A few random and rambling thoughts and opinions on politics, etc.
On my new show (recent vintage) on Sirius Satellite Radio?I?ve interviewed, in the last two weeks?Shawn O?Hara, the Chairman of the Reform Party and Pat LaMarche, the Vice Presidential candidate of the Green Party.
The reform party is running Ralph Nader as its presidential candidate and The Greens are running David Cobb (I never heard of him either but check their website) as their presidential candidate.
I?m sure we all remember the Reform party from its launch into national prominence in 1992? It was the invention of that cute little devil and part-time loon, H. Ross Perot. Of course, aside from his long folksy speeches and occasional economic common sense, Perot is really best remembered for getting several million votes; thus proving to the two major parties that the country was sick of business as usual and that voters tended to regard both parties as being almost the same?and probably fraudulent into the bargain.
And what was the reaction of The Democratic Party to Perot?s (and later, Ralph Nader?s) accusations of Republican replication? They tried as hard as they could to get closer to the policies of the Republicans!
When it comes to great mysteries, this reaction rates right up there with The Great Sphinx, The Creation of the Universe and the popularity of Regis Philbin.
It took no more than about four years for the centrist (read, ?conservative/quasi-Republican?) Democrats to collapse toward the middle. The result was that Gore (one of the former leaders of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council), acting according the advice of various highly paid consultants, and following his own ?conscience?, leaned so far toward the middle of the political spectrum, that Ralph Nader (then the Green Party candidate) was able to make a pretty convincing case to a couple of million voters that the two party?s were virtually indistinguishable.
I think we all realize that wasn?t true?mostly by the immediate (and continuing) extreme criminal behavior of the Republicans and their allies (their criminality showing even in the way they of rigged the election). However, a lot of us were propelled by anger, disgust and naiveté (including myself) into voting for Nader. I think most of us know better now?again, after witnessing how truly crazy and criminal the Bush gang really is. I?m guessing Nader only pulls about a quarter of the votes he did last time around.
The reform party was virtually destroyed by Pat Buchanan in 2000?losing any credibility they possessed. Buchanan, after all, was closer to being a fascist (and an anti-Semite to boot) than any other political ideology we could recognize from history.
Why Nader is no longer with the Greens is still an unanswered question; unanswered, at least, to me?because I forgot to ask! When I had Pat LaMarche on this past week (the Green VP candidate), I got so wrapped up in other questions I forgot to find out why Nader and the Greens parted company.
Anyway they did split and Ralph wound up with the Reform Party. Strange bedfellows, it seems. However, not completely strange. When I spoke to Reform?s Chairman the other week, his alternative energy and education policies were pretty liberal and were no change from anything Nader had always advocated. On the other hand, on some subjects, the party and Nader don?t agree at all. For instance, the Chairman of the party, who, I presume speaks for most members of the party, doesn?t believe in gay marriage. Ralph Nader does. (In case you?re interested, it appears that the Reform party approached Nader?not the other way around, but that their offer to run on their ticket was readily accepted).
Which brings up the mystery of why Ralph Nader is running?when it should be clear to even a twelve year old who can read the newspapers, that Bush and his gang are about as close to a dictatorship as we?ve ever had in this country. And since most people who have their eyes open can see plainly that Nader will steal most of his million votes from the Democrats, so he could cost Kerry the election.
Now I think its fairly dismal that Kerry, another centrist and political opportunist like Gore?no matter that he was a war hero (which is truly impressive) and saved a hamster from drowning?is the Democrat?s candidate.
This is a man who went along with Bush in his war on Iraq and his curtailment of political and civil rights?things he can never adequately explain except to say that he thought it would be bad for him politically to vote otherwise. I don?t know where or when he lost his guts and courage on the trip from rivers of Vietnam to where he is now?but at this point he has about as much backbone as a jellyfish.
All that being said, it is, of course, essential to vote for him.
This is, without doubt, the most important election I?ve seen in my lifetime?sixty years approximately. I mean I was alive when Dewey beat Truman?or was it the other way around?
In any case, this election could determine whether or not our country actually ceases to resemble a democracy at all. America has never been what it was supposed to be?wished to be?by the geniuses (Jefferson, et. al.) that invented it. But it has striven, over two centuries, to live up to the ideals written down by its founders.
Since the time of Roosevelt; then later, with Johnson (ironically Democrats), the executive has gained so much in power that it has upset the balance of powers that were the pillars of the democratic state. After WW2, wars have been fought?billions spent and hundreds of thousands of people killed in battle, just by executive order of the President?congress merely rubber-stamping the carnage and concomitant assault on the constitution (Iraq and the ?Patriot? act being the latest and worst of the abuses).
With theft of the White House by Bush and gang, the assault on the balance of powers has been ceaseless and shameless (again?with the Supreme court actually working for the next president?Bush?even before he was inaugurated.) These gangsters?Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld?the entire Carlyle Group of international looters and killers?obviously have nothing but contempt for nature, morality and the ordinary American citizen. They must, by all means, be defeated at the polls in the fall, or we can kiss America?both the America of Law, and the America of the spirit?goodbye. I wouldn?t be surprised, and I doubt many of you would either, if, after having been elected again, Bush declares martial law?abrogates all habeas corpus and the rights of free speech and assembly; to fight ?terrorism? no doubt. The worst terrorists in the entire world are the people running our government right now. The Islamist Fundamentalist nut cases and mass murderers are truly to be feared, but they are nowhere near as fearsome as the semi-deranged criminals in power right now in America.
I believe Thomas Jefferson, and Washington, and Franklin and John Adams would be appalled by the behavior of the Bush gang and shocked by the sheep-like complacency and moral cowardice of the American public and most of the Congress. They did not risk their lives and invent one of the greatest forms of government in the history of mankind to let it be washed away in the storm of deceit, contrived fear and shameless greed that now paralyzes America. Can you imagine Jefferson and Franklin and Adams voting for the ?Patriot? act?! They were REAL patriots, not opportunistic, cowardly demagogues.
Back to Nader and the Greens?
I think Ralph Nader has passed into a state of grandiose delusion. He has come to see himself as embodying a principle or set of principles, rather than merely being a servant of what?s right and good. He has become a ?personality? and his vanity may actually contribute to the fall of America.
Do Not, please?vote for this man. He was once, still is in some ways, a heroic representative of what was decent and good for the common man?and for that he deserves respect and prai
se. But for what he is doing now, he should be ashamed of himself?except that I think he has lost touch with reality and is beyond shame.
Maybe he will fool me and come out at the last hour, for Kerry, thus swinging his supporters against Bush. We?ll see?
As for the Greens, Pat LaMarche, who is a very decent and intelligent woman, made a fairly solid case for why they needed to run a candidate for President in the coming election. According to her?and I have no reason to doubt her?most states require that a party (after having gathered sufficient legitimate signatures) MUST run a Presidential candidate or they would not be allowed to be listed as a party on the ballot. In other words, all the Green candidates for State and local office?and there are over 200 of them across the country?wouldn?t even be on the ballot unless the party ran a Presidential and VP candidate. Pat LaMarche herself voted ?no candidate? at the Party?s convention this past spring. That is, she understands the risk of pulling votes away from Kerry (who she has little love for) and putting Bush in office. She said?paraphrasing here??I?d rather be in hell than see George Bush President.? I wish she (or David Cobb, who I do not know), were the Democratic candidate for President. But she is far too honest, straightforward and moral to ever get that high in major party politics.
So, once again, we face the alarming prospect of the Greens (even against their own wishes) fielding a candidate for President?along with the sad reality of Nader running again. I?ve heard a range of estimates for their combined vote expectation? and it runs from 2-5 percent of the vote. That?s probably?with the certainty of increased turnout this year?as much as four million votes?and most of them taken away from Kerry. These well-meaning Greens and this grandiose mental case Nader could help spell the end of America in any recognizable form.
We started out fighting a tyrant, King George?and now, 228 years later, we are on the verge of crowning a new King George?what a sad end to an amazing political and social journey.
Any additions, corrections, complaints, or lavish praise?sent them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(And, if you have the extra bread, you might try subscribing to Sirius Satellite radio. Costs about $100.00 for a special (easy to hook-up) radio and a subscription cost of about 12 dollars per month. For that you get about 80 channels of commercial free music (classical, rock-old and new?jazz, country, folk, etc. etc.) And all sorts of news and talk?BBC, left-wing (Lynn Samuels) right wing and middle-wing (me); NPR programs, Discovery Channel radio, Air America, etc. etc. There are weather channels for every part of the country, Latino and Italian and other language channels; religious and kids channels, etc. etc.
There is junk and superficiality on Sirius (did I just lose my job?) but also a great deal of fantastic commercial-free music and great news and talk that you really can?t hear elsewhere on radio. It is well worth the money, if you can spare it?and then, I will be able to talk to you again?I miss my WBAI listeners?)
*** Also, even if you can’t hear the show– I will be doing a program on The Republican Convention–on 8/29–the eve of the horrors. Anyone who wishes to serve as a reporter and call in from around or near the convention site on Sunday night, 29th, anytime from 10pm till 1am, please get in touch with me: email@example.com or 212-252-2042. ** You must be over 14, speak well English and submit 4 photos of yourself in a two piece bathing suit (even the men).
– Mike Feder (New York City – August 10, 2004)