[Marxism] Nader vs The Liberal Intelligentsia
gojack10 at hotmail.com
Tue Feb 24 01:47:30 MST 2004
This is the main part of the -Meet the Nation- transcript of Nader's
Announcement of His 2004 Campaign.... In it, he remonstrates against 'a
liberal intelligentsia', which he seems to say, runs across sections of not
just the DP, but also through elements of the Green Party and its sometime
supporters who flip-flop so often with their voting.
He sends the message that his campaign is not just for this 'liberal
intelligensia' that essentially agrees with his politics, but against him
running. He states that his campaign is to be much broader than that, and
will also appeal to allienated Republicans and nonvoters alike. And he
calls for the impeachment of Bush for having illegally led us into the
invasion of Iraq with his lies.
MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Nader, as you know, this decision is going to upset a lot
of people. The Nation magazine, an institution that you have had a close
relationship with all your life, wrote this editorial: "Ralph, this is the
wrong year for you to run: 2004 is not 2000. ... The contest for an
independent presidential bid is completely altered from 2000, when there was
a real base for a protest candidate. The overwhelming mass of voters with
progressive values ... have only one focus this year: to beat Bush. Any
candidacy seen as distracting from that goal will be excoriated by the
entire spectrum of potentially progressive voters. If you run, you will
separate yourself, probably irrevocably, from any ongoing relationship with
this energized mass of activists. Look around: Almost no one, including
former strong supporters, is calling for you to run ... Ralph, please thing
of the long term. Don't run."
And we've been inundated with e-mails. There's a Web site that actually
says www.ralphdontrun.net, and I want to air this in its entirety for you to
watch it, for the country to watch it, and then give you a full chance to
respond. Let's watch:
Announcer: The 2000 presidential race was the closest in American history,
a swing of just three electoral votes anywhere in the country and George
Bush would never have become president. You can blame Gore's mistakes in
the campaign, the Florida recount debacle, the Supreme Court intervention,
but after all those events, one fact remains: Ralph Nader's candidacy
tipped the balance to Bush. With just 1 percent of the votes cast for Ralph
Nader, Gore wins Florida and the election. Netting a third of Nader's
votes, Gore takes New Hampshire as well. The simple fact is if Nader had
not run, Gore would be president, not Bush. Today, Ralph Nader is thinking
of running again, and he says he'll announce his plans in the next few
weeks. This time, in 2004, the stakes are far too high. This time, we need
Ralph Nader with us, not against us. Here's how you can help. Visit Ralph
Nader's Exploratory Committee Web site and send the message: Ralph, please
MR. RUSSERT: There's real passion in that. What do you say to those
MR. NADER: That's the liberal intelligentsia that agrees with almost all
our positions. That is a contemptuous statement against democracy, against
freedom, against more voices and choices for the American people. You'd
never find that type of thing in Canada or Western democracies in Europe.
It is an offense to deny millions of people who might want to vote for our
candidacy an opportunity to vote for our candidacy. Instead, they want to
say, "No, we're not going to let you have an opportunity to vote," for our
There are conservatives who are furious with Bush over the deficit, over
corporate subsidies, over corporate pornography directed toward children,
over the Patriot Act, over many other issues. And they may be looking for
an Independent candidacy. There are liberal Republicans who see their party
taken away from them. They may be looking for an Independent candidacy.
There are a hundred million non- voters that no one has figured out how to
bring back into the electoral system, which I want to try to do.
So I think the liberal intelligentsia has got to ask itself a tough
question, Tim. For 25 years they have let their party run away from them.
For 25 years they've let their party become a captive of corporate
interests. And now they want to block the American people from having more
choices and voices, especially young people who are looking for idealism,
who are looking for a clean campaign, who are looking for the real issues in
this country instead of the sham and the rhetoric that masquerades for
MR. RUSSERT: Democrats will say, "Ralph Nader, in the end, it's a choice
between George Bush and a Democrat, and you have to make a decision as to
who would be better for this country." They point to Florida, and you heard
the Internet ad, and I'll show you the exact vote. Bush won by 537 votes,
and you got 97,488. In New Hampshire, Bush won by 7,211, you got 22,000
votes. When you were on the program in January of 2002, I asked you a
question, and here's your response. Let's watch:
(Videotape, January 13, 2002):
MR. RUSSERT: Having watched George W. Bush for a year, do you believe an Al
Gore presidency would have been any different?
MR. NADER: Well, it wouldn't have been any different in terms of military
and foreign policy.
MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe that Al Gore would have invaded Iraq?
MR. NADER: He would have. I think he was a hawk. He may have done it in a
different way. He and Clinton got through Congress a regime-change
resolution as a pillar of our foreign policy. But let me answer the points
you made. They're quite provocative. Any number of third-party candidates
in Florida could have affected the equation the way you just described.
Libertarians got thousands of votes, Buchanan got thousands of votes,
Socialist Workers Party got votes. The Florida campaign was won by Gore.
It was stolen by Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush and their cohorts from
Tallahassee to the Supreme Court. Two hundred and fifty thousand registered
Republicans in Florida voted for Bush.
Let's not play the what-if game because when they pick one what-if, my
candidacy, the candidacy of Nader-LaDuke, what they're doing is basically
saying that third parties are a second-class citizenship. And the civil
liberties crisis affecting third parties and Independent candidates, Tim, is
very serious. Historically, that's where our reform has come from, in the
19th century, against slavery, women's right to vote, trade union, farmer,
Seeds have to be given a chance to sprout in nature. We call it springtime.
Entrepreneurs have to be given a chance in the marketplace. Somehow it's OK
to have a two-party duopoly that is converging more and more, where the
towering similarities dwarf the dwindling real differences that the
Democrats are willing to fight over. Democrats better look at themselves.
They'd better brag a little bit more, which they hardly do, about bringing
Social Security and Medicare and environmental laws to the country before
20, 25 years ago they turned into a corporate paymaster minion.
MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe that there would be a difference between a
George Bush administration...
MR. NADER: Yeah.
MR. RUSSERT: ...and a John Kerry or a John Edwards administration on
judicial nominations, on tax cuts, on environmental enforcement?
MR. NADER: Yes. The problem is that the corporate government remains in
Washington, whether it's Democrats or Republicans. The military industrial
complex, as Eisenhower pointed out, is getting bigger and devouring half of
the federal budget's discretionary expenditure. And we have no major enemy
left in the world, no Soviet Union, no Communist China. The corporate
lobbyists are still swarming over Congress. Money is still pouring in from
corporate interests. Washington is corporate-occupied territory, and the
two parties are ferociously competing to see who's going to go to the White
House and take orders from their corporate pay masters. So they may be
different in their mind, they may be different in their attention, they may
be different in their rhetoric. But in the actual performance these
corporate interests and their political allies are taking America down.
They're taking our country apart: massive poverty, massive child poverty,
massive consumer debt, environmental devastation. That didn't occur, that
didn't get worse under the Democrats? So, basically, it's a question
between both parties flunking, Tim: one with a D-, the Republicans; one
with a D+, the Democrats. And it's time to change the equation and bring
millions of American people into the political arena, so that the civic
groups are not shut out when they try to improve their country.
MR. RUSSERT: You had said when John Edwards announced his candidacy that it
was a good idea that he run for president.
MR. NADER: Yes.
MR. RUSSERT: You like him?
MR. NADER: I think the more organized the citizens are, the better a
politician he's going to be. He's like an expanding accordion, unlike
President Bush, who is really a giant corporation in the White House
masquerading as a human being.
MR. RUSSERT: If it got down to the final days of the election and you saw
that your presence on the ballot could swing the election to George Bush,
might you consider stepping out and saying, "I endorse the Democrat"?
MR. NADER: First of all, there are 40 slam-dunk states where either the
Republicans or Democrats are going to win handily; that's number one.
Second, I think there's a very good chance that President Bush is going to
start declining in the polls. He's making a lot of mistakes. People are
beginning to realize that he doesn't care about the American people,
although he says he does; that as a conservative president, he's presiding
over and encouraging the shipment of industries and jobs to the despotic
Communist regime in China; that he fabricated the basis for the war in Iraq,
which is now a quagmire. And if President Bush doesn't trust the American
people with the truth, why should the American people trust George W. Bush
with the presidency?
Now, you gave me a hypothetical, all right? You know how Arnold answered
that hypothetical. When that and if that eventuality occurs, in the rare
event that it occurs, you can invite me back on the program, and I'll give
you my answer.
MR. RUSSERT: The Green Party has said that they wish you had run this year
with them, some members of the Green Party. You have said, "No, I want to
run as a true Independent." The Green Party forces have now have said,
"Forget it, Nader. You'll never get on the ballot in 50 states. You'll be
lucky to make 40." How uphill will your battle be, and how many state
ballots do you think you can get on?
MR. NADER: There's a tremendous bias in state laws against third parties
and Independent candidates bred by the two major parties, who passed these
laws. They don't like competition. So it's like climbing a cliff with a
slippery rope. And anybody who doubts it can look at a list of all these
signature barriers and all the obstacles a number of states, not all of
them, put before third-party candidates on our Web site, VoteNader.org.
Now, let me just say this is going to be difficult. We're asking for
volunteers to log into our Web site, VoteNader.org. We're asking for
contributions because this isn't just our fight. This is a fight for all
third parties: Libertarian, Green Party, other third parties, other
Independent candidates, all the way down to the local level, who want a
chance to breathe politically. They want a chance to have a chance to
compete. This is not a democracy that can be controlled by two parties in
the grip of corporate interests. I don't think America belongs just to the
Democrat and Republican parties.
MR. RUSSERT: In terms of what you stand for, this is what you said in July
of last year about George Bush: "[Nader] said Mr. Bush was not only
`beatable but impeachable,' for deceptions and prevarications on national
security matters..." Will part of your platform be the impeachment of
MR. NADER: Let me put it this way. When a president misleads, if not
fabricates, going to war and sending our sons and daughters to war with no
exit strategy, with a quagmire over there, that is very serious, Tim. If
there's any better definition of high crimes and misdemeanors in our
Constitution, then misleading or fabricating the basis for going to war, as
the press has documented ad infinitum, I don't know any cause of impeachment
that's worse. So what is an impeachment? It's a hearing to see whether the
House of Representatives is going to accuse or charge the president with
high crimes and misdemeanors. And then it goes to the Senate for a trial.
Our Founding Fathers gave the Congress the right to fire the president. It
shouldn't be a big deal. For far more trivial reasons, you know, Clinton
I think this country deserves a serious explanation of why, how, when this
country was plunged into war against a brutal dictator tottering over an
antiquated, non-loyal army, surrounded by hostile neighbors who, if he made
one move against, would have obliterated him. It was oil. And oil has
ruined so much of our foreign policy and antagonized so many people in the
Third World, when we should be converting to renewable energy and solar
energy and energy efficiency, all of which creates jobs in this country. So
I think it is very important for the American people to take what happened
last year very, very seriously.
MR. RUSSERT: So there should be an impeachment hearing and trial?
MR. NADER: I think Congressman John Conyers is going to file such a
MR. RUSSERT: What would President Ralph Nader do today about Iraq? Would
you pull all our troops out immediately?
MR. NADER: We owe a responsibility to the people of Iraq. We entrenched
Saddam Hussein in 1979 along with the British. We armed them, we gave them
credits, we sold them onto U.S. export license by corporations--sold
materials for chemical and biological warfare in the 1980s under Reagan and
the first Bush administration. Can you imagine that? And, of course, then
he invaded Iraq and he was no longer our boy, he was our adversary, and one
day President Bush number one could have overthrown-- with all the
international support that he had, he could have overthrown Saddam Hussein.
Instead he told the Kurds and the Shiites "rise up and overthrow the
tyrants." They got about 75 percent of the country under their control, and
President Bush number one held back our military forces while Saddam Hussein
slaughtered these people. So we owe...
MR. RUSSERT: Well, what would you do now?
MR. NADER: I wanted to give you a little history.
MR. RUSSERT: OK.
MR. NADER: Here's what we do now. We need to get out of there as fast as
possible because we are the magnet for increasing guerrilla warfare and
increasing entry by al-Qaeda and others, just the opposite of what we were
told was going to happen. So we need to get the U.N. in there with properly
funded and trained peacekeeping troops from a whole variety of countries,
number one. We need to provide well-supervised elections with perhaps
suitable autonomies with the acquiescence, of course, of the Shiites,
Sunnis, and Kurds. And we need to continue humanitarian assistance to those
people in Iraq. That's the way to get it done.
MR. RUSSERT: And what--who will run--who will rule Iraq? It might become
an Islamic fundamentalist extreme regime.
MR. NADER: Iraqis will be ruled by Iraqis. It will be ruled under fair
elections by Iraqis. They're very creative people. And we have no business
being there. We have no business diverting hundreds of billions of dollars
over there while our schools, clinics, public transit, libraries are
crumbling for lack of repair. We need to cut--get rid of that tax cut for
the wealthy, which is increasing deficits, and have a massive job-producing
MR. RUSSERT: You would repeal the entire Bush tax cut?
Mr. NADER: Yes. Yes. And have a job-producing public works to repair
America. These jobs can't be shipped to India and China. They're there;
they're in every community. They're well-paying. A lot of them are union
jobs. There are so many ways to move this country forward, Tim. And we've
got to have more voices and choices. We just can't sit back like The Nation
magazine and betray its own traditions, and the liberal intelligentsia, and
once again settle for the least worst and watch both parties get worse every
four years and then the liberals who come back to us and complain about "Oh,
those Democrats are caving into these corporations, they're letting the
Republicans run roughshod over them."
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