[Marxism] The most compelling reason to vote for Nader

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu May 13 11:29:10 MDT 2004

Vanity Fair, May 2004

Unsafe On Any Ballot
By Christopher Hitchens

Democrats are furious that Ralph Nader, whose last presidential bid 
helped put George W. Bush in office, is running again. Equally 
dismaying, the author finds, is Nader’s backing from a crackpot group 
with ties to Pat Buchanan, Lyndon LaRouche, and Louis Farrakhan

For me, it was all over as soon as it began. The day after he announced 
himself as a candidate for president on Meet the Press, Ralph Nader held 
a press conference at which he said, “I think this may be the only 
candidacy in our memory that is opposed overwhelmingly by people who 
agree with us on the issues.”

Hold it right there, Ralph. First, don’t you realize that politicians 
who start to refer to themselves in the plural, as in the royal “we,” 
are often manifesting an alarming symptom? (Mrs. Margaret Thatcher 
started to employ this distressing locution shortly before the members 
of her own Cabinet began to stir nervously and finally decided to call 
for the men in white coats.) Second, if by “we” and “us” you really 
meant to say yourself and your allies in this enterprise, then you 
should not complain if it’s pointed out who those allies actually turn 
out to be. Third, by stating that your campaign is “opposed 
overwhelmingly by people who agree with us on the issues,” do you mean 
to imply the corollary, which is that you will appeal to those who don’t 
agree with you on the issues?


And a slight secret about Ralph Nader is the extent of his conservatism. 
The last time I saw him up close, he was the guest at Grover Norquist’s 
now famous “Wednesday Morning” gathering, where Washington’s disparate 
conservative groups meet—by invitation only, and off the record—under 
one ceiling. He gave them a sincere talking-to, pointing out that their 
favorite system—free market capitalism—was undermining their professedly 
favorite values. I remember particularly how he listed the businessmen 
who make money by piping cable porn into hotel rooms. (He rolled this 
out again on Meet the Press.)

Nader was the only serious candidate in the last presidential election 
who had favored the impeachment, on moral and ethical grounds, of Bill 
Clinton. When asked about his stand on gay and transgender rights and 
all that, he responds gruffly that he isn’t much interested in “gonadal 

He has often made a united front with conservatives like Norquist, and 
even more right-wing individuals like Paul Weyrich, on matters such as 
term limits and congressional pay raises. When I asked Grover about 
Ralph’s prospects of attracting Republicans, incidentally, he told me 
that he thought a Nader campaign just might appeal to some of the former 
Buchanan wing—anti-trade and anti-interventionist (not to forget 
anti-immigrant). So Nader and Buchanan might as well run for each 
other’s votes, or skip all that and just take in each other’s washing.

full: http://www.ex-iwp.org/docs/2004/vanity_fair.htm


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