will of the people but that is his own arrogance, not a reflection of being in tune with the great unwashed.
posted by 45moore45 at 8:17 AM on February 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


45moore45 has it right. Whatever you think of Obama we sure as shit don't need another four years of Republicans, and Nader won't win. QED. Maybe he could elevate the discussion by doing what he did well at one time - advocating for consumers, rather than this self-aggrandizing crap.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:19 AM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


If Ralph really wanted to get into politics, I would think he'd make a run as a state legislator or congressman. That he constantly runs electively-futile presidential campaigns suggests he's just looking for soapbox for the positions he supports.

He got .3% the last time out, and the only reason I see him getting more votes in '08 is if he develops a base of anti-Republican closet racists.
posted by F Mackenzie at 8:19 AM on February 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


More like Nadir, amirite?
posted by the dief at 8:21 AM on February 24, 2008 [11 favorites]


Ralph who?
posted by beagle at 8:22 AM on February 24, 2008


I said it in another thread, but since we are going all Rashomon here anyway, I'll repeat it: poor Ralph Nader. He's basically correct in what he says, but he is so stubborn and egotistical that he is increasingly difficult to take seriously. He keeps confusing "we the people" with "me the people."
posted by googly at 8:22 AM on February 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


The electorate reacts.
posted by The Deej at 8:24 AM on February 24, 2008


The ego on that guy.
posted by Miko at 8:27 AM on February 24, 2008


Wow, y'alls have a laughable case of false consciousness.

I think Obama said it best, actually: "I think the job of the Democratic Party is to be so compelling that a few percentage of the vote going to another candidate is not going to make any difference."
posted by nasreddin at 8:28 AM on February 24, 2008 [13 favorites]


Meh. Having come of age during the 2000/2004 debacles, I doubt he'll be anything other than a minor annoyance during the 2008 for my demographic. I shall attempt put him and his ill-intentioned campaign out of mind right now, and remain optimistic that mass media will do the same.
posted by universal_qlc at 8:28 AM on February 24, 2008


zwemer: He has caused SO much death, debt and pain in this country since he helped get Bush Jr elected the first time.


Ooo! Can I play? Let's see:

Al Gore has caused SO much death, debt and pain in this country since he ran such a piss-poor campaign against GWB, helping him get elected the first time.

Nader's parents have caused SO much death, debt and pain in this country since they produced Nader who went on to help GWB get elected the first time.

James Madison has caused SO much death, debt and pain in this country since he established a system whereby more than two people could compete for the presidency, thereby allowing Nader's run which helped GWB get elected the first time.

Fun!
posted by Tullius at 8:28 AM on February 24, 2008 [39 favorites]


i'm having WAY more fun over here.
posted by gman at 8:29 AM on February 24, 2008


Before you fault Obama or Hillary on vrious social concerns (ie, health care), check to see what those who work for Nader get as part of their "benefits You will then pick anyone but Nader
posted by Postroad at 8:30 AM on February 24, 2008


I just saw the "asshole" tag-- too funny!
posted by 45moore45 at 8:30 AM on February 24, 2008


> Ralph who?

Hint: Oh boy, sleep! That's where I'm a Vikingthe President!
posted by sdodd at 8:30 AM on February 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


*sticking neck out on to chopping block*

For those who blame Nader for "getting Bush Jr. elected," you do realize that an Obama nomination will "get" John McCain elected, right?

*watching my own headless body stumble around... everything going dark...*
posted by Rykey at 8:33 AM on February 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


there is a video by Nader Anonymous worth viewing.
ps: Ralph is against corporations. Good.But what good is that if what they and the lobbyists do are all legal? What does he propose to harness those bad corporations?Spcifics,please!

http://www.236.com/blog/w/election08/message_to_ralph_nader_from_an_4373.php
posted by Postroad at 8:34 AM on February 24, 2008


zwemer writes "He has caused SO much death, debt and pain in this country since he helped get Bush Jr elected the first time."

No, it's the people who were "elected," plus their voters, corporate backers, moneyed supporters, and the Democrats in Congress who were responsible for all that death, pain and debt, not Ralph Nader. Let's not place blame where it's not due. It's very easy to analyze results after the fact, but it's really impossible to predict what would have actually happened under different circumstances. Gore ran a poor campaign. The Democrats were uninspiring and unable to counter Rove effectively. And if the presence of a third party proves to be such a problem for the so-called progressive party, then the Democrats need to figure out why or go home. Blaming the third party and its disaffected voters will not adhere them to your cause, nor will it win elections. If the Democrats can't win this year due to the presence of Nader, there's a serious problem, and it's not with Nader.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:37 AM on February 24, 2008 [12 favorites]


there is a video by Nader Anonymous worth viewing.

We freakin' love seat belts.
posted by cashman at 8:37 AM on February 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


ugh. how predictable. why does he not do something to help promote a third party in non-presidential election years?
he just keeps mum, then pops in to see how stupid the idealists are in this nation. he's got some dinosaur balls.
just because you have name recognition doesn't mean it is a good idea to run.

I seem to recall some serious fucking issues with our consumer protection lately. Is this now below him? Does he at least have some sycophants who pay attention to it?
posted by Busithoth at 8:37 AM on February 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


@Rykey - actually, I think the conservatives have such an unreasoning hatred of Hillary that her nom would get McCain in - people who hate her would be motivated to hold their collective noses and vote for McCain. Have you seen the "STOP HILLARY NOW!" billboards? If not you are lucky to live somewhere quite liberal. Barack on the other hand is at least a bit of an enigma, and ostensibly harder to attack. And, I don't know, people seem to like him, just a little.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:37 AM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Does anyone else besides Huckabee have humility

HAHAHAHAHAHA OH HOHO HAHA Ha ha uh-huh huh eh huh...huh...

I'm sorry, what?
posted by middleclasstool at 8:37 AM on February 24, 2008


Where was Nader when New Orleans drowned? Where was he when the government started tapping our phones and reading our emails en masse without warrants? Where was he when they outed an undercover CIA officer? When they scrubbed scientific reports, and censored James Hansen? Nowhere.

When the people need a strong independent voice, he's nowhere. And this makes him worse than the phoniest, most opportunistic politician. I guess he just wants to ride around in a limo, maybe get some matching funds, and disrupt debates for the next nine months. The fact that he does this every four years says more about the man than point out his cartoonishly inflated ego -- it says that he is fundamentally disrespectful of the awesome gravity of the office of President of the United States, and the unfathomable responsibility it entails.

Appropriate name, Ralph. I look forward to you bitching about being excluded from debates until November, being a non-factor, and then not seeing or hearing another peep out of you until this time four years from now.
posted by edverb at 8:37 AM on February 24, 2008 [55 favorites]


Nader Nader Nader!

and get off my lawn!
posted by eriko at 8:39 AM on February 24, 2008


shameless egomaniac
posted by rudy26 at 8:39 AM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Shit -- set aside moments of government malfeasance or indifference -- where was Mr. Consumer Protection when kids were getting toys with lead paint, or family pets were getting poisoned with antifreeze in their food?

The only thing this guy leads is naive people astray.
posted by edverb at 8:42 AM on February 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


He's starting to look a bit like Pat Paulsen.
posted by caddis at 8:42 AM on February 24, 2008


I think he does raise some good points. And frankly, McCain is annoying, and the democrats are like "TAG, YOU'RE IT, NO TAGBACKS!"

So oddly enough, I find it interesting to see someone focused on some things like Palestine, Corporate influence and taxes on food.
posted by cashman at 8:43 AM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes, but Pat Paulsen knew he was a comedian.
posted by 45moore45 at 8:46 AM on February 24, 2008


Hopefully people won't be completely stupid this time around, right?

Umm, you are aware that Bush received 48% of the popular vote in 2000 and 51% in 2001, right?

Nader received 2.75% and 1% respectively.

It seems to me that you're worried about the wrong group of stupid people.
posted by tkolar at 8:50 AM on February 24, 2008 [6 favorites]


For what I, a Florida Democrat, would call
Mr. Nadir, should today meet we might,
Turn I to words from the shaking spear:
Kent to Oswald (not Lee Harvey) in King Lear:

A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a
base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited,
hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a
lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson,
glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue;
one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a
bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but
the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar,
and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I
will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest
the least syllable of thy addition.
posted by rdone at 8:55 AM on February 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


In 2000 Nader received 2,883,105 votes.
In 2004 Nader received 463,653 votes.

I predict that the trend will continue, and that Nader will still be an asshole.

If Nader was at all serious about his message he'd do something less grand, like perhaps helping Lessig promote the Change Congress movement.
posted by mosch at 8:55 AM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


actually, I think the conservatives have such an unreasoning hatred of Hillary that her nom would get McCain in...

Those conservatives are already voting Republican. Always. Faithfully. It's swing voters and non-voters (i.e., the people campaign and "GO VOTE!" ads are talking to) who hold the key here. Which brings us to...

Barack on the other hand is at least a bit of an enigma, and ostensibly harder to attack.

He's incredibly easy to attack. His skin isn't white. An outright racist attack, in fact, isn't even necessary-- people's racism is beautifully subtle and insidious.

And, I don't know, people seem to like him, just a little.

People already politically oriented enough to attend Primary Season rallies
=/=
November Voters

Sounds simplistic, but I think it's true. And FWIW, I hope I'm wrong come November.
posted by Rykey at 8:59 AM on February 24, 2008


Attention whore.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:00 AM on February 24, 2008


Instant Runoff Voting
posted by zennie at 9:01 AM on February 24, 2008


.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:02 AM on February 24, 2008


Though he won 2.7 percent of the national vote as the Green Party candidate in 2000, his percentage dropped to just 0.3 percent as an independent in 2004, when he appeared on the ballot in only 34 states.

You've GOT to be joking, Ralph.
posted by pax digita at 9:03 AM on February 24, 2008


For those who blame Nader for "getting Bush Jr. elected," you do realize that an Obama nomination will "get" John McCain elected, right?

Um, have you seen any polls lately?
posted by Thoughtcrime at 9:10 AM on February 24, 2008


Rykey, you do realise that as we speak, McCain is a dog to Obama in head to head polls whereas the opposite is true for Clinton. This was even the case prior to Obama's recent surge, and against most of the now dropped-out Republican candidates. I grant the belabored criticism of polls, but they more fact than you've got behind you. It's presumptuous to think that somehow independent voters will be swayed by race any more or less than gender. As it is, my personal estimation is that a lot of people just don't like Clinton, myself included. She has had ample opportunity to rub us the wrong way.

Remember all that talk amongst the middle/independent swing-voters about how Bush was such a likable guy and Gore and Kerry were stiffs you couldn't have a beer with even though they clearly had a better grasp of politics? My suspicion is that that will play just as heavily against Clinton if not moreso. Even her efforts at crocodile tears aren't going to shake the impression many people have of her as calculated and disingenuous.
posted by drpynchon at 9:17 AM on February 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Where was Nader when New Orleans drowned? Where was he when the government started tapping our phones and reading our emails en masse without warrants? Where was he when they outed an undercover CIA officer? When they scrubbed scientific reports, and censored James Hansen?

where were the democrats? - they were running the city of new orleans and the state of louisiana - they were voting near unanimously for the patriot act - they were giving lip service to the idea of opposing the president's policies while doing nothing concrete to actually stop them and sometimes looking the other way to let them slip by

it's a funny world where people who aren't elected become more accountable than those who are, isn't it?

(ralph running in 2008 is pretty much an irrelevance, anyway - just because he's stuck in the 90's doesn't mean you should be)
posted by pyramid termite at 9:18 AM on February 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


Nader makes me want to embrace religion, so that I can believe that he'll spend an eternity suffering in an unspeakable manner

what about the people who voted for him? I mean, it's not like he cast almost 3 million votes himself -- unless he's secretly the owner of Diebold, which, when you think about it, would be really funny.
posted by matteo at 9:23 AM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Um, have you seen any polls lately?

...as we speak, McCain is a dog to Obama in head to head polls whereas the opposite is true for Clinton


Polltakers =/= November voters. And again, I hope I'm wrong.
posted by Rykey at 9:24 AM on February 24, 2008


i've NEVER shopped at walmart, but they really do have a GREAT deal. i'm heading over there now.
posted by gman at 9:25 AM on February 24, 2008


and yes, I do agree that he's probably irrelevant as of now. even if McCain will scare some people less than Romney or Huckabee would have (because it's obvious than more than a few people buy his "maverick" bullshit) I don't see Nader being able to tip the election, assuming he did so in 2000.

and even if the Clintons (because that's the candidate, the Clintons, it ceased to be Hillary alone since she panicked and started using her husband as racist attack dog / surrogate candidate) get nominated instead that Obama, which is unlikely, I don't see many liberals who supported Obama voting Nader just to fuck the Clintons. I may be wrong, obviously, and 8 months and a half are an eternity in electoral politics, but still.
posted by matteo at 9:28 AM on February 24, 2008


ryker, there's no question he'll be attacked for being black and having a funny name. Of course it won't be that direct; they'll say he's unpatriotic and has weird radical ideas, but it will amount to the same thing.

So my question to you: Here, in 2008, we have a compelling, intelligent and organizationally very capable (look at the campaign he's run) black candidate, one who also has the benefit of being right. Are you suggesting that we should yield on that point for fear he'll be attacked? Will there ever be a time when there's a safe black candidate? Should we wait for that to happen — say, in the year 2168 — before we try?

What you seem to be suggesting is, in my opinion, subtly as bad as direct racism. The Northern white politicians of the '60s played these games with MLK all the time, telling him they couldn't afford the burden of taking his side. You might think you would have said something different, but you're not making that choice now.
posted by argybarg at 9:35 AM on February 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


In 2000, I don't blame him.

In 2004, I didn't blame him either.

In 2008, let's see who he's running against before we call him an idiot; I have no trouble voting for Nader if Clinton gets the democratic nomination but for the first time we've actually got a good, solid B+ viable candidate in Barack Obama. (Hillary would be a D, McCain an F. In 2004, it was a C- versus a 0.)

For me, Nader's an A-, but for once there's a candidate out there in the major parties that has a passing grade. Nader should be the guy out there campaigning for electoral reform, not the guy who throws a monkey wrench in the election process every year. I'll lose alot of respect for him if he stays in the race after Obama gets the nomination (assuming he does) but think he made the right move for now.

That said, it's America. He can run for President, and people have the right to vote for him.
posted by BrianBoyko at 9:38 AM on February 24, 2008


Thank god for krinklyfig. The rest of you apparently drank the Democratic Kool-Aid and have somehow convinced yourselves that Nader is the reason Bush became president back in 2000. There were of course an infinity of other reasons that Bush won that election (to the extent that he DID win it anyway, what with the loss of the popular vote, the cheating in Florida, etc). I mean for example the removal of 50,000 almost exclusively Democratic Black voters from the rolls in Florida. Those were if I recall people who showed up at the polls, were told falsely that they were felons who couldn't vote. Or the fact that Gore was a rotten candidate who certainly didn't have my vote or the vote of a lot of other younger people like me. For me it was a vote for Nader or no voting at all in 2000.

This time around I will probably vote for Obama but not with any illusions that he's going to do anything useful on ANY of the issues I care about; I just think he'd be good for the country. On second though, maybe I'll join the .3 percent who vote for Nader. We got 3 percent in 2000 but that'll never happen again for the Greens until the idiotic first past the post system we've got in this country gets amended.

Anyway, I was tempted to go on a real rant against the arrogant and pompous attitude on display with the early posts by the dief and zwemer and afroblanco but I guess I will just leave it at this: It's a democracy (or something like one) and I will vote for who I want. Don't presume to tell me that my voting my choice is wrong for me, or to tell Nader that he doesn't have the right to run. He's a hell of a better man than any of these limp little men and women who run things in Washington.
posted by jackbrown at 9:46 AM on February 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


Fuck Ralph Nader.
posted by hangingbyathread at 9:46 AM on February 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


I got no problem with Nader running. Afte many conversations with Nader supporters, I don't think these folks are part of the mainstream. Most of his backers reject the two party system and will never vote for a democrat. After 2000 most of the backers who would normally vote for the democratic party have returned to the democratic party. If he isn't on the ballet there is no evidence that his voters will vote democratic, they will probalby stay home or vote for some other 3rd party.
posted by humanfont at 9:47 AM on February 24, 2008


A++ WOULD VOTE FOR AGAIN
posted by spiderwire at 9:48 AM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


How can you say yu would vote for Nader when he has no proposed leglistion as yet nor ever has had. All he has done in in past campagins was blamethe coporations and then not said what he would do to change things.
posted by Postroad at 9:48 AM on February 24, 2008


I think that Rykey among other things may have been pointing out the absurdity of “so and so shouldn't run for president because doing that will make them responsible for helping the bad guys!” Whether or not the actual situation is like that it would be absurd for either of the Democratic candidates to make such a claim against the other, right?
posted by XMLicious at 9:49 AM on February 24, 2008


It's a democracy (or something like one) and I will vote for who I want. Don't presume to tell me that my voting my choice is wrong for me, or to tell Nader that he doesn't have the right to run.

Your right to vote for the candidate of your choice does not trump everyone else's right to tell you that your choice is the wrong one.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:52 AM on February 24, 2008


"He's starting to look a bit like Pat Paulsen."

Nah, Paulsen was trying to be funny. I'd have said he's starting to look a bit like Lyndon LaRouche.
posted by Naberius at 9:56 AM on February 24, 2008


where were the democrats?

While not perfect, at least the Democrats racked up a few victories. The wiretapping bill (passed under a Republican majority) was allowed to expire when it faced a Dem majority. Dems like Waxman and Conyers have exposed gov't malfeasance and war profiteering via hearings. They issued contempt citations against White House officials. Dems investigated the US attorney dismissals. They have passed troop withdrawal measures and timetables.

They have faced obstacles like vetoes and filibusters, but they're at least putting up some fight. Imperfect, and in need of stronger medicine? Sure. But you can't seriously compare Ralph Nader's (practically non-existent) record to that. Unlike Ralph Nader, some of them actually spoke up at the time when speaking up might do some good. They were in the arena, instead of just throwing rocks at it from the outside.

The perfect is the enemy of the good, pyramid termite. And if 2000 taught us anything, it's that some people never appreciate the lesser of two evils until they've experienced the greater.
posted by edverb at 9:57 AM on February 24, 2008


Woah, Argybarg-- those are some pretty big conclusions you're jumping to!

I'm saying nothing about whether one should or should not support Obama. I'm just observing that under our stoopid two-party system, and given our country's demographic makeup and widespread ignorance, a non-white candidate campaigning on a "change" platform will have a very, very difficult time beating a Nice Older White Man representing the status quo.
posted by Rykey at 10:02 AM on February 24, 2008


It's a democracy (or something like one) and I will vote for who I want. Don't presume to tell me that my voting my choice is wrong for me...

One of the points of a democracy is that, during the campaign, people do exactly that: try to convince others that their favored candidate is the best choice.
posted by googly at 10:03 AM on February 24, 2008


Nader is doing to death.
posted by chillmost at 10:05 AM on February 24, 2008


All he has done in in past campagins was blame the coporations

Pointing out the enormous white elephant in the middle of the electoral process is a fairly significant accomplishment.

Consider:
  • I know that the vast bulk of money pouring into campaign funds is coming from corporations.
  • You know that the vast bulk of money pouring into campaign funds is coming from corporations.
  • *EVERYBODY* knows that the vast bulk of money pouring into campaign funds is coming from corporations.
And yet none of the candidates ever say a thing about their corporate sponsors. Because it raises a lot of uncomfortable questions: why is a set of corporations backing a particular candidate? What, exactly, are the corporations expecting in return?

Barrack and Hillary and John can get together and debate their little hearts out about public policy, but until one of them drops the ridiculous fiction that millions of dollars were invested in their campaigns with no strings attached they can all kiss my ass.
posted by tkolar at 10:05 AM on February 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


@Rykey - you miss my point. People who do not like McCain (and who are already Republicans) are more likely to just stay home against Obama (unless of course they are OMG RACISTS which I think you are over-blowing), whereas against Clinton, they will come out and vote AGAINST HER which is the same this as FOR MCCAIN in this instance.
posted by Medieval Maven at 10:06 AM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


It has to happen sometime though, and this looks to be that time. If only a certain person would kindly step their primary and caucus losing, superdelegate losing, pledged delegate trailing, Bellagio excesses spending butt off to the side so we can get started on making history and turning this nation around.
posted by cashman at 10:09 AM on February 24, 2008


If Nader was at all serious about his message he'd do something less grand, like perhaps helping Lessig promote the Change Congress movement.

This is absolutely true and evidence that his grandstanding is meant only to stroke his own ego, not effect change. Here we have a consumer advocate who cares about the domestic agenda. Great! Fucking run for Senate so you can actually introduce and argue for bills that will effect this change. His candidacies waste time and money and distracts media attention from our examination of the viable candidates.

I place blame for the outcomes of 2000 and 2004 where it belongs, largely on the voters. But that makes Nader's actions no less naively narcisstistic.
posted by Miko at 10:12 AM on February 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Midieval Maiden-- I see what you mean now. I still disagree, but thanks.
posted by Rykey at 10:15 AM on February 24, 2008


Who gives seven-thirteens of a flying fuck about this decrepit old asshole? Jesus tap-dancing Christ, he's three years older than McCain, six months younger than the average age of death in the United States, is not even going to get on every state ballot in the country, could get maybe- maybe- a hundred thousand votes nationwide, and he's turned himself into a shriveled shadow of any cause he used to champion.

I swear to fuck, every Hollywood movie ever produced in the last five years WISHES they could get the free promotional press this complete and utter nobody gets. His campaign is as effective, plausible, supported, and capable as the heroin-addicted hobo on the street corner a few blocks from my apartment, the only difference being when the hobo tries to walk through the doors of CNN's DC broadcasting office they have him arrested instead of having a page walk him to the makeup room.

The man is the political equivalent of Phylis Diller for the block. Fuck me sideways, NBC, just rerun another pedophile special or that documentary on maximum security prisons again if you're so fucking pressed for pointless airtime. Christ.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:18 AM on February 24, 2008 [16 favorites]


He knows he has no viability as a successful or meaningful candidate. He simply could not function as an effective leader, given the two-party stranglehold on congress. He cannot wield enough influence to make either Rep. or Dem. nominee take any heed of him. He must know that his participation can only be that of a potential spoiler. Yet he continues in his denials that he had any effect on the outcome of the 2000 race.

QED: He's either the possessor of an outrageous ego, or he's off his nut.
posted by bigskyguy at 10:20 AM on February 24, 2008


Your right to vote for the candidate of your choice does not trump everyone else's right to tell you that your choice is the wrong one.

Yes, because every person's vote should always fall in line with that of his or her peers, regardless of whether or not the voter in question's preferences lie much closer to an 'alternative option' rather than Democrat X or Y. Voice support for anyone else and hey, you should be berated on a public forum!

The sheer arrogance involved in rationalizing that kind of thinking quite astounds me, whether it's against Nader or any other candidate. Personally, I couldn't give a damn less about Nader entering the race but I've always found it quite telling of Democrats' confidence in their party's candidate when many of them become instantly vitriolic whenever Nader's mentioned. Then again, I've always taken issue with the 'stolen vote' contingent on the basis that votes should be earned, rather than granted due to some invisible force of peer pressure. But that seems to be lost on a good many otherwise decent people who think their candidate somehow 'deserved' the vote instead.

/does not have any party affiliation. Party loyalties seem to bring out the worst aspects and most irrational anti-individualistic kool-aid-style thinking out of people.
posted by vanadium at 10:23 AM on February 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I place blame for the outcomes of 2000 and 2004 where it belongs, largely on the voters. But that makes Nader's actions no less naively narcisstistic.

Miko has, once again, nailed it.
posted by hangingbyathread at 10:24 AM on February 24, 2008


I do hold Nader in part accountable for the debacle of the last elections because he served as a distraction, faction creator, which resulted in creating an argumentative shambles of any attempt to vote Democratic, knowing full well that Nader would not be elected, and paved the way for the Republican force to win.

His being on the roster of candidates added chaos and increased divisiveness. The politically liberal/progressive intelligentsia were drawn to Nader and away from voting for the Democratic candidate. eg Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn Plan to Vote for Ralph Nader.

Having been drawn the work done by the International Forum on Globalization, started by Jerry Mander, who collaborates with Noam Chomsky, I also felt half-hearted about voting Democrat. Speaking with neighbors during the last elections, the dissing done about the Democratic Party candidates only served to prevent them from making the effort to vote *at all*. Despair and apathy took over, not intelligent choice. I think Nader brought apathy with his divisiveness. The Bush Dynasty benefited from that apathy.
posted by nickyskye at 10:31 AM on February 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


How can someone be so right and so wrong at the same time.
We need reform, the system is rotten to the core.
It needs to come from the bottom up, not the top down. The system works against outsiders at the national level.
posted by Capt Jingo at 10:34 AM on February 24, 2008


I'm less concerned about Nader's running, but that's because I have the belief (delusion) that no halfway intelligent voter would hand the Oval Office to the GOP again.

I will of course be disabused of that delusion once the GOP machine gets fully cranked up and points the big guns at Obama.
posted by Artful Codger at 10:44 AM on February 24, 2008


Watching Ralph Nader on Meet the Press this morning brought only one thing to mind:
Main Entry: hu·bris
Pronunciation: \ˈhyü-brəs\
Function: noun
Etymology: Greek hybris
: exaggerated pride or self-confidence
Oh, that, and Ralph Nader sure thinks he's the savior of the American political system! My god, the ego on that guy. You'd think he'd solved all the other problems there were in the universe and now it's time for him to fix the rest of America, too. I point, upthread, to the "where was Ralph Nader when lead toys were coming in from China (etc etc)?" question. And to edverb's comments, too.

Please -- someone, anyone -- tell me what the hell Nader's done to combat any of the problems with government we've had in the past seven years? Was he speaking out on wiretaps? Helping organize post-Katrina relief efforts? Or was he managing a farm that grows nothing but dinosaur-sized testicles that he harvests every four years just to make a point about how fucking cool Ralph Nader and his tyrannosaurus balls are?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:50 AM on February 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


Nader has no interest in winning elections, or reforming the two-party system. He simply wants to punish the Democrats. He's pretty much admitted this on more than one occasion.
posted by milarepa at 10:56 AM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Personally, I'd rather waste a vote on Nader than any of the other candidates. At least Nader is an actual liberal.
posted by champthom at 11:09 AM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


The real question is—How will this affect Ron Paul's chances?
posted by klangklangston at 11:17 AM on February 24, 2008 [2 favorites]




Ralph Nader has become the Corvair of American politics.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:41 AM on February 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by Ynoxas at 11:42 AM on February 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I can't understand how people actually think Nader is qualified for office. He hasn't done anything substantial this decade other than run for president.
posted by clockworkjoe at 11:43 AM on February 24, 2008


nickyskye writes "His being on the roster of candidates added chaos and increased divisiveness. The politically liberal/progressive intelligentsia were drawn to Nader and away from voting for the Democratic candidate. eg Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn Plan to Vote for Ralph Nader."

That was 2004. What was his take that year? 0.38%. I think you have to allow for the idea that some people are die-hard Nader voters, probably close to that 2004 result. If either Chomsky or Zinn get behind an establishment candidate, that invalidates everything they've said about it before, so why do you think they'd care about the Democratic Party before their own ideals? I can't see either of them voting for Clinton, and probably not Obama, either. Doesn't seem like they swayed too many people last time, however.

Granted, I gave up on Nader as a candidate years ago, but the Democrats have to get over him. He's only a factor if they fail to live up to their own stated ideals.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:51 AM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Seventy-four year old Ralph Nader - Unsafe at Any Age.
posted by Cranberry at 12:00 PM on February 24, 2008


You guys are kidding, right? Were you *really* looking forward to a campaign of nothing but bullshit from McCain and Obama? I sure wasn't. At the very least, this will keep the pressure on Obama to keep talking about why he's not talking about universal health care.

Could be a much more interesting conversation now. I'm all for that.


Conversation? You've gotta be kidding me. Nader has had eight years to speak up on numerous Bush Administration outrages, ranging from Guantanamo to voter suppression to the politicization of the Justice Department to Blackwater to corrupt military contractors to collapsing infrastructure to FISA to wiretaps...and so on...and so on... Nader would have been a lot more effective if he actually said something publicly when it's not election season. He only pops up every four years to bash Democrats. So yeah, fuck him.

This election ain't a conversation. It's either elect John "100 Years of War" McCain or defeat McCain. And the way our electoral system is set up, the best way to do that is to vote for the Democratic candidate.
posted by jonp72 at 12:22 PM on February 24, 2008 [7 favorites]


So agreeing with you jonp72.

krinklyfig, it wasn't that Nader won votes, it's that his adding himself to the roster caused increased divisiveness and what won the election for Bush, increased apathy. Passionate solidarity was and is needed to oust Bush, rout him. That solidarity is needed more than ever and yet again, Nader is adding to the mess, rather than doing anything remotely constructive. It's already bad enough having the Democratic party so divided over Obama and Hillary, it has paved the way for Cain, er McCain.
posted by nickyskye at 1:04 PM on February 24, 2008


Unsafe at Any Age.

The Audacity of Dope!
posted by spiderwire at 1:05 PM on February 24, 2008


Someone, I can't remember who, that was featured in An Unreasonable Man said it best: if the positive changes Ralph Nader had affected in your life were all labeled (the air, the water, nutritional information, your seatbelt, any news story involving the Freedom of Information Act) people would probably stop spewing so much hatred about him.

On the other hand, we really could have used a Ralph Nader these last few years. Do I feel like he's abandoned the consumer to a certain degree? Of course. But after all the fuckwit "liberals" painted him as the devil post-2000, it would have been hard for him to speak on any topic without some kind of backlash.
posted by Roman Graves at 1:05 PM on February 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


The MOST CERTAIN WAY to drive Independents over to Nader is to resurrect the urban myth that he secured the election for Bush.

You cannot excoriate Hillary Clinton for her arrogant attitude in imagining that the nomination is her birthright and turn around and pretend that Nader's votes automatically belong to the DNC.

But go ahead and whine anyway. It wouldn't be the Democratic party if they didn't repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot, blame everyone else for their mistakes and lose a winning position by sheer arrogance.
posted by RavinDave at 1:09 PM on February 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Personally, I'd rather waste a vote on Nader than any of the other candidates. At least Nader is an actual liberal.

Bullshit. Actual liberals want to accomplish something and attempt to do so. He was a liberal. He was a liberal when he spoke out against the auto industry, and led a campaign to increase awareness and government safety regulations. That liberal died decades ago.

Nader is an anarchist. An old, angry, bitter anarchist, but no different in political philosophy and actual intellectual insight toward a political objective than some 16-year old trust funder hurling a brick through a Starbucks window. He adamantly opposes the current political system but finding no way to combat it and lacking the skills to change it from within, he has declared it wholly evil and therefore acceptable to attack regardless of whomever else it may hurt. He's the left-wing equivalent of the people who wonder why we can't just nuke Iraq because that'll solve everything.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:13 PM on February 24, 2008 [6 favorites]


it wasn't that Nader won votes, it's that his adding himself to the roster caused increased divisiveness and what won the election for Bush, increased apathy

That argument may be true, but it's arguably a hindsight rationale. It's frustrating, but not necessarily damning.

What Nader deserves to be condemned for is that he targeted swing states -- because he's a self-centered prick who likes to see himself in the news -- rather than safe states (where he could more easily get that 5% of the vote), like his Green Party advisors wanted him to. He meant to screw up Florida.

He knew better at the time, he was told not to at the time, and he did it anyway -- there's no excuse for that. There's a lot of reasons why Ralph Nader sucks, but as far as the 2000 election, that's the big one.
posted by spiderwire at 1:15 PM on February 24, 2008


you people basically all make me sick to my stomach. I wish I hadn't even read this thread now.
posted by jackbrown at 1:20 PM on February 24, 2008


I wish he would spend a little less time trying to get republicans elected and a little more time driving in his corvair without a seatbelt.
posted by cytherea at 1:22 PM on February 24, 2008


Someone, I can't remember who, that was featured in An Unreasonable Man said it best: if the positive changes Ralph Nader had affected in your life were all labeled (the air, the water, nutritional information, your seatbelt, any news story involving the Freedom of Information Act) people would probably stop spewing so much hatred about him.

And he could have dropped off the face of the Earth after that, and the world would have been better for it. I admire Mike Gravel for his position against the war, but I wouldn't be apologizing for him if he'd done what Ralph Nader's done, despite his laudable political achievements decades ago.

On the other hand, we really could have used a Ralph Nader these last few years. Do I feel like he's abandoned the consumer to a certain degree? Of course. But after all the fuckwit "liberals" painted him as the devil post-2000, it would have been hard for him to speak on any topic without some kind of backlash.

Oh, nonsense. Had he showed even the tiniest amount of contrition, people would be falling all over themselves to apologize for him. Instead he's defended everything he did in 2000, he fucked over the Green Party in 2004, and whenever he "speaks out" it's either to announce that he's thinking about running for President, he's running for President, or he's supporting GOP causes by demagogueing Terri Schiavo or giving an interview to Buchanan in The American Conservative talking about how he's opposed to "feticide." He's had plenty of perfectly good opportunities to not be a complete fuckwad and hasn't taken a single one.
posted by spiderwire at 1:23 PM on February 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


some 16-year old trust funder hurling a brick through a Starbucks window

too bad Starbucks doesn't have airbags
posted by spiderwire at 1:24 PM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think that the thing Nader is doing, besides bringing up issues, is prominently and clearly establishing a record that the two major parties are able to exclude third parties from the presidential race in fully legal, marginally legal, and illegal ways, all of which are threats to the democratic process. He's crash-testing our democracy.

I also think that the ego objection is silly. Of course you have a monstrous ego if you think you should be the President of the United States, whether you've had a political career and a campaign team to slick you up and make you photogenic. I would even say that of my favorite in the current race, Obama.
posted by XMLicious at 1:25 PM on February 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


the fact that politicians tend to have big egos doesn't mean that anybody participating in politics has carte blanche to be a self-serving narcissist.
posted by spiderwire at 1:30 PM on February 24, 2008


That just brings me back in a circle: what is not self-serving or narcissistic about running for President? The Democratic and Republican candidates are just polished self-serving narcissists. I think all of the high-minded ideals are at best only ever maybe a little more than half true, if that much.
posted by XMLicious at 1:44 PM on February 24, 2008


the fact that you're cynical about politics doesn't give all politicians carte blanche to be condescending hypocrites, either -- no matter how "polished" they are.
posted by spiderwire at 1:48 PM on February 24, 2008


If Obama gets the Democratic nomination, I wonder if Hillary will run as a third-party candidate. It worked for Lieberman.

I also wonder if Huckabee will run as a third party candidate. Hmm, this could be a really interesting election.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:50 PM on February 24, 2008


I definitely lean DFL with some serious Green core beliefs, and yes in 2000 I voted for Nader, in a State that was nowhere close to voting for Bush. Even so, at that time the argument that Bush and Gore where more alike then different seemed at least plausible on certain levels. In a lot of ways Bush's presidency is more of a reactionary term of office then anything else, without 9/11 we, most likely, would not be in two wars, running such a absurd deficit, have gitmo, the Patriot ACT, or warrantless wiretapping. We possibly would be railing against him for some other types of fiascoes, of which there would be plenty I am sure, Bush has proven himself more then a little incompetent. The fact is an election is a big unknown, would Gore have been markedly different? Yes, but how? No one can say for sure, it is all speculation. How effective would Gore have been with a hostile Republican Congress?

My vote in 2000 was more to try and establish some credibility for something more then a two party system then any real belief that Nader would win. In 2008 Nader does not represent any, even a possible naive, movement towards a systemic change. There is no constructive reason for him to run for president, none. He will not be included in any of the debates, he will not make it only the majority of the ballots, I would be shocked if the Greens would have him, I doubt very much he will influence any of the discussions held during the campaign as there will be a lot of people trying to marginalize and sideline him, which means not paying him any attention. Hell, the Republicans are going to pay him more attention then the Democrats as they will see it as some glimmer of hope that they will win through attrition.

I agree wholeheartedly that if Nader wanted to effect change he should start by trying to be elected to something, congressman, mayor, councilman... hell even dogcatcher.
posted by edgeways at 2:08 PM on February 24, 2008


Wow, spiderwire, you consider conceding that politicians might be halfway truthful to be cynicism? I'm actually genuinely surprised by that. Most of the people I know think they're all completely full of shit.
posted by XMLicious at 2:08 PM on February 24, 2008


All this hate for Nader. Al Gore lost that election, even if it was stolen. Some people here have a real contempt for democracy.
posted by gsb at 2:12 PM on February 24, 2008




The MOST CERTAIN WAY to drive Independents over to Nader is to resurrect the urban myth that he secured the election for Bush.

Nader didn't do shit. It was Nader voters voting for him in NH and FL that bear their proportional share of responsibility -- not blame -- for the results of the 2000 election.

We can (and do!) argue about the degree of that proportion, but at the end of the day (Nov 7,2000) the vote totals in Florida stood:

Bush 2,911,872
Gore 2,910,942
Nader 97,419
Buchanan 17,472
Browne 16,102
Hagelin 2,274
Phillips 1,378

If those 97,419 (less ~1000) Nader voters in Florida were happy with the way the election went, and the world we live in thanks to putting a Republican like Bush in place of a Democrat like Gore into the executive these past 7+ years, then great, the argument's over.

I've been back in the states since 2000 and have yet to vote for that bitch Feinstein, so I share a lot of the antipathy toward Dems expressed here.

I just think it is wise to pick one's battles, and don't fight battles you can't afford to lose.
posted by panamax at 2:15 PM on February 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


All this hate for Nader. Al Gore lost that election, even if it was stolen. Some people here have a real contempt for democracy.

And others have a contempt for logic. If Nader hadn't run in 2000, Al Gore would be president. If Al Gore had run a better campaign in 2000, Al Gore would be president. They're both true (or at least one doesn't exclude the other), and trying to deny that the first one is true is usually a sign of someone desperately trying to rationalize a decision to vote for Nader in 2000 that has now been clearly shown to have been an insanely bad decision.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 2:17 PM on February 24, 2008 [8 favorites]


>Some people here have a real contempt for democracy.

frustration, gsb, frustration. There's a lot of idiots running around in this country, doing a lot of stupid things.

American Democracy isn't the problem, we is. Libertopians dreaming of The Revolution should remind themselves the day after the revolution we'll stlll have tens of millions of rather helpless people fucking things up on a daily basis.
posted by panamax at 2:22 PM on February 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Shut up, Nader.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:29 PM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, spiderwire, you consider conceding that politicians might be halfway truthful to be cynicism? I'm actually genuinely surprised by that. Most of the people I know think they're all completely full of shit.

This probably sounded funnier to you when you first wrote it.

Nader didn't do shit. It was Nader voters voting for him in NH and FL that bear their proportional share of responsibility -- not blame -- for the results of the 2000 election.

#$%^ Do none of you people read? Campaigning in the swing states rather than the safe states was Nader's choice. His personal choice. In contravention of the advice of his Green Party advisors. There is a direct causal relationship between Nader's decision to be an asshole and the results of the 2000 election.
posted by spiderwire at 2:32 PM on February 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


This probably sounded funnier to you when you first wrote it.

Not meant to be funny. If you think that Nader is extra super-duper dastardly and craven for someone running for the White House, and that I'm cynical for saying he isn't, where did you get enough ivory to build an entire tower out of it?
posted by XMLicious at 2:46 PM on February 24, 2008


Actually, I think this was the outcome he wanted. I think--and he's said this pretty much--he wanted things to get so incredibly bad that there would finally be a sweeping restructuring of the county. And, even in the 2000 election, I knew in my heart that he was right.

And to some extent, he's gotten his wish. We knew that Bush would be bad, but we've all been shocked and traumatized about just how bad. And now for the first time in american history we've got a black man and a woman as leading candidates.

But that's not enough for Ralph, or me. No, to get us where we really need to go, we need to suffer a lot more. We'll never get a multi-party parliamentary socialist democracy without lots more pain. Don't you understand? We need to help elect some right-wing christian fundamentalist facists who will rob this country blind while running it completely into the ground. No pain, no gain. No fear, no compromise. We've got to burn this country to save it.

Vote Nader 2008!
posted by cytherea at 2:53 PM on February 24, 2008 [7 favorites]


Nader used to be beneficial to society, but then he got too swell headed on his good deeds. I wish he would go back to being a forceful consumer advocate or something else. He used to get attention for doing good, now he only gets attention for acting tooting his own horn, not for any good deeds. How sad. Tragically comic, hence the Pat Paulsen reference. He's become a joke, a caricature. Unfortunately, this joke probably tipped the balance in the 2000 election giving us eight years of the worst president in US history, someone who is an even bigger joke than Nadir. I understand where the people who say the Dems lost it with a less than powerful candidate are coming from. Nevertheless, a Nadir run for president is nothing more than a stunt and and that stunt tipped a tight balance and threw us into Bushland, torture, special rendition, warrantless wiretaps, and a Supreme Court stuffed full of right wing ideologues. Some pranks gone wrong have consequences, and in this case it includes hundreds of thousand of dead Iraqis. Nice work Mr. save the world.
posted by caddis at 2:54 PM on February 24, 2008


where did you get enough ivory to build an entire tower

fandango_matt sold me a herd of baby elephants as part of a mixed metaphor package deal
posted by spiderwire at 2:54 PM on February 24, 2008 [6 favorites]


Run, Ralph, Run!
posted by Kwantsar at 2:56 PM on February 24, 2008


There is a direct causal relationship between Nader's decision to be an asshole and the results of the 2000 election

Sure, but it's a free country and you're looking at indirect causals. The direct causal was people not voting for Gore in FL, NH, OH etc.

This group of people consists of disaffected voters not voting at all, people getting confused by the butterfly ballot, progressives doing the protest vote, etc. etc.

Blaming Nader (and personalizing the issue) is obfuscating the true dynamics here, not clarifying them, IMV.
posted by panamax at 2:57 PM on February 24, 2008


Motherfucker's gotta be funded by the Republicans. It's the only rational explanation.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:19 PM on February 24, 2008


Do you guys who are blaming Nader for everything the Bush administration did realize that you're basically asserting that there should never be a third party candidate in the race? Because of course either of the major parties will always be able point fingers and say it's the fault of the third party who lost us the last election, rather than the actual elected government officials of both parties, who are to blame for stupid things the government has done.

But of course the real obstacle to democracy isn't the waggling fingers and blame-shifting of the politicians, which is to be expected. The real problem is the electorate buying into it. You're proving Nader's point.
posted by XMLicious at 3:21 PM on February 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


My fantasy/prediction- The potent mix of: severely unhappy people across the political spectrum; broad agreement that conservative solutions have failed miserably; strong consensus that big progressive changes are needed; and Obama's ability to inspire people that he is the right person at the right time (like FDR in the face of The Depression) will all render Nader's run completely moot. Then, having just elected a young, (relatively) progressive, black man, with a Muslim name, all the stars will be lined up for a major shift away from corporate power and towards people power. And the world will breathe a huge sigh of relief that maybe, just maybe something incredibly positive is possible here.

Oh, and $200/barrel oil only helps the above process. It just makes it easier for folks to recognize that conservative/corporate policies were a mistake and that big changes are needed.

I wanted to put that in writing so I can show my grandkids someday how smart I used to be.
posted by BarryP at 3:28 PM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Actually, I think this was the outcome he wanted. I think--and he's said this pretty much--he wanted things to get so incredibly bad that there would finally be a sweeping restructuring of the county. And, even in the 2000 election, I knew in my heart that he was right.

Ha. You want irony?

Think about this. Where have we heard this philosophy before? Hmmm? Let me think.
Oh. yeah. Richard Perl and the neocons.

Though at least those bastards have the balls to do their own dirty work AND leave their finger prints on the corpse.

Running on the the "Spite" ticket is a principled stand now?

Nader isn't a liberal. I don't know what political philosophy has spite at it's core. But that is Nader. He is a bitter spiteful bastard. What ever effect he had in 2000 or 2004 is irrelevant. The reality is he is not running to win or to influence or even to spoil. In fact I don't understand WHY he is running. That's the truth of it. Nader running in 2008 is totally irrational.

Vote Spite 2008!
posted by tkchrist at 3:29 PM on February 24, 2008


You're proving Nader's point.

Nader's point is a kind of conceptual politics. A grand theoretical gesture. A noble idea. But the reality on the ground? Republican military/industrial complex robber barons get elected. People are pissed off about that, and they've got a right to be.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:30 PM on February 24, 2008 [2 favorites]



Do you guys who are blaming Nader for everything the Bush administration did realize that you're basically asserting that there should never be a third party candidate in the race?

Nonsense. I want a third party candidate that:

1) Actually wants to win.

2) Has a platform that isn't just "the other guys are Pepsi and Coke" which we can clearly see is not true.

3) Can speak without such spiteful and hateful bombast.

4) Isn't a complete asshole.
posted by tkchrist at 3:35 PM on February 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


^Do you guys who are blaming Nader for everything the Bush administration did

We have the government we collectively deserve, yes.

This is NOT a structural defect of the political system as laid out in the Constitution; parliamentary systems are no panacea either, from my experience observing that form of government functioning (or not) in Japan.

The bottom line is that every 4 years we have a choice between Democrat-brand and Republican-brand politicians to lead this nation's executive, at least until we have an Obama or JFK-calibre independent making a credible run.

Credibility is not won at the ballot box on election day, it comes from mounting a credible campaign.

I'd be ecstatically happy to vote for the 2nd coming of . . . (thinking) . . . Thomas Paine . . .running as an Independent/Green/Social Democrat, but even so in a Democracy such as ours other power blocs will still have a proportional -- often blocking -- say in events.

Our politicans are stupid because we are stupd.
posted by panamax at 3:35 PM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


oh, and Thomas Paine, being an avowed atheist as he was, would today get about half as far as Howard Dean got in 2003/2004.
posted by panamax at 3:39 PM on February 24, 2008


Do you guys who are blaming Nader for everything the Bush administration did realize that you're basically asserting that there should never be a third party candidate in the race?

Nope. When you vote for a left-wing third party who has no chance of winning in that specific election, you're implicitly making the judgment that starting to build a left-wing alternative to the two-party system is so important that it outstrips the question of what's going to happen during the immediate next Administration, should your vote causes the more right-wing side to get in. The Bush administration could have been fairly benignly Republican; instead it was a historically unprecedented disaster. If you voted Nader in 2000, you can't be blamed for not being able to predict the future, but history has rather decisively proven that you made a mistake.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 3:48 PM on February 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


Ralph said it best this morning "If the democrats can't win this time around, they should just pack it in". If the democrats want Nader's votes, they should co-op his positions and earn those votes. Instead they want to get the votes (because there's no other choice) and the corporate money (ie. Hillary has received more money from defense contractors than anyone else, and democrats more than republicans, think she's really going to stop the forever war?)
posted by 445supermag at 3:49 PM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


The perfect is the enemy of the good, pyramid termite.

and the mediocre, which is the best we were offered by the two major parties, is the enemy of our republic

And if 2000 taught us anything, it's that some people never appreciate the lesser of two evils until they've experienced the greater.

----

Unfortunately, this joke probably tipped the balance in the 2000 election giving us eight years of the worst president in US history, someone who is an even bigger joke than Nadir.

well, if i was to believe what i read on this website, the 2000 election would have taught me that

1 - nader threw the election to bush, except that

2 - bush stole the election anyway, but

3 - actually it was his buddies in the supreme court who decided it, and furthermore

4 - it was for 8 years, not 4, and the 2004 election was a collective hallucination, and

5 - it was stolen anyway and if it wasn't

6 - nader would have thrown that one too, and

7 - he is a big self-centered narcissist and hillary clinton is mother teresa, except that

8 - mother teresa is eeeeeevil, and

9 - it's a little known fact that sheep can actually whine, and do so, endlessly, especially when

10 - they lose elections, or think there's a chance they'll lose one and want to have their scapegoats and excuses all ready because

11 - it's utterly impossible that the political party you prefer could just plain fucking suck at motivating people, isn't it? and furthermore

12 - BAAAAA WAAAAA BAAAAA WAAAAH

13 - god, i hope obama wins
posted by pyramid termite at 3:51 PM on February 24, 2008 [6 favorites]


If Ralph Nader is really as irrelevent as half the people here are saying, then why in the world are you wasting your time talking about him? Sure, he can be a dick, but there's a lot of dicks running for President. You just don't hear about most of them.

Nobody's writing a rant about how ridiculously obnoxious the candidate for the Constitution Party is. How bout that asshole from the Libertarians? And I can't stand the Socialist party, or the Prohibition Party, or the Communists. What a bunch of upstart jerk-offs. Taking our votes.

People should be able to vote for anyone that cares about the same issues that they do. The fact that Nader gets votes means he speaks to somebody who isn't represented otherwise. The anger is misplaced. If Nader "took" votes from Gore, it meant that Gore failed to represent the interests of those people who didn't vote for him. This insistence on a two party system and the entitled sense that Gore "deserved" all the "liberal" votes puts us right in line to continue this mediocre aristocracy we're wallowing in.

Just for the record, I'm for Obama; no doubt about it. But for shit's sake. This is supposed to be a democracy. You can vote for whoever you want. Automatically limit your choices to an entrenched party system and you get whatever they feed you.

We so need instant run-off voting and proportional representation in Congress. It would change the landscape.
posted by dosterm at 3:51 PM on February 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


game warden to the events rhino writes "trying to deny that the first one is true is usually a sign of someone desperately trying to rationalize a decision to vote for Nader in 2000 that has now been clearly shown to have been an insanely bad decision."

Assuming this really is true, it only applies if you voted in Florida.

Regardless of your personal feelings about the situation, your tactics are poor and reflect a selfish view. Blaming disaffected voters for policies they neither enacted nor supported does not help to bring them back. Fuck that noise.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:15 PM on February 24, 2008


it only applies if you voted in Florida

And NH.

Blaming disaffected voters

From what I've seen, The Blame Game is more of an accusation thrown out by people seeking to justify their vote, or non-Gore voting in general. I don't hear too many NH and FL Nader voters defending/rationalizing their decision to vote 3rd party.

11/7/2000 showed us that each of our votes can be precious. Use it wisely.

I didn't vote for Feinstein in 2000 and 2006 since I was willing to live with the consequences of her seat going (R) in 2000 (Tom Campbell seemed like the better choice even) and 2006 was going to be a blowout anyway.
posted by panamax at 4:29 PM on February 24, 2008


If Ralph Nader is really as irrelevent as half the people here are saying

Nader is irrelevant, but the Nader voters showed they were not, at least in 2000.

This kiss-my-ring kingmaking power is sometimes seen in parliamentary maneuvering, too. Hell, the arch-conservative LDP in Japan aligned with the quasi-commie JSP old farts to put a JSP old fart in as PM in the 90s.

Politicians have to appeal to a wide swath of voters to win the leadership of the nation as a whole. This generally means the electable candidate that most closely matches your own views won't be a perfect match.

Such is life in a democracy, especially one such as ours with tens if not hundreds of millions of class-A idiots.
posted by panamax at 4:36 PM on February 24, 2008


pyramid termite FTW.

Since when does the Democratic Party automatically have the right to the votes of everybody left of center, regardless of how uninspiring, lily-livered, and ultimately conservative their platforms are? Heaven forfend that they should ever ask themselves why people in 2000 voted for Nader, or that they should show even the tiniest bit of backbone in standing up against the lunatics who've stolen the country. Much easier to just have a massive Three Minutes' Hate party every time the name of Ralph Nader comes up.
posted by bokane at 4:37 PM on February 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


bokane: vote as you will. If you are happy with eg. McCain/Huckabee taking over for Bush as a result, more power to you.

Let's just hope that Justice Stevens has another 4 years in him.
posted by panamax at 4:40 PM on February 24, 2008


and the mediocre, which is the best we were offered by the two major parties, is the enemy of our republic

Though many would disagree....even if that's granted, how is Nader any better? He was a vanity candidate with no ability to organize, who motivated less than 5% of the electorate at his best, and damn near no one at his least.

He represented an empty protest vote with no intention of winning or plans for governing. To run like that is fundamentally disrespectful of the office and the people it represents.

Consider this: You can slag the neocons, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and the rest about being utterly, catastrophically wrong about invading Iraq (and I did.) But if there's such a thing as being even more horribly wrong than that...it's saying that there's no difference between the two parties. If anything, Nader is even less credible than the mediocrities you criticize.

As for there being no difference, I have four words to say about that nonsense: Chief Justice John Roberts.
posted by edverb at 4:42 PM on February 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


Hell, the arch-conservative LDP in Japan aligned with the quasi-commie JSP old farts to put a JSP old fart in as PM in the 90s.

Isn't that kind of the point of having a many-party democracy? So that diverse competing political interests have to publicly and openly compromise and form an alliance to get into power?
posted by XMLicious at 4:46 PM on February 24, 2008


If Hillary's the nominee I plan to stay home on election day. I hate her as much as I hate any republican, and I'm sure as hell not voting for Nader.
posted by mike3k at 4:50 PM on February 24, 2008


We need to help elect some right-wing christian fundamentalist facists who will rob this country blind while running it completely into the ground. No pain, no gain. No fear, no compromise. We've got to burn this country to save it.

All due respect, but you are out of your fucking mind. We have to live through this, and I am not planning on vainly trying to elect Ralph Nader, who could thankfully do no such fucking thing as you're talking about, as some sort of torch in a would-be revolution. Seriously, is this your solution? Are we going to have to go back to the French Revolution to make people like you happy? Seriously? This is no way to even think about running a country. There are a 1,001 things Nader could do, already well-covered in this thread, that would serve the country better than some half-assed, narcissistic "run" for president.
posted by Medieval Maven at 5:05 PM on February 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


So that diverse competing political interests have to publicly and openly compromise and form an alliance to get into power?

The dynamics of politics just means the outliers eventually get stripped though; fat lot of good Parliamentary gov't has done for the Liberals in the UK. Plus there are the deleterious effects of whackjob minorities gaining disproportional power through temporary alliances.

IMO the best policy to reform your given party from within. The DNC putting Dean in charge was a great step in this direction IMO.

I hate her as much as I hate any republican

I think you have a hate issue their, chief.
posted by panamax at 5:11 PM on February 24, 2008


My vote in 2000 was more to try and establish some credibility for something more then a two party system

It stuns me how many seemingly rational people say things like this.

A "two party" system is the natural evolution of our first past the post electoral college system. There will never, ever be long term viable third parties under this system. I'll say it again; no matter how much people stick their heads in the sand and whine about the two party system it will never change unless we move to a more parliamentary-like system.

There are indeed short windows where a third party gets some traction; when that happens one of the two major parties adopts just enough of the third party's platform to siphon off most of their voters and the third party disappears as a viable alternative. Occasionally (VERY occasionally) one of the two major parties might implode instead, but the result IS NOT a multi-party system, it's the replacement or realignment of one of the two major parties.

So people can cry about how voting for Nader is a vote for a multi-party system all they want; doing so marks them as ignorant or deluded. Saying that hurts their feelings because they like feeling as though they're Striking A Noble Blow For Democracy instead of being petulant.

Maybe they don't like how our system is set up. Too bad, it is what it is nd throwing your votes away on Nader won't change that. Doing so is the equivalent of a child holding his breath and turning blue in an attempt to get what he wants. A mature person doesn't do that. A mature person instead realizes that you can't always get what you want, grows a fucking pair, and votes for whichever party is currently the lesser of two evils. If a mature person cares enough, he or she works within the system to either change the way the first past the post system works or to transform one of the current major parties into something more to his or her liking.

This is the real world. Voting is not "making a statement". Voting is not about you or how you wish things worked. Voting has real-world consequences, some of which involve the deaths of thousands of innocent people.

Nader voters, stop being petulant children and taking your ball and going home because things aren't exactly the way you want them do be.
posted by Justinian at 5:29 PM on February 24, 2008 [11 favorites]


Reading that again, I suppose I should spend more time proofreading and less time ranting from now on.

Ranting is more fun.
posted by Justinian at 5:42 PM on February 24, 2008


Voting has real-world consequences, some of which involve the deaths of thousands of innocent people.

As has been pointed out, the inaction of the Democrats who were actually elected government officials has a heck of alot more to do with the deaths of thousands of innocent people than Nader running did. I don't suppose it's whiny and petulant of them to blame those deaths on Nader, is it?

And also - it seems you're implicitly saying the Republicans are evil if you view these deaths as the inevitable somehow-forseeable consequence of not voting Democrat. Because of course, how could anyone have taken those deaths into account when voting otherwise?

Plus you're saying here that it's wrong to vote for any third party candidate.

So aren't you being a little bit forceful in trying to herd (cajole, humiliate) people towards the Democrats? I mean, I know you don't have any interest in striking a noble blow for democracy or anything, but seriously… “Pick a major party to transform or shut up and take it”?

I, by the way, voted for someone other than Nader in both the 2000 and 2004 elections.
posted by XMLicious at 5:52 PM on February 24, 2008


Nader voters, stop being petulant children and taking your ball and going home

the democrats would be a lot better party if some of their supporters would drop their plantation mentality

and people wonder why the republicans continue to score points by calling democrats elitists - it's this kind of condescending, "we know what's best for you, little petulant children" attitude

it's the kind of arrogance that is best represented by clinton and her followers

we ain't gonna work on hillary's farm no more
posted by pyramid termite at 6:03 PM on February 24, 2008


we ain't gonna work on hillary's farm no more

but everybody says she's the brains behind pa...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:07 PM on February 24, 2008


All due respect, but you are out of your fucking mind. We have to live through this, and I am not planning on vainly trying to elect Ralph Nader, who could thankfully do no such fucking thing as you're talking about, as some sort of torch in a would-be revolution. Seriously, is this your solution? Are we going to have to go back to the French Revolution to make people like you happy? Seriously? This is no way to even think about running a country. There are a 1,001 things Nader could do, already well-covered in this thread, that would serve the country better than some half-assed, narcissistic "run" for president.

It's not my solution, it's Ralph Nader's solution. And Ralph Nader knows what he's doing better than you or I or anyone else does. And he has followers even more willfully blind and touchy than Ron Paul or Obama. It took all the pain of the Great Depression to give us Welfare. Do you really think the French would have ever had their revolution if they had been living in a happy egalitarian society? They certainly wouldn't have free, quality education and healthcare today, just a few hundred years later, if they hadn't had their own Ralph Nader back then.

Just look at what he's managed to accomplish by aggressively campaigning in the swing states in 2000--We're going to have a black man (or possibly a white woman) as president. That never would have happened without George Bush in power to spent $1,000,000,000,000 on a pointless war and to destroy an entire american city (to scratch the iceberg!). And George never would have been elected without Ralph Nader and your help.

When the system is sufficiently corrupt--and ours is (I don't know if you've caught that Silverstein article in this months Harper's, it's worth a read)--sometime's it's just better let it tear itself apart and start over. In fact, it's better to help it tear itself apart faster, so it's over more quickly and does less damage in the long run.

Ralph has a dream. And sometimes, you've got to take three rights to make a left. Sometimes, in order to win, you've got to lose. Hard. Over and over again. Sometimes, it takes a village, and sometimes it takes destroying that village to save it. Ralph can help you keep those Dominionist Facists in power long enough to transform this country into their wet dream of the unholy offspring of The Handmaid's Tale, Road Warrior, and Revenge of the Sith. Because change doesn't come about through adult deliberation and compromise. It's too late for that. You really want to see "Change"? You need rabid shouting mobs. You need blind faith in a new idea. You need a man who can make you cry. You need to let people be hurt so bad they'll get out on the street and risk their lives bringing the police state down because they have nothing left to loose, and that's another word for FREEDOM. Nothing left to lose. Ralph is the linchpin in the grenade of your freedom.
posted by cytherea at 6:17 PM on February 24, 2008 [6 favorites]


Ralph is the linchpin in the grenade of your freedom.

As Ralph himself said today, he's in this race because "Dissent is the mother of ascent." Isn't that, like, deep?
posted by spiderwire at 6:24 PM on February 24, 2008


the only difference being when the hobo tries to walk through the doors of CNN's DC broadcasting office they have him arrested instead of having a page walk him to the makeup room.

but then, neither the hobo nor Nader were allowed to debate Bush and Gore back in 2000

I really wonder if people here were this mad at Roy Moore or Huckabee for running as a third party candidate of the evangelicals. I'm afraid not. so the thing where the only spoiler you don't like is the spoiler who spoils it for your guy is understandable but little more than a tantrum.

the bottom line is, the extreme, religious right has managed since 1980 up until 2004 to grab the GOP by balls and squeeze hard enough to get what they wanted -- anti-Roe supreme court justices, less protection for abortion clinics, a shitload of federal handouts to their churches (ie faith based initiatives). they haven't really needed to run a spoiler (Perot fucked Bush I's shit up, but he wasn't a fundie). they got what they wanted, they have behaved come election time.

the liberals? their influence in the Democratic party, instead, amounts to 0, in part for technical reasons (the country is way more conservative than they are -- see the untouchable death penalty and the laughable gun laws) and in part for their own incompetence when it comes to getting what you want.

it'll be interesting to see, if Hillary gets nominated, how many liberals who are for Obama (on what reasons, except for the satisfation of electing a black President, I wonder, since Obama is a very, very mild progressive if at all) will defect the party and either vote Nader or stay home. it'll be an interesting year, especially since the Democrats really seem to want to lose this thing -- first by running the most hated woman in America against a black guy who not only carries the potential liability of his skin color but also has less experience than any other major candidate in recent history, then by sitting on their hands while Obama and Hillary tear each other apart, looking like -- in this order -- a racist, crazed Lady Macbeth and an incompetent plagiarist. I doubt the GOP wouldn't find a solution -- possibly by pointing a gun to their two candidates heads in a locked room until they settle the race -- if, say, Romney and McCain were still head to head and spending every news cycle flinging mountains of piping hot pig shit at each other.

as I said, Howard Dean and a bunch of big Democratic donors should hire a bunch of Abu Ghraib interrogators, lock them in a soundproof room with Hillary and Obama, and allow them to get out only with a signed contract that states who is the candidate for President and who the candidate for VP. then have the one who has to settle for VP withdraw from the race for President.

unless of course you enjoy the show of your candidates destroying each other.

Republicans sure like the Obama vs Hillary battle royale.
posted by matteo at 6:42 PM on February 24, 2008


if people here were this mad at Roy Moore or Huckabee

if people here would be this mad
posted by matteo at 6:44 PM on February 24, 2008


It's how I learned to stop worrying and love the Ralph.
posted by cytherea at 6:45 PM on February 24, 2008


the democrats would be a lot better party if some of their supporters would drop their plantation mentality

You seem to have confused me with a democrat.

I'm going to vote for a democrat this election because I understand how our system works, unlike Nader supporters, but that doesn't make me a democrat. Neither Hillary nor Obama support most of the policies I would like to see implemented but they are better than rewarding the Republicans for 8 years of corruption, malfeasance, and butchering innocents. Voting for Nader this election will be under our system the same as voting to reward Republicans.

Under a different system a vote for Nader would be a viable alternative. We don't live in that system, and voting like we do is, indeed, acting like a petulant child who would rather sulk than take the less bad alternative to rewarding butchers and torturers.
posted by Justinian at 6:46 PM on February 24, 2008


There are indeed short windows where a third party gets some traction; when that happens one of the two major parties adopts just enough of the third party's platform to siphon off most of their voters and the third party disappears as a viable alternative.

That didn't happen post 2000, did it? No, the Democratic party (and a bunch of Democrats,) decided that they just deserved votes and were going to whine and stamp their feet, and then hector and insult a handful of people for having the sheer audacity to want to vote for something that might shakeup the current two party stranglehold. Didn't work out that way, because Democrats, instead of wanting to know why otherwise some left of center voters voted for someone other than Gore, instead of perhaps reanalyzing why they lost to someone so inept as Bush, just decided to cry like a little kid at a birthday party, who, after pissing off his friends, snivels that they didn't get the presents they deserve.

Remember the 50-state strategy that Dean advocated, and how to it lead to victories in 2006? The pissing and moaning in this thread about Nader and Nader voters is the exact opposite of the philosophy behind the 50-state strategy. It's a philosophy that only goes after a select few "swing" voters and ignores the hell out of everyone else. Worked like a goddamned charm, didn't it? What Democrats didn't do was look at the people actually responsible for electing Bush: Bush voters. The whole Supreme Court decision, the "1,000 Nader voters," all would've been irrelevant if less people voted for Bush. I've said this before,, Bush wasn't the default president. All Gore and the Democrats had to do to was run a campaign that made people want to vote for him. I know it's tough, but that's the fucking point of elections, and they could barely do that. I didn't vote for Nader (I didn't vote for anyone in 2000, I didn't feel there was a point,) and I voted for Kerry in 2004, and felt like a chump afterwards, because that was even less of a campaign then 2000, and Kerry didn't even give a shit, conceding even though there was some hinky shit going down in Ohio, which was evident even on election night. Yeah, I held my nose and voted for notBush, just like all the A VOTE FOR NOTKERRY IS A VOTE FOR SATAN whiners in this thread wanted me to, and it was irrelevant because the Democratic party couldn't be bothered to try and win, and instead, STILL cast blame on Nader voters 4 years before, refusing to acknowledge that their best shot was a pop-gun.

Now, 6 years of inaction from Democrats (plus 2 of perfunctory action) does not give you anything approaching the standing to blame anyone for "...the deaths of thousands of innocent people." Maybe if enough elected Democrats did anything but act "politically realistic," there might not be so many deaths, but instead you spin around to find the most irrelevant people to blame, instead of looking at yourselves.

The rest of your post is just more "petulant" entitlement.

It's how I learned to stop worrying and love the Ralph.

You know, you're moronic 'must support establishment Dem candidate hurf durf, smash peons who dare to disagree' comments were more amusing than this.
posted by Snyder at 6:47 PM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, and gman? This is a shitty post.
posted by Snyder at 6:50 PM on February 24, 2008


Plus you're saying here that it's wrong to vote for any third party candidate.

No, I'm saying its wrong to vote for a third party candidate for the reasons listed by most of the people who do so in these Nader threads. It is wrong to vote for a third party candidate to try to make our system a multi-party system because even a cursory understanding of first past the post politics would show it to be completely ineffective. If you want a multi-party system the only effective way of getting there is lobbying for proportional representation.

Seperately, I'm saying that voting for Nader because "there is no difference" between Republicans and Democrats is wrong because it's idiotic to believe that, and doing so contributes to the current actions of the Republican party.
posted by Justinian at 6:51 PM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken.
posted by cytherea at 6:54 PM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


...for having the sheer audacity to want to vote for something that might shakeup the current two party stranglehold. Didn't work out that way...

No, it didn't work out that way because our system isn't set up in such a fashion so that more than two parties will be viable at any given time. If you don't understand why that it is you need to study some basic facts about American government.

Here's a (grossly simplified) primer; in proportional systems you vote for the party that most closely represents your views and seats are allocated according to percentage of the vote won. So if you hate Republicans and Democrats you vote Green or Libertarian or whatever. If the Greenies get 7% of the vote, they get about 7% of the seats.

Now, after the election, the different parties (assuming nobody has over 50% of the seats) get together and a compromise is worked out between two or more parties to give a working majority of 51+% of seats. This usually involves whichver party has the most seats giving a little on a couple issues that a really important to the smaller parties that will be included in the working majority coalition.

Great. Except that's not how our system works. In our system, if you get 7% of the vote, you are shit out of luck. Whichever party gets the most votes gets it all. In this system, coalitions are worked out before the elections inside of parties. So instead of a hundred different parties with a ton getting a few percent of the vote forming coalitions after the election, we get two huge parties that are made up of coalitions of smaller interest groups.

The Democrats have already made a coalition with mainstream liberals; they are represented in the democratic coalition. Any position that is mainstream enough to get enough voters is in one of the two party platforms, with a few exceptions (things like legalization of doobie have lots of support but aren't incorporated for complicated reasons).

In our system where the coalitions have already been formed and are called "Republicans" and "Democrats", voting for a party that only gets a couple percent of the vote is throwing your vote away except under specific, rare, cirumstances. Not recognizing this (which appears common) doesn't make it untrue.

If you don't like this and think you should be able to cast a meaningful vote for the Green party candidate you need to get us into a proportional system. Until that happens, deal with reality as it is not as you might like it to be.
posted by Justinian at 7:01 PM on February 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Democrats: can you keep your registered/ostensible voters from voting for Republicans?

Thank you.

Once you've done that, you can complain about Ralph Nader.
posted by lathrop at 7:05 PM on February 24, 2008


No, it didn't work out that way because our system isn't set up in such a fashion so that more than two parties will be viable at any given time. If you don't understand why that it is you need to study some basic facts about American government.

No, I was responding to your statement about how if a third party gets enough traction, one of the two larger parties will adopt it's platform to siphon off voters. Well, in 2000 it was a paltry 5% of the popular vote, not a hell of a lot, but enough to prevent Gore from winning, somehow, but instead of trying to court those voters a bit, or ignoring them, the Dems decided to vilify them instead. Is that clear? I don't need a civics lecture, I understand enough of the election process.

The Democrats have already made a coalition with mainstream liberals; they are represented in the democratic coalition.

A pretty one sided coalition, which is why there are some many people dissatisfied with the party, and not always willing to just suck it up for little discernible reason.

In our system where the coalitions have already been formed and are called "Republicans" and "Democrats", voting for a party that only gets a couple percent of the vote is throwing your vote away except under specific, rare, cirumstances.

A vote for a candidate that promises little and gives you less, while enabling a disaster, is also throwing your vote away. I could've stayed home in 2004 and drank a beer instead of voting, it would've been about as useful as voting Green or Libertarian or Democrat.
posted by Snyder at 7:12 PM on February 24, 2008


You have also broken your word to your followers who signed the petitions that got you on the ballot in many states. You pledged you would not campaign as a spoiler and would avoid the swing states. Your recent campaign rhetoric and campaign schedule make it clear that you have broken this pledge... Please accept that I, and the overwhelming majority of the environmental movement in this country, genuinely believe that your strategy is flawed, dangerous and reckless.--Carl Pope, Sierra Club President.
posted by cytherea at 7:12 PM on February 24, 2008


how quickly people forget what 2000 was really like and what the issues of those days were and how ralph addressed one of them - the overwhelming influence that corporations have on our political process and our government's decisions

since then, other issues have become more important than corporate ownership of our government - but to blame ralph nader for two wars and hurricane katrina is to indulge in senseless anachronism and assumes some things that aren't so obviously true

there is no reason to believe that 9/11 wouldn't have happened in an al gore presidency

there is certainly no reason to believe that he wouldn't have done the same thing to afghanistan that bush did

there is no reason to believe that in that atmosphere, confronted with a saddam who seemed to be playing games, that he wouldn't have been painted into a corner by hawkish republicans and chickenshit democrats into expanding the war against iraq up to the point of invasion and regime change - (yes, expanding! - we were already at war with iraq before bush took office - we were bombing the shit out of them, weren't we?)

there's no reason to assume he would have won the 2004 election - ("the democrats ran our defence for nearly a decade - then, one day in september ..." - republican attack ad in an alternate president gore universe)

if he had, there's certainly no reason to assume that he would have been able to nominate anything better than a compromise supreme court justice through a senate where the republicans could block anyone anytime they chose

and there's no reason to assume that he would have handled katrina any better - after all, state and local government was democratic controlled and they sure as hell dropped the ball, too -

here's a scary thought - what if a whole generation of leadership and bureaucracy is just as impotent and incompetent as fema was with katrina? - in fact, why does anyone assume it isn't? - we're not effective at war, we're not effective at disaster relief, we're not effective at political change, we're not effective at finance, or business, or conservation, or global warming or ... and this is all president bush's fault? - what if this is the way our country really works - poorly, and unable to deal with problems?

and now here comes ralph with his usual thing about the corporations and their effect on our government - it's just not that big a deal any more

we have a bigger problem than that - we have a government and a business world that's falling apart on us because the people of bush's and gore's generation, democrat, republican, atruistic, and greedhead alike, don't know what the hell they're doing and are getting worse at it

maybe obama will be a little better than that - but i'm damn sure that clinton and mccain and ralph aren't

in short, the ralph detractors are missing the real issue here - we are way past the point where you can place blame on one man or one election for what's going on in this country

I'm going to vote for a democrat this election because I understand how our system works

that misses the point - our system isn't working very well anymore - not that ralph is going to fix it
posted by pyramid termite at 7:17 PM on February 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Justinian : Voting for Nader this election will be under our system the same as voting to reward Republicans.

Or the same as killing thousands of people, according to your previous comment.

You're busying yourself picking other people to call childish and petulant? Perhaps this is premature.

No, I'm saying its wrong to vote for a third party candidate for the reasons listed by most of the people who do so in these Nader threads.

And if it's not okay to vote for Nader because you want more choices than the Republicans and Democrats, and it's also not okay to vote for Nader because for your purposes the Republicans and Democrats are the same, what the heck does that leave? Voting because you agree with his political opinions, except for his opinions that there should be more choices than Republicans and Democrats or that for his purposes Republicans and Democrats are the same? Is this really going anywhere other than “Ralph Nader is an idiot”, then?

And isn't it exactly what I pointed out - that the same arguments are going to be valid for any third party candidate?

If you don't like this and think you should be able to cast a meaningful vote for the Green party candidate you need to get us into a proportional system.

How enlightening. I'm sure all of the Nader voters reading this are saying “Gosh, I didn't realize my vote for Nader wouldn't make the parliamentary fairy come down and rewrite the constitution with her magic wand.” Come on, none of the Nader voters thought that their votes were going to actually get rid of the two-party system. Are people who would rather see a proportional system just not allowed to vote until that comes about?
posted by XMLicious at 7:17 PM on February 24, 2008


Are people who would rather see a proportional system just not allowed to vote until that comes about?

No, no you don't understand. They should vote for Democrats. Because to do anything otherwise is TO VOTE FOR MURDER.
posted by Snyder at 7:21 PM on February 24, 2008


Justinian FTW.
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:25 PM on February 24, 2008


I'm picturing an asymptotic curve, but I don't know if it represents Nader's electability over time or how much he's morphing into a skull on a stick.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:25 PM on February 24, 2008


Nader? pfft. The only person who could cause an upheaval right now by coming out of left field is Gore, and he's said he's not going to be doing that.
posted by mrbill at 8:33 PM on February 24, 2008


Snyder:
...Well, in 2000 it was a paltry 5% of the popular vote, not a hell of a lot, but enough to prevent Gore from winning, somehow, but instead of trying to court those voters a bit, or ignoring them, the Dems decided to vilify them instead. Is that clear? I don't need a civics lecture, I understand enough of the election process.
What you need is a history lesson or a remedial English course. I don't know how many times on how many threads I've pointed out to you and a few other people here that borking the election was Ralph Nader's strategy before the election—far more than it was the Dems' after the election—but I've done said often enough that I'm convinced that you're either clueless or intentionally dense. I'm guessing that it's the former, since you apparently don't even know why the 5% threshold was important, let alone anything about Nader's history or his role in the election.

So, one more time, from that bastion of conservatism, the Village Voice:
But when I suggested that Nader could gain substantial influence in a Democratic administration by focusing his campaign on the 40 safe states and encouraging his supporters elsewhere to vote Gore, Milleron leaned coolly toward me with extra steel in his voice and body. He did not disagree. He simply said, "We're not going to do that."

"Why not?" I said.

With just a flicker of smile, he answered, "Because we want to punish the Democrats, we want to hurt them, wound them."
Oh, those horrible Dems, vilifying Nader just because he wanted to "punish" them. But wait! Just because Nader has personal issues doesn't bear on the 5% goal, right? Wrong:
If the purpose of Nader's candidacy really was to build a viable third party, as he stated, he should have been concerned only with maximizing his own vote total. Indeed, if this was his goal, he would have had a clear long-term interest in Gore winning: If Bush carried the election, many Green voters would probably return to the Democratic fold in 2004. Yet Nader chose to help Bush and hurt Gore, even when doing so came at his own expense. When American University professor Jamin Raskin proposed that Nader supporters in swing states swap their votes with Gore supporters in safe states -- thus maximizing the Nader vote while simultaneously helping Gore -- Nader denounced the idea.

Then there was the debate within the Nader campaign over where to travel in the waning days of the campaign. Some Nader advisers urged him to spend his time in uncontested states such as New York and California. These states -- where liberals and leftists could entertain the thought of voting Nader without fear of aiding Bush -- offered the richest harvest of potential votes. But [...] Nader [...] insisted on spending the final days of the campaign on a whirlwind tour of battleground states such as Pennsylvania and Florida. In other words, he chose to go where the votes were scarcest, jeopardizing his own chances of winning 5 percent of the vote, which he needed to gain federal funds in 2004. Nader does not mention this decision in his own account of the campaign. He does write that when Sellers worried that he would focus on electoral battlegrounds, "I told him we were running a fifty-state campaign to maximize our votes and were not going out of our way to target swing states." Either Nader was lying to Sellers or is lying to his readers.
Now take your ball and go home.
posted by spiderwire at 8:38 PM on February 24, 2008 [8 favorites]


**done so often enough
posted by spiderwire at 8:39 PM on February 24, 2008


posted by BrotherCaine he's morphing into a skull on a stick.

I'm picturing Ralph Nader in a rest home, clattering noisily with his walker toward the podium at dinner hour and announcing he's running for president. He teeters there for a few minutes, saying the Republicans are just like the Democrats and the only way we'll ever have fresh rolls with the beef stew is to elect him, and then two orderlies gently usher him to his seat as the silence is broken with sporadic claps that sound like farts.
posted by fandango_matt at 8:47 PM on February 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ralph Nader is your new wheelchair.
posted by spiderwire at 8:49 PM on February 24, 2008


As Ralph himself said today, he's in this race because "Dissent is the mother of ascent." Isn't that, like, deep?

Dis end is the motherfucking ass end.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:51 PM on February 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


You democrats just don't get it: You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

Your hostess, dressed in hanging chad, holds up a brightly colored egg.

This is your country.

your hostess cracks the egg in a pan with George Bush's face smiling sunny side up, Dick Cheney's sunny side down

This is your country on Ralph Nader.
posted by cytherea at 9:16 PM on February 24, 2008


IMHO, everyone opposing Nader (and I do fully appreciate that some Democrat supporters are irritated by Nader) should see what the real problem is: it is the silo-ed nature of the US presidential process. Splitting of vote-shares between a mere three candidates shouldn't technically matter that much in a 200 million population, but they do, because a few stray votes in Dullsville County, OH for example, can easily swing a state, and hence the election.

I'd, therefore, like to frame this discussion into a bigger question about the American elections process: why are "state-rights" so important when it comes to drawing up electoral rules? Why should candidates "carry" individual states, as opposed to regions or the country in itself? And finally, why do you allow states (and counties) to set up their own processes, instead of having a uniform set of ballots/rules/etc across the country?

You have to understand where I'm coming from on this: back in India, an independent federal ("central") authority, the Election Commission, virtually takes over local governments for the duration of the election, to the point where they get their own policemen (the "Central Reserve Police Force" among others) to monitor the process. (In fact, so large is this deployment that the central elections in India is one of the largest peace-time movement of troops in the world)
posted by the cydonian at 9:21 PM on February 24, 2008


the cydonian:
I'd, therefore, like to frame this discussion into a bigger question about the American elections process: why are "state-rights" so important when it comes to drawing up electoral rules?
U.S. Constitution, Art. II § 1:
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
U.S. Constitution, Amendment 12:
The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;

The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;

The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President.
posted by spiderwire at 9:36 PM on February 24, 2008


-- FWIW, that response wasn't meant to be perfunctory; the short answer is that the electoral structure is hard-coded into the Constitution, for better or for worse. There's many problems with it besides the state-by-state setup—e.g. the disproportionate influence granted to rural voters—but the threshold for changing the rules is, in any event, very high.

There is, interestingly, a movement to allocate electoral votes based on the popular vote (i.e., legislation to that effect that will trigger if a majority of the states join in), but it's not particularly visible. It isn't, of course, totally out of the realm of possibility—the problem is largely that much of the country would, it seems, rather vote for vanity candidates in the Presidential election than work to pass electoral reforms.
posted by spiderwire at 9:44 PM on February 24, 2008


there is no reason to believe that in that atmosphere, confronted with a saddam who seemed to be playing games, that he wouldn't have been painted into a corner by hawkish republicans and chickenshit democrats into expanding the war against iraq up to the point of invasion and regime change -

One the loudest Democratic proponents of the war against Iraq was Joseph Lieberman, Gore's VP pick, so I could easily see the war happening if the Democrats were in charge... it would have been consistent with past Democratic tradition of the muscular foreign policy of Truman and Kennedy. I remember the Bush/Gore debates and Bush was arguing the U.S. should be less involved militarily abroad, and traditionally Republicans have been reluctant to engage in war, things certainly have changed.
posted by bobo123 at 9:54 PM on February 24, 2008


you do realise that as we speak, McCain is a dog to Obama in head to head polls whereas the opposite is true for Clinton. This was even the case prior to Obama's recent surge, and against most of the now dropped-out Republican candidates. I grant the belabored criticism of polls, but they more fact than you've got behind you. It's presumptuous to think that somehow independent voters will be swayed by race any more or less than gender.

I think you're forgetting that most Independents are ex-Republicans. You're also forgetting that Obama - in contrast to Clinton - has *not* been savaged by the press, and the traitorous left wing of her own party. (note that the press limped away after she trounced Obama in MA, after the press had given front page space to Kennedy's lame endorsement)

If Obama gets the nod, Let's look at the polls in about 4-5 months, after the GOP attack machine has savaged him, swift-boated him, etc. etc.

I can't wait to see Pew, or someone else, do an accurate content analysis of coverage between Hillary and Barack. I struggle to find neutral or positive pieces on Hillary, while Barack (form the very beginning) could do no wrong.

Also, I'm happy to see Nader back in. He will keep everyone thinking about uncomfortable realities and possibilities that no candidate will bring up in the campaign.

I was once close to the Nader group, through a personal friend. I have never seen such obsessive attention to "doing the right thing", ever. This isn't to say that I agree with everything that Nader says, but his ethics are beyond dispute. He's in this thing because he believes, and wants to serve his fellow countrymen and women - good for him!
posted by MetaMan at 10:56 PM on February 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Nader is being funded by thr GOP, both monetarily and logistically.
posted by Rancid Badger at 10:56 PM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nader is being funded by thr GOP, both monetarily and logistically.

Cite?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:53 AM on February 25, 2008


I'm happy to see Nader back in. He will keep everyone thinking about uncomfortable realities and possibilities that no candidate will bring up in the campaign.


No, he won't. He will keep a few lefties doing that, but they do that otherwise. Everyone else will ignore him as a big joke.
posted by caddis at 5:44 AM on February 25, 2008


Nader is being funded by thr GOP, both monetarily and logistically.

Cite?


From the last election:

Nader's "Grassroots" Campaign...Courtesy of GOP
Republican Dirty Tricks, Max Blumenthal, alternet
Nader's Dubious Raiders, Max Blumenthal, American Prospect

But, honestly, it was all over news. The gop was running astroturf campaigns to get Ralph Nader on the 2004 ballot, and the same people giving money to the swift boat veterans for truth were funding Nader. When confronted, he said some mumble jumble about how he accepted support from republicans but not from the republican party, and anyway, Kerry was worse.

Being Ralph Nader means never having to say you're sorry.

But it doesn't mean you don't get pied when you're a dangerous asshole.
posted by cytherea at 6:14 AM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


This thread makes me wish metafilter had the ability to tag the nadar haters so I can never again read anything they post again. That kind of stupid just isn't worth my time.
posted by srboisvert at 6:21 AM on February 25, 2008


This thread makes me wish metafilter had the ability to tag the nadar haters so I can never again read anything they post again. That kind of stupid just isn't worth my time.

If you had more free time you could learn to spell "Nader"
posted by spiderwire at 6:33 AM on February 25, 2008


you mean "Nadir"

*gets tagged by some anonymous internet character
*cares less
posted by caddis at 6:52 AM on February 25, 2008


So it's another pile-on-Nader thread. I have argued against the 'Nader did it!' point of view in several of the other identical threads, and there's really nothing new to say, so I'll try to say something in a different way.

More people would have voted for Gore if his positions were less like Bush's and more like Nader's.

More people would have voted for Kerry if his positions were less like Bush's and more like Nader's.

Speaking of Kerry, he's the second-most monumental asshole of all the candidates in those two elections (behind W, of course). He made his nut being a straight-up antiwar spokesman, at a time when that was political gold in his home state. People in the VVAW who knew him well told me that his main interest was John Kerry and how far he could get, not so much ending the war. I doubted them at the time, and worked for his subsequent Congressional campaign (which failed). Once he became a Senator, I noticed the only real stands he took were pretty risk-free. Then he voted to enable Bush's Iraq war. Just another uprincipled rich white guy, owned by the corporations. He will never get my vote again. If my choice is between him and a Republican, I'll vote for Blank.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:53 AM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: That kind of stupid just isn't worth my time.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:04 AM on February 25, 2008


More people would have voted for Gore if his positions were less like Bush's and more like Nader's.

More people would have voted for Kerry if his positions were less like Bush's and more like Nader's.


You have no empirical evidence for this. If you use the voter model from Anthony Downs, An Economic Theory of Democracy, the assumption is that the preferences of voters can be arranged on a left-right ideological spectrum. When choosing between two candidates, voters will select the candidate that is nearest to them ideologically on the spectrum. Let us say that Gore or Kerry moved leftward to capture Nader voters. There is absolutely no guarantee that this leftward movement wouldn't provoke a counterreaction from voters in the center of the spectrum, who would then throw their votes to Bush. So, the possibility is there that an ideological movement toward Nader could be a bad choice for Democrats strategically, because they might lose more voters than they would gain. Elections aren't simply about the expression of ideological purity; they're about assembling broad, heterogeneous ideological coalitions that can win a plurality of votes.
posted by jonp72 at 7:22 AM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


More people would have voted for Gore if his positions were less like Bush's and more like Nader's.

More people would have voted for Kerry if his positions were less like Bush's and more like Nader's.


I agree if by 'more' you mean 'additional'. Unfortunately the positions that would have resulted in the addition of those people on the left would have cost Gore/Kerry people on the right. More people because there are more people near the center than the edges.

Or what jonp72 said.
posted by dirtdirt at 7:33 AM on February 25, 2008


From the last election:

No, this election. Where is the evidence that Nader is being funded by the GOP this time around, because it's not clear that's the case, and it is wrong to assert otherwise.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:58 AM on February 25, 2008


More people would have voted for Gore if his positions were less like Bush's and more like Nader's.

You would have to be monumentally ignorant of the ideological makeup of the American electorate to believe this.

I happen to have some variables from the 2004 National Election Study on this machine. To do as you suggest would be sacrificing 32% of the electorate to go after 3%. Or, at most, sacrificing 32% to go after 15%. Neither of which is remotely smart.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:00 AM on February 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


Personally, I don't lay the blame for Bush's election at Bush's feet. The election was Gore's to lose, and he lost it (even if he did have help from the media, the Clintons and talk radio). What irks me about him is that he pisses and moans about the Democrats being the same as the Republicans, but that's all he does. He offers no vision, no alternative, just complaints. He says the American people deserve more choices, and all he offers is spite, derision and torpor. Then when election season is over, he goes back into his isolation tank.

For a guy that was, in his younger days, a true visionary, a tireless fighter and above all, a doer, he really has turned into a lazy, worthless loser, content to shout from the sidelines, but not willing to get off his ass and do anything when it comes down to it.

Now that I think of it, is there a better embodiment of the arc of American society over the past 70 years than Ralph Nader. As much as we want to hate him, he is us.
posted by psmealey at 8:48 AM on February 25, 2008


You have no empirical evidence for this.

So you then go on to cite a bunch of theory and assumptions. I disagree with your assumption that the American voting public's 'center' is what you think it is, or that casting everything in terms of Right and Left is even very useful. It's the next-worst thing to the binary thinking that says it's always only a choice between the Republican 'centrist' candidate and the Democratic 'centrist' candidate, and it's the kind of thinking that's helped to obliterate meaningful choices in presidential elections.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:18 AM on February 25, 2008


spiderwire, I had a longer post written in response, but I accidentally closed my browser, so let me just recap it.

I do know about the 5% funding threshold, and it's irrelevant to my argument, but it seems you need to just make shit up about me in a stupid form of assassination because your too clueless (or need remedial English lessons,) to understand (with your "take your ball and go home" reference,) to understand that I have never voted for Nader, and to make it crystal clear for you, have no intention of voting for him now.

I'm just sick and tired of Democrats whining and puling about 2000, because Gore ran a shitty campaign and some people were annoyed at the uselessness of the Democratic party. Gore didn't even need to go after Nader voters! If Nader voters were so far left, then they wouldn't have voted for Gore anyway, so Nader was irrelevant. Maybe he should have done more than picking the most Republican of Democrats as a running mate and then try to win just by showing up.
posted by Snyder at 9:21 AM on February 25, 2008


your too clueless (or need remedial English lessons,) to understand

QFT
posted by spiderwire at 9:26 AM on February 25, 2008


At least I can read for comprehension.
posted by Snyder at 9:36 AM on February 25, 2008


At least I can read for comprehension.

Well, that's a start
posted by spiderwire at 9:41 AM on February 25, 2008


Justinian's right that instant run-off and proportional representation is a prerequisite to any sort of viable and non-distorting third party presence. But these ideas are so rarely discussed in America that people who would probably support those systems instead have to express themselves through "throwing away" a vote.

It's just not fair to lay blame for the bad guys getting into power at the feet of those who feel disinfranchised by a broken system. They're taking the only option they have to say that they don't like what's going on. Participation in politics should be more than sandbagging against a flood of evil.

If Democrats are fearful, they should introduce instant run-off. That's the result Nader votes should have resulted in. Instead, all the parties can come up with is vicious attacks against anyone else who wants to participate, and that's crap. Fix the system.

Obama introduced an instant run-off bill in the Illinois Senate - here's hoping he brings it up in Washington.
posted by dosterm at 9:47 AM on February 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


BTW, Kirth, that comment was good; we've argued about this topic enough that I find it nice of you to look for some common ground. Thanks. If there's one thing we can all agree on, after all, it's that Kerry's kind of a tool.
posted by spiderwire at 9:56 AM on February 25, 2008


So you then go on to cite a bunch of theory and assumptions. I disagree with your assumption that the American voting public's 'center' is what you think it is, or that casting everything in terms of Right and Left is even very useful.

You want data? You got it. According to CNN's 2000 exit polls, the electorate in the Gore/Bush election had 20% self-identified liberals, 50% self-identified moderates, and 29% self-identified conservatives. According to CNN's 2004 exit poll, the electorate in the Kerry/Bush election had 21% self-identified liberals, 45% moderates, and 34% self-identified conservatives. In both elections, the modal voter was a self-identified "moderate," and conservatives exceeded liberals by 9 to 13 percentage points. I wish empirical reality were otherwise, but that's what it is. Because the percentage of self-identified conservatives have consistently exceeded the percentage of self-identified liberals, Republicans have much more freedom to lean right to appease their base than Democrats have the freedom to lean left. This is not due to lack of ideological principle among Democrats, but due to hard realities about the ideological composition of the electorate in 2000 or 2004.
posted by jonp72 at 9:56 AM on February 25, 2008


While I do support Nader's riight to run, I doubt it will make a significant difference in the election's outcome. People are too focused on the main parties this time around, as everyone believes that there are "vital interests" at stake.
posted by macsigler at 10:13 AM on February 25, 2008


People 'self-identifying' in response to a poll question is what constitutes empirical evidence then? Do tell. I still don't agree that some kind of graduated spectrum from Left to Right is an accurate description of the voting public. It may be a useful description, if you're interested in maintaining the crappy system we have now, but I don't think people really base their voting along those lines when they have a choice.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:34 AM on February 25, 2008


I love the tags for this thread... nader - asshole - ruiningthings - election
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 11:08 AM on February 25, 2008


Well, that's a start

For someone making unfounded accusations of ignorance, you certainly are an ass.
posted by Snyder at 11:31 AM on February 25, 2008


"People 'self-identifying' in response to a poll question is what constitutes empirical evidence then? Do tell. "

Better than what you've got.

"It may be a useful description, if you're interested in maintaining the crappy system we have now, but I don't think people really base their voting along those lines when they have a choice."

According to what evidence? I mean, it's pretty clear that you're speaking for yourself, but when you attempt to generalize from your distaste toward the current system, you overreach your ability to prove your point.

Further, people do have a choice now. They have many choices. They can vote for parties from Technocrat to Communist. They can write in votes. They can stay home and not vote. If you accept voting as at all valid, you have to accept that people are voting for whomever they feel is their personal best choice. Whomever most closely represents their values. They may be misinformed, or they may not have a coherent schema of values. They may even (GASP) vote for a compromise, assuming that one of their values is efficacy—the ability to carry through the platform that the voter agrees with. Clearly, for a fair number of people, that's not as important to them as making a statement, be that for Paul or Gravel or Nader. But that's a minuscule minority compared to the vast, vast, vast majority of voters who believe that either the Republican or the Democratic candidate best suits their interest. And while that number is only roughly 20% higher than those who choose not to vote at all, that's an expression of their interests as well—it is worth more to them to allocate their time to other pursuits rather than to vote.

If it's worth it to you to piss into the wind with a Nader vote, well, it's worth it to you to piss into the wind. I voted for Nader in 2000 because I thought there was too much corporate influence in politics, and because I thought it would be kind of neat to vote for a third party. After all, Gore had won my state handily, and I had arrogantly assumed that he'd handily win the election. In that context, voting for Nader was my way of asserting support for a leftist agenda that I felt that Clinton had been remiss in addressing. I don't blame Nader much for 2000, though it's obvious that he did work as a spoiler. I do believe that Bush both ran an excellent campaign and that his subordinates likely engaged in illegal maneuvers, culminating in a terrible Supreme Court decision, and I think that had a far greater effect than Nader. I don't believe that Nader had much of an effect in 2004, aside from painting himself further as a douchebag and undermining his credibility on other issues. I do believe that Ohio was lost due to dirty tricks on the Republican side, but I also feel that Kerry ran a terrible campaign. For both 2000 and 2004, there were far more votes to be won by moving to the right than moving to the left, but I tend to believe that people who were on the bubble were mostly morons and therefore fairly unpredictable.
posted by klangklangston at 11:38 AM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


People 'self-identifying' in response to a poll question is what constitutes empirical evidence then?

Yes, that's exactly what empirical evidence is. It's evidence, gathered empirically by actually asking actual people how they actually place themselves. All those "actual"s are what makes it empirical. You can certainly question exactly what the ideological self-placement scales that exit polls or the NES ask for are tapping into, but questioning whether they're empirical evidence or not is downright crazy.

but I don't think people really base their voting along those lines when they have a choice,

Well, you're wrong. I can correctly classify 70% of respondents' votes in the 2004 election using just their own ideological placement. I know this because I just did it. If people weren't really basing their vote substantially along those lines, the number would be drastically lower. If I add party identification to personal ideology, I get the percent correctly classified up over 90%. At least vague ideologuy is certainly not the only thing, but it remains a major component of voting.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:47 AM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll say it again; no matter how much people stick their heads in the sand and whine about the two party system it will never change unless we move to a more parliamentary-like system.

Almost right. Our two party system is the outcome of having a predominantly "winner take all" system of elections at almost all local, state, and federal levels.

Democracies which prefer proportional representation wind up with multi-party, often coalition style governments.

Currently the two parties in our country do a reasonable job of representing numerous coalitions, with the Democratic party certainly being the broader of the two. What this does in effect is create a buffer between warring factions and the actual levers of power with in our government. Factions, which on their own would form parties, enter into compacts with each other via regional, economic, and social interests to build parties. This has a moderating effect on what can often be extreme views.

For example: the religious right component of the GOP is mostly blunted by their association with and dependence upon other factions within the GOP such as the Wall St. Republicans. If we embraced a proportional system of government we would very likely see Christian Nationalists movements catch traction. Think the Constitution Party, only with 40 million die-hard members instead of their current sprinkling of right wing quacks. (Conceivably left movements would also grow with perhaps a reasonably viable Green Party.)

IMHO I don't want to see any system come into play that gives a pure, unbridled voice to the millions of Jesus-believing , Nuke'Em first ask questions later, AIDs is God's punishment, wackos out there in fly-over country. The Republican Party is reprehensible on every level, but we've made this far with them mostly in control of our government and guess what: Abortion is still legal (though under attack) and we haven't rounded up all the gays for "re-education" or other "processing" yet... so...

The system works.
posted by wfrgms at 11:51 AM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


This thread goes a long way to explaining why you 'mericans have a broken political system. Or, is it a broken education system that has failed to properly define democracy for you?
posted by Chuckles at 1:03 PM on February 25, 2008


"This thread goes a long way to explaining why you 'mericans have a broken political system. Or, is it a broken education system that has failed to properly define democracy for you?"

Oh, Canada. You try so hard, but in the end, no one really cares what you think, do they?
posted by klangklangston at 1:06 PM on February 25, 2008


Well, you're wrong. I can correctly classify 70% of respondents' votes in the 2004 election using just their own ideological placement.

I'm guessing that is based on issues identified by the parties, rather than on the issues people identify as most important to themselves or their local community. Or, is 'stance on issues' a misunderstanding of the notion of ideology?
posted by Chuckles at 1:09 PM on February 25, 2008


I somewhat agree with wfrgms. Proportional systems are hardly perfect. Though I don't think anybody here has claimed they are. But it would terrify me to live in a country where frothing White Supremacists forming a party could easily gain open "legitimate" representation in our government.

Sure we have had David Duke but he was largely driven into the shadows as a result of his open affiliation with a mainstream party.

Maybe from there we could go to some kind of parliamentary system but the idea could be kinda scary here.

I think instant run off voting is good idea there are a number of US cities that do this style of voting and that might be a start.
posted by tkchrist at 1:11 PM on February 25, 2008


If you accept voting as at all valid, you have to accept that people are voting for whomever they feel is their personal best choice. Whomever most closely represents their values.

Nonsense, people vote strategically all the time.
posted by Chuckles at 1:14 PM on February 25, 2008


the assumption is that the preferences of voters can be arranged on a left-right ideological spectrum.

Yes, well.. That is one of those problems with the education system again :) At the very least, you have to include two axes: the political compass.
posted by Chuckles at 1:21 PM on February 25, 2008


"'If you accept voting as at all valid, you have to accept that people are voting for whomever they feel is their personal best choice. Whomever most closely represents their values.'

Nonsense, people vote strategically all the time."

I want you to take a moment to think about what you just wrote, and then get back to me on why you suddenly realized that it was idiotic.
posted by klangklangston at 1:28 PM on February 25, 2008


Well, you're wrong. I can correctly classify 70% of respondents' votes in the 2004 election using just their own ideological placement.

Neatly ignoring my point that they didn't have much choice. I didn't vote for Kerry (because I promised him that I wouldn't), in spite of the fact that he's closer to me on your left-to-right continuum than Bush is. I didn't vote for Bush, either, because I'm not that stupid. As Chuckles noted, a lot of people vote on issues. No candidate or party is likely to be a perfect match to an individual voter on an array of issues, which is why the Left-Right thing is flawed. My biggest issue is war. Nobody who's for it will ever get my vote, because it's a litmus test of whether they are sensible humans. I do not care what their other positions are, if they advocate or fail to oppose starting an offensive war, they can't be trusted with power.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:28 PM on February 25, 2008


"Neatly ignoring my point that they didn't have much choice."

You had plenty of choice. And you made the choice that you felt best reflected your values—not voting. Don't bitch to us that yours was not an effective choice, as you decided that you would rather vote (or not) based on a single ideological point, rather than practical considerations.
posted by klangklangston at 1:48 PM on February 25, 2008


klangklangston, do you understand what strategic voting means? Do you think strategic voting invalidates the notion of democracy?

I mean it is trivially obvious.. Many people -- whether it is a majority of people or only 10% is irrelevant -- vote for the candidate who has the greatest chance of blocking one they don't like. The statement "Whomever most closely represent their values" is nonsense.
posted by Chuckles at 1:53 PM on February 25, 2008




People 'self-identifying' in response to a poll question is what constitutes empirical evidence then? Do tell.

What source of empirical evidence do you have? Since we lack the power to perform Vulcan mind-melds, it's epistemologically to find internal conformation of what somebody "really" believes?

I still don't agree that some kind of graduated spectrum from Left to Right is an accurate description of the voting public.

I didn't invent the left-to-right spectrum. It's existed since it first referred to seating patterns in the National Assembly during the French Revolution. A left-to-right spectrum might not be sufficiently fine-grained or nuanced enough for you (and I might even conced you that point), but that doesn't mean you can dismiss its usefulness as an explanatory model or go "La-la-la-la-la!" when I show clear empirical evidence that moderates are numerically dominant in the U.S., and conservatives outnumber liberals.

It may be a useful description, if you're interested in maintaining the crappy system we have now, but I don't think people really base their voting along those lines when they have a choice.

Tell that to Michael Dukakis, who lost a huge lead in the polls against George Bush Sr. in 1988 after Bush Sr. successfully tagged him as "too liberal." Personally, I thought Dukakis was too conservative, but the median voter made decisions based on George Bush's claims about where Dukakis fit on a left-right scale. You can claim that voters base their decisions on how they process three-dimensional and four-dimensional models of ideology instead of a two-dimensional spectrum, but you have no evidence for that.
posted by jonp72 at 1:55 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


"klangklangston, do you understand what strategic voting means? Do you think strategic voting invalidates the notion of democracy?

I mean it is trivially obvious.. Many people -- whether it is a majority of people or only 10% is irrelevant -- vote for the candidate who has the greatest chance of blocking one they don't like. The statement "Whomever most closely represent their values" is nonsense."

You obviously didn't think hard enough. Maybe poor Canadian schooling is to blame?
posted by klangklangston at 1:56 PM on February 25, 2008


the assumption is that the preferences of voters can be arranged on a left-right ideological spectrum.

Yes, well.. That is one of those problems with the education system again :) At the very least, you have to include two axes: the political compass.


The assumption of a left-right ideological spectrum is taken from Anthony Downs, whom I cited in my earlier post. Later political scientists have made more sophisticated versions of the Downs model, which use more multidimensional measures of political ideology. However, the basic point is the same. Regardless of the number of ideological dimensions you have in the model, the idea is that voters will choose the viable candidate that is "closest" to them ideologically, regardless of how many dimensions you use to measure that ideology.
posted by jonp72 at 2:02 PM on February 25, 2008


I'll stop being coy—Even voting AGAINST someone else in a winner-take-all election is voting for the candidate that most closely aligns with the voter's values. The only confounding argument would be voting in opposite primaries in order to prolong an election, which would still be congruent with their ultimate values, especially if you use that little ounce of brainpower and connect that statement up with "best personal choice." People vote "strategically" because they believe that it will aid in accomplishing their goals, whether external (policy packages, ideology) or internal (emotional validation, voting for a winner, etc.).

The only way out of this is to argue that a) there are people voting absent any reason at all (which is hard, as voting's not a default action) or people who are voting specifically to negate their interests without any other confounding reason, for which there exists no evidence.
posted by klangklangston at 2:02 PM on February 25, 2008


Oh, or to argue that we don't have meaningful free will and that we're deterministic machines. But if you're arguing that, well, voting's an odd place to start staking your claims.
posted by klangklangston at 2:03 PM on February 25, 2008


I'm guessing that is based on issues identified by the parties, rather than on the issues people identify as most important to themselves or their local community.

It's based on whatever issues the individual respondents care to draw upon. I don't have the codebook handy, but in the NES version, the initial ideological self-placement question asks something like "Do you usually think of yourself as liberal, or conservative, or moderate or middle of the road?" A couple of further questions then drill down to a seven-grade scale running from extremely liberal to extremely conservative.

Presumably, respondents are basing their self-placements on whatever they think is most important to them. Economics for some, religious stuff for others, whatever.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:27 PM on February 25, 2008


Strategic voting means selecting the outcome which most closely aligns with a voter's values, rather than the candidate who does.
posted by Chuckles at 2:34 PM on February 25, 2008


Neatly ignoring my point that they didn't have much choice.

In most states, they had plenty of choices. Bush, Kerry, Nader, Badnarik, Cobb, others.

If what you're saying is "I think that people wouldn't vote ideologically if only candidates that I really liked were running and already gaining strong enough support," well, there are several objections to that. The first is that you're essentially asking what voters would do if zebras didn't have stripes. But they do, so who cares? Second, to the extent that it isn't pointlessly counterfactual, all of our available knowledge says that you're still wrong. Candidates do emerge offering off-beat, odd, or extreme positions. Uniformly, voters avoid them in droves, in part because their positions in fact appeal to almost nobody. Yes, it sucks to be part of that almost nobody and look out at the almost-everybody who is voting so wrongly. This doesn't mean that you aren't in fact part of that almost-nobody.

My biggest issue is war. Nobody who's for it will ever get my vote, because it's a litmus test of whether they are sensible humans. I do not care what their other positions are, if they advocate or fail to oppose starting an offensive war, they can't be trusted with power.

All that you're saying here is that you're a weirdo who has little in common with the bulk of humanity, and that because of that you really shouldn't draw inferences about other people from your own case. Instead, you should pay attention to when researchers actually ask those other actual people what they actually think. And what that tells us is that basic ideological placement is an important part of many voters' internal decision loops.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:50 PM on February 25, 2008


"Strategic voting means selecting the outcome which most closely aligns with a voter's values, rather than the candidate who does."

Bullshit. All voting in a winner-take-all system is strategic to some extent, and the candidate and the outcome are functionally one and the same.
posted by klangklangston at 3:07 PM on February 25, 2008


You had plenty of choice. And you made the choice that you felt best reflected your values—not voting. Don't bitch to you that my bitch to us that yours was not an effective choice

Did I say I didn't vote? No, I did not say that. Did I bitch to you that my choice was not effective? No, I didn't do that either. Possibly we could have a discussion of some kind, if you did not consistently drip scorn all over things I didn't even say. As it is, there's not much point.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:13 PM on February 25, 2008


This thread is full of the kind of can-do spirit that got the democratic party where it is today. It's also full of the kind of "if you ain't with us, you ag'in us" groupthink "democrats" reputedly despise the Republican party for.

You people disgust me. It's an election, not an exercise in game theory.
posted by Eideteker at 3:16 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


If what you're saying is "I think that people wouldn't vote ideologically if only candidates that I really liked were running and already gaining strong enough support," well, there are several objections to that.

Good, because you lost it right after "If you're saying." I'm not saying that.


All that you're saying here is that you're a weirdo who has little in common with the bulk of humanity, and that because of that you really shouldn't draw inferences about other people from your own case.

Not saying that either, nor am I drawing inferences from my own case. If you think it makes me a weirdo to apply my personal observations of war to my decisions about what leaders to support, then you are probably someone who's never been in a war zone. That you can so casually dismiss a position based on principle tells me that I wouldn't vote for you, either. Many people I know have told me that they base their political decisions on one or another issue or group of issues. Guess they're all weirdos.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:32 PM on February 25, 2008


Did I say I didn't vote? No, I did not say that. Did I bitch to you that my choice was not effective? No, I didn't do that either. Possibly we could have a discussion of some kind, if you did not consistently drip scorn all over things I didn't even say. As it is, there's not much point.

Then what the fuck was your point, man?

You said that 70% of people voted Republican or Democrat because they didn't have much choice. You made another choice, based on your personal values, which pretty much obliterates the argument that Democrat or Republican were the only choices. From there, we can only work out backwards what your attempted point was in all your jibber-jabber—that people didn't have many effective choices? That they had false consciousness? That they were robots?

I'm sorry, man, but you're either being ignorant or incoherent, and ignorance and incoherence are exactly the sort of things that scorn is for.
posted by klangklangston at 4:10 PM on February 25, 2008


Nader has run every four years for the past 20 or so. In 2000 he had some heat because he had an actual endgame: try to put a third party into the debates. That's all the guy wanted, to be in the debates.

It's amazing all the scorn heaped on the guy when the real culprit in 2000 was the Florida attourney general, FOX news, James Baker, the Supreme Court, et al. Nader, even at his apogee of popularity, was small potoates compared with the rest.

Nader was honest. He didn't lie, cheat or steal to get those votes, unlike the Republicans, the real evil players in that debacle. Haters, focus your energies on those who deserve it. I agree that Nader is an egomaniac, and is often wrong with the "two sides of the same coin" schtick. But as he said very well in 2000, "Al Gore earned his votes, and I earned mine. My votes belong to me, and no one else."

Let him get his 50,000 or so votes (if that many). It won't matter to Obama when he trounces John McCain in the fall.
posted by zardoz at 4:43 PM on February 25, 2008


No, Nader was not honest. I'll repeat this for truth: he purposely campaigned in swing states. In states that made the difference between the current fuckwit in the Oval Office and the possibility of Gore. QED, he is an arrogant asshole, and pretending that it's about ballot access or being in the (wah, wah, wah) debates is complete and utter bullshit. Did you read this thread or just drop in here to defend Nadar from people armed with facts?
posted by Medieval Maven at 5:36 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


No, Nader was not honest. I'll repeat this for truth: he purposely campaigned in swing states.

wah, wah, wah
posted by Snyder at 6:19 PM on February 25, 2008


wah, wah, wah

a brilliant riposte!

now do a double backflip out of the pool and you'll get a mackerel
posted by spiderwire at 7:23 PM on February 25, 2008


Ouch! Look out for the Snydely Wahlash!
posted by cytherea at 7:45 PM on February 25, 2008


I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000, but I will not make that mistake again. The joke is over for Nader. He was funny once, but now he belongs to the dead.
—Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
posted by spiderwire at 8:00 PM on February 25, 2008


but that doesn't mean you can dismiss its usefulness as an explanatory model or go "La-la-la-la-la!" when I show clear empirical evidence that moderates are numerically dominant in the U.S., and conservatives outnumber liberals.

right now - but people are capable of changing their political philosophies or being persuaded to do so - the mistake a lot of people on the left are making today is to assume that such ideological stances are written in stone or can't be spun

the republicans, in the last 30 years or so haven't been that blind to their opportunities - the democrats, for the most part have - they need a coherent philosophy, a coherent program, the courage to lose on principle and most of all, the balls to be the aggressors

the key word for this election? - competence - the republicans haven't shown it, period - they can be killed with it and they should be

All that you're saying here is that you're a weirdo who has little in common with the bulk of humanity

he's a weirdo because he's antiwar?

god, we're just utterly FUCKED then, aren't we? - how depressing it is to realize that someone who dislikes the idea of american bombs making hamburger out of all those funny forrenners is a weirdo

you know - like the 6 billion people who aren't americans and are sick of our bellicose bullshit? - they're weirdos, too, aren't they?

90% of humanity only go along with war because they don't feel they have a choice - and you NEVER see more than a small minority actually out there with the weapons fighting it, which doesn't mean that one can't get killed by it anyway

at the most, they're more likely to send someone to do the fighting rather than do it themselves - and maybe, just maybe, they'd really rather that the shit just not start in the first place

but if you really believe that people who are against war are weirdos then we might as well launch all the missiles now and put everyone out of our misery so a sane species like cockroaches can take over

someone believes and votes that the world can get over all that and you snark at him - well, i guess you get the world you believe in, don't you?

what a suck-ass, life-denying, futile, humanity-betraying thing to say
posted by pyramid termite at 9:30 PM on February 25, 2008


As bad as Nader is, at least he didn't get Daddy and Daddy's friends to steal an election for him. And we Americans let that fucker in, too, for eight long and catastrophic years. Maybe Nader isn't nearly as responsible for our mess as we'd desperately like him to be.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:52 PM on February 25, 2008


how depressing it is to realize that someone who dislikes the idea of american bombs making hamburger out of all those funny forrenners is a weirdo

I can't help but point out that had a small number of Nader supporters voted more pragmatically in 2000 there would likely be less hamburger. There WAS a lesser of two evils who WAS heartbreakingly close. Great candidate? Probably not. Great campaign? Clearly no. But, would we all, pretty much everyone on the earth, have slightly better hand of cards right now? I think so.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:17 AM on February 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


I can't help but point out that had a small number of Nader supporters voted more pragmatically in 2000 there would likely be less hamburger.

as i've pointed out way above, that's a dubious assumption to make, especially with joe lieberman being v p
posted by pyramid termite at 7:04 AM on February 26, 2008


Point it out all day, it won't make any more true.

Do you really think that we would be in the same war in the same fashion if Gore had been president? As for Leiberman, I deeply dislike him but, if I remember my civics correctly, the Vice President has less power than the President. Again, I am not saying that Gore would have been perfect, but he would very clearly been better, and the difference between what we HAVE and what we COULD HAVE HAD has been terribly expensive. Gore wasn't left enough for your liking, fair enough. Mine either. But he was a candidate with a realistic chance of winning, and Nader was not.

If it makes you feel better to act like Bush and Gore were the same, do so, but it doesn't reflect reality.
posted by dirtdirt at 7:23 AM on February 26, 2008


Do you really think that we would be in the same war in the same fashion if Gore had been president?

if the votes of the rest of the democratic establishment for bush's war are any indication, it's a distinct possibility

this has been a two party supported war, period
posted by pyramid termite at 8:43 AM on February 26, 2008


this has been a two party supported war, period
Although I am angered and ashamed that this is largely true, it is not the point I am arguing. Support is different than origination. Yes, the lily-livered Democrats supported the war (a war?), more or less. But would Gore have thought "Hey, while we are in Afghanistan, post 9/11, why don't we all pile in the bus and head over to Iraq, too?"

I don't think he would have. Do you, really?
posted by dirtdirt at 8:56 AM on February 26, 2008


Support is different than origination.

bush 2 didn't originate the war against iraq, he expanded it - we had been bombing the country for years - including the years that clinton and gore were in office
posted by pyramid termite at 9:04 AM on February 26, 2008


See, here's the thing. By definition the lesser of two evils is still indeed evil. But it's also demonstrably LESS evil. I don't know what to tell you here. Policy in and in regards to Iraq has been fucked up since I was a kid, and I wish it were different. But it's not.

If you can't see a substantive difference between status quo sabre rattling and tactical bombing, as horrible as those things are, and the full-on genocidal, uncontrolled shitblizzard that is happening there now, well, I guess we have to agree to disagree.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:24 AM on February 26, 2008


"bush 2 didn't originate the war against iraq, he expanded it - we had been bombing the country for years - including the years that clinton and gore were in office"

That doesn't imply that Gore would have invaded—that implies that Gore would have likely just kept bombing 'em.
posted by klangklangston at 9:25 AM on February 26, 2008


By definition the lesser of two evils is still indeed evil. But it's also demonstrably LESS evil.

the whole point i'm making is that in regard to iraq, you can't demonstrate that gore would have been less evil than bush with any certainty and there are reasons to doubt it

it's an article of faith - one i don't share and one you can't prove

If you can't see a substantive difference between status quo sabre rattling and tactical bombing, as horrible as those things are, and the full-on genocidal, uncontrolled shitblizzard that is happening there now

actually, i can't see much of a difference - except that we probably aren't seeing 6k iraqi children dying a month from malnutrition now like they were 10 years ago

but it's an article of faith that only republicans are responsible for killing the poor iraqis, right?

---

That doesn't imply that Gore would have invaded—that implies that Gore would have likely just kept bombing 'em.

according to the figures i just linked to, that also implies that gore's actions would have killed more iraqis, then

what was that about the lesser of two evils someone was saying?

i voted for nader in 2000 - MY conscience is clear
posted by pyramid termite at 10:39 AM on February 26, 2008


ps - i'm actually old enough to remember another war under a democratic president and how that turned out - my cynicism about the democrats and their intentions has deep historical roots
posted by pyramid termite at 10:41 AM on February 26, 2008


there are reasons to doubt it

You know, you're right. You voted for the guy who couldn't be elected and therefore was no risk of him actually having to try and solve this gargantuan problem, and so your conscience is clear. Great. Bully for you.

The facts you state a) end in 1999 and b) do not mention Al Gore at all.

Let me re-state for clarity: Gore would have done things differently than Bush. He's not fucking Ghandi, and I am not saying that Iraq would be a land of unicorns and gumdrops, but it would be different and nearly certainly better than it is now. Your inability to see (or more likely admit) that simple fact does not make it any less true.

If want less or no war I would recommend next time you help elect someone who would be less likely to perpetrate one while still potentially being able to become President. Your conscience might not be quite as clear, but you might actually get less war.
posted by dirtdirt at 11:25 AM on February 26, 2008


here, read this, Nader hating "leftist" whiners:
Operative paragraph:

"If you’re going to say Nader cost Gore a win in Florida, you might have to say the same thing about any of a list of lesser-known possible spoilers. David McReynolds, the Socialist candidate in 2000, got 622 votes in Florida. Give ’em to Gore and he’d have won regardless of Nader. Or give Gore the lion’s share of the Libertarian, Constitution Party or Natural Law Party vote in Florida, and get there that way."

Or consider that Pat Buchanan being in the race threw the state of New Mexico to Gore (he won NM by 366 votes...Or any of an infinity of other factors.
posted by jackbrown at 11:48 AM on February 26, 2008


About a week ago I saw something really shocking. Uncut CNN footing from 1992 that went out over satellite to affiliate stations who were supposed to add their own commercial programming over the break. In the clip, Larry King tells candidate Bill Clinton, "Turner wants to change the world... he can really help you."

I'm convinced that wagging the finger at individual voters is a distraction. It's bread and circuses. Comparing the responsibility of individual voters to the responsibility of Gore, Kerry, and Nader is like comparing a grain of rice to thanksgiving dinner. It's a complete non-sequetor. There is such a huge difference in power and privilege between individual members of an increasingly disenfranchised electorate, and the entrenched power interests that stand behind Presidential candidates that it just doesn't make sense to me.

I suspect that the reason that Nader is relevant today is because he's a loyalty test. Expressing necessary loathing for Nader, (or self-loathing if you voted for him) is a necessary pre-requisite to be a part of the in club. Otherwise, I fail to see how he's relevant to the current election cycle. It's all ritual.

And I also suspect that it's a part of a disturbing trend of partisan groupthink, with people being told not to talk about some of the more unsavory positions and statements of candidates. I remember 2006 in which Kossaks got nasty with anyone criticizing Ford's gaybaiting on the eve of the election. And already, people are being told to shut up, suck up, and deal when Clinton subtly invokes racism and Obama subtly invokes sexism to score rhetorical points.

But, I'm convinced that the honeymoon between the American left and Democratic candidates should end five minutes after inauguration. Yeah, hold your nose and vote for the lesser of two evils, and then start lobbying for more, more, more, until our ultimate goals are reached.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:30 PM on February 26, 2008


I would add to this to jackbrown's coment: Why isn't anyone lashing out at gay activists? I think you can make a pretty solid case that they played right into the hands of the GOP and helped delivered the last election to Bush instead of Kerry. What? No one remembers the defiant summer of "in-yer-face gay-marriage"? You know -- that thing that allowed the GOP to whip up hysteria daily and slip anti-gay marriage ballot initiatives into 11 key states, thereby ensuring that their ultra-conservative voter-base turned out in droves? No one remembers the plaintive wail from some of us saying: "Hey, guys ... could ya kinda wait a few months with this issue? Maybe like after the friggin' election?"

But Naderites supporting their cause is "bad" because it might have an adverse effect on the election and we must think of the greater good ???

=====
Disclaimer: I'm not blaming the gay activists for anything, of course. They were exercising their rights. I'm merely illustrating an interesting parallel. I don't see how you can excoriate one Nader without condemning their lousy sense of timing.
posted by RavinDave at 12:42 PM on February 26, 2008


I am pissed at the gay activists who chose to make a huge issue out of gay marriage in the year of a tightly contested election. However, only a little pissed. Their issue was far more noble than Nadir's vainglory and the timing was mostly a result of the court decisions which were happening.
posted by caddis at 1:53 PM on February 26, 2008


RavinDave: I would add to this to jackbrown's coment: Why isn't anyone lashing out at gay activists? I think you can make a pretty solid case that they played right into the hands of the GOP and helped delivered the last election to Bush instead of Kerry. What? No one remembers the defiant summer of "in-yer-face gay-marriage"? You know -- that thing that allowed the GOP to whip up hysteria daily and slip anti-gay marriage ballot initiatives into 11 key states, thereby ensuring that their ultra-conservative voter-base turned out in droves? No one remembers the plaintive wail from some of us saying: "Hey, guys ... could ya kinda wait a few months with this issue? Maybe like after the friggin' election?"

The legal battles over marriage equality have been going on for years, and those pushing the case in the courts have minimal control over the timing. The anti-gay constitutional amendments were also a process that involved months, sometimes years of organizing and planning. Many of these protests that you criticize, were a direct response to those same laws and ballot initiatives winding their way through the political process, and a direct response to initiatives that were passed in the previous mid-term elections. So it's not as if either side suddenly made this a big issue in the last three months of the election cycle.

There is no convenient season.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:59 PM on February 26, 2008


caddis: I am pissed at the gay activists who chose to make a huge issue out of gay marriage in the year of a tightly contested election.

WTF? Dude, Goodridge and Lawrence were decided in fucking 2003. A full year before the election. Meanwhile, state legislatures were putting the initiatives on the ballot as early as March. What were we supposed to do, just sit-out the entire year while well-funded conservative groups cleaned our clock?

This idea that the ballot initiatives sprang from nowhere at the 11th hour in response to pushy queers is a victim-blaiming conservative myth. Opponents of marriage equality have been organizing and pushing for years. It wasn't a spontaneous backlash, it was a carfeully planned and orchestrated political campaign.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:22 PM on February 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's pure bullshit. Conservatives have been rallying around "traditional family values" and "defense of marriage" since the mid-90s after Baehr which which is another case in an off-election year (1993). That lead to DOMA in 1996. Conservative groups started making support of a constitutional amendment a litmus test for the state and federal legislatures, which paved the way for a series of ballot initiatives in 2000, 2002 and 2004. The groundwork and organizing for many of these initiatives came about long before the primary races were even settled. How the heck are we supposed to know that the 2000 and 2004 presidential races will be "highly contested" when there isn't even an official nominee?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:02 PM on February 26, 2008


WTF? Dude...
get over it. I already said all that. Nevertheless, those robo-calls scaring midwestern voters with the apocalypse of gays marrying in the event that John Kerry won were very effective. Anyway, I think we are going to get proper gay marriage rights in NJ in the near future, not just domestic partnerships.
posted by caddis at 3:19 PM on February 26, 2008


Your inability to see (or more likely admit) that simple fact does not make it any less true.

it never happened - how can it be a fact?

get back to me when you learn the difference between speculation and fact
posted by pyramid termite at 8:53 PM on February 26, 2008


I'm sorry. But suggesting that Gore would have invaded Iraq is just such utter fucking bullshit. It took the hordes of Bush-appointed neocons all the magic they could muster to conjure "evidence" out of thin air and torture, it took Powell, one of the most trusted people in this country, to lie in front of the United Nations and the world, it took the whole of the slavering corporate-controlled sycophantic media pounding the drums for months on end while slurping up every last misspoken word that dripped out of Bush's mouth like it was from Jesus himself, and it took the Reichstag of 9/11 to overcome the resistance to a war so unpopular that the largest crowds in history turned out to protest its execution. Do you not remember how they had to rush into the war totally unprepared because they thought any delay might prevent it from happening at all?

To suggest that Mr. Internet, Mr. An Inconvenient Truth Environmentalist, who went into war in Kosovo only because the masses were for years howling about the genocide and atrocities is either plain stupid or completely disingenuous.

Look. We're on your side. I voted for Nader in 2000. In New York. I loved him. I wanted to give the Green Party, my party, their 5%. But that's not what Nader was after--he's said as much, repeatedly. He wanted to punish the Democrats for not paying enough attention to him. He wanted to spoil the election, so that we would suffer, and the conservative mass of america would finally say 'unkle', and beg for that distasteful, unamerican socialist agenda to end their pain.

And, I could see his point. We wouldn't have welfare if we hadn't had the great depression. But, you know what? It wasn't worth it. Not the blood on our hands, not the torture. This whole ends justify the means leaves me with a sour taste is my mouth. And his modus operandi really isn't that much different from the neocons--though I do prefer his ends.

He lied. And betrayed his own people. I don't think he's been doing it, at least consciously, for his own aggrandizement. But he has made the fatal error of putting ideals in front of people. And that makes me sad.
posted by cytherea at 11:06 PM on February 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


About a week ago I saw something really shocking. Uncut CNN footing from 1992 that went out over satellite to affiliate stations who were supposed to add their own commercial programming over the break. In the clip, Larry King tells candidate Bill Clinton, "Turner wants to change the world... he can really help you."

❊ Gives KirkJobSluder the secret Illuminati handshake while making the devil horns with other hand. ❊
posted by XMLicious at 11:12 PM on February 26, 2008


And yes, there is a huge difference between Nader supporters and Pat Buchanan et al. supporters--the difference is that we're basically on the same side, and that, at least in retrospect, we should have done everything we could to prevent George Bush from becoming president. And we could have done that, we really could have, if the swing state Nader voters had just swallowed their righteousness and pride and bile and pulled the lever for Al Gore instead. And no, they couldn't have known at the time. But Nader should have told them to.
posted by cytherea at 11:33 PM on February 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


Trying Times for the Remaining Nader Faithful in today's NY Times:

One long since off the reservation is Miles Rapoport, who went to high school with Mr. Sloane, later became secretary of the state in Connecticut and was one of the early Nader Raiders. From 1979 to 1984, he headed the Connecticut Citizens Action Group, which Mr. Nader founded.

But in 2004, he joined more than 75 other former Nader associates opposing his candidacy and now fears Mr. Nader runs the risk of letting his name become synonymous with perennial candidates and political cranks, this era’s Harold Stassen.

“I think his narcissism has simply taken over, the sense that nothing is happening in the world except when it’s around me,” said Mr. Rapoport, now president of Demos, a public policy research and advocacy organization. He added, “Simply to say the two parties don’t represent me, that there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between them, is only true if the only place one looks is in the mirror.”

posted by Locative at 4:02 AM on February 28, 2008


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