Another Friendly Blow To Ralph Nader

by Gilles d'Aymery

January 19, 2004   


Oh my, oh my, the lib-labs are frightened again. Their favorite straw man, Ralph Nader, we are told, is polling to evaluate support for his potential run as an Independent in the 2004 US presidential elections. The cottages panic, terrified by such ignominy. Turmoil can be seen at the corner store. No Nader, no, don't run, sings the choir. The nice ladies, holy-water scented, white and middle-aged, send e-mails aplenty. "PLEASE go to the site and register your opinion. Mine is resoundingly NO -- do not dilute the vote against Bush. Let Nader know what yours is." Phones are ringing off the hook. Cries for help echo over the land. How to spoil the spoiler? laments the crowd.

Wait, wait, look who's coming to the rescue, the ABB white horse. Clickety-clack, clickety-clack, clickety-clack, clickety-clack. Here he comes, here he comes; thank you lord, we are saved! And who is our savior? asks the genuflected assembly.

"I'm no knee-jerk Nader-basher," begins the knight of the Round Table. "Indeed," says the gallant man, "I wrote columns in support of Nader's 2000 presidential candidacy, and I was even one of some two dozen hardy souls who signed a 1996 New York Times ad supporting Nader's campaign that year, as my protest against the endless corruptions of Bill Clinton." Hey, wait, a petrified lib-lab interrupts, what kind of shinning armor are you wearing? Hold on, retorts the great soul, let me continue. "But a Nader presidential candidacy this year makes no sense to me..." He committed a crime of lese majesty, "worse than a crime, it's a mistake." What did he do, what did he do, asks the choir, heavily breathing with a sigh of relief, what did he do, what did he do?

Lowering his deep guttural voice, the knight whispers, he went to "bed with the ultrasectarian cult-racket formerly known as the New Alliance Party." On January 11, 2003 he addressed a conference in Bedford, New Hampshire, "arranged by something called the Choosing an Independent President 2004 Campaign ("ChIP"). ChIP's Organizers -- or 'convenors,' as they style themselves -- are none other than Dr. Fred Newman, the cult's guru, a master manipulator and former associate of mad Lyndon LaRouche; and Dr. Lenora Fulani, the Afro-American former presidential candidate of the New Alliance Party, whom Newman describes as his 'greatest creation.'" Non, mais c'est pas possible, what an outrageous act of bestiality, gone to bed, gone to bed with a cultist freak, how come, how come? Yes, the savior continues, "For Ralph to grace a Newman front group with his presence is the equivalent of cuddling up to Scientology, another cult-racket. I wanted to ask him why he is so desperate for applause that he has to turn to these dangerous loonies, but he didn't return my calls." He did not return your call, oh the ungrateful, treacherous fool... Yes, "It's a pathetic way for Nader to begin a last, counterproductive campaign." It is, it is, oh yes it is, amen. And you know, concludes the noble character convincingly, "despite Ralph's important, decades-long contributions to citizen activism, it's a sign that in his eerie isolation he may be losing his political judgment. I find that sad -- and I pray that he will in the end decide against another run that would be immensely damaging to his image and his legacy." Prayers, mais bien sûr, let us pray, let us pray, murmurs the reassured -- and delighted -- gallery. He's finished, he's finished, thank you lord, Ralph Nader is done and over with, cooked in anointed oil, for irrelevant consumption.

Er, excuse me, may I ask a question, says a shadowy stranger, who, not awaiting permission, keeps talking. Didn't Reverend Al Sharpton, Senator John Edwards, Governor Howard Dean and Representative Dennis Kucinich respond to a questionnaire that ChIP sent to all presidential candidates? Are they finished too? Should we pray for them with the same magnanimity? And what did Chip Berlet, the "excellent director" of Political Research Associates, think of these Establishment men pandering to the ignominious Newmanites?

And who are you, where are you from? You speak with a foreign accent... Are you a radical, a dissenter, a Fifth Column traitor, a spy? Introduce yourself, says the shining-armored angel sternly. Oh, we know him, shrieks the born-again fear-loaded swarm. He is not one of us, not one of us. He is a radical, a big Rad, a revolutionary, maybe worse, a red, even a commie; oh no he is not one of us ABBers...

Who cares where I'm from, answers the stranger. Say, I'm from Mars... From Mars, with a French accent, muses a little lady... He's lying, he's lying... No, says the stranger, Mr. Bush is planning to dispatch all the Frenchies to Mars -- Guantánamo is overfilled -- I'm just a precursor; but anyway, this has little to do with my questions, does it not? Would you care to answer, and by the same token tell us your name? The choir: Oh my god, oh my god, he pronounced the Devil's name, Bush, Bush, Bush, pass the cross, where's the garlic? This man's a danger! No, no, we don't know him, don't know him.

Foreigner, begins the cavalier scornfully, it is obviously not the same. They can do as they like for they are Democrats. We all are Democrats now. We are on a crusade to defeat that seed of fascism. They are ABBers par definition and we'll need the Newmanites' votes in the fall. Get it? The choir: We are all Democrats now, all Democrats now, get on the wagon and sing with us, Anyone But Bush, Anyone But Bush, Anyone But Bush!

And your name, noble man, asks the stranger? I am a knight of the Round Table, I am Doug Ireland, faithful member of the loyal opposition, that of the Cruise Line Left at The Nation, and that of the Designer Left, my pontificating democratic socialist friends. From Leo Casey to charming Katrina vanden Heuvel, from Michael Bérubé to Marc Cooper, from lib-lab Paul Loeb to this benign assembly we are all Democrats now, all ABBers. Then, in 2005, we'll talk Green again, if they still are around. Anything else you want to know, stranger?

No, thank you; it figures, says the stranger with a smile.

[See, "Nader and the Newmanites" by Doug Ireland, The Nation, January 26, 2004 issue, posted on the Web on January 12, 2004 - http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040126&s=ireland (as of January 16, 2004). Could someone tell Doug Ireland that if he cannot even get his sources straight -- the Web site of Political Research Associates is www.publiceye.org, not www.thepubliceye.com -- maybe, just maybe, his thinking is as skewed as his research...]

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Gilles d'Aymery is Swans' publisher and co-editor.

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Published January 19, 2004
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