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February 24, 2008

Why Does Nader Hate America?
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 04:33 PM * 349 comments

Nader announced today that he’s running for President.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Ralph Nader is entering the presidential race as an independent, he announced Sunday, saying it is time for a “Jeffersonian revolution.”

With himself in the starring role of Thomas Jefferson?

“In the last few years, big money and the closing down of Washington against citizen groups prevent us from trying to improve our country. And I want everybody to have the right and opportunity to improve their country,” he told reporters after an appearance announcing his candidacy on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Nader seems to forget that a big part of why we’ve had the “last few years” is because he pulled this same stunt in 2000, giving us G. W. Bush and the Republican band of neo-cons, cronies, and incompetents.
Asked why he should be president, the longtime consumer advocate said, “Because I got things done.” He cited a 40-year record, which he said includes saving “millions of lives,” bringing about stricter protection for food and water and fighting corporate control over Washington.

He did indeed “get things done.” He got us the worst president in our history. He made sure Detroit cars guzzled gas. He kept useful drugs off the market, or once they were there, got them removed.

Does he have a chance in hell of becoming president? No. None at all. Can he play spoiler and get another Republican warhawk in place? He certainly hopes so, or at least his secret backers think he can.

Okay, everyone. Help save America. Work to keep Nader off the ballot in your state.

Comments on Why Does Nader Hate America?:
#1 ::: aguane ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 04:47 PM:

I find his timing to be so ... convenient too. It's like he waited until his popping into the race would cause the most havoc and THEN decided to toss his name into the hat.

#2 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 04:51 PM:

Maybe someone can fund an independent Huckabee campaign to siphon off the wacky-Christianist portion of the GOP base.

#3 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 04:54 PM:

Didn't this narcissist cause enough damage when he ran last time? Oh well, at least those who vote for him this time don't have the excuse that they didn't know a vote for him would be to all intents and purposes a vote for the Republicans.

#5 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 05:08 PM:

With himself in the starring role of Thomas Jefferson?

I much preferred Ken Howard in that role.
Go away, Ralph.

#6 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 05:13 PM:

A reality check:

Al From in the DLC's own magazine wrote, "The assertion that Nader's marginal vote hurt Gore is not borne out by polling data. When exit pollers asked voters how they would have voted in a two-way race, Bush actually won by a point. That was better than he did with Nader in the race." See here.

And the claim that Nader was trying to hurt the Dems? There's a study by a Harvard professor here that concludes "The spoiler thesis is apparently the result of journalists looking to sensationalize the campaign, Democrats looking for a scapegoat, or a simple misreading of the campaign record."

#8 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 05:22 PM:

I don't understand why Nader is doing this. What does he have to gain from a McCain presidency?

I hope, this time, Americans don't forget the quirks of the system they use to elect their president.

(It's worth noting, BTW, that at least someone associated with Nader is on record saying that Nader wanted to punish the Democrats.)

#9 ::: sburnap ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 05:22 PM:

It doesn't really matter anyway. In 2004, Nader got 0.38% of the vote. There's no indication he'd do any better this time.

#10 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 05:26 PM:

It would be really fascinating to be in a position to do some deep data mining on Nader's financial interests (and those of his family and friends) looking for transitive dependencies on RNC-related sources ...

#11 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 05:27 PM:

Jim, I think Al From trumps Mike Huckabee on this subject. I don't have much respect for From's politics, but I'm pretty sure he knows that Canada does not have a national igloo. And he's more likely to tell the truth about what he believes would hurt or help the Democrats.

#12 ::: Brenda von Ahsen ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 05:31 PM:

I'm sure that Erik Prince, CEO for Blackwater, will contribute to Nader's campaign as he has given to third party candidates in the past. Eric knows something that Nader apparently does not know. That third parties take votes away from the two dominant parties. Even Ron Paul knows this and will not run as an independent. So it would seem that even he has more class than Nader does. The last eight years have completely soured me on third parties.

#13 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 05:37 PM:

Brenda @12, if Ron Paul does not run, it's because he knows that in a two-party system, third parties can't win. He also knows that the last time a third-party candidate affected the result of an election was in '92, when Ross Perot ensured Bill Clinton's victory. Paul has no reason to want to help Obama or Clinton.

#14 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 06:02 PM:

I vaguely remember reports that Nader has in the past received help from right-wing sources. A little Googling turned up a 2004 American Prospect article:

In its effort to get on the ballot in the key battleground state of Arizona, the Prospect has learned, the Nader campaign hired a petition company that is also gathering signatures for a draconian anti-immigrant initiative pushed by right-wing elements in the state. The initiative, called Protect Arizona Now (PAN), would restrict access to public services by undocumented immigrants.
In addition, according to several sources, the Nader campaign was assisted in its petition drive by an unlikely figure: the ultra-conservative former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party, Nathan Sproul. Sources say Sproul -- who is also spearheading an initiative to block public funding from political campaigns in the state -- made payments to the petition contractors working on his public-funding initiative to gather signatures for Nader as well.

In this case "gather[ing] signatures for Nader as well" didn't mean running a separate petition drive at the same time--it meant that, as the "professional petitioners" gathered signatures for the anti-immigrant petition, they stuck the pro-Nader petition in front of the prospective signers at the same time. Someone from the Arizona Democratic party totaled up the party affiliations and found that about 65% of the signatures on the Nader petition came from Republicans.

And apparently before hiring these guys the Nader campaign had "first unsuccessfully solicited a Republican consulting firm" to handle their petition drive.

Also pretty amazing was the Nader spokesman's reaction to all this:

"We only heard of Sproul a week ago from media reports. We received 20,000 signatures, and we paid for 20,000 signatures, so I'd be surprised if any of this is true."

Never mind the non sequitur. ("We have 20,000 signatures! Therefore, you are lying!") Look at the way he just came out and said "we paid for 20,000 signatures". For this spokesman, at least, it's just natural to think of democracy as something you buy.

#15 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 06:03 PM:

Nader is, perhaps, the commonest misspelling of 'nadir' in the American political lexicon.

I rather liked this particular comment.

#16 ::: Tom Recht ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 06:15 PM:

Trying to keep a candidate off the ballot because he might hurt yours hardly strikes me as a very democratic thing to do.

I'm largely apolitical myself, and not a US citizen anyway, but I think if the country is ever to move beyond a two-party system (which is only twice as nice as a one-party system), it needs many more Naders running on all sides of the spectrum. Shouldn't everyone who's mad at Nader for losing Gore the 2000 election be much madder at the electoral system that made it possible for him to do so?

#17 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 06:17 PM:

Jim:

Okay, everyone. Help save America. Work to keep Nader off the ballot in your state.

I'm probably being unbearably dense today, but how do we do that? He plays well in Washington, for whatever reason, and I was under the impression that anyone who wants to can be on the ballot.

#18 ::: Brenda von Ahsen ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 06:19 PM:

Will Shetterly, you just sound really desperate to me. I don't understand how after all this crap we've gone through with the Bush admin. that anyone could still support a Nader candidacy. I don't get it.

#19 ::: Mike Bailey ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 06:21 PM:

Somebody wake me up when this nightmare ends...... We have the old and venerable 71 year old John McCain leading the way on the GOP side. We have the aging and angry Hillary Clinton (in her 60s)who like McCain has been a poltical iron horse for decades. Now we have the 74 year old Ralph Nader, champion of the Green Party and worn out environmentalist ready to join in this race. Wow! What more could we ask for......Too bad George Burns has passed away. Jimmy Carter could still make a run, I think he has another campaign in him. We will need to ensure we have plenty of wheel chair ramps on hand and allow for naps during the debates. We really need to get a reality check here. It is time for the old line politicians to start heading to the sidelines. We appreciate their service, for the most part. Some of it has been questionable but we applaud their efforts. We don't need a field of senior citizens and aging politicians in 2008. Please somebody tell McCain, Hillary and Ralph to step back, go take some extra naps and let this nation move on.

Mike B
Alabama

#20 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 06:26 PM:

The problem isn't Nader.

The problem is Nader *voters*.

How can one reason with someone who accepted the following statement as true: "There's no difference between Gore and Bush?" How can you reason with someone who's going to posit that there's no difference between McCain and Obama?

The only ideas I have for reasoning with them are illegal, and rightfully so.

#21 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 06:31 PM:

Mike B, are you really saying someone shouldn't run simply because they have passed some arbitrary age (and I note with interest that Hillary loses a decade on that age, presumably due to being female - I mean, she's in her *60s* - shouldn't she be playing bingo or crocheting?), or is my sarcasm metre off?

Don't get me wrong, I think there are heaps of reasons to gnaw off your own hand before voting for McCain or Nader (and choose to reserve my opinion on Clinton), but age? That's a stupid reason to vote, or not vote, for anyone, unless you think that generational change is so absolute a good that it trumps all considerations of ability, policy, outlook and intention.

#22 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 06:41 PM:

Brenda @18, I would hardly call Al From "desperate." You may not recognize his name; he was the founder of the Democratic Leadership Council, the conservative Democrats who elected Bill Clinton and tried to elect Gore.

I don't know anything about the Harvard professor, though. He may be desperate.

I'm voting for whichever corporatist Democrat we get this year, just as I did four years ago; I understand how the Biparty works. I just think that if people want to beat the Republicans, they should stop giving them a pass on 2000 by blaming Nader instead of the Bush gang. Losers love scapegoats. Winners keep their eyes on the opposition.

#23 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 06:44 PM:

Tom: Trying to keep a candidate off the ballot because he might hurt yours hardly strikes me as a very democratic thing to do.

The US has a majority-vote-wins election process. That process can be gamed by third party candidates who can take votes from the two primary candidates and throw the election.

And THAT is a very undemocratic thing to do.

Shouldn't everyone who's mad at Nader for losing Gore the 2000 election be much madder at the electoral system that made it possible for him to do so?

The ideal process would be some sort of variety of condercet voting method: a scaled or weighted voting procedure. In such a process, people can vote their first choice to Nader if they so choose, but could then give their second choice vote to a candidate who actually has a chance of winning and is the best of the remaining candidates. THAT process (condercet) would produce a more democratic result.

Nader is attempting to throw the future of this country into another four years of crap by gaming the majority-vote-wins process, producing a non-democratic result (a non-condercet result). If his actions are OK simply because he works within the system to game the outcome, then it should just as easily be OK for others to work within the system to do everything possible to stop that man from ruining the future of this country. What's good for the goose...

simply put, Nader doesn't give a damn about the American people anymore. And the most democratic thing (from a condercet method point of view) an American could do for this next election is to make damn sure damn Nader doesn't get on the ballot.

#24 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 06:53 PM:

Greg @23, Nader got almost no votes four years ago. He'll get even fewer this year. That's how the two-party system works: a third party has one shot at victory (see the Republicans). Then your numbers in the Electoral College, the ones that get reported, make you look like you did worse than you did. People lose faith in your chance of winning. And they're right to do so, because third parties can't win a two-party game.

Nader is irrelevant. The Republicans know that. They're just happy to have Democrats waste their time trying to keep Nader off the ballot when they should be focusing on defeating Republicans.

And, frankly, it looks really bad when Democrats are opposing democracy.

#25 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 07:01 PM:

They're just happy to have Democrats waste their time trying to keep Nader off the ballot when they should be focusing on defeating Republicans.

A reasonable person might wonder why it's not a waste of time for the GOP to try to put Nader on the ballot when they should be focusing on defeating Democrats. And, furthermore, what you know that they don't.

#26 ::: Tom Recht ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 07:05 PM:

Greg: I agree with you that a Condorcet method would be preferable to the current system, of course. That's exactly why I think more third-party candidates should be running: the two-party system will never change until they do. I care about that more than I care about who wins the current election.

I don't agree that "third party candidates can take votes from the two primary candidates". Voters can give them their votes, or not. If they are not to have that choice, the Constitution should say explicitly that only the two large parties may run presidential candidates. The whole premise of democracy is that people are capable of informed decisions, and to deny them the chance to make those decisions is undemocratic.

#27 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 07:07 PM:

One last useful look at Nader's 2000 campaign: Dispelling the Myth of Election 2000: Did Nader Cost Gore the Election?

Here's my favorite bit from it:

"Twelve percent of Florida Democrats (over 200,000) voted for Republican George Bush" -San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 9, 2000

Since there were 97,488 Green voters in Florida, that means the Democrats are objectively two times more responsible for the Florida results than the Greens.

#28 ::: Brenda von Ahsen ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 07:11 PM:

Will @ 22
I know what the DLC is and I have heard arguments similar to yours before. I don't think your frame is correct but I wasn't asking that. I want to understand why you, not Al From, support Nader. Because it seems to me from reading your tone that, all things being equal you would (or would like to) vote for him. I'm not getting why that is.

#29 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 07:19 PM:

Anticorium, Republicans like anything that distracts Democrats. They studied 2000 very closely. They noticed what the founder of the DLC said about Nader. They know that he's useful to them because he's naive enough to think that progressive issues are relevant in a game played by two conservative parties.

I'll happily agree that Nader's an idiot to run. Principles suck when all you can do is lose. I wish Nader would work for a group to try to create real democracy in the US. But he knows like every politician that if you have issues that you want to raise in the US, the only way to get attention is to run a presidential campaign.

And, really, anyone who thinks Nader's issues and Obama's are identical isn't paying attention.

Well, I've been distracted by Nader enough now. Obama and Clinton are the best chance we've got at getting better health care and, maybe, if we're lucky, leaving Iraq, so I'm putting my focus back on them now.

#30 ::: Brenda von Ahsen ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 07:22 PM:

Tom @ 26
That's exactly why I think more third-party candidates should be running: the two-party system will never change until they do. I care about that more than I care about who wins the current election.

I see this as highly irresponsible.

I don't agree that "third party candidates can take votes from the two primary candidates".

You are welcome to disagree but you are wrong here. Not mistaken or confused but factually wrong.

#31 ::: michael ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 07:25 PM:

Nader's reason for entering the race is to draw attention to the problem of a two party system. The Bush/Cheney administration was so corrupt, I honestly think the democrats will win even if Santa Clause was their nominee.

#32 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 07:31 PM:

Friday, whenn this hit CNN.com, I looked at the comments (and posted one myself). The views I was seeing were about 90 percent 'go away, Ralph'.

will, I think you're missing something here: Al From isn't paid to get Democrats elected, he's paid to advise campaigns ... and his record is one of advising lots of losing campaigns. I don't trust him on anything; I'm not sure who he's really working for.

#33 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 07:33 PM:

Brenda @28, I voted for Nader in 2000 in California. As a result, I've listened to Democrats scapegoat him and the Greens for eight years. I'm naive; I think democracy matters. In 2000, when the Republicans sent their people out in the streets of Miami to keep the contest alive, the Democrats told theirs to go home. Al Gore himself told member after member of the Black Caucus to sit down and let the Republicans win. This is what DLC politics have done to the Democrats.

But do the Democrats blame the DLC? Do they blame the Republicans? Do they blame the Electoral College? Do they blame the Supreme Court? Do they blame Jeb Bush and his corrupt Florida administration? Do they even listen to the founder of the DLC on this issue? No, they blame Nader and the Nader-voters.

I've accepted lesser-of-two-evil politics. I worked for and voted for Kerry in 2004. I will work for and vote for Clinton or Obama in 2004. I'm in Arizona; I would love to see McCain fail in his home state.

But I also know what the Biparty is. When Democrats call for limits on democracy, I feel a little ill.

Well, it's past time for me to leave this thread. Here's hoping for a better America soon--

#34 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 07:35 PM:

But he knows like every politician that if you have issues that you want to raise in the US, the only way to get attention is to run a presidential campaign.

Thank the gods Nader is raising these issues. If he tried to instead do something about them, he might be stuck in a go-nowhere position like Illinois state senator, a job from which no man could ever emerge with the possibility of higher office in Washington.

#35 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 07:35 PM:

I'd think a lot more of Nader if he was visibly involved in politics more often than once every four years.

(When the only time you ever take part in the process is late in it, your reasons for participating should be questioned, loudly and often. Especially when you want someone else to pay for your participation.)

#36 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 07:37 PM:

"Not very democratic"

But the US isn't, and never has been, outside certain regional enclaves in New England.

American democracy can work, and has worked pretty well at various times in the past, but it takes a really widespread, well founded, trembling belief on the part of the various elites that their options are democracy or being fed to the mob, possibly in pieces.

#37 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 07:39 PM:

will@22: I'm voting for whichever corporatist Democrat we get this year,

Uh, so you're saying "whichever" because you think both Obama and Clinton are equally "corporatists"? Isn't this the same "tweedledee and tweedledum" argument from a few years back?

just as I did four years ago; I understand how the Biparty works.

Out of curiosity, have you ever voted for a third party presidential candidate?

For the record, my answer to that question would be "no".

I just think that if people want to beat the Republicans, they should stop giving them a pass on 2000 by blaming Nader instead of the Bush gang.

Except, the thing is that blame can be assigned to Nader AND the Bush gang. You cast it as if it is either or. Bush's gang stole votes. AND. Nader drew votes from the democratic candidate.

will@24: Nader is irrelevant. The Republicans know that. They're just happy to have Democrats waste their time trying to keep Nader off the ballot when they should be focusing on defeating Republicans.

So, you're saying it's a waste of resources to try and stop Nader from getting on the ballot because he won't affect the election outcome anyway?

Do you say this because you don't think he affected the outcome in any previous election?

Or do you think Nader did negatively affect an election for the Democrats, but that somehow things have changed and if he were to get on the ballot NOW, somehow history would not be an indicator of voter behaviour?

Because I believe Nader harmed at least one election, and I see no reason why history can't repeat itself.

Lastly, you seem to present another either/or dilemma. Either we stop Nader from getting on the ballot, OR, we stop the Republicans from cheating on the election process. I'm not convinced those are mutually exclusive. I think the democratic party could successfully do both, AND win the election.

#38 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 07:43 PM:

PJ, I don't like From either, but I know exactly who he supports: corporatists like Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama--the DLC hated Edwards, but they've said they're happy with either of the last two Dems standing.

Sorry for doing the Minnesota goodbye. I will make it out the door soon!

#39 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 07:54 PM:

Greg, in haste:

Substitute "DLC-approved" for "corporatist," if you prefer.

I always voted for the Democrat until the early '90s, when I ran for Governor of Minnesota on the Grassroots Party Ticket and voted for myself, which might've been my first third-party vote. (Came in 3rd out of a field of 6, kicking Libertarian butt, which I'm still proud of, though the Libertarian did seem like a nice guy, as Libertarians go.) Voted for Nader in '96 after watching Clinton abandon his campaign promises, and for Nader again in 2000.

This is the important fact about 2000 and Florida: the Democrats won in Florida. The polls were accurate. The Nader voters saw how badly Gore was campaigning and the expected 5% Green vote dropped to about 2.5%, if I remember correctly. But the Bush gang was ready to steal the Florida vote, and they did. I'll remind you again of what Al From said the result would've been if Nader had not run.

Damn, I'm wordy in haste, too.

#40 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 07:54 PM:

Vian @21 wrote "I note with interest that Hillary loses a decade on that age, presumably due to being female - I mean, she's in her *60s* -"

It's more extreme than that -- Hillary is 60 and Hillary is six months younger than Mitt.

#41 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 07:54 PM:

will@33: But do the Democrats blame the DLC? Do they blame the Republicans? Do they blame the Electoral College? Do they blame the Supreme Court? Do they blame Jeb Bush and his corrupt Florida administration? Do they even listen to the founder of the DLC on this issue? No, they blame Nader and the Nader-voters.

you must have posted this while I was working on #37.

So the problem is this. You again present this as an either/or issue. Either it's the democratic party's fault, OR it's Nader's fault. And since you assert the Democratic party could have produced better candidates and could have run a better campaign, then it must be that, and NOT that Nader siphoned votes from Gore.

I say it's both. Yeah, the democratic party could have done better. AND yeah, Nader took votes from Gore, probably enough that Gore lost the election.

That you adamantly deny that Nader or his voters should receive ANY of the blame, I think, stems more from being a member of that population, than from anything else.

The thing is, my opposition to Nader in 2008 has nothing to do with blaming you or anyone else who voted for Nader in 2000. It has only to do with me wanting the democratic candidate to get the presidency, and not wanting Nader to take votes from the dem and giving the presidency to McCain.

If you insist Nader didn't do that in 2000, then we can table that as irrelevant interpretations of the past. The point is that Nader could do it in 2008. And I think it's worth making sure it doesn't happen.


#42 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 08:02 PM:

Why does it matter a bit what Nader's motivation for running for president is? Maybe he wants to be a spoiler, maybe he doesn't care, maybe he's a Serbian covert agent, but what difference does that make to any of us? What is important is the fact that he is running. It is possible that his being on the ballot won't affect the outcome, but we can't know that will be the case; in the course of defeating McCain, or whoever emerges as the Republican nominee we must also defeat Nader soundly enough that any vote for him has no effect on the outcome.

What else is there to say?

#43 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 08:03 PM:

Greg, type slower so I can leave! *g*

Maybe you see evidence of Nader getting support this year. I don't. I look at the third run of every third-party candidate who tried a third run, and I see no reason to worry about Nader this year. The two-party system has done what it was designed to do.

(Okay, Eugene Debs did great on his third run, but he had a strong party, and the Greens in the US are still reeling from being the scapegoats of 2000. Which may have been part of the reason they were made the scapegoats, of course.)

#44 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 08:12 PM:

I know who *I* blame for 2000. I blame Jeb Bush, Katherine Harris (waste of a perfectly good first name, btw), and the rest of the Florida election crew. I blame the Republican apparachniks who staged a phony "angry mob" at the recounts. I blame the Supreme Court majority who sided with Bush and against democracy in Bush v. Gore. I blame Karl Rove. I blame Fox news. And I also blame Gore campaign who asked for a recount only in certain counties rather than a full recount of the entirety of Florida and instead of fighting to the finish stepped aside for the sake of "unity".

I don't blame Nader or Nader voters. Gore *won* the popular vote. Confused retirees in Palm Beach accidentally voting for Pat Buchanan rather than Al Gore on a messed up butterfly ballot hurt Gore more than any idealistic Greens voting Nader.

That being said, I do think Nader is a fool. I agree that the fact that I only hear from him on leap years these days chafes. You want change? Work for change. You want to run for office? Run for a state or local office. Encourage other good people to run for state and local offices. Follow the model of Paul Wellstone, instead of making another vanity run.

#45 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 08:13 PM:

Bruce, this correction for Greg might console you: I forgot that Nader's running as an independent this time. He doesn't even have the Greens to help him. He's as irrelevant as irrelevant can be.

#46 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 08:24 PM:

Bruce@42: What else is there to say?

How about

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lgcQUQZBtE

;)

The head shake at 1:15 to 1:20 pretty much captures my emotional feeling about Nader running.

And the whole thing fairly accurately reflects what I hear when Nader talks these days.

#47 ::: Ewan ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 08:25 PM:

Echoing #17: How? Assume for purposes of argument that one is convinced prevention of a Nader presence on the ballot in NH, or CT where I reside, or elsewhere... what are you requesting/suggesting should be done?

#48 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 08:28 PM:

Let's see what Ralph said in that quote:

Asked why he should be president, the longtime consumer advocate said, “Because I got things done.” He cited a 40-year record, which he said includes saving “millions of lives,” bringing about stricter protection for food and water and fighting corporate control over Washington.

I'd have to see statistics on whether he's saved millions of lives, but stipulate he probably saved a good number in his early days advocating for auto safety.

"Stricter protection for food and water?" Um, Ralph? We just had a huge beef recall last week, and we had several other huge recalls last year. How's emasculation of the FDA going for you under that Republican regime you helped put into office?

If corporate control of politics is an issue for you, why haven't you been squalling about Dartmouth v. Woodward for the past 40 years? That's the decision which stipulated that corporations should be treated as persons under American law.

Anybody who contributes to a Nader candidacy should have his head read.

#49 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 08:31 PM:

Pfusand @40:

Not only that, she's angry, while the other candidates get neutral words.

#50 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 08:35 PM:

When Nader borught this up a couple of weeks ago, it was reported at Talking Poitns that he said he do it if he could get people to donate a lot of money (the number was something like $30 million) and get a bunch of lawyers to do pro bono work to get him on assorted state ballots.
This, to me, is the sign of an inflated ego: he thinks that all he has to do is get on the ballots. Using other people's time and money, not his, and doing it though the courts, not through the usual procedures.

#51 ::: Matt Stevens ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 08:42 PM:

Look, I have never voted for Nader, think he's an egotistical freak and blame him (partially) for the 2000 debacle. Nevertheless he has the right to run and (assuming he has the signatures and all that) be on the ballot. It's silly to tell people they should "work to keep Nader off the ballot in your state." I don't like it when politicians use legions of election lawyers to kick competitors off the ballot, and I'm not going to help them in this case.

#52 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 08:48 PM:

Matt, he has the right to try to get on the ballot. We have the right to try to keep him off. Unless you believe everyone has the right to be on the ballot, there's nothing wrong with trying to keep someone off.

#53 ::: Zander ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 08:50 PM:

Um...I may be confused here, but surely in order to believe that Nader helped get Bush elected in 2000 we first have to assume that the voting figures in 2000 (particularly in Florida, which someone mentioned) actually had some influence on who got in?

#54 ::: Joyce Reynolds-Ward ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 08:51 PM:

As others have said--I'd be more impressed by Nader's alleged motives if I saw him involved intensely in politics more than every four years toward the end of the presidential primary season.

Otherwise, I kinda get suspicious as to the real motive for his involvement.

If you want to build up a significant third party movement, you've gotta build it bit by bit in the various states. That's the rock on which many idealists have crashed. They don't look at change as generational; they want it all right away.

Except, perhaps, for the Dominionists. Unfortunately, those folks seem to be the ones with the right attitude for the long-term--and they're not the ones I'd prefer to see taking that point of view.

#55 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 08:52 PM:

Sarah@ 49Not only that, she's angry, while the other candidates get neutral words.

That's just code for "shrill," right?

Oh well - looks like the original comment was drive-by astroturf of some sort. Screw 'em.

#56 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 09:20 PM:

Matt at 51, I am not a lawyer. And sure, Nader has the right to try all legal means to get on the ballot. I and legions of my friends have the right to use all legal means to keep him off it, mostly by holding him up to public ridicule every chance I/we get and reminding people of just how well it worked out the last time he ran.

#57 ::: Donald Delny ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 09:20 PM:

#48 ::: Linkmeister,

I'd have to see statistics on whether he's saved millions of lives, but stipulate he probably saved a good number in his early days advocating for auto safety.

Did he?
I know he built his early reputation on demolishing the Corvair, but as I understood it, all of it's design flaws were shared by a certain small car originally produced for a certain Godwinesque world leader, that remained in production until 2003. (Albeit in Mexico.)

(see NHTSA report PB 211-015, available here: http://www.ntis.gov/ if you have 52$. Where's Carl Malamud when you need him?)

#58 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 09:21 PM:

Joyce, you're the most recent to say that third-party candidates should work to build a third party instead of running for president. Do you believe that's possible in a two-party system? It took a conflict over slavery to give the Republicans a shot--and then they became the party of the robber barons.

#59 ::: Rivka ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 09:29 PM:

#16: You wrote I think if the country is ever to move beyond a two-party system (which is only twice as nice as a one-party system), it needs many more Naders running on all sides of the spectrum.

No. If our country is ever to move beyond a two-party system, we need to abolish the electoral college - and probably our first-past-the-post voting system, as well.

If I saw Nader ever work outside of an election year to reform the U.S. electoral system so that third-party candidates would become meaningful, I would credit him with some desire to reform American democracy.

Similarly, if Nader and his people worked tirelessly to build the Green Party from the ground up, fighting to get Greens on city councils and in state legislatures across America and running candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, I would credit him with a genuine desire to build the Greens as a legitimate third party in the U.S.

Given that he only appears every four years for a bout of spiteful, Republican-funded grandstanding, I can only conclude that he relishes the role of spoiler.

#9: You wrote It doesn't really matter anyway. In 2004, Nader got 0.38% of the vote. There's no indication he'd do any better this time.

It's not the percentage of the overall vote. If 2000 taught us nothing, it's that in American presidential campaigns the share of the overall vote is, if not precisely meaningless, then at least highly misleading. What matters is where. Nader campaigned ruthlessly in battleground states. A tiny fraction of the votes in Florida (in 2000) or Ohio (2004) was enough to tip the scales for Bush.

#60 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 09:36 PM:

"We will call him Crazy Eddie, if you like. He is a ... he is like me, sometimes, and he is a Brown, an idiot savant tinker, sometimes. Always he does the wrong things for excellent reasons. He does the same things over and over, and they always bring disaster, and he never learns.

"When a city has grown so overlarge and crowded that it is in immediate danger of collapse... when food and clean water flow into the city at a rate just sufficient to feed every mouth, and every hand must work constantly to keep it that way... when all transportation is involved in moving vital supplies, and none is left over to move people out of the city should the need arise... then it is that Crazy Eddie leads the movers of garbage out on strike for better working conditions."

-- Niven and Pournelle, The Mote in God's Eye

#61 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 09:38 PM:

vian @#21: Mike B, are you really saying someone shouldn't run simply because they have passed some arbitrary age

Tangentially, I've been amused by the irony that McCain has been campaigning on the importance of the presidential power of Supreme Court nominations because the Justices are getting on in years...

<link>

#62 ::: Joyce Reynolds-Ward ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 09:46 PM:

Will @ 58--I'll bite, albeit briefly, as I won't have many opportunities to comment after this until Wednesday.

To be honest, I've seen the Citizens Party, DSOC, the Greens, and the Libs up close and personal. None of them have done what I deem necessary for a good grassroots third-party organizational effort to succeed. Part of that is because the good activists either get burned out or coopted by the mainstream parties.

Part of that is because too often the third parties are organized around ideology instead of a serious drive to earn power--and that includes those to the right of center as well as the left. You need people and money to pull it off, and I've not seen an effort with both yet.

Also, I feel that success with a third party needs a coherent, long-term, 50-state, 30 year plan. So far, no one's done it. They want to make a big splash instead of doing the steady legwork to build a viable alternative.

First, you have to create a presence on local levels. That means money and recruitment of volunteers plus candidates.

Then you have to build that presence into a regional, then statewide, then multi-state presence.

Then you go nationwide.

It's doable. The fact is, many people just look at the established parties and decide that trying to spend thirty years taking them over is more effective than starting from scratch. But there are sufficient disaffected sorts out there that if someone was serious about it, and did the sort of long-range planning, fundraising, and recruitment to make it happen, it would.

Unfortunately, damned few people in politics are committed to the long-range plan--and they tend to be the right wing Christian sorts. Everyone else wants quick rewards.

Could I do it? Probably. But no one would give me the money and health care benefits I'd require to do it--and, besides, I'd much rather write, ski, and play with my horse when I'm not at my day job. I did the political scene when I was younger. It would take mucho buckos to drag me back into it again.

#63 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 09:47 PM:

Donald Delney @ 57

I owned a Corvair (the 1963 model, from the year after the one that Nader was so exercised about) for six years or so. It did indeed have a couple of the problems he complained about: it did leak some exhaust gas into the cabin, though not enough to cause me discomfort, just enough to notice the smell, and it did have a pronounced toe-in on the rear wheels causing it to oversteer in curves. In fact, I flipped a '62 model over because it oversteered on a curve once. But that accident was because I was 17, had just gotten my license, and didn't know how to deal with situations like that. In all, yes the Corvair had problems, but no more than the Chevy Impala I had afterward which steered like a truck, making it somewhat unsafe in situations requiring fast maneuvering on the highway.

And for all that Nader pats himself on the back over the Corvair, he really hasn't done much else substantive since then.

#64 ::: R. Emrys ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 10:07 PM:

First Reaction: Spoiler or no, Nader is an egotistical idiot. His belief that he can accomplish anything by this method bears no relationship to reality. As several people said above, at this point if he actually cared about reforming the system, he'd be doing something else. More often than once every four years. He might even have run early in the campaign and then dropped out, like Kucinich or Paul.

Second Reaction: Why panic? The Greens have disowned him. The Democrats who voted for him in 2000 are disillusioned with him. Either of this year's Democratic candidates could beat the Platonic hybrid of Gore and Kerry while standing on one foot and singing "Crocodile Rock" off-key. Meanwhile, even the Republicans can't get excited about the Republican candidates. Nader's just not as tempting as he was 8 years ago. I speak here as someone who voted for him 8 years ago (in a massively blue state that I knew Gore would win by a landslide, and he did, please don't lynch me).

Third Reaction: Has everyone forgotten that we lost the 2000 election because the Republicans stole it? They won the all-important computer demographic. The head of Diebold said in Time Magazine that he would do everything in his power to deliver Ohio to Bush, and he kept his promise. But there are a lot more states, Ohio included, that require paper trails now. That still, of course, leaves the low-tech election-stealing methods of trying to keep poor people and black people from voting. If we work our tails off to keep the election fair, Nader is a side issue.

#65 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 10:15 PM:

The point is that Nader could do it in 2008.

Yeah, and Osama bin Laden might uncover the Zeta Reticulan flying saucers, which were buried underneath the ruins of Babylon in Iraq and moved, prior to the American invasion, over the border into Iran where they've been secretly used to accelerate their antimatter bomb research program, and crash them into the Ground Zero memorial, killing millions of patriotic liberal Americans in Manhattan just before the election, and siphoning votes away from the Democratic candidate and putting Satan himself on the oval throne of America.

Do any of the people who believe Nader is a threat to Democrats in 2008 realize how abjectly nutty they sound?

#66 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 10:16 PM:

Rivka @59, "Nader campaigned ruthlessly in battleground states" is often said, but it isn't true. See here.

Joel @60, yes, Niven and Pournelle like cheap labor.

Joyce @62, the Greens and the Libertarians have been working for decades. The Socialist Party and the Farmer-Labor Party took the long, slow approach. But the money is with the Biparty. Saying a new party should plan a 50-year-campaign is only another way to keep new parties irrelevant. The more I observe the Biparty, the more I'm impressed at how beautifully it works. It's the beauty of the tiger though--not so easy for gazelles to admire.

#67 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 10:20 PM:

"Why panic? The Greens have disowned him."

Sadly, he won the Green primary race in California earlier this month. I think it's possible that the Greens who would have disowned him have already burned out and left the party. I'm very sad about this outcome.

#68 ::: Ray ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 10:30 PM:

Nader.....WOW!!!

Goes to show how money can influence an election. If I had the money I would probably run too, its incredible to see how a man that says he cares so much about the country, etc is willing to divide the country even more. He knows he is NOT going to win, nor does he represent nothing new, yet he is running....running for what? If you want to do something useful, why don’t you help the Democratic Party win the election with your cash and end the politics that have dug this huge hole for us? or maybe form and organization that helps the people of this country police the government regardless of who the President is? or is that a waste of money in your eyes? Not that your run is a waste or anything like that...(sarcasm, just in case you missed it)

Please, if you really want to make this country a better place, put your money to good use and don’t throw it away on another failed run...one must recognize ones limits, accept the facts of life and do the best we can with what we have....didn’t you learn that in school?

#69 ::: Duck Fuhbya ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 10:52 PM:

I personally hold Nader at least partially responsible for the last 7+ years of Absolute World Chaos that has been the Bush Administration.
One has to wonder if there are any Nader close relatives that could possibly grab him, shake him violently, and scream at him "What The Hell Are You Thinking!!!??? What The Hell Do You Plan To Accomplish With This Additional Insanity???!!!
At one time in the distant past, I admired Nader for his ideals, but he is simply a 'nut-job' now in my book. Ralph...are you familiar with the term 'KnuckleHead'?

#70 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 11:00 PM:

Graydon @ 36: "American democracy can work, and has worked pretty well at various times in the past, but it takes a really widespread, well founded, trembling belief on the part of the various elites that their options are democracy or being fed to the mob, possibly in pieces."

Hmm. I have the impression that this is the only case under which democracy ever works anywhere.

#71 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 11:08 PM:

jh@65: Do any of the people who believe Nader is a threat to Democrats in 2008 realize how abjectly nutty they sound?

Well, "nutty" is subjective, so I'll have to say that for me, personally, and speaking on a purely relative scale, the above sounds less nutty than the people who insist that Nader didn't affect the outcome in any way in 2000.

Osama bin Laden might uncover the Zeta Reticulan flying saucers, which were buried underneath the ruins of Babylon in Iraq and moved, prior to the American invasion, over the border into Iran where they've been secretly used to accelerate their antimatter bomb research program, and crash them into the Ground Zero memorial, killing millions of patriotic liberal Americans in Manhattan just before the election, and siphoning votes away from the Democratic candidate and putting Satan himself on the oval throne of America.

And speaking of nutty, how nutty is it to compare (1) the possibility that a third party candidate might siphon a couple percent of the votes away from a democratic candidate and let a republican win in a close election, and compare it with (2) your strawman statement involving flying saucers and Satan himself as if they're equally "nutty"?

If by nutty, you are referring to something that actually happened in history, such as Nader's 2000 siphon of 2% of the vote in a 50-50 election, then I would not call that nutty. But if by nutty, you mean that flying saucers and the devil himself are something to worry about, then yes I would call that nutty.


#72 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 11:10 PM:

By the way, obfuscating political candidate's names with rot-13 doesn't do the trick any more, as Google indexes those words just fine.

e4|cu a4q3e
e0a c4h|

3ny(u 4nqr3
384 (nhy

Well, leeting the names before rot13ing them (or vicey versky) does a better job, but the visual impact is diminished. Hmmm....

#73 ::: Brenda von Ahsen ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 11:11 PM:

#33 ::: will shetterly
Thanks for your reply. I was just looking to understand, not sure that I do but thanks anyway.

#74 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 11:15 PM:

"And speaking of nutty, how nutty is it to compare (1) the possibility that a third party candidate might siphon a couple percent of the votes away from a democratic candidate and let a republican win in a close election, and compare it with (2) your strawman statement involving flying saucers and Satan himself as if they're equally "nutty"?"

That'd be pretty nutty, which is why I didn't make that comparison.

#75 ::: Lighthill ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 11:28 PM:

[The following is not entirely fair, and uses several rhetorical devices that I do not endorse outside of satire. Nevertheless, sing it to the tune of "A Policeman's Lot Is Not A Happy One".]

When politicians cannot get positions
They foment little Machiavellian schemes
Advancing dark and cynical ambitions
Wrapped up in their constituencies' dreams.
  My feelings I with difficulty smother
  When my voter's solemn duty's to be done.
  Though he's an awfully compromised old mother:
  Ralph Nader's lot is not happy one!

Say not that his career has popped a suture
From stubbornness or simple naked greed.
He'll drive democracy into the future
To prove that it's unsafe at any speed.
  Oh if you're sure you're purehearted and brainy
  There's no need to ask what your works have done.
  (Just ask Nobel, von Braun, or Richard Cheney.)
  Ralph Nader's lot is not a happy one!

Surrounded by a waning adulation
He reminisces on what might have been:
Might once he have wrought good upon the nation
And not greased the Republican machine?
  He'd scrabble through his soul to find the answer
  But looking there just makes him want to run.
  (He'll stop campaigning if he's linked to cancer.)
  Ralph Nader's lot is not a happy one!

#76 ::: Comment spammer Seb ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 11:29 PM:

.

Spam posted from 24.164.24.143

#77 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 11:41 PM:

Brenda @73, it is tricky. Believers in two-party politics expect one of two positions on Nader: you're supposed to think he's a spoiler, or you're supposed to think he's a messiah. But those of us who don't believe in two-party politics can take many positions.

In my case, I don't like Al From's politics, but I respect his poll results, just as I respect the poll results that said Gore won in Florida in 2000.

And I really hate hearing so-called Democrats calling for less democracy. I want a change in the system, but Bipartisans have give us "damned if you do, damned if you don't" politics where third parties who work to change the system are irrelevant and third parties who confront the system are denounced as "spoilers."

Rivka @59, apologies for repeating myself in my earlier response. I constantly fall into thinking "Someone is wrong on the internet." It may well be that Nader serves a better function as a scapegoat than he ever did as a hope for an alternative to corporatist politics.

#78 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 11:42 PM:

Oh look - another driveby. Mind you, this one's a bit less articulate than the last one.

" ... intentionly bombarded with with Corporate propaganda ... " indeed.

#79 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 11:42 PM:

The basic problem with a Nader candidacy is that it doesn't address any legitimate concern raised by people like Will and Rivka. If my doctor tells me that because of my digestive problems I should stop eating meat, my response that my seafood consumption is now all local-catch organically handled and that I've replaced all my plastic bags with canvas ones isn't helpful. The president doesn't have much say over election laws (though he does over their enforcement, which is another reason that the line about no differences between major candidates is such a contemptible sort of lie). So it doesn't matter how many people vote for Nader if what they want to do is change election laws.

People who want to change election laws need an organization capable of sustained effort on that front between elections, and they need to elect representatives at all levels, and they need to elect supportive judges, and a bunch of other things. The chief executive office isn't altogether negligible for such an effort, but it's way low on the list of priorities...for people who'd actually like to achieve their goal, as opposed to simply affirming their own correctness without risk of the messy complications that come from holding real authority.

#80 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 11:51 PM:

Just because no one has explicitly stated the electoral issue:

We win or lose presidential elections state by state, so ignore the national polls for the moment. Now for a given state, say we have parties A, B, and C. It's possible that party A would win a contest between just A and B, but party B would win a three way contest between A, B, and C. The presence of C effectively swings all the electoral votes for a state from A to B.

In a close race, this doesn't have to be very many votes. It just has to be enough to switch which party gets the plurality. Now, in real life, it's not this clear cut since we can't actually compare the results of two different ballots. (e.g., we can't know if everyone who voted for party C would have voted at all, much less for party A.) The principle stands though.

This is why arguing Nader's ineffectiveness based on how poorly Nader polls nationally fails to convince me. It's not about the national polls. In a suitably close race, it could be a handful of voters in one state who swing the plurality from one candidate to another. (I hope this presidential race will not be that close.) Even state by state, it's not about how well Nader polls. It's about whether Nader's presence changes who has the plurality of voters in a given state.

Note that this argument is blissfully independent of whatever Nader's actual intentions are. He doesn't actually have to want or intend these ramifications for them to happen. They may be a consequence of his mere entrance into the race and campaigning, how ever he chooses to do it.

#81 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 11:57 PM:

Bruce, you do see the Catch-22 there?

A couple more thoughts:

Seb may be a driveby, but he's right about one thing: just because you haven't seen what Nader's done in the last four years doesn't mean he hasn't done anything.

And Nader's as much a victim of the Biparty as anyone. He sees Obama and Clinton take corporate money and promise to protect corporate interests, so he runs again, knowing he'll lose, yet knowing that the alternative is to be silent while the corporations destroy the earth.

We don't have fifty years to build a new political party in the US. Global warming is moving too quickly. Either the US finds a new direction, or the next generation will have good cause to hate us. I'm voting for the lesser evil this year because the lesser evil will do a little that might slow the process. But neither Obama or Clinton are going to bite the hands that feed them. I doubt Edwards would have either, but he barked enough that he might have, so he was kept out of the game.

Well, that's hardly the cheeriest note to end on, but what's ahead calls for more than empty cheer. To those of you who believe Clinton or Obama will save us, I can only say I pray you're right.

#82 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:00 AM:

i started to post this, then erased it.

I'm going to post.

Someone needs to find a farking stake. We need a Van Helsing NOW. to take care of Nader.

#83 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:05 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @ #15: Excellent point. Thanks for sharing that.

Nader is an attention whore, pure and simple. He's learned to game his little part of the system, and apparently has some backers lined up. I can't help but wonder at the comparative figures of their political affiliations. His picks for causes in corporate America have been capricious as well. Bruce Cohen's example of the Corvair is just one, where the Corvair (actually an enthusiast's car) was vilified, but the Volkswagen and others with similar problems were barely mentioned. Certain drugs and other products become major issues, while others with worse problems are ignored. It's hard for me to look at the Nader Institute's choices for action without wondering if there are other influences besides concern for the populace.

I've noticed that the BBC is making a big deal of Nader's announcement. I'm sure anything that might help bring Ol' Blood 'n' Guts McCain to power is regarded with horror in most parts of Europe.

#84 ::: Joyce Reynolds-Ward ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:08 AM:

Will @ 66.

Oh please. Don't try to fool an old-time activist. The Libs and Greens are nothing, and they have been nothing for a very long time. They aren't about taking power, or even speaking truth to power--they're all about ideology, nothing more.

If the Farmer-Labor party was to have succeeded, they needed to branch out of the Midwest. They didn't.

And sneering at the 30 year plan (not 50, as you said)--ah yes, just looking for instant gratification, yet again. Just like Nader.

I repeat; no one's seriously tried it. They've either been centered in ideology with no pragmatic view of the political scene, or they've focused on big image, one-shot, big money campaigns.

The ones who are closest to pulling it off and who have maintained consistency are the Dominionists. Sadly, I fear they may yet come out the winners, just because our kind is either into instant gratification or self-destruction.

Oh yeah. I do have at least state-level political cred (or did, anyway, once upon a time before I walked away from it) as a party hack. I've done the grassroots organization stuff, done the lobbyist stuff, and worked enough campaigns to know what both victory and defeat tastes like.

#85 ::: Tom Recht ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:12 AM:

I still don't see how "Work to keep Nader off the ballot in your state" translates into anything other than "To ensure your favored candidate wins, work to deny others the chance to vote for their favored candidate".

As John Chu (80) says, a first-past-the-post race with more than two candidates always risks an unrepresentative result. I wonder, then, if anyone here would take the anti-Nader position to its logical conclusion and argue that all such races should be legally limited to two candidates? It's inconsistent to object to Nader but not to, say, Ross Perot, or a possible Ron Paul bid.

In an election where A defeats B by a margin of n, any group of non-B-voters greater than n can be accused with equal justice of "having cost B the election". It doesn't matter if they stayed home, sat on the fence for a while and ended up voting A, or voted for C even though they preferred B to A. Those are all legitimate choices, and the democratically minded should be glad to see voters getting such choices, not trying to withhold them.

#86 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:17 AM:

Will: No, I genuinely don't. Saying "If you want to change the rules, change the roster of people who can change them, after building public support for the change, rather than pushing the guaranteed loss of someone who couldn't affect them even if he won" doesn't seem like Catch-22 at all to me.

It might be nice to wave a wand and getter a better electoral system in one fell swoop. It'd be nice if the Civil War had led directly to full social justice for African-Americans in the 1870s, too. Unfortunately, stuff takes time. It also takes aiming at relevant targets. Nobody's even trying to explain how a Nader victory could actually help - at best it's "send a message" stuff, and Woody Allen nailed that one. ("If you want to send the audience a message, use Western Union.") No quantity of worthiness of cause exempts you from the reality that change happens when you change things at the points where different people with different attitudes can change the rules.

Also, Will, remember that regulars here have seen Nader in action in the last four years. We've been watching our friends Teresa and Xopher suffer because of just one of his awesome crusades of recent years. I suppose we could go out in search of more of his victims, of course.


#87 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:20 AM:

Seb:

Thank you Ralph, for all the good things you've done to protect the PEOPLE of this Country. Amazing how quickly they forget, or perhaps they just don't know. Almost everyone's lives, or that of friends and relatives of theirs, has been improved and made safer because of you

Well Seb, ol' buddy, if you weren't a smug drive-by poster without the brains God gave a grape you would have done a search on this site and found that the lives of one of the moderators, and one of the regular posters as well, have been made worse and less safe because of actions taken by a Nader-created group.

You may argue (assuming you can figure out how to use a search box for something besides "Nader") that because I'm a friend of Dave Howell and once had a pleasant ten-minute conversation with Teresa that I have a bias. And you'd be right. Because neither has ever drifted into ongoing conversations I've been having with others, told me I believe a bunch of poo, and then cha-cha'd on their merrily closed-minded way. Actually, I'd have Dave in for a brain scan if he did...he'd be the AntiDave.

Do I need to walk around the block? Probably.

#88 ::: R. Emrys ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:24 AM:

Please pardon me. While there was quite a lot of evidence for vote-counting fraud in the 2000 election, some of it computer related, the Diebold quote about delivering Ohio was in reference to the 2004 election. My wife pointed this out to me and a quick google confirms it. Clearly I can't keep my stolen elections straight; I hope no one trusts me with a butterfly ballot in November.

Sadly, he won the Green primary race in California earlier this month.

That's deeply unfortunate. Was anyone running against him?

#89 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:37 AM:

The American system wasn't designed to be democratic; it was designed to keep the passions of the mob from swaying things on a momentary level, but to allow long-term concerns of substantial numbers to be addressed, while allowing space for individual liberty.

It's worked pretty well over the years, and one reason is that the two-party system coopts people who actually want change and are willing to compromise to get it, while leaving the loony fringe outside the corridors of power.

Not perfectly, but it does work. Which is the ultimate test of any governing system.

#90 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:47 AM:

Can I ask a somewhat silly question? What difference would be made if everyone in the US (not just those who remember to register and those who are able to turn out on the day, and those who can be bothered) was required to vote?

I ask this because I can see one thing in particular which is leading to the solidification (or indeed, the ossification) of the US two-party system: low voter turnout. It lowers the bar remarkably, and reduces the electoral hurdles dramatically. If the voter turnout is sufficiently low (and let's face it, when less than half of the country is voting at all, this means you only need to convince about a quarter of the country to vote for you) then it makes stealing elections, spoiling elections and similar a damn sight easier. Given this situation, surely the best way to go about foiling the sorts of tactics being promulgated all over the place here is to start urging friends, colleagues, and random strangers in the street to exercise their right to vote.

Why not make it a requirement for being able to complain about the government for the years between 2008 and 2012? If you didn't vote, you don't get to bitch about what happened as a result.

#91 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:49 AM:

Joyce @84, I was just returning to share this article about Nader at the World Socialist Web Site. It's far from pro-Nader, but Nader makes a point that's pertinent here: the corporatists are the slow and successful folks. Nixon caved to citizen groups, but from then on, thanks to Republicans and DLCers, corporations have ruled. The Dominionists are merely one of the corporatists' many tools.

As for a 30-year plan, it doesn't look like we have that long either. 2020 is going to be hell, based on current water use projections. And I fear those are conservative, because global climate change keeps moving faster than science predicts.

Bruce @86, maybe it is possible for a third party to take root in a two-party system. But an awful lot of people have failed at it. I would believe that meant the American people were satisfied with Republicans and Democrats, yet when they're polled, they're usually to the left of the Democrats. So I conclude the system is a failure if it's meant for the people, but a great success if it's meant for the rich.

#92 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:57 AM:

John Chu @ #80 & Tom Recht @ #85: I don't have to look too far to see how independent candidacies can create an unrepresentative result. When Idiot Son left his cozy job as Texas Governor for his new position as Commander-and-Chief of Freedom in 2001, his lieutenant-governor, Rick Perry, took over as governor. Governor Good Hair (RIP, Molly) is like The Shrub without the finesse. He won a full 4-year term in 2002, and by 2006 had pretty much finished handing the State of Texas over to the business interests that have taken such good care of him. I'll spare you the nasty details.

By 2006, many Texans were willing to do almost anything to get Perry and his cronies out of power. These days, in Texas, most of the races are actually decided in the Republican primary, so it stood to reason that was going to be the governor's battle ground. Kay Bailey Hutchison strongly considered running for governor, and Carole Keeton Strayhorn, then State Comptroller (a strong position in the strange way Texas state government is set up), announced she'd run against him in the primary. Senator Hutchison decided to run again for US Senate, and Strayhorn was threatened with a Rove-inspired primary campaign, so she withdrew and announced she'd run as an independent. Kinky Friedman, a Texas singer and detective-story writer and general colorful character, had already announced his independent candidacy. Chris Bell was the Democratic Party's candidate.

Effectively, even though the Republican Party had every other state-wide office wrapped up, there was a strong "anybody but Perry" feeling that made the winner of the governor's race simply a question of whom the ABP candidates would unite behind. Problem is, none of them dropped out. Chris Bell, the Democrat, wasn't initially given much chance. He proved an excellent debater with a strong set of policy statements, however, and gained strong support. But when election day came, Perry had 39.0%; Bell, 29.8%; Strayhorn, 18.1%; and Friedman, 12.4%.

There are no run-offs for Texas state offices--the winner of the plurality wins the election. So we have a governor for four more years who 61% of the voters voted against. And many of us are convinced that, had there been a celebrity death-match between Bell and the two independents to determine a single ABP candidate, we'd actually have an honest governor who the majority of Texans supported.

As to the weird state elections laws that allowed for that, I'm hoping there's enough of a coat-tails effect here this year that a bill changing that might actually have a chance of being introduced.

#93 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:59 AM:

Will #81: Nader [...] sees Obama and Clinton take corporate money and promise to protect corporate interests, so he runs again, knowing he'll lose, yet knowing that the alternative is to be silent while the corporations destroy the earth.

So what you're saying here is that Nader wants to fight the corporatists, so instead of being silent (which won't stop the corporatists), he runs for president (which also won't stop the corporatists). This strikes me as a bit lacking as a defense of Nader's actions.

If Nader wants a voice in government, he should run for Congress. He could probably get elected to the House if he chooses his district carefully. Or could have, nine years ago.

As far as corporatist candidates and global warming goes, Al Gore (a DLC-approved candidate) has done more in the past eight years to advance the fight against global warming than Nader has in his whole life.

#94 ::: Matt Stevens ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 01:05 AM:

Matt, he has the right to try to get on the ballot. We have the right to try to keep him off. Unless you believe everyone has the right to be on the ballot, there's nothing wrong with trying to keep someone off.

Listen: "Trying to keep someone off" means an active effort, not sitting on your butt and praying Nader doesn't get enough signatures. It sounds like active (if presumably legal) sabotage -- in New York, for instance, hiring lawyers to check every signature, checking for trivial violations of New York's arcane election laws. When Republicans use techniques like these we say, rightly, that they're trying to suppress turnout. It's no better when Democrats do it to limit competition, even against a demagogue like Nader.

Again, I'm a Democrat who hates Nader, but I'm appalled that Making Light's readers don't find Macdonald's statement controversial.

#95 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 01:18 AM:

Will, are you bothering to read what I write or just composing word jazz based on free association? I'm talking about what I think it would take to open up American politics. Single transferrable vote, Concordet, whatever - I don't have any strong preference, partly because I'n not as well informed as I'd like and distracted by other stuff at the moment, but broadly speaking, any system that would take preferences beyond #1 into account, provide for some measure of proportional representation, whatever.

I'm saying that running unsuccessful presidential candidates doesn't help that. I'm saying that getting changes at local levels (up through the state) and making a sustained effort over the long haul to raise public interest and sympathy would. Do you disagree? If so, please explain just what good you think it does to keep pushing the candidacy of a moral cretin like Nader, as opposed to working on any level where change of opinion and practice might be possible.

Or don't. Keep free-associating if it makes you happier. Whatever.

Personally, I want someone with the organizational skills to get to work on an actual campaign to improve US electoral systems. I would give them money. If my health were to improve, I'd give them my time and effort. What I don't want to see is more public masturbation that either does nothing or tilts the odds somewhat in favor of the worst candidates around, justified by...damned if I even understand the rationales, and it's not like explanations are ever forthcoming.

I would rather be a contented person making progress toward important goals than someone with the mixture of rage and frustration I keep feeling these days. And your flavor of political misdirection isn't helping a bit, Will.

#96 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 01:35 AM:

R. Emrys @ 88: Was anyone running against him?

Yes, but the only other one anyone has ever heard of before was— wait for it— Cynthia McKinney.

Both McKinney and Nader are also candidates for President for the Peace and Freedom Party. Neither of these people are Greens, and they couldn't give a fnork less about the pragmatic requirements of party-building. They're just using the existing multi-state organization of the G and P/F parties— such as it is— as a convenient springboard for their independent campaigns.

The paranoid in the back of my medulla has two alternative explanations for what's happening here, both of which I find attractive, though not plausible enough to really believe them: A) the GOP is fueling these "independent" runs by McKinney and Nader for all the reasons mentioned already in this thread; B) the DLC is fueling them as a way to crush whatever serious interest in building a progressive alternative to the Democratic Party may potentially arise around the Green Party.

The most plausible explanation is that the Greens are just flaming out according to the usual trajectory of the third party movements that run out of gas. The burned out husk of a party still has a national presence and ballot lines in enough states that they're a tempting hijack target for assclowns like Nader and McKinney.

I've never been more demoralized about politics in my life. The D's have a long goddamn way to go before I'm going to let them sweet-talk me back into being their houseboy again. I want to believe they can finally unfnork themselves and start delivering on the hopes and promises they've been selling for so long. I want to believe. I don't.

And... spare me the "Yes We Can" spirituals until November is over, and you can start singing "Yes We Are" instead. After nearly twenty years in silicon valley, and the last seven at a certain formerly-stripey fruit company, I've grown constitutionally immune to the Reality Distortion Field effect of highly charismatic executives. Yes, it's very nice when everything goes well, and your guy wins big. When it doesn't go well, and your guy loses, it can be the mother of all bummers when the charisma doesn't work anymore.

#97 ::: Gail Carpenter ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 01:44 AM:

*RALPHIE NADER ROTFLMFAOOOOOOO*
"WHO", Dredged him up? = Reincarnated him????
yuppperrrr, 'BU$H & McCAIN', hoping to put the skids under OMAMBA, "ANY TAKERS ON THIS BET"?????

#98 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 01:44 AM:

I watched my Meet the Press tape this afternoon, and Nader looks sick. The left side of his face looks like he's had a stroke, and a big one, his eyes blinked rapidly, and he was supporting himself heavily on the table with his forearms. He'd lift his arms up to gesture every so often, but then drop them heavily back down. I can't believe anybody would vote for him if they saw that.

#99 ::: Six ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 01:50 AM:

It's time to end the 50.1% majority elections so that Nader doesn't matter. I don't know that Hillary can do that, but maybe Obama can.

#100 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 02:00 AM:

No argument there, Six, though it's a tough fight thanks to the incredibly dishonest media environment. One of the reasons I'm favoring Obama is that he seems more likely to pull it off, which will help shape the environment for more significant change later.

#101 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 02:06 AM:

Avram @93, I'm not defending Nader's decision to run; I'm only defending his right to run. In words that will never be forgotten, "I pity the fool!"

And, yes, Gore seems like he's benefitted from his choice to accept the Republican theft of the election. His decision not to run again in 2004 speaks volumes. If you look at earlier elections screwed up by the Electoral College, when the shafted candidate ran again, he won. Gore effectively let Bush win twice.

Bruce @95, I'm not pushing Nader. I haven't been pushing Nader since 2000. I have accepted the nature of the system we're in.

The two-party system is not designed for third-parties. It simply doesn't matter whether you run a third party candidate for president or work at the ground level to build a third party. Whenever third parties find anything that might help them, the Democrats and the Republicans collude to block them. See, for example, the history of fusion voting in the US.

As for my "misdirection," follow the links that I offered earlier, or believe what you wish. It's life on the internet.

I have read a good bit about alternative voting systems. I like Approval Voting best because it's fast and simple, but Greens prefer Instant Runoff.

And regarding change in the US voting system, National Popular Vote is a good start. There are some reasons to be hopeful about our future.

#102 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 02:11 AM:

Okay, Will, I hereby blame you personally for the events of 2000. I invoke direct personal experience: you were the one preaching Nader in my social circles, so you did it.

The disaster of 2004 followed from 2000, so that one's yours too. Personally.

If I were you, by now I'd be shyer about telling everyone what they should think, who they should vote for, and where they went wrong. I can't recall an occasion on which anyone else in this thread was politically more in the wrong than you were in 2000.

#103 ::: paul sexton ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 02:13 AM:

Ralph would really do the world a s ervice if hed' just shoot me.

Please ralph shoot me in the back of the head, okay.

#104 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 02:22 AM:

Teresa, it's an honor to be your scapegoat.

#105 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 02:35 AM:

It occurs to me that I have a generalized revulsion these days to "has a right to" arguments, and it's a reaction to cumulative Republican excesses spilled over against just about every usage. It's been used so very often over the last few decades to justify any heinous thing at hand, as though one's ability to get away with something makes it therefore good and desirable and admirable. I think law shouldn't exist in a vacuum - it's there to secure rights, and the basic point of liberty is the opportunity to live virtuously without submitting moral judgments to the coercive power of the state.

"Can I get away with it?" strikes me as not a very interesting question most of the time. (It is, of course, when law would impose immorality, but that's not what we're talking about in cases like this.) "Should I do it?" is harder, but more interesting, and more important. So, for instance, a reiteration of Nader's standing as a citizen and potential candidate has no real bearing on what interests me, which is the moral costs versus benefits of the way he crusades, his impact on elections, his quoted preference that others suffer more to make his reforms seem more desirable, and so on.

The law shouldn't care whether he's a rotten creep doing what he can to destroy the country in hopes of stampeding fearful fellow citizens toward choices he can't otherwise make persuasive. But the rest of us can and should, because we are moral men and women as well as voters and citizens of this country or that. Just as libertarians are wrong to take "profitable, and not coercive in a certain narrowly defined sense" as sufficient justification, so with Nader. "Can" is not "ought".

#106 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 03:40 AM:

Now that I'm the designated scapegoat, what do I do if someone from the fact-based community comes around with inconvenient truths like those I linked to in #6 and #27? I noticed that no one refuted them. Is that the trick? Just say something angry about Nader and trust anger will carry the day?

I only ask because I want to be the bestest scapegoat ever.

#107 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 03:54 AM:

will shetterley @ 81: "He sees Obama and Clinton take corporate money and promise to protect corporate interests, so he runs again, knowing he'll lose, yet knowing that the alternative is to be silent while the corporations destroy the earth."

That casts the situation as far more black and white than it truly is. To begin with, Obama is running on the issue of campaign finance reform--he's been trying to pioneer a small-donor-based campaign model, and been increasingly successful. He's not clean of corporate money, but he's substantially better than the rest. According to this report, 46% ($16 million) of his contributions were from small donors ($200 or less). To put it another way, he raised almost as much from small donors as Hillary raised altogether. He's not the perfectly anti-corporate candidate, but he's making what seems to be a genuine effort. The relevant Obama quote is "The argument is not that I'm pristine, because I'm swimming in the same muddy water, ... The argument is that I know it's muddy and I want to clean it up." [link]

Given his numbers, he could put some serious limitations on corporate money without having to fear a backlash--he could almost run a re-election campaign on small contributors alone. He knows he can't bite the hand that feeds him, so he's shopping around for new hands. He might have found them.

Tom Recht @ 85: "I still don't see how "Work to keep Nader off the ballot in your state" translates into anything other than "To ensure your favored candidate wins, work to deny others the chance to vote for their favored candidate"."

I agree. But it's hard not to see Nader's campaign as a piece of the larger Republican dirty tricks campaign, along with caging, misleading phone canvassing, and all sorts of profoundly non-democratic scams. I hope Nader doesn't get on the ballots because people refuse to sign for him. But if they do, and then they choose to vote for him, that is their choice, not mine.

Meg Thornton @ 90: "Can I ask a somewhat silly question? What difference would be made if everyone in the US (not just those who remember to register and those who are able to turn out on the day, and those who can be bothered) was required to vote?"

I don't think that's a silly question at all. Universal voting! That would be a beautiful thing. More poor people would vote. More minorities would vote. More uneducated people would vote. To list what would happen is to understand why it will never happen.

#108 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 04:04 AM:

To be fair, Clinton is sponsoring a bill to substantially reform the FEC guidelines, and her small donor rate is none too shabby as well.

#109 ::: Russell ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 04:05 AM:

The democrats that cried Nader.

http://writtenexorcise.org/2008/02/24/nader-haters/

#110 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 04:49 AM:

@20: How can one reason with someone who accepted the following statement as true: "There's no difference between Gore and Bush?" How can you reason with someone who's going to posit that there's no difference between McCain and Obama?

The difference between Gore and Bush may not have seemed as important to everyone before 9/11 enabled the latter to get up to mischief. Can't really blame most folks for not foreseeing that in November 2000 (though you can start blaming some for it by about August of the following year).

McCain and Obama should really be a fool me twice, won't get fooled again situation, of course.

#111 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 05:17 AM:

#29: I wish Nader would work for a group to try to create real democracy in the US. But he knows like every politician that if you have issues that you want to raise in the US, the only way to get attention is to run a presidential campaign.

This is a silly thing to say, will. There's a very obvious recent example of a politician who raised his issue extremely successfully while declining to run a presidential campaign: Al Gore, on global warming. Nader himself is another example: he did his best work before he started to run for president, as an independent campaigner.

Going further back, Martin Luther King (yes, he was a politician) never ran for president, and still managed to attract some attention to civil rights. None of the feminist campaigners for equal rights for women thought that running for president was the best way to achieve their ends. None of the Temperance leaders ever ran for president, and the Volstead Act was still passed. None of the abolitionist leaders in the 1850s ever ran for president.

I would argue that, in fact, if you have a campaign issue in the US, your best bet is not to run for president - and be forced to compromise, and/or reveal your lack of knowledge on all the other issues that a president needs to know about - but to stay outside the process.

#112 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 06:07 AM:

I remember the 2000 Nader campaign very clearly. I read his speeches, and pretty much all the position papers on the Green Party web site. Nader's speeches were filled with anti-Gore rhetoric. It was obvious that Nader ran from the left, and that he ran against Gore. That's where his votes were. He could peel away Gore supporters. There was no way that he could peel away any significant number of Bush supporters. At the end of the campaign, Nader stumped heavily in the states where the race was closest, including in Florida. Nader knew what he was doing; people were calling him and telling him what he was doing and begging him to stop. Obviously, he was trying to hurt Gore and the Democrats. It wasn't about building a third party. It wasn't about saving the environment. It wasn't about reducing corporate influence in American politics. Maybe it was ego, maybe it was payback, but I think it was sheer fugg-headedness.

It seems unlikely that Nader's campaign might have actually taken more votes from Bush than from Gore, but even if it were true, it would not excuse the malicious intent of Nader's campaign. It's like arguing that a thug is really a good person for trying to mug a guy because if he hadn't, the guy might have been hurt even worse by someone else.

In Florida in 2000 Bush polled (officially) 2,912,790 votes, Gore 2,912,253, and Nader 97,421. The Bush margin of victory was 537 votes. The Bush margin of victory was less than 1% of the Nader vote. Even very minor changes in the Nader campaign strategy would have allowed Gore to win Florida.

Let's take the assertion that in a two-way race, Bush would have won by a point. Bush's margin of victory would have to be around 29,000 votes. The question is how to divide up the 97,421 votes who actually went to Nader. Some of them would be "a pox upon both your parties" voters who would never support Gore or Bush. Of the remainder, some would go to Gore, and the assertion is that about 29,000 more of them went to Bush. (I am discounting the possibility that the Nader campaign encouraged likely Gore voters or depressed likely Bush voters.) There are many possible solutions to the equation, but I think the most realistic is to minimize the number of Nader voters who would have voted for Bush. That would mean the Nader to Bush vote would be 29,000 + 29,000 or 58,000, the Nader to Gore vote would be 29,000, leaving a paltry "pox on both" vote of 10,421. These numbers are ridiculous. There is no way that almost 60% of the Nader voters were conservative Republicans or ever likely to vote for one. Maybe some, but 60%?

Those "inconvenient truths" are not true at all, they aren't very inconvenient, just indenial.

#113 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 06:18 AM:

#85: I wonder, then, if anyone here would take the anti-Nader position to its logical conclusion and argue that all such races should be legally limited to two candidates?

Isn't the logical conclusion be to institute a series of runoff elections, or to move to a different voting system entirely? (Note: this is orthogonal to the electoral college issue.) What we've demonstrated is that the current system doesn't deal well with more than two candidates at once. It seems more logical to me to fix the system than to say we should never have two candidates.

#106: I don't really see you as the scapegoat, other than as a self-imposed title. Also, how about the article I linked to in #8?
In any case, as I said in #80, the argument against Nader works even without any active effort on his part to sabotage Gore. It more a matter of math than anything else.


#114 ::: Richard Klin ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 07:12 AM:

The Democratic vitriol against Nader grows in direct proportion to their cooperation with Republicans. The Democrats voted en masse for the war. They voted en masse for the USA Patriot Act. They continue to approve war funding. They've rubber-stamped almost every Bush nominee. (Which goes back a long way; the vote to confirm Scalia was unanimous.)

I think there's this self-image of the Democrats fighting the good fight against the Bush junta. It's not true.

#115 ::: Nadar the one of the bag of tricks from ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 07:31 AM:

Let's make Mike Huckabee be Independent Presidential candidate. Let's even the votes out!!!

#116 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 08:02 AM:

Just saw an interesting theory on his run from Quiddity @ uggabugga

Why Nader is running:

He's aware that history was set to judge him as having known back in 2000 that his candidacy would help Bush and most everything that followed (tax cuts for the rich, trashing the environment, cut backs on social spending). And that's a judgement he's keen to avoid.

So, what to do?

Simple. Convince historians that he's nuts. And what could be nuttier than Ralph running for president this year?

The history books will not say that Nader consciously helped Republicans. Instead, they will merely say that he was insane.

#117 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 08:19 AM:

#107 ::: heresiarch:

In the countries that have mandatory voting, is there any obvious effect on who's likely to get elected?

#118 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 08:26 AM:

'Those "inconvenient truths" are not true at all, they aren't very inconvenient, just indenial.'

I suppose all that is true, nonetheless it seems somewhat wrong headed to complain about people exercising their right to vote just because their choice is inconvenient.

#119 ::: Chris W. ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 08:29 AM:

In a sign of how deeply discredited Nader is on the left, I actually work for an organization that was founded in response to Nader's call for student activism in the 70's. Even those members of the organization that are old enough to have been around when Nader was considered an inspirational enough figure to start a national movement roll their eyes when his name comes up these days.

He's become the crazy uncle of the left. The one who worked hard and did a fine job of raising the cousins, but is now a little senile and makes inappropriate suggestions once he's got a few drinks in him.

Of course in your family, Uncle Ralph rarely is able do much more than embarrass you, in politics, the consequences have been tragic.

It's also worth noting that he's not running as a Green this time. Not even the Greens will have him these days, and they are seriously regretting letting him become the public face of the party.

#120 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 09:06 AM:

jh@74: That'd be pretty nutty, which is why I didn't make that comparison.

Oh. I see. In 65, you posted:

(from me) The point is that Nader could do it in 2008.

(from you) Yeah, and Osama bin Laden might uncover the Zeta Reticulan flying saucers...

I'm not sure how I was supposed to read that as anything other than a refutation to "nader could to it in 2008", that you held both Nader/2008 and flying saucers to be equally nutty.

If you weren't "comparing" the two, then what? You wanted to give a completly unrelated example of "nutty" in case we forgot what the word "nutty" meant? For the international readers out there? And any associations that readers make between Nader and UFO's is purely their own addition and an unintentional and unfortunate interpretation?

When your post ends with

"Do any of (you) realize how abjectly nutty (you) sound?"

how am I supposed to figure out that you think Nader/2008 is an abjectly nutty idea, but not quite as nutty as the flying saucers you mention in the previous sentence?

me: Nader might affect 2008.
you: Yeah and flying saucers might land. Do you know how nutty you sound?
me: you can't compare nader and flying saucers as equally nutty.
you: that's why I wasn't comparing them.
me: So, you were just giving an extreme example of "nutty"? But we should have figured out that the level of flying saucer nuttyness had nothing to do with how nutty you think the nader/2008 idea is? It was, you know, just to remind us what "nutty" means?

#121 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 10:15 AM:

Paula Helm Murray @ 82:

I'd rather bring in Buffy. Equating Nader with Dracula gives him far more gravity than he deserves. He's just another parasite.

#122 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 10:21 AM:

will@77: And I really hate hearing so-called Democrats calling for less democracy.

Oh, hogwash.

Nader may have siphoned enough votes from Gore in 2000 to let Bush win and produce a LESS democratic result.

The only response Naderites can come up with to this possibility is to drink some koolaid and speak the mantra that "Nader is not a spoiler. Nader is not a spoiler."

Which only works if all the third party people who voted for Nader in a state like florida in 2000, somehow KNEW IN ADVANCE what the results were going to be, and somehow KNEW IN ADVANCE that their vote for Nader wouldn't change the result enough to give the election to Bush.

If the vote went down like this:

Bush: 51%
Gore: 48%
Nader: 2%

the Naderites hop up and down and point at the numbers and say "SEE! We didn't give the election to Bush! Even if ALL OUR VOTES had gone to Gore, Gore would have still lost the election! It's not our fault! It's Gore's fault!".

But non-naderites are looking at the numbers and wondering, how, exactly, did you know that only 2% of you would vote for nader, but Gore would lose by at least 3%???????????? (note that I'm using the naderites best-case numbers here, not the numbers used by folks who think Gore lost by less than the number of people who voted for Nader, but anyway).

The naderites prove that there is no blame for naderites by looking at the numbers after the polls closed. The rest of us know that the decision to vote is made when the result is less certain. And in that situation, you don't know the results, but you know it's a tight race. And a bunch of naderites voted for Nader in 2000, knowing full well that their vote might ACTUALLY HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE in the actual outcome of teh election. But these naderites instead chose to vote for nader.

The backup response from the Naderites is to point at exit polls that say the naderites would have voted for Bush if they didn't vote for Nader. But again, this is looking at results after the fact. When people walked into the voting booths, all they knew was it was a tight race. They didn't know who would win.

The thing I want to point out here is that I really don't care about Nader/2000 in this conversation. I care about Nader/2008. But what I say caused Nader/2000 is that a bunch of naderites convinced themselves that their vote didn't matter, that bush and gore were tweedledee and tweedledum, and most importantly, that NADER AND THOSE WHO VOTE FOR NADER ARE COMPLETELY BLAMELESS FOR THE OUTCOME OF ANY ELECTION.

The last fortress of the hardcore koolaid drinking third party voters is that the problem is with the voting process, the majority-vote-wins process, or with the two-party system, with the process that boils everything down into one of two possible parties, or with the campaign donations that buy candidates, or with this, or wiht that.

The blame, they insist, lays elsewhere, because then Nader, and the people who voted for him, can remain blameless for the results of 2000. They are not to blame, its someone else's fault. Give me a better Democrat candidate and I'd have voted for them. We need to send a message to the two parties. Blah. Blah. Blah.

I'm not really interested in assigning blame for Nader/2000, but it is this mentality of myth that the koolaid drinking naderites have adopted that their actions have (and had) no negative impacts in any election in the past or future, in any way, that their vote for Nader is nothing but a good thing, that I'm pointing at. As long as people CONTINUE to find excuses for Nader 2000, hold Nader COMPLETELY BLAMELESS, even to the point of ignoring the fact that when a Nader-voter stepped into a voting booth, they had no idea how the election would turn out, and instead point to post-election results and use that as some sort of excuse to avert being blamed for voting Nader in an extremely close election. It is this mentality, this complete lack of any blame whatsoever, that caused naderites to vote for nader in states like florida, and that exact same mentality is what will cause naderites to vote Nader in 2008.


#123 ::: martyn44 ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 10:26 AM:

Speaking from a European viewpoint, maybe you should call in Torquemada to see exactly how many angels can dance on the point of this particular pin.

Are you so scared that McCain is going to win that you're concerned about a deadbeat buffoon like Ralph Nader rising from the tarpit of egotism?

It's not just important that you win - elections aren't a football game. It is probably more important now than ever before 'how' you win. From here, your entire political process seems like the old Greek axiom of those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad in action. This thread has been just another example of this insanity.

And, yes, I guess that makes me insane too.

#124 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 10:27 AM:

#107 ::: heresiarch, Nader's comments about Obama have been interesting. He clearly respects the guy, but he's equally clearly disappointed with the tack Obama has taken to win.

#111 ::: ajay, excellent examples, and I wish Nader would take them to heart now.

#112 ::: TomB, it's understandable that our memories of the Clinton years and Nader's campaign are different, so I'll stick to this: you do realize you haven't actually addressed Burden's study?

#113 ::: John Chu, sorry, but that article is hearsay and Democrat spin. It doesn't address the facts that Burden found.

Mind you, as the scapegoat, I'm comfortable saying something like "Facts? We don't need no stinking facts! We blame Nader!"

#125 ::: tavella ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 10:29 AM:

Joel Polowin@60
"When a city has grown so overlarge and crowded that it is in immediate danger of collapse... when food and clean water flow into the city at a rate just sufficient to feed every mouth, and every hand must work constantly to keep it that way... when all transportation is involved in moving vital supplies, and none is left over to move people out of the city should the need arise... then it is that Crazy Eddie leads the movers of garbage out on strike for better working conditions." -- Niven and Pournelle, The Mote in God's Eye

What's crazy about that? It's the correct time to execute a job action; at the moment of maximum leverage. If the Powers That Be have any flex space at all, they'll use it to screw the workers in question over.

#126 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 10:39 AM:

Greg #23: Why wouldn't the same argument support using, say, campaign finance laws to make it impossible for Nader to run any ads, in the interests of democracy?

#127 ::: scotte ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 10:43 AM:

The truly cynical among us suspect that Nader's run is being funded by Democrats who want to see him continue the breaking up of the Green Party he was doing such a great job of in '04, meanwhile knowing he will have no significant effect on this year's presidential election.
Greens are slowly starting to get local level wins in heavily Democratic areas and the machine is highly indignant that anyone would presume to steal their voters. Being able to go back to their (false, as Will has pointed out so ably, but still emotionally powerful) Nader 2000 arguments is a big hammer in local elections.
And I thought the Zeta Reticulans were backing Ron Paul? (with apologies to the Libertarians :).

#128 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 10:46 AM:

John Chu, an afterthought: Even if some Nader people said exactly what that article claims, even if those things were said in the context that article presents, even if the writer somehow kept all bias from what reads as an opinion piece, Burden's data about Nader's actual campaign, the places Nader chose to campaign and the times he chose to campaign there, shows Nader was *not* trying to be a spoiler.

If anyone can point me to a refutation of Burden's work, I would be very grateful. Maybe there's something wrong with his methodology. I'm not saying Burden is the voice of God. I'm simply saying that in this, he seems to be the voice of the the people who care about facts.

Mind you, I know facts and scapegoats do not need each other.

And since I'm asking for facts, if anyone can point me to an analysis of the flaws in the DLC's own polls that concluded Nader's presence helped Gore, I would be equally grateful. My politics are not Nader's and never were. If he's truly guilty, offer the evidence, and I'll condemn him as loudly as the most fervent Democrat.

#129 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 10:49 AM:

What's crazy about that? It's the correct time to execute a job action; at the moment of maximum leverage. If the Powers That Be have any flex space at all, they'll use it to screw the workers in question over.

Oh, look, it's Crazy Eddie.

"Better working conditions" have very little effect when you're dead or there's a foot riot or the population is crashing.

It's amazing how far you can get in the world by assuming everyone is not a totally self-centered idiot. See, for example, the scorn heaped upon a President who manifestly is one.

Not that I am a huge fan of Niven & Pournelle's politics, but you have missed the point.

#130 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 11:32 AM:

Will, get real. He's acting as a spoiler. There's no other reason for him to run. There's certainly no other reason for the timing.

I don't give a fig about Burden's work.

#131 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 11:49 AM:

Teresa, I'm cool with "get real" or "I don't give a fig about Burden's work." Either position is valid. But I'm sorry to hear you put them in the same comment. I may be more of a dualist than I had thought, because I do believe this: either facts matter, or they don't.

You have a lot of reason to hate Nader. I get that. Hate him for Cylert. Hate him for the Corvair. But please, don't hate him for daring to run a campaign in a democracy, and don't hate him for what the Republicans did when the facts say he did not help them in 2000 or 2004.

Or give me the facts that say he did help Bush. I'm a commie. I don't mind blaming Nader for things he did. I'm a commie who wants better health care this year, and one who prays the Dems won't pull an LBJ on Iraq, so I'd really like the Democrats to focus on beating the Republicans this year.

#132 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 11:52 AM:

will, the issue is not that I haven't refuted Burden's study. It's that Burden's study can't refute my personal experience. In 2000 I developed an intense interest in the Nader campaign, because many of my friends were supporting him, I'm a rather greenish tinted guy myself, and the Dems were starting to get unusually upset at him. In short, I wanted to know what Nader was doing, if he was legit or not, and should I support him (living in a blue state) or oppose him. I read everything I could get my hands on, starting with the entire contents of the Nader/Green web site of the time, and it was very clear, unfortunately, that Nader was a running as a spoiler.

Given how badly things turned out, it's not surprising that there's a cottage industry of Nader spoiler deniers and obfuscators working away generating comforting fantasies about how it wasn't really so. Also, I'm not surprised that there would be a Harvard professor among them. It doesn't make me feel I have to refute their fantasies. Either they will learn and grow out of the denial, or they won't.

Also, I still stand on my point that it is much more realistic to speculate that 1% of Nader's voters could have switched to Gore than 60% of them switching to Bush.

#133 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:00 PM:

TomB, I could copy your first paragraph exactly, right up to your conclusion. I saw Green support polling at 5%, then drop in half when the Nader supporters saw how badly Gore was doing. That's why Gore won in Florida by a huge margin, once you account for Republican trickery.

As for the industry of scapegoaters, I understand that, too. But if the scapegoaters have facts to offer, I'm still waiting hopefully for them, and I'll receive them gratefully. Facts matter. If I'm wrong, I want to be set right. But I want to be set right with facts, not faith.

#134 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:05 PM:

I recall seeing somewhere, recently, an excerpt from an interview with Nader's campaign manager, where he admitted that their campaign was intended to hurt the Democrats, and they knew it when they were doing it.

#135 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:09 PM:

martyn44, the election is a different kind of football game. And yes, it is quite reasonable to be scared about McCain. After seeing excellent candidates go down before the smear machine in 2000 and 2004, so we can have an ASBO as president, anything is possible. McCain is even more aggressive and even more unprincipled than Bush. And the press really likes him. He's the guy they really wanted in 2000, before Bush punched him out with the black baby thing.

#136 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:09 PM:

Martyn44: Are you so scared that McCain is going to win that you're concerned about a deadbeat buffoon like Ralph Nader rising from the tarpit of egotism? Yes indeed! The history of recent American elections is deeply discouraging in this regard. A whole lot of my fellow Americans can be deceived into voting for really bad people, and I'm concerned to remove as many obstacles as possible to their making the best choices practically available, so as to push the worst from office and begin heading back toward something better.

#137 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:15 PM:

Scotte: It is indeed paranoid to see a Demcratic conspiracy against the Greens via Nader, when it's a matter of public record (though reported very poorly) that Republican groups and individuals fund him.

#138 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:16 PM:

will, nice try. Two projections, two misses.

The rational behavior of many Nader supporters does not excuse the behavior of Nader himself. He tried as hard as he could to hold on to as many supporters as he could, precisely in the areas where it would do the most damage.

There is no Nader scapegoating industry. There's just a lot of ordinary people who are really tired of the "blame everyone but Nader" denial industry. We are totally ready to move on, because we have better things to do. I guess the Nader spoiler deniers don't.

#139 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:21 PM:

In 2000 Nader ran a campaign built around blurring the distinctions between Gore and Bush. Anyone who put in the minimum work a democracy should expect of its voters should have known that premise was both false and irresponsible. The two both had substantial public records showing the sort of work they had done in government and the huge divergence between the likely governing style and substance of the two. Nader, with the support of the media, did a huge amount of damage to the Gore campaign by helping to drive up his negatives and by making it much harder to demonstrate those differences to the people who weren't willing to do their due diligence and examine the actual records of the candidates. Regardless of the exact impact of Nader on the vote in Florida as judged by polsters in a narrow time window, his main impact on the race was to blacken the name of Gore and make Bush seem less extreme.

Did Nader decisively push the vote in Florida to Bush on the day of the election? Maybe not. Did he help drive a media narrative that made it much harder for Gore to get elected? Hell yes. Did he know what he was doing and understand the system well enough to know that his primary effect on the race was that of a spoiler. If he did not, it wasn't because it wasn't brought to his attention. Either he's a man too dumb to be convinced of the possibility that he might cause harm, or he realized the possible harm he might abet and willfully chose to ignore the risk. Does all of that mean that he bears some responsibility for Gore's loss and everything that Bush has done since?

I think that the overwhelming preponderance of the evidence says yes, part of the responsibility is Nader's. How much of that responsibility? I don't know. More than 1 percent, less that fifty. Let's go best case for Nader and say he's only 1.1 percent responsible for the Bush administration.

How much harm does that mean he's helped cause this country. Would anyone here want to own even 1.1. percent of responsibility for Iraq? Katrina? The loss of our civil rights? 1 tenth of 1 percent? A hundredth?

Nader screwed up. He screwed up big time, and for me at least the harm he has helped to cause outweighs every single useful thing he's ever accomplished and I wish nothing more from him than that he would depart the political scene forever and that I never again had to hear his name uttered either in criticism or praise.

#140 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:21 PM:

Will: But please, don't hate him for daring to run a campaign in a democracy, Fuck that noise. "Can" is still not "ought". There's not one damn thing daring about Nader running. He can count on a percentage or few of the vote, he'll get stock press coverage, he'll get praise from people who don't look at his details and criticism from people who do, and he will either not matter (if the margin is wide) or he will do something unhelpful (if it's close). No cause he professes will be materially helped. All of this is 100% foreseeable right now. There's no daring, no risk, no anything of the sort at the macro scale. And he will still be the toad inflicting needless pain on randomly selected groups for the sake of his PR.

Lots of people who can run for president shouldn't. He's one of them.

#141 ::: Iain Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:25 PM:

The thing about running in a national election - one which you have no chance of winning, so the pressure's off - is that it's great fun. People listen to you when you expound upon your political beliefs, journalists ask you for your opinion on the grave matters of the moment, and you get to go toe-to-toe with national leadership figures in well-attended, well-reported debates.

If you're into politics at all, you have to admit that sounds like a blast.

So perhaps Nader isn't doing this to help the Republicans, damage the Democrats or achieve any concrete political goals of his own. Perhaps he's just doing it for shits and giggles.

Not that that makes it any better.

#142 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:32 PM:

Hear, hear, Bruce. I'd add that his freedom is not at issue here. I haven't seen anyone saying Nader should be barred by law from running, only that he's a jackhole for doing so. One of OUR freedoms is the freedom to say "you're a jackhole" when jackholes are behaving like jackholes.

Nader is a jackhole. This latest run his just him being himself: his selfish, harebrained, Republican-funded jackhole self. Anyone who votes for him is a jackhole too, albeit a different cljack of jackhole than the man himself.

#143 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:36 PM:

I know less about Nader politics than I do about his auto stuff. I did vote for him as a Green in 2000 because I wanted to vote for an ideal (get 5% so they get public funding! Let's have more viable parties!), rather than a compromise. I also disliked having to vote for "the lesser of two evils" (meaning I didn't agree with either major candidate overly much.) It was a "safe" vote in Minnesota, as the state went handily (as expected) for Gore that year. I remember attending a rally for him in Chicago with a bunch of friends from college and they were all anti-Bush rather than pro-Nader and tried to convince me to vote for Gore. Had I been in a less solidly Democrat state, I might have done so. I also wasn't coupling my dislike of his "Unsafe at Any Speed" book with the Green party at the time.

I also did not know about Making Light or any of Nader's anti-pharmaceutical campaigns back then, which could have brought up some personal reasons not to vote for him. The recent thread about Nader making noise about a possible run brought those up, plus some info about Nader's backers wanting to "punish" the Dems for not being progressive enough, plus something about it being easier to get donations when they have something like the Bush regime as a contrast. Nasty sounding stuff, that.

I look a bit deeper at candidates these days (doesn't make me feel much better about them, though...), and I have to hold down my idealism more than I'd like, but at least Obama doesn't push too many of my buttons wrong. My wife and I both hate all the nasty politicking that goes on, but I have at least gotten her to vote rather than not vote.

Now, on to stuff I know a bit more about: I'm a car nut, and I read "Unsafe at Any Speed" back when I was in High School, I think I even did a book report on it or similar. Donald Delny #57 presented the Corvair example, and Bruce Cohen(STM) #63 elaborated on the point. The NHTSA cleared the Corvair of having significant design flaws because GM did set the car up properly. The trouble is, GM also assumed that all drivers, mechanics and gas-station attendants who worked on the cars would read the manual, or at least the 60's equivalent of the door jamb sticker for tire pressures. The Corvair required significantly different tire pressures front to rear - much lower in the front. With tires inflated properly it would understeer when cornering hard. With improper tire inflation, the car would oversteer when cornering hard instead, which is considered harder for the general driving public to deal with. With severely incorrect tire inflation *and* severe cornering, you get the problem with the tire rolling over and the rim contacting the pavement with enough force to trip up the car and flip it over.

On a related note (but still off topic - I did say I was a car nut...) there was the recent Ford Explorer/Firestone Tire fiasco. This was another case where the suspension design was such that tire pressures played a major role in "correct" (understeer when cornering too hard) handling. Ford had to set the tire pressure quite low to cause the vehicle to slide rather than roll in an adverse situation - and then assumed that all drivers, mechanics and gas-station attendants would read the manual and/or door sticker and inflate the tires properly. In the case of the Ford, though, the cheap Firestone tires shipped for the vehicle also had a much slimmer safety margin than other tire models/brands, thus making them much less tolerant of being run at high speeds with high loads at lower than specified tire pressure.

In both cases, Corvair and Ford both, engineering compromises were made for cost reasons - both companies could (and later did) redesign the suspension to be more tolerant of varying tire pressures, but it was cheaper to set the tire pressures differently instead. I don't recall who was held liable or for what reasons, but I do recall it boiling down to "You should have designed the vehicles/tires to be more idiot proof!"

The Ford example had more "bad corporation!" thrown in, though - they knew about the higher than average failure rate in those specific Firestone tires but either through corporate inertia or calculations saying it's cheaper to settle a few lawsuits or both decided not to recall. Then the PR blew up in their faces.

Eh, too much offtopic, I'll cut this one off.
Later,
-cajun

#144 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:48 PM:

If I don't say anything more in this thread, it's not because I'm not reading it. I will keep following this for at least another day, because if anyone finds evidence that Nader did what angry Democrats accuse him of, or evidence that Barry C. Burden or Al From drew their conclusions from faulty data, I'll be grateful.

#145 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 12:51 PM:

I think I need to stop reading this thread. It is very difficult to watch good people whom I respect deeply getting into a squabble like this.

Granted, I don't know many of you as well as you know each other, so maybe I am misreading some all-in-good-fun give and take, but there is a bitter edge to many of the posts at this point. If you are friends, try to keep that in mind while you disagree.

#146 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 01:08 PM:

Greg,

p1. I'll freely admit that Nader/Camejo siphoned a barely significant though non-nil number of critical votes at the margin from Gore/Lieberman in 2000, and I think people who refuse to admit that other, more important factors contributed to Gore's "defeat" in that election are fnorking crazy.

p2. I compared the chances of Nader/Whoever in 2008 being even remotely significant in the race to the chances of an Iranian flying saucer attack on Manhattan.

I'm reiterating these two points because it seems you missed them the first time around.

#147 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 01:25 PM:

Crap. I misremembered Nader's running mate in 2000. It was Winona LaDuke. Camejo was his running mate in 2004.

#148 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 02:05 PM:

Will, don't pull the "Either facts matter or they don't" routine. Nader could have campaigned in states where the probable outcome was clear. He didn't. He deliberately targeted states that were hanging in the balance. The extent to which he did no harm was contrary to his will: he meant to do harm, and only his own ineffectuality stopped him.

I've seen finely-diced analyses of the votes he did get. They don't touch on his intentions, which were bad. They also don't touch on his culpability for retailing lies he knew damned well were lies -- most notably, that there's no difference between Bush and Gore. Painting both parties as corporatists and therefore identical was likewise false.

Your Mr. Nader fell into corruption a long time ago.

#149 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 02:20 PM:

Kayjayoh @145:
I see what you mean about the thread.

But you should post more on Making Light. Do you, by any chance, write poetry?

(Translation: thank you for saying that.)

#150 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 02:37 PM:

Teresa, can you point me to anything that indicates Barry Burden misinterpreted or distorted the data? If I've made a mistake in accepting his work, I'd like to know. I make plenty of mistakes in life; it'd be nice to shorten the list if this is another.

#151 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 02:53 PM:

will...you're not getting it. Nader INTENDED a bad result. This has been well-documented.

If Burden's study is completely correct, it still only means that Nader failed of his intention, not that he didn't intend anything bad.

We hate him for his bad intentions. Further hatred may or may not be bestowed upon him depending on his outcome; his intentions, however, are more than sufficient to qualify him as a bad man to whom we wish failure, defeat, and humiliation. Finding out that he was actually in the pay of the GOP kind of cements that.

#152 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 03:20 PM:

Xopher, if Nader intended a bad result, wouldn't an analysis of his campaign choices indicate that?

And there's still the question of the DLC polls. Al From says Nader helped Gore. Not hurt him. Not had no effect. Helped. I understand why someone with my politics would want to discredit From, but I don't understand why anyone who supported Gore would think Al From was part of TomB's "cottage industry of Nader spoiler deniers and obfuscators working away generating comforting fantasies."

I really am comfortable letting this drop now. I don't think any of us base our politics purely on facts, and if scapegoating Nader helps you defeat McCain this year, more power to you. That's all I want from politics in 2008.

#153 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 03:49 PM:

I don't care what Al From says. There's an entire industry devoted to hedging this question. Everybody knew at the time that Nader's campaign was aimed at the Democrats.

You think you're the first person in the history of the popular ballot to find out he backed a wrong 'un? It happens. Get over it. You're starting to sound like a Kennedy assassination theorist, with their elaborately cantilevered datasets forming a bridge to an unlikely conclusion.

#154 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 04:23 PM:

j h woodyatt in #96,

I used to work in Reality Distortion Field too. I remember reading Vonda McIntyre's excellent The Moon and the Sun and all those people running around trying to please the King. I had to put the book down for a while. At that time, I really could have used some fantasy escapism, and that wasn't it.

#155 ::: Keith R.A. DeCandido ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 04:46 PM:

Posting this without reading the 154 comments before it....

Sorry, but the notion that Nader caused Governor George W. Bush to become president is total crap.

The reason why Governor Bush became President Bush is because Vice President Al Gore ran an awful campaign, sufficiently so that it was left to Florida to decide the election, which is rather like leaving a kitten to keep a ball of twine intact.

It's not like Nader never ran for president before. True he got two million votes, but that shouldn't have been a factor if Gore had in any way run a good campaign. Like his opponent's father in 1988, he was the vice president under a popular two-term (if scandal-slimed) president, but instead of embracing himself as continuing President Clinton's legacy (as Vice President Bush had with President Reagan eight years before), Gore tried to distance himself from a popular president, which did not help him.

It should be noted that in the previous two elections, there was a real third-party candidate in H. Ross Perot (the world's only human Ferengi), who siphoned off a lot more votes than Nader did in both 1992 and 1996. Clinton managed to beat an incumbent president despite Perot's presence on the ballot, and did it again against Senator Dole and Perot in 1996.

Nader got just under three million votes in 2000. That should never have made a difference, especially when Perot's near-20 million in '92 and his just-over-8 million in '96 didn't.

Gore blew that election all by himself -- with a dollop of help from corrupt Florida politics and a corrupt Supreme Court, yes, but that ain't Nader's fault. Gore couldn't even win his home state in 2000. That's on him, not Nader.

#156 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 04:51 PM:

Keith @155:
Welcome to Making Light. I see that this is your first post here.

I can't see how to say this gently, so I'll say it bluntly. Read the thread before you post to it. If you can't read a measly 154 comments, you might be in the wrong place.

#157 ::: Keith R.A. DeCandido ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 04:57 PM:

I've been here before, thanks. Don't know where you get the idea this is my first post, as I've posted here before (and have known all the contributors to this blog for years). The reason why I didn't read the other posts (though I've since skimmed them) is because I'm under deadline and really need to be writing instead of fulminating about this, but someone pointed me here from my LiveJournal, and I had to respond.

So, to be equally blunt, don't tell your grandmother how to suck eggs. :)

#158 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 05:07 PM:

Keith @157:
I got the idea you were posting for the first time by clicking "View All By", which gives a poster's history on Making Light. It's indexed by email address, so perhaps you've posted under another address.

Why I said what I said: In an already contentious thread, full of a fair few drive-byes, I saw someone with no posting history start a comment with "Posting this without reading the 154 comments before it...." How is it unjustified to assume you're not another drive-by?

I apologise for any offence that I have caused. Have an egg.

#159 ::: Keith R.A. DeCandido ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 05:14 PM:

abi @158

Crap, I used my Netcom address instead of "keith@decandido.net." Check under that, you'll see more, though not for a while, as I don't post here as often as I'd like.

But PNH, TNH, and Mr. Macdonald (at the very least) can vouch for me.....

#160 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 05:14 PM:

Seb #76: Ralph Hasn't been hiding anywhere the last 8 years.

What's the original source you copied this from?

Pure comment spam, and about to go where comment spam goes.

#161 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 05:23 PM:

Keith DeCandido was mentioned in dispatches on May 21, 2002.

#162 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 05:27 PM:

Keith #157: because I'm under deadline and really need to be writing instead of fulminating about this, but someone pointed me here from my LiveJournal, and I had to respond

No, actually, you didn't.

Seriously, if you've got other things to do, do those other things. If you feel compelled to drop a canned response into a lively comment thread without actually reading the thread, then you need to look at this comic.

Then take a deep breath, and go off and do the other things you need to do. Come back later for conversation when you have time to actually enjoy conversing.

#163 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 05:31 PM:

Will: I've stayed out of this because I knew it would end badly.

But Teresa is right... Nader wanted Bush to win. He said so. When questioned about it, he said he'd rather see Bush in office than Gore.

It may be possible to parse what he did as ineffectual to that end, but I find it hard to believe that, given his public statements that he didn't color his campaign in order to make that more likely; since he knew he was going to lose.

Did he try to get his 5 percent as well...? I don't know.

But his intentions seemed pretty clear to me (and this is important), before the 2000 election took place.

And that intent seemed to be to siphon votes from Gore.

#164 ::: VCarlson ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 06:15 PM:

During the 2000 Race, I heard Nader's assertion that Gore and Bush were so close as to be nearly indistinguishable. I knew this was not true, which meant Nader was an idiot or a liar. I didn't think he was an idiot, so I was left with liar.

I also had the impression he personally disliked Gore. So, my opinion of Nader in 2000 was someone who couldn't get his head out of his ass long enough to realize then was not the time to indulge in his personal dislikes. Someone, in other words, who had no business being president, even if I had thought he had a chance in hell of being elected.

I didn't think much of Gore at the time (didn't like the choice of Lieberman as a running mate, thought he was being too fastidious about Clinton, thought he generally ran a poor campaign), but I voted for him, being in one of the contested states.

I really didn't want a President Bush. I knew a Bush presidency would be bad. I didn't know it would be so bad.

Damn. I hate being right.

#165 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 06:32 PM:

Terry #163: If Nader's goal was to force the Democrats to move left by costing them votes, I think hurting the Democrats pretty much had to be his goal, right? I mean, how else would he get the Democrats to move left, or replace them with the Greens as the lefter of the two big parties?

#166 ::: Keith R.A. DeCandido ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 06:53 PM:

Avram @ 162

*laughs* You're the second person to show me that cartoon the last few days. I should probably take the hint...................

#167 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 06:59 PM:

Teresa @153:

You're starting to sound like a Kennedy assassination theorist...

Sorry. I agree that Gore may not have run in 2004 simply because he was exhausted; I wish he had done what Jackson and Cleveland did after the Electoral College shafted them, but choosing Tilden for a model is understandable. I think Gore is simply a nice rich guy who doesn't like the idea of getting people upset about democracy. That explains why he told people to stay home, and why he told the Black Caucus to sit down and let the Republicans win. I really don't think he's part of a conspiracy.

Well, back to hoping someone has evidence Burden or From's figures are wrong--

#168 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 07:38 PM:

back to hoping someone has evidence Burden or From's figures are wrong

The links I saw upthread had abstracts or conclusions, but not figures per se. The Burden paper appeared to be behind a $15/day firewall. Do you have a link for the full paper?

#169 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 08:02 PM:

Kathryn, thanks for sending me googling! I found a scribd copy here.

#170 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 08:05 PM:

Will, Tom, everyone else who's screaming about the Evils of the Two-Party System: Okay, I GET IT already. I've even voted for third-party candidates in the past. But forghodsake, can we at least kill some of the ALLIGATORS before we go back to trying to drain the swamp? Your ordering of priorities here is seriously counterproductive to your long-term goals.

I care about that more than I care about who wins the current election.
Well, since you've already said you're not a US citizen, I guess all of this is academic as far as you're concerned. But those of us who are US citizens don't have that luxury.

I'm naive; I think democracy matters.
Nice ad hominem, Will. And elitist ad hominem at that; anyone who disagrees with you is Against Democracy, and therefore worthless.

Vian, #21: There's something to be said for the notion that one can be too old to run for the Presidency -- it's a stressful position, after all. But I strongly disagree that 60 is too old, and I'm not entirely sure I agree that 70 is. OTOH, I'd be saying the same thing about an 80-year-old candidate, no matter how spry; at that point, you're getting into serious concern about whether the officeholder will survive his or her term.

On the gripping hand, the final decision about whether or not it's time for the old generation to step aside and give new candidates a chance will ultimately be made by the voters.

Bruce, #42: Hear, hear!

Ewan, #47: Each state has its own procedures and requirements for getting on the ballot. In some states, it's automatic; in others, you have to collect X number of signatures on a petition; sometimes there's a requirement that you have to file no later than X days/weeks before the election date; etc. So, research the procedures for your own state, and see if there's anything you can do. Most likely, the most important thing will be to talk to people you know who express an interest in voting for Nader and give them reasons which they will consider valid for not signing a petition (personally, I'd start with, "Why don't we ever hear about him during the period between Presidential races? What's he doing in the interim, just sitting on his butt?") and/or not donating to his campaign. Not that the latter will matter as much, since he'll be well-funded by big-money Republicans and corporate interests...

Will, #58: Well, building it from the ground up is a better approach than just saying they should have it handed to them on a silver platter merely by announcing that they want it. What do you suggest instead?

...I constantly fall into thinking "Someone is wrong on the internet."
Yeah, gotta watch out for those damned 2-edged swords! And there was that Against Democracy ad hominem again...

If you're "not pushing Nader," then WHY THE HELL DO YOU KEEP PUSHING NADER???!!! C'mon, you're a writer; you can communicate better than that!

*eyeroll* Oh, drop the "scapegoat" bullshit. You're not fooling anyone, and you're making yourself look even more like a complete fuckwad nutjob.

Tangent... for someone who HATES HATES HATES the DLC so much that you use them as a pejorative ("DLC-approved candidates"), how ironic is it that you're relying on a DLC editorial to back up your arguments? That's about as "factual" as something you saw on Faux News. And Burden appears to be your equivalent of John Lott -- a single paper with no backup data, which conveniently appears to prove your point. I'm not the least bit impressed.

And forghodsake put a sock in the passive-aggressive shit. "I'm naive, I'm a scapegoat, I care about Facts and Democracy (and you don't, nyaah nyahh!), OH PLEASE do my homework for me and tell my why my Darling Study is all wrong, I'd just LOVE that (and when someone does, you brush them off), okay I'm leaving, oh but I'm back, and why are you people all being so NASTY to me, oh look at my Brave Stance, I dare to say the things no one here wants to hear"...

You sound like a troll. Worse, you sound like exactly the person that the Republicans have spent the last 30 years painting ME to be. AKA Get Off My Side Dammit, You're Making My Side Sound Stupid!

Bruce, #86: Tangent... I thought "If you've got a Message, use Western Union" came from long before Woody Allen -- either John W. Campbell, or some 1940s Hollywood bigwig whose name is escaping me.

Meg, #90: I suspect that there would still continue to be the problems that result from the long-term deliberate disenfranchising of specific voting groups via manipulation of the legal system. (AKA: if white-collar crime scored convictions on the same level of seriousness, with the same frequency and with the same levels of evidence, as simple-possession drug charges, you'd better believe there'd be an outcry either for realistic reformation of the laws, or for the return of franchise after being "clean" for some set period. Those drug laws are very specifically targeted at removing the voting rights of poor blacks; any "white trash" that gets caught in the same net is just lagniappe.)

Keith, #155: Clinton managed to beat an incumbent president despite Perot's presence on the ballot
Minor detail: Perot's candidacy primarily attracted votes from Republicans. So your example is actually disproving the point you're trying to make.

#171 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 08:07 PM:

I'm not going to read anything by From because From has no interest in telling me or anyone else the truth. Like a lot of DLC voices, he will lie and deceive even when he doesn't have to, apparently out of a desire to hoard every scrap of accurate information. I have never yet read anything by him that struck me as motivated primarily by a desire to inform; everything is anchored in a desire to get me to think or feel a particular way, by whatever means might work. I have no time for that right now.

From is of course not unique in this regard. He's reliable in just the way that Matt Drudge or William Kristol is, and the message is always the same: This is how my patrons want you to be right now.

I don't know the author, but I'd take some motivating to bother.

#172 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 08:07 PM:

Does anyone here know how Nader's lawsuit against the Democratic party turned out?

#173 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 08:14 PM:

Lee, the Western Union line probably does predate Allen a lot. It's just that he used it really well in one of his plays. Immediately after a character says it, a Western Union boy enters the auditorium. "Telegram for the audience from Mr. Allen. DEAR AUDIENCE, STOP. GOD IS DEAD, STOP. YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN, STOP. LOVE, THE MOSKOWITZ BILLIARD BALL COMPANY." He then hits an audience member for the cost of delivery and leaves. (Details subject to memory, of course.)

#174 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 08:15 PM:

Lee #170: But those of us who are US citizens don't have that luxury.

US politics impact people outside of the US a lot more than those inside, I'd say. Our government doesn't often go around murdering millions of its own citizens, so far. It does a lot of shitty things to us, but orders of magnitude less shitty than it does to others.

#175 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 08:33 PM:

Lee @170, I didn't imply what you infer. Many fine people have different opinions than I do.

And where did I promote Nader? I voted against him in 2004, and I'll vote against him this year.

I'm using facts from DLC sources because I thought Gore's supporters would accept them. He was a DLC candidate after all, and facts are facts, whatever their source.

Burden is respected for his work. Google his name if you doubt me.

And please note that I have done my homework. No one has refuted either From's polls or Burden's research.

If you care to respond with facts, I'll thank you. If not, you're welcome to the last word.

#176 ::: Dale J ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 08:41 PM:

Part of the problem with our nation is the way that both sides refer to each other. You referred to republicans as "neo-cons, cronies, and incompetents" This is counter productive. We should not use that terminology or refer to Democrats as "fetus killers, neo-libs and tree huggers". But rather we should realize that all Presidents like Carter, Clinton, both Bushes and Reagan have done some good things their terms. Neither Clinton or Bush or incompetent criminals. They are two people with very different views that have done their best in the office whether you agree with them or not.

#177 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 08:57 PM:

"I'm naive; I think democracy matters."
Nice ad hominem, Will. And elitist ad hominem at that; anyone who disagrees with you is Against Democracy, and therefore worthless.

Lee, thank you. You've put your finger on why I've stopped reading a certain somebody's posts in the political threads.

To address the general conversation: At this point, what Nader did in 2000 and 2004 is unnecessary to the argument as far as I can still. The "vote for Nader and punish the Democrats!" meme is fairly active right now during this candidacy. Looking at Nader's past is just icing on that foul cake.

Sure, 8 years of Bush followed by 4 or more years of McCain would definitely punish the Democrats... and the poor... and women and minorites... and our soldiers... and the Iraqis and the Iranias and the civilian population of any other country we end up at war with... etc. When punishing the guilty involves a lot of collateral damage among the innocent, it's not justice; it's vindictiveness. Nader's supporters are vindictive.

As for those who vote Nader because they still believe he stands for those idealisting things they want, which they believe the Dems and Repubs won't give them, well, I think they need their myopia corrected. "Voting one's conscience" is a lovely thing, but if one's conscience is too short-sighted or simply too uninterested to consider possible unintended consequences, one's conscience possibly needs prescription glasses.

A little magical thinking can be a dangerous thing.

#178 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 09:03 PM:

But rather we should realize that all Presidents like Carter, Clinton, both Bushes and Reagan have done some good things their terms. Neither Clinton or Bush [are] incompetent criminals. They are two people with very different views that have done their best in the office whether you agree with them or not.

This sounds a little too starry-eyed and fact-poor, Dale. Just looking at the amount of vacation Bush decided to take pre-9/11 is enough to convince me he had no commitment to "doing his best." And given how many people in my hometown died due in no small part to his cronyism, the only reason that I agree that Bush is not an "incompetent criminal" is that I think "criminally incompetent" is a better description.

I, too, want to see the best in everybody, but not to the extent that I'd blind myself to the facts on public record.

#179 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 09:10 PM:

will@144: I will keep following this for at least another day, because if anyone finds evidence that Nader did what angry Democrats
accuse him of ...

of siphoning votes from Gore and helping Bush win the election?

will, the evidence has been staring you in the face for eight years. In Florida, during the 2000 election:

Bush defeated Gore by 537 votes.
Ralph Nader won 97,421 votes.

I mean, when numbers reach a point that you can legitimately use phrases like "orders of magnitude different", it's really hard to miss them. Unless someone draws a half circle with their hand and says, "these are not the votes you are looking for", and, because you want to believe it so badly, that you take it on as true.

So, you repeat back something like #13: the last time a third party candidate affected the presidential election was Perot in 1992.

Uhm, what?

at #27, you come up with the most interesting twist of logic I've heard in a while: since
200,000 Floridian Democrats reportedly voted for Bush, you say the Dems are "at least twice as responsible" for Gore's loss than Nader.

We don't need to see his papers. He can go about his business. Move along. Move along.

So, then I was wondering if you have even once laid blame at Nader's feet for anything in this thread (blaming Nader for not defeating the evil empire is not the kind of blame I'm looking for here). You've posted two dozen times on this thread. I re-read all of them. And not once do you blame Nader. For anything. At all.

Ever.

But what you did say was actually interesting, not in any specific post, but in an overall, hey, look at this pattern, sort of thing. For instance, in several posts (#6, #33, #43, #104, #106), you invoke the word "scapegoat" in describing yourself and Nader. You actually embrace it with regards to you. Gleefully. The thing about labeling someone a scapegoat is that it implies the goat does not deserve the scaping.

Which sort of goes along with that whole 'you haven't blamed Nader for anything' notion. So I looked some more.

In a few posts, you actually present Nader as the Victim:
#29: Principles suck when all you can do is lose.
#81: Nader's as much a victim of the Biparty as anyone.
#101: I'm not defending Nader's decision to run; I'm only defending
his right to run.
#128: please, don't hate him for daring to run a campaign in a democracy

In a few of your posts, you let slip Nader's tweedledee/tweedledum
argument yourself.
#22: corporatist democrat
#29: a game played by two conservative parties
#38: corporatists like Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Hillary
Clinton, and Barack Obama
#39: Substitute "DLC-approved" for "corporatist," if you prefer
#66: The more I observe the Biparty, the more I'm impressed at how
beautifully it works. It's the beauty of the tiger

And in a few posts, you present the Democrats as outright Evil:
#24: Democrats are opposing democracy
#27: Democrats are objectively two times more responsible for the
Florida results than the Greens.
#38: I don't like From either, but I know exactly who he supports:
corporatists like Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton,
and Barack Obama
39: Substitute "DLC-approved" for "corporatist," if you prefer.
77: Democrats calling for less democracy.
124: that article is hearsay and Democrat spin.

And its just that you're exhibiting the textbook case of a persecution complex.

You and a group you identify with (Nader voters) as well as the leader of that group (Nader himself), are completely blameless. No where in any of your two-dozen posts do you acknowledge a single mistake that your messiac leader has committed, or admit a single wrong that your group has committed. (comparatively speaking, I voted for Kerry, but I had some issues with some of his actions. I voted for Gore but I wasn't exactly thrilled about it.) But your group is blameless, an undeserving scapegoat, a victim. Nader is a man of principle, operating in an evil world out to get him, punish him, or misuse him. The group is persecuted by mean, angry, emotionally distraught Democrats, looking for someone to blame for their own incompetence, their own shortcomings, and looking to keep their own power, and looking to disenfranchise your group.

Meanwhile, the biparty system, the majority-vote-wins system, is some form of near perfect conspiracy designed to maintain power within the two parties, two parties who have become nearly indistinguishable from each other. This system is a tiger and your group is a gazelle. The system is a catch-22 for your group, and a catch-22 means a set of circumstances from which you cannot win. (and unlike Kirk in the Kobeyashi Maru simulation, you can't reprogram the computer. this is clearly a Star Wars world, not Star Trek)

And then, there is the grave concern looming overhead. Global Warming will destroy our world by 2020, which conveniently gives your group not only something to rally behind, but gives justification to take drastic measures. You know, like when some people say that there are turrrrists runnin' around and we gotta quit certain parts of due process until all the turrrrists are caught. Except, it's global warming, and evil corporatist Democrats like... Al Gore?

Which is the saddest part of this whole tale. In 2000, nearly one-hundred thousand members of your group in Florida voted for Nader, allowing George Bush to beat Al Gore by less than 600 votes. Had a mere 600 of your group acted on the notion of condercet voting and transferred their vote to their number two choice, we would have had an 8 year head start to deal with this Global Warming crisis with Al "Inconvenient Truth" Gore at the helm.

But, you won't blame your group for that. No. You and your group are the victims here. Your group is being unfairly scapegoated. These are desperate Global Warming/Corporatists Candidate times that require desperate measures. It's a no-win situation created by those in power designed to keep them in power, and keep you out. The Dems and Reps are nearly indistinguishable. They're all corporatists, and together they have build an indestructable battle station to rule the galaxy.

Meanwhile, Nader has plans to blow up that battle station with a rag-tag band of rebels and snub fighters.

Seriously, it's a straightforward, and extremely developed persecution complex: A rag tag band of outnumbered, underdog freedom fighters trying to overthrow the evil empire.

The only problem is the fiction that surrounds this complex doesn't match reality. The complete lack of blame for all of Nader's actions, and the group's actions, should be the biggest red flag that something isn't quite right. That sort of white-hat assessment only happens in fiction.

You've been asking for evidence. But the thing is it's been right in front of you for nearly 8 years. Nader pulled away nearly 100,000 votes from Gore in 2000, and probably scared away nearly 200,000 democrats with his "tweedledee/tweedledum" argument, in an election that only needed 600 votes to help Gore win.

And really, I don't care about Nader in 2000. I'm not looking to assign blame. But what keeps coming up for me is that you and your group are maintaining a fiction that doesn't match reality. A fiction of third party candidates in white hats, of no negative consequences for voting third party in a tight, majority-vote-wins election, of desparate times requiring desperate measures, of Democratic and Republican candidates being indistinguishable, of the Biparty conspiracy to keep you third party people out of government.

And the problem I'm having is that fiction is exactly the same fiction that caused the Nader/2000 fiasco to take hundreds of thousands fo votes from Gore in an election he lost by mere hundreds. And there is no reason to believe that people won't take that very same fiction and replay it again for 2008.

Sure Nader has lost some support. He's lost a couple times now, and the group doesn't like to support a loser. But you still maintain the fiction. The lack an objective look at what happened in 2000. The fiction that Nader and your group did nothing wrong in 2000. The blame always lies elsewhere, to the point that in this very thread, you are willing to repeat the tweedledee/tweedledum notions in watered down, but still obvious form.

If we were simply discussing Nader/2000, and Nader wasn't running for 2008, I'd say, go on, have your little fiction. It's harmless. But with Nader in, with races being won and lost by a few hundred votes, I have no patience for a harmful fiction, for what is indistinguishable from propaganda, a lie meant to keep a bigger lie in place.

The truth is that Nader cost Gore the election.

The problem is that to acknowledge that you would have to go from being part of a principled, persecuted, underdog minority fighting a monolithic evil, and realize that you were misguided by Nader and his group, and realize that his rebel friends ended up blowing up Alderaan. Big F-ing ooops.

And that kind of oooops a pretty hard thing for any human to admit. But it certainly isn't held in place by any lack of "evidence".


#180 ::: Dale J ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 09:14 PM:

Nicole, it seems to me that we need to find common ground though.

Republicans see the top Democrats as the anti-Christ and likewise Democrats see the top Republicans as the anti-Christ.

So what is the solution when 1/2 of the population always sees the other 1/2 as incompotent fools?


#181 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 09:18 PM:

Greg, are you not aware that the non-DLC candidates are no longer in the race? Do you think Al From, founder and current CEO of the DLC, is a stealth Naderite? He, not I, said Nader's presence in the race helped Gore, based on his polling data. I'm still waiting for someone to refute that.

And, sorry I wasn't clear, embracing the scapegoat was a joke. Please read it with a "*g*" afterwards. I'll be the first to admit my sense of humor sucks.

#182 ::: Judith ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 09:27 PM:

Nader knew he would be a spoiler, and told Rolling Stone in 2000 that he wouldn't mind being the spoiler for Gore:

Rolling Stone, #849, Sept.14, 2000: "In 1996, you told the New York Times, 'If I really wanted to beat Clinton, I would get out, raise $3 or $4 million, and maybe provide the margin for his defeat. That's not the purpose of this candidacy.' Since you're planning to raise $5 million and run hard this year, does that mean you would not have a problem providing the margin of defeat for Gore?"
Nader: "I would not—not at all."

From here: http://2act.org/p/33.html

#183 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 09:34 PM:

Dale 180: Actually, it's 1/3 of the population calling 1/3 of the population names worthy of disemvowelling, and vice versa.

Elections are decided by the 1/3 in the center.

#184 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 09:35 PM:

will, you're looking squarely at the droids. You just don't see them. What From said is irrelevant. You know that. I know that. I'm pointing out simple hard numbers. Bush beat Gore in Florida by 600 votes. Nader took 100,000 votes in florida.

The droids are right there. But to see them, you'd have to admit being part of a huge mistake.

And I'm truly, truly sorry for that. I've made massively bad mistakes that make that look like a bad cold. some that took me decades to fix. I know how it feels. It really f-ing sucks.

But at this point, you have everything you need to see them, to see the truth. There isn't anything more that I can give you. It's all up to you now.

You'll either see it or not. Maybe in a month. Maybe in ten years. Maybe never. maybe right now.

Again, I'm sorry. And this won't make any sense, but thank you.

#185 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 09:35 PM:

Will, Obama is not a member of the DLC and has twice insisted that they remove his name from their lists. Please stop conflating them.

See this post written by Kos of Daily Kos for verification should you need it.

#186 ::: Dale J ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 09:38 PM:

Tony,

Thanks for being more optimistic. Although, I think the fraction of the registered voters in the center is less than 1/3.

#187 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 09:42 PM:

Greg, an afterthought: if you don't think the DLC is corporatist, visit their "about" here.

Judith, if you want me to say people are foolish to try to create a third party in a two-party system, I'll agree in an instant. If you want me to say that Bush was as bad as Patrick and Teresa feared he would be, again, totally true. If you want me to say Nader and his supporters sometimes spoke glibly, well, that happens in campaigns.

But I'm trying to focus on the facts. The facts do not show Nader trying to be a spoiler. They show him trying to get 5% of the vote. Until someone refutes From and Burden, those remain the relevant facts in the case.

#188 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 09:44 PM:

What, is that 5 percent needed to qualify for federal matching funds?

#189 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 09:57 PM:

Dale J, the ground for distinction is facts. Facts are not equally distributed in aid of Republican and Democratic (and independent) claims.

#190 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 10:08 PM:

By the way, I don't actually have any interest in why From would feel it useful to downplay Nader's impact now. It's not like I can expect to find out - the deliberations people like him make aren't open to examination by people like me, usually. What matters to me right now is that I have no reason to believe he's being any more honest now than he has ever been on any subject I've ever seen addressed by him, not when it comes to claims about the data, its presentation and interpretation, or conclusions to be drawn from it.

#191 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 10:14 PM:

Kelly @185, yes, Obama asked to have his name taken off the DLC list. That doesn't change the fact that the DLC likes him. See D.L.C. Leaders Cut Edwards Out.

#192 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 10:20 PM:

My understanding is that the DLC is, in fact, not part of the Democratic Party. (It's some kind of political committee, sure, but a lot of the people in it seem to be closet Republicans.) Why they get to make decisions and speak for people who are Democrats is not something I understand.

#193 ::: Dale J ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 10:21 PM:

Does anybody know what union or organization endorsements Nader picked up the last time he ran?

#194 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 10:22 PM:

Bruce, I'll try this again: In the house organ of the DLC, its founder and CEO, Al From, gave advice to DLC supporters about how to deal with the results of 2000. If he was giving advice to Republicans, I would expect him to be disingenuous. Since he was advising his people, I suspect he was telling them exactly what their best polls showed.

So, the people who shaped Clinton and Gore's campaign concluded that Nader helped Gore in Florida.

Which remains a fact.

I would think anyone who liked being in the fact-based community would want to deal with that, either accepting it or refuting it with other facts. Now, you have no obligation to care about facts. I like a lot of people who reject inconvenient facts.

But I'm a proud member of the fact-based community, so I'm kind of stuck with them.

#195 ::: Keith R.A. DeCandido ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 10:23 PM:

Having now read through the thread, let me add to my comments that I'm not denying that Ralph Nader is a scum-sucking weasel. If he can't see the difference between Al Gore and George W. Bush, then his disconnect with reality is truly frightening to behold.

In 2000, Al Gore was a senator of many years' standing and a vice president in an administration that gave us a strong economy, peace, prosperity, and a balanced budget.

In 2000, George W. Bush was the governor of a state where the governor has less power than almost any governor in the union, and prior to that his resumé was a lengthy list of failed businesses. (I really want to know what happened in the alternate reality where Dubya became commissioner of Major League Baseball instead of Bud Selig.....)

And Nader thought they were equivalent. Eight years later, I wonder if he still thinks that.

Having said all that -- I still don't see how slightly under three million votes makes the difference if Gore runs a non-sucky campaign. Then again, I can't remember the last time a non-Clinton Democrat ran a good presidential campaign prior to this election......

#196 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 10:27 PM:

PJ, I strongly recommend you research the DLC. They effectively became the Democrats' strategists in '92 when their boy, Bill Clinton, won. Starting at Wikipedia or the DLC's home page will tell you plenty.

#197 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 10:35 PM:

Nader was interviewed on CBC Radio's "As It Happens" this evening, at the beginning of the show. I couldn't stay to listen to the entire interview, but in just the first few minutes, he stated three or four times that everyone who didn't want him to run was displaying "bigotry" -- his word. All Canadians, he said, should be shocked and offended by this.

Today's show can be downloaded from their website.

#198 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 10:42 PM:

Oops, just realized my joke about the "fact based community" is showing my age. For those who don't get the reference, there a decent explanation here.

#199 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 10:55 PM:

Will, I don't believe I said anything about them not working for the Democrats. I believe what I said was that they aren't part of the party. Not the same thing at all. They also aren't very effective strategists, or they'd have won more elections than they have. (There are quite a few of us who wonder who they're really working for, given that track record.)

No, I'm not happy with the current choices, but I'll take Obama over Clinton; she gives me the feeling she has an enemies list somewhere. But I suspect even Clinton would be better than anyone with an R after their name. (Ralph ain't on my radar, sorry.)

#200 ::: Dale J ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 11:05 PM:

Thanks for the link Will,

That whole "reality-based community" concept is kind of scary. Being a miserable, rotten sinner like everyone else I would not want to base my opinion on mere observation.

Let's just let Ann Coulter, James Carville and Ralph Nader mud wrestle, winner takes the White House. Save all the millions spent on campaigning and combat global warming and AIDS.

#201 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 11:24 PM:

Well, I did learn something today. The DLC appears to be a bunch of nutjobs who can't be trusted with squat. I know wikipedia isn't to be trusted, either, but this is what they say:

The DLC gave strong support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Prior to the war, Will Marshall co-signed a letter to President Bush from the Project for the New American Century endorsing military action against Saddam Hussein. During the 2004 Primary campaign the DLC attacked Presidential candidate Howard Dean as an out-of-touch liberal because of Dean's anti-war stance. The DLC dismissed other critics of the Iraq invasion such as filmmaker Michael Moore as members of the "loony left". Even as domestic support for the Iraq War plummeted in 2004 and 2005, Marshall reprised his right-wing credentials and called upon Democrats to balance their criticism of Bush's handling of the Iraq War with praise for the President's achievements and cautioned "Democrats need to be choosier about the political company they keep, distancing themselves from the pacifist and anti-American fringe."

in the 2004 election, early front-runner Howard Dean, who attracted popular support due in large part to his anti-war views despite his reputation as a centrist governor of Vermont, was specifically criticized by DLC founder and CEO Al From. From's criticism of Dean was also likely due to the former governor's opposition to the war in Iraq, which most party centrists, including From, endorsed. Dean's claim to hail "from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party" (a phrase originally used by Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota) has been interpreted by some as subtle criticism of the DLC and the New Democrats in general. Indeed, Dean once described the DLC as the "Republican wing of the Democratic Party."

Still other critics believe the DLC has essentially become an influential corporate and right-wing implant in the Democratic party. Marshall Wittmann, a former senior fellow at the DLC, former legislative director for the Christian Coalition, and former communications director for Republican senator John McCain, and Will Marshall, a vocal supporter of the war in Iraq, are among those associated with the DLC who have right-wing credentials.

Finally, detractors of the DLC note that the DLC has received funding from the right-wing Bradley Foundation as well as from oil companies, military contractors, and various Fortune 500 companies.

(end paste)

Anyone quoting the DLC and asserting said quotes as fact ought to seriously consider that maybe, just maybe, those really were the votes we were looking for, and the DLC just played a sith mind trick on you.

Anyone calling the Democrats "corporatists" while citing the DLC as givers-of-truth, ought to re-read that last paragraph about the DLC getting money from oil companies, military contractors, and various Fortune 500 companies.

#202 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 11:30 PM:

Will, yes the DLC likes Obama, but if you followed the link you will note that Obama doesn't particularly like the DLC. I like Obama too, does that make me a fan of the DLC? No. I despise the DLC.

When someone has made the effort to have their name removed from the lists of an organization not just once but twice, perhaps it says something about their opinion of same. The fact that he had to do so says much more about the DLC wanting to take credit for his popularity than it does about him.

If you continue to conflate the two despite the significant efforts Obama has made to disassociate himself from the DLC I am going to have to assume that you are arguing in less than good faith.

#203 ::: balance ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 11:38 PM:

Listen to yourselves. Talking about how to go about 'keeping' someone who is Constitutionally qualified to run for President 'off the ballot'. Stomping on someone's civil rights, much? To further your political agenda? Sound like someone you know?

Nader doesn't divide the nation. Nader doesn't steal votes. People ~give~ him their votes because they like his platform better. Democrats can blame themselves for dividing the nation as they go farther & farther to the right with the Republicans and leave half of us standing on the left with no one to represent us... except third parties who have no chance. Blame yourselves for not appealing to the Nader voters. Nader doesn't equal Gore or Kerry or Obama any more than Gore equals Bush.

Give me a Dem candidate as good (and by good I don't mean 'electable' but in touch with real people and not corporate money) as these others who inspire people (Obama's close), and I'll jubilantly vote for them. Until then, you look like whiney scapegoaters, and even worse, like nefarious political manipulators.

Democratic Party, you do not represent all the progressives in this country. And you don't put up much of a fight when Bush wants to do... well, anything. Plenty of us are beyond disillusioned with you. Don't let that number grow, or you may someday actually have reason to worry about third-party candidates.

But maybe that would be a good thing for our country. More choice for the citizenry.

#204 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 11:44 PM:

balance, yr n dt, nd drv b trll. Fck ff nd d.

#205 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 11:48 PM:

*deep breath* will, people like balance are what you're beginning to sound like. You should recoil in horror from this. Now, balance just wandered in here from Google and posted without reading the thread, possibly without reading the post, certainly without knowing the history of this site vis-a-vis Rralphhh! Nadir, and made a total fool of hirself, and you haven't done that, but really. It's a dead horse.

#206 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 11:56 PM:

'Balance' (none visible there) reminds me why I have a pitchfork in my closet. It's for people like Nader and the DLC, who think that the golden rule begins with 'whoever has the money', and that this somehow gives them special qualifications to decide things for the rest of us.
I may also decide to use it on them as believe that Nader has the good of anyone other than himself in mind, the one year in four that he runs for office.

#207 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 12:02 AM:

Greg,

If you seriously didn't know any of that about the DLC, then welcome on the big bus with the rest of us. In 2000, when some of us were less than thrilled with Al Gore, we knew at the time that he was one of the DLC's founding members, that he had given the keynote address at their conference that year, and that he was running as a creature of the DLC. We knew who they were, and we were unsurprised when Joe Lieberman turned up as his running mate. Lieberman was the chair of the DLC at the time. The DLC had fully penetrated the Gore campaign staff from the top down.

If Gore/Lieberman had prevailed— yes, they wouldn't have been the unmitigated disaster that few at the time foresaw Bush/Cheney would be— it would have meant an expansion of the power of the DLC. It wasn't until after Gore started trailing in the polls that he started to distance himself from the DLC. After he was defeated, he separated himself from them, but do you really think that would have— could have— happened if he'd won the election? I don't.

But, go ahead: absolve everybody in the Democratic Party from your recriminations for the catastrophe of George Bush. It was all the fault of us Nader 2000 voters. Everything else that happened before, during and after to 2000 Presidential campaign was absolutely perfect. No Democrat can seriously take the blame for what happened. Why, if it hadn't been for us meddling kids, you'd be kings of the universes.

Keep bleating out that line, but you should know that you're not helping recruit me back onto your side. You're actually helping convince me that most liberal Democrats still don't understand how and why they keep snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

I haven't started writing checks to candidates in this election season yet. Reading this thread has started to make me feel like I shouldn't bother.

#208 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 12:03 AM:

Well, that's not true. I think I wrote a $100 check in December to some candidate in Washington state who was running against a Bush dog.

#209 ::: Dale J ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 12:16 AM:

Why would I vote for Ralph Nader?

His views are not consistent with his own beliefs.

He is a Catholic who believes in same-sex marriage and is pro-abortion. The last time I checked the Catholic church was opposed to both of those views.

So how can someone who doesn't even know what he believes lead a country?

#210 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 12:23 AM:

Dale J is unaware of his or her surroundings, methinks.

#211 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 12:28 AM:

I think we should put an alphRay aderNay thread and an onRay aulPay thread in a room together and let them fight it out.

#212 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 12:28 AM:

Why yes, by this point I do have a pile of pithy (but entirely uncharitable and in fact vaguely nasty) observations about how certain people's entire argument seems to be that the DLC is such a foul, rotten, corporatist cancer on the body politic that we have no choice but to believe every single word they utter concerning how Ralph Nader cannot possibly be blamed for anything, bt knw wht wld hppn f shrd thm.

#213 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 12:30 AM:

will: Oops, just realized my joke about the "fact based community" is showing my age.

Well, no, and as I said to a drive by, lo at the beginning of this thread, your age is irrelevant. But comments like that (and you're "oh, but then, I love Democracy ... ") do give an impression that you either think the rest of us are not fact-based, or we do not love Democracy, or at least, not as much as you do. This is bad rhetorical strategy, as well as being monumentally unhelpful. We do not have less of a grip on reality than you, and you really aren't in a position to judge what we love and do not love. Stop condescending to those whom you would convince.

#214 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 12:38 AM:

I'm bowing out of the thread now. If anyone comes up with a refutation of Al From's or Barry Burden's inconvenient facts, please email me. When I'm wrong, I like to know it, admit it, and correct it as quickly as possible. That's part of being a member of the reality-based community.

PJ, I totally agree with you about the DLC not being effective, but they're still running the DNC: Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton are all formally theirs, and while they've taken Obama off the official DLC list, they've said they support him. For what it's worth, I also prefer Obama to Clinton.

Dale, I'd pay $10 to watch that!

Kelly, it's very common to judge people based on their supporters. I agree that isn't always fair, but I'm not sure it should be completely ignored. If the DLC gives Clinton and Obama its blessing, that means something. For one thing, it means Obama and Clinton both get support from corporations. It is extremely significant that Obama switched from supporting true universal health care to a version like Hillary Clinton's and John Edwards'. And since that's the best we can hope for this year, I'll vote for it, even though HR 676 makes a lot more sense.

jh, Democrats are remarkably good at driving away potential allies. But that's much of the point of having a two-party system: you don't need allies. You only need to defeat the other party, and when you lose, you can blame everyone who isn't part of your party.

Xopher, third party supporters are less alike than supporters of the Biparty, in my experience, but I hear what you say and agree the horse is dead. Please email if I'm wrong.

#215 ::: Dale J ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 12:50 AM:

Here's a great website to follow the election:270towin.

I've enjoyed the posts, have a goodnight.

#216 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 01:06 AM:

If anyone comes up with a refutation of Al From

I swear, as God is my witness, I thought my #212 was a strawman.

#217 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 01:33 AM:

Anticorium, sorry for not making my sentence clearer for snipping purposes: it's the polling figures that From cites that need refuting. Either you can argue that From is a Nader apologist, or you can offer evidence that the polling data was wrong, but I don't see how you can say, "Al From is evil; therefore I'll ignore what he says, but I'll support the DLC candidates."

Well, okay, you can say that. It's just on the long list of things I don't understand.

So, yes, technically, #212 was a joke, but the fact remains that there is a poll, approved by the people who guided Gore's campaign, that says Nader helped Gore.

Sigh.

I do have to quit thinking facts matter. And I have to stop doing the Minnesota goodbye. G'night, now!

#218 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 01:56 AM:

*deep breath* Okay... one thing I know about myself is that when I get as angry at someone as I did at Will earlier, there's generally something underneath the obvious sources that I haven't properly articulated yet. So I went away and did something else for a while, and sure enough, this is what I came up with:

Will, the real issue I'm having with you isn't that you keep sticking your head in the sand about inconvenient facts. It's not even that you're consistently using troll tropes. It's that you are coming into Patrick and Teresa's blog in red-hot defense of Ralph Nader, when you KNOW that they both have unassailable personal reasons for loathing Nader, and you WON'T SHUT UP. You can't claim not to know about that back-history, because it was explained to you in considerable detail in the last Nader thread, only a few weeks ago, and at that time you offered an apparently-sincere apology.

Why do I say "apparently" sincere? Because here you are DOING IT AGAIN. There are probably 5,000 blogs on the Net where you could be having this discussion without hurting anyone. Why are you INSISTING on doing it HERE? Here, where you KNOW that there are people you are personally hurting by your stupidity intransigence, people who (if your previous fake-apology is to be believed) are your personal friends, people you care about?

Obviously, I don't speak for Teresa, and I'm assuming that there is some reason you haven't been kicked to the curb yet. But I can tell you that if you did something like this on MY blog, you would be SO banned for unacceptable rudeness. And anyone who did something like this in my physical territory would be physically ejected from same, with extreme prejudice.

Were you raised by wolves? If not, then GROW UP and behave like a civilized human being. Saying things on a blog that you know are going to be hurtful to the hosts is just... bratty.

#219 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 02:09 AM:

Ah, I get it now: IHBT. HTH. HAND.

#220 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 02:10 AM:

I think you should make your own arguments and stand behind them yourself. A bad argument or a fact-free assertion doesn't become better because you've managed to find someone with a fancy title who said it.

Do you think you have good reason to believe that Nader is blameless? If so, make it. It's fine if you heard the argument from someone else, but once you've become the one who's repeating it and telling other people it's persuasive, you've assumed ownership. You should be able to explain what you think is convincing about the argument without reference to the person you heard it from.

You're asking for people to refute your argument, but you haven't made one. Just saying "From" isn't an argument.

#221 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 02:14 AM:

Greg @ 179,

Thank you. Just... thank you.

It's always nice when someone takes all the warped and tangled skeins of frustrated argument in my brain and smooths them out to a single, lovely rant.

#222 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 02:41 AM:

Dale J: Bush is a criminal (self-admitted; he has said he's violating FISA, and intends to keep doing so).

I wish he was less competent (or, concommitantly; and moreso, I wish the damed democrats we've elected decided to be more opposition than loyal. Hell, if they'd just get a set of gonads brass enough to make the obstructionist tactics of the Republicans [which are far more concerted, consistent and have a longer track record as such than any attempt the Dems made when in the Minority] evident to the public, say make them pull a real, on the floor, filibuster for at least 24 hours for every Cloture vote they stifle, that would be enough).


But Bush is a criminal. He's just not been convicted.

#223 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 02:56 AM:

it's the polling figures that From cites that need refuting

From doesn't cite any polling data. There are no footnotes in that article. Therefore there aren't yet any figures that need refuting, only a pointer to someone's unreferenced claim about a figure.

Be a bit of a busman's holiday / busman's blog for me or anyone else here to go looking for this polling data, given that From gives no information about it other than the conclusion he pulls.

Ditto the Burden...although it looks like you today linked to an uploaded copy.

Burden appears to be saying the opposite of what From is saying: "Nader's presence obviously had the effect of throwing the election to Bush; whether this was Nader's intention is a matter I hope to resolve." (italics his)

Maybe, on a day when I haven't already read a zillion research papers, I can brainfully read Burden. After a quick glance, I think Nader's appearance behavior over that stretch of time (the subject of Burden's analysis) can be orthogonal to his overall intentions.

But, again, there isn't anything in the From to refute, so I think it isn't polite to claim people here should have done so already.

And Lee may have a a point as well.

#224 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 03:14 AM:

will made me wonder about all those "Nader prefers Bush winning to Gore" statements floating around--did he actually say that? A bit of googling later, I found this: When asked if someone put a gun to his head and told him to vote for either Gore or Bush, which he would choose, Nader answered without hesitation: "Bush." So that's that.

will shetterly @ 194: "So, the people who shaped Clinton and Gore's campaign concluded that Nader helped Gore in Florida. Which remains a fact."

Well, no. That's not a fact. The fact, to be precise, is that From claimed in front of his supporters that he believes this to be so. Bruce isn't inclined to trust him, and you seemed baffled as to why. From must be telling the truth, you argue, because he has no possible motivation to lie. I can think of one good reason he'd have to lie to that group: As a leader of the centrist-pushing DLC, his policies are exactly the sort that goaded Nader into running. If Nader actually cost the Dems the presidency, then that is, in a way, his fault. Instead, he portrays Nader running as a good thing--in other words, his strategy is working, time to push further to the right!

Bruce Baugh, Xopher: I think it's perfectly acceptable to hate Nader. I think it's just fine to say that as loudly and as often as you want, and to explain why at every opportunity. I think Democrats ought to run against him, and make the arguments about what a worthless candidate he really is. I don't think it's okay to try to deny him access to the voters. It is their choice whether or not to vote for him. The last line of Jim's post sounds frighteningly like that is what he is advocating.

#225 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 05:01 AM:

I wish to apologize to everyone in this thread. I've been much too fond of facts. I wrote lightly at #217, but I think it was because I wasn't ready to consider the implications deeply. The communities of fact and faith are hardly the only ones. The far more important one is the community of love.

For what it's worth, I did not mean to be unkind. This seems mad to me now, but I thought that facts would help in the search for truth.

I don't offer that as an excuse. I offer it to say that whether I see things more clearly or less clearly now, I see them differently. If I ever again argue as though facts matter most, please remind me: love does.

#226 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 05:27 AM:

Dear God, Will. That came across really amazingly badly. Up until now I've been giving you some benefit of the doubt for good intentions, in part as a payment of the debt I owe you for years of rewarding reading. But I can see no way in which a decent human being would write your #225 hours after Lee's #218, in particular. You aren't interested in facts. You're interested in some claimed facts, while resolutely ignoring others, often better-established or at least no worse-footed than your favorites. And you're particularly not interested in the human facts, including where you are and who you're talking to. You are not behaving like a person with what I consider the rudiments of civilized behavior, but like a troll. And as I have remarked before, the net is phenomenological; there is no difference between the perfect imitation of a troll and the troll itself.

Heresiarch, I read Jim's last line more like "Use every available legitimate means to challenge Nader's candidacy", based on what I know of Jim. I think it's entirely fair, for instance, to challenge submitted signatures, be a stickler about deadlines, and like that. If Jim meant any more than that, I hope he'll correct me.

#227 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 05:44 AM:

If Jim meant any more than that, I hope he'll correct me.

That is exactly what Jim meant. Make Nader prove that every one of his signatures is legitimate. Then make him prove it again. If he misses a deadline by twenty seconds, shut the door in his face. Make sure all his finances get investigated and reported.

He's trying to play fast and loose, and he's trying to harm us. To keep him from doing the latter, don't let him do the former.

Nader wanted to "attract enough lawyers willing to work free of charge to get his name on state ballots."

If it takes lawyer tricks to get him on a ballot, make them work for it. Don't do him any favors--he doesn't want to, doesn't plan to, and isn't going to, do us any favors.

And look at Nader's claims of being a consumer advocate while you're at it. They don't stand up. Seatbelts? He's taking credit for other people's work.

We already know what a great job he's doing with drugs.

#228 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 05:59 AM:

Will @225, Bruce @226:
Dear God, Will. That came across really amazingly badly.

I agree with this assessment, but I'm not surprised.

That's not a dig at you, will. Apologies are hard. Finding the place where you went wrong, explaining it in a way that shows that you realise that you went wrong, and still having some dignity to hold onto, is not easy stuff. I'm not sure I made it work in comment 158, and I wasn't a hundredth as invested in that matter as you are in this one.

I don't think will sees an error in his use of the term "facts", and indeed Lee @218 explicitly ducks out of that branch of the argument. So maybe leave it at this: will is unconvinced by many of the views posted here. Many people here are unconvinced of his. But both sides agree that this particular dispute has gone on long enough, in this venue, to be more damaging than helpful.

Will, if you want to to demonstrate the sincerity of your apology, do so the next time this topic comes up.

And thank you for using the word love; I agree with that at least. Love is what keeps this place together when it ought to fly apart, and tells us we're hurting before we troll. Makes this home.

Hold to that.

#229 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 06:12 AM:

Bruce, I don't doubt that. I express myself very badly. I used to think it was good to be clever, but too often, cleverness is only an excuse for cruelty. So now I'm trying to be simple, but I fear I'm not very good at that either, as my bulldog grip on two pieces of information shows. What I think the facts are really is irrelevant. If they don't convince you, they don't convince you.

#230 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 06:19 AM:

Abi, that was very gracious.

I'm reminded that Mom told us that love is often quiet - it's in the things left for another time and place, in the action refrained from for the sake of another. In that spirit, I'm going to wrap up my posting in this thread. Certainly I haven't been charitable much. But quiet I can manage, I hope.

#231 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 06:21 AM:

Abi, as I told Bruce, I don't doubt that. I'm much too fond of dictionary definitions; I meant "facts' to be an objective term, not a weighted one, but that was another silly idea on my part.

As for this topic, I can't imagine any reason to address it again.

#232 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 06:23 AM:

I'll follow Bruce's lead now.

#233 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 06:26 AM:

RIGHT. Enough heart-rending.

Can I hit either of you guys up for a good* literary/culinary pun? Love may be quiet, but joy is loud, and we need some of that, too.

----
* for values of good that include bad

#234 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 08:25 AM:

Anticorum #216: And you thought turkeys could fly?[1]

[1] Classical reference.

#235 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 09:14 AM:

jh@207: It was all the fault of us Nader 2000 voters. Everything else that happened before, during and after to 2000 Presidential campaign was absolutely perfect. No Democrat can seriously take the blame for what happened. Why, if it hadn't been for us meddling kids, you'd be kings of the universes.

Oh for the love of gawd, get over yourself. Seriously. While Naderites are willing to find blame with Democrats, Republicans, the press, the corporate industry, and little old ladies who voted for Perot, those same Naderites are COMPLETELY UNWILLING to admit any wrongdoing on the part of Nader, and turn ANY accusation against Nader into some sort of blanket statement that somehow blames Nader for EVERYTHING.

Meanwhile, when I point out my issues with the candidates I did vote for (#179, issues with Kerry and Gore), and at the same time, give Nader blame for throwing Florida to Bush, you come back with this... crap?

"No Democrat can seriously take the blame for what happened"

When did I say that? I don't think anyone is arguing that Gore ran a perfect campaign. Gore gets the blame for that. And Nader gets to take some of the blame for Florida.

Keep bleating out that line, but you should know that you're not helping recruit me back onto your side.

hubby: I forgive you for being such a cold hard bitch. I realize you can't help it because you're a woman.
wife: (winces) You're right, I was bitchy at times. And I forgive you for sleeping with my sister and getting her pregnant.
hubby: HEY! If you want to recruit me back into our marriage, you have to stop blaming me for EVERYTHING.

You're being blamed for everything?
You acknowledge not a single mistake?
It's everyone else's fault?
And no one else is willing to admit their mistakes?

Dysfunctinoal doesn't even begin to describe it.

#236 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 09:16 AM:

albatross #234: Booger.

I mean, yes.

#237 ::: Matt Stevens ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 09:34 AM:

I think it's entirely fair, for instance, to challenge submitted signatures, be a stickler about deadlines, and like that. If Jim meant any more than that, I hope he'll correct me.

I'm sorry Bruce (and Jim), but while politicians do this all the time, I want nothing to do with such efforts, and I don't think other people should either.

As I said, when Republicans do this sort of thing in the name of "fighting fraud" we condemn it as voter suppression, as we should. There are two sides of democratic elections -- they should be competitive as well as participatory -- and efforts to keep legitimate politicians off the ballot are unethical and undemocratic, just like efforts to keep voters from the polls.

I say this as a committed Democrat who hates Nader and who thinks Nader threw the election to Bush. I don't want to ally myself with Nader's partisans, but I think Jim was wrong in advocating this sort of thing.

#238 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 09:37 AM:

Anticorum@216: Red wigglers! Cadillac of worms.

#239 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 10:20 AM:

Matt Stevens @ 237: Ditto.

#240 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 10:29 AM:

Nick Anderson of the Houston Chronicle had this cartoon about the Nader campaign.

#241 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 11:28 AM:

Greg,

Every time the topic of Nader has come up here on MakingLight since I started participating here, you've bullied me into apologizing for my vote in 2000 for the man, demanding my denouncement of all his activities past and current, and hounding me to beg for forgiveness for my crime.

I've done it every time. I'll do it again as many times as necessary until you (and everyone who does politics the same way as you do) feels satisfied that I really mean it. I'm beginning to think it will never be enough.

Once again...

I apologize for my vote for Nader in 2000. I apologize for contributing money to his campaign. In retrospect, it was a really bad mistake.

I hereby reiterate my denouncement of Ralph Nader and all his supporters. He does not represent me or my interests. I've been saying this since early 2002.

I hope everyone will forgive me for what I did. It's a small hope, but I still retain it.

Now, as the fact that this keeps happening— that I have to keep apologizing for it over and over and over and over again— while the Democrats who actually lost the 2000 campaign keep getting forgiveness from you without even being made to ask for it... can you see why that might make me a little annoyed with you?

Nice work with the battered spouse analogy there, Greg. That was For The Win™.

#242 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 11:29 AM:

Matt, Heresiarch: Me too. That was the first thing that grabbed me about Jim's original post.

Yuck. Haven't we been running an eight year national experiment with using "the ends justify the means" and "we're the good guys, so it's okay when we violate the rules or game the system" as an operating principle? How has that worked out for us, again?

Sorry, I really don't want to rend any hearts. I agree that the world would be a better place if Nader would find something more productive to do with his time. I just don't like the implication that it's okay to game the rules to silence people, if we really don't like them, since we're the good guys. America is suffering from a massive overdose of that idea right now.

#243 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 11:34 AM:

Just along the lines of previous comments, a highly respected news source video has important news about the 2008 election.

#244 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 01:10 PM:

will: Not that you need my absolution, but I understand where you are coming from. It sounds trite, but I feel your pain.

I don't think you are arguing in bad faith, nor even a blinkered one. Passion burns, and it hurts, and it's wonderful. The reason I stayed out of the conversation earlier is that. I've been there, full of, legitimate fire (because I don't think you are praising Nader, I think you are trying to discuss the phenomenon of Nader, in the context of third party candidacy), and a reasonable indignation at the system as it it (though I don't, completely, share your disdain for the co-option of third party ideas by the larger parties... I think part of the blame for that working to slow the changes is the fault of the people who fail to take advantage of the opportunity to grab hold of some of the levers of the machinery. That's what the religious right has been doing to the Republicans. We can be grateful the Party is starting to see the tiger by the tail of that; because the nation at large is resistant to those ideas. That resistance in large part to the small, vocal, identity groups who make up third parties, but I digress).

The porblem (and I wish I knew what to tell you to prevent it) is that Nader is a dirty word here. He's a dirty word lots of places (I have some conservative friends who, for all but the personal aspects, have as deep a loathing of the man as Teresa, because they think "Unsafe at Any Speed" was a farrago of misrepresentations. They say the changes Nader was taking credit for, were already in the works. Me... I have a mixed feeling. I think he was/is a grandstanding fool. A megalomaniac who chose a good idea to hitch his mania to. His personal effects (IMO) aren't all that great, but the celebrity he added to a just cause made car safety more quickly adopted).

I think, were we to try talking about the mechanics of the two-party system, and what might be done to fix it, outside the context of an election year (much less one which matters as much as this one does) we might be able to talk about these things with less heat, and more light.

I hope my two-cents help.

#245 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 02:55 PM:

The error lies in assuming that Nader is a candidate for president.

He isn't.

He's a Republican dirty trick.

#246 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 02:56 PM:

The error lies in assuming that Nader is a candidate for president.

He isn't.

He's a Republican dirty trick.

#247 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 03:05 PM:

Terry, thanks. This conversation helped me see a few things more clearly. One is that trying to create a third party in a two-party system is mad. I'll be pondering the implications of that for a while.

Yes, make light, not heat!

#248 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 03:19 PM:

Will @225 and those responding,

I've been much too fond of facts.

My 223 was trying to say that here, in this thread, those facts you want refuting haven't been on display yet, so (in either direction--uphold or disprove) they can't be worked with, and you don't have enough information to compare your fact-fondness to anyone else's.

I also can claim to love facts and information and analyses. Some of my clients or projects have been in the Extraordinary Claims zone, and for that every datapoint has to be dissected with loving scalpels, and the more interesting the claim the more emails and phonecalls and trips to the library for the factchecking. And, thus/ especially, the more Endnotes.

I don't expect that you'd try to recreate From's nonexistent references, but I also wouldn't act as if people have avoided analyzing them. They're a null set. The answer is mu.

And, as noted, the Burden reference appears to state (unreferenced, though, as it isn't the subject of his analysis) that Nader's run did throw the election to Bush. The Burden and the From then seem to cancel each other out, as unreferenced claims go. But you have talked about the From article much more than the Burden, so the lack of references in From is of interest.

This thread has gone sharp and spiky, yes, but not because there's been bottles of wholly facts and charts filled with XY crosses holding back an angry horde of undead anger from the 2000 election.

i.e. it isn't the case that people's feelings about Nader have made them unwilling or unable to deal with the presented facts, because there haven't been facts, yet, for them to deal with. Null set, Mu, orthogonal to the love, unlove or indifferent to Nader for his politics or his life's work.

#249 ::: Matt Stevens ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 03:21 PM:

Jim, even if he is a "Republican dirty trick" (which is questionable but we'll let that slide), he's still a "dirty trick" who gets hundreds of thousands of left-wing votes. Nader shouldn't have to face any special obstacles to getting on the ballot. Submitting such efforts to extra scrutiny means, in effect, denying his idiotic, ultra-leftist supporters their democratic rights. I just don't think that's right.

#250 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 03:31 PM:

jh woodyatt & Greg London:

go ahead: absolve everybody in the Democratic Party from your recriminations for the catastrophe of George Bush. It was all the fault of us Nader 2000 voters. Everything else that happened before, during and after to 2000 Presidential campaign was absolutely perfect. No Democrat can seriously take the blame for what happened. Why, if it hadn't been for us meddling kids, you'd be kings of the universes.

- o0o -

While Naderites are willing to find blame with Democrats, Republicans, the press, the corporate industry, and little old ladies who voted for Perot, those same Naderites are COMPLETELY UNWILLING to admit any wrongdoing on the part of Nader, and turn ANY accusation against Nader into some sort of blanket statement that somehow blames Nader for EVERYTHING.

- o0o -

Oh, for fuck's bleeding sake, guys, if we get any more straw men between the two of you we're going to start a Wizard of Oz chorus line. Really. It's like a cartoon except it's not very funny.

There's blame and to spare going around. There are also good intentions on all sides - neither of you wanted Bush to win; your stated voting records show it. Could you maybe remember that, and instead of raking over the past, look to how to move forward to a better nation?

Because let me tell you, this is not the way to go about it.

#251 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 04:32 PM:

Matt, would you be comfortable with exposing Nader as a stealth Republican candidate -- showing where he's getting his money, publicizing statements that make his actual position clear, getting some genuine coverage in the alternative media (where the people who might vote for him are most likely to see it)? If not, what would you suggest as a legitimate countermove to the Republicans funding Nader as an attempted spoiler?

What I think I'm hearing here is a reiteration of an argument I've seen in the pages of Hercule Poirot stories. Hastings is always deeply offended when Poirot does things like eavesdropping at keyholes, which are outside the bounds of accepted British upperclass behavior; he says it's "not playing the game". To which Poirot responds that this isn't a game, and that the object is to prevent a crime.

If we refuse to employ the tactics which are legitimately* available to us to block dirty tricks because those tactics have sometimes been abused by the other side, while the other side has no hesitation about using any means legitimate or otherwise, we might as well just roll over and spread right now and save ourselves the trouble of going thru a kangaroo election.

* Note: I specify "legitimately" here to prevent claims that I'm making the "ticking time bomb" torture argument. Torture is NOT a legitimate tactic under any circumstances; a more accurate comparison would be to ask whether we should abolish all police forces because some of them are corrupt.

#252 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 05:48 PM:

I'm unable to view the text of Burden's study of Nader's 2000 campaign that Will Shetterly links to up-thread. But in reading the study's abstract, it seems Burden's analysis focused merely on motive -- were Nader's actions in 2000 driven by a desire to be a spoiler for Gore's campaign, or by a desire to garner 5 percent of the vote for the Green Party, which would have opened access to federal matching funds? Burden's analysis suggests the latter occurred. Yet, assuming his analysis is correct, it's still entirely possible that Nader's actions had the effect of being a spoiler irrespective of his intention. Which, as numerous commenters have already pointed out, is one of the hazards of third parties in our system of government....

#253 ::: Matt Stevens ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 06:19 PM:

Gee Lee, I wouldn't say all options have been exhausted here. The best option, naturally, would be to convince those radical leftists to vote Democratic. Hiring legions of lawyers to throw their favored candidate off the ballot may interfere with that effort, however.

#254 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 06:44 PM:

Mike Hersh may have caught the flaw in Al From's claim that Nader helped Gore. Hersh has a link to the exit poll that From probably referred to and makes a strong argument that Nader did hurt Gore.

If Hersh is right, From is wrong for a reason so simple that it surprises me: Though he is the eminence grise behind Al Gore, John Kerry, and both Clintons, he can't read a poll.

Anyway, if anyone wants to test Hersh's math and factor in all the third candidates, he provides a number of useful links. I'm going to go put something on my blog pointing out the weakness of From's claim.

Richard and Kathryn, I still haven't found anything suggesting a weakness in Burden's work, but you can check the text for free here.

#255 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 07:29 PM:

Will, for whatever reason, my browsers aren't allowing me to read Burden's text that you link to. The abstract that you link to in post #6, however, suggests the Burden study might have little relevance with regard to answering the question of whether Nader actually was a spoiler to Gore's campaign. The first sentence of your post #254, BTW, certainly indicates he may have had just such an effect, irrespective of the motive that Burden attributes to him.

Apologies if all answers are indeed revealed in the text of the Burden study that I can't read....

#256 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 07:35 PM:

Richard, I think Burden was only addressing the question of whether Nader intended to be a spoiler, which is at the heart of whether Nader campaigned to hurt Gore or was only foolish enough to try to win ballot status in order to build a third party in the Duopoly.

I just tested the scribd link for the Burden paper. It works in Firefox. I would skim the paper again to try to answer that for you, but, well, I've refuted myself once today. Let someone else refute me on the other point, darn it!

*g*

#257 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 08:39 PM:

jh@241: Every time ... you've bullied me into apologizing for my vote in 2000 for the man, demanding my denouncement of all his activities past and current, and hounding me to beg for forgiveness for my crime.

Speaking of drama, it wasn't a battered-spouse analogy, it was a cheating-spouse analogy.

Seriously though, I don't recall the past conversations. I just know that in this thread, I said Nader gave Bush the election in 2000, and I also said that Gore wasn't an angel of a candidate (#179), and you reinterpret that as saying

"No Democrat can seriously take the blame for what happened"

I can't keep track of all the conversations from the past. This one sent up a simple red flag: I blamed Nader for a specific action, you turn it into an accusation of complete fault. That's not how relationships develop, there's got to be some basic acknowledgement of what happened in the past, on both sides.

And if by chance, there is a thread on Making Light another four years from now about some great third-party candidate who's going to take votes from the Democratic candidate, a simple "yeah, voting for Nader in 2000 wasn't such a good idea" would suffice.

I apologize for my vote for Nader in 2000.

Yeah, like that.

Cause if in 2012, I say something like "Voting for Nader in 2000 wasn't a good idea", and you twist that into something like I'm saying "No Democrat can seriously take the blame for what happened", then I'll probably try to sort it out. Probably not remembering this specific conversation.

In retrospect, it was a really bad mistake.

And I apologize for the fact that the US has an Electoral College that makes most votes irrelevant in non-battleground states. I apologize
for the fact that the US has a simple majority-vote-wins system whereby voting for a third party must, by design, take votes from one of the two most-likely-to-win candidates. I apologize for the fact that the US has campaign finance laws that would make the Feudal system proud. I even apologize for the fact that the only candidates the Democratic Party machine could come up with lately are the likes of Al Gore, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton. And most importantly, I apologize for knowing all these things that are wrong with the system and not doing enough to change it for the better. There's a lot more passion in the Nader group to fix these problems than I've got. But I'm willing to learn it (or, at the very least work with it the way Eoyore works with Tigger) as long as it means we don't sacrifice a presidential election today in an attempt to fix a broken system some time down the road.

(bats eyes demurely)

Now... take me, you big lug.

#258 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 09:10 PM:

Matt@237: when Republicans do this sort of thing in the name of "fighting fraud" we condemn it as voter suppression, as we should. There are two sides of democratic elections -- they should be competitive as well as participatory -- and efforts to keep legitimate politicians off the ballot are unethical and undemocratic, just like efforts to keep voters from the polls.

This confuses me, because as far as I can tell, the folks who actually voted for Nader, and the folks who would work within the system to actively keep him off the ballot, are using the exact same argument.

i.e. The presidential election process is a flawed system that can be abused by (1) to cause bad candidates (2) to be elected, which causes harm to this nation. By working within the election process (3), we (4) can use the system to prevent (1) from allowing bad candidates (2) to be elected, and help ensure that good candidates get into office (5).


Nader folks fill in the blanks like this:
(1) bi-party corporatists tweedledee/tweedledum candidates
(2) (same as 1)
(3) using as little as 2% of the votes to completely upset the election in battleground states
(4) Nader voters, third party voters
(5) third-party-modified democrats, by forcing them to realign themselves to include our viewpoints.

Democrats fill in the blanks like this:
(1) Third party candidates
(2) Bush Jr.
(3) Keeping 3rd party candidates off the ballot
(4) Democrats
(5) Democrats

The thing is either both arguments are sound or both are not. You can't say it works when you assign names one way, but then say it is unfair when you reassign the names another way. What matters is what people do, not who does it.

If Nader and his supporters can justify workign within the system to achieve what they think will be an improvement for the country (splitting the vote in battleground states and helping George Bush into office), then why the hell can't Democrats justify working within the system to achieve what they think will improve the country (Keeping the likes of George Bush out of office)???

Folks say trying to stop Nader would be "undemocratic", as if Nader is working inside a flawed democracy, so using third party leverage to amplify a 2% vote into changing the outcome of who becomes president of the United States is OK, because Nader lives in a flawed democracy. But then somehow Democrats are working in some sort of perfect democracy where no one (like Nader) can possibly abuse the system and any effort to keep anyone off the ballot must be morally wrong.

Fark that.

What's good for the goose, is good for the gander. Nader want's to game a flawed system to take a 2% vote and stick his foot into preidential politics, even if it means f*cking with this nation for 8 years? Then, by god, using flaws in the system to keep the asshole OFF the ballot is fair game too.

It's the same argument. So either it's wrong for both, or it's valid for both.

#259 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 09:12 PM:

Someone on the LA Times real-estate blog wrote that they'd vote for Rowlf because of the current mortgage crunch. I am tempted, really tempted, to go back over there and post that a vote for Rowlf is a vote for the GOP. (Most of the comments are more like: don't bail out anyone, because they're all subprime borrowers and shouldn't have been buying houses anyway and they deserve bankruptcy and foreclosure.)

#260 ::: PK Martin ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 09:13 PM:

Will @ 6, 214, Richard @ 255, and elsewhere

First-time poster and entering the conversation with some trepidation.

Here's the first paragraph from Burden's paper, discussing Nader's effect on the election (minor ellipsis):

"Ralph Nader stands as perhaps the most consequential minor-party presidential candidate in nearly a century. His meager 2.7% of the popular vote is not among the largest third-party showings by a long shot, but he nonetheless played a pivotal role in determining who would become president following the 2000 election.... Though the media in the aftermath focused on ballot design and other administrative issues, it is now clear that Nader held the election in his hands. His absence from the campaign would have allowed Gore to win not only the popular vote but the Electoral College and the presidency (Burden, 2003; Collett & Hansen, 2002; Magee, 2003).... Nader's presence obviously had the effect of throwing the election to Bush; whether this was Nader's intention is a matter I hope to resolve." [emphasis mine]

Burden, citing other academic papers in support, says Nader's candidacy threw the election to Bush. This contradicts From's claim. Reading Burden's study it looks like he uses Nader's travel schedule and campaign advertising as proxies for Nader's intentions; from this he concludes the Nader campaign pursued a vote-maximizing strategy, i.e., to get 5 percent of the vote.

It’s a neat piece of work, but whether it reveals Nader's intentions depends on how closely the proxy variables track the variable we’re really interested in--Nader’s motivation in running. We're not told who in his campaign decided where the advertising dollars were spent or how many stops Nader made in what places: it may have been Nader or it may have been the people financing and running his campaign. They may have had different goals. Without this information it's difficult to know what conclusions we can draw about Nader himself.

So did Nader's candidacy throw the election to Bush--probably yes. Did he care if he did--probably no. Did he intend to--maybe.

PS: Richard Anderson--if you need the paper I can send it to you.

#261 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 09:28 PM:

Lee #251: I can't see how anyone could oppose honest reporting about Nader. That seems to me to be worlds away from gaming the system to keep him off the ballot. If voters want to vote for him, deciding that they're fools who should be kept from that bad choice is really hard for me to justify.

Suppose it turns out that, because of some paperwork snafu and a determined Republican effort, Obama's name is kept off the ballot in half a dozen states[1] in the 2008 election. Assume this is entirely done within the law. Would that feel to you like it was an okay thing for the Republicans to do? I'd see that as a completely evil, unethical thing done by slimeballs looking for a way to game the system to subvert the will of the voters. So, when Jim seems to be talking about doing the same thing to Nader, it's hard to see that as an ethical, good, right thing to do. System gaming to deprive voters of choices seems just as wrong when done by the good guys as when done by the bad guys.

[1] I'm assuming he will be the nominee.

#262 ::: Ewan ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 09:41 PM:

Lee, #170: thanks. That much I can/will do, although here in CT it'll not matter much. (I was surprised, I confess, to see the Dem result here, but if nothing else the Lieberman debacle has energised a progressive base!).

#263 ::: Matt Stevens ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 10:03 PM:

Greg, that elaborate sophistry doesn't survive scrutiny. The problem is the term "the system," which as far as I can tell just means "legal means." But not all legal actions are ethical, or visa versa.

Besides, you seem to have missed my point that I don't like Nader and have no intention of defending his actions. Nevertheless he shouldn't face discrimination when seeking ballot access.

#264 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 10:36 PM:

"...and you reinterpret that as saying..."

Clearly, I should have enclosed that paragraph in blinking <sarcasm> tags.

#265 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 11:06 PM:

Matt, what exactly does it mean when you say it's "undemocratic" to stop Nader from hijacking another democratic election? I'm really curious.

not all legal actions are ethical, or visa versa.

That applies to Nader as much as anyone else. The problem is that when you talk of Nader you use "democratic" to mean "legal" (he followed the rules, so it was "democratic"), but when you talk about people using the law to stop Nader, what they do may be "legal", but you say it's "unethical" and "undemocratic" (they may be following the rules, but it isnt nice). You're playing word games, using different definitions for different players.

And you call me a sophist?

Nader's actions in 2000 may have been legal, but they sure as hell weren't democratic or ethical. As much as Nader complains about all the failings of the two-party system not producing a democratic election, that asshole has done more damage than if a tyrant had invaded and installed Bush as emporer.

And you want to call that "democratic" and opposing that from happening again is "undemocratic" and "unethical"? I think you need to throw out whatever you're using for a dictionary and start looking at the world for a while. Words without any stationary connection to reality is where sophistry thrives. There was nothing democratic that happened in florida in 2000. I don't care what your definition says. Maybe it was "legal" (Nader's part at least. Bush? no), but it sure as fark wasn't democratic.

#266 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 11:24 PM:

Greg: that asshole has done more damage than if a tyrant had invaded and installed Bush as emporer.

"More"?

I don't entirely disagree with what you're saying, but I also don't entirely agree, and either way the you're-with-me-or-against-me tone (and no, I will not be able to point to a specific sentence where you said that, so don't ask) is coming across awfully unpleasantly.

#267 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 11:26 PM:

jh: Clearly, I should have enclosed that paragraph in blinking tags.

I'm not sure how anyone would correctly parse your statements as joking/sarcasm when will and others made similar statements in complete seriousness.

yeah, tags would be good.


#268 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 11:34 PM:

ethan: "More"?

Yeah, because some people still think Nader/2000 was a good thing and would still be a good thing in 2008. I don't think that would happen to the same degree if we were outright invaded.

Or maybe it would. Scratch out "more" if it bothers you too much.


#269 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2008, 11:54 PM:

Matt, #253: I think you may have read sarcasm into my post that wasn't intended. I am honestly asking you: given that we already know Nader is being funded by people who want a Republican victory in November, what would you consider a legitimate counter-move for that dirty trick? You say, "convince those radical leftists to vote Democratic"; how would you go about doing that, in a way that you're comfortable with?

Also, given that Nader has already announced his desire to enlist legions of lawyers working for free to get him ONTO the ballots, how is it any worse for us to look at hiring a few to keep them honest? I certainly wouldn't be happy with my favored candidate if he gamed the system to get his name onto ballots he shouldn't have been eligible for! That's just the Bush affair from a different angle, and it's naive to expect that someone who starts out crooked will straighten up and fly right as soon as he's gotten what he wants.

#270 ::: Matt Stevens ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 12:22 AM:

The problem is that when you talk of Nader you use "democratic" to mean "legal" (he followed the rules, so it was "democratic"), but when you talk about people using the law to stop Nader, what they do may be "legal", but you say it's "unethical" and "undemocratic" (they may be following the rules, but it isnt nice). You're playing word games, using different definitions for different players.

That's garbage, Greg. Efforts to reduce competition are undemocratic. Running for office when it's inconvenient for "our side" is not, necessarily, undemocratic. Is that so hard to understand?

I think you need to throw out whatever you're using for a dictionary and start looking at the world for a while.

Listen: I work for the Democratic Party in New York. I have a PhD in politics. I have a better idea of what political "reality" looks like than you do, and you can take your smug comments and shove them up your ass.

I don't like what happened in Florida, but that was because votes were not counted and the Republicans managed to stop them from being counted. Nader didn't make it undemocratic, he just helped the bad guys -- guys who really did use undemocratic methods -- win. That's not the same as being undemocratic. Think about it!

#271 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 12:38 AM:

James D. MacDonald @ 246: "The error lies in assuming that Nader is a candidate for president. He isn't. He's a Republican dirty trick."

And so we ought to counter their dirty tricks with dirty tricks of our own? I thought the goal was to be better than our opponents, not equally awful.

Lee @ 251: "Matt, would you be comfortable with exposing Nader as a stealth Republican candidate -- showing where he's getting his money, publicizing statements that make his actual position clear, getting some genuine coverage in the alternative media (where the people who might vote for him are most likely to see it)?"

I'm not Matt, but yes, that's exactly how I want to see Nader crushed: out in the open, in the light, where everyone can see. Not in some dark courtroom, through some arcane legal manuveurings that'll leave bitter Naderites crying foul for the next umpteen years. The best way to combat this Republican dirty trick is to expose it, so that each and every voter knows exactly what he represents. Publicize Nader's Republican money, show his campaign for the nasty trickery it is--educate the voters. Don't sit all on your lonesome and decide what's best for everyone else. Let them decide for themselves.

Greg London @ 258: "This confuses me, because as far as I can tell, the folks who actually voted for Nader, and the folks who would work within the system to actively keep him off the ballot, are using the exact same argument."

Well, yes. And it's a nasty, anti-democratic argument both times. It's appalling when they do it, and it's appalling when we do it. That's why it's awful to hear anyone advocating that we do it too. Be better than your enemies, goddammit.

#272 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 03:12 AM:

I am reminded, perhaps inappropriately, of arguments I've heard made that Boycotts Are Undemocratic. Because actively trying to convince your friends and acquaintances to refuse to buy a product, and encouraging them to write disapproving letters to the company and the company's advertisers, on the grounds of inethical behavior on the part of the company, is quashing the company's freedom of speech.

The argument apparently continues thusly: You're free not to buy the product, but once you start trying to get others to share your opinion and your action, you're guilty of some huge brainwashing attempt and you're an enemy of free speech.

That argument always leaves me baffled. Don't the consumers have free speech rights too?

I think I'd know for sure whether this is a parallel situation if I knew exactly what action was being called for to "keep Nader off the ballot."

When I first read Jim's post, I interpreted it as "don't support his candidacy and convince your friends not to support his candidacy; and support all efforts towards forcing Nader to play by the rules rather than cheating." Which I can see nothing wrong with.

As the thread developed, it seemed clear that those arguing against Jim think that Jim is advocating that us Dems exploit dirty tricks such as Nader has exploited, because if what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. But, Greg's use of the goose and gander adage notwithstanding, I am not actually seeing dirty tricks called for in his or Jim's rhetoric. Mainly what I'm hearing is that Jim and others are outraged at Nader's refusal to play fair, which outrage seems quite reasonable to me.

I guess the issue is that Nader's not playing fair, but he's playing legally. Thus if the Dems do unfair but legal things to oppose him, we're stooping to his level and should be ashamed of ourselves. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that. Hasn't the Dem's recent spate of losses been attributing to our candidates clinging to the moral high ground to the point of ineffectiveness? Haven't they actually been held to a higher moral standard than the Republicans over the past 8 years, such that strenuous disapproval and forceful from Dems is followed by the Republicans howling for an apology while Ann Coulter natters on about executing liberals as traitors in the background? It's enough to make me automatically suspicious the moment I hear anyone, Republican or Democrat or Independent, chide someone in the Democratic Party for "stooping to their level".

Right now, what I'd like to see are wide-spread TV advertisements broadcasting

A) that Nader's candidacy is greatly funded by the Republican party,

B) that Nader is actively trying to use lawyers rather than actual grass roots support to get on the ballot, and

C) Nader's spokesman's quote about "paid for 20,000 signatures" (which has a lot to do with why Jim wants to see Nader's signatures examined for legitimacy, right?).

Does that fall enough within the ideal of "convincing those Nader supporters to vote Democratic" to not qualify as "dirty trick"?

#273 ::: Russell ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 03:21 AM:

Wow.

I'm a member of the Green Party, and I'll likely vote Democrat this election*, but a good chunk of you (read: "Nader Haters") are making me do it with disgust. I don't want to be associated with you (read: reactionary hypocrites).

Suppressing the vote=wrong.
Blocking a candidate from the ballot=right.

Understand, I'm not a member of your party for a reason. Understand, I'm a Green for a reason. But, instead of extolling the virtues of your (Democrat) candidate, and trying to reach out to us (Greens), you viciously insult the guy we believe in. Great strategy. Oh, go ahead and tell me why voting for the candidate of my party caused all our problems, WHEN ALMOST EVERY JACKASS DEMOCRAT IN CONGRESS VOTED TO GIVE BUSH THE AUTHORITY TO GO TO WAR. I should blame YOU for voting Democrat every election, not just the presidential ones. Please, tell me again how it's all our fault, because I voted for the candidate in my party, which is my right to do. Put up a better candidate, and I'll vote for him/her... it's that simple. Barack Obama might be that man. You're off to a shitty start helping his cause, but ironically the fact that I think for myself will likely help you in the end. I'll ignore your ignorant jibes and vote Obama with gritted teeth.

Maybe, instead of bashing us, you'll try to find some way to reach out to the 2.9 million plus people of another party that aren't as enlightened as you. You know, those wise ol' Democrats, who voted for this war, pardoned Mark Rich, regularly straddled the fence on the environment, promised to "win" the Iraq war by increasing troops by 40,000 (Kerry), etc. etc.

But you won't, reach out to us that is. You'll come back with statistics, condescending remarks, and insults.


*Unless you nominate Hillary. Then I'm voting for Nader. But, maybe you'll find a way to disenfranchise me or remove my candidate from the ballot. You can always hope.

#274 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 04:22 AM:

Clarification: I am not so much claiming "No one's calling for dirty tricks against Nader! Yer crazy!" so much as admitting confusion: "What dirty tricks? Am I just misreading this whole thread?"

Whoo. And the typo ratio in the previous post says I need sleep before I next try to post. This post excepted, of course.

Sorry for the incoherency.

#275 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 08:57 AM:

Nicole #274: I took posts by Jim, Greg, and Lee, among others, as supporting rules-gamesmanship to keep Nader off the ballot. I think several other people did, too. Part of the reason for my visceral reaction to this is that rules-gamesmanship is one of the things most of us (including non-Democrats like me) have against the way the 2000 election was finally decided.

I'm not clear on how else I could parse Jim's comments, in particular. Keeping Nader off the ballot only makes sense as a strategy if pretty large numbers of people are likely to vote for him. (You could safely add my name to every ballot in the nation, without altering the totals.) The strategy only makes sense if your goal is to deprive people of their vote, or at least to make it more difficult to vote as they prefer, in pretty large numbers. This helps your favored candidate.

Now, when I am trying to understand the morality of an issue in which I'm not neutral, I usually resort to the mirror method--I try to imagine parallel situations with the good guys and bad guys reversed. For example, would it have been a good thing in 2000 if the Democrats had controlled the partisan election-oversight offices and the Supreme Court, and had gamed the counting rules to make Gore the winner, despite a Bush win in the popular vote? While Gore would very likely have been a better president (not a high bar!), this would have been just as wrong as what actually happened. If the Republicans find some way to keep Obama off the ballot in several states this year, I'll think that's wrong and evil. And if the Democrats do that to the Republican, I'll also think that's evil. If the Republicans get the Libertarians and Constitution Party taken off the ballot, use campaign finance laws to muzzle Pat Buchannan and the rest of the paleos, etc., I'll see that as in line with a long sequence of dirty tricks done by the Republicans to win by unethical means. Similarly, if the Democrats do the same to the Greens or Nader, that will look to me like a dirty trick intended to win by unethical means.

The Republicans have lost a lot of votes, and won the Democrats a lot of votes, by being overtly evil and unprincipled. They've convinced me to vote Democrat in all national elections since 9/11/01, and I'm not a Democrat. They've convinced a lot of conservative-leaning folks to stay home on election day. The Democrats being just as evil and unprincipled will lose them this group of voters.

Probably, this group isn't all that important. It might include me, but I'm weird enough to still be shocked that open admission that we widely use torture wasn't followed by the president being forced to resign, several dozen officials going to prison, and a massive housecleaning of the intelligence and defense agencies responsible. Or that the president overtly breaking the law on wiretapping didn't lead to anyone going to jail, and the only issue is whether the phone companies might be sued for complicity in it. But convince me that this is Iraq vs Iran (which gang of thus will win, and why do I care?) instead of Kuwait vs Iran (unappealing victims vs genuine thugs), and it will definitely affect my vote.

#276 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 09:16 AM:

Off topic.

#272, Nicole -
I am reminded, perhaps inappropriately, of arguments I've heard made that Boycotts Are Undemocratic. Because actively trying to convince your friends and acquaintances to refuse to buy a product, and encouraging them to write disapproving letters to the company and the company's advertisers, on the grounds of inethical behavior on the part of the company, is quashing the company's freedom of speech.

The argument apparently continues thusly: You're free not to buy the product, but once you start trying to get others to share your opinion and your action, you're guilty of some huge brainwashing attempt and you're an enemy of free speech.

That argument always leaves me baffled. Don't the consumers have free speech rights too?

You might be interested in one of Cory Doctorow's latest essays, which is on exactly that topic.

In Defense of Complaining

#277 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 09:34 AM:

I'm not clear on how else I could parse Jim's comments, in particular.

I had no problem parsing what he was saying: the Republican machine that will fund the Nader campaign in 2008 (just like it funded the Nader campaign in 2004) will cut every corner it possibly can to put him on the ballot, so it is incumbent on everyone who loves fair and democratic elections to subject that Republican machine to the utmost scrutiny to make sure they're actually following the law, which past experience has shown to be a very open question indeed.

It is not even a matter of Nader being a Green, because he isn't the Green candidate yet. He is a "draft candidate" who didn't throw his hat into the GPUS ring but had it thrown for him. The primaries are still going on and there's a nonzero chance that the Green candidate this year will, not to put too fine a point on it, be someone who is both not him and who actually wanted the job in the first place.

And yet he's announced his push to be on the ballot anyway. (Maybe some of those high-priced pro bono lawyers who will put him there will be on loan from Connecticut for Lieberman.) That's the sort of thing that turns my stomach. Nader is a walking, talking Swift Boat Veterans For Tru^WDemocracy, but even after his disruptive success in 2000 and fizzling failure in 2004, there's still one organized group who actually want him in the campaign for reasons that are "vote for someone" instead of "grease McCain's ascent to power". And he cared so much about them that they had to draft him.

That's why I took Jim's argument at face value, anyway. Nader says there's no difference between the two parties and they're both corrupt, but he's happy to take money from one of them and let them do whatever dirty tricks are necessary to give him the platform he craves. If Russell gets to vote Green and vote Nader in November (which is, again, still an open question), it won't be because Nader gave even one-tenth of a goddamn about the party. But then, why should he? They haven't helped him one-tenth as much as the GOP, lately.

#278 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 09:42 AM:

Anticorum #277: Okay, Nader's a b-stard, I'll take that as a given. Poring over his paperwork with upmost care to see if there's some way to get him off the ballot is good, but doing that to Obama would be evil, why? Because Obama is a better person, or a better candidate, or more likely to win, or has tried harder, or has been more honest about his motives? Why would any of those be relevant?

I *get* that Nader is not a force for good in the world, and got it long before his work bore such bitter fruit in Florida in 2000. I don't get how that makes it right to do something to him that would be evil if done to someone I liked.

#279 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 11:04 AM:

I'm very sorry to say this, but yesterday, I was wrong about being wrong. I just put this on my blog:

Because I believe in admitting my mistakes quickly and because I prefer to find them before anyone else does, yesterday I made a post that I've had to delete this morning. In it, I said Mike Hersh may have caught the flaw in Al From’s claim that Nader’s presence in the 2000 race helped Gore.

But I was wrong about being wrong. From MSNBC's Florida exit poll:

If these were the only two presidential candidates, who would you vote for?

47% Gore
49% Bush
2% Would not have voted

That's a simple fact. Hersh tried to sidestep it, but facts stay facts: Without third-party candidates in the race, Gore would have lost in Florida.

Gary Langer, director of polling at ABC News, points out the flaw in the spoiler argument in Spoilage? If you have any belief that Nader was a spoiler, read it.

Now, if you want to say the polls are wrong, remember that Florida became the big story at 8 p.m. as the Voter News Service -- a group pooling the resources of ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox and the AP -- called the state for Gore. The mainstream media quickly retracted that as the corrupt results of Jeb Bush's administration came in. But if you say the polls were wrong about the result without third party candidates, you're also saying they are wrong about Al Gore winning the popular vote in Florida.

And if you think that Nader is only trying to be a spoiler in 2008, note Nader throws support to Edwards. Nader didn't enter the race until after Edwards was forced out by the DLC.

I'm not planning to vote for Nader this year, but I hate seeing anyone being falsely slandered. Even though third-party politics are impossible in the US's two-party system, I respect anyone who says we need an alternative to the Biparty.

Yes, I'm trying to stop being obsessive about facts. But I'm still a member of the fact-based community. I simply want to stay part of the love-based community also.

#280 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 11:12 AM:

I just left a comment with a lot of links that was caught in Making Light's spam filter. I don't know how quickly it might be released, so here's the quick version. I was wrong yesterday about being wrong. See Al From was right about Nader, though wrong about the US.

#281 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 11:26 AM:

will @280:
Released.

Don't make me regret this, OK?

#282 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 11:30 AM:

I tried to make the post with several links here because I know people like to keep conversations where they began. So for those of you who don't want to follow the link I just left, here are the important parts:

Al From did read the MSNBC poll correctly.

Gary Langer, director of polling at ABC News, points out the flaw in the spoiler argument in Spoilage?

And for those of you who wonder about Nader's timing, remember that he gave his support to Edwards and did not enter the race himself until after the DLC had squeezed Edwards out of the competition.

As for why I care, given that I haven't supported Nader for eight years, it's perhaps a little silly, but it's this: truth matters. The desire of Democrats to blame Nader's voters without justification is understandable, but wrong. It may be that the need for scapegoats is simply part of the human psyche, but if so, it should be recognized in order to be avoided. Maybe we are more creatures of emotion than reason, but reason still matters.

#283 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 11:50 AM:

Abi, you're a sweetie! Don't worry; I'll watch my rhetoric, and I won't make any claims that aren't based on, um, other people's research.

And I kind of think I'm done with this discussion now. To the best of my knowledge, the pertinent information has been presented. People will decide for themselves what to believe.

#284 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 11:50 AM:

albatross @ 275: "Keeping Nader off the ballot only makes sense as a strategy if pretty large numbers of people are likely to vote for him. (You could safely add my name to every ballot in the nation, without altering the totals.) The strategy only makes sense if your goal is to deprive people of their vote, or at least to make it more difficult to vote as they prefer, in pretty large numbers."

I think you get this exactly right--keeping Nader off the ballot only makes sense if you're afraid that there will be large numbers of people who are too stupid/too ignorant/too pissed off at the main parties and will vote for him. To remove him from the ballot is to deliberately remove people's ability to choose freely in order to force them to vote the way to think they ought. It is undemocratic, in the purest sense of the term--if you are so sure your choice is best, then why not remove the Republicans from the ballot too? Then you can be sure everyone will make the proper (=your) choice.

I understand why there needs to be some restraints on who gets on the ballot, to keep everyone and their dog from piling on. But it needs to be an inclusive process, not an exclusive one.

#285 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 12:00 PM:

Would subjecting Obama/Clinton/Edwards/Dodd's campaigns to the sort of scrutiny people have said they want applied to Nader?

No.

It would be pointless. I don't think the support for any of them is manufactured. I don't think a close reading of every signature, every filing, etc. would be able to upset their run.

Is it a reasonable thing to do? No. It would be seen as anti-democratic.

Now comes the sticking point... what is seen as the motive of the campaign? Cui bono?

Contra Russell the Obscure Nader isn't the Candidate of the Greens, and hasn't (so far as I can see) been trying to be named as such.

I see nothing wrong in looking at a sudden, dark horse, candidate's sources of support, sources of funding and (esp. where there isn't an upswelling of support crying out for said candidate to fill it) motives at joinging the race.

Given the widespread perception of Nader's motives, his very act of running invites such scrutiny.

So no, I don't see (esp. given the things he has said about this campaign, and how he is running it) that subjecting him to close scrutiny is bad.

#286 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 12:00 PM:

Russell @ #273 & your other spam attack: Okay, you stopped by earlier to plug your own weak blog, in which you spew invective like Rush Limbaugh and upon which you called one of our own moderators a "blowhard." Now you've come again, to reiterate your points and to prove, by your own words, that you're not a Green, but a Naderite (all bow down to the one true and wise!) with a case of Clinton derangement. Like any good seagull, you've flown in, made your noise, and taken your shit. Now fly away.

will shetterly @ #279: Of course you weren't wrong. Apparently you believe Al From is one of the smartest people who ever used words, as you continue to take as a given that his writings are fact. That makes you slightly less gullible than the folks who believe "it must be true, because it was on TV/The Internet/'The 700 Club.'" You've ignored the statements of many others in this thread alone, not to mention others, pointing out the flaws in your argument as well as your simple lack of manners, veiling your loutishness with lame apologies and protestations of innocence. You've resorted to the most insulting of passive-aggression when people have pointed out the shakiness of your arguments, and even had the audacity to claim to be the victim.

I'm beginning to see more and more of your hero (Nader, not From) in your behavior here. You've beaten the dead horse repeatedly to make him get up. You've promised to quit beating him ("I'm bowing out now"), only to resume within minutes. Now, today, you're back with a rope, to drag him behind your car until he rises, to gallop again. This bears a remarkable parallel to the political behavior of your horse-faced hero. You know your arguments for Nader are unwelcome here, and for what reasons, and you know there are other venues where you might be able to make your arguments more effective, and certainly in a more welcoming atmosphere. But here you remain. Is your persistence meant, perhaps, to punish, like your hero has said his 2000 presidential race was? Your arguments certainly don't bear much more relevance to your claimed position than Nader's do during his political races. And, your false-tragic claims of wounded innocence and passive-aggressive attacks notwithstanding, your attention mongering is just like Nader's. You've made nearly 20% of the comments in this thread, and with your rhetoric, you've managed to make it all about you, just as, every leap year, Mr. Nader finds that he just can't stand to be out of the limelight, and jumps in to stir the pot and increase his face time.

Perhaps, to honor you and your fervid participation, someone will rename this thread after you. Speaking for myself, I don't give a damn what interpretation of Al From you can come up with--your points are insupportable.

#287 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 12:02 PM:

Fore me, it's not so much that Nader wants to be on the ballot, it's that he doesn't want to play by the rules: he wants lawyers to do the work for him, instead of filing as a candidate like everyone else, and he seems to want to be treated like a major candidate on his name alone, without any visible backing or anything else.
(I don't know how other states do it, but in CA it requires either a set amount of money, or signature petitions, to prove that you have some backing. What Nader is trying to do seems to be aimed at avoiding either one.)

#288 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 12:03 PM:

Will, sorry, but all Langer does is raise a set of hypotheticals. He does not conclusively refute Burden's statement that "Nader's presence obviously had the effect of throwing the election to Bush."

#289 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 12:22 PM:

Russell, if you still believe in that fcktrd, who never says anything about politics between elections, nor engages in any kind of activism (any more), nor runs for anything except President, then talking to you in ordinary terms is pretty useless. If you still believe he stands for ANY of the things he said he stood for in 2000, you're a fool. If after the 2004 election you can still believe he stands for anything at all except his own egoboo, you're a fool.

If instead you are, like him, a pseudo-liberal whose actual goal is to continue the domination of the right which is destroying this country, you're not a fool: you're a fcktrd, like him.

But while you're not a drive-by, I still believe you're a troll, not a fool or a fcktrd. A real Green would know that Nadir is not, and was not in 2004, the Green Party candidate.

If the Green Party wants my vote, they should put up a candidate who isn't a total fcktrd like Barf Nadir. And they should run candidates for local office, state legislature, the US House, the US Senate. I might actually vote for some of those.

But when you come here, of all places, and advocate the candidacy of a greedy, selfish, GOP-Funded jerk-and-a-half whom even the "Green, Partly" has rejected, I don't believe you're a Green, an idealistic fool, or even a crypto-Republican fcktrd: I believe you're a troll.

#290 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 12:32 PM:

LMB 286: Wow, I hadn't even looked at his pathetic blog.

Russel: Forget what I said in my last comment. FOAD. (That stands for words to the effect of "Go Jump In The Lake," in case you're too stupid to figure it out.)

#291 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 12:55 PM:

#286 ::: LMB MacAlister, I agree with you that Al From is irrelevant. I'm glad he's irrelevant, because now we can unite in our shared distaste for him and instead focus on the data he was using, the MSNBC poll.

#288 ::: Richard Anderson, yes, Langer only shows that the spoiler argument is not supported. That's why I only added him to the data base. The more important information continues to be the national polls and Burden's study. I'll try to break the questions down a little more simply:

1. Was Nader a spoiler?

The polls answer that in two ways: In Florida in a two-man race, Gore would have lost fairly by 2%, and therefore lost in the Electoral College. If you check the nation-wide answer to the same question here (which appears to be what From did), Gore would have lost by 1%.

2. Does Nader's campaign indicate that he wanted to be a spoiler?

Burden's conclusion: "“The spoiler thesis is apparently the result of journalists looking to sensationalize the campaign, Democrats looking for a scapegoat, or a simple misreading of the campaign record.”

#292 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 01:05 PM:

Another trollish pattern emerges: "I won't let anyone else have the last word. If I can just keep repeating the same already-refuted arguments until people get tired of refuting them yet again, then I win! Furthermore, letting me have the last word is an admission that I must be right!"

#293 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 01:08 PM:

Lee: And the counter to that is: stop responding to him. Do we really care if HE thinks he won?

#294 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 01:42 PM:

Not having a suitably chilling pun on hand (although I'm sure now that I've typed those words, puns will appear somehow, from someone, somewhere, such being the custom of the country) I shall turn instead to another custome of the country and link to xkcd, because it seems so painfully apropos.

Shall we give James Fallows the last word? He nails the coffin lid down so elegantly and gracefully.

(Why, yes, I am saying this brangle has grown tedious and annoying. No one is going to give in and admit the other side is quite possibly right, no matter what evidence, information, or arguments are offered.)

#295 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 01:53 PM:

Or what fidelio said. Yes. Quite exactly.

#296 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 02:12 PM:

Xopher, there was a reason I posted that cartoon on my blog!

As for my returning here, yesterday I came back with a link that suggested I was wrong earlier--that seemed like the honorable thing to do. Today I came back with new links that suggest I was wrong about being wrong yesterday. Out of respect for truth, that also seemed necessary. Even as late as 291, I provided new information for you to ignore. *g*

#297 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 02:27 PM:

[muttermuttermutter]
What fidelio and Xopher said.
[muttermuttermutter]

#298 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 02:32 PM:

Will, that thing you do? You're doing it again.

#299 ::: a lurker ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 02:41 PM:

Since Mr. Shetterly has pointed to a valid question about the MSNBC polling data, I'll delurk (anonymously) to give my rough analysis of why the 49%/48% numbers should be taken with a large grain of salt.

First, the data on that site is rounded, which is a pretty serious issue considering that the margin in the national election was less than half a percent. Also, there's no indication of sample size (and thus of the resulting sample error). And finally, given the propensity of pollsters to "correct" exit polling data to fit the general election, one has to be somewhat concerned that this correction might be correlated with some of the effects we're trying to understand.

That said, there are three contributions to the 49%/48% numbers in the table at MSNBC. I.e., what explains the shift (according to the poles) of 1-2% from the general to the two-way race?

(1) Those Nader voters who would have voted in a two-way race were more likely to vote for Gore. Because of rounding, it is difficult to tell magnitude from this table (so Hersh's numbers are bogus in that respect). But still, this is opposite in effect to the global numbers, so we now have more than 1-2 points to explain.

(2) Turnout: Some Gore or Bush voters would not have voted in a two-way race. Again, however, this effect is opposite to the main one, as more Bush voters would have sat out than Gore voters. (And this is a tiny effect, on the order of 0.1%)

(3) Finally, some Gore or Bush voters claimed on the exit polls that they would have voted for the opposite candidate in a two-way race. This being the only remaining effect, and the only one in the correct direction, this is the sole source of the shift. In the absence of a plausible mechanism, Occam's razor would seem to argue that this is pure error (people mishearing the question, deliberately falsifying their answers, what have you). Note also that for Nader not to have played spoiler, a significant portion of the proposed mechanism would have to be Nader's responsibility.

Other relevant issues: There weren't enough Browne or Buchanan votes to appear in this table, but presumably they also had an effect on the election, and it seems reasonable to guess that it's in the opposite direction. After all, the relevant comparison is between the race as is and the race without Nader, but otherwise the same.

In any event, Burden references three presumably peer-reviewed papers that purportedly establish that Nader "obviously" had the effect of throwing the election to Bush, which would seem to trump unscientific polling data. Regarding Burden, I'd also point out that while his paper seems to show (this is science; one experiment is never enough) that Nader was not trying to throw the election, he also wasn't trying not to. Thus on the general moral principle that one should try to mitigate the foreseeable negative effects of one's actions, he still bears some small share of culpability for Bush. (By which I mean the bad president that Bush was obviously going to be, not the unmitigated disaster that we actually got; I don't think it's fair to give Nader any share of the blame for the Iraq war, for instance)

#300 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 02:49 PM:

a 299: TLDR. Also, everyone is wayyy too tired of this discussion to respond to any points you may or may not have raised in this long post that I didn't read.

Folks, back me up here. By saying nothing further.

#301 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 02:50 PM:

Elise, sigh. It's true. And if I research this any further, tomorrow I may return with a link that shows I was wrong about being wrong about being wrong.

But I doubt it. I think all of us who are still here can turn out the lights and say together, "Someone is wrong on the internet somewhere else."

#302 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 02:59 PM:

will @238:
I'll watch my rhetoric, and I won't make any claims that aren't based on, um, other people's research.

The second half of that sentence fails the test set up in the first. Not a good start.

Everyone, including will:
I'm sorry. I regret not leaving that post in Limbo. The only reason I didn't is that if I'm going to disemvowel or delete I'll make it an active choice, not a failure to publish.

Getting close here.

So from this point, heresiarch's rule is in force. Who ever has the last word loses.

#303 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 03:16 PM:

Fair enough, abi. I'll lose now, 'cause I didn't mean the second part of the sentence to sound snarky or tweaking, though I see now why you read it that way. I was simply remembering your concern about my use of "facts", so I was trying to acknowledge that wryly. Alas, wryness is quickly lost when people have chosen sides. Another lesson for me.

Officially losing now, I trust.

#304 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 08:38 PM:

Xopher, yeah, sometimes drive-bys (drive-bies?) are like the postman, and ring twice. I loved that "I'm forced to write" line. What dramatic intensity.

#305 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 08:45 PM:

I apologize if I wander a bit astray of the direct topic and go more into a meta-Nader analysis. I don't think there was really much more that could be said in the thread where it was.

So, anyways, I kept wondering why certain things people were saying in support of Nader were making my brain go "Ooh, why does that sound so familiar?" Followed by a creaking of (rustle, rustle) and then a "Or snarkledoodles, I can't find a match."

Then it occurred to me what it is: People supporting Nader talk about him in nearly the same way that author's write narratives for their favorite Mary Sue character.

Ralph Nader is a Naderite's Mary Sue character!

For example, from a Naderite's narrative:

Nader lacks any notable flaws. In this entire thread, folks like will have not assigned a single fault to Nader for his actions in 2000 or since.

His contributions are tenuously or inadequately justified.

He undeservedly dominates the narrative.

We are told over and over how wonderful Nader is.

He is overly-idealized.

His superpower is the ability to hijack and hold hostage a presidential election, a power he doesn't rightly deserve with only 2% of the vote.

He is unfairly scapegoated and picked on by the main characters.

He has to sleep in a closet under the stairs and fight his bigger brothers for scraps of money at the campaign finance table.

Big Evil Car Companies killed lots of innocent people, but Nader stood up to them and stopped them. Although he did end up with a scar that looks like a lightning bolt. On his ass.

No, seriously, he showed it to me.

so, what I did is go over to this website and take the mary sue test. You just fill in the name "Ralph Nader" and then answer the questions from the point of view of someone who voted for Ralph in 2000 and still thinks it was a good thing.

The form is over here. You can play around with it if you like.

I pasted below the items that I checked as a "yes". The "no" items I left off. Score at the bottom. If I made a comment explaining why I checked the comment "yes", I enclosed it in square brackets on the line below the item.

--------------------------------

He is of my gender
[what is the demographic for Naderites, anyway?]

He and I share a sexual identity: straight, dom, trans, et cetera.

We share a religion, political platform, ethical stance, or strongly-held set of beliefs.
More than one set of beliefs.
All his beliefs echo mine.

I think everyone who reads this story will like and empathize with Ralph Nader.

When someone tells me they don't like him, it's hard for me not to take it as a personal attack.

Sometimes I pretend to myself that I am Ralph Nader.

I have fantasized about him showing up and besting someone who's just pissed me off, or I put people who piss me off into the story and let him beat up on them.
[oooh, those corporatists are SOOO gonna get it!]

Ralph Nader is notably witty, always ready with a sharp comeback or clever remark. Alternatively, he is fascinatingly stern and close-mouthed.
[Is "Tweedledee/Tweedledum" anything but the cleverest wit you ever heard?]


Ralph Nader considers himself the last of his clan, tribe, race, species, house, et cetera.
[Everyone else has sold out to the corporatists]

There are prophecies about Ralph Nader.
[2008, this time it will come true and balance will be restored to the Force]

Ralph Nader is a member of a despised race, social class, species, or similar group.
[He is SOOO the undeserving scapegoat of third party politicians.]

Ralph Nader is persecuted by an authority figure (parent, superior officer, et cetera) out of spite, jealousy, revenge, or general meanness.
For being right when the authority figure was wrong.


He has been accused (in a serious way, not simply by one person) of a crime he didn't commit.
[stealing the 2000 election. Nader is INNOCENT!]

Sometimes I switch viewpoints just so one of my characters can talk about how wonderful, brave, strong, and/or sexually attractive Ralph Nader is.
[I've spoken enough about Ralph Nader. Let's hear what Burden or From has to say about Nader.]

A character who disagrees with Ralph Nader ends up getting in trouble, being dreadfully injured, or dying horribly in a way that proves that Ralph Nader was right all along.
[Heck, they lose the presidential election]

Ralph Nader almost always wins ... verbal battles.
[In the eyes of Naderites, has he EVER been wrong? Never!]

Ralph Nader is/was kicked out of school or training for bucking the system, understanding something better than his instructors, having a new or radical theory, et cetera.
But he's proved right by later events.
[He's "kicked out" of the Democratic party waaay back when, then turns on them because they're corporatists]

Animals and children instinctively like Ralph Nader.
[Seatbelts. Everybody loves him for seatbelts.]

--------

The website then gave the following appraisal. My emphasis in bold. comments in brackets.

--------

Ralph Nader is suspiciously similar to you as you'd like to be. He is not at all cool; in fact, he thinks cool is a temperature reading, and when he says "Oh, I just put on whatever old thing's lying around," he means "on the floor, where I threw it last night - but I turned the underwear inside out first." [he does look a bit rumpled] He may have sometimes thought that he was special, or destined for greater things, but probably dismissed the idea as a fantasy. [and now he's taking that dismisall out on the rest of the world] He's come in for his share of hurt, but gotten off with minor damage. And you've been sparing with the free handouts: whatever he gains, he's worked for. [according to the Naderites]

You may have let yourself get a little too close to Ralph Nader. Maybe he's you as you wish you were, or maybe you're just afraid no one will like him and are trying to give him a free ride. Have some confidence in your writing! Ralph Nader is a good character. Give him room to be himself before you stifle him.


Score Breakdown
He's Got My Nose 22
He's The Anti-Cool 2
I'm Destined For What? 5
Can't Complain 8
Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child 12
Total: 49

----

Not sure how a 49 rates on the overall scale, but it was interesting to take the test.

Anyway, thought the thread could use a little humor.

;)

#306 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 09:09 PM:

Me, somewhere: I think you need to throw out whatever you're using for a dictionary and start looking at the world for a while.

Matt@270: Listen: I work for the Democratic Party in New York. I have a PhD in politics. I have a better idea of what political "reality" looks like than you do

I said look at "the world", Matt, not "political reality". What does democracy mean when a vocal 2% minority can hijack it? Is it just a fricken system to you? A bunch of rules to be followed? A "political reality"? Or do people, real flesh and blood people, enter into anywhere?

and you can take your smug comments and shove them up your ass.

Hm, a pro-democracy expert shouting down a dissenting opinion by invoking his PhD in politics.

"Rule by the people", meet "argument by authority", in three sentences or less.

Impressive.


#307 ::: Bob Rae, Liberal candidate in Toronto Centre ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 09:25 PM:

So from this point, heresiarch's rule is in force. Who ever has the last word loses.

[...

Well, it was worth a shot.

-Anticorium]

#308 ::: Russell ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 12:59 AM:

Obviously I wasn't expecting kind words in return. No mea culpas. Or "Gee, Russ, you have a point." A flame will only get fire in return... I get that. But, let me go through the post by Xopher and make a few points. Unlike Will, who took a more measured approach, I decided to match invective with invective. Why? Because many of you didn't want to wax thoughtfully on the subject. Some of you did. I may not agree with everything Kayjayoh and Mike Bailey said, but nearly so. My rant was directed at the reactionary hypocritical Nader Haters like Xopher, and the dear ol' moderator, who started the whole thing off with the extraordinarily juvenile lead, "Why Does Nader Hate America?" Juvenile in content, and stupid in strategy. Do you want to ensure that people, who for whatever reason feel strongly that the Democratic Party is failing miserably, vote for Nader? If so, good start. (However, just to be clear, AGAIN, I plan to vote for Obama despite people like Xopher, who is the blue sheep to the republican red on the other side of the fence.)
--------------------------------
Russell, if you still believe in that fcktrd, who never says anything about politics between elections, nor engages in any kind of activism (any more), nor runs for anything except President, then talking to you in ordinary terms is pretty useless.
[HERE XOPHER TRIES TO RATIONALIZE CALLING ME A FCKTRD WITH THE PREMISE: "YOU NO AGREE WITH ME, YOU FCKTRD!" THIS WILL ALLOW HIM TO SPEW INSULTS FREELY WITH NO LOGIC BEHIND THEM. WHY DOES NADER APPEAR TO ONLY SHOW UP AROUND ELECTION TIME? BECAUSE THE MEDIA DOES NOT GIVE ANY PLAY TO THE "FRINGE" CANDIDATES DURING ANY OTHER TIME. IT'S HIS RIGHT TO DO SO, AND IT PUTS THE TWO-PARTY SYSTEM UNDER THE STRONGEST SPOTLIGHT. DEAL WITH IT AND NOMINATE A BETTER CANDIDATE.]
If you still believe he stands for ANY of the things he said he stood for in 2000, you're a fool. If after the 2004 election you can still believe he stands for anything at all except his own egoboo, you're a fool.
[UH, WAS A POINT MADE HERE?]

If instead you are, like him, a pseudo-liberal whose actual goal is to continue the domination of the right which is destroying this country, you're not a fool: you're a fcktrd, like him.
[AGAIN, MAKE SOME KIND OF ARGUMENT XOPHER. SOMETHING.]

But while you're not a drive-by, I still believe you're a troll, not a fool or a fcktrd. A real Green would know that Nadir is not, and was not in 2004, the Green Party candidate.
[FIRST, I NEVER SAID NADER RAN AS A GREEN IN 2004, BUT IT DOESN'T MATTER. THIS IS SUCH A TYPICAL PLOY: AN ENTIRE ARGUMENT IS BOGUS IF YOU FIND ONE IMPRECISION/TYPO/WHATEVER IN SOMEONE'S POST. THAT'S A GREAT LIMBAUGH/SAVAGE TRICK.]
If the Green Party wants my vote, they should put up a candidate who isn't a total fcktrd like Barf Nadir. And they should run candidates for local office, state legislature, the US House, the US Senate. I might actually vote for some of those.
[UH, GEE, XOPHER, WE UH, DO RUN CANDIDATES FOR OTHER OFFICES. AND I VOTE FOR THEM. I WOULD SUGGEST THAT YOUR IGNORANCE ON THIS MATTER QUALIFIES YOU AS A FCKTRD, BUT THAT'S YOUR GAME. BUT JUST TO BE CLEAR, GREENS RUN FOR EVERY KIND OF OFFICE, INCLUDING SCHOOL BOARD, AND I OFTEN VOTE FOR THEM, BUT NOT ALWAYS.
But when you come here, of all places, and advocate the candidacy of a greedy, selfish, GOP-Funded jerk-and-a-half whom even the "Green, Partly" has rejected, I don't believe you're a Green, an idealistic fool, or even a crypto-Republican fcktrd: I believe you're a troll.
[WHAT'S THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN A TROLL AND A FCKTRD? DOESN'T MATTER. YOU SAID NEARLY NOTHING IN THIS ENTIRE POST AND PROVED MY POINT BEYOND ANYTHING I COULD SAY.]
--------------------------
I didn't read every response, but what was notably missing in the ones I did, was any kind of response to the fact that 29 Democratic senators voted to give Bush the authority to go to war. That includes Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. There's no rhetoric to defend this; many of you voted for these Democrats, and I'm willing to bet many of you consider the war one of the worst parts of Bush's legacy, which you so desperately try to pin on Nader. I won't call anyone a fcktrd for voting for these people, but I will say you're really clueless if you don't understand why I'm not a Democrat, and don't support the party.

p.s. LMD MACALLISTER - Gee. I spew invective like Rush Limbaugh eh? I have a quote for you:

"Bin Laden hates America. Democrats hate America. They want us to be Euroweenies. I think maybe the Democrats are the enemy."

That's an ignorant Rush Limbaugh fan posting on another forum. Remind you of anything... say, I don't know: the title of this thread? PLEASE come back and defend yourself on this. I'd love to hear it. I'm sure it will be full of seagull and turd references.

Thought I'd drop that shit while flying out of here. Hate on Dems... maybe your party will find a way to lose another slam-dunk election and blame it on a guy who was less of a factor in Florida by twofold than the Democrats who turned on their own candidate. (But just to be clear, I think it will be a slaughter. Nader will not get a lot of votes this time, raise some awareness, and Obama will crush McCain like no other. You'll be overjoyed in the end, and self-righteously congratulate yourselves on "getting the word out" on Nader, even though the real difference was just having a much better candidate in Obama.)

One more thing...
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ucru/20080227/cm_ucru/hopeyoucantvotefor

#309 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 02:28 AM:

Wow. I think we have a loser.

Greg was a strong contender with his "feed an oversimplification of your opponent into an insult generator and call it funny to mute complaints" approach.

But Russell came back mightily with his impressive text wall. It's got everything: all-caps shouting, ad hominem, even a nice juicy "haven't read everything, answering anyway." Sometimes there's no school like the old school.

Game, set and match. The cup has been awarded.

#310 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 02:39 AM:

No spam. No spam. Sorry.

#311 ::: Russell ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 02:53 AM:

Haha. Abi awards me title of loser based on my use of all-caps, the length of MY post, and... oh, I didn't read every single word of the scattered responses (sorry I didn't make it through Greg London's stream-of-consciousness 5,142 character, 177-lined, bizarre, yet at least interesting rant). I'm sure mine has significant characters too, and I'm okay that some people will choose not to read all the way through, or any of it.

ALL CAPS. Did you break out the 1995 World Wide Web etiquette booklet you have next to your IBM tower PC? I used ALL CAPS to make a clear and easy distinction between my comments and Xopher's. I knew someone would chew on that. LAME.

How 'bout this Abi. Come back with some kind of real argument against what I said. Then, and if it's solid, grant yourself the right to declare a LOSER. (oh gee golly, sorry for shouting).

#312 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 03:21 AM:

Even an acceptance speech, playing on the good old "I'm outta here! Wait! No I'm not!" lede. I am impressed.

#313 ::: Russell ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 03:41 AM:

I'm no Will Abi. You misinterpreted that line about "flying out of here"... it was meant more that I was done with that particular post, and was a joke about the seagull reference (but, I concede the point that it sure sounded like a "drop the mic I'm out beeyatches" comment).

Sorry, but I'm not tired yet, although a few more rounds of fcktrd and seagull shit might do the trick. (I'm awaiting mass fcktrd posts as a way to try and wedge me out, despite the fact I'm doing nothing different than anyone else, but just with the opposing viewpoint).

I thought your comment was funny, but it was critiquing style over content. Who gives a fuck if I used all caps? Howard Dean shouted, and the media destroyed him. I like that dude.

The article I posted at the end of my earlier post sums up what I believe. Give it a read.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ucru/20080227/cm_ucru/hopeyoucantvotefor

#314 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 03:41 AM:

Russell: If you're going to play the game, it helps to read the rules.

#315 ::: Russell ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 03:54 AM:

Terry,

You have a point, but I directly found this page via a Google search, and read the headline "Why Does Nader Hate America?" It went on from there. I saw something about posts being flagged for having seven URLs or something, but obviously missed the formatting standards. Frankly, I'm not big on rules like that, but will respect them once I know about them.

Don't use ALL CAPS but fcktrd is okay, as long as you're insulting a "Naderite."

Just a joke Terry... I will abide.

#316 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 03:58 AM:

Come on, abi, you've got to admit that will shetterley is still clearly the leader in the "Just let me say this one last thing before leaving" sub-competition.

#317 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 05:52 AM:

OK Russell, I can see that you're not really with the program. Let me explain.

No, it's complicated. Let me summarise.

This is a long-standing community; people here have known one another for years. Some of us have never met in person, but that's pretty well irrelevant. Like many communities, we have our own norms and standards (for instance, using HTML tags to demarcate quoted text; all caps reads as shouting). We are aware that they take time to assimilate, but that doesn't mean that we're going to change them because someone thinks they're too 20th century for him.

One of the things that we value here is good conversation. Sometimes we get into arguments, of course, like any community. Sometimes people post when they're angry, but that should not be taken as the baseline for acceptible behavior.

In order to facilitate good conversation, we have moderators. I am one. Moderation here focuses not just on what is said but on how it is said, because in our experience, tone affects subsequent content. You'll notice, for instance, that I have no substantive posts in this thread. All of my comments here have been about the way people have been arguing, trying to find a way that the exchange of views can go as well as possible (which, in this matter, comes out to not very well, but that's another story). IOW, I don't give a rat's ass what side you take as long as you behave yourself while taking it.

Personally, I think the substance of this thread is now dead; everyone is arguing past each other rather than listening. That's why I invoked the "last word loses" rule, a challenge to which you have risen magnificently (all caps was the least of it). The thread will stay here, so anyone who is interested can follow all of the links and make up their own minds.

If you feel that you'd like to stay around and discuss other matters, can I suggest that you spend a little time lurking to get the feel of the community? Alternatively, you could join one of our less heated threads, such as the one on edible books, or the one on cold weather drinks, or pop by the current open thread and see what's being discussed there. Do you like puns, or poetry? What sorts of books do you read? In other words, we're interested in commenters as people, rather than just in their comments. That includes you.

If you're looking for a no holds barred argument, though, go elsewhere.

#318 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 06:04 AM:

heresiarch @317:

I've said everything I'm going to say about will's postings here to the man himself.

#319 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 09:16 AM:

"Lemme 'splain... no, there is too much. Let me sum up."

Have you considered a career in piracy?

#320 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 09:25 AM:

Well, there's not a lot of money in revenge...

#321 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 11:06 AM:

Gee, thanks, guys. I'm now picturing abi in a flaming holocaust cloak, intoning "I am the dwead piwate Wobewts! Thewe will be no suwvivows!"

Will I be the new loser if I carefully explain the difference between a troll and a fcktrd, and why I think (or possibly thought, I'm now unsure of my judgement*) that he's the one and not the other?

I suppose so. Oh well. I won't.


*Just to clarify, I'm now uncertain whether he's a troll. I remain convinced that he is not a crypto-Republican fcktrd, and it will take more than one long shouting (because he didn't know the standards of our community, and actually my mother does that too) flame—and a flameback at that, since I lashed out first—to convince me otherwise.

#322 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 02:22 PM:

I know, I know: this thread has run its course.

But...

I just heard on NPR that Nader has chosen a running mate: Matt Gonzalez, who formerly had served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. When I lived there back in the nineties, Matt, a Green Party member at that time, was very much the darling of progressives, and my impression was that he had also earned the respect of others who might not have shared his perspectives. I haven't followed his career since I moved away in 1999, but given his creds, he might give Nader's campaign the juice it needs to be taken seriously by voters unhappy with the Democratic party. There's a Wikipedia listing for him, BTW.

#323 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 08:38 PM:

Xopher @ #322: Heck, at least he got your name right. Of course, yours is shorter, and has a neat abbreviation.

#324 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 08:55 PM:

Seen at Kos this morning ('Cheers and Jeers'):
"Yesterday, Ralph Nader announced he's running for president again. Immediately after the announcement, the guy sitting next to Nader on the park bench told him to shut up."
---Conan O'Brien

That's what Nader means to me.

#325 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2008, 09:11 PM:

If anyone's interested, I've done a transcription of Nader's interview on CBC Radio.

Some of his assertions seem a bit off.

#326 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 29, 2008, 12:09 AM:

Joel, thanks for the transcript.

As usual, just enough of what he says is decent, true stuff that no one else is saying that it frustrates the hell out of me even more that everything else he says and does is such nonsense. Like this: Washington shut down about twenty years ago, when both parties rolled over to big business, in a big way, and now we can’t get anything done, which is very true except that, judging by "twenty years", I'm pretty sure he thinks it's still 2000.

#327 ::: F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre ::: (view all by) ::: February 29, 2008, 02:30 AM:

I've despised Nader for more than 30 years. However, he has as much right as any other US citizen to campaign for the Presidency. (I shan't go into speculating as to why Yanks 'run' for political office while we Brits 'stand' for political office.) If Nader has the backing to receive a party nomination -- however obscure -- and to mount a campaign -- however miniscule -- then, more power to him.

As to Nader being a 'spoiler' who allegedly bleeds votes away from Democrats and thereby gets Republicans elected: funny, but I don't recall anyone complaining when Ross Perot was the 'spoiler' who bled votes away from incumbent GHW Bush and facilitated the election of Slick Willie Clinton.

#328 ::: F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre ::: (view all by) ::: February 29, 2008, 02:38 AM:

OO-er! I know perfectly well the proper spelling of 'minuscule', but somehow in my previous post it came out 'miniscule'. Defective spell-check, perchance? If it's my own error, it's down to a typing mistake rather than faulty knowledge.

#329 ::: sherrold ::: (view all by) ::: February 29, 2008, 04:28 PM:

I know I've posted about this before, but Instant Runoff Voting (also known as IRV, FairVote, and Australian Rules) is the answer to Nader, and to many of the other ills that afflict our current electoral process. (And of course, in this crowd, it's best known as the Hugo voting process.)

If you're a delegate for Hillary or Obama (can you tell I'm from a caucus state), take a resolution about IRV to your Legislative District Caucus. If you're active in your local or country politics, consider getting it on the ballet. (And in general, if Obama wins the nomination, consider putting all sorts of cool liberal stuff on the ballot in Nov -- if he's half as good at getting kids and liberals to show up in the general as he's been in the primaries, there's a lot of stuff we could finally get passed -- transit packages, medical marijuana, and IRV are just the beginning.

If we'd had IRV in 2000, people could have voted for Nader as their first place and Gore as their second, and the last 8 years would just have been a rather horrible au.

http://www.instantrunoff.com/ is a pretty good site to find out more.

#330 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 29, 2008, 04:58 PM:

F. 328: Perot was an avowed moderate who threw the campaign to a (somewhat more left) moderate. Nadir (and yes, I know how to spell it) is an avowed liberal who threw the campaign to a right-wing wacko. And fully intended to do so, which is why we doubt his sincerity and/or his sanity.

sherrold 330: If you're active in your local or country politics, consider getting it on the ballet.

Talking about music is like dancing about politics?

...the last 8 years would just have been a rather horrible au.

OK, I really don't know what you mean here. What's an au?

#331 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 29, 2008, 04:59 PM:

Oh, and: I think Perot really thought he might win. Which was crazy, but then he was kind of a nut. No one really believes Nadir thought he might win.

#332 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 29, 2008, 05:43 PM:

Xopher @ 331: I believe au refers to "alternate universe".

The interesting thing about this particular combination of letters is that it can mean so many things. To my father the (retired) professor of economics, it means "and under", as in "10 and under". To my mother the (former) physical chemist, it means "astronomical unit". To my partner, it means her alma mater, American University. To me, it means either gold or "both ears". To our son, it doesn't mean much right now.

;-)

#333 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: February 29, 2008, 06:56 PM:

Xopher@331

The other thing is that Perot DIDN'T throw the 1992 election to Clinton. Basically he took some votes from Clinton and some votes from Bush and it all tended to balance out (at least closely enough to not affect the actual result).

#334 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 29, 2008, 07:48 PM:

Ginger (333): My first thought was Australia.

May I ask approximately when your partner was at American University? That's my alma mater, also.

#335 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 29, 2008, 07:57 PM:

I think (much as I would like it to be not the case), that IRV would serve (at least in the short run) to further solidify the present parties.

Because sooner or later, all the votes would end up devolving to a Rep/Dem.

Barring a lot of down-ticket votes actually ending up with a non-Rep/Dem in lesser office, the end result would be a more efficient stranglehold on the national offfices.

But it would prevent spoilers.

Better would be viable third parties.

#336 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 29, 2008, 11:59 PM:

Since the discussion is continuing:

#330 ::: sherrold, I like the simplicity of approval voting.

#334 ::: Michael I, that's a hard argument to make in this thread. You're right, of course; according to Spoilage?: "the national exit poll that year found that had Perot not been in the race his supporters would have divided evenly between Clinton and Bush, at 40 percent each; the rest would have supported someone else, or sat it out." But no one who believes Nader is a spoiler is going to pay attention to exit polls.

#336 ::: Terry, you're right that a new voting system is only a step in weakening the two-party system, but what's nice about either approval voting or instant run off is they record people's preferences, not their fears, while letting the major candidate preferred by the majority win. Which would favor the Democrats, since Americans poll to the left of the DLC, but I think Democrats are afraid that if they weaken the Biparty, they'll become like liberal parties in Europe, merely one of several moderately conservative capitalist parties.

#337 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2008, 01:05 AM:

Terry@336: Better would be viable third parties.

Hm, how would that translate...

(practice rant)

Well, I vote Democrat for a reason. Instead of extolling the virtues of their third party candidates, they visciously attack the guy we believe in. Oh, and go ahead and tell me that Florida was twice as much my fault as the third party's fault, when we wouldn't even be in this war if Gore had been elected. Please tell me again how it's all my fault because I voted for the guy in my party, which is the right thing to do. Put up a better third-party candidate who can get more than 50% of the vote. It's that simple.

Maybe, instead of bashing us as corporatists, you'll try to find some way to reach out to the people of another party that aren't as enlightened as you.

(end practice rant)

OK, that's just too funny

As far as condercet voting goes, I think that it would initially allow a third party to get more votes, that would then go to one of the two main candidates, because people could show their support for third parties without throwing their vote away and helping a republican.

Then as long as some version of teh campaign finance law is still in effect that 5% of the first tier vote gets you some campaign money, then they should be more likely to get money, more likely to advertise, and more likely to have a voice, and more opportunity to get more votes next time.

#338 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2008, 09:28 AM:

Mary Aileen @335: I have to check with her, but I believe she was there for her PhD in '88-'92. I could be off by a year or two, but that's the approximate time period.

I know she liked it a lot; we've been around the campus and to some basketball games over the years. :-)

#339 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2008, 10:06 AM:

Ginger (339): Slightly after my time, then. Had they fixed the steam pipes under the quad by the time she was there? ;)

#340 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2008, 10:14 AM:

Better third parties would be good, instead of the one-and-two issue third parties we have now.

Why should I waste my vote on a third party, when it's not going to get enough votes to even win a city council seat?

I also don't think IRV is a solution to all our political problems. It may solve some of our voting problems, but it doesn't do much for the rest of them. There Is No Single Right Answer here.

#341 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2008, 10:30 AM:

Richard @ 323: I found the Gonzales announcement puzzling. The last I heard of Matt Gonzales, he'd lost a competitive race for mayor to Gavin Newsom and then quit politics. That ticked me off real badly, just as the quasi-Green city alderman where I used to live ticked me off by narrowly winning a hard-fought race and then moving out of town, leaving his seat to a developer's buttlicker.

That Nader has become a doofus I'm willing to postulate as a given, but that the Democratic Party is willing and able to do the things I believe need done is by no means clear.

Given that the election rules in the United States have ossified into a two-party system, and given that changing those rules begs the question of how to get sufficient power to do so, my personal decision has been to attempt with the Democratic Party what the religious right did with the GOP, as the alternative strategy is to try to destroy and replace the Democratic Party.

But I've got two Democratic senators from my state who seem to spend most of their time spitting in my face, and I may be wrong to believe the Democratic Party can be reformed.

I'm still going to stick with what I believe to be the best idea, namely, moving the Democratic Party back to the left (that is, undoing the systematic destruction Bill Clinton did) and saving my bile for the GOP and its allies. Once that's clearly not going to happen, though--and that's probably a twenty-year task at a minimum--then the alternative strategy has to be considered.

#342 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2008, 10:42 AM:

John # 342

Well, it took the far right 40 years to get to a position where they could destroy the country, so twenty years doesn't sound unreasonable to rebuild the Democratic party.

#343 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2008, 10:53 AM:

P J @ 343:

Perhaps I'm an optimist, or perhaps I'm with Donal Graeme that having a better cause gives you a basis for sounder judgment, but I figure on visible progress in ten years and success in sight ten years after that.

Or maybe I'm with the CVB resistance group that Might Makes Right. I'm an American, so whatever works and later for the garbage.

#344 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2008, 10:54 AM:

#342 ::: John, I keep trying to convince myself that's a viable strategy. But so long as the DLC and the Blue Dog Democrats get the corporate money, I'm not optimistic. The nature of compromise is to move closer to power, and power lies with the DLC.

#345 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2008, 11:21 AM:

Will @ 345: Sometimes I'm not optimistic, but I see trends that give me hope. Distributed fundraising a la ActBlue is one, and political fallout from the coming recession (which will suck and which I would rather avoid) is another. I'm also very pleased to see Obama raising people's hopes and thus their expectation. That he'll probably break their hearts is just gravy.

And, you know, he might not break their hearts. It's somewhat unpredictable when someone gets power. I sure don't think I'd've predicted the Great Society out of LBJ, but there it was.

#346 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2008, 11:39 AM:

#346 ::: John, oh, man, don't remind me of LBJ! He was the peace candidate who escalated the war and abandoned the great society.

But I do try to stay hopeful about Obama. You Decide tells me why Hillary is losing against him.

#347 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2008, 12:02 PM:

The claim that opposing a run by Nader is opposition to the Green Party is specious.

While Nader ran as a Green 2000, the Green presidential candidate in 2004 was David Cobb. Nader ran as the Reform Party candidate in 2004.

Heaven only knows what he'll call himself this year if he can finagle his way onto the ballot.

Thwarting a run by Nader is no more anti-democratic than shutting down a push-polling operation is anti-freedom-of-speech.

#348 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2008, 12:15 PM:

Jim @348, I was agreeing right up to the last half of your last sentence. Push-polling is dishonest speech and should be opposed. Thwarting nonviolent opposition with any means other than the vote is dishonest democracy and should be equally opposed.

#349 ::: michelel72 ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 06:09 PM:

So now Nader is all "Barack Obama doesn't care about black people" ....

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