N. MIAMI BEACH — The Florida Supreme Court, whose 2000 exploits will be recounted for generations, has decided democratically against the suit of the Democratic Party and allowed Ralph Nader to be on the Presidential ballot. Mr. Nader’s name will appear at the zenith of the column devoted to the Reform Party. Yet another big heir for Ross Perot.
The proceeding had been initiated by the Democrats on grounds of imperfect procedure, citing such technical matters as belated filings and dubious signatories. This newfound love of stickling did not seduce them of a sudden. The catalyst was their dread of votes being siphoned from the already low-on-gas candidacy of John Kerry. But we will have Ralph crammed in; the honeymoon of Democrats with protocol is over, eclipsed by the Sunshine State jurists.
Whence sprang this notion of Nader as spoiler? It is rooted in the Democrats’ narrative of history. They are convinced that the 537 votes that Gore scored less than Bush in Florida in 2000 were there to be had; some accidentally stood Pat (Buchanan), others hung with Chad, but most were hijacked by Ralph.
Among Jews the joke is common that Lieberman, asked if he would be Vice President, responded “Bli Nader” (Hebrew for “without a promise,” here humorously rendered as “without Nader”). This belief that Nader was the bull in Gore’s china shop was easily translated into the fear that he will harry Kerry. Indeed they have begun to actively despise him as the parasite of the plebiscite.
That in turn led the Democrats to turn their usual outfit of convict stripes inside out to wear as referee stripes. But although the judges are all party hacks too (the Democrats from the wards were arguing before the Democrats with the robes), they felt constrained to maintain a semblance of consistency in their one-man-one-vote position. They were afraid to run from precedents.
I, however, am agnostic towards this diagnostic. I do not believe that Albert Arnold Gore Jr., the peppy preppy, lost one single solitary vote to Ralph Nader, the leavened Levanter. And it equally distorts his features to paint him as a Kerry catcher.
The fact is that there is no such thing as a human being who is satisfied to see the Democrats win the election, yet pulls the lever or pokes the paper ballot or caresses the touch screen for Nader. It never happens. Every one of his votes is a person who is choosing between him and not voting at all.
I KNOW WHEREOF I SPEAK, having myself lapsed on occasion into voting celibacy. Eighteen in 1976, I briefly flirted with the centrist image portrayed by Jimmy Carter. After seeing the elected Carter shed his phony packaging, it has never since occurred to me to vote for a Democrat for any public office. Yet the Republican is not my only option. The other choice is None Of The Above.
For example, in 1992, after George H. W. Bush had violated his tax pledge, left Saddam Hussein massacring people at the end of the Gulf War and publicly attacked Israel’s lobbyists, I vowed that he would not be afforded a second inauguration ceremony by my hand. So I sat on it instead – my hand, that is, not ceremony. Ceremony I stood on. And although I won’t name names, many of my right-thinking friends have also whispered tales of sweet nothing votes in my ear.
Your Nader voter, when he is not a true-green radical, echoes the wraith (and wrath) of George Wallace in saying, “There ain’t a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties.” The idea that this chap is just one John Kerry speech away from hanging out with the longshoremen at the Democratic Club ranks up there in plausibility with the fantasy that I am one witty remark removed from dating Sharon Stone.
But the idea that using jurisprudential legerdemain to keep his name off the ballot will send his acolytes scurrying back into Kerry’s clingy embrace actually expands the reaches of human delusion. Trust me, guys, the green vote, the protest vote, the crank vote, the lark vote, go to Nader or they go to nada; they will not be carried by Kerry.
In closing, let me confess that I was raised on love of Nader by my contrarian Dad. I was eight or nine when I heard heroic tales of Ralph’s one-man battle against General Motors and how he killed the Corvair. My father proudly told me that GM had hired detectives to follow Nader around, looking for blackmail leverage, and they came up empty. Even now, long after the works of Thomas Sowell have persuaded me that the Corvair torpedoing was misguided, I still love the guy. He is honest and feisty and always gives a great interview. But I wish that he would sit this one out; let it be decided mano a mano, so there ain’t no taint.
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