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vigil dec 11 2007
Nader's 2000 campaign is not to blame for Bush and the Bush disaster, as you claim.

Nader did not vote for the Iraq war, like Hilliary Clinton, John Kerry, and John Edwards. Nader did not confirm Bush's Supreme Court picks either. And he's not responsible for the failure of minority Democrats to block those and other lower court nominations, 2001-2007. Nader did not vote for the Patriot Act or its renewal. Nader did not vote to revise FISA and give Bush even more power (your majority Democrats have done that this summer). Nader did not vote for No Child Left Behind, which as I recall had the explicit backing of your party's senior senator from Massachusetts. Democrats cast those votes - just like they have voted over and over again for "emergency" funding for the Iraq occupation.

I see a bright side in the hell your party has helped produce--or at least acquiesced in. At least the 2000 and 2004 election cycles broke the DLC choke-hold on your party. At least a big faction now see that the 1990s Clinton-DLC formula had never really been a winning strategy.

Clinton was a disaster for your coalition. After two years of Clintonian "triangulation" in Congress a small part of your base abandoned your Congressional majority in 1994. After eight years of the Demirepublican President a big part of your base abandoned your 2000 presidential nominee after holding its nose and sticking with you--as I did--in 1992 and 1996. But in neither of his presidential elections years did Clinton actually win a majority of the votes cast. Clinton was always a plurality president. Without Perot, he probably never would have been President. Yet in the 1990s, you all pretended Clinton was magic and went looking for new versions of him everywhere.

By 2000, Gore and his supporters should have known he was fully in danger of being abandoned by much of the Dems traditional base. But Gore nonetheless ran as a Clintonian-DLC-centrist (with the ever helpful "Liebermaniacs" just to make sure his social conservative credentials were in full view). In significant ways, the Gore-Lieberman ticket was to the right of the Clinton-Gore ticket. Seeing DISASTER ahead and unsure of what to do about it, Gore fitfully and unconvincingly eventually lurched leftward and--miraculously--picked up strength with a Minnesota-liberal message ("the people versus the powerful"). He was trying to neutralize Nader by coopting the left-wave Nader was riding. But that wave was made up of people--myself included--who had spent the 1990s Campaigning against Clinton-Gore DLC neoliberalism. A late lurch left gave Gore about as much mojo with the Nader-left as picking Lieberman for his running mate did with the Christian center-right: not enough. The wave Nader rode was made up of the 1990s labor and environmental activist coalition that brought us "living wage campaigns," the anti-sweatshop movement, and the "Teamsters and Turtles" WTO protests in Seattle in 1999. Nader spoke to that movement far more credibly than Gore. Still, by staggering left Gore managed to win a majority of the vote, shaving Nader's one time double digit polling down to 5% or less on election night.

Technically of course Gore lost in the Supreme Court and through the Electoral College. But in reality, Clinton-Gore had alienated a critical portion of their best "boots-on-the-ground" supporters in order to court the conservatives on the DLC. The DLC strategy was always over-rated. Better to have abandoned it. Or has your party abandoned it? When I see the Dem debates, I see what looks like a group of surrogates attacking Hilliary Clinton's main rivals (Obama and Edwards).

We'll see what happens, eh?

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