Why Ralph Nader Still Matters and You Democrats Can Bite Me

On Sunday, July 13th, Ralph Nader came back to Charlottesville. Not to UVa’s grand Old Cabell Hall as he did in 2000, but to the cushy confines of the relatively diminutive Gravity Lounge.

Rolling up to the Lounge about an hour behind schedule, Nader was interviewed by local media for fifteen minutes before taking the stage. The man does not dodge questions. This seemed to make the newspeople a little uneasy.


Ralph Nader is every bit the candidate I voted for in 2000, the same guy who has been at it for decades now, a tireless citizen activist who makes too much sense to be admitted to the corporate media’s sandbox wasteland.

Nader’s message is honed to a fine point: “corporate well-being” and “citizen well-being” are two disparate and all-too-often opposed realities. For the country to be spared imminent collapse, massive reform will be necessary, and much of this will come at the expense of corporate welfare. Sorry guys.

It’s true. It’s profound. It’s eloquently related by the unquenchable Ralph.

Nader’s screed careens from the presidency of George Bush, “the man with a militarist messiah complex who is still trying to impress his father,” to harsh criticisms of the big money B.S. both McCain and Obama promise to bring to the White House.

It needs to be said, and that’s why Nader still matters. Does he think he’s going to be president? No way. (Not in this cockamamie country where ignorance is considered a virtue.) But do we need to hear his voice? Hell, yeah. As he points out, every major social change in this country – from slavery to suffrage to civil rights – was preceded by decades of activism by small groups that never won national office. The fact is, without the Naders, there would be no populism in government at all. Somebody needs to move the debate from the demands of the wealthy to the requirements of the people.

That being said, will I vote for him? I doubt it. I want him to run, I want him to debate, I want him to be there, but I don’t want him to spoil the kitty.

And while we’re on the subject, anyone who claims Nader threw the election in 2000 for Al Gore is delusional. More Democrats voted for Bush than Nader in 2000. Why not blame them? Besides, Gore didn’t run as an environmentalist “radical” and reformer, he ran as a moderate milquetoast Democrat, the kind that always lose elections because they ignore the truly liberal part of their base. His running mate was Joe Lieberman, for chrissakes! Say no more.

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19 Responses to “Why Ralph Nader Still Matters and You Democrats Can Bite Me”

  1. 40 years on the mic. Best accomplishment, seat belts in cars. That was good. The unintended consiquence, more mindless people on the planet, more need for resources. Isn’t that the big problem?

  2. Yeah, if the stupid people could all just expire, things would be better. Bigots, greedy fucks, violent shitheads, racists, close-minded mudpiles, wastrels and oh, I don’t know… big game hunters. We could do without those bastards at least.

  3. So maybe Dick F. C. had a point. May his friend said something really studid and diserved to get a load of birdshot up his nose.

  4. cripsyduck Says:

    Didn’t kill him though. Bad shot.

  5. I sooo love Nader, but had to miss his gig in Cville ( 😦 ) due to unforeseen circumstances. He is kind of like that crazy uncle, but unlike mine, one who’s lucid & rational. I attended his awesome rally in ’02 in Long Beach, CA (where the inimitable Patti Smith happened to perform that night! Joy!) I mostly agree with him, but must admit, I’m so desperate to escape Bush-capades, that I’m going to vote Barack this time around. While McCain is a step up from Bush (just!) it’s time we correct all the mischief that the Bush Administration hath wrought on this USA. And that’s a LOT!

  6. cripsyduck Says:

    I’m right there with you, a.s.k.

  7. barndoor cowlegs Says:

    Good ol’ Ralph, I voted for him 2000, too bad he strayed from the greens though, people power might be more effective. True that the only thing that’s gonna save this country is major change, I saw screw reform, let’s have radical change. By the way EVERY minor party candidate got enough votes to screw with Gore’s tally in Fla. 2000. I say we need more votes for more real candidates, ObaMaCain supports same policies this country has had for 60 years, internationally and economically. Take some issue with Ralph on third parties (plural) apart from abolition the only party effecting actual policies- Socialist Party brought up women’s suffrage, child labor law, 40 hour work week, social security, end to jim crow, civil rights DECADES before the major parties got around to it. Eugene Debs got 1,000,000 votes for president while in jail for opposing WW1 (lots of deaths of poor folks for lots of capitalists to get lots of gold). Why are folks soooo afraid of voting for the best candidates just because they aren’t part of RepubliCrat system? The only way to influence the two parties is to threaten to siphon some of their votes, hopefully making them take a harder look at actual policy changes. I wish someone would do that to Tim Kaine, with no force threatening to siphon votes, he sides with Repubs and big money from Dominion Power to fuck up Wise county real bad with nasty coal mining opps, despite a mile long petition and constant attention from a lot o’ folks, he can still ignore it all without someone challenging his claim to represent the left in Va. Yikes, off topic, sorry. Nowadays SP-USA wants radical bottom up democracy, worker control of corporations, transition to real democratic socialism-Not Reform, what’s the use in that? Can’t work with the capitalists to improve citizen well being

  8. barndoor cowlegs Says:

    sorry, got sidetracked, I think Cripsy, Vote for who you think the best candidate is, that’s when your vote actually counts, show Obama that he doesn’t have a blank check from the left to keep U$ troops and corporations in Iraq, support I$rael at all costs, give us a bullshit health plan and generally support the same old policies we’ve had since Reagan. I say to anyone, vote Ralph Nader, Brian Moore, Cynthia McKinney or Bob Barr(god help us!), those are real choices where your vote counts for something, if Obama or McCain can’t win because of one of these disadvantaged candidates, then they aren’t worth a fuck in the first place, if Obamas chances in VA are hindered by Cripsy Duck or Barndoor Cowlegs, A.S.K. or Dog Breath or whoever, then he is doing something wrong! Sorry bout the long windedness, but it’s my first response to your page, plus I DO have Cowlegs.

  9. It’s Boy,….. B…o…y…DogBoy!

    Barndoor- Thanks for acknowledging that we should vote for who we think the best candidate is, which just happens to be a totally (in post renaissance history) American centered practice. I will take it that you understand the inherent danger in that practice though. Your beloved SP-USA, who granted did influence the changes that for the most part are laudable but some were real long term problem causers also, at the same time were heavily supporting Lenin and influencing positive reporting here on his activities ( Depicted in the move REDS – Hollywood loves ‘um some reds). Lenin was a big believer in letting the population vote for whom ever they though was the best candidate, as long as it was him or someone he picked. We, at least if your over 35 you have a good shot of knowing, all know of the non-existent freedoms, death and hardship that communism put Russia through( not that the Czar was any great leader bring up the circumstances of the peasant class but he was never accused of doing the things the communist did do. I believe Stalin killed 60 million or that’s the number I’ve heard. Let’s say for a compromise only a 1/5 of that number is the correct count, so 12 million’s the number, great!). The bright note and what I am trying in my own pathetic way to get across is that the inherent danger in allowing the population to vote for whom ever the feel is the best candidate is you get who we get. Be it Carter, Regan, Bush, or Sloppy McFucknucle. From you piece I imagine that you would agree that the population of this country is so uneducated and beholden to Satan that you would accept a more progressive election process. I think this is what you’re talking about then, where by the most intelligent among us would preview candidates based on very arduous and specific criteria. Then a release would be made, over the internet, so that we Americans could vette these American heroes who have met these criteria and have the vision and skill to lead our country to hope, fairness, and prosperity for all. Que the fanfare! You know that kind of thing has worked really well for such wonderful places as China, most all of Africa, it was state of the art in the eastern block before the USSR fell, and ol’ Hugo down in Venezuela thinks it’s the best way to turn that country around. He learned it from his buddy Fidel.

    You need to remind yourselves that you would not even be allowed write or to make any comment about these topics if you really put SP-USA full platform of ideas into place. It starts with political correctness then it becomes treason or something. Look at the news stories about what China is and has done to suppress any possible free expression of ideas at the Olympics that make them uncomfortable.

    I agree, war is a bad thing, that people disagree on just about everything, there are a lot of people who really really hate hate hate the president, just like they have in the past and will in the future. I understand how guilty you feel when you see that ad on TV, the one with the grey haired Grizzly Adams lookin’ guy ,standing next to an open ditch crap pool, in some well run socialist country (where fairness is mandated by the government – so that life sucks for everyone equally- except if your in the government) pointing at the filthy doe eyed girl standing in raw sewage up to her knees, talking at you, with that disgusted look in his eyes, like if he could reach though the TV, he would grab you by the neck and throw you in that poop pool, and make you give that girl 100 dollars, you bad bad person for living in a house , driving a car going to work to support your family, you evil bastard you make me sick. Well if it’s really getting to you could always take yourself and your family and move to Uzbekistan and make a real difference.

    When will you learn that Communism fails every time it’s tried. Maybe you are just ignorant of what the SP-USA has been all about from its founding.

    Senior Duck, my deepest apologies for my wind. I, as I hope you can imagine, had a very hard time resisting a reply to the last two post. Ban me if you must.

  10. cripsyduck Says:

    OK. Wow. First, Cowlips, coming at our leaders from the outside is NOT the only way to create change. In fact, big changes only happen after years of agitation by outside groups who eventually make inroads INTO the party in power. So, pulling the Democratic party to the left seems more feasible than starting some radical revolutionary group on the fringes. I know Obama is a massively centrist Democrat. I have no delusions here. But he’s given me reason to believe that he might be one of those politicians who actually hears the things that are said to him, that actually has a sense of history and duty. I may be entirely wrong. But it’s worth a shot. He’s the first inspiring presidential candidate in my lifetime. I wanna give him a chance. I don’t think threatening 1/10th of a percent of his vote tally is gonna get you very far.

    And Scooby, you silly bunt. He said “Socialist,” not “Communist.” Two entirely different animals. And whatever they’re peddling, it’s better than the Friedman “free” market imperial bullshit we’ve had forced down our throats since Ike’s infamous “military-industrial-complex” assement.

    Nader told a story about his father at this rally. When he was young, he asked his dad if capitalism would ever fail. His dad said no, because “Socialism will always be there to save it.”

    Fannie Mae, anyone?

  11. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics! So much for “socialism”. But ya know socialism has worked real well in Europe. Where is that other place where I can go shop in three different stores for $300’s worth of well taylored suite stuff (2 pants and a jacket), that fits my lard ass frame, find american made product, for $115 after discount coupons? I like me some imperialism if I can buy what I need to get a hot job on an unemployment benfit income. Yea, yea, I did mention that there was some good …. and bad. I am just not hearing much plesant said about all the good we have vs. the crapastan that the majority of the rest of the world lives in. And before you go all “corporate imperialism” over yourself, I know you know how much US tax dollars are given away to the rest of the planet each year, check out how much personal chariable giving RICH citizens and “Uber” corps. dole (hee hee I said Dole – wanna bannana?) out yearly. We suck, we’re totally evil, and we’re so going to fuck you hard; here have some cash. Logic, we don’t need no stinkin’ logic.

    Oh, Fannie May was started to give the disenfancisised po’ folk a chance to own a home. One of the original wellfare programs in this country, set up as a private entity to avoid any corrupting influance of government. Great idea but after the S&L melt down ( Fannie and Freddies clients by the programs design) they should have been shut down. Crap, why does everything led me back to John McCrapinmypants??? Oh, thats right, he’s a Senitor.

  12. Hey hey now Barndoor, I know I’ve got a big mouth & have been accused of many things in my life, but one thing’s fer sure, I ain’t no Obama hinderer! Heck no….why that would imply I’m some sorta McCain booster. I shudder at the thought…

  13. barndoor cowlegs Says:

    Wow folks! good stuff but seriously, the Soviet Union was as socialist as the DDR(Communist East Germany) was democratic, just using a happy name to describe a totalitarian state doesn’t make it any less totalitarian. I think if you found the time to understand the egalitarian principles behind democratic socialism you might find that SP USA is really touchy about communism and spends a lot of time separating itself from top down governance and state and/or military dictatorship. The socialist party in America remained socialist as opposed to communist in a very famous split during the Russian revolution, and is depicted in the movie “Reds”, seems odd to use a reference to a movie to back your point when it does the opposite. So to sum up, Socialism is about democratic control of institutions and workplaces, from the bottom up. The party encourages dissent and debate and has an intense lean towards historical accuracies and actual truths, as in Stalin was deplorable, so was Mao and Cuba accepted Castro’s dictatatorship mainly because of U$ sabotage and terror war right from the get go. I think Hugo chavez rox, and has done a lot for Venezuela, and Morales in Bolivia has worked really hard to makehis country a better place, despite strong U$ corporate and military opposition. Power to the people-dude…
    As for your vote, I liken the vote for who you want as long as it’s one of two people is a lot like Leninist Russia, only with two choices supporting the same policies instead of one. Obama stands for continued and added troops and corporations in Afganistan, and likely Iraq, mark my words. I like Obama ok enough, but I think some pressure from the left is warranted, look how hard the guy is running to the center now, see how far to the right he crosses into.

  14. Wow! Barndoor you really should use other sources than the SP revisionist history propaganda, especially the end of REDS. The SP got burned by supporting the revolution and when Uncle Joe started to do his thing, they withdrew their support in a hurry, so that they could survive as a political party, not to do the right thing. Oh, but guess what, WWII came along and gave them cover! The SP’ers that had gotten in to Roosevelt’s administration pushed for us to support the poor “Russians” against that evil Hitler (The two front strategy was very important in taking away quickly the Germans ability to fight, which was important for the politicians of the day. They were starting to feel pressure from; you guessed it, those who wanted the fighting to stop at any cost. “Britain is no longer under assault, let Hitler have Europe, it doesn’t concern us.” Read some of Lindbergh’s speeches from the time. We are all familiar with that perspective, even today.) and where also the people behind discrediting Patton’s assessment of the danger of a fully militarized USSR. Imagine the savings in NOT having to fight the cold war, Korea, and Vietnam! All that money, hell JBL’s great society would have had more than enough money to succeed in the initial time frame, instead we’ve had to keep those welfare programs in place, ‘cause we just can’t get us no justice. So, truth be known, the ACTIONS of your precious SP and those who hold the same views, it can be argued, have led to the deplorable conditions you say we find ourselves in now and you want to tell me democratic socialism is the answer? Go sniff your hind end cheese curd for brains. Intentions only count when you’re playing with handgranades. Why don’t we tell all the indigent on welfare that we intend to give them a better way of life… oh, sorry, that’s what were doing. Yea Ra Socialism. I can feel that homey warmth of that gulag. Can’t wait.

  15. cripsyduck Says:

    Welfare? Are we talking about Exxon again?

  16. If its good enough for the people and the people own most corporations, so it would only make sense …….

  17. cripsyduck Says:

    No, people don’t own corporations, just a select few persons. And they are answerable to no one – true, top down tyranny! Awesome! Let’s give them all the welfare they can soak up. Privatize those profits and socialize those losses! Woohoo! Middle class schmiddle class. We need a few more fabulously wealthy folks. Because one helicopter, private jet, 200 foot yacht, or football team is never enough for the average billionaire.

  18. I would guess that members of pension funds (the California Public Employees Retirement System, the largest U.S. pension fund, serves about 687,000 members), those who beleave insurance is important ( a couple hundred million individuals, this includes health insurance by the way), and those who hold mutual funds in their 401k’s would disagree with you as to their “select” status.

  19. barndoor cowlegs Says:

    cheese kurds for brains, yummy, see ya in the gulag comrade, everybody on the left got burned by stalin, USA commies as well as socialists, WW2 was a human catastrophe by any standard, maybe even avoided, but that’s a different subject, SP supported Vietnam which I believe was a big mistake, as do many current members. Though i didn’t really follow the rest of your schtick, I think action on Social Security, Child Labor law, 40 hour work week was a good thing, hard to think that having sick, underpaid children would somehow help society. Take a look at denmark for an example of something resembling socialism, though no real fully socialist society exists, denmark looks pretty nice these days, maybe i’ll head there when my kid is older, no gulag there, plenty o’ free speech too, remember the mohammed cartoon? welp off to sniff my hind end cheese kurds but one question-
    anybody know why Nader not in Green Party and is running as an independent?

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