Thursday, February 28, 2008

McCain, Obama, macaca and Nader


Scott said...

I will watch the VIRGINIA polls and listen to ALL of the candidates before voting strategically.

I don’t feel sorry for Democrats about the 2000 elections (I feel sorry for the country for allowing Bush to steal it!). Democrats had the choice to nominate better candidates. Ralph Nader wasn’t the Tennessean who lost Tennesee. I don’t feel sorry for Democrats about the 2004 elections. They could have actually nominated a candidate opposed to the Iraq War. You recall Nader met with Kerry and gave Kerry chances to reform.

Additionally, the treatment of Nader and other third party candidates in 2004 by many Democrats was absolutely deplorable. In fact, if it was not for the Green Party's candidate Cobb's courageous actions (in stark contrast to Kerry's cowardice and apathy), the voter fraud in Ohio would never have been uncovered and prosecuted.

Today, Nader noted that if the Democrats can’t pull a landslide victory over John McCain and the Republicans this year above all then they should just pack up and go home.

Nader made no mention of whether he was seeking the Green Party nomination or an Independent bid for the Presidency, however in earlier interviews with Democracy Now he has said that if he were to run he would seek “Green Party ballot lines” as well as run with other third parties or as an Independent in other states if necessary.

Nadar causing Gore to lose the election, particularly in Florida, is a famous Urban Legend.

There were just about as many votes cast for Right-wing third parties like Pat Buchanan, Reform and Libertarian Harry Browne as there were for Nadar. More Democrats voted for Bush than Nader.

According to “House of Bush, House of Saud” by Craig Unger, 90,000 Arab Americans voted in Florida, and they split their votes 50/50 between George W Bush and Ralph Nader. So half of Ralph Nader’s 90,000 votes in Florida came from Arab-Americans; had he not been on the ballot, probably more than half those votes would have gone to Bush rather than Gore. so Nader’s campaign probably was not the reason Gore lost Florida.

Regardless of how you vote, Nader should be listened to and respected:

Instrumental in the passing of the following legislation:

National Automobile and Highway Traffic Safety Act (1965)
Clean Water Act (1968)
Clean Air Act (1970)
Co-Op Bank Bill (1978)
Law establishing Environmental Protection Agency (1970)
Consumer Product Safety Act
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
Mine Health and Safety Act
Whistleblower Protection Act
Medical Devices safety
Nuclear power safety
Mobile home safety
Consumer credit disclosure law
Pension protection law
Funeral home cost disclosure law
Tire safety & grading disclosure law
Wholesome Meat Act
Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act
Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act
Wholesome Poultry Product Act
Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) 1970
Safe Water Drinking Act
Freedom of Information Act
National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act

Founded or sponsored the following organizations:

American Antitrust Institute
Appleseed Foundation
Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest
Aviation Consumer Action Project
Buyers Up
Capitol Hill News Service Center for Concerned Engineering
Center for Auto Safety
Center for Insurance Research
Center for Justice and Democracy
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Center for the study of Responsive Law – 1969
Center for Women Policy Studies
Citizen Action Group
Citizen Advocacy Center
Citizen Utility Boards
Citizen Works
Clean Water Action Project
Clearinghouse for Professional Responsibility
Congress Project
Congress Watch
Congressional Accountability Project
Connecticut Citizen Action Group
Consumer Project on Technology
Corporate Accountability Research Group
Critical Mass Energy Project
Democracy Rising
Disability Rights Center
Equal Justice Foundation
Essential Information
FANS (Fight to Advance the Nation’s Sports)
Fisherman’s Clear Water Action Group
Foundation for Taxpayers and Consumer Rights
Freedom of Information Clearinghouse
Global Trade Watch
Government Purchasing Project
Health Research Group
Litigation Group
Multinational Monitor
National Citizen’s Coalition for Nursing Home Reform
National Coalition for Universities in the Public Interest
National Insurance Consumer Organization
Ohio Public Interest Action Group
Organization for Competitive Markets
Professional Drivers (PROD)
Professionals for Auto Safety
Public Citizen
Pension Rights Center
Princeton Project 55
PROD - truck safety
Public Citizen’s Visitor’s Center
Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGS)
Resource Consumption Alliance (conserve trees) 1004
Retired Professionals Action Group
Shafeek Nader Trust for the Community Interest
Tax Reform Research Group
Telecommunications Research and Action Center

F.T. Rea said...

Your exhaustive defense of Ralph Nader shows me how often you must have used it. I won't deal with how convincing it is, or isn't, because that would involve arguing over/nitpicking carefully selected statistics.

By the way, I have never claimed Nader was the main reason Al Gore lost to George Bush in 2000.

However, no one can say Nader wasn't a factor in Gore's loss. Like so many other factors, starting with what a bad campaign Gore ran, it mattered. Four years later, John Kerry was even worse.

Ralph Nader has been a hero to me for a long time.

When he ran in 2000 I defended him against attacks from Democrats who saw his candidacy in a bad light. He had no idea how close that race would turn out to be, or how the votes he got might look afterward. So, I still don't blame him for Gore's loss. And, to guess what would have happened had he not been in the race is a waste of time, to me.

Would Bill Clinton have lost if Ross Perot hadn't run in 1992? I don't know, nor does anyone else.

Now to the present: We do know more now than we did in 2000. We've seen the devastation that an incompetent president can heap on America and the rest of the world.

Few of us could have envisioned how bad Bush would be.

We know that there's a good chance this election will be close again in some key states.

In 2008 I don't think Nader will help the Democrats, or America, or the causes he has championed over the years by being a presidential candidate. Nor do I think many people will rally around him.

Just because some of what he says is as true as it gets, that doesn't mean he should run.

Moreover, he risks looking like a crackpot by doing so, because he's not representing anyone now but himself. No one is begging Ralph to run.

So, I hope Nader abandons the notion and looks instead at how much Gore has accomplished by staying out of partisan politics.

Anonymous said...

Like I alluded, I am not sure how I am going to vote yet.

But polls suggest that Virginia will go to McCain regardless of the Democratic nominee. So if not Nader, how about another third party candidate?

Anonymous said...

Ralph who?

So, I will concede that Nader has earned our respect with many years of working in the public's interest... but what has he done lately?

He's not even using the sounding board that being a candidate for President gives someone... at least not to say anything meaningful.

F.T. Rea said...

Anonymous (2 p.m.)

My objection to third party presidential runs is the same now as it has been for a long time. Usually, “third party” is a misnomer, because there is no party behind the candidate. Instead, there is only an ad hoc group that is disgruntled with one or both major parties.

To me, a real political party would begin at a place and time with a plan to stay in the game, and from one year to the next it would grow. It would run candidates for local and statewide offices. It would stand for something other than being disgruntled.

John Anderson in 1980 and Ross Perot in 1992 are examples of so-called third party campaigns that got a lot of votes. What they accomplished is hard to say.

The Greens and Libertarians are praiseworthy activists, but they can all but disappear from the serious business of building a viable alternative to the Democrats and Republicans between elections. I agree with much those two groups stand for, but when they suddenly want attention and loyalty in a national election I can’t offer them much comfort.

When it comes to electing governors and presidents, I’m a pragmatist.

This country would be in a lot less trouble today if boring Gore, or boring Kerry had been elected. I think it’s fair to say that few, if any, Americans in uniform would have died in Iraq if Gore had won. If Kerry had won, I think that failed mission would have ended by now.

War and peace isn't the only issue, but it can be the most important.

Anonymous said...

The Green Party is growing.

I think its false to say that Nader is not saying anything.

F.T. Rea said...

Anonymous (3:49 p.m.),

My only departure with the Greens, or Libertarians, would be in tactics, not so much about goals. Friends can disagree on such levels. And, in my view, Ralph Nader is still saying plenty that ought to be heard and respected ... but not as a presidential candidate.

Because Nader has used that platform before just doesn’t mean he should do it again. Don’t we all like to see a player at any game who knows when his time is done, before he has to be shown the door?

Moreover, I think Nader may actually hurt the causes he cares about by seeming too damn willing to be a political clown, a sideshow for the 24-hour cable news impresarios.

So, I don’t want a guy who rates as a genuine hero to run that risk.

Katey said...

Fortunately, I think Nader runs very little risk of doing any noticeable damage to the Democratic party or her chances for victory in the general election. This is the Democrats' race to lose.

And as for Virginia, from the polling that I have read it looks like we stand a stronger chance than ever in my lifetime to cast our electoral votes for the Democratic candidate (if the nominee is Obama, and that looks like a given at this point). This is an exciting election year. For once the Democrats have a stronger fund raising machine (even more wonderful is that it's driven by small individual donations rather than big money from rich people and special interest)and tighter, more motivated grass roots level organizing than the GOP. It looks like Dems have finally caught on to the importance of bottom-up organizing.
I'll be very excited to cast my vote for the democratic nominee this might even help put VA in the blue for the first time since 1964.