Monday, February 25, 2008

Oh, Ralph, you've done it again!

It's hard to get angry at someone like Ralph Nader. Try as I might, it is next to impossible to store up any real degree of animosity for a guy who has spent almost half a century fighting for the rights and safety of all Americans. His controversial and groundbreaking 1965 book, Unsafe at Any Speed, exposed the inherent safety and design flaws of the infamous Corvair automobile. The weight of the engine, placed in the rear of the car, would cause the driver to lose control of the steering at certain speeds. This was the same vehicle in which comedy legend, Ernie Kovacs (photo on left), was killed on a rainy January night in 1962. It was because of the herculean efforts of Ralph Nader and the people on his team - known as Nader's Raiders by the Press - that the Corvair was finally taken out of commission. Who can say how many lives were saved by this one feat alone?

Yesterday, on NBC's Meet The Press, Ralph announced his candidacy for the presidency. To no one's surprise, this nasty little bit of news sent the Democrats into a positive hissy fit. The general consensus of opinion seems to be thus: "He's going to cost us the election just like he did in 2000!" Note to the Dems: 2008 is not 2000. But it could be....

First a little background:
I supported Ralph Nader's run for the White House eight years ago. As I've stated in these pages before, at the time it seemed like a safe, even responsible thing to do. Eight years of Bill Clinton had moved the party of Franklin Roosevelt so far to the right, they were being called Republican lite. When the Democrats nominated Al Gore over Bill Bradley, a man who was at least talking like a Democrat, I bolted the Dems and registered as a member of the Green Party. I ran for the position of Supervisor of the town of Goshen, NY that same year and, two years later, ran for the New York state Senate. I lost both races handily.

In 2000 Al Gore won the political lottery. As luck would have it, the Republicans that year nominated a hideous, half-witted little frat boy named George W. Bush. Casting a vote for Ralph Nader didn't seem like too much of a gamble in New York - a state that Gore was expected to (and did) win easily. Who would have thought that so huge a segment of the American electorate would actually be foolish enough to vote for a corrupt, mentally unbalanced little piece of shit from Crawford, Texas? Who would have even dreamed in a million years that the Bush Mob would be able to steal the state of Florida by illegally removing 57,000 African Americans from the list of eligible voters? Who among us could have possibly imagined that so thoughtful and intelligent a man as Al Gore would run one of the dumbest campaigns in American political history?

It would be easy to blame Mr. Nader for the Democrats' defeat eight years ago - easy but unfair. Ralph Nader didn't lose the election for Al Gore. Al Gore did that all by himself. The former vice-president, to his credit, has admitted as much.

When he ran again in 2004, the Nader campaign was not a factor in the results. John Kerry, like Al Gore before him, ran a jaw-droppingly stupid campaign. He would have lost with or without Ralph in the running. Which brings us to the sixty-four dollar question: Will a Ralph Nader candidacy mean certain defeat for the Democrats in 2008? Maybe yes. Maybe no. That all depends on whom the eventual nominee is. As I've noted in earlier postings, one of the noted attributes of the Democratic party in recent years is their positive genius at taking a bottle of fine, twelve-year old scotch and turning it into donkey piss. Ralph Nader's entrance into the race yesterday morning has given them an opportunity to turn a bag of nasty tasting lemons into a nice juicy glass of thirst quenching lemonade.

The plans are now in the works to steal the nomination from Barack Obama by having the so-called "super delegates" vote for Hillary Clinton. The Clintonistas are also trying to get the Michigan and Florida delegations seated at the Democratic convention this summer. Having moved their primary dates ahead in violation of the rules put forward by the Democratic National Committee, the people of those two states were told that their votes would not be counted. That being the case, many of them stayed home on primary day. The fact is that Hillary Clinton's victories in those two states were accidental! Had the voters known that their delegates were going to be seated, the result might have been very different indeed. The delegates of Michigan and Florida should not be counted because not everybody had a chance to participate in the primary. End of argument.

What the Democrats need in 2008 is a candidate who will inspire the base - the ideological heart of their party - to turn out at the polls en masse on November 4. Ralph Nader's appearance in the campaign will once again inspire those who are fed up with the corporate overthrow of this once-great nation that has been going on since the people foolishly sent a feeble-minded "B" movie actor by the name of Ronald Reagan to the White House a generation ago. For real progressives, Barack Obama is an acceptable (if depressingly imperfect) alternative to Ralph Nader. Hillary Clinton is not. If she is nominated this summer a lot of pissed off Democrats will flee to Nader - or just stay home. If she is the Democratic nominee in 2008, count on President John McCain taking the oath of office on January 20, 2009.

I don't hold anything against Ralph Nader for wanting to seek, yet again, the presidency. New York being such a reliable blue state, I might even vote for him again. If Hillary is nominated, I'll definitely vote for him. I think he has actually been a real plus for the Democrats. Why? Because he is forcing them to come face to face with serious issues and problems that they have been ignoring for decades. It has been Nader, alone, who has held up a mirror to the sick and hypocritical face of corporate America. He is not doing what he is doing to satisfy his ego. He is forcing all of us to face the sick and unsettling reality of what America has become. For that he does not deserve our scorn, but our eternal thanks.

The United States has been sold down the pike to the lowest corporate bidder. The Democrats could have stopped this prior to 1995 when they were in the majority and yet they stupidly let it happen. That is the reason I said "Later" to that party almost a decade ago. I left and never looked back (OK, occasionally I take a little peek but that's all, I promise). The ensuing years have only re-enforced my decision to leave. Their cowardly behavior since re-gaining a majority over a year ago can only be described as disgusting. And now many of them seem hell-bent on nominating a woman who has been able to win only a small handful of primary contests. And don't forget that it was Hillary Clinton who thought that it was just a dandy idea to give the First Fool and Dead-eye Dick the authority to invade a country that was a danger to no one but itself. Trust me on this one, campers, the very last thing this country needs is another four or (Heaven forbid) eight years of a Clinton White House.

If history teaches us anything, it is this: When given the choice between a real Republican and a phony Republican, the electorate will choose the real one almost every time. True, while the Democrats are taking a decided roll of the dice by nominating Barack Obama, giving the nomination to Senator Clinton is the equivalent of throwing the dice out the window. All I can say to anyone who seriously believes that she can defeat John McCain in the general election is, "Have another sip, Bub." The fact that she is being beaten so soundly by a virtual unknown in her own party's primaries should tell us that she is unelectable. If I had it my way, John Edwards would today be the nominee. Since that's not going to happen, I'm sticking with Barack. All thoughtful progressives should stand behind him.

We are literally on the verge of a new era in this beautiful but troubled country. The new direction we need to take will only come from Barack Obama (or Ralph Nader). Why he has inspired so much enthusiasm across the country is perfectly clear: he is telling people not just what they want to hear, but, like Nader, he is telling them what they need to hear; what they have to hear if this country is going to survive. The hopes of a country divided are wrapped up in the words of this one, lone voice, just as they were one-hundred and forty-eight years ago by the words of another obscure statesman from Illinois....Hey! That's a pretty good analogy - Not bad, Degan!

The entrance yesterday of Ralph Nader into the race may very well be (for purely accidental reasons) the best thing to happen to this country in a long time. Then again it might mean certain disaster. That's up to the Democrats.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
tomdegan@frontiernet.net

SUGGESTED VIEWING:

An Unreasonable Man: The Life and Times of Ralph Nader
available on DVD

13 Comments:

At 5:41 PM, Blogger Phil said...

I think you're calling this one exactly right, Tom. Obama's not the perfect choice, but he's the only hope Democrats have of regaining custody of the White House. Clinton's run for President is little more than a thinly veiled attempt to give Bill a third term in office by sneaking him in through the back door. If Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, it's more than likely that Republicans will keep control of the White House for at least another term--not at all a good thing for the country.

 
At 8:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

“The plans are now in the works to steal the nomination from Barack Obama by having the so-called "super delegates" vote for Hillary Clinton.” I do not believe this is true, While they made early commitments to the anointed one, the supers are waiting to see how Texas goes. If Obama can turn enough of the women and Latino vote in Texas, the supers will not have to jump ship. Clinton will withdraw and we will never know just how much that was a personal or a party decision. As for Nader there is know doubt he would be a better President than what we are going to end up with. Unfortunately all the other candidates with his platform are in the dustbin. “Ain’t that a shame.” The winner of this election will be the puppet master’s. Look at what happened the last time that we elected a uniter, fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me. When do we get to vote for a divider, someone who will separate the wheat from the chaff?

 
At 9:25 AM, Anonymous http;//liberal2.democratz.org said...

Hello Mr. Nader

I saw you on C-SPAN this morning. I view myself as a Liberal Democrat. If you publicize these telephone campaigns and place them on your website and call atention to them on your web site on the campaign trail I will vote for you.

You, rightly say that corporations exercise too much power. I'm giving people a way to take back power and force corporations to get people the legislation we need or they will lose our business and our money.



The Liberal Democratic Party of the United States http://liberal2.democratz.org


Our Mission

We do not run candidates but rather we join together to use our purchasing power to leverage power away from the corporations that give money to regressives in both the Democratic party and the Republican party and we call these companies on the telephone and politely pressure them to talk to congressional leaders and the President and get our progressive legislation enacted and until the progressive legislation gets enacted into law we refuse to buy their products. Imagine thousands of party members calling these companies demanding progressive legislation and you will see positive results.

Important: Since we do not run candidates, please continue your membership in the party you have chosen but you can also join our
party by merely making these phone calls. We charge no party dues and we do not handle money. You, the party member spread the word
about this web site and the telephone campaigns on and off the internet.


Organization News

Get as many people to make these phone calls.

Call congressional contributor and war contractor General Electric Corporation at 800 386 1215 or 203 373 2211 and tell the person who answers, that you want the GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt to get Bush to end the war in Iraq and then Bush resign with Cheney and until that happens you will not buy any GE products and that you will tell your friends about this. Then call a local appliance store that sells GE appliances and tell the person you will not buy any GE products from their store until they can convince the GE CEO to convince George W Bush to end the war and then resign with Cheney.

Call congressional contributor Rite Aid Pharmacies at 800 325 3737 and tell the person that you want the Rite Aid CEO to get the congress and the President to enact HR 676 single payer universal health care and repeal Medicare Part D and place the drug benefit in Medicare Part B covering 80% of the cost of drugs with no extra premiums, no extra
deductibles, no means tests, no coverage gaps, and remove the means test for Medicare Part B and until that happens, you won't buy ANYTHING from Rite Aid.

Call congressional contributor Wendy's restaurants at 614 764 3553 and tell the person in that you want their CEO to get the congress
and the President to enact a $10/HR MIN. WAGE into law and until this happens you will not go to a Wendy's Restaurant.


Call your local Exxon/Mobil gas station and tell the manager that you will not get your car repaired there, nor will you buy gasoline there until their parent company sets their price so that they can sell you gasoline for $1.75 a gallon. Then only do business with other gas stations. We will no longer stand for $3 a gallon gasoline.


Kentucky Residents:

Call General Electric Appliances Corporation in Louisville at 502 452 4311 and other appliance stores that sell GE products and demand that they get Senator Mitch McConnell to get an
end to the Iraq war and for Bush and Cheney to resign and until that happens you will not buy any GE refrigerators, stoves, televisions, dishwashers, ovens, lightbulbs, etc. Get as many
Kentucky residents to make these phone calls.


After you make these calls you can also call Mitch McConnell's office and tell his office that you have called GE in Lousiville and won't buy their products until Mitch McConnell gets an end to the war and gets Bush and Cheney to resign.


General Electric Appliances
9500 Williamsburg Office Plaza
Louisville, KY 40222
USA

tel: 800 626 2000
tel: 502 452 4311
502 452 4313



Thank you.



http://liberal2.democratz.org

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger David Gaines said...

Hi Tom, I heard your call on C-SPAN Radio this morning and this is a refreshing view. Ralph's and Matt's campaign kickoff last night at George Washington University was surprisingly electrifying. You would have enjoyed it.

 
At 9:38 AM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Thanks for the kind words, David. I plan on catching Ralph and Matt when they're in the area.
All the best,
Tom Degan

PS - See the film, An Unreasonable man. Great documentary!

 
At 9:42 AM, Blogger kootcoot said...

Tom,

This is perhaps the most cogent examination of Nader's position, role and value that I have seen. The only equally accurate definition of today's Democratic Party and WHY Ralph runs is the run he gives himself, when he is given a chance to actually speak more than a 30 second sound bite.

BTW, my personal fav Nader's Raider is Ken Dryden - Goalie par excellance and unsuccessful candidate for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada. I so much wish that he was leading the Liberals today against that thug Harper when an election is in the offing moment to moment.

Didja hear the latest on Harper's thugs trying to bribe the vote of a dying MP on his deathbed? Harper sez he did nothing wrong and had nothing to do with party concerns about Cadman's "financial security," however no one in the ReformoCons is allowed to even sneeze without express permission from the PMO.

 
At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, there is compelling evidence that George Bush did not win the 2004 election. George Bush is president because, as Robert F. Kennedy Jr wrote in an article in Rolling Stone, "Republicans prevented more than 350,000 voters in Ohio from casting ballots or having their votes counted -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House."

You can say that Kerry ran a "stupid" campaign (although you're a little short on specifics as to what, exactly, was stupid about it), but the fact is, we live in a country where the presidency can be decided by margins as thin as 350,000 votes.

You say that whether or not Nader gives us a third Republican presidency depends on how good the Democratic candidate is. In other words, you concede that he splits the Democratic vote. In a country where 350,000 votes in a given state can mean all the difference in the world, I have a hard time understanding how any reasonable person who dislikes the Republican party can possibly support Nader.

No candidate who expects to win declares his candidacy less than a year before the general election. Nader isn't here to win; he's here because he's a megalomaniac, and all of his past brilliant work in consumer rights will count for nothing if he contributes to the election of yet another Republican president. In the political world we live in, a vote for Nader is a vote for the Republican candidate. Period.

 
At 8:46 PM, Anonymous Bill said...

Heard you on CSPAN and read your article. A rational discussion of Ralph Nader is indeed a rare thing on the internet. I'm so tired of debunking those clowns who blame him for everything that has happened in the last 7 years. It surely proves that Democrats, contrary to their own claims, do not hold the monopoly (or even a grip) on rational thought.

But my comment refers to your statement "All thoughtful progressives should stand behind him." While I would prefer Obama be the nominee, I would refer you to this article, written by Nader's just announced VP candidate Matt Gonzalez:
http://www.beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=5413

Although it's not a detailed analysis, it does categorize how he has voted and spoken on some key progressive issues. Personally, I cannot understand how a constitutional lawyer can justify voting for the USA PATRIOT Act, and not aggressively pursuing impeachment of Bush/Cheney.

Good day.

 
At 7:07 AM, Blogger Jack Lohman said...

Nader doesn't stand a chance in hell of winning, nor is he likely to siphon off enough votes to kill a democratic win. But he will force to the table a discussion of single-payer health care, which will be good.

 
At 7:08 AM, Blogger Jack Lohman said...

Incidentally, you can see more on single-payer at:

http://MoneyedPoliticians.net

 
At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My gawd, you are a psycho. You've taken opposite positions on 5 or 6 things in your insane rant.
(Congratulations on making it through to Nader on C-Span.)
1. a.you left the dem party and won't look back. nutter> You're really for Edwards, but you're backing Obama.
2. a. Gore ran the stupidest campaign. (ignorant NUTTER) > Gore got more votes than GWB, proving you're a GD idiot, even though Al is a lunatic like you.(Only he's INSANE and LIAR and CHEAT about AGW )
3. Kerry ran the stupidest campaign. NUTTER > You never said why, but he got far less votes than GWB, falling well below Al Gore, even after you whining KOMMIEKUNTS spread Bush hate for 4 years, and claimed it to be worldwide....YEAH, YOU'RE INSANE. > ps: You MISERABLY LOST your only 2 campaign runs, because the populace voters KNOW yer a NUTBAG. You ran the WORSTEST PERSON IN THE WORLD campaign, you moronic TWIT.
4. EVERY VOTE SHOULD COUNT - YOUR BRAINLESS MANTRA - YOU MENTIONED FLORIDA, YOU FREAKING HYPOCRIT
nutter > In an INSANE self-jacking jerk wince... you haphazardly declared TWO WHOLE US STATES AS UNWORTHY OF BEING COUNTED in your demtard NAZI, MORON S-BAG PIECE OF CRAP METHOD... of "rules don't apply to me the left wing nutjob liar fool"...
5..... OK forget the others, you're such a goddamned dimwit, such a poor fucking liar and whining cunt loser complainer fool - that it's very clear why you lost yer goddamned runs for head village idiot.
6. See number 5 then remember what you think AND HAVE NO DOUBT SAID about the current POTUS before you throw a sissy hypocrit bitchfit and whine like a moronic retard mental ward patient that "noone should say that about "ME!".
YEAH FELLA, STICK IT UP YOUR LOSER ASS, BECAUSE YOU'RE FAR WORSE THAN THE POLITICIANS YOU HATE, YOU FUCKING DWEEB.
If you want THEM to be honest, it should start with you HAVING AT LEAST ONE GODDAMNED POST WHERE YOU WHINE ABOUT MORE THAN ONE SOMEONE ELSE'S - being correct and filled with integrity, you piece of SHIT.
You actually fit the shit description, Bush, Clinton, Edwards, and Obama - ARE ALL FAR BETTER CHOICES THAN YOUR PIECE OF SHIT LYING ASS.

 
At 9:35 AM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Thank you for the kind words. Please come again!

Cheers!

Tom Degan

 
At 6:06 PM, Blogger Evan said...

Unfortunately it seems that people are again pulling the same arguements as before. Nader siphoning votes from the democratic pool. When will people open their eyes and truly vote with their brains instead of with the herd? I do not vote defensively. I vote for the candidate who best represents my interest, not who has the best opportunity of defeating the Republican candidate. Cycle after cycle this tactic continues and little changes. Tell me, faithful democratic voters, how have things been since 2006? The war is still in full effect, poorly practicing banks are being saved with your tax dollars, the division between all the classes widens. King George continues his reign undeterred by the "hard working" democratic congress. Enough is enough - if you want change you have to vote for it.

 

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