Ralph Nader Is An Idiot

Here we are in the midst of what is turning out to be the most controversial election ever. It was so easy when Reagan destroyed Mondale, Bush killed Dukakis, and Clinton smacked Dole. Here in 2000, we have contested ballots, missing returns, a popular vote winner who will lose, and more lawyers than you can shake a pointed stick at. George W. Bush, the pawn of the religious right and foe to any rational American, will soon be declared president. At this writing, the electoral verdict is still out, but it is only a matter of time before the legal bickering ends, and the Democrats realize that itís better for Al Gore to concede than to drag their image, and the democratic process, through the shit.

The Gore campaign has been deeply criticized over the past few days because of its strategy to focus only in a few key states and to forget the rest. The strategy nearly paid off, but some of the borderline states (like Colorado, Ohio, Tennessee, and Arkansas) fell to Bush when they probably wouldnít have if Gore had paid them a bit more attention. And then thereís Florida. For such a stupid, useless state, itís playing the pivotal role in the election. Bush takes that too. And the presidency.

Gore should have also stressed the importance of the next presidentís appointing up to four Supreme Court justices during his term. In the next 10 Ė 15 years, we could see Woe vs. Wade overturned, see gay rights slip into non-existence, and see an open door for school districts to force Christianity down studentsí throats. Gore may have blown it when he spent so much time touting his responsible social security ideas and denouncing Bushís debt-driving tax cut proposals, instead of painting Bush as the inexperienced, conservative hypocrite that he is. Still, despite all of this, Gore should have won.

Enter the minor candidates. Da Bunny loved it when Pat Buchanan entered the race. I figured the Religious Right Naziís would embrace the bigot, and tons of votes would be siphoned from Bush. However, the conservatives were smart. They realized from the get go that Buchanan was unelectable. A vote for his extreme ideals, no matter how much the conservatives might agree with them, would be a wasted vote. Whatís more, a vote for Buchanan would be a damaging vote. It would steal from George W., and the conservatives certainly wouldnít allow Al Gore to assume the throne. Notice that none of the political pundits even touched on thisóthey knew that Buchanan had no chance, and they realized that the conservatives realized he had no chance. Collectively, the conservatives threw their might behind Bush.

Ralph Nader is Pat Buchananís polar opposite. A liberal to the core, Nader is a strong advocate for human rights and environmental protection. Whatís more, because heís not completely extreme like Buchanan, heís theoretically electable, albeit not realistically electable. After all, we live in a solid two party country. Sure, third party candidates like Ross Perot seemingly have made some headway, but their raw percentage of votes remains very low. When it comes to choosing a president, we choose Republican or Democrat, regardless of how narrow minded and stupid that position is. The danger of the third party candidate comes when heís aligned too closely with the party line of one of the candidates and when this third party candidate is extremely popular. Despite his chastising of Al Gore, Nader was not much different from Gore, and Nader focused on a similar environmental and human right agenda, although to a more liberal degree. Nader was also extremely popular, having at one time spared us all from the horror that was the Corvaire. However, because of the entrenched two party system, Nader knew that he could only play the role of spoiler.

Nader stated that he didnít care if he took votes away from Gore. He was running for president, and, by golly, it was his job to take away votes from the other candidates. However, he was certainly not going to take any away from Bush or Buchanan because of their opposite political positions, but there were a lot of stupid Democrats who would back him. Here was where Nader began to emerge as an idiot. Despite his claim that Gore was no different from Bush, Nader knew that a Gore presidency would at least not hurt his causes. A Gore presidency may not advance Naderís causes to the degree that Nader would like, but Gore would not press any legislature that would damage Naderís ideals. Bush, on the other hand, could seriously damage Naderís causes. Bush, as a conservative and former oilman, would throw human rights and the environment to the wayside. Clearly, in every state where Bush won by a thin margin of votes, Naderís two or three percent cost Gore the victory and handed him a loss. A spoiler is a non-playoff hockey team that knocks off another team that is on the fringe of making the playoffs. An idiot is a man who causes a non-threat to lose an election to a MAJOR threat, a threat that can throw the U.S. into conservative turmoil for the next 15 Ė 20 years. When a woman loses the right to control her body and gays lose their right to domestic partner benefits, donít blame Bush or his Supreme Court appointments. Donít blame Gore for losing to Bush. Blame Nader for handing Bush the presidency, gift wrapped on a silver platter. Nader picked a bad time to stroke his ego.

Thatís only half of why Nader is an idiot; the bigger reason is because heís permanently stranded the Green Party as a minor party. A strong candidate like Nader could have helped propel the Green Party into popularity in the RIGHT ELECTION. This was not the right election. As Ross Perot did with the Reform Party in 1992 (before the aberration of Buchanan damned the Reform Party forever), the Green Party could have continued to grow and gain supporters. However, in this all-important election, Nader should have stepped aside. It was too important for the country to be used as an experiment. Donít get me wrongóas a liberal, Da Bunny here supports the platform of the Green Party. In the right election, I might have even voted for the Green Party candidate, especially for someone like Ralph Nader. I say again, this was NOT THE RIGHT ELECTIONónot where the measly 3% of votes that Nader would garner across the country would help to propel a great menace into office. Furthermore, the 3% of votes that Nader received does not qualify the Greens for any federal funding in future elections.

The Green Party was destined to be fed by disenchanted Democrats. Now the Green Party and Ralph Nader have angered so many Democrats with their reckless foolishness that it will only continue to attract the extreme liberals who support the party already. Many Democrats are so bitter about what Nader has done that they will now do things to subvert the Green Party, like spray-painting its San Francisco headquarters with obscenities, not to mention going out of their way to hurt the causes of Green Party candidates. Nader has killed his causes and his party before he could really get it running. The Green Party is sentenced to the fringe, falling and failing alongside the Libertarians and the Reform Party; Nader and his ego are squarely to blame.

Today, the country is in serious peril because Nader was too power struck to support Gore when he absolutely had to. The Green Party is in serious peril because of the backlash that will forever be thrown against it. Ultimately, both are in peril because, simply put, Nader was an idiot. Thanks, Ralph.

-- Ken Hughes,
November 11, 2000


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