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Arthur Silber Trounces Ralph Nader's New Column

Submitted by: wendy davis 2012-07-15 22:58:09


Yep; 'On Second Thought, It Is All Nader's Fault'.

Nader's piece of crap piece is here.  He is seriously making the case that the Dems can be saved but for...wait for it...cowardice.  In the face of Big Bad Corporatist, Warmongering, War-funding Republicans...Democrats have lost their former Harry Truman-esque BALLS.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/07/06/the-serial-ineptitude-of-the-democrats/

"One would think that politicians who side with big corporations would be politically vulnerable for endangering both America and the American people. These corrupt politicians promote corporate tax loopholes and side with insurance and drug companies on costly health care proposals. They defend the corporate polluters on their unsafe workplaces, dirty air, water and contaminated food, push for more deficit spending in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, neglect Main Street based public works-repair-America-jobs programs, support high-interest student loans, cover for oil industry greed at the pump, and are hell-bent on taking the federal cops off the corporate crime beats."

Trouble is, he's talking about Republican leaders.



Comments  

 
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[-] lazy kgb 2012-07-16 08:59   (permalink)
I always kind of thought Nader was an idiot.

Never understood what folks saw in him.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-16 09:20   (permalink)
Replying to: lazy kgb
He does look like he sleeps in a casket, lol, so there's that. But shoot, I voted for him in 2000.

His long history in consumer rights, the great work Nader's Raiders did, and his creation of Public Citizen, which is still strong. And he was one of the earliest to point out how this place is being run by corporate power.

Pretty strong on environmental issues, dunno what all. But all that makes this shit look like he's sincerely suffering from dementia.

I can't say I've spent much time tryin' to figure out what the hell all this is about...but it's just plain NUTZ, imo. At the same time people are saying he kinda/sorta either did or didn't...endorse Rocky Anderson (I think).
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[-] lazy kgb 2012-07-16 13:20   (permalink)
Replying to: wendy davis
Yeah. His consumer rights stuff was pretty decent - never quite translated into his political persona in a way that made sense to me though. To me he often seemed like positions/responses outside his area of comfort were often formed off-the-cuff and not particularly well thought through - adding to the impression for me was that he didn't seem to have a clearly defined area of comfort.

Both he an Perot ended up leaving me with an uneasy feeling regarding 4th Amendment/police state type stuff. I'm getting the two jumbled in my head a bit so not sure specifically why so for Nader at the moment.

These days, I sort of get the impression he's become angry. This shit kind of reminds me when McCain totally flipped out.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-16 13:47   (permalink)
Replying to: lazy kgb
I didn't particularly think he was great, but given his stance against corporatism, far better a chance to take, I thought, than Mr. DLC Gore. And yeeks: Lieberman for Veep? (Had to look it up; he's always flipped me out.

Don't remember about him and 4th Amendment issues, really. But not a lofty thinker, or good communicator, but looks what that's brought us.
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[-] juliania 2012-07-16 09:41   (permalink)
I'm puzzled, Wendy. I went to your link and read the piece, and I don't come to the conclusion you come to. It seems rather that this is the strongest anti-Democratic party rhetoric I have seen from Mr. Nader, premised upon the following early paragraph:

"But their political castration occurred in the late seventies when the Democrats were persuaded by one of their own, Congressman Tony Coelho (D-Calif.), to start aggressively bidding for corporate campaign cash."

Maybe that doesn't seem a harsh enough indictment (I will read the Silberman blog next) but it is, isn't it, all about greed?

My vote for Nader in the 2000 race is still the one I most treasure as being true to what was important at the time.
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[-] juliania 2012-07-16 09:52   (permalink)
Well, I looked at your link, Wendy, and again I am puzzled. There are admittedly stronger things Mr. Nader could be saying about the Democrats, but to my mind he has linked them with hoops of steel to everything that the Republicans are doing. Mr. Silberman says:

"...the purpose of Nader's column is to "save" the Democrats from what he perceives as self-immolation. "

I don't find that to be the purpose of the column at all. I find it to be a discourse on what the Democrats have been doing and will continue to do in the future, which is glom onto the Republican playbook. Where is the saving? When he talks about the bright line being a domestic one - there is no discovery of brightness in the piece, none whatsoever.

It's true he doesn't go into the horrors we all see ongoing in international affairs. He's always been about domestic policy. But also, he's tried very hard in the past to bring the Democrats to their senses, as a practical matter. I don't see a piece entitled "Serial Ineptitude" as being that. When Ralph indicts on domestic policy, and he does here, that's the nitty gritty for him, what he has dedicated his life to improving.

So, I don't think the Silberman piece is fair. Sorry, just my opinion.
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[-] lazy kgb 2012-07-16 13:45   (permalink)
Replying to: juliania
I don't see Nader linking them with a wet-noodle, let alone Hoops of steel. I totally see where Silberman is coming from. I mean, look at Nader's conclusion.
Quote:
Who’s fooling whom? The coming days await a new and open jolting push by prominent outside Democrats who fervently want to wrench their party back from the abyss, from its own self-imposed sense of dread before a devastating, self-inflicted November defeat.


Doesn't that pretty much explicitly say Nader's point is to encourage prominent outside Democrats to act on his advice and save themselves from self-inflicted defeat? I propose "self-immolation" is a viable synonym for "self-inflicted defeat."

Throughout, Nader casts the Democrats as victims. Defeatists. People who want something other than what the bad-old Republicans do but just somehow don't reach out their little hands and use the power voters have given them to make it happen. Tortured souls ... wracked by those evil GOPers.

Nowhere does his column ponder the idea of Democrats as empowered actors consciously making choices and intentionally shaping the very outcomes Nader heaps a desire for exclusively on those in the Republican party. Sure, we hear about the obstinate Coburn. But what about that time when Obama himself organized a filibuster against the liberals in his own party on HCR? What about Ben Nelson or Blanche Lincoln? Or any of a host of other "centrist" Democrats who stepped up to the plate when back-room White House dealings required a few insiders to tear defeat from the jaws of victory for their colleagues in congress.

Nope. Just an innocent combination of whipped-cowardly and inept ... a powerless force for good in the face of GOP evil.

You don't think that seems a bit .... ummmm ... childlike ... in it's analysis of the problem with the Democratic party?
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[-] juliania 2012-07-17 06:58   (permalink)
Replying to: lazy kgb
Okay, that's a good defense of the outrage, kgb. To me, the indictment comes at the beginning of Nader's piece, which to me presented the 'frog in hot water' scenario that I think did cause the shift into sameness for the Democratic party, so that money in politics became the uniting force.

No, I don't think it is childlike but more of a presentation of how these entanglements happen to politicians who have had past moments of glory - I didn't see it as you did on my reading, but certainly the tendency to whitewash and overlook serious present 'cooked frogness' is worth calling out, so I take your point on that.

I don't, though, think of the Democrats as 'empowered actors', though I do think of Obama in that way. I think of Congress as totally entrapped by the manner in which they chose to do their business, so that they have become virtual nonentities, Republican stooges. And yes, there have always been bad actors among them.

I agree with you on Obama, and I think Nader does as well. I will have to research, but I am remembering a fairly recent interview with Amy Goodman where he said as much.

And in the quote you present, all I see to be quarreled with is that he is calling on 'prominent outside Democrats' to speak out as they did when Bush and his crew were running the show. That was Al Gore's finest moment, when he did the series of speeches with a clear message against the Bush Doctrine and all of the other imperial moves of the Bush presidency.

Maybe Nader is a weak Cassandra, but he is at least that. Nowhere in his article does he call for voters to choose the lesser evil; that I would castigate as much as the next guy.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-16 13:53   (permalink)
Replying to: juliania
Haven't read it since yesterday or the day before, but as I remember it, the core was about Dems being 'cowardly, weak', yada yada... Some day folks will get that that's just a pose... Most of them WANT all that's going on. To the extent that they're cowardly, it's only speaking to what they want and what they intend to support.

Often they know exactly how they can vote on an issue ahead of time to still look like they either champion or fight against issues. Whip Counts.

Arthur is indeed furious, but then, he just literally came back from the dead. He announced he wants to make the remaining time he has left...count.

Which is also why he's brought back all the themes in his work pinging off Alice Miller's. Still gotta wake up more...
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-16 14:36   (permalink)
Replying to: wendy davis
Kgb said it ten times more clearly while I was typing away.

And this was most artistically created:

Quote:
Or any of a host of other "centrist" Democrats who stepped up to the plate when back-room White House dealings required a few insiders to tear defeat from the jaws of victory for their colleagues in congress.


(I have to say that switching between this subject and Tess is pretty dislocating, lol.) Still gotta go read Diachronic's poem. ;o)
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-16 15:02   (permalink)
Replying to: juliania
But then, Teddy Partridge has a post up about Romney and Bain, who was at the helm if he weren't, etc., and it ends with this:

Quote:
"If Bain wants their man Mitt in the White House, if Wall Street has decided the non-prosecutorial bent of Team Obama isn’t fealty enough, if the Masters of the Universe want one of their own in the Oval, they can produce these documents and clarify everything."


Guess I won't be the one to ask if the Masters of the Universe don't already have their man in the oval, eh? So...what do I know of political calculations?

Meaning that 'non-prosecutorial' is the only thing OBomba offers them... Yikes.
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[-] aprescoup 2012-07-17 20:22   (permalink)
Replying to: juliania
What I find baffling about Nader (I've always voted for him/written in his name), other than the proposition that only the super rich can save us, is that while advocating for a left/right alliance (arithmetically the only way to depose the status quo) he allied himself with Rocky who, as I understand, refused to ally himself with Jill Stein...
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[-] juliania 2012-07-18 04:57   (permalink)
Replying to: aprescoup
No, aprescoup, my understanding is different (though I confess to wishing there could have been an alliance, whatever the situation actually was.) Michael Cavlan has said several times that it was the Stein campaign which rejected Justice party overtures.

What baffles me is that there is so little, (besides Michael) out there on either campaign outside of the actual websites - from the folk we really want to give input, the current youngperson politicals. I was thinking for instance, that it would have been more interesting to have a Green VP from that generation, fairly young, who could be their spokesperson. Maybe Rocky will choose thataway.

We can't really be critical of their invisibility, though - there's a full court press out there on the nonmentionability of third party options. And incidentally, had Al Gore supported Ralph Nader's right to be included in the debate, he would have won hands down in my opinion. I really am offended by that 'spoiler' tag - it's un-American!
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-18 06:27   (permalink)
Replying to: juliania
Dunno, juliania; I googled briefly on the question this morning, and found this Wm. Kaufman piece that aprescoup has up at his house.

Quote:
"So the obvious questions arise: Is Rocky Anderson serious about building a progressive alternative to the corporate duopoly parties, or is this just another exercise in political jockeying and self-promotion? According to Jill Stein, her campaign held several conference calls with Anderson and his staff in September and October of 2011, exploring grounds for unified action. The main message from the Anderson camp was a desire to conduct a hedged, safe-states campaign that would surge at the polls and then drop out at the last minute in exchange for a cabinet appointment."


Looked at Michael's site, but didn't see anything posted after June 8, and the Blogs tab wouldn't boot for me. I got to wondering about Alan Maki, too, and found an email for him; wondering if I should invite him over.
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[-] aprescoup 2012-07-18 08:50   (permalink)
Replying to: wendy davis
I saw a Alan L Maki posting on In These Times yesterday.
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[-] aprescoup 2012-07-18 08:44   (permalink)
Replying to: juliania
Hey Juliania,

so there are two conflicting narratives and we are stuck double-guessing which is which, while both are frittering away the only chance we have to create the sort of numerical advantage the people need to upturn the 1%'s applecart.

I see both/all of the "parties" —as though the current crisis of kleptocracy had some recent precedent—running vanity campaigns and keeping their cards too close to their chest to be the populists they present themselves as.

Can those who plan to vote for them get involved and force them to openly discuss an alliance, or is that to remain a matter of innuendo?
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[-] juliania 2012-07-18 15:22   (permalink)
Replying to: aprescoup
At this point I wouldn't disagree with you aprescoup, and wendy has presented Jill's side of your take on it, so I would say muddy waters do certainly cloud the issue. I remember an early comment by DW to the effect that it would certainly get things going if the two combined forces, and since they didn't, you certainly get to wonder what is going on behind the scenes.

To my mind, ANY machinations to shift folk to vote Democratic this time around simply will not work. Too much truly bad stuff - I agree with kgb - there will be no holding of noses or putting a peg on it for a vast number of us - I go to various sites I would consider more inclined that way and read the comments - it's across the board a vehement desire NOT to enable anyone of these pigs at the trough.

But who then are we spoilers against if we vote third party? I think you've raised an interesting issue here, and we definitely don't want to be supporting someone whose only aim is to get into Obama's cabinet, so thanks to you both for the distinction.
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[-] juliania 2012-07-17 07:12   (permalink)
I was only able to get this from the June 16th interview with Ralph Nader as Democracynow didn't provide the transcript for the final part of the interview, which I remember as a strong indictment by Nader of Obama - take that for what it is worth. Here's what he did say earlier about Democrats in general:

"But the Democratic Party has become a party of caution, cash and co-optation. And so, they don’t even know a winning humanitarian, moral and political issue if it was put on their desk."

[Please also see my reply to kgb nested above.]
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-17 18:06   (permalink)
Replying to: juliania
So sorry to be late, juliania; long day with chores, and answering comments (slowly as ever) on my DoD Drugs and Detainees cross-post at My.fdl.

No energy left for Nader. Again, so sorry, but we may need to disagree on this one.
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[-] juliania 2012-07-18 05:06   (permalink)
Replying to: wendy davis
Yes, that's fine, wendy. I did go back to Mr. Nader's interview on Democracy now and found the segment to which I was referring - I'll put it on here after I comment.

This is important to me because without Ralph's candidacy in 2000 highlighting the corruption of the electoral process for me, I might have gone along with the Supreme Court debacle in my continuing faith in the American system. Instead, I believe I was better fortified against what was further to come. So, I owe Ralph a huge debt and I am extremely proud of voting for him then.

To attack him at this point serve, as it has here, to divide us from a really important domestic policy argument which Mr. Nader has consistently given his entire life. If we can turn on our own this way, I find it extremely discouraging. I honor Occupy because they put themselves out there, warts and all; and I honor Mr. Nader the same way.

I will give an example of his conversation with Amy Goodman with respect to minimum wage and the Wisconsin debacle, ending with a wrapup on what should have been done and what needs to be done, by a functioning government which this one is not.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-18 07:06   (permalink)
Replying to: juliania
I understand that you reckon you owe him your political awakening. And as I said, I admired him for shaking up the system and speaking early about corporatism. AND for choosing Wynona LaDuke (awesome woman) as a running mate.

As far as 'attacking our own', I'm not sure that we always know who our own is/are. Two pieces at opednews this morning on 1) Anti-ACA hero Wendell Potter and 2) many prominent 'progressives' attacking those activists for single-payer.

Arthur Silber is likely not on many lefties' to-read list, I dunno. Larger readership than a kinda boutique site like this, though. Dunno how many blogsites picked up his piece.

The quotes you pasted in below are better, though the first graph is certainly conventionally correct. The second is definitely a clarion call to open public debate via Presidential debates, but sadly, debates are no longer debates. They're so tightly managed that they're little more than Q and A's with folks in a row on podiums. So now, every candidate hopes to make the Zinger Soundbite that will be played ad nauseum on the (putative) news networks.

But back to his piece at Counterpunch:

IMO, he doesn't get to claim Dems are so different than Republicans by now, so his 'drawing a bright line between the parties' is empty as hell. And this bit:

Quote:
"Unfortunately, on military and foreign policy there isn’t much of a difference. So the bright line will have to be on domestic issues."


He simply can't skitter past Wars of Choice, Empire, war profiteering, war as criminal enterprise siphoning of our tax dollars meaning that the political class can destroy the social safety net, etc. Nor does he mention the untold billions that Dems endorse and fund in the continual buildup of the National Security State run amok, nor call for Dems to restore the Rule of law.

But yes; at least he called out Congressional Dems for dialing for corporate dollars, and advocated for some Keyensian stim programs, and changing the tax system (that's also brought to us by...Democrats.

What did Dems bring to counteract Citizens United? The (arrrg, do nothing) Disclose Act (motion to bring it to a vote defeated, but imo it was more theatrics, even though I've liked Sheldon Whitehouse in the past (even more his journalist wife Connie __).

Nader has another piece up at Counterpunch...on advertising. We'll see what else he writes, does in the future, but his 'Serial Ineptitude' piece...was junk, imo, far more in favor of the idea that Dems could break the status quo if they weren't weak. Nah; they're complicit.
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[-] aprescoup 2012-07-18 09:12   (permalink)
Replying to: wendy davis
For me, wendy, it was the implication of "Only the super rich..." which left me feeling burdizzoid by Ralph.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-18 09:32   (permalink)
Replying to: aprescoup
I clicked the link to that book, aprescoup, read the brief synopsis, and was bumfuzzled at the accolades it received by ?Progressives?...

Some sorta said it was 'visionary satire' or something. Didn't compute.

Dunno who the man is now, but the incidence of Alzheimer's is pretty high, and he's getting pretty old.

I do have an antipathy toward electoral politics any more, so imagining even a great alliance happening AND making a mark seems unlikely, but I'd still like to see it happen. The only candidate diary I ever wrote at fdl was one people wanted to see: the then three Socialist candidates. I confess I don't even remember how the comments went.

And yeppers; I just checked and Alan L. is the Maki we know; I emailed him. We'll see what pops, but I do tend to like strong union figures that are unallied to the big bosses. Don't know much about the MN farm and labor party, but as Propaganda Woman loathed it, I reckoned I might like it. :-*
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-18 09:34   (permalink)
Replying to: wendy davis
Loved 'burdizzoid', by the by. ;o"

Kgb did 'grumpulous' the other day; I love newly minted words. Do it myself here and there. Quinn has a name for them.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-18 10:13   (permalink)
Replying to: aprescoup
LOL; this is great, aprescoups. Had a minute and googled to see if I might find the word 'missling'. Lo and behold, this post of yours popped up. My stars; see who's on it...a few of our friends right here on this thread, and a few of our (well, at least my) detractors. ;o)

Even BlueFloridian.
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[-] juliania 2012-07-18 15:48   (permalink)
Replying to: wendy davis
Yes, I get that all is not always what you see, and as I said below aging does affect politicians - I don't however see this particular essay as inconsistent with the manner in which Nader has always tried to get worthy issues attended to. When he says that 'the bright line will have to be on domestic issues' he's not finding any present bright line! He's saying he wants outside Democrats to give these folks a shaking up so they will become FDR Democrats - and I'm pretty sure he knows, because of their intransigence they will not do so - but he wants that raise in the minimum wage. That, even if you think it isn't important, is an honorable issue he is trying to get passed by a do nothing Congress.

This is different from Wendell Potter backtracking and saying that the system is okay, work with it. I think Ralph knows this might be the only time, before whatever happens in November, to get some of his domestic items passed. The irony is it won't do any good to change anyone's mind in the short term, there's not enough time, but it might be good in the long term, so I say good for you, Ralph. Your heart is in the right place, with poor people who would really benefit from a raise of the minimum wage, and for the economy of the country, the real economy.

I don't think Ralph cares about the politics at this point any more than you do, Wendy. He just wants to get something done.
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[-] juliania 2012-07-18 05:08   (permalink)
Ralph Nader speaking on Democracy Now, June 15,2012:


"...There are two ways immediately to increase economic activity in this country. One is to raise the minimum age. Tens of billions of dollars in consumer purchasing power will invigorate the economy. The second is to launch a "repair America" program, a public works program the way Franklin Delano Roosevelt and others have done in the past, which create good-paying jobs and investment in public facilities, repairing schools, clinics, public transit systems, etc., and jobs that cannot be exported to fascist and communist regimes abroad. The more longer range, of course, is to deal with the tax system, which has a perverse incentive of encouraging companies to go abroad with American jobs, and to do other things that take a little longer.

But, you see, there’s no debate until October, with these hoked-up debates and the predictable questions. And I’ve tried for months to get people around the country to realize: mobilize yourself—in Portland and Chicago and Houston and Miami—and demand presidential debates in your area. Don’t leave it up to this two-party-dominated so-called Commission on Presidential Debates to rig the system. We need a vibrant, multi-month debate process. For heaven’s sake, they had a lot of debates in the primaries. Let’s have more debates earlier between Romney and Obama and third parties like the Green Party and Libertarian Party. What’s—why are they rationing debates in this country? Because they don’t want to arouse the public. They really don’t want to engage the public. They just want to—both parties—dial for these corporate dollars and put these insipid, inane ads on that are not really grounded in any spirit of voter engagement."
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[-] juliania 2012-07-18 05:11   (permalink)
Replying to: juliania
Apologies, that obviously ought to be 'minimum wage' on the first line.

Mr. Nader admittedly has a domestic focus - that has been his life. But he doesn't deserve to be pilloried for that.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-18 06:29   (permalink)
Replying to: juliania
'Raise the minimum RAGE' would work for me. I would subscribe to that point of view. ;o)
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[-] juliania 2012-07-18 15:04   (permalink)
Replying to: wendy davis
Wendy, you asked people to sign a Monsanto rider petition. How is what Mr. Nader is doing any different? He may have different oxen to gore, but he gores them, in my opinion. I really think this thread goes off the deep end, seriously. Mr. Nader has issues, and he lays them out very clearly. He's on the side of workers and his analysis of what went on in Wisconsin is accurate, in my opinion. The recall of the governor came right down to a rerun of the election that put him in, and Mr. Nader makes no bones in the interview about who is at fault for that - the Democrats.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-18 15:11   (permalink)
Replying to: juliania
I suppose the first obvious difference is that I'm a small-time blogger, while Nader ran for President twice, and has a very big megaphone nationally.

Sorry you think this thread has gone off the rails; I wasn't trying to harsh your mellow. It's obviously far more personal to you than I'd known.

I'll desist from further comment.
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[-] juliania 2012-07-18 15:33   (permalink)
Replying to: juliania
I do want to add that indeed should Mr. Nader come out in support of any Democratic candidate at this point, I would not follow him to the slaughterhouse, not ever going to vote that party again. I saw what they did to him - hey, even Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern aged and aged noticeably. You could be right, but I still think he deserves respect.

We all get woolly headed after seventy; trust me, I'm living proof. He's not running for president and he has some wise things to say about what's going on right now, so I feel for the guy. Maybe it's a generational thing but anyone who reminds us of FDR is very worthwhile to me.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-19 04:37   (permalink)
Replying to: juliania
Well, he's close to 79, but I went ahead and changed the title of this section; it was snotty, and very disrespectful. I tend to not like Sacred Cows of any stripe, and many former political 'heroes' have done such about faces; this piece seemed like Nader was edging toward that, or worse.

Here's a piece/peace offering for you at Slate on Nader as a hero; it's pretty full of praise. I bumped into it looking for his age.
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[-] juliania 2012-07-19 07:36   (permalink)
Replying to: wendy davis
Thank you, wendy - you're a good egg (hope that doesn't put you off, it is probably one of my kiwi'isms.) We are all so anxious that the word gets out strongly, I think, and Nader does occupy a very closeted niche so just saying Obama's the same as the other guys on foreign policy is probably less than we should be hearing at this point. I can see both sides.

Hope I have as many marbles at 79. Love your third party piece, just love it. What an amazing person that Cheri Honkala - I'm thinking she could be Jill's Rom - the good one. She obviously has stamina, oh my. Now have to do my apologies over yonder plus research Rocky's vp, plus read about Ralph...lotta homework!
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[-] Susie Q 2012-07-18 15:22   (permalink)
testing
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