Makes Me Wanna Ralph


Reason writers around town: At the National Post, Matt Welch sifts through Ralph Nader's claim that he really wants to defeat George W. Bush.

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  1. Nader made an appearance last week on Bill Maher’s HBO program, who admitted he voted for Nader in 2000. One of the first questions Maher asked Nader was “what do you stand for that the Democrats don’t?” Nader’s response – he started talking about bird flu. Yeah, babbled about some chicken disease or something as the number one way he shines where the Dems don’t. This guy had a great opportunity to state his purpose in this election and completely dropped the ball.

    Maher immediately seemed underwhelmed and embarassed that he voted for this guy. The rest of the interview was quite harsh, Maher was trying to make Nader say anything that sounded relevant to pretty much no avail.

    I thought Nader had something going for him when he stuck with the idea that he was running to keep third parties relevant…but I couldn’t imagine voting for the guy.

  2. If Kerry is the answer, whats the question? I see zero difference between Kerry and Bush — Kerry might have been more able to get the UN’s consecration of the slaughterhouse in Iraq, but nothing else. Why shouldn’t the Democrats be punished by Nader? My only question is why isn’t someone on the right doing the same thing — there are as many right-wingers fed up with Bush as there are left-wingers fed up with the velocity Kerry and the Dems knees bow before corporate America — go Nader.

  3. Roy Moore for President

  4. go fuck yourself, asshole. the best you can do is make fun of his first name?

  5. Spur:

    My only question is why isn’t someone on the right doing the same thing — there are as many right-wingers fed up with Bush

    I saw Pat Buchanan say the other night after he finished bashing Bush that he wasnt running because he “didnt want to be a fugitive for the rest of his life”. You think the dems are hard on Nader, whaddya think the repubs would do to a semi-respectable candidate like Buchanan attacking them from the right?

  6. Some people are just now figuring out that Nader is a megalomaniac?!? These must be the same people who didn’t realize until about a week ago that Rosie O’Donnell is gay.

  7. The New Yorker put it this way (I’m not even attempting to quote):

    1. He’s 70 years old,

    2. He was very productive from 1963 to 1976 (implying that he isn’t the man he used to be for the past 28 years),

    3. His legacy will be intact as a consumer advocate if he backs away now or Kerry wins but,

    4. If Bush wins because Nadar took votes away from Kerry, he will be responsible for the end of civilization and the ushering-in of neo-con tyrany.

    It would be fun to see if Bush could make it through a second term without getting impeached, but by the time that could happen he would have we would all be subjects of the USonian Empire.

  8. The disaffection is such that over the last two weeks, normally loyal Republicans — actually including more than a few members of Congress — are privately talking about political merits in the election of Sen. Kerry. Their reasoning goes like this: There is no way Democrats can win the House or Senate even if Bush loses. If Bush is re-elected, Democrats are likely to win both the House and Senate in a 2006 midterm rebound. If Kerry wins, Republicans will be able to bounce back with congressional gains in 2006.

    More here

  9. “Kerry might have been more able to get the UN’s consecration of the slaughterhouse in Iraq, but nothing else.”

    That’s just stupid. Why would Kerry pick a fight with Iraq? He gets his money from lawyers not energy.

    Don’t get me wrong, Kerry is as corrupt and self-serving as any politician. But to claim there’s “zero difference” between the opportunism like Kerry and the sanctimony of Bush is just stupid.

    Nader of course is both stupid AND evil.

  10. Cranky Ralph — Though I didn’t write the headline, I’d point out that I once wrote a column that criticized the national press for not covering Nader’s 2000 campaign more (there were about four of us following him around with any regularity). That headline, which I did write, was: “Ralphing on the Media.” If we can’t make stupid, Bush-league puns about the names of presidential candidates, then the terrorists truly have won.

  11. I find it funny that throughout the whole Nader debate those on the left denouncing Nader’s run speak as if voters have no right choosing their candidate or making a vote of conscience. When did parties claim the right to votes as noblesse oblige, instead of having to make their case. Everybody can attack Nader on the merits all they want but stop acting like the votes he would probably garner actually “deserve” to go somewhere else. It comes off as pompous and undemocratic. Why not be angry at Nader and Bush voters for not choosing the “right” candidate that was Gore. Nader stood for something and people followed, I don’t have a problem with that. This is a bad portent for the left, if they can’t expect Kerry to make his case and woo Naderites, all they are hoping for is a rejection of Bush. That will be bad on election day when most Republicans will be going out to vote for Bush, and the opposition will only be voting for a negation, not a leader.


  12. What makes ME want to ralph is the fact that a columnist for a libertarian-zine would attack someone who is running on principle. As an ardent capitalist, I hate Ralph Nader and everything he stands for. But at least he believes in something other than maintaining the power of force over others.

  13. Mr. Welsh,

    When did you sign on as a John Kerry campaign volunteer?

    When does REASON issue it’s official pro-Kerry endorsement? Next issue?

    You guys are getting seriously outclassed by Tech Central Station and other real pro-liberty media outlets.

  14. Matthew — To answer your statements and questions, in order:

    1) W-e-l-c-h. Think grape juice.

    2) I haven’t signed up as a Kerry volunteer. I’m not a registered Democrat, I voted for John Edwards in the California primary (despite his anti-trade bullshit), have described Kerry as “about as inspiring as a bag of kelp,” and I even voted for Ralph Nader in 2000, despite our many policy disagreements (among other things).

    3) (and this goes to Ayn Randian, too) — I’m attacking Ralph’s run only on the grounds that it’s *against* his clearly eludicated principles, not for, and that it continues a trend toward his own politician-like dishonesty that I wrote about for Reason previously.

    4) As for Reason’s endorsement, check out the current issue for the qualities the magazine is looking for in a president.

  15. Back to Nader:

    Yeah, does he HONESTLY think his running is going to help the country? Gimme a break.

  16. “I even voted for Ralph Nader in 2000”

    Oh Matt, you loathsome disgusting piece of maggot infested filth. How did you get to be a Reason contributor when by all rights you should be wandering the streets, mumbling to yourself and picking up empty cans.

  17. Warren — Who says you can’t do both?

  18. Ralph (my first name) used to be a perfectly good name until pricks like you two started abusing it. Every moron I ever ran into made barfing sounds when they said my name. you just joined the ranks of the morons.

  19. Ralph,
    Stop being so sensitive. I don’t hear people named John complaining about toilets being nicknamed after their name. What about all the double entendres for people named Dick. You’re hardly alone in having a name that people make fun of. Chill out.

    Back in college I used to call you a lot on the big white phone. Sorry … I couldn’t resist.

  20. Ralph — If it helps, you can wipe your shoes on me.

  21. I’m going to go out on a limb here. Try to follow for a sec. Nader announces another run. Dems get up in arms, rally to avoid another “stolen” election. Nader brings a dozen or so more people into the the game. Polls show Nader at 6% (more than twice than what he got in 2000, and he’s a hated man), Dems rally further. Subsequent polls show him dropping from 6%, but still a threat. Dems are emboldened, knowing they only need to work harder, bring some more non-voters in. Then, at the last minute, the shock of the century, Nader drops from the race and points his support towards the Dems, acknowledging that there is a slight difference between the Reps and Dems after all, and it really matters this time. The Dems take all their hard fought and new found support to try and take out Bush.

    Maybe, maybe not, we’ll see. But please remember, this is politics people, you don’t have to take anyone at their word, including Nader and the polls.

  22. I’ve got a take on this whole Nader thing.

    This is long and ranty. Fuck it.

    Are Americans really so out of touch with Democracy that we’ve forgotten the point of it? Everyone gets a vote, and everyone can participate. It’s our responsibility as voters to choose our government, and we are not well served by having fewer choices. I would think that the land of Capitalism would understand that.

    Last time I checked, Patriot Act notwithstanding, we still lived in a free country, where everyone gets a chance to have their voice heard. Ralph Nader has as much of a right as any of us to participate in the electoral process. If you truly want to see Ralph Nader stay out of politics, then vote for someone else. Encourage your readers, listeners, friends, and loved ones to vote for someone else. But, whatever you do, knock off the argument that Ralph Nader shouldn’t even be on the ballot.

    I voted for a third-party candidate in the last election because I was moved by something he said when I saw him in person. He said that true change in politics never comes from the majority. Rather, the new, society-altering ideas come from third parties. Although it’s true that the fringe often comes up with ideas that are frivolous or unrealistic, it’s also true that the fringe is where many Ideas of weight and substance find life and vigorous debate. It is vital that we understand this as Americans and not allow minority voices to be silenced, whatever we personally think of them.

    If Nader’s ideas carry such sway that his piddly little 2-3% of the vote is going to make such a difference, then we’ve got a bigger problem in this country than Ralph Nader. Quit the chest-thumping and do something really hard – find and give voice to a reason to vote for the Democratic nominee that will convince even a dyed-in-the-wool Republican to change his mind. If you can’t do that, than any argument you make against Ralph Nader is just a bunch of hot air.

    Carping at Nader to get out of the race serves no purpose other than to make you sound desperate and undemocratic. Getting rid of George Bush is a transitory, expedient platform that will carry no weight at the end of the day because people recognize on some level that Bush got to be president because we let him. We’re responsible. Half of us voted for him and the rest of us stood by and watched – as we have stood by and watched for years – while our public officials behaved without honor, yet with impunity. We’re responsible and we know it.

    Getting rid of Bush is not the most important thing in the world; if he gets back in office, the world will not end. What should be important to all thinking, feeling, freedom-loving Americans is our Constitution, our principles and our integrity as a country. We cannot stoop to sacrificing them even for a moment if we truly love and honor this country and hope for its renewal.

    See, the real dirty little secret about Ralph Nader is that he understands the game better than any of us. His candidacy is important not because he thinks he can win or because he thinks he’ll all of a sudden make the Green Party the Next Big Thing. Nader’s candidacy is about keeping the power elite on their toes, making them accountable, keeping them from getting complacent. Nader’s participation is exactly what it will take to “displace the corporate regime of the Bush administration.” It is a feint. It serves to scare the Democrats into working harder.

    In fact, if you really want things to change, maybe you should be throwing your weight behind Ralph Nader. Do you think the Democrats on their own are going to come up with a principled stand and a vision for the future that will sway swing voters, that will energize the electorate? Or do you think that, left to their own devices, they would engage in endless carping and bickering over this or that policy, over this or that momentary scandal, and call it debate? (Hint: Look how long it took them to settle on the safest, most middle-of-the-road candidate.)

    No one person’s presidency, no matter how damaging, is more important than the principles of our Constitution. Period.

    I’ve got news for people – 2004 ain’t gonna be like 2000. It’s not going to come down to a few thousand votes in Florida. Don’t make the general’s mistake of fighting the previous battle. The vote needs to be won early. It needs to be won today. It needs to be won with ideas and integrity, with vision and with hope. We cannot win by simply arguing against George Bush. We’ve got to win by arguing for a better America.

    A vote for Nader is a vote for Bush? Are you shitting me? Who the hell do you think you are to tell me that if I decided to vote for Ralph Nader, or any other candidate, that I’d be throwing my vote away? A vote for [insert candidate’s name here] is a vote for America. A vote for [insert candidate’s name here] is a vote for Democracy. A vote for [insert candidate’s name here] is my choice. Shame on you for suggesting that my moment in the ballot box should be one of expediency and gamesmanship rather than a moment to fulfill the long-fought, hard-won privilege of participating in a free society.

    When I pull back the curtain on Election Day, it will be with my integrity and principles and love of this country intact, thank you very much. And if George Bush is back in office, it will let me know that I have to work that much harder to sway the hearts and minds of my fellow countrymen through the next four years.

    If the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, then the price of democracy is eternal toil. You haven’t won the race if you’ve gotten rid of the competition. I thought that might be one thing we in this country would understand.

    P.S. Lay off the unjustified attacks on the man’s character. It is unbecoming. If you really have so little faith in the American electoral process that you have to resort to slander to defend it, then you’d better take a long hard look at just what kind of country you’re defending.

  23. Stumax,

    That’s exactly how I feel about voting. If everyone had the balls to vote for someone they truly believe in instead of voting against someone else or voting for someone their party told them to, things might actually change for the better.

    That said, I think it’s quite justified to attack Nader’s character, just as it’s justified to attack Kerry’s and Bush’s. All three men have serious flaws even if you agree with what they’re saying at any given moment.

  24. Since I’m not a registered voter..

    anyway.. Nader had his “exploratory” committee. It was publicized, and it had a comments area for many an Internet user. Being the non-Republican I am, I told the site who I would vote for (if I had the discipline to register). I said, my first pick is Dean and my second Clark.

    At the time they were the two front-runners, and I’d seen many high-profile editorialists giving their support to one or the other. Following them both dropping out of the race, Nader came out saying he would run. And people act surprised.

    A vote for Nader, a vote for Bush, either one is a vote to continue running the Executive Branch on autopilot. Big deal.

  25. “And a little more what they used to be decades ago, representing working families, before they became the party of General Motors, of Exxon, of Dupont, of Intel!”

    I don’t know how many decades he wants to go back. Considering the role of Gerard Swope in framing the New Deal agenda, the Democrats were the party of General Electric as long as seventy years ago.

  26. spur,

    If the president was an old-line establishment Republican like Bob Dole, I’d agree there was no difference between him and the DLC clone the Democrats nominated.

    But in this case, getting rid of Bush will also get rid of some extremely scary people–so scary that I get almost nostalgic for the old bipartisan banking/foreign policy establishment. I’m leaning toward Anybody But Bush this year, just because I want to send Reich, Armitage, Negroponte, Poindexter, North, and Ashcroft into permanent political exile.

  27. It’s that Dems condemn and rail over Nader,
    but were silent and polite about Sharpton,
    who to me, hurt the credibility of the party.

    Nader is dead on the dems about not speaking directly, except about Nader, of course.

  28. Andrew,

    You’ve always been an articulate and brave soul here and though we disagree on most things, I find your posts are often educational.

    That said, and with all due respect, can you please tell me one thing that G.W. Bush has ever said or done OF HIS OWN ACCORD that has been impressive. Has he made an UNCOACHED comment from his heart that has intellectually or even grammatically been at a level we might describe as “presidential?”

    Or maybe you could tell me what he’s done that you DON’T approve of. Was it the mindless “bring ’em on” comment to the killers of U.S. men and women serving overseas? Maybe it was the waffling on steel tarrifs? Perhaps his willful ignorance or dismissal of the explicit dishonesty by Cheney, Rice, et al on the WMD intelligence? Could it be his record low number of press-conferences or disregard for states’ rights shown by Ashcroft and his own supprt for a marriage ammendment to the constitution? The insane amount of federal spending with such a big deficit?

    Now, mind you, if you were a Democrat who thought Kerry or Clinton was presidential, I’d be asking you to justify that as well with questions on character and integrity, but for the life of me, I swear I can’t understand how intelligent people can support a president who brags that he doesn’t read the paper and who has given no indication of any serious intellectual activity during his life here on earth.

    Help me understand, Andrew!

  29. “I admire Bush personally, and for his daring foreign policy.”

    Hit… I mean ummm Napoleon had the same daring foreign policy

  30. Sorry, this is way old, but Fred paraphrased the new yorker –

    “2. He was very productive from 1963 to 1976 (implying that he isn’t the man he used to be for the past 28 years),”

    How is being a professional complainer (starting with his mis-informed BS about a perfectly good automobile) and even a politician in general considered productive? Maybe in some wierd-ass new-yorker dictionary, perhaps.

    Nader does have a handle on what some of the problems with American society are, but his “solutions” are totally fucked. He is for regulation, when regulation is the original cause of the problem. To quote one Rachel Lucas, this guy is an ass-clown of the highest order.

    … shouldn’t let that stop him from running for office, of course …

    BTW, Matt your headline kicks ass (with apologies to that other Ralph and his porcelain goddess ;-}

    Your titles make the WSJ writers seem like rank amateurs in comparison!


  31. Andrew spake, saying:
    I believe we would have enjoyed the same utopian economy in a Bush I second term…I think we would have him for eight years, and the worst you get with Bush is four….I would like to believe Kerry would do all the right things as foreign policy leader…but I can’t know that, and his very election would send the wrong signal…..

  32. I actually don’t fault Nader. People vote for third party candidates knowing full well that they are passing up the opportunity to help a “lesser evil” defeat a “greater evil.” Those who want to vote third party are choosing to do so, as is their right. I might criticize their decision, just as I might criticize those who decided to vote for the candidate I deem the “greater evil” but I don’t see anything sinister about it.

  33. Oh…Warren…What’s with the Hitler reference.

    Besides, Bush won his two land wars in Asia, unlike Napoleon or Hitler.

    As for Mr. Nader. I’d love for him to run again. I cannot accept the idea that Ralph lost the 2000 election for the Democrats. It is an unreasonable thing to say.

    In fact, I applaud Ralph’s 2000 presidential run only because it was a valiant attempt to get the Green Party a chance to feed at the Federal Campaign funding trough. If he had pulled in more votes, the Green Party would have a hell of a run this time around.

    To turn this around some more, I blame Al Gore for killing the hopes of a viable third party. If Internet Al hadn’t blown the election, Ralph could have had more votes since many ultra-left Democrats could have felt more comfortable voting their concious instead of “not Bush”. I mean, with the impeachment Republicans still in charge of the House and Senate and Clinton’s centrist coat tails, how could Al have lost the election. The middle of the road voters prefer having Congress and the Presidency in opposite camps. Geez Louise!

  34. Can Nader, now an independent (small “i” I think), even get on the ballot in many states?

    Just wondering.

  35. Andrew,

    See, I knew you’d help. It’s pleasure disagreeing with you.

    I’d appreciate it if anyone could comment on the theory that if we all step away from the Democrats and Republicans because they’ve come to stand for absolutely nothing other than the procurement of power via constantly morphing political strategies, it could signal the creation of a viable multi-party system that can afford to have ideals and stand by them.

    Is that just crazy?

  36. > The morning after he won 2.7% of the vote in 2000,
    Nader told reporters that his campaign
    should be considered a success if by 2004
    it would have helped build up a strong and viable Green Party,
    if progressive Democrats’
    “backs will be strengthened in Congress,”
    and if his wing of the Left
    will have become a sought-after “swing” bloc.Bush-is-bad
    –>the US-is-a-wreck
    –>nothing specific, nothing to argue with ‘policy’
    –>painless promises of cure-alls

    Where is there a blunt voice of Nader in there?
    There is none. There is really little to read.
    The website is a madison ave. production…
    NEW! FREE! IMPROVED! 99&99/100% pure soap!!

    Ralph Nader ought to be saying more than he is saying.
    The Democrats and Republicans, the left and right,
    a vote for either is just a vote to see which side
    of the same horse you want to see it mounted,
    from the left or the right — it is the same horse.

  37. >This latest run could very well kill off whatever remaining reputation Nader has for honesty and integrity.

  38. >Nader accused his long-time allies of “crossing from opposition to censorship.”

  39. >Nader is reacting to negative feedback by jamming his hands over his ears and humming very loudly.

  40. > Moore, who like Nader campaigned on the false premise that Gore couldn’t possibly lose, is so insistent on dislodging Republicans that he endorsed for the Democratic nomination Wesley Clark, the former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, a man who conducted a war in Kosovo that Moore considered to be criminal.

  41. >he has no chance of attracting even 1% of the vote, he has nothing much left to lose. Except for whatever shreds remain of his once-sterling reputation.

  42. > I’m attacking Ralph’s run only on the grounds that it’s *against* his clearly eludicated principles, not for, and that it continues a trend toward his own politician-like dishonesty that I wrote about for Reason previously.

  43. I don’t recall the Dems being too upset when Perot took Bush 1 votes allowing Clinton to sneak in a win. Gore didn’t win his home state, didn’t win Arkansas, didn’t campaign with Clinton– so he lost, never mind the Florida mess.
    Nader has the right to run and should be commended for doing so.

  44. > if anyone could comment on the theory that if we all step away from the Democrats and Republicans …, it could signal the creation of a viable multi-party system that can afford to have ideals and stand by them..
    Mary Matalin and hubby Carville are on TV now,
    James doing the sawed-off shotgun on anything and everything Bush,
    and Mary being her specific-point self points out Bush good points.

    “A vote for Nader is a vote for Bush” — Carville
    Who do they hate more, Bush or Nader?
    Who does Nader despise more,
    the arrogrant Republicans
    or the hypocritical Democrats?

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