Run, Ralph, Run

I’m feeling energized about the chance to vote for a candidate outside the two-party party. No way was Ron Paul or Pat Buchanan getting my vote.

Mrs Clinton is pouting:

“Well that’s really unfortunate. I remember when he did this before. It did not turn out very well for anybody, most especially our country. This time I hope it doesn’t hurt anybody. I hope it’s kind of a passing fancy that people don’t take too seriously.”

Hillary doesn’t seem to understand congressional politics. The wave of liberal voters in 2000 gave her first Senate a five-seat pick-up thanks in part to Mr Nader. Of course, for believers in the Imperial Presidency, the Congress is just irrelevant, as long as you have a SCOTUS to cover your back.

Not that the D-Party had any notion of what to do with control of the legislative branch, anyway. They still voted to cede their constitutional role before the Iraq War, with hardly a sufficient dissent. They’re not tough on torture, or any number of other issues. The notion that the D-Party is liberal is laughable. Conservatives in favor of abortion and lobbying–it doesn’t get much worse than that.

Mr Obama has the measure of things:

The job of the Democratic Party is to be so compelling that a (small) percentage of the vote going to another candidate is not going to make any difference.

He’s right, of course.

Nader on either one of them:

If the Democrats can’t landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up, close down, emerge in a different form.

Is that a deal we could actually make?

Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images for ‘Meet the Press’

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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60 Responses to Run, Ralph, Run

  1. J Paul says:

    My dear brother I must respond. Nader?!? are you kidding? please tell me you are kidding? If I was so inclined to look back in time with hatred(maybe i do just a little) I could hold Nader responsible for causing just enough ruckus in the election that put the treasonous/murderer in th white house. Yeah, yeah run Ralph run, right to the front line when we are at war with Russia over Kosovo, Mark my words, that is what will happen if we get another right wing wacko in the white house.

    Wake up America! It’s gonna take a woman to clean up this mess! Hillary in 08′

    I love you bro………

  2. Karen says:

    Hillary doesn’t understand congressional politics? And you credit NADER for the “liberal wave” in 2000 that put her in the Senate? Oh, good grief! I rank that comment right up with Chris Matthew’s comment that the only reason she is a senator is because her husband “messed around” and she got a sympathy vote.

    Why is it so hard to give Hillary Clinton credit for her own accomplishments?

    Clinton is a U.S. Senator because the New York Republican Party could only send the inept Rick Lazio to run against her. She beat him like a drum, completely without Nader’s help.

    It pains me to write this because Nader at one time was truly one of my heroes. But he has become a cartoon caricature of himself with just one thing to say: There is no difference whatsoever between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.

    “Tweedledum” and “Tweedledee” he called Bob Dole and Bill Clinton in 1996. “Tweedledum” and “Tweedledee” he called George Bush and Al Gore in 2000.

    If you can’t tell the difference between Al Gore and George Bush, perhaps your franchise to vote should be taken away.

  3. Todd says:

    Karen, thanks for commenting. A little reading comprehension helps when we are engaging our passions.

    Nader is generally credited with a liberal lift that turned the Washington Senate seat for Patty Murray. If she can’t give credit that perhaps Al Gore was running a little too liberal in 2000, and that the Greens gave many Democratic senators big lifts into the government, then yes, I repeat my assertion: Hillary needs to learn civics.

    Al Gore ran a horrific campaign in 2000, but thanks to Bush’s Brain asleep, it almost didn’t matter. In that sense, those candidates looked very much alike.

    I can be critical of the two-party system, and at the risk of getting into a nyah nyah nyah comment, there’s not a darned thing any Democratic pseudo-liberal can do about it. The D’s need to earn my vote. Maybe they can take comfort I won’t vote Republican, but I’m not like those anti-abortion folks who can get played like fiddles.

    I think the Dems might finally be getting the message running Obama, and I trust after getting their tails whipped on the campaign trail the last two times by a most inept candidate, they might be ready to run a serious race time.

    But I reiterate my personal challenge to the Democratic Party: don’t give up on liberal ideals or you’ll lose more of the Left. And don’t disrespect me and others who don’t approve of your centrist drift to NAFTA, corporate welfare, lobbyists, and the like. I don’t owe you my vote, and if you don’t believe that, I’m afraid your disenfranchisement threat sounds rather like Florida 2000 or Ohio 2004.

  4. Karen says:

    Can you possibly get more smug? My reading comprehension is fine. In fact you even REPEAT your notion that it was Ralph Nader and the Greens who swung the Senate to the Democrats in 2000. And who are you to lecture Hillary Clinton on civics?

    I know it is hard for you to fathom this, but the New York U.S. Senate race in 200 wasn’t close, and the Green votes were no factor.

    As for Al Gore’s “horrific” campaign, do you remember that Gore was polling in double-digits BEHIND George Bush as late as January 2000, and yet he won the popular vote in November?

    I do not “disrepect” your vote at all. You can vote for Clarabelle the Clown for all I care. Just take responsibility for the consequences of your vote.

    I “disrepect” the notion that it really made no difference at all whether Bush or Gore went to the White House in 2001, and that Nader actually did the Democratic Party a favor by running then — or now.

    Nader is so ego-driven that he has lost all touch with reality.

  5. Karen says:

    Speaking of civics lessons, it was Maria Cantwell who was elected from Washington State in 2000, not Patty Murray. Murray won her first term in the Senate in 1992.

  6. JPaul says:

    The biggest problem with Nader is that he thinks he can build from the top down. That in itself is a fine example of being out of touch with reality.
    Maybe he is just running low on money?
    A waisted presidential run taking already confused voters down a path with a big DEAD END sign at the end, does this dysfunctional country no good.

  7. Todd says:

    Karen, thanks for the dialogue on this. Thanks for the corrective on the Washington Senate seat, too.

    Yes, I repeat my notion that liberal Greens in Washington tilted a close election to the Dems in 2000, thus giving us a 50-50 split. I repeat my lecture to Hillary and to you. That’s what’s great about America: citizens can take our leaders to task, and it’s okay. I’ll even give you a hug when I’m finished lambasting you on civics.

    Nader might have cost Gore Florida, New Mexico and Iowa in a close race, (and I emphasize “might”) but you have no guarantee that liberals disaffected by Gore’s centrism would have voted for him. We did not owe the VP our vote. He failed to earn it in 2000. Failed.

    So Gore was behind ten months before election day? So what? Wasn’t he ten points ahead in August? There’s no way a VP with Senate experience, generally well-regarded should have lost that election to the Boy Wonder from Texas.

    What we can say is that Nader in 2000 brought a few million liberals to the polls and gave a lot of lift to non-Green Dems running on all sorts of levels. Don’t sulk, my friend. Count your blessings instead.

    And yes, Nader may well be past reality. I confess he didn’t earn my vote in 2004, and I suspect I’ll be looking elsewhere once the field of candidates is set. Still, he has the right to run. I think a five-way race with Bloomberg and Paul would be fun to watch.

    This country needs choices beyond the two-party system. Both parties are propped up by special interests and otherwise would have died natural deaths long ago. If the two-party system is so great, why do we have so many independents and why aren’t two partiesv enshrined in the Constitution? If we had four or five viable parties, maybe we could get past gridlock, antagonism, and wasted opportunities.

    My brother is right: we are a dysfunctional nation. But I’d add that neither the D’s or R’s are doing us any good at the moment.

  8. Karen says:

    Gore beat Bush in Washington state by a MARGIN of some 140,000 votes. Out of well more than 2 million votes case, Ralph Nader got a TOTAL of 103,000 votes in that state. Please tell me again how Nader swung that election to Cantwell?

    In two states, Florida and New Hampshire, the number of votes Nader got far exceeded the margin by which Bush defeated Gore. Which was why Republican interests so eagerly funded Nader’s efforts in both 2000 and 2004. Nader’s job was to siphon votes from Gore in closely contested states, and he did his job well. If you think his candidacy was anything more than that, then I got the deed to the Paseo Bridge right here.

    So please don’t give me all this populist stuff about how pure Nader’s motives are, how America so desperately needs four or five parties to divide and Balkanize us even further.

    In fact, here’s another newsflash for you. America has HAD more than two parties practically since its founding. And there are multiply “third” parties now, ranging from Libertarians, to Greens, to Socialist Worker.

    You might ask yourself why, if it’s so obvious that more political parties are just what American needs, that none of them seem to ever catch on.

    But then again, perhaps you consider yourself smarter and more sophisticated than the “average” American voter. After all, you once voted for Nader.

  9. Karen says:

    “So Gore was behind ten months before election day? So what? Wasn’t he ten points ahead in August?”

    Uh, no, he wasn’t 10 points ahead in August. He was consistently polling six and seven points behind. He got a “convention bump” in early September, but that was when the Rove machine started cranking out the idiotic “invented the internet” “lied about his dogs pills” “re-inventing himself” “Union Label lullaby” and scores of other trash that had nothing to do with the issues we were facing.

    From mid-September on, Gore constantly polled around 5 points behind Bush, closing it to within the margin of error by the final week of October.

    Todd, here’s a tip. Stick to liturgy. When you wander into politics, you are extremely fact-challenged.

  10. Karen says:

    “What we can say is that Nader in 2000 brought a few million liberals to the polls and gave a lot of lift to non-Green Dems running on all sorts of levels. Don’t sulk, my friend. Count your blessings instead.”

    Quantify this. Tell me how many of those 103,000 voters would have stayed at home had Nader not been on the ballot. Then give me a breakdown of how many of those “stay at home if not for Nader” types voted in the Cantwell/Gorton race.

    I know this is “conventional wisdom” among the “We did a good thing in voting for Nader and putting Bush in the White House” crowd, but this is getting silly.

    Cantwell won on her own merits. So did Clinton. Or are you so sexist as to think that women can’t be successful without a man’s help?

  11. Karen says:

    One more point, and I do like to make them one post at a time.

    Did it ever cross your mind that it could have been Cantwell who brought a chunk of the 103,000 liberal-Greens to the polls who then voted for Nader?

    In other words, you think that maybe Nader could have been riding Cantwell’s coat tails?

  12. Liam says:

    Please, folks, Ralph Nader’s 2008 asperations don’t merit more than 12 words.

  13. Liam says:

    aspirations….though asperations is a nice misspelling.

  14. Karen says:

    Ah yes, Liam, but there is a larger issue at play here. Because humans are social animals, human life is a series of compromises we make because we value the life — and the opinions — of others.

    Rejecting the good because it isn’t perfect gets us, well, Ralph Nader helping George Bush win the White House.

  15. JPaul says:

    “because we value the life”

    That’s what I’m talkin’ about!!!!!

    I’d vote for Bozo the Clown if he would get us out of Iraq and any other place we don’t belong.

    Lets touch on What Nancy hasn’t done?(single largest political disappointment) IMPEACH!!!!!!!!!Can you believe that we live in a country that can impeach a president for staining a dress? But yet we can’t do the same for a treasonous murderer?
    I say instead of looking at statistics of the past with passion, lets put forth half the efforts on the future.

  16. Todd says:

    “Todd, here’s a tip. Stick to liturgy. When you wander into politics, you are extremely fact-challenged.”

    Fair tip. But I still have my right to vote. If Gore or any other Democrat can’t convince me he’s liberal enough, he won’t get it. Neither you nor Karl Rove can take it away, especially since I don’t vote electronically.

    My tip for you is to get over 2000. It’s in the past and ’08 is a new election cycle. I think it’s all safe to say that if the 2000 electorate had any hindsight, Bush would never have been elected. And if you want to spread the blame, if all Gore voters had voted for Nader, we wouldn’t have had W in the WH.

    The polling questions we need to see to determine our Cantwell-Nader argument are these: Would Nader voters have come out if he weren’t on the ballot? How much vote margin did it take for Sen. Cantwell to win her seat?

    It may feel good for you to cast aspersions about my alleged sexism or right to vote to try to make your point. I would leave off on it. It doesn’t help your argument, especially since your grasp of history is quite fine. You don’t want to align with those Republicans who seem eager to disenfranchise those who are far from their platform. Democrats inching toward fascism: we don’t need it.

    Karen, thanks for engaging–really. Come back often and make your points as singly as you wish. Your point about aiming for the good because the perfect is unattainable is well-served for Al Gore as well as me. He tried to be perfect by straining too much toward conservativism. Despite what Rush Limbaugh would like us to believe, the liberals haven’t gone underground. If we don’t like national politics, we’ll take it local. We won’t be like the anti-abortion conservative lapdogs the R’s count on every election before leaving them high and dry.

    My brother makes a point. If Bush and Cheney were so bad, why so much caving in to the most unpopular president in modern times? Pelosi and others need a spine. Why do you think approval rating of Congress as a whole are so low? If they can skewer the R’s in some entertaining fights, it sure can’t hurt them.

  17. Karen says:

    Well, I can’t blame Pelosi for realizing she doesn’t have the 67 votes in the Senate to convict, nor for wanting to ride out, without the national trauma of an impeachment, the final two years of the Bush Administration with the Congressional oversight that has been so lacking.

    But when history totals the crimes of the Bush Administration, future generations are going to think we are stupid.

    Iraq was bad. The worst, in my opinion, was subverting the Justice Department into political enforcers.

  18. Todd says:

    Pelosi may not be able to impeach Cheney, but she didn’t need 67 to deep-six Mukasey. That’s a blunder that will be minimized by a lame duck-W, but voting in an apologist for torture is just plain immoral.

    Indeed, Iraq was bad. I still can’t figure out which will be more damaging in the long run: the incompetence of this administration or its immorality.

  19. Karen says:

    Thank you, Todd. Your argument is with Bush and Cheney, so you take it out on Pelosi and the entire Democratic Party.

    By the way, here are some of the planks of the platform of the “too conservative” Al Gore:

    1. Ratification of the Kyoto Accords on carbon emissions.

    2. Federal investment in “green” energy research.

    3. A “lockbox” on the Social Security Trust Fund to keep the federal government from borrowing against it.

    4. Expanded campaign finance reforms to limit the influence of “special interests.”

    5. Continued conversion of the U.S. military into a rapid deployment, quick-strike force.

    6. Continued diplomacy against nuclear proliferation.

    7. Targeted tax cuts for the middle class.

    8. Continuation of the “pay as you go” process which requires funding sources for new spending initiatives without throwing the country into deficit.

    9. $115 billion in the Educational Reform Trust fund, particularly in the areas of teacher training and pay, and infrastructure, including buildings and technology, and after-school programs.

    10. Several gun control measures, including photo licensing for handgun purchases and a ban on cheap handguns most used in crime.

    11. A balanced budget. Every year.

    12. A $1 billion initiative to promote “smart growth” policies instead of urban sprawl.

    13. Health insurance for every child in America within his first term.

    14. A national prescription drug benefit to Medicare recipients.

    15. Labor and environmental protection agreements built into every new trade agreement.

    16. Regular increases in the minimum wage, along with initiatives in day care for single working mothers, so that work will pay more than welfare.

    Now what part of that platform is so offensive to liberals that they would run to Ralph Nader?

  20. Karen says:

    “My tip for you is to get over 2000.”

    Please offer your pastoral wisdom to the families of 4,000 dead soldiers.

  21. Karen says:

    “I still can’t figure out which will be more damaging in the long run: the incompetence of this administration or its immorality.”

    And we all know who to blame for that: Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi.

  22. Karen says:

    “The polling questions we need to see to determine our Cantwell-Nader argument are these: Would Nader voters have come out if he weren’t on the ballot? How much vote margin did it take for Sen. Cantwell to win her seat?”

    No, Todd. You already told me you know the answer to that when you said that Nader delivered the seat to Cantwell.

    I am sorry, but the Cantwell/Gorton race was red-hot in Washington — the kind of race like McCaskill/Talent that brings people to the polls all on its very own, whether Nader was on the ballot or not.

    As I noted before, it is far more likely that Nader benefited more from Cantwell than Cantwell benefitted from Nader.

  23. Liam says:

    Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld’s impeachment immunity was an inheritance from the failed GOP effort 10 years ago. It so tainted impeachment that impeachment became taboo (this, btw, happened after Thomas Jefferson went after Justice Chase 200 years ago). Impeachment is a political tool, and you need to have substantial agreement across all segments of American political culture to achieve it; if you are not reasonably sure of it, it’s better not to initiate the weapon because it will (in our culture) haunt the hunter rather than the indended prey.

    We can thank Senator Schumer for Mukasey. Pelosi had no role in Mukasey, as its the Senate that votes, not the House. And the Senate effectively has a supermajority requirement due to cloture and each minority party’s determination to force it (though the GOP has been spectacularly on that point in the past year). My main complaint is that Reid doesn’t actually force the filibusters – rather, he simply accepts the warning of one and rolls over. That said, Pelosi has also been a disappointment. The party leadership is much more concerned about its own power than anything else.

    As for the two party system, its roots date to the ratification of the Constitution and even Washington was unable to prevent Jefferson-Madison and Hamilton from formalizing it. You want a prime example of trying to work astride the two parties: President Adams (without whom, of course, this country would have gone to war with France and he would have been reelected were it not for the 3/5 rule….)

    What happens in our two party system is that each party goes through a chrysalis stage every couple of generations. The GOP appears to be in such a stage right now, like the Democrats were in the 1960s. Rarely is the molting accompanied by changes in name (the exception proving the rule occuring pretty much in the period from 1832-56 – with Martin Van Buren and John Calhoun flipping up and down and all around over those years)

    This pattern is an inheritance from the British political tradition and is deeply embedded in our constitutional (lower case c) DNA.

    The deepest low in the past 7 years was not Katrina, but the Military Commissions Act of 2006, when 11 Democrats rolled over in political fear and among many bad things gave immunity from prosecution for war crimes committed since 1997 that otherwise could have been prosecuted. At least that was only a matter of domestic law. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld won’t be travelling abroad easily except to countries where the political leadership or dictatorship can guarantee they won’t be indicted for war crimes. Rumsfeld has already been bitten by this – one would have thought him less naive.

    What I want is a human dignity party. But I realize most Americans (Catholics included) are too utilitarian/consequentialist in their political ethics for such a party to thrive. (For an example, read William Saletan’s recent essay in Slate about how the taboo against aborting fetuses of undesirable gender is falling and being replaced by litigation to punish failed gender selection processes. Coming attractions: the duty to die.)

  24. Jimmy Mac says:

    What I blame Pelosi and, subsequently, Reid for is that they continue to present bills to extend the funding of the Iraq debacle. Cheney’s Puppet can veto what he doesn’t get. And all the crap about how no funding bills will harm the military is pure bullroar. All they have to do is stop financing boondoggle weapons systems and there would be plenty of money to go around.

    I’ve been a Democrat for at least 50 years, but have given up on the party’s ability to act in a mature grown-up cohesive fashion.

  25. Jimmy Mac says:

    That should be “can’t veto …”

  26. Todd says:

    “And we all know who to blame for that: Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi.”

    Well, Karen, that would be *your* tactic, shared by pouting Democrats nationwide. I read one review of Nader’s work criticizing him for bring so effective in the 70’s, that he got Big Business inspired to organize.

    Again, it’s easy to bash Nader and play the victim. The 2000 choice was easy enough for all us liberals–and many more Americans, too, in hindsight. I’m proud of my 2000 Nader vote in Iowa. I wish I could say I voted for him in ’04, but the moment was gone.

    “As I noted before, it is far more likely that Nader benefited more from Cantwell than Cantwell benefitted from Nader.”

    Prove it, if you can. If you can give us polling numbers, I’m willing to admit I’m wrong.

    “Your argument is with Bush and Cheney, so you take it out on Pelosi and the entire Democratic Party.”

    No. I want the Democratic Party to be more faithful to its traditional ideals of liberalism and justice. They still have to earn my vote. Just because they often do, doesn’t mean it’s a guarantee on any ticket, any time.

  27. Karen says:

    “Prove it, if you can. If you can give us polling numbers, I’m willing to admit I’m wrong.”

    Sophistry 101, Todd. You are very good at it.

    It was YOUR original point that Nader delivered the Senate seat to Cantwell. It is up to YOU to prove that.

    I merely point out the equal possibility that it was Cantwell, who got 12 times the votes of Nader in Washington, who delivered votes to Nader.

    Neither one of us know for sure, do we? So it would be ridiculous and unproveable for either one of us to say categorically: 1. That Nader is the reason Cantwell is in the Senate; 2. That Nader would have polled fewer than 103,000 Washington state votes had the hot Cantwell/Gorton race not been there.

    By the way, I see that Liam gave you another civics lesson. Yes, it is the Senate, not the House, that approved Mukaskey. So you still blaming Pelosi for that too?

    And you certainly had the opportunity to vote for Nader or anyone else you wanted in 2004. You can write in, you know. Or is that another civics lesson you need to learn?

    After all, you know more about civics and how the country works than Hillary Clinton.

  28. Karen says:

    “I want the Democratic Party to be more faithful to its traditional ideals of liberalism and justice. They still have to earn my vote.”

    Well since you ignored it before, I will ask again. What part of the Gore platform in 2000 so offended traditional Democratic Party ideals that they forced you to go running to Nader.

    And you better do some more research about your “liberalism and justice” hero Nader. Particularly look at how he worked his “Nader Raiders” like dogs, then fired them when they started to organize.

  29. JPaul says:

    Can I bash Nader & not be a victim? Please………………..

  30. Todd says:

    “Sophistry 101, Todd.”

    Hardly. I’m willing to be corrected when I’m wrong. Post-election polls from Washington would show the point. If Nader voters weren’t likely to vote Gore anyway, Cantwell doesn’t get the lift. What was her vote margin again? She wasn’t running against Bush, you know.

    I never said Pelosi was responsible for Mukasey: more reading comprehension, my friend. Your post (#17) made the connection. I’m aware Schumer’s on the line for the approval. It shows there’s a lot to critique in the D-Party.

    “You can write in, you know. Or is that another civics lesson you need to learn?”

    Not at all. I already said on this thread I didn’t vote for him in 2004. I had my reasons. Unlike party-liners, I don’t feel dogtied to candidates served up to me.

    Keep posting, Karen, but be careful about keeping on point and avoiding the gratuitous insults.

  31. Karen says:

    Todd, your little tactic of “I’m right until proven wrong” would get you tossed out of a high school debate.

    You can believe Jupiter is made out of whipped cream for all I care. It is up to you to prove it right, not others to prove it wrong.

    Your original point is that Nader gets credit for ALL FIVE DEMOCRATIC gains in the senate in 2000. No Nader, no five-seat Democratic gain. You can go back and read it for yourself.

    That means Nader not only gets credit for Cantwell, he also gets credit for Stabenow in Michigan, Roth in Delaware, Nelson in Florida, Dayton in Minnesota, and the late Mel Carnahan in Missouri. That claim is so ludicrous on its face that it defies logic.

    I will not concede that the presence of Nader on the Washington ballot had any effect whatsoever on the Cantwell/Gorton race until you can answer the following questions:

    1. How many of the 103,000 Nader voters in Washington would have stayed home? In the face of one of the most hotly contested presidential races in U.S. history, you want us to believe that 103,000 Washingtonians were compelled to vote only by the charismatic presence of Ralph Nader?

    2. Of the number who showed up only because Nader was on the ballot, how many voted for Cantwell, Gorton, a “third” party candidate or didn’t bother to vote in the Senate race at all?

    3. How many Washington voters were drawn to the polls by the super-hot Cantwell/Gorton race, then decided to vote for “none of the above” i.e., Nader while they were there for president?

    Guess what? YOU DON’T KNOW! Now I know how difficult it is for a liturgist to admit that he doesn’t know everything, but give it a try. Humility is a wonderful virtue.

    And please, don’t cite “exit polls” without producing any. That’s as weak as a journalist sneaking his own opinion into a story by citing unnamed “studies” and “observers.”

  32. Karen says:

    And Todd? You ignored the key question for the second time, so I will try it again.

    Exactly what in Gore’s 2000 platform violated the traditional ideals and principles of the Democratic Party?

  33. Todd says:

    “Your original point is that Nader gets credit for ALL FIVE DEMOCRATIC gains in the senate in 2000.”

    Not quite, Karen. What I wrote was this:

    “The wave of liberal voters in 2000 gave her first Senate a five-seat pick-up thanks in part to Mr Nader.”

    You’re welcome to continue to visit here, and post, but reading comprehension is still lacking. You’re still better off sticking to your strong suit: coming up with positives to shore up your opinions. You’re having a hard time with inconvenient little facts and your own sophistry.

    “Exactly what in Gore’s 2000 platform violated the traditional ideals and principles of the Democratic Party?”

    Nothing from what you posted. Why don’t I remember Gore being more articulate about it? Maybe my own blindness was a reaction to my perception of the arrogance of Gore supporters in the caucuses and county convention.

  34. Karen says:

    Oh, I stand corrected.

    “Your original point is that Nader gets credit IN PART for ALL FIVE DEMOCRATIC gains in the senate in 2000.”

    Is that better? Actually, your orginal statement is pretty empty. Exactly how big of a “part” of the credit does Nader get? Was his “part” deciding? Or was his “part” inconsequential?

    I await any empirical evidence you have that Nader played any positive role whatsoever in the Senate elections of Cantwell, Clinton, Carnahan, Roth, Nelson and Dayton. But I won’t hold my breath.

    “Why don’t I remember Gore being more articulate about it?”

    Could it have been because you weren’t paying attention? After all, he had been “articulating” his position quite clearly and quite well since the day he declared. In fact, for his entire political life.

    Could it have been that instead of paying attention to what Gore was saying, you were paying more attention to Nader’s “Tweedledum” and “Tweedledee” speech? The same one he gave in 1996 about Clinton and Dole?

  35. Karen says:

    “You’re welcome to continue to visit here, and post, but reading comprehension is still lacking. You’re still better off sticking to your strong suit: coming up with positives to shore up your opinions. You’re having a hard time with inconvenient little facts and your own sophistry.”

    I repeat. How smug and condescending can you get?

    Thank you for your invitation, but I believe I will be moving on. I’d hate to give you the impression that you are important.

  36. Todd says:

    Karen, thanks for returning again. I appreciate your tenacity–if you are indeed politically active, I’m sure it serves you well.

    As for the blogging method of argument, you seem to have fallen into the usual trap. Many conservative bloggers make the error of “fisking,” of parsing quotes word for word as if this written format is ideal for ferreting out errors and creating aha! moments. I reject that style, which is why I encouraged you to return and argue from your strong suit, and also why I didn’t mention your casual error in connection with Speaker Pelosi being connected with any Senate impeachment. I understood we had brought Democratic congressional leadership into the argument in a general way.

    So when you ask in #34, “Is that better?” I would reply it’s not. Just use my quote, word for word, not what you remember or what you project into it as your understanding.

    “Actually, your orginal (sic) statement is pretty empty.”

    It wasn’t intended to be full, complete, or particularly insightful. I don’t post much on politics here. I post thoroughly on issues of faith, and somewhat on my favorite hobbies. I also post provocatively on occasion, writing something “emptier” on purpose. Sometimes there’s not that much to say. Other times, I try to elicit a reaction from readers. This original thread was not designed as a political manifesto. Your reading it as such misses the point. Which isn’t to say I’m not happy the thread was hijacked–bring it on.

    “I repeat. How smug and condescending can you get?”

    Ask the internet conservatives. I’m considered the devil himself for so casually rejecting the trends set by the pope and by any number of conservative theologians.

    “I’d hate to give you the impression that you are important.”

    Both sides of a serious conversation are always important. You gave a post destined to be forgotten a lot of attention. You probably took some aspects of blogging here a little too seriously, and you made a few errors of your own, but you still debate fairly well.

    Thank *you* Karen, for being the star of today’s blogging.

  37. JPaul says:

    “Thank *you* Karen, for being the star of today’s blogging.”

    I thought I was the star! I almost feel ignored:o( just like when I was a kid, I guess some things never change.

    GO HILARY in 08′!

  38. Todd says:

    No worries, bro. You have your new job. Be the star there!

  39. Karen says:

    OK, here is your original quote, word for word, chapter and verse: “The wave of liberal voters in 2000 gave her first Senate a five-seat pick-up thanks in part to Mr Nader.”

    Now you are going to accuse me of “fisking”? For leaving out two words “in part”? And interpreting that sentence as meaning that you give Nader credit (how much, you will never tell us, but you go on at length that Cantwell wouldn’t have been elected at all without Nader) for the five-seat pickup in the Senate?

    While you are still unable to produce one shred of empirical evidence that Nader’s powerful coatttails had any effect whatsoever on any of the Democratic Party Senate pickups in 2000?

    You might consider politics to be a “hobby” while you consider issues like the placement of candles on the altar of dire importance. Well and good.

    But there are people who think that who we elect to public offics is of great importance, and we can point to the period between 1992-2001, and 2001-present as pretty solid evidence.

    Here is what you fail to understand about Nader’s run in 2000. It had nothing to do with advancing the issues of the Green Party. In fact, I challenge to find a more “green” candidate who has ever run for president than Al Gore.

    Instead, it was all about reaching the 5 percent vote threshhold nationwide that would have made the Green Party eligible for federal funding. Emboldened by the example of Ross Perot and the Reform Party, the Greens then chose a candidate with national name recognition who did not even belong to the Green Party. Never had, never will. And never mind that Nader’s record on the environment was negligible, his record on worker rights and union-busting was horrible, and that he owned a nice, tidy portfolio of stocks in the very corporations he railed against.

    Leading environmental groups who were enthusiastically backing Gore begged Nader not to run, lest he siphon off votes from Gore in key contested states.

    In his response, Nader openly wished for a Bush election, saying it would give the Democratic Party a “cold shower.” You should google up the response of Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, to that argument.

    There was even a grassroots “vote-swapping” effort in which Democratic voters in non-battleground states such as Texas and Kansas offered to vote for Nader if Green voters in the battleground states would vote for Gore.

    And in response to all that, Nader promised not to campaign in the key Bush/Gore battleground states. It was a promise he broke almost as soon as the words came out of his mouth.

    In October, the Green Party got an influx of cash from long-time Republican donors that allowed them to run their “Tweedledee, Tweedledum” in every battleground state, including Missouri, Florida and New Hampshire.

    Nader’s candidacy had its most dramatic effect in Florida. With the Bush campaign solidly in charge of that state’s election aparatus, Gore “lost” that state by 600 votes (he will still contend that if a thorough recount was done, and if everybody who showed up to vote for him that day actually got to vote he would have carried Florida), while Nader polled more than 100,000 Florida votes — after intense, GOP-funded, final-week campaigning in that state despite his promise.

    Now if you want to persist in your hero worship of Ralph Nader without bothering to do the least bit of research on the man to discover who he truly is, then go ahead.

    But don’t lecture me about how his 2000 candidacy was anything but a disaster for Ralph Nader, for the Green Party, for the Democratic Party, and for America.

  40. JPaul says:

    If I dug deep and started using big words from 14th century English then could I be a star?

  41. Karen says:

    And with that, I will officially take my leave of this blog. You can save your condescending “advice” on how I should or should not “debate” because I won’t read it.

    Stick to candles on the altar, Todd. And lecturing parents about how they should raise their children. You are way over your head when it comes to politics.

  42. JPaul says:

    Karen, you are a fireball(I like you & share your feelings on the past) but the incredible energy you direct towards the past is detrimental.

  43. Karen says:

    Well, I am sorry, JP, but please tell me how I could respond to this:

    “The wave of liberal voters in 2000 gave her first Senate a five-seat pick-up thanks in part to Mr Nader”

    And this:

    “Al Gore ran a horrific campaign in 2000, but thanks to Bush’s Brain asleep, it almost didn’t matter. In that sense, those candidates looked very much alike.”

    And this:

    “Yes, I repeat my notion that liberal Greens in Washington tilted a close election to the Dems in 2000, thus giving us a 50-50 split.”

    Without setting the record straight.

    And oh yeah I forgot to do this a long time back:

    Todd in post No. 18: “Pelosi may not be able to impeach Cheney, but she didn’t need 67 to deep-six Mukasey. That’s a blunder that will be minimized by a lame duck-W, but voting in an apologist for torture is just plain immoral.”

    Todd in post No. 30: “I never said Pelosi was responsible for Mukasey: more reading comprehension, my friend.”

  44. JPaul says:

    Well, I am sorry, JP, but please tell me how I could respond to this:

    Who told you that you had to respond to that?

    Respond to this question, I’m feeling left out.

    How much progress is hampered by focusing energy on the past?

    If we all bantered about the future we could have a virtual love fest, eh?

  45. observer says:

    Sorry. Can’t let this pass. You would have thought that anyone paying attention in 1998 would know better.

    “. . . why I didn’t mention your casual error in connection with Speaker Pelosi being connected with any Senate impeachment.”

    The Senate doesn’t impeach. The House does. And it is up to House leadership to get the process going.

  46. JPaul says:

    Article II, section 4, of the U.S. Constitution provides that “the President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Article I, section 2, gives the House of Representatives the “sole Power of Impeachment,” and once impeachment articles are brought by the House, according to Article I, section 3, “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.” The penalties for impeachment are also carefully spelled out by the Constitution in Article I, section 3: “Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.” While the president of the United States has general power to grant pardons and reprieves, this power, according to Article II, section 2, is expressly denied him “in Cases of Impeachment.” The only other mention of impeachment in the Constitution is in Article III, section 2, which states, “The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury.”

    Much mystery surrounds the proper grounds for impeachment and the precise nature of the proceedings. Impeachment as practiced in England carried with it criminal penalties and could result in the death of the offender. For the United States, however, it is merely a means of removing someone from office, though the conduct that gives rise to impeachment can also serve as a basis for a criminal prosecution. While the framers debated impeachment relatively little, it does appear clear that the language included in the Constitution represented a compromise between those who thought officeholders ought to be removable by the people’s representatives for any “maladministration” and those who believed the president and the judges simply could not function if they were subject to removal from office at the discretion of the legislature. Thus, they limited impeachable offenses to “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Treason and bribery are clear enough, but the phrase “other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” is not. While the statement in Article III about trials by jury seems to link impeachments with crimes, several English impeachments that were models for the framers did not. And the word “misdemeanors” at the time of the writing of the Constitution meant only “misdeeds” rather than carrying the connotation of minor crimes, as it did later.

  47. JPaul says:

    I can think of at least a dozen reasons to impeach the dynamic duo not to even mention the 4000 dead military personnel & untold number of civilians. Why can’t our House of Reprehensentatives?

  48. JPaul says:

    In another interesting turn of events, It seams that the republican front runner McCain wasn’t born on US soil. How interesting is this going to get?

  49. Todd says:

    “The Senate doesn’t impeach. The House does. And it is up to House leadership to get the process going.”

    observer, I take your point. I confess not paying attention in ’98, as I thought it a grand waste of time and effort. About the only thing I noticed that was off was that the name Pelosi and the number 67 in post #17 above did not belong together.

    My point was not impeachment–somebody else brought that to the table–but that Democratic congressional leadership leaves me less than inspired.

    Karen’s grasp of the habits of the US electorate is poor. We all know there’s a huge difference in voter turnout in a presidential election year. The 2000 Senate race in Washington state had over 2.4 million total voters. The 1998 Senate race had less than 1.4 million voters, about 58% of the total.

    Cantwell won the 2000 Senate seat by 2229 votes. Nader polled 103,000-plus. If 3% or more of Nader voters would have declined to vote at all, Cantwell would not have been elected in the Senate. In three other Senate races, Michigan, Nebraska, and New Jersey, the Nader vote total was more than the winning Democratic margin. I didn’t make the case for those three seats. My contention is that if Nader voters were crazy enough to abstain from voting in any numbers at all in Washington, Cantwell doesn’t go to the Seante and the R’s have a Jeffords-proof margin until 2006.

    Green voters sent at least one Democrat, and possibly as many as four to the Senate in 2000. If resentful Democrats can’t get their pouty faces out of the past, at least they should excorciate the real villains of 2000: the people who voted for George Bush. At least the Greens voted their party choice. How many Democrats voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004?

    My advice to Karen, Hillary and other whiners: get your own house in order before complaining about someone else’s.

  50. Karen says:

    Todd, please.

    When you state that Cantwell would have lost if 3 percent of Nader voters had stayed home, you are presuming that 100 percent of the Nader voters voted for Cantwell. You cannot say that with any degree of certainty. Before you accuse me of misquoting you again, there is no other way to interpret the statement that if 3 percent of Nader voters stayed home, Cantwell would have lost.

    How many of those 103,000 Nader voters voted for Gorton, how many voted for the Libertarian candidate since they think there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans, and how many skipped the Senate race entirely? You don’t know.

    Please note that Cantwell/Gorton was much closer than Gore/Bush in Washington. Cantwell drew some 48,000 FEWER votes that Gore, while Gorton drew nearly 90,000 MORE votes than Bush.

    If we use your oversimplistic analysis, we could presume that Cantwell retained only Gore voters and it was Gorton, not Cantwell, who picked up the majority of all “third party” presidential voters, including Nader voters. But that would be mistaken as well, because we still have no idea how Washington voters divided their votes in the presidential and senatorial races.

    Secondly, you do not know what the primary motivation was for each and every one of those 103,000 Nader voters. There was a massive voter turnout in King County (Seattle) for Cantwell, where she defeated Gorton by 153,000 votes. Nader amassed 37 percent of his entire state total in King County alone. Who was riding whose coattails? The candidate who got 459,000 King County votes or the candidate who got 37,000 King County votes?

    How many of the 37,000 King County Nader voters were drawn to the polls primarily by the red-hot Cantwell/Gorton race and voted “a pox on both your houses” for president while they were there? How many were motivated first to vote for Nader then voted for Cantwell? You don’t know.

    Finally, comparing the 1998 turnout for Murray/Smith to the 2000 turnout is apples and oranges. Murray won that one in a landslide against pretty much of a token opponent while Cantwell unseated an incumbent.

    And one more point: If you are not going to pay attention to the second presidential impeachment in U.S. history, please don’t lecture a former first lady and a sitting U.S. senator on civics.

    In fact, if we were to amass all your errors of the simplest facts in this long string of posts, beginning with “Nader helped elect Murray,” it should be quite apparent that you don’t pay much attention to politics and civics at all.

  51. Karen says:

    “About the only thing I noticed that was off was that the name Pelosi and the number 67 in post #17 above did not belong together.”

    Well, I see you missed my point. Let me state it clearly: House leadership should not begin the impeachment process unless they have a reasonable belief that there are 67 votes in the Senate to convict, and a massive groundswell of public opinion in favor of impeachment and conviction.

    Otherwise, the process is nothing more than a sham, a political ploy, and a massive waste of time, money and attention.

  52. JPaul says:

    Am I missing something here?????????????

    It’s going from banter to blather.

  53. Karen says:

    Just trying to educate your brother that people and politics are far more complicated than he thinks they are.

    People have all sorts of reasons for voting the way they do, and it is very hard to pigeonhole any particular block.

  54. Karen says:

    And I know I said I was leaving, but this pushed my button:

    “My advice to Karen, Hillary and other whiners:”

    Silly me, but I don’t like being called a whiner.

  55. Todd says:

    Karen! You’re back.

    “People have all sorts of reasons for voting the way they do, and it is very hard to pigeonhole any particular block.”

    Sure it is. But those stuck in the past want to make it simpler for themselves by suggesting disenfranchisement for people they don’t understand or agree with.

  56. Karen says:

    Gee, what was that saying about people who refuse to learn from history?

    And FYI, you were the first one to bring up the 2000 election. I am just trying to set the record straight.

    As I said earlier, I don’t care if you vote for Clarabelle the Clown. Just take responsibility for your vote, and don’t tell me that you voted for Clarabelle, aka Ralph Nader, because there was no difference between Bush and Gore.

    In other words, give a POSITIVE reason that you consider Clarabelle to be a better candidate for president, and no one can argue with you. But when you have no better reason than “because there was no difference between the other two guys,” then I take exception.

    By the way, I found an interesting tidbit in CNN’s exit polls from 2000 that addresses Nader’s alleged ability to draw disaffected voters to the polls.

    Thirteen percent of the voters in the 2000 presidential race did not vote in the 1996 presidential race.

    Of those voters, 52 percent voted for Bush, 44 percent for Gore and just 3 percent for Nader, which is about the same as he drew overall.

    Now before we jump to conclusions, not all of that 13 percent were eligible voters in 1996. Some of them — we don’t know how many — were newly eligible in 2000 because of age and naturalization.

    But it is interesting to note that Bush attracted more than 17 times the “new” voters as Nader did, and Gore attracted nearly 15 times the “new” voters as Nader.

  57. Todd says:

    Three percent was enough to lift Cantwell into the Senate. Thanks for confirming my point.

  58. JPaul says:

    I think she likes you Todd?

    She sure don’t like me!

  59. JPaul says:

    1)Can I support Hilary & not be a whiner?

    2)Why is it the simplest questions go unanswered?

  60. Karen says:

    Once again, you make several false assumptions in a single sentence.

    1. That the 3 percent “new” voters nationally extrapolates perfectly to Washington State. Maybe Nader attracted 10 percent of the “new” voters in Washington. Maybe he attracted 0 percent. You don’t know.

    2. That the 3 percent “new” voter total translates into 3 percent of Nader’s total vote. It does not. It is three percent of 13 percent of all voters, or approximately 0.43 percent of all voters nationwide. Maybe every one of Nader’s 103,000 in Washington were “new” voters. Maybe none of them were. You don’t know.

    3. You once again persist in your claim that 100 percent of every block of Nader voters, this time the “new” voters, voted for Cantwell. That is highly improbable.

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