June 1, 2008

Ralph Nader @ Cooper Union, NYC 5/31/08

So why hate Ralph Nader when there's soooo much blame to go around? Nader typically gets heaps and mounds of hatred and resentment thrown at him by disgruntled snide Democrats. He is always put on the spot by having to respond to the same old tired questions about 2000 spun out by the likes of Wolf Blitzer, Tim Russert, Chris Matthews, and other mainstream hacks. But given the nearly infinite array of variables to explain away 2000 – like all the Democrats who voted for Bush in Florida and New Hampshire, Al Gore not winning his home state of Tennessee nor Bill Clinton’s Arkansas, other small parties "taking votes from" Gore and Bush, Kathryn Harris, the Supreme Court – there is clearly something else going on. Why expend so much energy smearing old Nader?
You see: Nader puts issues on the agenda that the Dems have been running from for years. I mean can you really expect a life-long crusader for consumer protection, labor, the environment, anti-war, fighting corporate power, to actually “steal” votes from a spineless party that has been pro-war, pro-NAFTA, pro-WTO, drenched in big money, and downright complicit to Bush & Co? What all the cry-baby Eric Altermans deny is not just the big money-corporate elephant in the room but also the nearly unbridgeable gaps between Nader and the two Party structure itself. And what part of that did you not understand? Where are the Dems on withdrawal from Iraq? On universal single-payer health-care? On the impeachment of Bush & Co? Consumer protection? Labor? Poverty? Corporate power? Cutting the bloated military budget? The reality is Nader calls the Dems out on their hypocrisy, and for being pulled to the right even before Bill Clinton in the 90s. How could Nader run as a Democrat?
No wonder Stephanopolous and the gang have to run with flag-pins, "electibility," and gotcha innuendos . With such little difference between the two major candidates in terms of policy, political discussion inevitably becomes an insipid exchange. When there is nothing substantial to talk about, better stick to gossip, gaffes, and insinuations. And who could resist the attention, gosh, with ratings and all? Will the Democrats stay on their heels as they take another latte libel in the face? Will they keep trying to out-Republican the Republicans? Will they keep taking the Left for granted?

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