Sunday, February 24, 2008

Dear Mr. Nader

Mr. Nader:

I voted for you in 1996 and registered with the Green Party in the early 90s so Greens could get on the ballot in California. I had real respect for you and truly believe in the goals of the Green Party. In 1996, you passed up a real opportunity to grow the party when it was safe that the republicans wouldn't take the presidency. You were hesitant and spent more time saying you didn't want to run. I was disappointed that you wasted the opportunity to deliver the progressive message to middle America.

Your run and how you ran in 2000 was inexcusable. Your campaign stated repeatedly that there was NO DIFFERENCE between Gore and Bush. That was the most irresponsible statement. Do you really think that Gore would have appointed Alito? Do you really believe that Bush would do anything for the environment? How could you guys be so incredibly naive? You are complicit in contributing to 8 years of complete hell in this country.

You are the reason I had left the Green Party and will never return. You never bothered to earn any leverage with the Democratic Party because you never delivered votes to the party consistently. The religious right earned the right to co-opt the party by patiently and consistently delivering votes to the republican party for 30 years. What have you guys done?

You are around six years and whine when you didn't get all you wanted from the democrats, but didn't deliver for them. Instead, you have alienated the Democrats, who you could have influenced if you could mobilize votes and make the case for ideals. Great move for the movement guys.
So now you are just a spoiler, who will be responsible for allowing John "100 Year War" Mccain into the presidency.

Mr. Nader you have shown yourself unconcerned about our country and the progressive movement. This is why I will actively oppose your candidacy as vigorously as Mccain's. You make me ashamed that I ever supported this party.


Formerly of the Green Party

This is what I just sent to his website. I am sure that they will not take it seriously and do not care what I think or anyone who used to be a member. They do not care that we have a candidate in Obama that has a track record in government transparency issues and lots of the reforms that Greens supposedly care about. They never cared about women's reproductive rights, as I had been on numerous progressive green boards in 2000 arguing about his candidacy and no one cared about Roe v. Wade being overturned. I got so disturbed by their lack of concern for reproductive rights and the danger of the religious right I became a Green for Gore.

The argument goes that they want republicans to completely gut this country to teach democrats a lesson and somehow make their policies more persuasive. I never figured out how that was supposed to work.

The Greens have been unsuccessful not because the evil corporate media is keeping their message away from the people. It is because they don't want to do real work to build a grassroots movement in this country, and they are so disorganized and all over the place. Trying to plan a rally for a Florida Recount in 2000 was very frustrating because no one was willing to keep the message simple and focused. We also had to protest Mumia, Nepal, the WTO, and a whole bunch of leftist causes. I didnt necessarily disagree that Mumia and Nepal needed to be free, but not when we were supposed to be sending a message about voting in Florida.

It will be easy to fight both Nader and Mccain, because they are one and the same. A vote for Nader is no different that embracing the 100 year war and republican ideals.


Anonymous said...

Goodby. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Marinmaven said...

Hello Mr. Anonymous.
Please explain yourself if you can.

Hugo said...


I am of two minds regarding Ralph Nader, so I'll split the difference between your post and the article I've linked above.

I agree that Nader has been a huge disappointment in his decisions over the last 10 years. The fights he's chosen to engage in only contribute to his marginalization.

His campaign struck a spark in 2000 because there was very little liberal representation in our government, which goes directly to his NO DIFFERENCE campaign message regarding Gore and Bush. At the time Gore was a member of the Clinton/DLC administration, and his message had some merit. The DLC is the corporate wing of the Dems, and if you look at the failures of the Clinton administration with regards to Nafta, welfare and the Telecom Act, there was every reason to believe that Gore would have followed the same playbook. So, at the time, I was looking at a choice of Repub corporatist or Dem corporatist. Not an appealing choice.

Secondly, where I agree with my linked article, Gore ran a milquetoast campaign. He frequently allowed himself to be sidelined by ridiculous media groupthink. His clumsy internet/love canal/love story comments, his earthtone wardrobe, etc. Also, it didn't help that the media, in general, had it in for him (see Daily Howler archives on the 2000 election). Whether this was because he didn't cater to them (a la Maverick McCain) or that they saw him as an extension of the Clintons, whom they were more than ready to run out of town on a rail, had more to do with Gore losing the election than Nader's efforts.

And while I agree that Bush has been the Worst. President. Ever., I couldn't have predicted that at the time. Or that the Dems in Congress would roll over for the little tyrant, or that the Repubs would win both houses, etc.

However, I don't think it was Nader's or the Greens responsibility to deliver votes to the Dems.

Marinmaven said...

I would agree with you that Gore could have run a better campaign, and it wasn't the Green's job to deliver votes.

It may have not been their job to deliver those votes, but they cannot hope to bring the Democratic party over to their way of thinking without bringing something to the table. Why should the democratic party move to the left if the majority of voters are not there yet? If you cannot deliver enough votes to prevent democrats from taking on a losing agenda, why should they? Don't the Greens have the responsibility to build a dependable grassroots and make the case for their positions to middle America?

The DLC took over and moved to the center because of the failure of the left to mobilize and actually vote. We have lots of complainers and protestors, but no organizers who actually focus on winning elections and holding those candidates accountable.

The signs of what Bush would do was there if you looked at how he was able to get into politics via God, Guns, and Gasoline. After following the religious right for years I knew this would be the guy who would finally deliver for them.

The problem with the Nader voters is that they really didn't care about the Supreme Court. They really didn't understand that it was more about Roe v. Wade at stake.

While I get the whole sameness between the two parties when it comes to corporate power, it was a complete falsehood when they said there was no difference. How anyone would expect that corporate power wouldn't go even more rampant under a Bush administration is beyond me. Why would anyone want Bush with his poor record on the environment in Texas run amok even four years much less 8?

My reasoning has always been that at least you can negotiate with the democratic party to get environmental protections because they at least care about having some green votes. The Bush administration laughs at environmentalists and didn't even think there was global warming. Why would anyone think it would be a good idea to vote third party in that case?

Since the Gore campaign was milktoast and it was going to be close, why would Nader and his followers take a chance? What could or did they gain us for that effort?

hugo said...

Isn’t the nature of the left disorganized chaos, though? A reality much more closely aligned with true participatory democracy. The true multitude of voices shouting for attention for a multitude of issues. The environment, the war, globalization, women’s issues, minority issues, children issues, etc. And within each issue, there are disagreements in what is the appropriate action to address the issue. During election years, one issue generally comes to the forefront to rally all of these disparate groups together. However, during the downcycle, it reverts back to its natural state.
The right will always be better at organizing blocks of group vote, as their base tends to focus on one issue. The evangelicals will always follow their leaders, with whomever the leaders choose, and ignore everything else. As long as the conservative candidate promises to spread the word of God, they’ll let all else fall away. Same with the corporatists. As long as the candidate is good for their bottom line, they couldn’t care less about everything else.
I would think (much to my chagrin) that James Dobson’s control over 7 to 10 million voters gets more respect than NOW’s control over 7 to 10 million voters, just from the fact that Dobson’s minions are more proven to stay on the farm during each and every election.

I certainly did not want Bush to gain office in 2000, and I certainly recognized that he wouldn’t support any issue I supported, and that he would push God, Guns and Gas while in office, but at the same time, look at the lead-up to that election.
McCain was the front-runner until South Carolina. Bush Jr. had surrounded himself with Bush 41’s cronies. Bush 41’s time in office can be described as, “eh”. The needle didn’t jump very much during his term. He wasn’t as destructive as Reagan, he was forced to raise taxes when things turned for the worse, he had sense enough to not march to Baghdad after Desert Storm, he put David Souter on the Court. And he was drummed out of office after one term. Jr. had Rove, who ran a nasty campaign, but otherwise I figured that we were looking at 41 ½. I figured Jr. was just that, in every sense of the word.

Now, part of this was due to my naivete of Texas politics. I always enjoyed Molly Ivins, but Texas was like a foreign planet. As crazy left as SF/Bay Area politics is, I figured Texas was its polar opposite. And while my preferences align closely to SF/Bay Area, I don’t truly believe that I could ever live to see that glorious madness imposed on the rest of the nation, and the same held true for Texas politics.

Nader’s “No Difference” was a campaign slogan. Did I agree 100% with that idea? No. Regardless of my poor assessment of the W’s political ability to dismantle this country, I knew that a Democratic presidency would be better. However, I also feel that this country is in desperate need of a legitimate, resilient, enduring third party (if not a fourth) that can compete on a national level. The Dems in the 90s did look a lot like Repub-lite. And Nader captured the zeitgeist, not unlike Ross Perot. It was an opportunity to hear another voice, rather than just Kang and Kodos.

Maybe Gore wouldn’t have been hobbled by the rightwing echo machine.
Maybe he could’ve prevented 9/11, or unified the country towards a more progressive path if it did happen.
Maybe he could’ve been inspirational, and divested himself of the DLC influence machine.
Or maybe not, and this country would’ve continued to slide further to the right.

Ultimately, what was gained?
Nader’s run, and Gore’s loss, loosened the DLC grip on the Dems, it led Howard Dean to the party chairmanship, and with that, the 50-state strategy. It led to such a destructive reign of terror that an entire generation woke up to participatory politics, many of which will never vote Republican in their lifetimes. It gave voice and exposure to Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul. Maybe this country needed to really see what it would be like to live under total Republican control.
And maybe, in future elections, more than 1/5 of the population will choose the best person to represent and lead the entire country.