The weblog of Joshua Drescher

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Too little, too late.

October 26th, 2004 · 3 Comments · Politics, Rants

Ralph Nader - Waiting until eight days before the election to say what he should’ve said eight months ago.

In blunting the justice edge which has always been its greatest asset, the intelligentsia has abandoned John Kerry to the tender mercies of his close corporate advisors and financiers, assuring that his message will continue to be muddled, and possibly helping to seal his loss in November. By delineating bright lines between his positions and those of Bush, Kerry can win, yet by insisting that Kerry take their support for granted rather than earn it, the intelligentsia has enhanced Kerry’s move to the corporate right. This rush to surrender to Kerry under the “Anyone But Bush” banner has also included the traditional Democratic core groups supporting civil liberties, the environment, union, consumer, and minority rights. Should he somehow win, Kerry would not be obliged to recognize any mandates vis-à-vis the always mandating power structure.

Nader has thoroughly screwed the pooch in this election and in doing so has all but ruined his hard-earned legacy as a tireless, principled advocate for compassionate, traditional liberal values. If he had run a campaign from the get-go that was focused and vocal about his (now stated) goal of “pulling Kerry in the direction of a peoples’ agenda,” American liberals would currently be hailing him as a hero instead of - to quote the Good Doctor - “a worthless Judas Goat with no moral compass.”

In the spring, he had the chance to force Kerry’s hand on important issues and, in doing so, to help Kerry combat his (still promblematic) image as a wishy washy panderer. A Kerry candidacy that showed dedication to core liberal values would have galvanized the left in America. To be sure, it would have cost him a small percentage of centrist votes, but it would have assured a completely unified wave of support from liberals as well as still picking up the “anyone but” votes along the way. And, of course, it would have garnered him the 2-4% of Nader voters his supporters seem to feel are so “desperately needed” in swing states.

It certainly would’ve won my vote.

Instead, looking ahead to next Tuesday, I can’t help but feel a sense of profound dread and apprehension. Sensations made all the more accute by the knowledge of what “could’ve been” if Nader had played his hand differently. Thankfully, I vote in an area that is polling as an unquestionably “blue” state, so I can safely vote my conscience without feeling the kind of profound remorse that might befall a third-party voter in a swing state in the event that Bush wins. If I was actually compelled to vote for Kerry on top of everything else… ye gods.

In the end, I am (reluctantly) pulling for Kerry but I am not hopeful regarding his potential presidency. Of course, nothing would make me happier than to be proven wrong, but I’m not going to hold my breath.


3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ralf // Oct 26, 2004 at 3:15 pm

    Been following your blog. Good stuff. I remember you were a big Democrat supporter back in the day. Any particular reason for the change? (I seem to remember you saying nice things about Badnarik, but I can’t remember exactly. I think it was ‘My candidate can beat up your candidate’ or words to that effect.)

    I actually like Kerry, beyond the ABB sentiment. Any particular reason that I shouldn’t, that I might not have heard?

  • 2 funtax // Oct 26, 2004 at 3:40 pm

    Roommate Ralf!

    You’re right. When we were in school, I was a hardcore democrat. I ran the Young Democrats group on campus, worked any campaigns that would have me, etc. That was because I believed in Bill Clinton as a leader. Even though I disagreed with many of his positions, the places I DID agree with him were issues of significant importance to me. Beyond that, he had a presence and personality that I felt comfortable with representing me to the world. I was PROUD to have him as my leader. For Kerry, the opposite is true in each case. We agree on the small stuff, but disagree on large issues. As a leader, he doesn’t give me any sense of confidence or pride.

    As such, I am not voting for him. I felt the same way about Gore in 2000 and voted for Nader as a result. This time around, I am a Badnarik supporter because the Libertarian platform (with a few exceptions) mirrors my beliefs on most major issues and because Badnarik isn’t running a campaign for obtuse, spiteful purposes.

    Specifics on why I dislike Kerry:

    - He’s pro-war. Sure, he’s LESS pro-war than Bush, but that’s like being “less of a bigot.”

    - He’s weak on the environment. Back before 9/11, the Left in America gave Bush absolute hell over his willingness to allow drilling for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. Earlier this year, Kerry stated that he would support the same program.

    - He’s weak on civil rights. At a time when a liberal candidate should have no problem standing up for gay rights, Kerry’s position is to openly oppose gay marriage, instead relying on the states to dictate “what’s best” for their people. Imagine LBJ leaving desegregation up to Alabama.

    - He has no clear vision. While I can pretty easily imagine life continuing to suck under Bush, I don’t have some magical opposite view of life improving under Kerry. His “vision” only goes as far as November 2nd. Beyond that… a mystery.

    So that’s how you go from Democrat to Independent to Libertarian in ten years or less.

    Regards to the new Mrs. Ralf, by the way. Hopefully, she doesn’t know how strange your friends back in the States are.

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