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June 15, 2002

Nader & Grover Meeting

Some lefties like Eric Alterman have been slamming Nader for meeting with the rightwing Grover Norquist-led Wednesday group. While I will bash Nader for his Presidential run repeatedly (as you no doubt noticed), I just don't have a problem with what happened at this meeting.
...Nader harangued the free marketers to be consistent and oppose corporate welfare by the government and pushed the cultural conservatives to recognize the threat to communities from a culture dripped in exhortations to commercialism.
...I think this is smart intellectual work and the kind of issue evangelism that makes Nader the great activist he has always been.
...That the Republicans there cheered him because of his Presidential run just reflects the idiocy of Nader's electoral judgment. But his lobbyng prowess and his electoral work are two separate areas to evaluate Nader.
...I just wish the Greens/Naderites could show an equal ability to distinguish between what is required for strong issue advocacy and the, yes, "lesser evil" judgements required at election time. Instead, they have to fit every Democatic elected leader's compromises into a Darth Vader-Luke Skywalker mode.

Posted by Nathan at June 15, 2002 10:11 AM


I've got a problem with this meeting: the incredible silence from the greens about it! After all, we've been told time and again that the *proof* that the Dems=Republicans is that they often work together in common cause.

Conversely, they ignore the many votes that are party-line or largely party-line that put lie to their contention. In these instances, the rationalization is often that sure, there's some minor, petty differences...but both parties, by and large, are corrupt whores for Corporations.

To a greenie, they rationalize that their candidate is pure...somehow, magically, they believe that their candidates will never be accountable for their record or face hard choices or be held accountable for the very real practicalities of actually getting and staying elected. This is a snap insofar as there's no *record* to run on save big promises that can't be kept.

The 'degree' of sameness is also a canard. Using this 'logic', a monkey and a human are indistinguishable because they both have two arms, legs, hands and share 99%+ of their genetic heritage.

Posted by: jw at June 15, 2002 06:56 PM

I have two issues with this visit (and I admit, my first reaction was a bit overblown)

1)Norquist is the VRWC. These aren't political leaders, these are opinion shapers who are largly responsible for pushing the most outrageous of the right's nonsense.

2)Why is he willing to work with Republicans, but not Democrats?

Posted by: Kevin Raybpould at June 16, 2002 12:50 AM

Grover is the devil. The only reason for a progressive to be in a room with him is to plan an attack strategy. Part of the reason for the success of the VRWC is the left's inability to distinguish friends, moderates, and enemies.

Posted by: Biz at June 17, 2002 01:03 PM

Ralph Nader is reaching out to religious conservatives. In an interview/profile in The Weekly Standard, Nader claims that his politics, and that of the Green Party's, really are closer o the views of the religious conservatism of tie Old Right than the Republican Party.

"Every major religion in the world," Nader says, going full throttle, "has warned us of the evils of commercialism." Nader proceeds to list some of the conservative leaders he has worked with in the past: "Bill Bennett, Paul Weyrich, Gary Bauer, Grover." The "Grover" he is talking about is Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform.

This admission is both shocking and somewhat mundane. It's mundane because anyone with half a brain can read the Green Party platform or Nader's speeches and realize that what is being advocate is a very religious world view minus all the talk about God that a conservative like Gary Bauer would throw in. Some religious conservatives oppose genetic engineering, for example, because it tampers with God's creation which is "sacred," whereas the Green Party opposes it because it tampers with nature which is sacred.

Ironically, the Green Party's demonizing of "commercialism" -- and its attendant proposed regulations --would empower folks like Bennett and Bauer to achieve things to influence popular culture in a way they simply can't do today. Both Bennett and Bauer, for example, are very outspoken about music, movies and other commercial products they don't like. Today the best they can hope for is to boycott a company or otherwise apply public pressure. The Green Party would give them the tools to censor outright.

The Green Party platform, for example, specifically calls for "Democratic Production: Establish the right of citizens to vote on the expansion or phasing out of products and industries, especially in areas of dangerous or toxic production." In addition, the platform calls for, "Periodic review of Corporate Charters: A public corporate charter review process for"each corporation above $20 million in assets every 20 years to see if it is serving the"public interest according to social and ecological as"well as financial criteria" (emphasis added).

This is, of course, a recipe for disaster that conservative fundamentalists would quickly latch on to. One of the most hated corporations on the right is Interscope Records which made its owners rich by selling gangster rap (it's currently the home"of Eminem among others). Ralph Nader and the Green Party seem comfortable giving people the ability to have a national referendum on whether the gangster rap industry should be phased out or whether people should be able to put Interscope records out of business if it doesn't satisfy the public interest. That's what "economic democracy""is all about, after all!-- giving the nation's busy bodies the right to limit the choices available to consumers (one wonders how far the Greens are willing to"take this -- could conservatives call for a vote to phase out abortion clinics?).

The beauty of the rise of commercial culture was precisely that it destroyed traditional religious and state controls on individual (and thereby corporate) behavior. Nader and Green Party"seem to want to return to this high degree of statist/religious control.

Posted by: Naderisawillngrightwingtool at August 23, 2004 03:30 PM

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