Saturday, June 14, 2008

Oh No! Ralphie is Back

Recently the producer of a new Ralph Nader commercial proudly noted that he'd finally done a spot for a Presidential candidate. This is my open letter to him.

Dear Alex:

I know we all have to make a living, but allow me some commentary about the person you are helping promote. There once was a time I had nothing but admiration for him. There once was a time when I thought he Mattered. There once was a time when I thought he was part of the Answer for much of what was wrong with America. But no more. And it pains to say that.

So I hope you understand why I believe you are helping to enable a once-revered, now pathetic Megalomaniacal to continue to hasten the country along the road to ruin.

Because of Ralph Nader’s unfettered Ego, George W. Bush is President of the United States. Any expert without a bias will tell you that without Nader siphoning off Democratic votes in Florida in 2000, Bush would not have been close enough to steal the election there from Gore.

Think about that the next time you are paying $4.71 (my neighborhood Shell this morning) for gas. Think about it when you meet someone whose kid or father or aunt died in Iraq, or whose family was destroyed when the spouse left after the third deployment. Think about it the next time a Katrina hits and an idiot President flies overhead looking down in a photo op as he returns from a political fundraiser. Think about it when the US can't react to a genuine world crisis because our military equipment has been eaten up in the sands of Iraq. Think about it the next time Afghanistan takes a Taliban hit--like today's--because the President went after Saddam and not bin Laden.

Think about it as Social Security runs out, as Exxon laughs at the country when they announce their obscene profits, when the Far Right gets another Supreme on the court and does away with Habeas Corpus for good.

You can't blame the entire presidency of George Bush on Nader, of course, but he is a major, perhaps THE major reason why Bush got to be President. And Nader did it, pure and simple, out of his own neediness. He could have had his moment in the Sun, taken his bows, then bowed out and thrown his support to the man who should have been helping the planet from a position of power, not just winning awards for his Ecological Slide Show. Without Ralph Nader, America wouldn't be sucking hind teat on Global Warming and Alternative Energy development.

Then, in 2004, when we all knew better, when anyone with a brain understood the damage Bush was capable of continuing to inflict, Nader came back again for another stint in the Spotlight. The topper was when Bill Maher literally got on his knees and begged Nader to get out of the campaign before he did more damage. Nader smugly sat there on Maher's show, basking in the attention, and said “no,” he was just too important.

In 2008, Nader is at it again. And again he will take more votes away from Democrats than from Republicans. How many votes may be determined by how much free publicity he gets from an inept Media, and how naive some voters still are. If McCain squeezes in by, say, winning Florida, Nader will have another skin on his belt. At the very least, Alex, please offer your artistic services to Ron Paul, who will siphon from the Right.

Another small complaint. Despite his high-falootin’ self-image, Nader's "commercial," is as trivial as flag pins or pledges of allegiance or middle names are to the real needs of the country. NBA cheating, while important to sports fans and morality fetishists, is right down there with the other non-issues being overblown in the current campaign. Why the NBA, Ralph? Because it's in the news. Because it's a means for Ralph to grab back the spotlight. The Media can't send me into the oblivion I deserve, says Ralph's Ego..

So there's another disappointment for those of us who once honored and praised Ralph Nader. Turns out Ralph is as cynical and pragmatic and needy as any of the real candidates. Turns out Ralph craves his Fame Jones like any other addict needs a drug fix.

The personal tragedy for Nader is that he has seen his genuine legacy of achievement set aside as he has become a punch line, a laughingstock and a bitter sidenote to the cesspool that is American politics today.

Eight years of George Bush would make a Relativist out of most Idealists. Like it or not, Politics is not about absolutes, but compromises. So those of us in the Real World can't afford NaderThink. Hence, I don't give a rat’s ass if Obama and McCain took medical money, as Nader so proudly huffs.

A vote for Nader is worse than a wasted vote. First of all, Nader is no more Our Next President than Mike Gravel, Mr. Whipple, or Little Mary Sunshine are. Second, even if Nader could win, Senator Obama, on his worse day, would be ten times the President sad sack Ralph might ever hope to be. Hell, I even think Senator McCain would be better, and the thought of McCain in the White House terrifies me.

So, if you must do Nader commercials, Alex, consider this suggestion. Convince him to run for something he won’t ruin the country doing. Run him for NBA Commissioner.