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Nader and Kerry: Things arenšt what they appear
by Bryan Zepp Jamieson
Zepp's Commentaries
February 27
, 2004

When Ralph Nader announced last Sunday that he was going to run as an independent (NOT as a Green), there was much moaning and gnashing of teeth. Lots of Democrats wailed that he COULDN'T run, that he would take votes away that were needed to get that lying son of a bitch out of the White House. (Many Democrats refer to Putsch as "That Lying Son of a Bitch" I think this is inappropriate. It is a mouthful, and a pain in the ass to type, so I propose in the interests of efficiency, we just refer to him as "TLSOB". Purists can take documents that have the letters TLSOB in them, do a global search and replace using any decent word processing program, and get the desired results without all that extra typing).

Ralph announced, and people immediately had visions of him getting a crucial 2,000 votes in Florida, giving Putsch a second term, and finishing America off once and for all.

Ain't gonna happen. Don't sweat it.

First, I know a lot of lefties in the party. This year, they're mostly Dennis Kucinich people (and if you think they make a tiny fringe, reflect on the fact that Kucinich got 30% of the vote in Hawaii, the only state he campaigned in for last week's primaries). A lot of them leaned toward Ralph in 2000. In fact, some of them discussed whether to vote for Ralph or Al in 2000, and my response was, "This is California. Gore is going to win the state with a couple of million votes to spare. If we were in a close race, like Florida or Ohio, I would beg you to vote for Al. But Al's got California wrapped up. Vote for Ralph if you want, and send 'em a message."

So I talked to some of those same people this past week. Not one of them is interested in voting for Ralph. Getting TLSOB out of the White House is far more important. Oh, some of the Kucinich people are talking about sitting on their hands if Dennis washes out (and at this juncture, he is not going to win the party nomination. But trends suggest he could be a force to be reckoned with four or eight years down the road.). I've got some ammo to counteract that impulse further down in this piece.

My conclusion is that Nader won't get one half of one percent of the vote from the left.

Nearly everyone is so busy worrying about what Nader is doing that nobody seemed to be interested in hearing why he was doing it. I missed his announcement on the pundit show, and wouldn't have known either, if it weren't for the fact that Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" broadcast what Jon described as a "surreal" rationale.

Ralph is running as a conservative.

Stop wiping your screen. Your eyeglasses are fine. I said Ralph is running as a conservative. He says he wants to provide a voice for conservatives -- REAL conservatives -- who are appalled by the fantastic and grotesque budget deficits (hard to imagine, isn't it, that the GOP sponsored a Balanced Budget Amendment just eight short years ago that would have forbade deficit spending?), the PATRIOT/ACT, America's interventionalist foreign policy, the catastrophic dismantling of environmental and health protections, and the open pandering to the religious whacks.

Nader's target base would describe a sizeable chunk of the American population, including about half of what is considered Putsch's "base."

Conservatives aren't neo-fascists, even though neo-fascists delight in calling themselves "conservative." It's a very important distinction, one made far too seldom in American politics. Conservatives -- real conservatives, and not the vicious Tony Scalia and Pat Robertson corrupt parodies -- are loyal to the constitution, support separation of church and state, and place a high premium on individual liberties. There's areas where liberals and conservatives disagree, obviously; both, for example, favor free trade, but liberals believe government must provide worker and environmental protections, and have a good social safety net in order for it to work. Both favor free enterprise, but disagree on the amount of regulation needed to prevent capitalism from self-destructing. And so on.

Compared to the basic tenets where both sides agree, the differences are comparatively minor, and can be debated in good faith in a free and open society.

For now, both sides need to work to ensure that we HAVE a free and open society in order to have such debates. A lot of conservatives have realized that Putsch and his ilk are out to destroy all that.

The media, mostly puppets of the same corporations that pull Putsch's strings, deliberately downplayed Nader's speech about appealing to conservatives. They know a challenge from the legitimate right could split their support, and no amount of vote stealing in the election could cover for it.

So keep an eye on Nader, and if you know any conservatives, let them know that Ralph is reaching out to them. In the meantime, keep an eye on Pat Buchanan, too. He wrote a brilliant essay in American Conservative Magazine deconstructing the neo-conservative movement (allies with the neo-fascists, this is the group that got us into the Iraq quagmire). He might be looking to defeat Putsch, too.

In the meantime, the right wing smear machine is already running full tilt against Kerry. Along with the busted smears about the intern in Africa and the ludicrous efforts to claim that he didn't really win the medals he did in Vietnam, and the forged "Jane Fonda photo op," the claims are made that he waffles (a claim made by a man who simply lies, instead), that he married for money, that his wife, who owns WalMart stock, is a hypocrite for criticizing their employee policies (apparently neo-fascists believe stockholders have no right to an opinion), that he "threw someone else's medals away", that he "looks French" and even that he's "secretly of Jewish descent." Those last two tell you all you really need to know about the mindset of the neo-fascist movement.

This came at the same time that discouraged Kucinich supporters were talking about just blowing off the Democrats because they didn't want just another waffling centrist in the White House.

The right wing has a favorite tactic in their smear campaigns of throwing two opposite and mutually exclusive accusations out, hoping one or both with stick with an inattentive public. In this instance, at the same time that Putsch was accusing Kerry of waffling on his votes and contradicting himself every two minutes, Limbaugh and the toads at Newsmax and Free Republic came out trumpeting an Americans for Democratic Action survey that showed that based on voting records, Kerry was one of the most CONSISTENTLY LIBERAL members of the Congress!

Americans for Democratic Action is the oldest and most respectable liberal group in America. They were founded in 1947, and stand as a reminder that this isn't the first time neo-fascists have tried to subvert America, and the country survived their last attempted usurpation of the Constitution in the dawn of the cold war. They're solid, they're reliable, and about as staunchly liberal as you can get.

They released their list of top lifetime liberals, based on voting records. Voting records is where the rubber meets the road, of course. Talk is cheap. Tell me how a representative VOTES, and I'll tell you if he's worth a damn or not. One reason Putsch got into office was because he doesn't HAVE a voting record, having never been elected to any legislative post, so people had to go on the claims he made on his own behalf, which of course turned out to be lies.

Kucinich scored well, of course. Nobody has ever claimed he wasn't liberal, and willing to stand for his beliefs. But among all members of the House and Senate, he came in fourth out of the five hundred and thirty five. It was an extremely good score, as you might expect from Dennis.

The most consistently liberal was Ron Dellums with a 96. Tied for second, with Maxine Waters, was none other than John Kerry, both with 93. Kucinich came next, with a 90. (John Edwards was tied with Ted Kennedy for fifth, with 88).

To the neo-fascist right, of course, that's terrible. So they'll keep pumping that one, along with the claims that Kerry wasn't really hero (like AWOL was) and that he's got an inconsistent voting record. It's always funny when they accidently tell the truth and shoot themselves in the foot.

To everyone who supports Dennis: Kerry's going to get the nomination, and Dennis will support him. Bank on it. And Dennis will be right to do so. Remember that ADA rating. Remember that Kerry DID serve, DID win a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and THREE Purple Hearts. Remember he spoke out against the war when it took courage to do so, and even faced Congress to do so. He IS liberal, and he DOES have the courage of his convictions.

And he's running against the worst president in American history, a craven man intent on giving America's wealth -- and our freedoms -- to the undeserving corporate masters.

Don't stay home because Kerry "isn't as steadfast" as Kucinich. He is. In fact, even more so. And that's high praise indeed.

And conservatives: Remember your roots and ideals. Remember your love of freedom, your love of the Constitution. Vote for Nader.

Let's get TLSOB out of the White House!

Note: if you happen to live in California's Second District, and you generally liked this essay, then you will like Jeffery Vance, one of three Democrats running in hopes of knocking off Wally Herger. He wants to include liberals and conservatives against the common foe on the far right. Support him Tuesday, and if he wins, let's get Herger out of there!

Posted: March 1, 2004


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