"Nader's Raiders"
October 20, 2000 6:11 PM   Subscribe

"Nader's Raiders" ask Nader to reconsider. "It is now clear that you might well give the White House to Bush. As a result, you would set back significantly the social progress to which you have devoted your entire, astonishing career''
posted by owillis (23 comments total)
From the Greens for Gore site:

NPR's Mark Roberts (reporter): Nader most often answered questions about whether he can win. Nader said the real question is whether he can attract 5% of the vote to get federal campaign funds and help establish a new party to compete in future elections.

Ralph Nader: "In Texas, Bush is going to win in a landslide. In New York, it looks like Gore is going to win big. So that's where the Democrats, progressive Democrats can send a message and vote Green. And we expect to get votes because of that phenomenon where really the race has been decided between the two major parties of various states. We're going to be the beneficiary of those votes, if people look at their votes strategically, not just voting their conscience instead of their fears, but voting for a significant Green party after the election to be the watchdog and to hold the two parties' feet to the fire."

posted by owillis at 6:14 PM on October 20, 2000

It occurs to me that Nader could do a world of good by mobilizing a bunch of disaffected citizens to his cause, and then at the 11th hour withdrawing from the race and telling them to vote Gore.
Not that I think he'd do that, but still.
posted by lbergstr at 6:52 PM on October 20, 2000

It occurs to me that Nader could do a world of good by mobilizing a bunch of disaffected citizens to his cause, and then at the 11th hour withdrawing from the race and telling them to vote Gore.

Yeah, that would help. Nader's message could be, "Hey disaffected citizens! Gush and Bore are too closely aligned and the 2 major political parties have turned their backs on you in favor of Corporate dollars and special interest groups. Now vote for real change and uh, vote for Al Gore."

Oh wait...

Jeez, didn't this happen once upon a time when an idealistic business man named Ross Poirot (there is no such thing as a perfect election. Can I finish?) dropped out of the race because he didn't want to be the "spoiler"?

Bah indeed.
posted by ethmar at 7:10 PM on October 20, 2000

"It would be a cruel irony indeed if your major legacy were to erase the victory from the candidate who most embodies your philosophy, Al Gore."

News to me. When did Gore become a progressive?
posted by Dean_Paxton at 8:30 PM on October 20, 2000


People have been thwapping Nader with this line for months. All it means is that he's getting enough attention to be dangerous, and thus that his campaign is succeeding.

posted by Mars Saxman at 11:20 PM on October 20, 2000

if Gore can't crush fucking bush, he's got no right to win this election. go nader
posted by chaz at 1:15 AM on October 21, 2000

Thank you Chaz.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 2:10 AM on October 21, 2000

From professor David N. Mayer Columbus Ohio:

"Thomas Jefferson has long been a stumbling block for U.S. politicians and political thinkers. As author of the Declaration of Independence, he is unavoidably the man who defined America's meaning. Yet the Jeffersonian philosophy is clearly one of reason, individualism, liberty, and limited government—all of which are, in different ways, anathema to modern liberals and conservatives. How to resolve this conflict? For the most part, the answer has been to celebrate parts of Jefferson's philosophy and ignore others."

This right here is why 75% of this country doesn't vote. Our two-party political system doesn't want us to have Jeffersonian ideals, because they are counterproductive to the politician's need to control the masses. So our 'civil servants' are in effect working for themselves and not for us, so we no longer give a damn what they do.

The servants to the civilians have been self-serving. Perhaps they always were, but it's only in recent decades that this selfishness has become so transparent as to be a slap in our accumulative face. we can vote our own raises. we can bounce checks and break laws with no reprisal. They can do what they want and the American masses sit back and pick their noses and do nothing to stop them.

Nader doesn't even have a snowball's chance in hell. He knows this. He's all but admitted that himself. He just wants funds to establish a third party in an official capacity. He's thinking long term and doesn't care that his actions will help put the wrong puppet in the Oval Office next year. Why? So he can play ball with the Big Boys. And we claim he's *different* than Gore or Bush? He's just as bad as them. There is not a single clean politician in this country and I will tell you why.

If I wanted to, I should be able to vote for my best friend or my uncle if I want, and it should count. And there should be a pip somewhere on the screen behind the news media talking heads on voting day that says I did. And if enough other people who know him agreed with me he'd get elected. We can't do this. Why? Because a handful of very rich and influential people pull the strings and roll out the deals both behind closed doors and right in front of our faces. They decide who will compete against whom, and they decide who will win.

Oh, this is not a conspiracy in the classic sense of the term. I doubt the boys and girls playing the game even realize the breadth of their control, and I doubt any one participant in the game holds all the cards. They compete with each other. Each with their own agena. Each with their money and contacts and yesmen and assets and weight to throw around.

It should be the best man in the country for the job, not the guy with the most rich influential friends. But it's the most rich influential people who are really pulling the strings and making things happen and they believe in buying control and power at the cost of the masses who they think don't deserve it.

Our country was never really a true democracy. It's a republic. Like the way the Roman society was before it was taken over by benevolent dictators and turned into an Empire.

America's not a republic really anymore. It's an aristocracy. Our freedom in this country is an illusion. And eventually one of the guys playing the aristocracy game will come forward, crush all opposition, and claim his wrongful place as the new emperor of the USA.

Think I'm being melodramatic? That it can't happen? That's what they thought in Rome too, over two millenia ago. Read your history.

Until the electoral college is completely abolished, and our entire political structure is decimated and rebuilt, we will continue to have this mockery of an election. The true power is not with the people and hasn't been for a very long time.

That does it. I'm not even voting November 7th. Doesn't matter anyway. Bush is still winning Texas. My voice was muted years ago. This is a crock. I refuse to participate in this farce any longer.

I used to believe I had no right to bitch unless I voted. So I continued to vote. That's a load of BS. I will bitch until a person's vote actually means something in this country again. Whether or not I actually vote no longer makes a difference. The 5% with 95% have already voted. They know the outcome long before we do. They are laughing at us. And we are the gullible. Not just the ones for Gore, but the ones for Bush and the ones for Nader and Buchannan as well. We are all suckers and pawns in the hands of the economic aristocracy of this country.

posted by ZachsMind at 2:23 AM on October 21, 2000

Hey-Zachsmind! What a bunch of self-pitying crap. Go ahead, take your toys and go home. We all cry out for chage and the minute, the second someone tries to do something different you're ready to criticize 'cause he doesn't play by your rules. Pat yourself on the back for being smater than the rest of us. I hope you sleep better tonight.
The truth of the matter is yes, the system is broken and unless you are ready to take up arms, this is probably the best chance you're gonna get to send a message-any message-to the powers that be.
The truth is, money makes the world go round. And if anything Nader has admitted to nothing but that. He is working to insure that we have more options.
You don't like Nader? Fine. Write in your uncle. Go to Kinko's, print up a flyer, send some emails telling everybody why you think he should have the job.
Anything else is a BS copout, ya heard?
posted by black8 at 2:58 AM on October 21, 2000

Sounds like Zach just got an apple stuck in his thorax, everybody.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 3:12 AM on October 21, 2000

On Texans having only illusory freedoms: whatever causes the illusions is good shit, since it sure does seem different from Pinochet, Franco, Stalin, the Inquisition, blah blah blah.
posted by sylloge at 3:48 AM on October 21, 2000

ZachsMind: I agree with virtually everything you just said, but I'm still voting Nader. Why? because Nader (a) knows right from wrong (indeed, he also agrees with almost everything you just said); and (b) has a solid track record of converting those moral beliefs into action. In other words, the man gets good stuff done. Auto safety, the clean water act, the EPA, you know the drill. He has saved millions of lives.

Right, so that's reform, not revolution. And yes, we all want a revolution. However, the reality is: revolutions don't just materialize. The preconditions have to be in place. And the preconditions involve the diffusion of revolutionary ideas among a large number of people. Nader is important not only because of the concrete reforms he sucessfully fights for, but also for the revolutionary ideas that he is using his campaign to propagate, especially among young people (as evidenced by thoughtful reactions like this)

Dropping out of politics is exactly what the elites want you to do. (Remember Bill Hicks: "here's Love Connection, watch this and get fat and stupid!...") Political revolution can only arise when a critical mass of people are talking about revolutionary political ideas. And that's the role of grassroots alternative party politics.

In short: A vote for Nader is a vote for grassroots, people-centric politics, and therefore a vote for the dissemination of the radical ideas that are the prelude to genuine revolution.
posted by johnb at 3:54 AM on October 21, 2000

I could revolutionize if I wanted to, get a bunch of drunk rowdy weekend cowboys with guns together and try to take over the capitol. End up getting mowed down by the ATF like the Branch Davidians did in Waco. The most extreme actions you can possibly conjure up. It would make no difference.

Bush will win Texas because of the electoral college. That is as sure as the sun coming up in the morning. It was like this four years ago, and four years before that and it will be again.

You call it defeatism. I call it realism. Voting for Nader? You might as well vote for Mickey Mouse. It will make no difference.

posted by ZachsMind at 4:00 AM on October 21, 2000

Sylloge, you should re-listen to Chomsky's Massey Lecture (which I found via your page). Two brief points:

(1) in so called "democratic" societies like the US, propaganda mostly replaces domestic physical violence (unless you are a WTO protestor, or a poor African-American, or....)

(2) however, the physical violence that the US has caused outside its borders is far worse than what went on inside Franco's Spain, or during the Inquisition etc. This violence is a direct result (surprise!) of the plutocratic situation described in ZachsMind's post.

So yes, it's very good shit.
posted by johnb at 4:12 AM on October 21, 2000

I have only this to say after reading Zach's post. Thomas Jefferson also once said that the American people deserve the government that they get. If you want to vote for Gore on the basis of taking out "the lesser evil," go ahead. You deserve what you get. If you want to vote for Bush, then you certainly deserve what you get, particularly if you're a blue-collar male inspired by the Reagan populist turn Bush took in the third debate (which, interestingly enough, cited language and the death tax opposition of a focus group from a Frank Luntz profile in the October 16 New Yorker). If, on the other hand, you want to vote for a presidential candidate who's willing to take an active alternative stand on the issues, then vote for Nader. If America is a "democracy," you are entitled to the president you deserve.

However, if the Green Party mysteriously disappeared from human existence and the choices were down to Browne, Buchanan, Bush and Gore, I would not hesitate in voting for Mickey Mouse.

posted by ed at 9:29 AM on October 21, 2000

As a non-american, I have no influence on the election, but then again neither do most americans.Zachsmind why don't you at least voteif you don't like the 2 party system why don't u vote for nader. while i personally disagree with some of nader's policies, for some change in the american political system nader is your only hope. anyway you are in texas your vote for nader won't effect gore's chances. you might say your vote is worthless but then everyone else could say the same thing. don't you think it is defeatist action not to vote.
posted by jay at 1:05 PM on October 21, 2000

I think the point of Zach's post was that once Nader starts playing with the big boys, it's over. You can't work from within the system, because the system moves you. The fear is that once the Green Party becomes a legitimate third party (whatever that means), it will lose the zeal and idealism that got it there in the first place.

Personally, I registered to vote, but not because of the Presidential contest. Let's face it, a dead kitty stapled to an aborted fetus could have whipped GWB, and the fact that Gore has run his campaign so incompetently only proves that he's a dunderhead.

Whether it's Bush or Gore, or even Nader, the country will go on. Hey, I like Nader's policies, but I also realize that the actual influence of a President is minimal. The federal government has long been a plutocracy. You know what? I've made my peace with the fact that the ideals the government professes are lies. I see that, and I accept that.

At the same time, I believe that there needs to be massive fundamental change to the way our planet is dealt with. Let's face it, government is all about property, and the way it's doled out now is absurd.

Did anyone else see that news footage of some Catholic dinner that both Bush and Gore attended? Again, the two parties in collusion. While the social agenda - abortion, prayer in school, gay rights, etc. - differs, the fundamental attitude is the same.

When the change comes, it will not come through legislation or an election. It will come when we realize that we don't need these jackasses to speak for us.

Why vote, then? Local issues. Your choices for President may disgust you, but that's far from important. Ballot initiatives, School Board composition, bond issues - these are the things that matter. Think Globally, Act Locally, and your local government has a far greater impact on you than the federal government does.

So please vote. Hell, you don't like Bush or Gore or Nader or any other candidate, leave that blank. But being aware of your immediate surroundings is much more important than a national scale.
posted by solistrato at 1:57 PM on October 21, 2000

FYI, Savage Love this week brings up a lot of good issues about the Nader vote. I'm for it, he's against it, but we agree that people underestimate the differences between Bush and Gore, as well as the ramifications of a "successful" Nader campaign.
posted by luke at 2:09 PM on October 21, 2000

I could revolutionize if I wanted to, get a bunch of drunk rowdy weekend cowboys with guns together and try to take over the capitol. End up getting mowed down by the ATF like the Branch Davidians did in Waco. The most extreme actions you can possibly conjure up. It would make no difference.

That's actually not very extreme, or even very original. The pen really is mightier than the sword: you can do a lot more damage to the "establishment" with a good media virus than with any amount of automatic weaponry.

The fact that the sort of revolution you describe would make no difference does not mean that revolutionizing in general makes no difference.

posted by Mars Saxman at 3:18 PM on October 21, 2000

Solis, that dinner (I can’t remember the name of it) is an old tradition started by New York’s previous and hyperactive Archdiocese. I’d hardly call it collusion, they do it nearly every election. (Not the last one, because it was scheduled on the same night as a debate.) Basically, the candidates go and wiltingly toss bon mots at one another. Gore said, “Bush is selling us a bridge to the 1930s.” Which recieved a chorus of boos from the billionaire bankers in attendance.

Zach! Congratulations on your keen discovery on the totalitiarianism of the rich and powerful running your country. You stayed on the train a little long (Emporers make for bad PR), but I’m glad to see you finally found the right one. People often come to this conclusion: Abolitionists, Union Organizers and Women’s Suffragists to name a few.

Now, you’ve got a choice. I don’t think you’ve lit on one quite yet. You can become a serf of the state, letting politics, information and taxes wash over you like dirt over a grave. Or, you can educate yourself on your rights and inherent power as a citizen (You have both! Your defeatist’s stance comes from a lack of knowledge about either.) and work for change.

Be pissed off! Be angry! You’re the type of guy this place needs. Just don’t be a fucking loser and give up.

If you have any self-respect you’ll do the former and become an active citizen. The ideals this country stands for are worth fighting for.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 3:20 PM on October 21, 2000

FYI, Savage Love this week brings up a lot of good issues about the Nader vote...

Luke, Savage's lame arguments were savaged in this lively thread

Here's Jeffrey St. Clair on why The Real Threat is Al Gore, Not Ralph Nader
posted by johnb at 5:15 PM on October 21, 2000

Zach for President!!! Good on you, mate!
posted by lagado at 5:20 PM on October 21, 2000

Obviously, ha-ha, you’ll want to do the latter. I mistakenly promoted serfdom.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 5:59 PM on October 21, 2000

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