Ralph Nader: The
by Bradford Shaw
Ralph Nader has been a respected consumer advocate for many
decades. His seemingly tireless work for safety has undoubtedly
saved many lives. His honest demeanor and lack of corporate
fear are breathtaking and awe-inspiring. So why do I think
that Ralph Nader has ruined our country for the next four
years just for his own ego? The answer to that question was
in his own attitude and behavior during campaign 2000.
It was unfortunately clear after watching Mr. Nader appear
at venue after venue, reciting the same dialogue again and
again, that the valiant effort that he was making in his run
for the presidency was nothing more than a gigantic ego trip.
I can recall specific instances when I personally observed
Mr. Nader in several interview formats with different hosts,
dodging questions in favor of lengthy attacks on the opposing
candidates. He simply would take a question and integrate
For example, I remember a talk show host asking him how he
expected to govern in Washington with no political support
such as what is built in for the Democrats and Republicans
in the Senate and House of Representatives. His answer was
an attack on the status quo, putting down both parties as
corrupt and out-dated. The host pressed Mr. Nader for an in-depth
answer, and received a more lengthy filibuster on bad, bad
Al Gore and mean, stupid GW and how both parties had ruined
the environment and the economy.
That was when I began to wonder which planet he thought he
was from. Al Gore and George Bush the same where the environment
was concerned? Didn't he read "Earth in the Balance"?
The Democrats had ruined the economy? Does the man have access
to a newspaper or the Internet, or perhaps public record?
Didn't he make a slew of money during the Clinton years just
the same as the ungrateful Republicans?
On the Hardball College Tour, Nader responded to Chris Matthews'
questions in pre-formed diatribe fashion directly to the audience.
His responses to what seemed like logical questions turned
into joint and several tirades against anything remotely connected
to business or industry. That was when I began to question
his grip on his immediate reality. I wondered if he had slipped
into an idiot-savant programming mode, with pre-formed sound
bites ready for all occasions. Chris Matthews, in his off-putting
forceful high-pitched way, finally got Mr. Nader to admit
that there was really no hope for his campaign, and that his
mighty effort in the 2000 election was to try to establish
the Green party as a legitimate national political force to
be dealt with. Not to mention the possibility of matching
funds for his political machine.
Again during an appearance on Politically Incorrect with
Bill Maher during the campaign, the Green party candidate
was found to be consistently responding with attacks, not
practical solutions. He gave the impression that he wouldn't
really know what to do with the Presidency if it fell in his
lap, but he would know what to tell Al Gore and GW if they
won the election.
So again it seems to point the finger at ego. Ralph thought
that by his powerful personal drive and ambition, that he
could single-handedly put the Green party on the map. He appeared
to expect all good Americans to listen and believe all that
he said as Gospel, even if it flew in the face of logic and
reason, as we knew it. He knew that he could convince us that
the people that we backed with our money and votes were corrupt
and worthless. He would find and expose every immoral and
illegal weakness that he could in both opposing parties. His
righteousness and selflessness would reveal the truth even
if the results were ugly and brutal.
Well the trouble with that was that the majority of people
thought he was full of bull, and proceeded to dismiss him
as a leftist wacko. His redirection of focus away from any
plan that he may have formed had the effect of giving the
impression that the man was simply a complainer without any
proposal for a remedy.
Here's my impression of his plan, as it were, so to speak.
First, get about ten to fifteen percent of the national vote
in order to qualify for matching funds. Second, establish
Green party candidates in State and local elections with some
of the money. Third, stay on the forefront of the news throughout
the next four years, complaining about everything under the
sun related to political issues and personalities. Fourth,
secure his place as party leader and founding father on the
national scene, placing his people in high ranking and influential
positions within the Green party hierarchy. Fifth, using his
influence, secure another gigantic ego stroke in the year
2004, as the number one left wing candidate representing the
growing force that is the mighty Green party in the presidential
race.That way he would be absolutely guaranteed to have a
captive audience to follow his every word. His massive throngs
of enthusiastic followers would help the world to finally
realize that he indeed is really right about everything. He
is the all-knowing, all seeing, truth teller of the new age.
Well thank God that a funny thing happened on the way to
the food co-op, he didn't make the minimum number of votes
for the big bucks! With his campaign in shambles, his bid
for federal funds quashed, and his ego slightly bruised, it
behooves us to reexamine his current and future legacy.
Initially it is important to note that whatever Al Gore may
or may not have done in the 2000 race for the Whitehouse,
if Ralph Nader had checked his ego at the political door,
we would still be calling GW Governor, and Al Gore wouldn't
have needed a moving truck as well as a four year supply of
Maalox and Motrin for those special "Bush" moments
we all have to live through now.Nader says that Gore lost
the election on his own, but if Ralph stayed home, could he
still say that today? The answer is obvious.
Thank you Ralph for the gift of George Bush the second as
our President-select. Now as to the future legacy left to
us in addition to a shrub in the Whitehouse instead of outside
where it belongs, we have Mr. Nader to look forward to for
the next four years. Four years of him telling us about how
evil the Washington crowd are, and how corrupt this administration
He will undoubtedly go on and on about the ruination of our
environment and working class.
He will preach to us of our ineptitude in our political choices
He will protest and shout about the anti-environmental positions
of the Republican administration.
He will testify and write and oppose the Bush administration.
An administration that he himself helped give birth to.
Thanks Ralph, you are an anti-hero's anti-hero!