(Editor's Note: This is the final part of a three-part series. To read the series from the beginning, please go here.)
by Jeff Siegel
The pundits and apologists are already warning progressives not to desert Barack Obama. "True believers deny it, but [Ralph] Nader is the enabler of perhaps America's most disastrous presidency," wrote Joel Connelly in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "Mr. Nader had been huddling with prominent crackpots over the weekend to determine whether he had enough support among his natural constituency, self-absorbed whack-jobs, to mount an entirely meaningless campaign," wrote Andy Borowitz.
Let's get two things straight: Nader didn't cost Gore the election in 2000. Gore cost Gore the election, with help from the Supreme Court. Gore was only the fourth Democrat to lose West Virginia in 100 years, and he didn't carry his home state, Tennessee, either. If he wins one or the other, Florida doesn't matter. And Nader's campaign will not be entirely meaningless. This time, with any luck at all, it will cost the Democrats the election — because they deserve to lose.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt wrote in the Four Freedoms speech: "The basic things expected by our people of their political and economic systems are simple. They are: Equality of opportunity for youth and for others. Jobs for those who can work. Security for those who need it. The ending of special privilege for the few. The preservation of civil liberties for all." When was the last time the Democratic Party paid any attention to those concepts?
If I'm a self-absorbed whack job because I believe in Harry Truman's Fair Deal — an economic system that rests on a democratic foundation, where wealth should be created for the benefit of all — and the Democratic leadership doesn't, then so be it. If I'm a self-absorbed whack job because I want U.S. soldiers to sleep safely in their beds at night and the Democratic leadership doesn't, then so be it. If I'm a self-absorbed whack job because I think the American people deserve better than the 14 Democratic Senators who voted or said they would against the climate change bill, then so be it.
The Democrats are no better than the Republicans, and what's worse is that they don't care. They believe they'll get our support because they've always gotten it — the ultimate in entitlement. In this, they are as corrupt as the corporate fat cats who fill them with campaign cash. Eighteen Senate Democrats voted for the 2005 bankruptcy reform bill, widely seen as a payoff to the credit card industry for years of hard lobbying and campaign largesse. And, in fact, The Washington Post reported that those 18 Democrats received an average of $12,600 more in industry campaign contributions than the Republicans who voted for the bill, and $31,000 more than the Democrats who voted against it.
In other words, Tweedledum and Tweedledee. A recent CNN poll showed Nader with six percent of the vote, which could make all the difference in the world in November. A poll analysis site called Fivethirtyeight.com, which doesn't include independent candidates, shows Obama winning the election by tenths of points. (Though on June 8, it did post an interesting commentary about Nader hurting McCain more than Obama.)
The only drawback to Nader costing Obama the election? The Democrats are so out of touch that they still wouldn't get the hint.
(For the second part of the series, please go here. To read the series from the beginning, please go here.)
For more background on the 2008 campaign, please see these archival posts:
- "Barack Obama: The Edwards Endorsement & What it Means"
- "John McCain and the Republican Right;" and
- "Wolf Blitzer: Is Human Rights More Important than American National Security?"
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