Sunday, February 22, 2004

Ralph Nader!

(The exclamation point in this post title is meant to be, in A. J. Ayer's terms, a "special kind" of exclamation point used to indicate moral disapproval. If I were reading the title out loud, I'd read the name with an obviously disapproving tone of voice. In this written version, Jamie Dreier would draw a "U" over the top part of the exclaimation point, to make the part above the dot look like a pitchfork. Sadly, I have no such character on my keyboard, so you'll have to imagine.) Those who have known me for a while know that I'm very anti-two-party-American politics. I've believed for a long time that our two-party system gives voters insufficient choice. This year, for instance, there is no candidate whom a voter who was both strongly anti-war and anti-abortion could wholeheartedly endorse. Also, I think that the two-party system tends to encourage both parties to push toward the middle, leaving no room for real ideology in political discourse. I voted for Harry Browne for President in 2000. I wished Ralph Nader success. I bought into the typical third-party rhetoric: "there's no real difference between the Republicans and the Democrats." I believed, with the other third-party proponents, that a Republican and a Democrat will do pretty much the same thing... the only real vote is a third-party vote. George W. Bush proved us wrong. I've taken the message -- at least sometimes, there is a very big difference between Republicans and Democrats. Ralph Nader, it seems, has not. I don't know whether I used to be wrong about the two-party system and have since matured to a point at which I understand it, or whether the political landscape has merely changed to such an extent that my former opinion is no longer correct. But I have to question the sincerety of someone who both is not an idiot and who claims, today, that it doesn't really matter whether George Bush or a Democrat is the next President. Ralph Nader has no business in the 2004 Presidential race. UPDATE: Dave Estlund, who is much more informed and insightful about these issues, has a somewhat different and very interesting take on Nader's run. Check it out.

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