July 18, 2004

Bizarre Op-Ed of the Day Note: the date this op-ed was published is July 18, 2004. Barbara Ehrenreich tells Ralph Nader that it's over (when did it ever begin) and then writes this:

So, Ralph, sit down. Pour yourself a Diet Pepsi and rejoice in the fact that
  • Psst... I think she's being facetious.
  • Don't be so sure. She was on the Nader bandwagon in 2000.
    What I fear most about a Gore victory--yes, I said victory--is its almost certainly debilitating effect on progressives and their organizations. During the Clinton years, many a feminist, enviro, and labor leader was so charmed by the crumbs of "access" thrown their way and the occasional low-level progressive appointment that they bit their tongues whenever Clinton showed his true DLC colors, e.g., with welfare reform. And every time I would sputter, "Dump this creep!" someone would whisper soothingly, "But he's pro-choice (and so much more pro-labor and pro-tree than the other guy)." Is this what we're going to hear when it comes time to protest the war in Colombia or any other Gore-perpetrated horror? At the very least, the progressive Gore-ites ought to explain how they intend to avoid getting into another hostage situation should their man win.
  • It's odd how Kucinich was dismissed by the press almost from the beginning. He had substantive things to say, and said them intelligently. It's nice to see that he hasn't been forgotten, and I hope he has a prominant role to play in the future. And of course she's being facetious here, Sullivan. Is your irony meter in the shop again?
  • I've thrown my mighty weight Um, sure reads like sarcasm ...
  • When in doubt do a Glenn Reynolds. It seems my fellow monkeys have posted overwrought comments and have misinterpreted my post. I was merely saying that I do not see how Ralph Nader is running a serious campaign. Anything about Dennis Kucinich is a misinterpretation on your part because you have a monkey brain.
  • Maybe it's time for people to accept that the president has to appeal to a huge segment of people and therefore almost has to be moderate. There are many places where people who could never be president can still make a difference, like Congress, local government etc, unless of course the person is more obssessed with a Republican-aiding hopeless ego trip run for president... And incidentally those are Dean's views kerry is peddling- Dean was actually a viable candidate and not a joke, so Kerry was forced to adjust his views to beat him. In this way Dean has done a lot of good for the country by sticking to his liberal guns, depsite the personal defeat he suffered. Nader on the other hand is just a self-promoting ass clown.
  • Have I been insulted? I'm confused. What is "a Glenn Reynolds?" What does that google link have to do with anything?
  • What I don't understand is how assiduously Sully contributes to R...'s notoriety. Better off ignored in my view.
  • Sully, yeah, we all have monkey brains. Even you. But it's ok! We get to disagree on which fruit is the ripest. And, I'd point out that she got her wish. Gore didn't get elected, so we went from a war in Colombia which she predicted to a real war in Iraq. Her backing Kucinich seems hopeless to me, but it's her problem. (Though I thought her advice to Nader was right on.) And, at least in my opinion, a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush. And drjimmy, you're cool!
  • Sully, we get the point. You don't like Ralph Nader.
  • I'm completely sick of the third-party bashing that has been going on for the past four years. A vote for Nader is not a vote for Bush. You want to blame people whose political actions result in Republican "elections"? How about blaming the 50% of the eligible population that doesn't vote? More here. (Scroll down to the Kerry section.)
  • scartol - I'm not bashing third parties, but I'm desperate to get GWB out of office. And, doesn't it mean that, if you're on the more liberal side of the fence, and that Nader has no chance to win, that voting for him (no matter how idealistic that might be) means that the democratic (the only one who could win) candidate loses a vote? The polls are so close now that a few votes could make or break. Man, that sentence was so complicated that I can't even fix it.
  • Scartol: Hear, hear! Like the guy in the article scartol posted, I too voted for Nader. In 2000. In Broward County, FL (direct all hate mail to the address in my profile). And although I plan on holding my nose and voting for Kerry (he's about as liberal a person as can actually be elected right now, unfortunately... plus Ralph does seem to be going a little insane), I'd appreciate it if people read this blog post by a California journalist before getting all indignant and stuff. He nails the frustration that a lot of lefties/Greens etc. have with the whole foaming-at-the-mouth derision leveled in our direction. Sully, I'm sorry if my previous post came off as overly snarky... but the folks who already think Nader is the Antichrist aren't going to be affected overmuch by these "two minutes hate" posts, and you're just serving to alienate those of us a degree to the left of you. Most of the folks I know who voted for Nader, including myself, did so because we do not feel welcome in the Democratic Party. And guess what? These constant, petulant diatribes found all over the Internet saying that potential Nader voters are incipent Republicans who eat babies will only serve to drive the true believers further away from the fold. And the Dems are gonna need every vote they can wrangle in order to win this election. Sure, Kerry's ahead now, but it'll likely be a dead heat by the end of October. In order to get the Green vote, Kerry will have to- gasp!- treat the Greens as important, and speak to their concerns. Much to-do has been made by the Democrats of the fact that Bush isn't so much running on his own merits as he is attacking Kerry. But when Democrats marginalize Nader (or Kucinich, insanely enough) and their supporters by spouting off the "anyone but Bush" rhetoric rather than addressing their critiques and maybe- double gasp!- incorporating some of their ideas into the platform, the Dems are indulging in the same tactic. One builds coalitions by listening to other people, not by calling them a bunch of assholes, especially when their views aren't so different. When you indulge in the latter tactic, you only ensure that those folks develop the same feelings toward you... and where does that leave any of us?
  • On a lighter note: here's a recipe for monkey brains, the alcoholic beverage.
  • the_bone. Look, I agree with much of what Green proposes, but the problem is Nader. (Never thought I'd say that since way back when I thought he was a knight in shining armor.) But the Green doesn't have the base to take an election at this point. You've admitted that you would vote for Kerry because he has a chance to be elected - so what is the issue here? If Green can't come up with a candidate that will stand a chance of winning, should one vote Green as a sort of protest? With the closeness of the poll results for the 2 candidates who stand a chance of winning, it strikes me that the protest vote could mean 4 more years of GWB.
  • PS - who said anything about"assholes?"
  • I'd rather Ralph Nader remained a thorn in the side of complacent government than joining the government. I admired his dedication to consumer protection and other causes, but what he's become or what he wants to become is, I feel, not worthy of respect. Sure, the Oval Office will give him a bully pulpit from which to preach his ideas, but considering his politics, neither Congress nor the people (well, the ones that vote, anyway) will be listening to him. Please stop, Ralph, before you become a pale shadow of your former self.
  • the_bone: well said. path: the problem is, we KNOW that we're not welcome in the Democratic party. Screeds that emphasize opinions such as 'self-promoting ass clown' only heighten that awareness. We want GWB out the door as badly as mainstream Democrats, but for different reasons. Under a Kerry administration a) there is a lower likelihood that democracy as we know it will end forever and b) there is an opportunity to really do what Ralph has been claiming to be doing. Under another Bush administration, neither seems likely. In neither case can we expect much of anything from either party that actually furthers our interests and goals. It's obvious why Kerry and Edwards won't present specifics on what their policy regarding Iraq will be; they can't just withdraw, and they are NOT going to simply drop imperial dominance over the oil there just because it's the right thing to do. Likewise with universal healthcare. A plan that slows the erosion of the current ridiculous system is all that can be expected. Is the third-party goal the sensible way to do this? Maybe not. But I know that I have never felt that my personal political opinions and economic interests have been represented on a national scale in my lifetime, and that my opinions are historically important in American politics, and that these opinions are widespread in contradiction of the media representation of them. The current situation whereby it's impossible for them to be aired or taken seriously in national debate is evidence of structural failure. The Democratic party's abject failure to even criticize the President's rush to war is only further evidence of this problem. Something has got to give. It's either going to be democracy, or the two-party system. I've made my choice. What's yours?
  • For further insight into girly things, such as posh makeup and girly chocolate and such.
  • bees, I hope you're not calling Nader a "girly-man".
  • Oh, I say...now that ye mention it, Wolof, why not?
  • *gropes for comment that would fit multiple threads, decides it'd probably just annoy people anyway*
  • First off, I got nothing but love for Pat and Sully. Please don't read my comments above (or now) as attacks on any of y'all. With the closeness of the poll results for the 2 candidates who stand a chance of winning, it strikes me that the protest vote could mean 4 more years of GWB. Hopefully, you can see how depressing a prospect this is for some people. All I'm saying is that the Democrats will catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, and should probably court Greens et. al. by opening up a dialogue and incorporating our biggest concerns into the platform at some level (which doesn't seem likely at this point) rather than by playing the fear card. who said anything about"assholes?" No one in this thread, thank Christ. However, I've read a lot of political blogs/websites over the past several year, and the implication that anyone who supports (or has supported in the past) a third-party candidate is deluded is a common theme. And one with which I respectfully disagree. (And path, you thought your sentences were complicated! ;) )
  • That guy in the article I linked to was .. me.
  • I see. My bad.
  • mwhybark: your comment about "democracy or the two-party system" reminded me that I've been so inured to the narrowness of the US political specturm that I (and probably many others) forget that there are other options. But, the two-party thing seems to be built in here somehow. There have been other parties over the last since the Republicans became powerful that had success electing national candidates, but they've tended to fade away.
  • I've got to salute the moxie of third-party candidates, and I sincerely hope that one day we can crack the two-party system. I supported Nader the last time around, would have voted for him if I hadn't been bedridden with illness on election day, but given the current political climate I can't bring myself to do anything other than back the horse who's most likely to win. I hate to admit it, but I'm voting against Bush as much as for Kerry.
  • and I sincerely hope that one day we can crack the two-party system. are the Federalist Party and Democratic-Republican Party still the only two American parties?
  • ...and that's why I vote PUSHY!
  • blogRot: Heh. Touche. Fes: I am down with that! What the U.S. needs is more Pushy, I shay!
  • the_bone : we can eat babies now? hot diggity!
  • We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant 'Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied." I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fan in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom. I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: "An Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth." Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely rational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this 'hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.
    from MLK's 'Letter from a Birmingham Jail'
  • As I said before there is only one man that can put America back on track. Actually, I wasn't doing one of my (usual) anti-Ralph Nader spiels. I bought the last paragraph of Barbara Ehrenreich's op-ed hook, line, and sinker.
  • Sully: Fair enough. Here, have a banana.