Not Nader: Don't waste your vote
The Great Impostor Resources
Larry Durstin
September 22, 2004
Reprinted from the Cleveland, OH Free Times with permission.

Nader's campaign is both dishonest and dishonorable

Anyone who's been closely watching Ralph Nader's self-absorbed campaign realizes that Nader is not a real presidential candidate, nor does he even play one on television. When Nader criticized John Kerry for not effectively appealing to African-Americans, the question that needed to be asked was, "If Nader were actually serious about running for office, why wasn't he himself trying to find a way to appeal to African-Americans?" He's supposed to be a real candidate, so why doesn't he try to get some votes, instead of telling other candidates what they should do?

His smug lecturing rings hollow since, in 2000, Nader got less than one percent of the black vote and has done nothing at all this time to craft a message that might appeal to blacks or any number of groups that may be perceived as being neglected by the major parties.

The national Green Party has totally rejected him, and with good reason. Not only were they furious that he barely mentioned any of their issues during his 2000 campaign choosing instead to run on the Big Lie that there is absolutely no difference between Republicans and Democrats -- but in the past four years he has refused to participate in Green Party caucuses, primaries, state conventions or debates. He has barely lifted a finger to help any Green Party candidates or work to advance their progressive causes.

So after getting the boot by the Greens this year, he took his tired act on the road, shopping himself to the Reform Party (with its anti-gay, anti-immigrant platform left over from Pat Buchanan), the Natural Law Party (with its allegiance to Transcendental Meditation and the Maharishi), the Mountain Party of West Virginia, the Peace and Freedom Party, the Populist Party, the Independent Party and any party, anywhere, representing anything -- just as long as it could get his name on the ballot.

If Nader really cared about building an effective third party to counteract the evil Republicans and Democrats, he would be doing the grassroots work of helping local and state candidates get elected and making the effort to forge a unified, progressive message to present to the electorate. But that's not nearly as ego-gratifying as parading around every four years as a self-appointed moralist, unapologetically taking campaign money from virulent anti-gay groups and Bush-backing individuals and organizations.

What bothers many of Nader's former supporters -- including Noam Chomsky, who has recently come out against voting for Nader -- is that he seems unable to fathom the dangers of a second Bush presidency and instead appears to be intent on vilifying the Democrats as if he has some kind of personal vendetta against them. Others, however, are not surprised by his anti-Democrats leanings, since he has done considerable work with hardcore conservatives like William Bennett, Gary Bauer, Paul Weyrich and Grover Norquist, and even began his public career writing for the ultra-conservative magazine American Mercury in the early 1960s.

Most former supporters have reserved their sharpest criticism toward him because, while billing himself a populist/progressive, Nader is not screaming at the top of his lungs in opposition to what they believe is an administration bent on turning America into an Soviet-style police state with a Franco/Mussolini-type corporate, militaristic government committed to preemptive nuclear strikes.

Other former allies, however, are not surprised by this seeming inconsistency on Nader's part, charging that he's always been something of a hypocrite. Onetime devoted Naderite David Sanford calls Nader the kind of guy who "bleeds for the poor and downtrodden, but mistreats his maid." While opposing trade agreements like NAFTA and GATT because he claims they result in low wages and terrible working conditions, Nader pays the professional staffers at his nonprofit sweatshops less than minimum wage for their 80-to-90-hour work weeks.

While extolling the virtues of labor unions, Nader has blocked efforts by his employees to form them. In one case, after Tim Shorrock, a staffer at his Multinational Monitor magazine, filed union recognition papers, Nader fired him and filed a police report charging him with theft. He also thwarted an effort by his Public Citizen staffers to unionize (they were required to file work logs for 14-hour days and would not be paid if they failed to do so), claiming that they were on a "crusade" and had no more right to unionize than individuals "in a monastery."

Seemingly becoming more vindictive and paranoid as criticism against him mounts, Nader is making it increasingly difficult to take anything he says seriously. The same man who spots a corporate conspiracy behind every grassy knoll is also is on record asserting that cats cause leukemia. The self-proclaimed "conscience of the country" who proclaims that unless his current dire warnings are heeded, doom and destruction will follow, also guaranteed in 1977 that unless all nuclear power plants were shut down, America would suffer a civil war within five years.

So when Ralph Nader assures everyone that there is no difference at all between the Dems and the GOP, the only reasonable reaction should be, "Is this guy for real?"

Cleveland, OH Free Times

Multinational Monitor

E-mail Larry Durstin at: ldurstin@freetimes.com  

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