Nader’s increasing ties with the right
Michael Moore on Nader: “He doesn’t give a shit about anyone but himself. He’s let himself be taken over by his own anger towards the Democrats. He’s gone crazy.”
First, some background on Nader from Doug Henwood, radical economist and author, writing in his highly regarded Left Business Observer newsletter (which is print-only.) He endorsed Nader in 2000, but not this time.
Nader has a long history of operating alone, scornful of coalitions, a characteristic visible in his on-again, off-again relations with the Green Party. He’s got a deep conservative streak, he prefers litigation to regulation, which amounts to an individualist adversarial approach rather than collective political action.
One of his first published articles was a 1962 piece in a libertarian journal, The Freeman, supporting the residents of his hometown in their resistance against federally funded public housing. In the 1970’s, his Raiders often included unions among the monopolists that benefited from transport regulation, providing intellectual fuel for the deregulation movement. In the 1980’s he resisted unionization efforts in his own shop, red baiting one of the organizers in the process.
In the 2000 campaign, he wooed David Brooks, then of The Weekly Standard, naming the many rightwingers he’s worked with well in the past, among them such creeps as William Bennett, Paul Weyrich, Gary Bauer, and Grover Norquist, and still talks dreamily of drawing votes from the right.
He shares the austere morality of Bennett and Co.; he seems to lack a libido, and hold in contempt those who like theirs and consider them politically important. His dislike of trade flirts with xenophobia; his people have discreetly worked with Pat Buchanan, although they don’t like to talk about that. And he still talks delusionally about peeling off votes from the Republicans by appealing to to “true” conservatives, who are distressed by Bush’s alleged impurities; in a letter to disgruntled reactionaries, he actually praises the Texas GOP, one of the more frightening political formations in the hemisphere.
Henwood concludes with, “The best we can hope for is a Kerry victory and that disillusionment sets in quickly.”
The American Prospect and Eric Alterman are long-time vicious bashers of both the Green Party and Nader. They’ve been attacking Nader for attempting to get on various state ballots by using rightwing Republican support. Are these charges accurate? After reading them, even considering the source, I would say – Yes.
The American Prospect details how the rightwing petition drive company that Nader hired in Arizona has piggybacked the petition for Nader with other, decidedly neandertal, petitions; one “would restrict access to public services by undocumented immigrants”, the other would “”block public funding from political campaigns in the state.” Why is Nader, who claims to be progressive, letting rightwing zealots run his petition drive using such scumbag tactics? Especially considering their intent in getting the Nader petition signed clearly is to defeat Kerry, not aid Nader.
The Arizona ballot drive was never the grassroots effort that Nader characterizes his campaign as.
This petition piggybacking helped Nader get more than the amount of signatures he needed to qualify for the ballot — most of them from Republicans. In fact, according to a volunteer for the Arizona Democratic Party who has reviewed Nader’s signatures, of the more than 21,000 signatures Nader garnered, a whopping 65 percent percent came from Republicans, compared to 18 percent from Democrats.
It is clear Nader has no credible base in Arizona.
Eric Alterman, once you get past his nasty tone (Hey Eric, you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar!), has more info on Nader’s current alliances with the right, including the following useful links.
Ralph and the Newmanites. This details a Nader attempt to get on the NY ballot by using the fringe, anti-Semitic New Alliance Party.
Ralph Nader, Suicide Bomber. The Village Voice. Strongly implies Nader’s reason for running in 2000 was in fact to defeat Gore, and backs this with reasonable enough fact and inference.
June 21, 2004 American Conversative magaine
Ralph Nader: Conservatively Speaking, interviewed by Pat Buchanan. “The long-time progressive makes a pitch for the disenfranchised Right.”
Ralph Nader’s skeleton closet. Lots of links and documentation.
From a widely circulated email, dated June 24, 2004, about Nader attempts to get on the Oregon ballot.
Ralph Nader himself appeared on Lars Larson’s right-wing talk radio show this afternoon to urge Lars’ listeners to come to his nominating convention this Saturday. Guest host Victor Bok directly told the audience that they should help Ralph make the ballot to siphon liberal votes and allow George Bush to win Oregon.
My life as Ralph Nader’s flunkie. A former leftie writing for the partisan right Frontpage Magazine says he worked for Nader, and that Nader staffers are treated in a less than progressive manner – more like serfs, actually.
There’s at least three states now, Arizona, Oregon, and New York, where Nader is using extreme rightwing support to get on the ballot, as well as using the reactionary Reform Party in seven other states. Not only is this sleazy and manipulative, it gives lie to Nader’s claim to be championing a progressive agenda and should cause anyone to question his motives and stability.