Thanks a Heap, Ralph!

Monday, February 25, 2008

If you haven't heard it already, you could have guessed it: Ralph Nader will run for President again in 2008. His impact, if any, will unfortunately be to tip the election towards John McCain:

Tim Russert, the host of [Meet the Press], did point out to Mr. Nader that George W. Bush won in Florida with a little more than 500 votes, as Mr. Nader siphoned more than 97,000 away from Mr. Gore, a numerical factor that left many Democrats embittered.
In 2004, Nader received only about 14% of the 2.74 percent he polled in 2000. He is surely not so obtuse as to realize that he stands no chance of winning. Indeed, he is even aware of his role as a "spoiler" for Democrats. ("If the Democrats can't landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up, close down, emerge in a different form.") And yet he runs. His premise is that the candidates are too much alike.
Nader, 73, said most people are disenchanted with the Democratic and Republican parties due to a prolonged Iraq war and a shaky economy. The consumer advocate also blamed tax and other corporate-friendly policies under the Bush administration that he said have left many lower- and middle-class people in debt.

"You take that framework of people feeling locked out, shut out, marginalized and disrespected," he said. "You go from Iraq, to Palestine to Israel, from Enron to Wall Street, from Katrina to the bumbling of the Bush administration, to the complicity of the Democrats in not stopping him on the war, stopping him on the tax cuts." [bold added]
With Nader's expressed concern for voters feeling "locked out", one might wonder why he is so blithely flirting with tipping yet another election the Republicans' way, especially given that John McCain's opposition to freedom of speech threatens to "lock out" anyone with a political mind of his own and endanger open political debate in the future.

Part of the answer doubtless lies in the fact that Nader also supports campaign finance "reform". Despite the fact that all the "corporate" money in the world cannot force a man to act against his judgement like a government gun can, Nader so thoroughly confuses economic "power" with political power that he posits government as the only way to rationally distribute the means of communicating ideas.

To someone who believes this, preventing a company from using its own property to support a candidate looks like a stand for freedom, while placing the means of communicating ideas into the hands of government officials (who may be biased) does not look like it could prevent the open exchange of ideas. As to whether Nader himself really believes this, your guess is as good as mine, but the end result is that his support of the government violating property rights endangers freedom of speech.

So Nader's support for campaign finance "reform" is likely part of the answer to the question of why he wants to run. Why else might he want to run? He doubtless intends to penalize the Democrats for not toeing the line to his statist agenda, but I think that on one score, Nader's words and deeds more obviously match. McCain-Feingold aside, if there really is no substantive difference between the candidates, perhaps Nader gets part of what he wants anyway.

Whatever you may think of leftist commentator Froma Harrop, she is not one to shy away from the implications of her own mistaken principles:
Why might [Clinton backers unhappy with Obama] like McCain? Count the ways. He had the fiscal discipline to vote against the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, and the decency to complain that they unfairly favored the rich. He's OK on the environment, concerned over global warming and against oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He supported tighter fuel-economy standards and opposes torture. John McCain is not an embarrassment.
In other words, McCain will work just about as hard to destroy capitalism as either Democrat, and Nader gets to press for more by running at the same time.

Ralph Nader, it would seem, is just taking Froma Harrop's advice and -- erm -- running with it.

-- CAV


Unknown said...

So, Gus, would you say this makes you wanna...ralph?

Gus Van Horn said...

Or Earl. I can't decide.

Damned elections!