Nader’s petition signatures from the…

Nader’s petition signatures from the rightwing

A friend emails:

“This is an example of why I have trouble viewing Nader as a serious progressive candidate. In the most important election of my lifetime–an election not to achieve a lot of what I really want, but to merely maintain little things like due process–this guy is slamming the Dems and taking help from Dick Army and his ilk. What an asshole.”

After a dismal week of defeats and unexpected challenges, it is clear Nader will miss his goal of running for president in all the states. It’s equally clear that his ideological intentions for his third campaign have, at least in the short term, been surpassed by the logistics of running for president…

The pressure has created an ends-justify-the-means tinge to the canvassing. If, say, a voter announces his deep disagreement with Nader but says he will sign because it will draw votes from a Democrat, George <a petition signature gatherer> readily hands over his petition.

“That’s fine. I don’t care why they sign,” George says. “I’m just a mercenary in that regard.”

The attitude has drawn attacks from Nader’s critics. They say accepting Republican help is a hypocritical stance from the supposedly pristine candidate.

Nader dismisses the attacks. He said the petitioning is a matter of free speech and expanding the pool of candidates, so a signer’s political affiliation is irrelevant. “If they want to help us speak freely inside the electoral arena, that’s fine,” Nader said Friday.

For Nader, who maintained his stature by being squeaky clean and hugely ethical to do something this slimy seems to call into question everything he says he stands for, as well as being self-destructive. What a sad, bizarre way to end decades of public service.

Yes, we need progressive third parties. But these parties need to be backed by genuine progressives. And Nader currently has little, if any, such backing.