Friday, August 21, 2009

Goldstein, Snowball, Nader

In 2000, I recall standing in line to see Al Gore speak here in LA and I was inundated by a bunch of young, impressionable lefties, inspired by the globalisation movement and Ralph Nader's message. We sparred for some time, me telling them how third parties don't work, and them having none of it. They had no political experience except what they saw as a betrayal of liberalism and they found Nader's analysis of the two parties as being in bed with corporate interests extremely convincing. And it was very hard to argue that point, although I did try valiently, knowing as I did that while both parties were corporate whores, the Republican Party, being insane, wanted to actually kill large numbers of people in foreign countries, put the church in everyone's bedroom and give everybody's money directly to the wealthiest people in the nation. But I didn't convince any of them. And we know the result...

Why the Democrats persist in believing that it can't happen again is beyond me. Perhaps they internalized all the villager CW about Al Gore being a bad candidate, but the fact remains that if a slice of the left hadn't been so disgusted by the New Democratic, mushy centrism of the Clinton years, he would have won...

It's worth remembering that a third party run from the left is what created the conditions for eight long years of Republican governance that pretty much wrecked this country.

I don't feel like rehashing all this, even if it would make a difference. I'll just content myself with chuckling over the way Digby manages to note - correctly - that those impressionable young lefties were extremely convinced that both parties were in bed with corporate interests, but still apparently believes they would have voted for Gore anyway, rather than staying home and not voting at all out of disgust, if only Nader hadn't led them into temptation.

Bonus irony: the fact that "
the Republican Party, being insane, wanted to actually kill large numbers of people in foreign countries" was a good reason to vote for the party that had spent the last eight years consigning who knows how many tens or hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to death by starvation and easily preventable diseases by means of sanctions.