If Ralph Nader had picked up the phone in early October 2000 and told Al Gore that he'd accept an appointment as head of the Federal Trade Commission in exchange for directing his supporters to vote for Gore, Al would be winding up his second term, continued UN inspections, international sanctions, and the enforcement of the no-fly zone would have continued to hold Saddam Hussein's regime on the ropes, North Korea wouldn't have successfully tested nuclear weapons, America would be leading the world in finding alternatives to a totally oil-based economy instead of occupying Iraq and threatening Iran, the hollowed-out US economy wouldn't be a poison pill for our grandchildren, and Nader himself would be remembered as a saint.
Instead he'll be remembered, I'm a little sad to say, as a joke.
That's a pity, since Nader was an important progressive voice for over a generation. He built the consumer movement in America from scratch. But I don't think even the Greens are foolish enough to cross the street for his presidential bid this time.
He can't raise significant money, he has no organization to get him on the state ballots, any endorsements he get will be from fellow neverwozzers, and I have a better shot of being in the televised debates than he does. All he'll be able to do (not counting the obligatory David Barsamian interview on alternative radio) is jump up and down on the curb and shout "Hey! Over here! Look at me!" while the parade passes him by--and then hope Lyndon LaRouche will split cab fare home.
Everyone has their special moment when they gave up on Ralph. For some, it was 40 years ago. For me, it was October 2000 when he stuck to his idiotic "Bush and Gore are the same" shtick instead of telling his followers to vote for Gore. Incredibly, he's still saying that today.
Yes, yes, we get your point, Ralph--neither the Dems nor the Repubs are as open to new ideas as we'd want; they're both in the hands of the same money men and advisors pedaling their threadbare strategies from the last century; they're slaves to the same palace-insider Beltway Media opinions; and so on and so on. And that was/is true and deserved to be said. (And, frankly, the blogosphere has been saying so just fine without much help from you for several years now.) But to say there's no difference between the two parties--that there's literally no difference, that it doesn't matter which one wins--is just plain idiotic.
No, it's so far beyond idiotic that the light rays from idiotic will take thousands of years to reach him.
Let me hang onto some tiny shred of the respect I used to have for you, Ralph. Drop this presidential campaign idea. Drop it now.
(Tip of the UL-approved safety helmet to Doctor Beyond, who suggested the title.)