I can understand if Nader doesn't want to be a Democrat, but does this mean he must then embrace the far right? The far right would not accept him if he had any power to do anything except draw Democratic and independent votes away from Kerry/Edwards. But he's willing to make this deal with the devil for reasons that can only be ego or delusion. I cannot believe that Nader does not understand the Republicans are on the exact opposite side from him, whereas the Democrats just aren't as left as he'd like. Unless he is just pursuing strange and petty revenge against the Democrats, which certainly was the case in 1996(I did vote for him that year) and 2000(I voted Gore and still would).
It is true that he acts, still, functionally as though Bush does not exist, or that Bush has not already shown his malice and incompetence. But it's a classic character flaw of the old-line left that they only have enough guts to attack their own and ignore their real enemy in time wasted squabbling. There is no way unless one is completely ignorant of all news in the past four years that one can say the two choices are indistinguishable. Kerry is boring, yes. I would, however, much prefer a boring president to a dangerous and dumb one.
A personal note: Outside the premiere of Suspension of Disbelief a month ago, thrilled that the show had gone so well, I had this natural high disrupted when I went outside for a cigarette and was confronted by a Nader supporter using all these same tired arguments in my face, and spoke--an awful lot like a Republican would--a lot about the deficiencies of Clinton and Gore and other people who aren't running in this particular fucking election. And I simply told her to get away from me. I'm not even interested in discussing it anymore. I'm voting to unseat Bush, pure and simple. Not that she had the courtesy to move on to someone else. "A vote for either candidate is a vote for Skull & Bones!" Thing about that is that most upper-class sorts who have gone to Yale have been members of Skull & Bones. I realize that as this was Wicker Park, and most there are left-leaning politically naive bohemians who haven't the patience to follow the news in detail and find it much easier to settle on the warm cozy all-encompassing embrace of conspiracy theory, but for my own part I'm not really interested in conspiracy theory when there are real bastards right there committing, and getting away with, their abuse of power right in front of my eyes. So I didn't really take this Nader supporter seriously nor was I interested in hearing her 4-year-old apologia out. I realize that's very illiberal of me, but do I care? Nope.
I don't even believe Nader would be a good president. Whenever the subject has come up he's been more than a little contemptuous of the idea of compromising with, or working with, Congress, and seems to believe, much like Perot, that it's simply a matter of being emphatic with Congress. If Nader were president he'd alienate all of Congress his very first day, and become isolated and powerless, not being a king. He would simply be no good at the job. I wonder where Nader got any reputation as a political thinker in the first place. As far as I recall he's only ever been pretty much a consumer-rights advocate.
Think of it from another angle though. If Ralph is indeed the true "left-wing" candidate, why then does he need so much support from Republicans and other right-wingers? Is it that there are far fewer on the left than the right, despite even Fox following the conventional wisdom that this country is divided 50-50 politically? Or perhaps the left is merely apathetic? God knows there's nothing going on that could get lefties worked up...
Or perhaps the left has realized that a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush and aren't giving him any support. The Green party, to their credit, have emphatically rejected him (and it looks as though the Reform party will too, which leaves him only with our own Silly Party, the New Alliance party, described by Christopher Hitchens as a "cult"). It appears Nader has, in short, little or no support except from the right.
Which leads one to a very amusing possibility. The right may, in their usual unimaginative and literal way, take the concept of "a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush" too much to heart and forget that it's only a vote for Bush if it draws a vote away that would have gone to a Democrat. What if the right votes Nader even during the election?
"Eternity in the company of Beelzebub, and all of his hellish instruments of death, will be a picnic compared to five minutes with me & this pencil." --E. Blackadder, 1789 Questionable
words & pictures from John Linton Roberson