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Old 02-26-2008, 02:35 PM   #61
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Ralph Nader has done a lot of good.

But he is a terrible politician.

And if he really wanted to bring in POLITICAL change, he would build a party from the ground up. That is what he would do if he was really interested in providing a dissident voice to the mainstream. That is why I believe it is time for him to exit the political arena - none of this is really for the benefit of the country except in theory. The debates he brings up are routinely had on the far left anyway. He has had no interest in a political grassroots movement (which is surprising to me given how good he has been about organizing grassroots movements in other spheres, be it safety, environmental, etc).

So yes, I think this is just about ego at this point. Third parties are NOT built from the top down (unless they are simply a faction of a major party splitting off).
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Old 02-26-2008, 03:40 PM   #62
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I think Nichols has it right.

Published on Monday, February 25, 2008 by The Nation
Nader Runs, Obama Responds Wisely
by John Nichols

Ralph Nader is running again for president.

After four previous bids, mounted in varying forums and with varying goals, Nader is used to the slings and arrows that will be tossed his way. He is conscious and committed. He will not back off.

He knows how to campaign in the face of a firestorm of criticism.

Above all, he knows how to make himself heard — even when almost everyone who guides the political processes of the nation wants to shut him up.

The latter knowledge will serve him well in a 2008 contest where the man who is either a national treasure or a national frustration, or perhaps both, may find himself more marginalized than ever before.

Nader is running for the same reason he has run in the past: Because the likely nominees of the two major parties do not begin to meet the standards that might reasonably be asked of progressive contenders in 21st-century America.

Fundamental issues — Wall Street-defined globalization, rampant and frequently deadly corporate crime, out-of-control military spending and an imperial foreign policy — are not going to be addressed in a realistic let alone definitional manner by the Democratic nominee (be he Barack Obama or be she Hillary Clinton) or by Republican John McCain. And that, says Nader, will leave millions of Americans feeling frustrated and disenfranchised.

“You take that framework of people feeling locked out, shut out, marginalized and disrespected,” he explained on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the same forum where he announced his 2004 presidential run. “You go from Iraq, to Palestine to Israel, from Enron to Wall Street, from Katrina to the bumbling of the Bush administration, to the complicity of the Democrats in not stopping him on the war, stopping him on the tax cuts.”

Nader’s points are all well taken.

And they come from a man who is quite rational in his awareness that he will not be sworn in as president on January 20, 2009.

While Nader has yet to determine whether he will run as the Green Party candidate, a Green-backed independent or a genuinely unaffiliated independent, he is clear about his chances.

The arc of history bends toward Obama and the Democrats, not his candidacy, acknowledges Nader.

After eight years of George Bush and Dick Cheney, he said, “If the Democrats can’t landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up, close down, emerge in a different form. You think the American people are going to vote for a pro-war John McCain who almost gives an indication he’s the candidate for perpetual war?”

Presumably, the Democratic landslide that buries McCain will also sweep away various and sundry third-party and independent candidacies, including Nader’s.

If that is the case, it will not be a new phenomenon.

Nader has bid for the presidency in different ways in every election since 1992 — as a write-in candidate in the New Hampshire and Massachusetts primaries of that year, as a Green contender in 1996 and 2000 and as an independent with support from some of what remained of Ross Perot’s Reform Party in 2004. His most notable run, in 2000, won 2.7 percent of the national vote, along with anger from Democrats who thought he “spoiled” their chances by tipping Florida — and the presidency — from Al Gore to George Bush. In fact, Gore won Florida, only to have the results manipulated into Bush’s column by the Republican nominee’s many allies in state government, with an assist from the Supreme Court.

In the intense 2004 competition between Bush and Democratic John Kerry, Nader’s run won just 0.3 percent on 34 state ballot lines.

This year, Nader could have a harder time of it even than he did in 2000 or 2004.

Unlike Gore and Kerry, Obama — now the likely Democratic nominee — has taken savvier stands on a number of issues close to Nader’s heart, such as trade policy. This is not to say that Obama is as good as Nader on the issues. Far from it. But Obama’s more nuanced platform, as well as the movement character of the Illinois senator’s campaign, is likely to leave even less space for Nader to deliver a message.

That said, Nader is a determined, sometimes unrelenting, truth teller.

He notes that Obama is something less than a pristine progressive.

Obama may be “the first liberal evangelist in a long time,” says Nader, but the senator’s “better instincts and knowledge have been censored” since he hit the nation stage.

“(Obama’s) leaned, if anything, toward the pro-corporate side of policy-making,” Nader said of the senator from Illinois. The consumer activist also scored Obama on on foreign policy, noting that, “He was pro-Palestinian when he was in Illinois… Now he’s supporting (right-wing Israeli policies that thwart progress toward peace in the Middle East).”

Such blunt statements may not win Nader many friends among Obama’s enthusiastic backers, and Obama did not exactly welcome his new rival to the race. “Ralph Nader deserves enormous credit for the work he did as a consumer advocate,” Mr. Obama said while campaigning in Ohio “But his function as a perennial candidate is not putting food on the table of workers.”

But Nader’s not looking for Valentines from the Democrats.

Frankly, he’s not even all that interested in popular approval.

The public-interest crusader worries far less about poll numbers and even vote totals than about saying what he feels needs to be said — and using the forum of the electoral process to say it. And he is certainly not the first progressive — inside the Democratic Party or out — to suggest that Obama needs to be prodded on issues ranging from labor law to corporate regulation to single-payer health care and Middle East policy.

Nader’s greatest value in any race is — like Socialist Norman Thomas in his races against Democratic Franklin Roosevelt — as a source of pressure on the Democratic nominee to address fundamental questions and perhaps to take more progressive stands on a few issues. As in 2000 and 2004, Nader’s appeal will be determined in large part by the extent to which the Democratic candidate is willing to be bold.

Obama seems to understands this. Unlike Gore or Kerry, who never quite “got” the point of Nader’s runs in 2000 and 2004, the Illinois senator appears to recognize that it is pointless to grumble about Ralph Nader as a “spoiler.” Rather, the point is to be more appealing to progressive voters who might consider voting Green or independent.

“I think the job of the Democratic Party is to be so compelling that a few percentage [points] of the vote going to another candidate is not going to make any difference,” says Obama.

That is the bottom line with regard to Nader’s latest bid.

If Obama runs as a progressive, Nader will have little room to maneuver. If Obama runs to the center, Nader’s space will open up — a bit.
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Old 02-26-2008, 03:57 PM   #63
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^ great piece.


You know what I really got out of it? That no matter what anyone says, the Democrats are NOT all that liberal. Which is true.
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Old 02-26-2008, 03:59 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha
^ great piece.


You know what I really got out of it? That no matter what anyone says, the Democrats are NOT all that liberal. Which is true.
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Old 02-26-2008, 04:12 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha
You know what I really got out of it? That no matter what anyone says, the Democrats are NOT all that liberal. Which is true.
I think quite a few non-Americans have commented here many times that the Dems would run on a conservative platform in their countries.

But of course, we're Communists so it's all relative.
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Old 02-26-2008, 04:52 PM   #66
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Which is another reason why Nader doesn't feel the "oh my God, the Dems HAVE to win in Nov!" urgency, because he sees little difference in the two parties. I think it matters in terms of the Supreme Court, though.

Anyway, keep at it Nader. I won't vote for you this year but I'm glad you're out there.
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Old 02-26-2008, 08:54 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally posted by joyfulgirl
Which is another reason why Nader doesn't feel the "oh my God, the Dems HAVE to win in Nov!" urgency, because he sees little difference in the two parties. I think it matters in terms of the Supreme Court, though.

Anyway, keep at it Nader. I won't vote for you this year but I'm glad you're out there.
After reading the article and some of the recent comments, I see your point of view.

I still think his ego is involved though, but as you pointed out that's true for all the candidates.
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Old 03-04-2008, 11:16 AM   #68
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I finally watched it a few days ago; I taped it and went back to sleep the first time. I was so proud of him. He makes some interesting points about how the Democrats are blaming him and not many of the other suspect Republican-biased factors. Al Gore was a pretty conservative guy and let's not forget Joe Liebermann was his running mate.

I wouldn't vote for him or encourage others to do so, but I'm glad he's running if it's the only way to bring attention to pressing problems.

He's so right about corporate influence and health care problems and so many issues Democrats haven't care enough about. I was also very happy he stood up on the issue of American being wrongly biased toward Israel and allowing and participating in the suffering of the Palestinian people.

There are people on this board who make veiled references that I'm anti-Jewish because I'm opposed to Israeli policy, but I guess they can group Ralph Nader in there, too, and Noam Chomsky, and Steven Spielberg, who made a lot of those points in "Munich", and Ira Steven Behr and many, many other people. OR they can admit that criticizing Israeli occupation DOESN'T imply anti-Semitism.

I'm also suspect of giving Obama an easy ride. There's something slightly phony about the guy; he's not as bad as Bill Clinton, but I'm unsure about him. I'm afraid of what he'll sacrifice if push comes to shove.

Go Nader!

http://www.votenader.org

Quote:
Originally posted by joyfulgirl
Which is another reason why Nader doesn't feel the "oh my God, the Dems HAVE to win in Nov!" urgency, because he sees little difference in the two parties. I think it matters in terms of the Supreme Court, though.

Anyway, keep at it Nader. I won't vote for you this year but I'm glad you're out there.
I think he does see major differences, but he just doesn't feel the Democratic candidates have lived up to their claimed ideals.

Bill Clinton was a very liberal person in his youth. He opposed the Vietnam War and cared about gay rights (He had a gay friend, anyway.), and civil rights issues. It's just this fear and insecurity after his first 2 years made him act much more conservatively later on. My brother always says, "It's not what the candidate believes in as much as what they're willing to give away to stay in power or accomplish something else." Too many folks have given Clinton a free ride based on his speeches. He's hurt much of the poor community. He DID face an ultra-right wing Congress, but he still did these things. He was also unprecedentedly pro-Israeli, according to many including Zbigniew Brzezinski.
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Old 03-04-2008, 12:11 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally posted by Muldfeld

He's so right about corporate influence and health care problems and so many issues Democrats haven't care enough about. I was also very happy he stood up on the issue of American being wrongly biased toward Israel and allowing and participating in the suffering of the Palestinian people.

...

I'm also suspect of giving Obama an easy ride. There's something slightly phony about the guy; he's not as bad as Bill Clinton, but I'm unsure about him. I'm afraid of what he'll sacrifice if push comes to shove.

I agree completely.
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