FUCK RALPH NADER
by Bill Weinberg
Excuse me, I would just like to say something.
Fuck Ralph Nader. OK?
I went to bat for him in '00, interviewing him for a national magazine and
promoting him in liberal fora where I took gobs of abuse for not toeing the
anyone-but-Bush line. I did so despite my misgivings about his flirtation
with Pat Buchanan and the nativist right. And I still don't regret it
because I believed it was the tactically correct thing to do at the time.
But the result of his bid was an unmitigated disaster: Nader got enough
votes in Florida to be reasonably accused of throwing the election to Bush,
but NOT the five percent needed to win the Green Party federal matching
funds and permanent ballot status.
This time around, I was unimpressed from the first. Nader's '04 bid seemed
more informed by ego than principle. He completely failed to grapple with
the debacle that his '00 campaign was, and his unchanged anti-corporate
rhetoric seemed oblivious to everything which has ensued since 9-11--almost
nothing about the fast-unfolding police state, the anti-immigrant
Now the current edition of Buchanan's American Conservative magazine
features an interview with Nader by Pat himself, in which Ralph does
nothing to disassociate himself from Pat's evil politics. In fact, Pat dogs
Ralph to take an anti-immigrant stance, and Ralph finally breaks down,
saying he opposes an amnesty because it would give "a green light to cross
the border illegally." He also happily spews the Buchananite Jew-baiting
wag-the-dog theory that US foreign policy is secretly controlled from Tel
Aviv, decrying the "congressional and White House puppets to Israeli
military policy." Ugly stuff indeed.
Worse yet, Nader also gave an address at a January conference in New
Hampshire of the Committee for a Unified Independent Party, latest
incarnation of the creepy therapy cult run by Fred Newman and fronted by
Lenora Fulani (formerly the New Alliance Party), which has been wooing both
Nader and Buchanan. Fulani was a co-chair of Buchanan's presidential
campaign with the Reform Party last time around. (Doug Ireland in The
Nation, January 4)
I should make clear that I am not opposed in principle to a populist
alliance that incorporates alienated conservatives. We can unify with
conservatives around protecting the Bill of Rights, opposing Free Trade,
etc. But there has to be crystal clarity on the areas where we disagree,
not obfuscation or acquiescence. And there can be NO compromise on opposing
racism--which means NO alliance with an avowed racist such as Buchanan. For
me, an important reason to support Ralph in '00 was precisely that he was
stealing the populist fire from Buchanan. The notion of an alliance between
the two seems to me as absurd as one between Henry Wallace and Strom
Thurmond in '48.
Yet that is very nearly what is happening. This time, Buchanan's (and Ross
Perot's) former vehicle the Reform Party is backing Nader. The Green
Party--which Nader never joined despite running on its ticket last time--is
still deciding whether to endorse him, and some state chapters have already
dumped him. So it seems his candidacy will do nothing to help build an
explicitly anti-racist populist movement, which some of us hoped the Greens
might represent. On the contrary, it could well assist the forces of racist
I should also make clear that I am not arguing the standard liberal
Nader-is-a-spoiler line. Nader did not steal my vote from Gore last
time--he wooed a former abstentionist back to the polls. This year he has
confirmed my abstentionism. Neither he nor Kerry--who supports expansion of
the Iraq war--will get my vote.
Fuck Ralph Nader.
I just wanted to get that off my chest.
Special to WORLD WAR 3 REPORT, June 10, 2004
Reprinting permissible with attribution