Preface by Washington’s Blog.
Washington’s Blog is a non-partisan site. We believe that the war between liberals and conservatives is a false divide-and-conquer dog-and-pony show created by the powers that be to keep the American people divided and distracted. See this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this.
Moreover, given that Obama has now reaffirmed the Iraq War, and that both mainstream parties are bankrupt of ethics – and ignoring what people want – we think that cheerleading for Democrats-versus-Republicans is counter-productive.
But – in the spirit of open debate – we are going to try an experiment for one week, allowing progressive writer Eric Zuesse to post whatever he wants. We don’t agree with everything Zuesse posts, but are trying this as an experiment in balance. If a good conservative or libertarian writer wishes equal treatment, we’re happy to give him or her equal time. In the meantime, writers like Charles Hugh Smith certainly provide a strong anti-Keynesian perspective.
Guest post by Eric Zuesse:
Ralph Nader was crucial to George W. Bush’s win in 2000 against Al Gore. Without Nader in that contest, Bush wouldn’t have stood even a chance of winning. Strong action would thus likely have begun against global warming (since Al Gore was the leading politician who was trying to warn the world about the dangers of global warming and so to build the necessary public support in order to be able to take the requisite actions). Furthermore, Gore’s courageous 2002 speech against Bush’s planned invasion of Iraq wouldn’t have been needed (and futile), because there wouldn’t even have been any such invasion. (An estimated $3-6 trillion, which was wasted on that war, thus wouldn’t even have been spent; the federal debt would be much lower now.)
Nader has thus been an extremely expensive man, for this country, and also for the entire world, especially for people living in the future.
But Nader turned out to be superfluous to the then-President Bush’s win against John Kerry in 2004.
Nader was simply trying to do damage to the Democratic Party both times, and he succeeded in 2000, but not in 2004.
In fact, in 2000, he turned out to be the most indispensable person of all individuals to the crucial 2000 George W. Bush “win.” And Nader was secretly ecstatic about that.
Here are the details:
NADER MADE GEORGE W. BUSH PRESIDENT.
Nader-voters who spurned Democrat Al Gore to vote for Nader ended up swinging both Florida and New Hampshire to Bush in 2000. Charlie Cook, the editor of the Cook Political Report and political analyst for National Journal, called “Florida and New Hampshire” simply “the two states that Mr. Nader handed to the Bush-Cheney ticket,” when Cook was writing about “The Next Nader Effect,” in The New York Times on 9 March 2004. Cook said, “Mr. Nader, running as the Green Party nominee, cost Al Gore two states, Florida and New Hampshire, either of which would have given the vice president [Gore] a victory in 2000. In Florida, which George W. Bush carried by 537 votes, Mr. Nader received nearly 100,000 votes [nearly 200 times the size of Bush’s Florida ‘win’]. In New Hampshire, which Mr. Bush won by 7,211 votes, Mr. Nader pulled in more than 22,000 [three times the size of Bush’s ‘win’ in that state].” If either of those two states had gone instead to Gore, then Bush would have lost the 2000 election; we would never have had a U.S. President George W. Bush, and so Nader managed to turn not just one but two key toss-up states for candidate Bush, and to become the indispensable person making G.W. Bush the President of the United States — even more indispensable, and more important to Bush’s “electoral success,” than were such huge Bush financial contributors as Enron Corporation’s chief Ken Lay.
All polling studies that were done, for both the 2000 and the 2004 U.S. Presidential elections, indicated that Nader drained at least 2 to 5 times as many voters from the Democratic candidate as he did from the Republican Bush. (This isn’t even considering throw-away Nader voters who would have stayed home and not voted if Nader had not been in the race; they didn’t count in these calculations at all.) Nader’s 97,488 Florida votes contained vastly more than enough to have overcome the official Jeb Bush / Katherine Harris / count, of a 537-vote Florida “victory” for G.W. Bush. In their 24 April 2006 detailed statistical analysis of the 2000 Florida vote, “Did Ralph Nader Spoil a Gore Presidency?” (available on the internet), Michael C. Herron of Dartmouth and Jeffrey B. Lewis of UCLA stated flatly, “We find that … Nader was a spoiler for Gore.” David Paul Kuhn, CBSNews.com Chief Political Writer, headlined on 27 July 2004, “Nader to Crash Dems Party?” and he wrote: “In 2000, Voter News Service exit polling showed that 47 percent of Nader’s Florida supporters would have voted for Gore, and 21 percent for Mr. Bush, easily covering the margin of Gore’s loss.” Nationwide, Harvard’s Barry C. Burden, in his 2001 paper at the American Political Science Association, “Did Ralph Nader Elect George W. Bush?” (also on the internet) presented “Table 3: Self-Reported Effects of Removing Minor Party Candidates,” showing that in the VNS exit polls, 47.7% of Nader’s voters said they would have voted instead for Gore, 21.9% said they would have voted instead for Bush, and 30.5% said they wouldn’t have voted in the Presidential race, if Nader were had not been on the ballot. (This same table also showed that the far tinier nationwide vote for Patrick Buchanan would have split almost evenly between Bush and Gore if Buchanan hadn’t been in the race: Buchanan was not a decisive factor in the outcome.) The Florida sub-sample of Nader voters was actually too small to draw such precise figures, but Herron and Lewis concluded that approximately 60% of Florida’s Nader voters would have been Gore voters if the 2000 race hadn’t included Nader. But in any event, the largest (and thus statistically-most-reliable) sampling of the relative voter-orientations in this multi-candidate contest was the national exit polling, which showed that a net of 47.7%-21.9%, or a net total 25.8%, of that 97,488 Nader-vote count in Florida, would have been added to Gore’s Florida total. (I.e.: About 21,350 of those 97,488 votes would have been added to Bush; about 46,502 of them would have been added to Gore, for a net of 25,152 Gore-over-Bush win in Florida. Then, subtracting 537 — Bush’s “win” — from that 25,152 would have produced a total 24,615-vote Gore win of Florida. The courts would never have been able to become involved, and there wouldn’t even have been any recount in Florida, no call for one.)
Clearly, Ralph Nader drew far more votes from Gore than he did from Bush, and on this account alone was an enormous Republican asset in 2000; but Nader decisively threw Florida to Bush (just barely enough for Bush to “win”). Without Nader in the race, Gore wouldn’t only have won the nationwide popular vote (by more than 500,000 votes), but also the Electoral College vote, and thus the White House. Nader was more important to Bush’s becoming President than was any other single person. Without Nader, Gore would have won clearly — so clearly that no one would have questioned his victory. This is how big a difference Nader made: he gave us the Bush Presidency. And it wasn’t by any mistake on Nader’s part. He knew what he was doing.
On 26 October 2000, Eric Alterman at the Nation bannered, “Not One Vote!” and he reported, “Nader has been campaigning aggressively in Florida, Minnesota, Michigan, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin. If Gore loses even a few of those states, then Hello, President Bush. And if Bush does win, then Goodbye to so much of what Nader and his followers profess to cherish, … affirmative action, abortion rights, gun control, campaign finance reform, minimum-wage raises, environmental protection, consumer protection, class-action lawsuits, worker-safety legislation and just about everything else the government can do to help the neediest and most vulnerable among us.” (Notice that Florida was one of those states.)
Furthermore, Karl Rove and the Republican Party knew all this, and so they nurtured and crucially assisted Nader’s campaigns, both in 2000 and in 2004. On 27 October 2000, the AP’s Laura Meckler headlined “GOP Group To Air Pro-Nader TV Ads.” She opened: “Hoping to boost Ralph Nader in states where he is threatening to hurt Al Gore, a Republican group is launching TV ads featuring Nader attacking the vice president [Mr. Gore]. … ‘Al Gore is suffering from election year delusion if he thinks his record on the environment is anything to be proud of,’ Nader says [in the commercial]. An announcer interjects: ‘What’s Al Gore’s real record?’ Nader says: ‘Eight years of principles betrayed and promises broken.’” Meckler’s report continued: “A spokeswoman for the Green Party nominee said that his campaign had no control over what other organizations do with Nader’s speeches.” Bush’s people – the group sponsoring this particular ad happened to be the Republican Leadership Council – knew exactly what they were doing, even though the liberal suckers who voted so carelessly for Ralph Nader obviously did not. Anyone who drives a car the way those liberal fools voted, faces charges of criminal negligence, at the very least. But this time, the entire nation crashed as a result; not merely a single car.
Furthermore, it seems that during the closing days of the 2000 political contest, Ralph Nader was choosing to campaign not in states where polls showed that he had a chance to win (of which states there were none), but instead in states where Gore and Bush were virtually tied and Nader’s constant appeals to “the left” would be the likeliest to throw those states into Bush’s column. More than one political columnist noted this fact: for example, on 23 October 2000, Thomas B. Edsall in the Washington Post, bannered, “Nader Is Poised to Play Spoiler; Green Party’s Nominee May Tip States to Bush,” and among the states he noted that Nader was campaigning in during the closing days was Oregon, which Gore ended up winning by 0.44%, but where Nader, assiduously trying to throw it to Bush, ended up winning 0.46% of the vote, so that he was just shy of succeeding in that state, which would have been the third but turned out not to have been needed anyway (since only one state was, and he got both Florida and New Hampshire). As Eric Alterman prophetically posted online for the Nation, in his “Not One Vote!” on October 26th, “Hello, President Bush.” Nader wasn’t stupid; his voters were, but he certainly was not. And his voters listened to Nader, not to people such as Alterman, who warned them (instead of deceived them, like Nader did).
That list of states where Nader was concentrating near the end of the campaign consisted of the large states that were the closest between Bush and Gore. Everyone knew that Nader’s appeal was being made to “the left,” and Nader was concentrating his campaign now on sucking foolish leftist voters away from Gore. He was claiming to be the preferable leftist candidate. He made that clear. He wasn’t campaigning at all to draw votes away from the conservative end of the political spectrum. So: Nader clearly was targeting to throw this “election” to Bush – and he succeeded in Florida (and also in NH), at doing precisely that.
On 31 October 2000, an unsigned article at Slate headlined “Ralph the Leninist” and it noted: “Over the past 10 days, liberals have been voicing shock and dismay at the imminent prospect of their old hero, Ralph Nader, intentionally throwing the election to George W. Bush. A first, eloquent protest came 10 days ago from a group of a dozen former ‘Nader’s Raiders,’ who asserted that their former mentor had broken a promise not to campaign in states where he could hurt Gore and begged him to reconsider doing so. Others, including Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter, have expressed a similar sense of disappointment and betrayal. Nader’s response to all this heartfelt hand-wringing has been to scoff and sneer. On Good Morning America, he referred contemptuously to his old disciples as ‘frightened liberals.’” Since Nader was not stupid, the only explanation for this behavior is that he was evil; and now he was expressing his contempt for his former followers – a contempt that he actually had for all of his followers but was only now starting to express, by lashing out at the ones who were finally becoming deprogrammed from his cult.
During the 2004 election contest, a local AP story from Salem, Oregon, on June 25th, was similarly headlined “Pro-GOP Groups Seek to Aid Nader, Hurt Kerry,” and reported, “Two conservative groups [the business-oriented Citizens for a Sound Economy, and the fundamentalist Christian Oregon Family Council] have been phoning people around Oregon this week, … in hopes of putting Nader’s name on Oregon’s presidential ballot.” Oregon was one of 18 tight “battleground” states in the 2004 Presidential election, and Republicans wanted Nader’s name to be on the Presidential ballot in order to draw votes away from Democratic candidate John Kerry, and thus throw Oregon’s electoral college votes to Bush, and so make Bush the winner, just as had crucially happened in 2000 in both Florida and New Hampshire. (Here is how Citizens for a Sound Economy explained it to their members accompanying their 27 June 2004 “Phone Script”: “Liberals are trying to unite in Oregon and keep Nader off the ballot to help their chances of electing John Kerry. We could divide this base of support” between “the uber-liberal Nader and John Kerry,” so as to produce a Republican win.)
The board of directors of one of these groups, the Koch brothers’ Citizens for a Sound Economy, happened to have been headed by two longtime personal friends of George W. Bush: the former Republican House leader Dick Armey of Texas, and the former counselor to President G.H.W. Bush, C. Boyden Gray. It’s virtually certain that these two men authorized this backroom campaigning for Ralph Nader’s candidacy. Mr. Gray was an heir to the Reynolds Tobacco fortune. CSE was financed by the foundations of Richard Mellon Scaife, of the Coors family, as well as of the Koch families, and by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and the J.M. Olin Foundation. Jane Mayer, on 30 August 2010, headlined in the New Yorker, “Covert Operations” (of the Koch brothers), and wrote: “‘Ideas don’t happen on their own,’ Matt Kibbe, the president of FreedomWorks, a Tea Party advocacy group, told me. ‘Throughout history, ideas need patrons.’ The Koch brothers, after helping to create Cato and Mercatus, concluded that think tanks alone were not enough to effect change. They needed a mechanism to deliver those ideas to the street, and to attract the public’s support. In 1984, David Koch and Richard Fink [whom she called ‘the central nervous system of the Kochtopus’] created yet another organization, and Kibbe joined them. The group, Citizens for a Sound Economy, seemed like a grassroots movement, but … was sponsored principally by the Kochs.”
On 5 July 2004, BusinessWeek (p. 53) similarly headlined “Bush Bigs Open Their Wallets For Nader,” and reported that among Nader’s largest donors was Richard J. Egan, who was a Bush “Ranger,” having raised more than $200,000 for his friend, George W. Bush. Egan, whom President Bush appointed Ambassador to Ireland, contributed the maximum allowed, $2,000, to Nader, and Egan’s son also did. Unknown other Bush contributors, whom the senior Egan had previously “bundled” into that $200,000+ for Bush, also contributed to Nader. BusinessWeek reported that Richard J. Egan denied being the same person as the Richard J. Egan who contributed to Nader. However, the magazine reported that the Richard J. Egan, whom the records showed to have contributed to Nader, happened to live at the very same address, and that only one Richard J. Egan happened to live there. So: he was lying.
The Quinnipiac University poll in yet another battleground state, Pennsylvania, at around the same time, on June 24th, projected a 6-point margin for Kerry (49% to 43%) without Nader, but only a wafer-thin 1% margin for Kerry (44% to 43%) with Nader in the race (7%), so that Nader would take 5% away from Kerry, and 0% — nothing at all — away from Bush, in that tightly contested state. Five days later, another Quinnipiac poll, this time in a different battleground state, Florida, showed a 2% Kerry edge without Nader, and a dead-even tie with Nader in that contest; Nader was subtracting 3 votes from Kerry for each vote he was taking from Bush in Florida. Nader knew what he was doing. Stupid he’s not; his voters are, but he isn’t – he is merely using them.
On July 9th of 2004, Carla Marinucci of the San Francisco Chronicle headlined “GOP Doners Funding Nader / Bush Supporters Give Independent’s Bid a Financial Lift,” and she reported that the Nader campaign “has received a recent windfall of contributions from deep-pocketed Republicans with a history of big contributions to the party,” according to “an analysis of federal records.” Perhaps these contributors were Ambassador Egan’s other friends. Mr. Egan’s wife was now listed among the Nader contributors. Another listed was “Nijad Fares, a Houston businessman, who donated $200,000 to the Bush inaugural committee and who donated $2,000 each to the Nader effort and the Bush campaign this year.”
Furthermore, Ari Berman reported 7 October 2004 at the Nation, under “Swift Boat Veterans for Nader,” and Brian Faler at the Washington Post, bannered “Swift Boat Donors Float Nader Some Money,” both saying that some major right-wing funders of a Republican smear campaign against Senator John Kerry’s Vietnam service contributed also $13,500 to the Nader campaign, and that “the Republican Party of Michigan gathered ninety percent of Nader’s signatures in their state” (90%!) to place Nader on the ballot so Bush could win that swing state’s 17 electoral votes. Clearly, the word had gone out to Bush’s big contributors: Help Ralphie boy! In fact, on 15 September 2005, John DiStaso of the Manchester Union-Leader, reported that, “A year ago, as the Presidential general election campaign raged in battleground state New Hampshire, consumer advocate Ralph Nader found his way onto the ballot, with the help of veteran Republican strategist David Carney and the Carney-owned Norway Hill Associates consulting firm.”
It was obvious, based upon the 2000 election results, that a dollar contributed to Nader in the 2004 contest would probably be a more effective way to achieve a Bush win against Kerry in the U.S. Presidential election than were perhaps even ten dollars contributed to Bush. This was a way of peeling crucial votes off from Bush’s real opponent – votes that otherwise would have gone to the Democrat. That’s why the smartest Republican money in the 2004 Presidential election was actually going to Nader, even more so than to Bush himself: these indirect Bush contributions provided by far the biggest bang for the right-wing buck.
Furthermore, federal election law limited each individual’s political contributions to any candidate to only $2,000; Nader’s presence in the Presidential race therefore provided each Republican the opportunity to contribute personally $4,000 toward a Bush win: $2,000 directly, plus $2,000 indirectly (though far more potently) by means of Nader’s candidacy weakening the Democrat. And this, of course, is what these people were doing – playing liberal voters as suckers, and donating twice as much money to Bush’s cause that would otherwise have been legal.
Considering how highly placed this group of contributors were, the likelihood that the White House was being kept in the dark about these contributions to Nader was virtually nil; far likelier is that the idea originated from the Bush campaign. Indeed, the Bush strategists would need to have been stupid not to have thought this idea up, especially because the Republican Party has routinely funded, and otherwise helped, in Democratic primaries, the weak political candidate to win the Democratic nomination, in order to enhance the chances for the Republican candidate to beat his ultimate Democratic opponent. This has been one of the Republican Party’s most effective tactics.
Liberal suckers might not have known that Nader was working for the Republicans, but the Republican Party’s leadership certainly did – and they acted accordingly. The only people who didn’t were Nader’s own voters.
Max Blumenthal at American Prospect headlined on 25 June 2004 “Nader’s Dubious Raiders,” and reported that in Arizona “the Nader campaign was assisted in its petition drive by an unlikely figure: the ultra-conservative former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party, Nathan Sproul,” who also “was the Arizona field director for the Christian Coalition in the early 1990s.” Indeed, Blumenthal reported that originally for this signature-collection drive “members of his [Nader’s] campaign sought a contract with Arno Political Consultants, a California-based Republican consulting firm that has handled past ballot-qualification efforts for GOP icons like Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, as well as anti-immigrant groups.” However, “Arno’s client list comprises a virtual Who’s Who of the corporate cartels Nader routinely rails against, including Occidental Petroleum, Phillip Morris, and Wal-Mart. Arno Political Consultants rebuffed the Nader campaign’s request. ‘I thought it would be bad for us to go in with anyone like Nader,’ said the company’s co-director, Michael Arno. … I didn’t want to be part of anything that could be seen as nefarious.” Mr. Arno was a more honest and honorable man than was Mr. Nader; however, Sproul was right up Nader’s alley. As Blumenthal subsequently posted to the internet on 15 October 2004, at Alternet, under the headline “Republican Dirty Tricks,” “Sproul … has cozy ties to a group of consultants working on the Bush/Cheney campaign,” and, “In order to cover his tracks,” so as to avoid publicly exposing Nader’s backing by the Bush/Cheney campaign, “Sproul devised a clever scheme,” which entailed sending an associated Phoenix Republican PR agent “to a ‘low-end’ motel in Scottsdale where Jenny Breslyn, the person officially contracted by the Nader campaign to oversee its signature drive, was staying. There, Breslyn and her employees mixed the [Sproul] petitions in with her own, in effect, brushing them clean of Sproul’s fingerprints.” That protected Nader, so that Nader could continue to deceive liberal fools into thinking Nader wasn’t a stalking horse for a Bush victory.
Sourcewatch.org headlined “Citizens for a Sound Economy,” and had a sub-head, “CSE Backs Nader’s 2004 Ballot Bid,” and explained, regarding the Kochs’ front group, CSE, that: “While CSE traditionally backs predictable conservative causes, in June 2004 it mobilised supporters in an attempt to place consumer activist Ralph Nader on the presidential ballot in Oregon. ‘We disagree with Ralph Nader’s politics, but we’d love to see him make the ballot,’ Russ Walker, the Oregon director of CSE told Associated Press. It has foreshadowed providing similar support in Wisconsin and other states.” Jeff Mapes headlined in The Oregonian, on 25 June 2004, “Nader Getting Support from Unlikely Voters,” but that headline was itself a lie: Nader was instead getting support from “unlikely” financial backers, who, since they were out-of-state, couldn’t even possibly be “voters” in Oregon. Key here were the Kochs’ Citizens for a Sound Economy. Readers of that Oregon newspaper were thus being deceived even while they were being informed about CSE’s deception of them.
As the fundamentalist Christian, Scott Elliott, the political maven at his Election Projection, observed at the time gleefully about Ralph Nader’s crucial role in Bush’s 2000 victory: “Exit polls indicate 20% of Nader voters would have voted for Bush, 50% for Gore, and 30% would have stayed home. So Nader’s run, as we all know, hurt Gore’s chances.” Elliott’s own detailed state-by-state breakdown made absolutely clear that Nader’s run handed the 2000 victory to Bush, but this is something Elliott found distasteful to say outright, because Bush was his idol, and he didn’t like Nader at all. Nonetheless, on one of Elliott’s postings, 28 May 2004, he acknowledged: “Regardless of what he and many conservatives say, if Ralph Nader were not on the ballot in 2000, Al Gore would be in the White House today. I, for one, am grateful to the man for that.”
NADER WANTED GEORGE W. BUSH PRESIDENT.
There even exists strong evidence that Nader’s chief purpose in his 2000 campaign was to help Bush defeat Gore. On 4 February 2001, columnist Marianne Means perceptively observed: “Nader is desperately trying to rewrite history to clean up his own role, claiming he did not intend to defeat Gore. The claim ignores the crucial fact that in the three days before the election he concentrated his campaign on Florida, where he knew Gore needed every single liberal vote he could scrape up.” That’s proof that Nader was aiming to elect Bush, rather than to be elected himself. Matt Welch, in the May 2002 Reason, bannered “Speaking Lies to Power,” and ripped to shreds Nader’s lies about the 2000 Presidential contest, and Nader’s exquisitely selective citation of the least reliable data to support the conclusion that he hadn’t caused Bush’s “election.”
And why is it that during the closing days of the 2000 political contest, Ralph Nader was choosing to campaign not in states where polls showed that he had a chance to win (which were non-existent), but instead in precisely those states where Gore and Bush were virtually tied and Nader’s constant appeals to “the left” would be the likeliest to throw those states into Bush’s column? That behavior by Nader makes no sense at all unless Nader was trying to ditch Gore’s campaign and “elect” Bush – which he did.
An article by Harry G. Levine on the web, “Ralph Nader as Mad Bomber,” presented overwhelming evidence supporting the view that Nader’s real objective was a Bush victory, and went further to document Nader’s craving for personal revenge against Mr. Gore, who, as Vice President, had cold-shouldered Mr. Nader. Dr. Levine pointed out that, on the day after the election, Nader received with obvious joy the report that Florida was being counted as a Bush win. This was, for Nader, not just Bush’s victory over Gore, but personal vindication in his own 2000 campaign: Nader’s victory over Gore. Revenge would explain Nader’s being happy at that news. Revenge is an honored moral sentiment in Tribal societies, and in Religious societies, but it’s Scientifically not acceptable, because a scientist is concerned above all with future consequences, not with past events, satisfying grudges, a private need to “settle old scores” in a zero-sum game. Furthermore, Nader’s repeated lying to his supporters throughout his campaign was also purely atavistic: Lying, by its nature, runs against the grain of a scientist, because a scientist’s chief objective is truth. As Levine pointed out, Nader’s concentration on Florida during the campaign’s final days made no sense in terms of Nader’s stated strategic objectives for running. Nader had been lying to his supporters. Might he have used those liberal fools precisely in order to slake a personal craving for revenge against Gore?
Or was Ralph Nader, perhaps, actually a Republican mole in American politics, a man who had built his consumerist career precisely in order to infiltrate progressives and so, ultimately, one day – and now the day had finally come – harm the Democratic Party and hand this country over to the Republicans?
Or was he, instead, maybe a Communist, looking to establish fascism in the United States, in the unrealistic hope that fascism, once established here, would be unstable, and would become overthrown in a subsequent Marxist coup? On 31 October 2000, at Slate, Jacob Weisberg presented extensive evidence for this view of Nader’s motivation. He observed: “For some time now, Nader has made it perfectly clear that his campaign isn’t about trying to pull the Democrats back to the left. Rather, his strategy is the Leninist one of ‘heightening the contradictions.’ It’s not just that Nader is willing to take a chance of being personally responsible for electing Bush. It’s that he’s actively trying to elect Bush because he thinks that social conditions in America need to get worse before they can [get] better. Nader often makes this ‘the worse, the better’ point on the stump in relation to Republicans and the environment. He says that Reagan-era Interior Secretary James Watt was useful because he was a ‘provocateur’ for change, noting that Watt spurred a massive boost in the Sierra Club’s membership. More recently, Nader applied this logic to Bush himself. Here’s the Los Angeles Times account of a speech Nader gave at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., last week: ‘After lambasting Gore as part of a do-nothing Clinton administration, Nader said, ‘If it were a choice between a provocateur and an anesthetizer, I’d rather have a provocateur. It would mobilize us.’ Lest this remark be considered an aberration, Nader has said similar things before.” This “Leninist Nader” interpretation is consistent with Nader’s main purpose having been to defeat Al Gore. In fact, even the idea that Nader was a closet fascist would be consistent with his having been a Leninist: the only difference would concern Nader’s view of the stability of a fascist government — a Leninist wouldn’t expect a fascist government to be stable; but, obviously, a fascist would. But both communists and fascists would prefer a fascist U.S. over a democratic U.S.
According to each of these three interpretations, Nader supported Bush. The only interpretation that is not credible is acceptance of the truthfulness of Nader’s assertions that his goal was to win, and not to help achieve an electoral victory for Bush.
A Harvard professor, Barry C. Burden, issued a deceptive study in the September 2005 American Politics Research, “Ralph Nader’s Campaign Strategy in the 2000 Presidential Election,” which argues that because until late in the 2000 campaign, Nader wasn’t especially focusing on toss-up states but just on big states where he was hoping to win at least 5% of the vote, this proves that he wasn’t trying to be a “spoiler.” But if Nader’s true motivation was to hurt the Democratic Party, and to establish the Green Party as an ongoing threat to it, then Nader was doing exactly the right thing there, for this evil purpose. The focus on only the big-vote toss-up states, such as Florida, would have come only at the end of the 2000 campaign – and it did. Nader’s behavior was consistently to damage the Democratic Party.
In fact, Harry G. Levine, in his “Ralph Nader as Mad Bomber,” reported a personal incident, when, “I was introduced to Tarek Milleron, Ralph Nader’s nephew, the single person closest to him in the whole campaign.” Levine told Milleron, “‘If Gore lost, Nader would have substantial credibility and power within the Democratic party. By holding back in a handful of states now, he could demonstrate his capacity to cause real damage in the future, and gain much in the short and the long run.’ Tarek did not disagree with that at all. Instead, leaning toward me, with a bit of extra steel in his voice and body, but without changing his cool tone and demeanor, he simply said: ‘We are not going to do that.’ ‘Why not?’ I said. With just a flicker of smile, Tarek said: ‘Because we want to punish the Democrats, we want to hurt them, wound them.’” Levine went on: “In Tarek’s unforgettable phrase, Ralph Nader wanted to hurt, wound and punish the Democrats. This was much more than indifference. Nader was not simply opposed to helping the Democrats, he actually wanted Gore to lose. … But his supporters were not being told this.”
After Nader’s victory in 2000, however, Nader became bolder about letting the public know his true motivation. On 4 March 2001, Dick Polman headlined in the Philadelphia Inquirer, “An Unrepentant Nader Sticks To His Plan He Wants The Green Party To Run Up To 80 Congressional Candidates. That Could Drain Votes From Democrats.” Polman described his interview of Nader:
“In a long conversation at his office the other day, he said: ‘I’m just amazed that people think I should be concerned about this stuff. It’s absolutely amazing. Not a minute’s sleep do I lose, about something like this – because I feel sorry for them. It’s just so foolish, the way they have been behaving. Why should I worry?’ … Nader is mapping new mischief with the potential to gladden the hearts of Republicans everywhere. He is working with the Greens to run as many as 80 candidates in the 2002 congressional elections – twice the number that ran in 2000. If he succeeds, Nader could drain liberal votes from Democrats in tight races, and severely impede the Democratic effort to wrest the House of Representatives away from the GOP. He is not coy about his motives. … As he put it, ‘The Democrats are going to have to lose more elections. They didn’t get the message last time.’”
Nader repeated his strategy (to “wound and punish the Democrats,” as Tarek had put it, much more clearly) during the 2004 contest. On 9 September 2004, some prominent members of the Green Party went public sharing the conclusion that he was out to damage the Democratic Party and to help the Republican Party, and they issued a group press release, which opened: “Greens for Impact, a committee of elected officials and Green Party leaders, is dismayed to see that Ralph Nader’s campaign schedule for September consists almost completely of battleground states, where his presence could aid in re-electing George W. Bush.” They detailed six separate points of Nader’s “Rhetoric” on this that were at odds with the clear “Reality,” and concluded: “Taking all of these inconsistencies and hypocrisies together, one can only conclude that Nader’s commitment to defeating Bush is a ruse.” Finally, these suckers recognized the fact.
On September 17th of 2004, the chairman of Bush’s Arizona campaign, U.S. Senator John McCain, urged the Florida State Supreme Court to approve placing Nader on Florida’s 2004 Presidential ballot. McCain said that the Florida Court’s initial ruling against that was “unfair to those Floridians who, for whatever reason, have decided he’s their man.” The Bush campaign was now overtly on Nader’s side. McCain here reached outside Arizona to help Nader in this joint Republican/Nader effort to defeat the Democratic candidate, John Kerry. McCain’s loyalty to the Republican cause was rock-solid. Bush appreciated everything that McCain did to help Bush defeat the Democratic candidate. On 13 February 2006, Newsweek headlined “Picking His [Bush’s] Pockets,” and reported — in a subhead on page 38, which, however, failed to appear in the online version — “John McCain has been the most successful signing up Bush allies” in the financial race for the 2008 Republican U.S. presidential nomination. A reason for that success became clear a week later, on February 20th, when U.S. News & World Report headlined, on page 12, “McCain’s Turn for a Little Early Help,” and Paul Bedard wrote: “Insiders tell us that Bushies have talked him [McCain] up in private chats with Republican strategists and have even tried to steer people to the Arizonan’s effort. Why? The Bushies say they appreciate his support for the president’s 2004 re-election campaign.” Bush knew what was going on. (Only the liberal suckers did not.)
The hypothesis that historically best fits Nader’s entire career is Jacob Weisberg’s: that he was, and had always been, a dedicated covert Marxist. This theory would also explain Nader’s 2004 post-election effort to challenge the vote-count in New Hampshire and thus to expose any rigging by the President’s Party of the voting machines in that state — which action by Nader is consistent with the “Leninist Nader” theory because this electoral challenge was aimed at radicalizing the public, and that’s the goal of the Leninist strategy. In Germany during the 1920’s and early 1930’s, Communists and Nazis joined forces to oppose and then ultimately to topple the democratic Weimar government. They both cooperated with the leading conservative party (Germany’s then-equivalent of America’s Republican Party) in the Reichstag, to block the democratic government (which had been set up by Germany’s equivalent of America’s Democratic Party) from instituting the social welfare programs necessary to deal with the economic depression, and they jointly organized strikes to bring that democratic government down. It is standard Marxist/Leninist practice to work with conservatives to sabotage democratic organizations, even where this requires supporting fascists. Similarly, communists worked to infiltrate and destroy labor unions in the United States and in other democratic countries. Similarly, Stalin and Hitler had a pact, until Hitler grew overconfident and invaded his former ally. Ralph Nader was no original thinker. He was probably just a standard Marxist hack.
Yet another indication that Nader was probably a Marxist was his position with regard to the case of the Florida woman in a vegetative state who, with the assistance of Jeb Bush, George W. Bush, the Republican Party, and America’s Christian far-Right, had been maintained on artificial life support for fifteen years: Ms. Terri Schiavo. Nader joined with the Christian theocrats in condemning the uniform actions of all Florida and U.S. courts, which ruled to remove the feeding tube. On 24 March 2005, Nader issued a press release headlining “Take any Legal Action Available to Let Schiavo Live” (as if she were conscious and had any desire in the matter) and he said of the latest court’s order in the case, “This outrageous order proves that the courts are not merely permitting medical treatment to be withheld, it has ordered her to be made dead.” What the court’s order had actually done is to accept the rulings of lower courts, which had said that the instructions of the woman’s husband took legal precedence over instructions from her parents as reflecting what Ms. Schiavo’s intentions would have been if she had been conscious. Furthermore, all of the courts ruled that the Federal Government couldn’t intervene in this case, which was instead a matter of Florida law, and, above all, a matter that should be controlled, to the fullest extent possible, by the intentions of the individual patient. Nader, in accord with Marxism, was opposed to a private individual’s having final control over her affairs, and favored instead the government’s possessing the power to dictate what should happen. A Marxist prefers government ownership of property, and opposes private ownership; Nader was being consistent, as a Marxist, in applying the same Statist value-system to life and death: he was supporting the view that an individual shouldn’t own even herself. Furthermore, since a Marxist favors centralization of power, Nader wanted this decision to be made by the Federal Government, not by the Florida courts. Nader’s expressed rationale, of course, was different: “Benefits of doubts should be given to life, not hastened [by removal of the feeding tube] death.” His stated argument was indistinguishable from that of the theocratic Christians, because theocratic Christianity had become acceptable in America, and communism never was. Nader thus was using the theocratic Christian argument to support his Marxist conclusion.
Certainly, Nader was no authentic progressive. Regardless of the historical precedent of the way previous Marxists had operated, and regardless of whether Nader knowingly derived inspiration from that, he functioned in their manner: He operated as one arm tied around the back of the Democratic Party, in its competition against the Republican Party — a rigging of democracy, to produce victories for Republicans, with the end in mind of a one-party fascist state, which Marxist dogma says will automatically produce the mass backlash enabling a communist revolution, which is the Marxist faith’s equivalent of the Christian’s hoped-for Armageddon.
On 2 August 2006, Paul Kiel at TPM Muckraker, headlined “GOP Donors Funded Entire PA Green Party Drive,” and he reported: “OK, we’ve done it. We’ve nailed it down: Every single contributor to the Pennsylvania Green Party candidate is actually a conservative – except for the candidate himself. The Luzerne County Green Party raised $66,000 in the month of June in order to fund a voter signature drive. The Philly Inquirer reported yesterday that $40,000 came from supporters of [Republican] Rick Santorum’s campaign. … Also yesterday, we confirmed that another $15,000 came from GOP donors. … Today, I confirmed that” the entire remaining $11,000 also did.
THE GREEN PARTY IGNORANTLY AIDED THE KOCHS.
Among the major donors to the expensive campaign to get Ralph Nader onto the ballot in enough Democratic-leaning states so as to enable Nader to yank some Electoral College votes to go for George W. Bush instead of John Kerry were Koch-affiliated fronts, such as Citizens for a Sound Economy. This was certainly true in 2004. But was it so also in 2000? We don’t know. All that we do know with confidence is that in 2000, the only major U.S. politician who campaigned seriously on the issue of his top priority being to prevent the onrush toward irreversible global warming was Al Gore, the only truly green candidate, and his candidacy failed because of the “Green” Party.
The available evidence that I have been able to find includes only the single news report that I previously cited for the Republican Party’s financial support for the Nader campaign in 2000; so, in the present context I’ll repeat it here, because it is crucial: “On 27 October 2000, the AP’s Laura Meckler headlined ‘GOP Group To Air Pro-Nader TV Ads.’ She opened: ‘Hoping to boost Ralph Nader in states where he is threatening to hurt Al Gore, a Republican group is launching TV ads featuring Nader attacking the vice president [Mr. Gore]. … “Al Gore is suffering from election year delusion if he thinks his record on the environment is anything to be proud of,” Nader says [in the commercial]. An announcer interjects: “What’s Al Gore’s real record?” Nader says: “Eight years of principles betrayed and promises broken.”’ Meckler’s report continued: ‘A spokeswoman for the Green Party nominee said that his campaign had no control over what other organizations do with Nader’s speeches.’ Bush’s people – the group sponsoring this particular ad happened to be the Republican Leadership Council – knew exactly what they were doing.”
Thus, on the basis of the evidence presented here, Republican big-money donors were helping Nader’s campaign at least by late during the 2000 political contest. Whether they were doing so earlier than that is unknown. But what is known is that during the 2000 campaign’s closing days, as Eric Alterman noted in the Nation: “Nader has been campaigning aggressively in Florida, Minnesota, Michigan, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin. If Gore loses even a few of those states, then Hello, President Bush.” And so, in Florida, it indeed was “Hello, President Bush.” And Ralph Nader was joyous. His suckers, who campaigned for him, and who voted for him, weren’t, but he was.
Why doesn’t that experience simply end all third parties in Presidential-system democracies (though not in parliamentary democracies)? Shouldn’t they be made illegal there, since the only authentic ideological division is between democracy (progressives) and fascism (conservatives)? Those are the only real choices; and if there were, by law, only two parties allowed, then those two parties would naturally devolve into progressive versus conservative. It would be vastly more honest, and far less manipulable by the big-money people.
Harry Levine’s website includes much more evidence of Nader’s lies and just plain evilness, and can be accessed via a web-search for the sequence: hereinstead “the real ralph”. Even liberal fools don’t need to remain fooled anymore. This should wake them up to the fact that it’s not only followers of evil people on the right such as Sarah Palin who are suckers. Though Nader lies about “Tweedledom and Tweedledee,” etc., the True Believers can be found on both ends of the political spectrum – in that sense, they’re alike. But that’s not the sense Nader is alleging.
The similarity is instead different: the fools on both sides are demanding their concept of perfection, instead of intelligently dealing with reality, which intrinsically mocks perfection. Here is one recent example of reality, which shows how this works:
Eric Lipton and Ben Protess headlined in The New York Times on 28 October 2013, “House, Set to Vote on 2 Bills, Is Seen as an Ally of Wall St.,” and reported that the lobbyists for Citigroup had written the final draft of a bill in the House to exempt most of Wall Street banks’ risky derivatives investments from Dodd-Frank regulation, so that if another crash would come, U.S. taxpayers would again be on the hook for the losses. The bill was so bad that Obama was against it, and that the bill had no chance of passing in the Democratically controlled Senate; but it would pass in the Republican-controlled House and then the Senate and Obama would need to deal with it in a compromise with the megabanks. “House Republicans have also come to the defense of energy companies, seeking to beat back rules for shale gas drillers and coal-powered electricity plants.” Some of the Republicans and conservative Democrats, however, were miffed at the extent to which Wall Street and Big Oil demanded to write the laws. “‘I know that some of our members are inclined to whore, but we cannot be apes,’ the Republican aide said.” Subsequently, at Huffington Post I headlined on 5 November 2013 “Is Your Member of Congress Owned by Wall Street?” and included a link to the ultimate House vote on this measure. “As you can see there, only 122 members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted against repealing this crucial protection of U.S. taxpayers – this crucial provision to not extend to Wall Street’s gambling casinos the federal insurance that was originally intended only for ultra-safe savings accounts and checking accounts. … There were 292 ‘Aye’ votes, including 222 Republicans, and 70 Democrats. There were only 122 ‘No’ votes, including 3 Republicans, and 119 Democrats. (One of the 70 Democrats who voted to gut Section 716, and so, in effect, to hold the U.S. public again vulnerable to bailing out the Wall Street mega-banks if their gambles go bad, was congressperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the friend of Hillary Clinton that Barack Obama chose to head the Democratic National Committee; so, the corrupt Democratic Establishment were in league with virtually all Republicans on this. The only 3 clean Republicans here were: John Duncan of Tennessee, Walter Jones of N.C., and Thomas Massie of Kentucky.) 119 Democrats and 3 Republicans voted against extending federal insurance to Wall Street’s casinos. 222 Republicans and 70 Democrats voted in favor of extending federal insurance to Wall Street’s casinos. No House vote in recent memory could be a clearer indication of the identities of the members of the House of Representatives who actually represent Wall Street, and of the members who represent the public that elected them.” Ralph Nader’s “Tweedledom and Tweedledee” was thus again shown to be a lie: whereas 63% of House Democrats were good, less than 1.5% of House Republicans were good – 98.6% of House Republicans were bad. That’s hardly “Tweedledom versus Tweedledee.” The only reason that Nader makes that charge is to fool suckers. If they don’t wake up to that fact, then the billionaires will have an easy time controlling things, because the only realistically possible representative of the public’s interests, the Democratic Party, will be crippled by those fools, as happened so drastically in 2000. As Alterman had honestly warned Nader’s suckers: “Goodbye to so much of what Nader and his followers profess to cherish, … affirmative action, abortion rights, gun control, campaign finance reform, minimum-wage raises, environmental protection, consumer protection, class-action lawsuits, worker-safety legislation and just about everything else the government can do to help the neediest and most vulnerable among us.” Global warming? Blame Bush — and Nader. The 2003 invasion of Iraq? Blame Bush — and Nader. Gore was the world’s leading politician against Big Oil; and he warned repeatedly that all of Bush’s “evidence” about “Saddam’s WMD” was highly questionable, at best. “Tweedledom Tweedledee?” No: Nader is a barefaced liar.
This doesn’t mean voting for Hillary Clinton. If the Democratic nominee is that corrupt, the reasonable progressive will register that by not voting on the Presidential line in that particular election (and by voting in Democratic primaries for the best alternative person to represent the Party in the general election so that Hillary won’t be the Democratic nominee). Voter-intensity matters. But voting for aristocrats’ stooges, just because they happen to be leftists, is stupid, and it only encourages more such use of such leftist stooges in the future. It rewards the liars. It produced disaster in 2000 (just think of the impact on global warming – the most important policy-issue of all – as one example), and the stakes are surely too high to permit that to happen again.
The only way forward for progressives is inside the Democratic Party, fighting relentlessly to take it over as completely as possible, so that it represents the progressive vision and all conservatives will thus be represented by the Republican Party. That’s democracy, and then our elections can have clear and honest battle-lines. Only then will the aristocracy encounter a formidable public, and be forced to back down so that we won’t continue to be financing (through our taxes) their investment-losses, and consuming their polluted air and toxic products.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.