Monday, May 03, 2004

Following up, as promised

So, as I said below, I'm coming back to this Nader question. As this Washington Post article describes, Nader is emerging not as his usual "corporations are evil" candidate, but as the peace candidate.

You may or may not have notice that he then fills a void left by Dean's exit.

And there's the problem. I see it. Other thinking Dean supporters see it. Nader doesn't seem to see it as a problem. And most unfortunately, I think, Kerry doesn't see it as a problem. He might by late November, however.

The article mentions that somehow this anti-warness makes Nader's run less vanity-based than before. I think that's a load of crap. Nader is no more a legitimate Peace candidate than he is an anything candidate. I appreciate that he saved us from a seatbelt-less demise, but that does not warrant the award of an elected office.

As readers know, I spent the past weekend in San Diego at the spring California Young Democrats conference. It went very well, if I do say so myself. The highlight - in some ways - was our lunch speaker, Wade Sanders, an attorney and longtime Kerry friend. Mr. Sanders was, well, polished, to say the least. Eloquent, passionate, he peppered his comments with enough visceral detail to keep the attention of the 65 or so young dems in the room. He had the same effect on the morning general session over at the CDP meeting too, or so I'm told.

But here's the problem. I asked: Given what I've read on the Kerry campaign strategy, he doesn't seem to plan to tout the anti-war message. What do anti-war, former Dean supporters like me do with that? Especially given the Nader concerns, etc (that's not a direct quote - which is sad, since it was my question - but it's as close as I can remember).

His answer: First, the anti-war people are already with them. Second, anyone who would vote Nader deserves what they get - they're only hurting themselves.

Uh, technically, they are also hurting me, Mr. Sanders.

John Kerry, you make it hard for me to love you when you and your agents are still reveling in the Dean take-down to the detriment of a nice chunk of your base.

Oh, I'm sorry, not a chunk - but ENOUGH. Doesn't anyone remember 2000? Nader is a legitimate threat. Not to mention, something awakened in a lot of young people when Dean called. It would be a shame if, as a party, we told those kids it was time to get along, go along, or get gone.

Shameful, shameful.

There were a few other gems of comments too: one where none too carefully dug Dean for dodging service - clumping him in with BUSH. Yeah, that's the double take I did too. I hate to see us still feasting on the bloodied corpses of our own. But Sanders did, smacking his lips as he went.

The other highlight was his praise of Terry McAullife's having chosen one candidate and directing all efforts that way. Talk about the man-behind-the-curtain.

There were too many Dean supporters in the room for that speech. The frustration seethed from several key CYD board members, me included.

I hope he proves us wrong. But given this Post article and the very real chance that Nader will f*ck us this time like he f*cked us before . . . I mean, look, we get that people are sometimes foolish, or just foolishly idealistic, when they cast their votes. They really think that it's worth it to chance being re-stuck with a Very Bad Man rather than vote for someone with a tenuous chance of winning. And yes, they will reap the consequences. But guess what. So will I. So may Kendall. So will many, many more soldiers, Iraqis, and others.

And you, Kerry Campaign, would chance all the bad to prove a point? Because it's easier to pander to the DLC's neglected middle class? To not use your big wins and war record to grab idealism and run it for all it's worth?

Okay, do what you must. You'll still have my vote. But you're going to lose many others along the way . . .

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