Matt Welch recently pointed out a bizarre interview in the Chicago Tribune with Ralph Nader. I don't normally do this sort of thing, but I think this deserves some deconstructing. I'm going to quote selectively, so go to the link above if you want to see the whole thing.
Q. You write that people who accused you of merely taking votes away from Gore missed the point. What was the point?
A. The point was to build a broad-based political movement that transcended any single election. [...]
Q. Did you accomplish your goal?
A. The first stage, certainly. When was the last time any progressive party got 3 million votes? [...]
To answer his question, I suppose that depends on one's definition of "progressive", but allowing a subjective response would be 1996, when Ross Perot and the Reform Party got 8 million votes. In 1992, Perot got nearly 20 million. And, for your beloved young people who've probably never heard of him, in 1980 John Anderson got 5.7 million votes. (Thanks to David Leip's excellent US Election Atlas for the data.) In case you're curious, Ralph, they all got more votes than you because they had broad appeal.
Q. What is the biggest impediment to the rise of a progressive third party in this country?
A. One is the winner-take-all mentality. If people don't think you can win, they won't vote for you. [...]
Q. Would you rather Al Gore had won?
A. The similarities between the two towered over dwindling differences, so I was indifferent to whether Bush or Gore won. [...]
Q. Would you have made an effective wartime president?
A. This war would never have happened had I been president, because for 30 years we have had an aviation safety group, and we have been urging the airlines to toughen cockpit doors and improve the strength of the locks, and they have been resisting for 30 years.
Q. But could a president from the Green Party, which advocates non-violence, wage war?
A. Non-violence does not mean that you let people destroy you, because that encourages violence. In other words, we wouldn't foment aggressive war, but we would certainly have a very strong defense. The Green Party stands for health and safety, and safety means security. But we'll do it in a smarter way. The key in the Green Party is to foresee and forestall, and one way you do that is to put meat and potatoes on what Don Rumsfeld and Colin Powell said: that this kind of terrorism is tolerated and bred by poverty, injustice, dictatorships, destitution and human suffering.
We are the Folk Song Army.
Everyone of us cares.
We all hate poverty, war, and injustice,
Unlike the rest of you squares.
There was a time when I had respect for Ralph Nader. I even briefly considered doing one of those vote-swaps for him, since my vote in Texas wasn't gonna count. I eventually rejected that on principle, and I've not regretted it a bit. He's a pathetic shadow of what he once was, and he has no realization of the depths to which he's fallen. Sad.Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 21, 2002 to Show Business for Ugly People | TrackBack