portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts oregon & cascadia

community building selection 2004

Ralph Nader To Hold Nominating Convention

Ralph Nader will hold a nominating convention to place his name on the Oregon ballot for President. It will occur on Saturday, June 26, 2004, 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Benson High School Auditorium.
In 2000, Nader was on the ballot in 43 states. He expects
to be on the ballot in more states this year.

Nader will speak about the Iraq war. Local activists and
community groups are being invited to table at the event, recruit new
members, and distribute literature. This pattern was used successfully
during the Nader Super Rallies of 2000-2003. "Nader breathes new life
into community groups wherever he goes," said Jason Kafoury, national
field coordinator for the Nader campaign.

Parents are invited to bring their children to the Benson
event. Facilities and personnel will be available to entertain children.

1000 registered Oregon voters need to attend before the
convention will be empowered to place Nader on the Oregon ballot. An
attempt to place Nader on the ballot by convention in April fell short
by more than 200 voters.

"Last time Ralph's schedule was bringing him to town, so we
decided to try to do a quick effort to pull a convention together and
get him on the ballot," said Greg Kafoury, a Portland lawyer and an
architect of the Nader Super Rallies. "Many people assumed it would be
easy to gather 1000 people, so they did not feel their attendance was
necessary. Our organizational efforts were inadequate, and we have had
to live with the knowledge that we embarrassed Mr. Nader. We will not
make the same mistakes again. Everyone will know how important it is
that they be there for Ralph."

"Bush's policy in Iraq has created a military quagmire and
a political and moral disaster," said Jason Kafoury. "When John Kerry
is asked how his policy would differ from George Bush, he gives us no
answer. If we are to debate the Iraq War this November, the man who
will force the debate is Ralph Nader."

Jason Kafoury |  jkafoury@votenader.org <mailto: jkafoury@votenader.org>

tel: 202-265-4000 | fax: 202-265-0092

P.O. Box 18002 Washington DC, 20036
(202) 465-2764 (c)

Greg Kafoury
(503) 224-2647

* Paid for by Nader for President 2004*
Yay! 10.Jun.2004 16:00

Go Nader!

I'll be there!

June 2016: Nader running yet again against Jeb's VP and a hapless Dem... 10.Jun.2004 16:20

enough!

Yeah, Kerry's a sellout, and Nader has a right to run, but we have to stop the Bush era here and now. Otherwise Bush will get four more years, then Jeb will run the country into the ground for eight more. Can we survive that? Do you want to imagine what the Supreme Court and federal judiciary will look like by 2016 if the Bushes have their way? How far the Patriot Act will extend? Ralph should have a moment of humble clarity and stop this now.

If he only cares about putting forward an alternative, why does he always run himself? Why not champion someone else? He's not the only prominent progressive, just the only one who doesn't seem to care if the Bushite regime continues indefinitely...

the dems should be happy 10.Jun.2004 16:52

and not worry

With Nader receiving the nomination from the reform party they're set up for a 1992 scenario almost exactly. Though I doubt either the dems or repubs will let Nader into the debate, which is funny, since you'd think if Nader would really hurt Kerry the Bush team would be all about getting Nader into the debates. I guess maybe the repubs aren't as stupid as I thought, though the dems seem to be since they can't seem to figure that out.

If the dems can't win against Bush, having beaten him in 2000 and given Bush's record then in all honesty they don't deserve to run the country. Are the dems capable of leadership anymore? Now's the time to prove it.

Bush is Through 10.Jun.2004 17:00

enough indeed!

Unless they can figure out how to launch another major terrorist attakc on Americans, the Bush pirates are finished. The 'he could be worse' Kerry bobble-heads have blown it by eagerly welcoming the next corporate cock, as long as it has a different color condom on. When Bushco goes down, fuckface Kerry is not going to have squat to fall back on.

At least the BushCo pirates are honest to some degree about their plans to rule the world. The Kerry bobble-heads are a bunch of sniveling cowards, begging their masters for a new set of chains. What a bunch of useless chumps!

Re: "enough!" 10.Jun.2004 17:28

Go Nader!

Speaking of sellouts, why don't YOU champion someone else, rather than clinging to a war criminal, a traitor, and a steaming pile of corporate control?!
Go Nader!
Go Nader!

Nader is a distraction 10.Jun.2004 17:55

Pravda or Consequences

I have never seen Ralph helping the poor build their own homes, I have heard from Ralph until a month after 911, and I have never known Ralph to win an election anywhere.

Ralph will grab the idiotic reactionaries because they exist. At least the dems and pubs have a party structure (corrupt as it is) for organizing and giving people a vehicle for change.

Ralph, you're a great writer and a lousy leader.

the election is a distraction 10.Jun.2004 18:07

from more important things

"At least the dems and pubs have a party structure (corrupt as it is) for organizing and giving people a vehicle for change."

You don't really believe that do you? Yeah, the 2 party system really helps people produce change... You can choose one brand of corporate control, or the other. Do you want to drink coke or pepsi for the next 4 years?

"Ralph, you're a great writer and a lousy leader."

He is a good writer, and speaker, better than Bush or Kerry for sure. As for leadership, well, I'll appreciate when Kerry shows some, but I'm not holding my breath.

Hey Pravda or Consequences 10.Jun.2004 18:11

shove off

I have never seen you take a dump. Does that mean that you never have? Maybe so, since you are clearly full of shit? Who will you vote for? Skull Dee or Dumb Bones?

hey 10.Jun.2004 18:14

non-soda drinker

Sometimes after 4 years of drinking coke it might be nice to change to pepsi. Sometimes change is good for the sake of change.

(note, this is in jest (injest, get it?) since I haven't drank coke or pepsi in well over 10 years).

Please 10.Jun.2004 18:28

James

I'll be there again, as long as someone assures me there won't be hours of waiting and a band with the speakers cranked to 11 drowning out any attempt at conversation.

James 10.Jun.2004 18:45

Lynn Porter

Glad to hear you'll come. I hope enough people will, if only out of a sense of fairness. Democracy should mean that we get to vote for someone who expresses our beliefs. An election is not just about putting someone in power, it's about telling the power structure what we want. And what we'll do if we don't get it.

I've been told that everyone learned lessons from the last attempt and this one will be run better, including not blasting peoples' eardrums. I invite anyone else who has suggestions about the convention to post them here. How can we make it run better for you?


question for nader voters 10.Jun.2004 19:32

question lady

Can you please name one good thing-- on the physical plane of reality-- that will come from my voting for Nader, rather than Kerry, in the up-coming election?

My main issues are the environment, the growing gap between rich and poor, the unilateral empire building of the US, and a woman's right to choose. Which of these issues will be made better if I vote for Nader? Will my vote for Nader shift the country's direction in any of these issues? How?

Thanks.

the question lady.

water over cola any time 10.Jun.2004 19:33

salvationinc.org



Re: question lady 10.Jun.2004 19:45

answer person

Nader is the ideal candidate for every issue that you have listed as most important to you. He is also the only candidate that you can have any confidence in to actually address these issues.

With Bush already on the skids, and Kerry having missed a golden opportunity, your vote will be combined with others to elect the first non-corporate sponsored President of the US in a very long time. It may seem unlikely now, but as Bush heads for trial, and Kerry is left to explain his support for Bush policies, it will start to look far more realistic as we approach November.

question lady 10.Jun.2004 19:52

George Bender

Your vote for Nader will send a message to the Democrats, the news media and anyone else who is paying attention that we are not willing to put up with business as usual politics. Hopefully this will force the Democrats to move left in order to win close elections. WE will become the swing voters that everyone caters to instead of people who have no political beliefs and watch too much television. Yes, it's a naked grab for power.

OR, we can keep on doing what we've been doing, watching the Democrats move further and further to the right, following the Republicans, while we have no power at all. It's a judgement call. I'm betting on Nader.


IMC Editors Please Do Your Part 10.Jun.2004 19:52

Go Nader!

I understand that many IMC contributors see Presidential politics as dubious, but Nader is the anti-corporate contender, and a small feature on this for some early promotion would be appretiated. This is a local event, and this is news. Thanks.

dear answer person 10.Jun.2004 19:59

question lady

But I don't think you answered my question. I asked about the physical plane of reality, the real world. Perhaps you missed that part. I will, however, keep thinking and watching to see if "it will look more realistic" at some point. Perhaps you will also keep thinking until then.

As far as Nader being the perfect candidate for my issues, I'm not sure why you say he is. My next door neighbor believes all the things I do about these issues. But his believing so doesn't make him a good candidate. He be a great president, in fact, and I know him pretty well so I can be confident that he would. Why shouldn't I vote for my neighbor above Nader or Kerry or anyone else I don't know? Why shouldn't you vote for my neighbor? Believe me, he's pretty cool!

question lady 10.Jun.2004 20:17

George Bender

Nader has the power to raise issues in national politics, get 2.7 percent of the vote (or more), and threaten the Democrats. Your neighbor does not. Although I'm sure he's a fine fellow, I would not vote for your neighbor. I don't know him. Neither do millions of other people. Also, I don't see your neighbor out campaigning. If you want to function politcally in the "real world," you have to consider these things.

To the commenter who asked why Nader doesn't promote someone else, why should he? A presidential campaign is not the place for humility. Nader is the best candidate, probably the only one, who can run on progressive issues and command national attention. He can do that because he has worked on national issues for 40 years, has a large national reputation, has run for president twice before, and has proven his ability to get enough of the vote to threaten the Democrats. Progressives only get political attention in America when they're a threat.


Thanks Mr. Bender 10.Jun.2004 20:48

answer person

My sentiments exactly.

Divisiveness Not a Luxury We Can Enjoy In This Election 10.Jun.2004 21:31

Nader Nada

That's exactly the problem . . . Nadar is a threat to the Democrats and not to Bush.

I'm pretty disgusted about all of our choices but I don't want to see four more years of the pretender. He'll use any means and any excuse to cling to power.

best goal to threaten Democrats? 10.Jun.2004 22:55

bender-breaker

Bender, are you actually getting paid by the republicans? If not, you have missed your calling, dude. The lady asks what good a vote for your candidate will do, and the best you have is that he can threaten Democrats? Not save the salmon runs? Not stop the war? Prevent global warming? If your only interest is in "threatening Democrats" then you can count me out. I'd rather vote for question lady's neighbor, than somebody whose goal in life is to threaten Democrats. Boooring!

We Can't AFFORD You, Ralph 10.Jun.2004 23:07

Randi Rhodes Fan

George Bender fails to realize the difference between an election where a plurality wins and one where a majority wins.

You don't need a majority to win a state in the Presidential election, as opposed to local elections like the Portland mayoral election. In the mayoral election, you are free to vote for Phil Busse, James Posey, or even Extremo the Clown or Jim "The Naked and the Dead" Spagg in the primary - you won't hurt the more progressive of the two winning candidates.

Whoever gets a plurality wins a state in the Presidential election. If you were going to sit at home or vote for the Socialist Workers or some other fringe party, go ahead and vote for Nader. But if you withhold your vote from Kerry because you disagree with just some of his platform, you're helping Bush, plain and simple.

The difference between Kerry and Bush is not one between Coke and Pepsi. It's between Coke and Drano. If you really want four more years of Ashcroft, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Halliburton, and officials claiming the Geneva Convention doesn't apply to them, then drink the Drano and vote for Nader.

We can't AFFORD you, Ralph. Please stay out of the race and be the nation's watchdog, like you have for 40-odd years.

When Is a Vote Not Like Betting On the Winner? 10.Jun.2004 23:37

nomad

When it's made for the best candidate.

Any thoughts that there is an inevitable collision brewing? I guess I'm thinking, admittedly somewhat despairingly, that it might have to get worse before it gets better. I don't believe I'm alone, thinking this.

Voting for the lesser of two (put your word in here) at this time is somewhat like moving to the stern of a ship that's sinking at the bow, in my view. The Republic (for lack of a better word) has worked itself to this point after two centuries of perfecting the tricks for engineering and holding social and economic domination over the many by a few, and now threatening the livability of the planet and sowing the seeds of misery, beligerence, ignorance and greed world wide. Will the rest of the world stand by as these Christian soldiers march onward? I think U$ citizens are going to get caught on the wrong side, sooner or later.

Is Nader a charlatan? His apparent rejection by the political establishment (unless there is a big conspiracy afoot) virtually defines him as the only legitimate candidate. My only regret is that there isn't a plank in his platform stating that his goal is to abolish his job, should he be elected. (I've always hoped to be able to vote for a candidate saying that!)

I just can't see where the forms of participation in self determination as now constituted mean squat--the dealer has stacked the deck. And the deal doesn't change hands. The prevention of four (or any number) years of 'bu$h'--who is a placeholder for the real forces--is an illusion.

Apparently a vote for Nader is the only vote for change--albeit pretty much symbolic. But, in truth--and this isn't what the Nader workers probably feel--it's going to take more than elections to bring meaningful change. But, for some, elections are enough I guess, to keep their feet dry as the ship lists a little more steeply and sinks a little deeper.

¡Hasta la Victoria!

bender-breaker 10.Jun.2004 23:53

George Bender

No. Are you getting paid by the Democrats? If so, have you noticed that your employer is dead?


Nothing good can come of this 11.Jun.2004 07:50

Former Nader Supporter

The best argument for voting for Nader in 2000 (and 1996) was to help build a viable alternative to the two-party system.

As Nader is running as an independent, the best argument for voting for him now is as a protest.

Thanks, but I'll find more effective ways to protest.

Sock Puppet Theory 11.Jun.2004 10:00

Awwwww

MSNBC article on recent Kerry campaign stop in Seattle:

"Kerry did not address Iraq as clearly as I would have liked, said David Haldeman, 25. "But my dislike of George Bush overrides everything at this point. You can put a sock puppet next to Bush and I would vote for it."

At Kerry headquarters in Washington, no one's calling it the "sock puppet" theory, but it's pretty much the one they are operating on. The election, in their view, doesn't turn on Kerry's legislative victories (in 20 years in the Senate, they are few) or on his grand new ideas (his foreign policy, judging from his advisers, would be a Clinton Restoration). Rather, his handlers think, the race is about being a minimally acceptable alternative and in the right position to capitalize on the president's weakness.
Sock Puppet: Much Less Expensive to Buy
Sock Puppet: Much Less Expensive to Buy

Go after bush votors 11.Jun.2004 10:58

ps

For everyone who is urging people not to vote for Ralph Nader, I urge you to speak to the conservative element, stop wasting your time here. There are 10's of millions of people who will be voting for Bush this year, despite all the legitimate horrors that have been presented thus far. Or how about half the population that didn't even vote!

We all know the evils of bush, but he is just one person. Pulling a lever in November isn't enough for the change we all want to see. I do see voting for Nader as a way to shift the debate.

Who's talking about child poverty?

Who's talking infectious diseases?

Who's talking about health insurance for all people in this country?

Even Gore, when threatened with Nader, pushed a slighly more progressive msg. Kerry needs that same push, maybe one that's even a little harder.

Anyone but bush should be the motto, let's go after those Bush voters.

"Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get." George Bernard Shaw

Happy Days Are Here Again! 11.Jun.2004 12:44

peronista

Does this mean that Kerry and Sock Puppet will be dukeing it out at the DNC?

This is more like it! A REAL convention and not just an investiture of the pre-ordained candidate! I can hardly wait--Floor battles! Delegation walk outs! The hurly-burly of bare knuckles debates and grass-roots negotiating! Numerous factions standing up for their principles in solidarity! People voting for what they believe in!

This is what democracy is all about. This is democracy refreshed and restored!

Nader's Republican pipe dream 11.Jun.2004 23:03

Peter Dizikes

The spoiler candidate insists he's drawing GOP voters away from George W. Bush. There's only one problem: They only exist in his mind.



June 10, 2004 | Ralph Nader's latest presidential campaign does not have an official slogan. It does, however, have a kind of official rationalization. "I think I'm going to take more votes away from Republicans than from Democrats," Nader says, almost every time he speaks. Democrats doubt this theory. And Nader admits no Republicans have asked him to leave the race or expressed fear he will siphon votes from Bush. "I don't think they're in with the trend," Nader explained.

But Nader insists his Republican backers are real. To find out more, I spent a good chunk of time over the last few weeks talking to Nader supporters in New England. I attended Nader meetups, Nader volunteer meetings, Nader campaign events and Nader press conferences. I spoke with Nader supporters who are still in high school, and Nader supporters with gray hair. I talked to people who have admired Nader since the 1960s, and others who first heard of him last year. I found Nader supporters who have voted for him multiple times, Nader supporters who have never voted, and Nader supporters who voted for Al Gore in 2000.

What I did not find, however, was a single supporter of Ralph Nader who voted for George W. Bush in 2000, or who had been planning to support Bush this year before Nader entered the race. After a while, I felt like a stymied naturalist stalking a rare species. Sure, Naderus Republicanus must exist somewhere, but it is an unusual creature, capable of eluding human observation for long stretches of time.

Nader supporters themselves treat the idea as a curiosity -- even in states where Republicans are supposedly most independent-minded. Take Greg Stott, a schoolteacher from Goshen, N.H., who attended a recent Nader press conference in Concord, the state capital, holding a "Teachers for Ralph" sign. Stott is a registered Democrat. Does he know any Republicans or former Bush voters who are supporting Nader this year?

"No, I don't," replied Stott. "That's a pretty big leap. I haven't met anybody [like that] yet. I have met a lot of Democrats who have switched over. I mean, a lot."

Even Nader himself has only caught a few fleeting glimpses of his Republican backers. Unable to locate Naderus Republicanus, I sat down with Nader for an interview in Concord, to ask him about the subject. "Have you encountered people who have told you they supported Republicans in the past, and Bush in 2000?" I queried. "Oh, yes," Nader answered immediately.

Really? Where?

"Georgia, for example. Three of them came up at a volunteer gathering and said 'I'm fed up, my Republican friends are fed up.' At a retirement village in Arizona, the same thing happened."

Well, every vote counts. But Nader had just finished a press conference at which he claimed more Republicans than Democrats supported him in New Hampshire, in 2000. (Bush beat Gore in the state by 7,211 votes, while Nader collected 22,198 votes.) That Nader would then point to a handful of apparent supporters in the Sun Belt -- the only examples he gave me -- will probably not convince Democrats about his theory. Which, in turn, is all the more reason Democrats should be interested in finding out more about Ralph Nader's supporters.

After all, Nader still sits at 4 percent in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll -- high enough to be a decisive factor in the race again, and higher than the 2.7 percent he drew in 2000. Somebody is backing Nader. Who are these people, and why do they support him?

Two distinct topics, actually, seem to matter most to Naderites: the war in Iraq, and the consolidation of power -- economic, political, cultural -- in the hands of large corporations. Again and again, when I asked people at Nader events why they supported him, those were the first issues to surface.

"Corporate control, and our foreign policy, which I think has gone terribly, terribly wrong," said Bill Grennon, a Nader supporter in Concord, N.H. "Between those two things, I think those are the most important issues." Grennon agreed with Nader's diagnosis of right-wing discontent: "Particularly here in New Hampshire, there are an awful lot of Republicans angry at the direction of the country." By chance, did he support Bush in 2000? "I did not. I ended up for Al Gore."

Indeed, Nader supporters almost unanimously express disgust at Bush -- and then lump Kerry in with Bush, because of Kerry's support for military action in Iraq. "The direction the country's gone in is appalling," said Sarah Bayer, a social worker from Cambridge, Mass. "But Kerry voted right along with the war." On the campaign trail, Nader also uses the Iraq war to link the major-party candidates. "That's the big issue that distinguishes Greens and Independents from Republicans and Democrats," Nader told an audience in the leafy bedroom community of Canton, Conn., near his hometown of Winsted.

To be sure, Nader attacks Bush more forcefully than he did in 2000, calling the president a "messianic militarist" who should be impeached. Nader has also mothballed his "Tweedledee and Tweedledum" line about Democrats and Republicans. He thinks Republican support will come from people "furious with [Bush] over the huge deficit, over corporate subsidies, the sovereignty of trade, NAFTA, the big-government Patriot Act, the federal regulation of schools."

Nonetheless, Nader also began a press conference at Suffolk University in Boston -- a few blocks from John Kerry's Beacon Hill townhouse -- with a short speech laying down two challenges for Kerry. First, Nader said, cutting corporate subsidies "should be a high priority for any presidential candidate, especially one such as Sen. Kerry, who has uttered the magic words, 'ending corporate welfare as we know it,'" then adding: "Senator Kerry has to have an exit strategy dealing with the war in Iraq." Nader barely mentioned Bush before taking questions. In this case, it seemed clear where, on the political spectrum, Nader was hunting for votes.

For that matter, no Nader backers I met even framed their decision as a choice between Nader and Bush. "Before he [Nader] announced, I was for anyone but Bush," said Steven Schade, a high school student from Andover, Mass., who plans to attend college in Florida next fall. "After he announced, I was for no one but Nader." And Nader makes it clear that his current rapprochement with Kerry could be temporary. "Right now, if you'll notice, I am urging things on John Kerry," Nader told me. "If weeks go by, two months go by and there's no response, the urging will turn to criticism."

Still, it seems likely that a significant chunk of Nader's support has not been wrestled away from Kerry directly, but is "a real mix," as Nader says. "These are not pure, normal Democrats," said Pete Ellner, a Connecticut Green Party member who organizes meetings of Nader backers. "I can best characterize them as Perot voters." (Numerous Nader backers also told me they wanted to limit free trade.) In 2000, the Voter News Service's national exit poll showed that 47 percent of Nader voters would have voted for Gore, 21 percent would have voted for Bush -- they're out there somewhere -- but fully a third would not have supported either.

This limits the number of Naderites who might throw votes Kerry's way in a close election. "I don't think I've ever voted for a winning presidential candidate in my life," said Michael Richardson, Nader's Massachusetts ballot-petition coordinator. Many of these people are not in the habit of voting pragmatically.

And then there are people who simply say Nader is the best man for the job. Alan DiCara, a longtime Connecticut activist and what you might call a Friend of Ralph, told me he favors a "Nader-Kerry fusion" ticket on the Democratic line: Nader as president, Kerry as vice president. And why would John Kerry accept this arrangement? "John Kerry has a great deal of respect for Ralph, as he should, because Ralph, after all, went to Harvard Law School and Princeton, and knows a lot more than Kerry ever will about corporations, the rule of law, the history of our government, and how things work in Washington, in the Beltway."

Beyond Nader's loyalists, however, it's unclear just how much backing for his candidacy remains intact in 2004. "Half of democracy is just showing up," Nader likes to say, but few supporters are doing that so far. In Canton, for example, about 60 people turned out -- but most were kids brought in from a school across the street. Four years ago, Nader held "Super Rallies" at places like Madison Square Garden and the Oakland Coliseum en route to his 2.7 percent showing. His retail campaigning in 2004 is nowhere near that level yet.

Those who do attend a Nader event often get a short, vigorous talk -- on Iraq, corporate reform, or political reform -- followed by a longer question-and-answer session. Nader speeds through his points without the carefully placed applause lines of most political speeches. Intriguingly, the event I saw where Nader seemed most engaged with his audience did not feature potential voters: A discussion in Hartford with students hoping to become journalists. "How many of you want to be leaders of the future?" Nader asked them at one point. Only one tiny girl raised her hand. Nader sized up the situation for a few seconds. "Does that mean the rest of you want to be followers?" he asked, eliciting giggles, and softening the mood, before launching into an earnest monologue on the importance of idealism.

Occasionally, the low turnout leads to the off-script moments campaigns hate. "Has anyone here served in the Army?" Nader asked the Canton audience while discussing Iraq. Not a single hand went up; the teenagers recruited for the event sat there whispering. In New Hampshire, a local crank wearing an old-fashioned military getup barged into Nader's Concord press conference and proceeded to fire a loud volley of questions at the candidate.

Soon thereafter, a lunchtime volunteer meeting at a Thai restaurant down the street yielded just 10 people -- including Nader, a campaign aide, a Democratic candidate for New Hampshire's second congressional district named Roy Morrison, a Washington Post reporter and myself. Aaron Rizzio, Nader's ballot-petition coordinator in New Hampshire, gamely broke the news to Nader that all the volunteers who had shown up were, in fact, gathered around the table. "This is the group," explained Rizzio. "It's a weekday, people are working." Nader took this stoically, and a short discussion of logistics ensued. With only 3,000 signatures needed by August, New Hampshire is a relatively easy state for ballot access.

Presently, the meeting wrapped up and one of the volunteers asked Nader to autograph a book. While major-party candidates are typically asked to sign their hokey ghostwritten autobiographies, in this case the volunteer produced his copy of "The Bathroom Book," a weighty tome from the 1960s consumer-advocacy time capsule warning of things like dangerous toilets.

For all these visible quirks, the Nader campaign in many ways resembles politics as usual. Nader's most underrated skill as a politician is his ability to use catchy sound bites relentlessly -- like his stock response when asked if his supporters are throwing away their votes: "You only waste your vote when you vote for someone you don't believe in." Nader also bats away thorny questions like a pro. One voter in Connecticut asked Nader about news reports that wealthy Bush donors are also giving Nader campaign contributions, in the belief it will help Bush get elected. "I don't know where you're getting that we're taking Republican money," Nader retorted sharply. "I haven't seen any, by the way."

Actually, the Dallas Morning News reported in March that about 10 percent of donations of more than $250 to Nader's campaign come from individuals with a history of contributing to the GOP. These donors remain coy about their motives. Nader chooses not to address the question head-on and instead typically cites a Center for Public Integrity study that says only 3 percent of his total contributions are from Republicans. It is curious that Nader, whose professed aim is to win the election, would advertise his minimal support from a large voting bloc -- especially while claiming Republicans are ever more likely to support his 2004 campaign. Further questions about the nature of Republican funding for Nader seem likely to arise; already Arizona Democrats have claimed a GOP consultant is bankrolling the candidate's petition drive in Arizona.

In short, the Nader campaign, like any other, contains its own inconsistencies. Nader complains the Democrats offer little beyond a critique of the Republicans, but much of his campaign consists of, well, a critique of the major parties. Nader says he wants to "raise the tone" of the campaign, yet he merrily compares Al Gore to "petrified wood." Nader also insists this is only his second presidential campaign. In 1996 and 1992, he says, "I just agreed to let the Greens put me on the ballot."

In a complicated world, inconsistencies may be inevitable. But Ralph Nader portrays himself -- it is the whole basis of his campaign -- as a beacon of integrity in the fallen world of politics. "We separate the word and the deed," Nader often says -- meaning the two should match, but rarely do. "You have to always stay on the back of these politicians," Nader added at one event. "Before elections, during elections, after elections." Another time, he remarked: "We should all be held to account, we should all be held to levels of specificity."

How true. Since Nader says he wants to defeat Bush, then, I asked him if he would return contributions from Republicans who think -- mistakenly or not -- they are helping Bush.

"I've been looking to see whether that's happened," he said. "It hasn't happened yet. If it happens, then I'll ponder it." Does the donation he received from Terrence Jacobs, president of Penneco Oil and a Bush backer, make Nader, the anti-corporate candidate, uncomfortable? "I don't even know him," Nader said. "I don't know him."

Nader's campaign itinerary raises more questions about his professed drive to find GOP support. I was following Nader on his "Northeast Tour," which hit some of the most Democratic-voting cities in America. Visiting Amherst, Boston and Concord -- the liberal center of New Hampshire -- is a funny way of looking for Republican votes. "Well, in June I'm going to Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois," Nader told me. "I'm just going to every state." (Iowa and Illinois voted Democratic in 2000.)

The real issue, though, is if Nader will campaign in Republican-voting areas within any given state. "Yes," Nader said firmly when I asked him that. "The big problem there is the venue. How are you going to reach large numbers of people? I mean mega-churches, they're not going to have me speak." From what I saw, mega-churches are not needed right now. If the campaign wants to seek votes in GOP-voting areas, though -- if Nader really believes that is where the votes are -- they will find a way. Will Ralph Nader's deeds match his words? We will find out.


More voters for Bush than Nader 11.Jun.2004 23:20

UabUab

If I recall there were many many many more votes cast by registered democrats for Bush than Nader, so blaming Nader for stealing votes for Bush is a bad argument. Also, if you are voting for someone that hasn't done anything to get your vote you don't believe in democracy so if thats the case, just vote for bush. Also, people should keep in mind the tactics that bush used to get elected, he, at the risk of alienating his base pitched himself as only slighly more conservative than Gore, and look how he turned out. I think that Kerrry could be doing the same thing. Trying to appeal to as many conservatives as possible because he knows that he can get at least 40 percent of the vote in every state because he isn't Bush.

Actually, they're Nader votes 12.Jun.2004 01:08

George Bender

"In 2000, the Voter News Service's national exit poll showed that 47 percent of Nader voters would have voted for Gore, 21 percent would have voted for Bush -- they're out there somewhere -- but fully a third would not have supported either."

The Perot voters have had 4 years to get sick of Bush's budget-busting ways,so Nader will probably get even more Republican votes this time. But I think Nader is probably wrong in thinking he will subtract more votes from Bush than from Kerry.

And I don't care. People who write articles like the one above -- Salon is a Democrat front -- assume that there is something wrong with taking votes away from the Democrats and making Kerry lose. On the contrary, to me that is the point. Let's get together and wreck the two-party system. It has become rigid and stifling, and it is giving us worthless candidates like Kerry.


Nader doesn't care either 13.Jun.2004 08:51

bender-breaker

George Bender's line "I don't care" is enormously telling. Bender, and his god-like Nader, don't care. They don't care what happens to the environment in the next four years. They don't care that the economy is being raped and driven into enormous bankruptcy. They don't care how many of our rights George Bush takes away in the next four years. Nader, as Bender himself has said, has one goal in this election, to threaten and punish Democrats.

Great goal, assholes. Maybe you should care. Maybe if you start to care about the real problems of the world that George Bush is creating and making worse, then perhaps someone with a conscience will listen to you.

Caring 13.Jun.2004 13:12

George Bender

Well let's see. John Kerry voted for NAFTA, the Welfare "Reform" Act, the Patriot Act and war with Iraq. Are those examples of Democratic caring? If so I have to say it's time for a new version.

Actually I think Nader, from his published statements, has more than one goal. You can find a lot of information on his national website --  http://www.votenader.org/ -- or go to Google and do a news search for interviews. The Oregon Nader website --  http://naderoregon.org -- has links to many news articles.

I speak only for myself. This is why I'm in the game. Democrats seem to imagine that we're all on the same side and that Nader supporters are somehow betraying them. No, we're not on the same side. Democrats have been betraying working-class people like myself for years. It's payback time. Move left or die.

Ralph Nader promotes issues at IUPUI 13.Jun.2004 14:02

Jon Murray

Ralph Nader promotes issues at IUPUI

By Jon Murray
 jon.murray@indystar.com
June 13, 2004

Consumer activist and presidential candidate Ralph Nader today urged about 80 people attending a rally at IUPUI to become more active in politics so issues like universal health care and the minimum wage aren't swept off the national agenda.

"This is a country that has far more problems than it deserves and far more solutions than it applies," said Nader, who is making another independent bid for the White House.

Nader spoke at a lecture hall on the campus of Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. His speech was sponsored by the school's political science department.

As Nader spoke, supporters passed petitions supporting his candidacy. They say the former Green Party candidate has collected about half of the 29,000 signatures he needs to get on the ballot as an independent in Indiana.

Democrats have been especially critical of Nader's candidacy, maintaining he will take votes away from their party's presumptive candidate, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

Nader lashed out at that criticism, saying that corporate influence colors almost all government decisions and that the two-party system is powerless to change it. He criticized voters who were supporting Kerry just because they oppose the policies of Republican President George Bush.

"If we continue the 'least-worse' strategy, both parties will get worse every four years," Nader said. "It doesn't work."

Democrats maintain Nader siphoned enough support from then Democratic candidate Al Gore in the key Florida election four years ago that he tipped the race in favor of Bush.

Ralph is Coming - Spread the Word, Be a Delegate! 14.Jun.2004 04:37

WitchyGirl

This is great news! Spread the word about this second NOMINATING CONVENTION for Ralph Nader. Inform everyone you know of this important and URGENT event. If possible, volunteer! Get to this convention and get others to come and be delegates for Ralph Nader.

Kerry is not only intent to "stay the course" in Iraq with imperialistic occupation, but in his television commercials he touts the "strong military" that he will have and he is somehow going to raise 40,000 troops. What does that mean? It doesn't sound good...

There are so many issues that need to be part of the debate.

Besides the war think of: fair taxation (no income tax under $100,000), a living wage, an end to the drug war, fighting corporate crime, repealing free trade agreements that threaten labor and environmental standards, repealing TaftHartley, mandatory labeling of GM foods, fighting Childhood Asthma epidemics and envrionmental racism, DC Statehood, sane foreign policy. The list goes on and on.

This is URGENT! Spread the Word! Don't let these issues go away.

Sheesh, this "Nader's Republican pipe dream" article is utter nonsense 14.Jun.2004 13:40

good grief

Peter Dizikes, this article makes absolutely no sense, but reason isn't a strong point for those engaged in divide-and-conquer corporate propaganda.

First, you claim there are no Republicans voting for Nader, then say there must be because exit polls showed at least one in five Nader voters were Republicans in 2000. Then you claim Nader is insincere or misguided in claiming that Republicans have good reason to vote for him instead of Bush -- but instead of proving your claim, you just assume it's true and use that unfounded assumption to conclude that Republicans who have donated money to the Nader campaign this year are doing so in some sinister crafty way (snort-laughing as they go like those super-villains on the old Super Friends cartoons), instead of donating money to Nader because they sincerely believe in him, have either always supported him, or have newly discovered him, and are at least strongly considering joining the quantifiable one in five 2000 Nader voters who were registered Republicans.

Didn't you learn your lesson when the press pounced on Ben Stein for writing a fat check to the Nader campaign this year? Stein just reminded them that he's been a friend and suppoerter of Nader for decades, and he has the ancient trail of cancelled checks to prove it. So much for THAT vast right-wing conspiracy; on to the next one!

Nader has always enjoyed strong conservative support, both in terms of money to his causes, press for his organizations' work, and inspiration to civic duty -- how many middle-aged Republicans in Congress today could honestly say they were not partly inspired to go into public service by Ralph Nader? Nader is an American icon, the small-town immigrants' son who pledges his life to promoting democratic values, public service, respect and fairness, responsibility and privacy, and community and family well-being. Anyone who was old enough to watch TV in the seventies, and grew up outside of a liberal think-tank, surely knows that. My memories of Nader from the seventies and eighties are lumped in with my memories of Reader's Digest and National Geographic. He's polling 8% in Pennsylvania because he championed safer working conditions and just compensation for chronic ailments for coal miners and their families. Did ye intrepid reporter go to rural Pennsylvania to research this article? Not likely. Salon.com writers don't like to wander too far off the Interstate.

Perhaps the reason why you don't meet any Republicans who support Nader is because you have been drifting way too long in your own pipe dream where America is divided into the good guys (progressives) and the bad guys (conservatives) and elections are about calling out the Super Friends to make sure the bad guys are thwarted in their dastardly plan to control and destroy the innocent lives of the good guys.

I was at the first nominating convention, and I assure you there were definitely a good contingent of conservatives there, and they showed up early. I know because the rock bands that intro'd got some pretty hostile reactions from the waiting crowd, and a guitarist ended up trading barbs with one very loud heckler yelling that the band should stop being so @#$@# loud. These weren't progressives with sensitive ears. You could tell it wasn't the volume, but the band and the style of music that was found offensive.

People who mix in both conservative and progressive circles know that Nader has a rock-solid base of support in both camps. As usual, Salon.com is out to lunch with their superficial poorly-researched out-of-touch Corporate-Democratic-Party-Machine-Apologist glossyspeak. I'm confident if you look for the angel investors that launched Salon.com, you'll find not a few Bush Republicans looking to profit mightily from the gullibility of the left-liberal reader demographic.

Salon.com 14.Jun.2004 15:11

George Bender

Well said.

I read Salon.com daily for a few years. I quit when they started the Nader bashing. Pretty much the same damn article, over and over again, the Democratic party line, no original thought. Now I read CounterPunch.


fraud 23.Jun.2004 11:08

josie

The newspapers and corporate media want us to believe that Nader 'steals votes' from the Democrats. That is why Greg Palast's article on fraud in 2000 was not published in this country until 6 months after the coup and crowning of Bush. That is why at the April Nader convcention, the Oregonian and Register Guard did not interview ANYONE inside the convention, only thos 7 or 8 'liberals' outside protesting Nader. Why? They don't want to talk about the real deal - fraud. Why do so many Americans believe them? Because it's too painful to face the truth. Change starts now. If this is a kind of democracy, as opposed to dictatorship, then vote for whomever you want.
We still have the right to do that. And while we're at it, how about talking about black box voting. Get ready for big time fraud in this election. We need a plan of action if another coup takes place.

ARE WE REALL READY FOR A HOMOSEXUAL PRESIDENT???? 15.Aug.2004 12:04

H. Thomas Hawkins

I think as we head toward a very questionable future we need to ask ARE WE REALLY READY FOR A HOMOSEXUAL PRESIDENT??? This is not to say we should not have one, but are we ready for one now. We must all think twice before we throw our support , money and energy behind just anyone.
H. Thomas Hawkins