Saturday, February 21, 2004

The TermiNader?

So Nader's going to run again. He's had a website up for some months now, inviting people to share their thoughts on a possible 2004 run. After what can only be imagined as a jillion and one exhortations to stay at home, put his feet up, and relax into his 70s, it is a shame that Nader's legacy is going to be sullied by yet another egomaniacal push. And now this third party spoiler is truly going independent.

Did the Greens come to their senses, worrying that their very valid platform would be further ignored, villified even, tainted as it is by the horror of 3 years of BushCo.--what many regard as Nader's fault (at least in part)?

Did he underestimate the awfulness and sheer unbridled corporate greed and moral recklessness of the Bushies? could he have? It just doesn't make sense. How could *we* see this coming down the pike and Nader not? And putting aside 2000's puzzling miscalculation, how could he continue down the ridiculous path of "there is no difference between Repugnicans and Democrats" of almost 4 years of sheer unbridled corporate greed and moral recklessness of the bushies?

Even allowing for the "media filter," where has Nader been for the last 3 years? He was embarrassingly absent just following the 2000 selection fiasco, and then irresponsibly silent as the environmental protections were rolled back, as the national treasury was looted, as our civil rights were eroded, as right-wing judges were placed on the bench in cowardly recess appointments, as the neocons made war based on their own specious intelligence, as the neocons sold this specious intelligence as a justification to occupy another country (and its assets), as the neocons limited their warmaking to this early looting, having no plan for occupation and even less plan for rebuilding, as the United States's reputation has suffered in the entire rest of the world, &c., &c., ad infinitum.

Why now, after the presidential campaign is a year old, does Nader believe that he should add his voice, and, more importantly, why should anybody listen now when he failed to speak at the most crucial moment(s)? We cannot guess at Nader's motivation, but we can guess at the motivation of likely Dem and Indy voters in 2004: nothing will stand in the way of ousting B*shCo. We've seen evidence of this over and over w/ primary voters reporting at exit polls that they're voting based on Kerry's "electability." If the voters think Kerry's electable, let's don't prove them wrong. If they think he's electable, he is. (Of course, some will change their minds when the Rove campaign machine goes into effect.)

Ultimately, no matter how much I long to bash Nader myself or how many epithets slipped from my lips when I read that he was considering a run, I don't think we have to worry too much about his being a "spoiler" this go-around. To sum up:

1. 2004 is not 2000. Bush has done so much damage that normal people are now freaked out and most of us will not be taking chances on "protest votes" or "sending a message," etc.

2. The Dems--**thanks to Dean**-- have adopted some (yes, we need to do more, fine) of the progressive platform, which will contribute to neutralizing some of Nader's impact.

3. For the same reasons that we shouldn't "blame" Nader because he is an easy focal point for Dem anger and frustration over the 2000 selection, we will barely see him in this election; because that focal point is now Bush vs. Kerry (?), mano a mano, Repug vs. Dem. The media has found its hook, and it doesn't include a third party crank. (I give you Exhibit A: Howard Dean's scalp.)

4. Plus, the shout-filled, gathering Dem response to the Repugnican assault is cohering, and it will drown out (via the media filter) any less compelling message. Issue #1 is survival. We iron out the "details" later.