The news broke way earlier today that Ralph Nader had chosen Peter Camejo as his running mate. Speculation is rampant that he chose Camejo in hopes of snaring the Green Party nomination (the same nomination he announced he wouldn't be seeking months ago, but whatever) and gaining the ballot access they can provide him, ballot access that's been more difficult to gain than he probably imagined it would be back when he announced.
Nader has come in for a lot of criticism from members of the Democratic party over the last few years, some of it justified, most of it not in my opinion, but the anger so many are tossing his way these days really is unjustified, and here's why.
Let's start with a couple of questions--are the people who normally vote Green happy with the choice of John Kerry happy with him as the nominee? Probably not. Hell, I'm a Democrat and Kerry was fourth or lower on my list of choices.
Are those Greens who voted for Nader back in 2000 going to vote for him this time around if Kerry doesn't adopt some sort of ideologically pure stances before November? Maybe--but I'm guessing that after four years of Bush/Cheney, they, like many other Democrats will suck it up and vote against Bush instead of for Nader. And make no mistake about it--for the Progressive wing of the Democratic party, this is indeed a vote against Bush, not for Kerry.
We have a choice this November--a continuation of the current administration, one that seeks to destroy the wall between church and state; that wants to eliminate many civil liberties; that starts wars because it wants to, not needs to; and that seeks to make the executive branch supreme and unaccountable to either the Congress or the courts; or we have John Kerry, who ain't great, but he ain't evil (at least he doesn't seem to be yet).
Like it or not, them's the choices. Most Greens, I suspect, realize this, and will suck it up and do what they feel they must this time around, and for that, I will thank them profusely and will support their candidates for other races when I think they're the best people for the job.
It's generally poor political strategy as a voter or advocacy group to acknowledge that a particular politician has your vote even if he/she shits in your cereal. Kerry's just the lucky recipient of this particular place and time.
He reminds me of Edwin Edwards in 1991 when he got lucky enough to run against David Duke for the Louisiana governorship. Bush raises Duke-like ire in the hearts of many progressives, and whether we like Kerry or not, we're voting for him because the alternative is too horrible to conceive.
I started out talking about Nader and Camejo and wound up deserting them. There's a reason for that--regardless of ballot access, regardless of media speculation, regardless of poll numbers, when the time comes Nader and Camejo will not be an issue. The stakes are just too high this time around.