Just when you thought the wacky campaign of Ralph Nader could not get any wackier, today’s San Francisco Chronicle gave us a sample of the doublespeak the desperate politco, with a tenuous grip on reality, employs to mislead the public and the press.
While it would be easy to use this as a springboard for yet another example of the politically suicidal inadequacies of Ralph Nader & Co., instead it’s a better opportunity to take a look at slippery rhetoric, and see how easy it is for someone to put out “spin” that sounds good, and does not get questioned by the press.
After reading today’s accounts I had to say I was impressed by Kevin Zeese’s twisted-tongue logic. He has a future selling HMOs and Wal-Mart rezoning requests with the new heights he’s acheived in doubleplus ungood speak.
First, let’s take a trip in the Wayback Machine, for the background to this story not provided for in the San Francisco Chronicle. For those of you who have lives, and as such do not follow the pettiness and irrelevance of the Nader 2004 effort, Mr. Nader’s campaign has once again failed to get on a state ballot, in this case, California. Unable to get enough signatures from registered voters who live in Califronia, Nader will not apper as a presidential candidate choice this fall.
This is entirely due to the fact that Ralph Nader made a specific decision to run as an “independent” candidate, and not as a candidate of the Green Party, for many reasons, most of which made little to no sense. Instead he chose to “go it alone,” especially when many Green Party and Nader 2000 supporters indicated they would not support him this time. So he thought he could do it all himself.
Big mistake. Since then he’s had to throw in his lot with an odd mix of arch-conservative Republicans, and the half-dead remains of the old Reform Party, in an attempt to stitch together a semblance of a campaign. As this half-baked effort floundered, he asked for the endorsement of the Green Party at their Convention in Wisconsin this summer and lost, due mostly to his unwillingness to campaign for the support of assembled delegates – or even to attend the convention itself. Once again, Ralph’s political bumbling cost him more support, and the Green Party nominated someone else.
There’s our historical context. Basically Ralph Nader is entirely responsible for the decisions he made time and time again to get to where he is today. Had he been a better candidate, and perhaps had better advisors or at least had the political sensibilities of someone in the 21st century, he might be in a better position, but he’s not . Boo Hoo.
Now, let’s take another look at some of the spin in today’s Chronicle and see just how convoluted it is. The California Green Party chose not to invoke some (odd) rules to change their party’s nominee here in California for the sake of Saint Ralph, instead opting to go along with what its party members had decided earlier this year.
Upon hearing this news, Nader Spokes-bot Kevin Zeese pulled out a uniquely Orwellian piece of rhetoric:
“What you’re seeing is a lot of angry California Greens, that they’re having David Cobb shoved down their throat,” Zeese said. “It’s become an issue of basic democracy for the Green Party.”
So let me get this straight. The Greens elected someone else to be their nominee. Ralph Nader, who is not a Green, asked for a decision by executive fiat to overturn an election he lost, so that he could be the nominee and crash the party. And somehow we’re to accept the Green Party is “having David Cobb shoved down [the Green Party’s] throat?”
After ten-plus years in politics, I still don’t know how someone can get up in the morning and say something as patently false as this, and still have some respect for themselves, much less face the press and the public and think they’re going to have any credibility.
More bewilidering to me is why anyone in the press would listen to either the crybaby candidate or the crybaby spokes-bot after these, and many other duplicitous statements.
What’s also interesting is that Spokes-bot Zeese doesn’t get any of this half-baked nonsense challenged, or even questioned. You’d think that any political reporter, even half-aware of the historical context of the situation, would at least ask a few follow up questions to make this clown back up such a Stalin-esque statement. Instead the reporters put David Cobb on the defensive, and yet he’s done nothing wrong.
More interesting is the focus (clearly a byproduct of spin by the Nader campaign and allied Green activists) that somehow Nader’s attempts are part of a plan to get enough votes nationally to “get money” from the federal government as part of the public financing given to Presidential candidates. This is a new spin that’s popping up, both in this article, and in television coverage of a Nader appearance in Los Angeles a few weeks ago.
This is a more insidious lie, one that is harder to thwart. Unlike Spokes-bot Zeese’s earlier comments, these are more murky. But there are a few basic facts to consider:
1. “Funding” that comes as a result of a Nader candidacy (unlikely as that may be) would not help the Green Party of America in any way shape or form since he’s not a Green Party candidate this year.
2. It is unlikely we’ll be having public funding as we know it for any more presidential campaigns after this one, given the many challenges to the system as is, and the fact that it is under-funded. Also, Gov. Dean showed that it was possible to raise lots of money with small donations, and no financing – something Nader only dares dream of.
3. Cynical appeals to get public money need to be thoroughly investigated. Given Nader’s manipulative fundraising one has to wonder if these appeals are just meant to deceive good Greens who want to build their party to support Nader.
In fact it’s more likely that if on some weird off-chance Nader took control of any public money, it would more likely end up in the hands of Nader-allied consultants and groups as was the case with Pat Buchanan’s past campaigns for president.
It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Nader’s campaign is not nearly the threat it was to Democrats four years ago. Now that people are holding Nader to the same strict standards of conduct and the same level of political combat real candidates have to endure, he’s got neither the political sense, or the ability to take the heat a credible candidate for president needs to have to win.
It’s also becoming clear that his appeal does not extend past the handful of old-school leftists who would never cast a vote for John Kerry, and as such aren’t going to be the boon to Bush that Rove, Nader, and the gang were hoping for.
At the rate Nader and Company are going, they’ll be nothing more than an asterisk of history, and it’s time for good folks to finish this guy off politically so we won’t have to listen to any more his or Spokes-bot Zeese’s yammering and whining.
© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at www.schadelmann.com
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