Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Quick headlines Wednesday:
* Mirimax won't distribute "Fahrenheit 911" ... because of tax breaks: ["Disney Forbidding Distribution of Film That Criticizes Bush"].
* Why I laugh about modern technology, file-sharing, and the declining music industry: ["Labels To Pay $50 Million In Back Royalties"]. Soon, none of them will make any money and music will be about "art" again. Hah!
* Gore TV: ["Gore Launches Cable News Network"] Dant, dant, dant, dant, dant, dant "... Al's World, Al's World, it's party time, it's excellent ..."
* Bush's campaign bus: Made in Canada: ["Politics: Bush tour bus made in Canada"]. This is almost as classic as that campaign event Bush went to in Missouri where campaign aides changed the boxes from "Made in China" to "Made in USA." Pathetic.

Attacking Nader:
Writer Harry Levine attacks Nader in the Village Voice this week for targeting Al Gore during the 2000 campaign: ["Ralph Nader, Suicide Bomber"].
There are a few problems with Levine's piece. First, people can run for whatever office they want to run for whether it is a tight race between the two major parties or not. This is a truth that for whatever reason is completely lost on the Democrats and their supporters. If people don't want to vote for Ralph Nader, they don't have to. But for those of us who might want to, we should be able to. This is a fundamental flaw in the argument put forth by all the Nader haters.
Frankly, I am sick of people telling us that we only have two choices. We should also not be attacked for fulfilling out God-given right to do what we want to do with our votes - whether your candidate wins or loses!
Second, I am a former Nader staffer in 2000 - I ran New Hampshire - and frankly, I didn't care if Bush or Gore won. And yeah, I will admit it: I hated Gore ... but I hated Bush. And I loved it when Nader attacked Gore. It was hilarious. I even put together some of Nader's audio from a speech in Boston and clipped it together for two radio spots that were circulated nationally via email and the Internet for other Nader supporters to use.
One was a positive piece ["Undecided"] and the other was more negative ["Gore the charlatan"]. I found out later that people were spending their own money to have the ads broadcast in California, Iowa, Oregon, New Hampshire, and Masschusetts. The ads were so good that someone from Bill Hillsman's company called me to talk about using the ad for the campaign they later decided not to use it for the national ad buys because I wasn't a member of the radio union [I told them they could use them for free and not worry about it since they already had me on the payroll].
On "Gore the charlatan," I clipped together parts of Nader's speech and added little voice over talking points - most Americans making less in real dollars than they did in 1979, how people are working harder and longer for less, how the wealth is concentrated into fewer hands, etc. ...
Nader: "Everywhere you follow the tracks of Al Gore there is betrayal ..."
... more people [12 million] had lost their health insurance during the seven years Clinton/Gore were in office, how the corporations and lobbyists have more control over our government than ever before, thanks to Al Gore ...
Nader: "That is the demonstration of a political coward, a political knave, a political charlatan ..." [Cheers].
"Make your vote count: Vote Ralph Nader for president."
Frankly, I think Gore deserved to lose ... as did Bush, who probably did lose. Gore deserved to lose for lying about NAFTA [millions of lost manufacturing jobs], for lying about GATT/WTO [millions more and outsourcing too], for not standing up to Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal [which is really why Bush was "selected"], for taking campaign money from foreign nationals [what an idiot], for owning a polluting zinc mine [read "Al Gore: A user's manual," a classic muckraking book], for not knowing who the hell he was after decades and decades in Washington.
However, my job working for Nader wasn't to worry about Bore or Gush - it was to get Nader 5 percent in N.H. to contribute towards the establishment of a national Green Party with federal funds. Period. My job was to get as many votes for Nader as possible and that is exactly what I tried to do. In the end, I failed in that Nader only got 4 percent in the state despite being as high as 8 percent in some polls. But, if you look at the exit polling data from my study ["Debunking the Myth"], Nader got more votes from Republicans than Democrats in N.H. So Nader haters need to stop blaming us for Gore losing.
I could also go on and on and on about the terrible campaign Gore ran, the foolish choice he made picking Joe Lieberman - a rightwing Democrat - to be on the ticket with him. In my eyes, on almost every issue that was important to me at the time, on almost everything I have fought for as a public person, as a long-time Democratic Party member and then later as an independent, Bush and Gore were the same. The Democrats fritted everything away after the election of Bill Clinton. The Democratic Party during the Clinton years was a shell of what it once was. They didn't stand for anything. They would sell out their grandmothers for thousand dollar checks. They were awful during the Clinton years and because of it, the race was tight and Bush was selected by the Supreme Court.
In the end, Levine and others need to move on. Millions of us weren't going to vote for Gore in 2000.
However, let's look at a reality: Gore's loss - well, actually, he won but he wouldn't even fight for it - has brought the nation to be put exactly where it is today. And Nader was right: Bush's presidency has brought our nation to the brink of a friendly fascist takeover. And guess what? It has also reactivated the Democratic Party into being partially what they once were ... with the exception that the Democratic primary voters nominated, in my opinion, the second worst choice they could have nominated, just ahead of Lieberman.
Even with the ungodly invasion of Iraq, with the body bags coming back, with the humiliation of Iraqi prisoners, with the apathy that is out there in the country, with the corporations running amok and the Republicans acting like complete lunatics, Bush and Kerry are neck and neck in the polls.
Doesn't this tell us something? It's three years later and the country is still as divided.