Well, well, well, wouldn’t you know it. Here I was thinking about writing a follow-up post to my Other Bradley Effect post, this one focusing on Nader and some surprising strategy on the part of the DP leadership, which I learned about while reading the comments to a long-dead post at Emptywheel’s place. And here he is, in the news, offering yet another point to start a conversation.
One of my secret pleasures is reading comments to blog posts. Every once in a while I’ll look up and realize I’ve lost a couple of hours to it. Scanning comments often takes so long because the really good information and links are there, and you find yourself getting sidetracked following one disparate trail or another. I like to think of it in Tolkien terms (even though I’m not especially a Tolkien fan) of wandering without being lost. It’s sort of like letting the adventure lead.
Anyway, the other day a comment in that dead post caught my attention, comment #5, from Professor Foland:
I was told flat out by my (extremely blue, extremely against immunity) congressman’s staff that this was exactly why it was happening, and (again, just flat out told) it was (rough quote) “because the leadership thinks you, and people like you, learned a lesson from voting for Nader.” This is one of the congressmen on our side; one of the 30 who joined the Republicans to throw a wrench into the leadership’s PAA extension last year.
Bolding mine. That quote has bothered me for days. The leadership just doesn’t get it. Here’s the new math, just to break it down a little (thank you Smirnoff Vodka): Democratic foul play + Hell hath no fury like a Democrat scorned + We weren’t Nader voters but we sure as hell learned a lot about loyalty and leverage from his supporters= Democrats are fucked. Democrats have succeeded in turning a gimme year into a complete debacle. That’s your Party for you. Thank you Howard Dean!
A confession: I’ve never been a Nader fan. Oh, sure, like a lot of people I’ve appreciated his consumer advocacy, but I still see him as a spoiler in 2000, operating in the same way Perot did in 1992. Had it not been for Perot, Clinton very well could have lost. Had it not been for Nader, Bush would have lost. Those are the facts, though I understand better the nuance of what happened. I have mostly blamed Nader voters. I still contend that Nader voters made their choice because they were not informed about Al Gore or W. Bush, even though that information was readily available. And that, thanks to them, Al Gore is the greatest missed opportunity of a president since Robert F. Kennedy, if only because one of our most pressing issues (especially at the time) continues to be the environment, and he’s the only one who would have done anything about it. He was the only one with vision, and a record of over 20 years advocacy for it at that point. There is a direct correlation between that missed opportunity and the information level of your average Nader voter in 2000.
And I also maintain the PUMA movement is different because we are informed about Barack Obama. And John McCain for that matter, as well as the political reality on the ground as it concerns Congress and the judiciary. We are Big Picture Democrats, and Nader voters were Small Picture Democrats, even though Nader himself was not very Small Picture. And by Small Picture I mean they bought everything the television and the mainstream press sold them hook, line, and sinker, and saw themselves as settling some moral wrong done to the country by President Clinton, never fully grasping the illegal and unconstitutional wrongs it was obvious W. Bush would do. They failed to see this, even though his record and style of management were open knowledge, because they were not discussed on television or in mainstream press.
But the Congressional leadership makes a very big mistake if they think the people are templates and that they can just use that one experience as a cookie cutter model for intimidating all manner of leftist voters. The same dynamic is not in play, and the people paying attention then are still paying attention today, and that’s why they are deciding in droves that they will not fall for Obama. And as an aside, I guess this validates those suspicions I had that part of the strategy of complete acquiescence on the part of Democrats since 2006 is so they could have bigger, badder Bush to beat us with. Cynical fucks. They’ll learn.
All that said, I’ll be posting tomorrow about Nader’s comments today, which I am sure is what you are curious about. I mean, it’s the story everyone is telling, and it is a doozy, mostly because a little bit of truth is laying around all over the place like a bomb that went off inside a giant wad of gum, and sticky bits of it are everywhere. And it’s mostly disgusting for the amount of spit it spread around. It’s not something that can be absorbed and regurgitated in an hour. More tomorrow.