It ain't Nader

The blogosphere and the media whores have all been atwitter over Ralph Nader's decision to run for President again, this time as an independent. Democrats are outraged, calling him every name in the book. Republicans seem to be somewhere between joyful and bemused, but I think they realize that Nader's run this time will be no reprise of 2000, and are just putting as hopeful a spin on it as they can.

But folks, Nader's not the problem, and never has been.

Nader has never cost the Democratic party a single seat in Congress. Nader has never cost the Democratic party a single statehouse. Nader has never appointed a Supreme Court Justice, or any judge for that matter. Even if we assume that Nader did cost the Democratic party the White House in 2000, he didn't cost us the Senate in 2002, and certainly didn't cause us to repeatedly lose seats in the House.

We did it to ourselves.

The Democratic party leadership has to take part of the blame, certainly. The congressional leadership's decision to take Iraq off the table prior to the 2002 elections was a disastrous one, and their deference to the current President over the last 3 years has done huge damage, not just to the party, but to the nation as a whole. About the only thing they've done that's been worth a damn has been to stop a handful of judges from being confirmed, and two of those have been seated anyway thanks to recess appointments.

Nader didn't have anything to do with any of that.

So leave him alone. For the record, I don't like the guy. I think he's a legend in his own mind who once, long ago, was a pretty good consumer advocate. And I think he's an easy scapegoat.

Problem with scapegoats is that once you find one, you stop looking for the source of the shitpile you found yourself in to begin with.

The Democratic party is in a shitpile of its own making. We've run sorry campaigns. We've gotten away from our core values--values, I might remind you, that gave us dominance--not just majorities, dominance--in the Congress in years past. We went corporate, and forgot that the Democratic party was the party of the working people, and that the Republican party was the party of the fatcats. And worst of all, we tried to be just like Clinton.

Folks, Clinton was an anomaly. He was a master of seduction. Sid Blumenthal recounts in The Clinton Wars how Clinton seduced Newt Gingrich into bi-partisanship more than once--Gingrich! Clinton was the consummate politician, and all you have to do to realize just how unique he was is look at the lack of success of those who have tried to emulate him. Al Gore. Joe Lieberman. Tony Blair. The list could go on and on.

There's not going to be another Clinton anytime soon from the look of things, and honestly, I don't want another one. I want the Democratic party to return to its roots. I want it to protect unions again. I want it to rein in corporate America again. I want it to protect those who need protection the most. But most importantly, I want it to be progressive again, taking the fight to the Republican party on issues that affect the rights of all citizens and looking out for all of us, and not just a priviliged few. The American people agree with the Democrats on the issues--poll after poll shows this--and yet the party has sold out again and again and again, and we won't be a strong party again until we recognize what our problem is and what we have to do to solve it.

The Democratic party has problems, folks, but Ralph Nader ain't one of them.

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