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Robert Scheer Debates Ralph Nader

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Posted on Oct 9, 2007
Scheer and Nader

Truthdig Editor Robert Scheer goes head to head with progressive icon Ralph Nader, who denies the charge that he has been a spoiler and challenges the value of the Democratic Party.

Special thanks to The Nation.

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By loveinatub, November 6, 2007 at 9:02 pm Link to this comment

Robert Sheer is one CHICKEN S-IT! He can’t even respond to Nader’s challenge about how to overcome the corporate monstrosity that has strangled this country’s democracy is PATHETIC!

True, it’s sad that Nader’s campaigns have never sparked the creation of third political party but then our so-called “democracy” has been hijacked by the corporate world and our democracy has been corporatized! 

So long democracy. Hello tyrannical capitalism!

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By loveinatub, November 6, 2007 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment

You know, Rudi, YOU just don’t get it. Nader has NEVER ignored the war in Iraq. You obviously don’t follow Nader and have NEVER heard his MANY speeches that discuss the Iraq quagmire. Nader is one of the brightest and most active social servants this country has EVER been blessed to have. And what have you accomplished, Rudi???

#106258 by Rudi P. on 10/11 at 9:35 am
(6 comments total)

Wow, that is a great debate. And it clearly shows that Nader simply doesn’t get it. I don’t understand why the Left in America thinks that he is an attractive alternative for anything. He cares about car-safety and ignores the war in Iraq. He cares about putting contracts online and forgets about uninsured kids ... I believe that Nader lives in his own bubble reality. He knows that without him, Gore would have won the 2000 election and his defense strategy is pure ignorance.

“No difference between Democrats and Republicans! We need a revolution!”

This is a sure way NOT to win any elections.

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By Conservative Yankee, October 14, 2007 at 5:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Walt!

“Oh and I guess there’s a third one: In my lifetime (again) I have not seen too much meaningful change take place inside the government without pressure applied from the outside with concerted and organized social pressure.”

You should have met Robert Kennedy. I was working at the Willowbrook State School when he marched in with his army to examine conditions!  It was like a breath of fresh air!  The place went up hill from there… Then there is Governor Sargent who as Governor of Massachusetts closed the Commonwealth’s reform schools and changed many lives for the better. This was a very unpopular move, and he lost the following election, BUT to this day Massachusetts locks up fewer children) by population percentage) then any other jurisdiction. Then there is Governor Ryan of Illinois who commuted all the death sentences in that state because HE felt there may be innocent folks on death row. 60% + people in these united states believe in the death penalty.

I’m NOT saying you are wrong (in general) I am saying look, and you might find some exceptions!

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By walt, October 14, 2007 at 3:44 am Link to this comment

Dear Jim and Conservative Yankee,
OK I’m wrong. I’m not a history major. I’ll admit it: My knowledge of America is based more on experience than history. So seriously, thanks for that useful bit of information. I won’t make the same mistake again. But I do not withdraw my point.

The Presidency is not where change will happen. By your own arguments, American politics has been hijacked by special interests. That means two things:  1-Getting into office is a terribly uphill struggle and will at least until reform takes place require lots of money and influence. and 2-Even if you do get in there are entrenched special interests that can tie you up in knots and keep you away from the change you want to implement.

Oh and I guess there’s a third one: In my lifetime (again) I have not seen too much meaningful change take place inside the government without pressure applied from the outside with concerted and organized social pressure. Again you guys know better, but to me that’s how the game (rigged or not) works.

Nader did it by mobilizing young people and forming the consumer movement. Draft eligible students did it (with lots of help) in forming the anti-war movement. People of conscience motivated by MKL and others did it with setting in motion the integration movement.

Not presidents. Not senators. In my memory, they are more often than not the obstacles to change until they have their asses turned around by the citizenry.

So this is my point. WE are the problem. Not Clinton or Edwards or Obama. When it finally happens, change will be about “feet on the street” and organized movements that convince politicians we can’t be taken for granted or taken for a ride by the consumer culture.

They need to be awakened. All of them. And the only ones who can do that are ... us.

Read this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/14/opinion/14rich2.html?_r=1&hp;&oref;=slogin

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By adamjohn12, October 14, 2007 at 12:53 am Link to this comment

Why is this not on the main page??

Why was it removed right away??

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By Conservative Yankee, October 13, 2007 at 6:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

106598 by walt on 10/12 at 12:40 pm

“To Scheer’s point I must add, our system is not “rigged” to disallow a third party movement, it’s consciously designed to be a two party system. The founders put some thought into this. Two parties force compromise and forward momentum.”

No, actually not!  There were three major parties in John Adams time, and one was the “Royalists” In addition the individual States were far more powerful than the very weak federal government, and some ran favorite sons Under the “Virginia’s Hope” and the Rhode Island “Anti Slave”

When I was growing up in New York the voting machines listed no fewer than 8 political parties including Communist, Socialist, Conservative, and Family.

But you are mistaken and probably because you have been fed the media pablum that (as you claim later in your post)

“It’s not about the President. It’s about the Population. It’s a democracy.


No again. It is not now, never was a Democracy.  Ben Franklin, when asked about our country’s form of government said “Its a REPUBLIC, if we can keep it.”

Democracies do not have electoral colleges, weighted votes, or gerrymandered districts.  If we were a Democracy there would be no doubt about who won the 2000 election.

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By Jim D, October 13, 2007 at 1:21 am Link to this comment

I disagree with Walt.

There is nothing in the constitution about this country having 2 political parties. Political parties were not planned by the founding fathers. They began after Washington was president. Small parties were common till the 1900s.

Scheer uses “rigged” and it is appropriate. The courts by their decisions have limited our options and narrowed our “democracy”.

The stability that comes from the 2 parties is the kind to maintain an empire. It has nothing to do with a democracy. It is bureacracy protecting itself and the privileged class.

Instant Runoff Voting legislation can get around that. It will take visionary Democrats to make it happen.

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By adamjohn12, October 12, 2007 at 11:35 pm Link to this comment

Why is this podcast not on the main page????? Is Scheer too embarrassed?

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By WriterOnTheStorm, October 12, 2007 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

What a sad thing to see so many on the left attacking one of their greatest champions. Isn’t there some Ann Coulter article you all can vent about?

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By walt, October 12, 2007 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment

Nader is being a demigogue. The answer is do what you did last time: pressure government from the bottom up. Don’t toss the election to Rudy on principle. Play the hand you have.

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By walt, October 12, 2007 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

I listened to this again after my last post and I was struck by this simple truth: It’s Nader who has amnesia. He talks about the state of the democracy “Under Clinton” and it’s failures to represent the interests of average American workers, families, etc.

But “under Clinton” the social activist movement was right wing, evangelical, neo-conservative. There were no Ralph Naders. No liberal activist movement. No social pressure on government.

That’s how it happened last time. That’s how it happens every time. People electing representatives and making spectacles of themselves until those representatives notice and act.

Being President is not the answer. Scheer is right. Get behind the party that can respond and turn it inside out until it does what’s right.

To Scheer’s point I must add, our system is not “rigged” to disallow a third party movement, it’s consciously designed to be a two party system. The founders put some thought into this. Two parties force compromise and forward momentum.

But this discussion is fruitless. The Nader people spend all their time arguing about whether their guy was spoiler or not. No one who wrote in heard what Scheer said. I live in Turkey and I got to tell you, they know how dangerous these times are, how urgent the need to toss out the neo-cons and how precarious the situation is.

Nader should stop trying to build apathy about the two parties and try to activate his following into   social activists.

It’s not about the President. It’s about the Population. It’s a democracy.

Split the vote. Spoil the election. Live with Guiliani and far worse.

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By Conservative Yankee, October 12, 2007 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I would like to explain my 2008 vote before it happens.\

If Kucinich wins the Democratic party primaries, I will vote for him. I could squeeze out a vote for Gravel also.

If Kucinich and Gravel are defeated in the Democratic party, I could Vote for Paul on the Republican side….I’m also looking at Tom Tancredo. These folks are all outsiders, and if none win, I will vote for Nader.  For all you folks who hope he does not run…. I know well how to “write in” a name and address.

Nader was not a “spoiler” in the 2000/2004 elections. that position is reserved for voters who like myself would rather vote for a dead guy than Hill-the-business-shill or the scam-artist, ex-mayor.

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By Mikedog, October 12, 2007 at 11:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Does anyone really believe, had Gore been elected President,with the Senator from Tel Aviv, Joe Lieberman as his vice president,that there would be anything different happening in the Middle East today? The response to 9/11 would have been the same in any case, and Vice president Lieberman/Cheney would have got his Iraq war. Mr. Nader is quite correct; there is no difference between the two parties, which have neither regard or respect for the citizenry or our Constitution. Mikedog

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By liveoilfree, October 12, 2007 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

Nader is an operative for Standard Oil, always has been, from the time he killed the Corvair to the time he helped elect George Bush, the oil president.

No one seems willing to put it all together: Nader is Big Oil.

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By John C. Bonser, October 12, 2007 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

Nader hits the nail on the head with the observation that the Democratic party does a great job electing bad Republicans. If you don’t believe it ask the DNC why it wants Florida to go Republican again. This time it is telling the Florida voter that our votes won’t count in next year’s primary. It is telling the Michigan voters that they don’t count also!

The war. Let’s face it the current Democrats in power are just as culpable as the “roll over” leadership that voted to give all power to the administration.

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By Mark A. Goldman, October 12, 2007 at 6:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One of the dumbest comments that Scheer and others made is that Ralph is to blame for not making a bigger impact.  Ralph can’t give anyone courage or common sense if they don’t already have some.  He courageously stood up for a higher ideal, stated his case elequently, and put his ass on the line to defend his country and the Constitution.  He rang the bell for freedom.  You can’t blame him if there are not enough true patriots left who are willing to answer the call when it comes.  That’s the responsibility that each citizen has to address for him or herself.  Ralph did his job.  He gave us a choice… a better choice than the other two parties offered and we turned him down.  You can’t blame him for that.  You have to look in the mirror if you want to know why we are in Iraq, why the constitution is being dismantled, and why corruption is advancing fast while real competence and integrity is out of favor.  Ralph, if you run again, you have my vote.

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By jim d, October 12, 2007 at 1:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nader argues the case so well, citing facts and reminding us of the history of the Democratic Party’s betrayals over and over again. Even though it got slighly heated at time the cordiality between them never completely left and to me that was a welcome change from the talking head sound bite talk shows. The debate demonstrates and shows that we can disagree and still be allies.

Nader, while not backing off his right to run, and in addition to reminding us of the stolen elections not defended and the scholarly evidence debunking the spoiler argument also educated us about IRV Instant Runoff Voting.

This enables a person to rank their choices on the ballot 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. If the voters 1st choice doesn’t come in then their 2nd choice counts etc until someone gets 50%. This is the electoral reform which Democrats could NOW - Right NOW enact in 15 states. They have the governor and legislature majorities to make it happen. They have instead killed it in committee in Md and Vt. Why? They would rather have their 2 party system than win and occasionally have to share power with a 3rd party, like the Greens.

Nader is correct about the courts and structure stacked against a 3rd party, but that doesn’t mean we don’t keep trying and educating people about their electoral options and who is blocking true democracy. Many of us will never go back to the Democratic Party.

We go into the street as allies and risk arrest, but when we go into the voting booth to vote our ideals we are enemies. This is crazy and unnecessary. IRV needs to happen.

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By Outraged, October 11, 2007 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment

Wow, I took the debate much differently than most, BTW lots of good comments, folks.  I didn’t feel that Scheer or Nader were at absolute odds with each other.  I thought they agreed for the most part.  I think they both make valid points.  The most pressing of which being “what to do” RIGHT NOW.  Validly, Scheer points out that it might be better to rally together and vote for the democrat pres. candidate, rather than risk (and it is a risk) a loss to republicans because of a third party ticket.  Nader on the other hand validly points out that BECAUSE the stakes are so high, merely advancing a half-hearted democratic candidate which still panders to big corps. will keep the power EXACTLY where it has been and we’ll all go down with the ship.

Scheer argues that there are currently many democrat members of congress who are actually progressive and that as long as the democrats have the WH the support will be there.  Whereas Nader’s argument is that too many congressional democrats have already sold out, twice over, and it will not be enough and the time is ripe for a third party candidate.  Both are valid.  Of course my HOPE is that they are both right, then whatever way it swung we’d be good.

In my mind they are both compassionate intelligent people and care very much about “what to do”.  I thought that their disagreement was one more of timing than actual issues.  Scheer saying, but this is what we should do RIGHT NOW because of the situation.  Of course, that was exactly Nader’s premise.  As far as long term goals, I felt they were in agreement.  Truthfully, I see both points and wish I had a crystal ball.  What happens will have ALOT to do with who is on the democratic ticket. 

Such is the dilema.  Do you take the risk of the least worst RIGHT NOW and even though it’ll be half ass backward it’d still better than the worst and HOPEFULLY we can straighten it out in the mean time…or do you take the risk with the third party (more beneficial to the people IF you win) because as long as big money controls your legislators you’re screwed?

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By 911truthdotorg, October 11, 2007 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment

Nader didn’t spoil anything. Gore did. Who caved and didn’t fight for his own presidency? First Gore and then Kerry in 2004. It was fixed. They made it believable, though, didn’t they? Don’t blame Nader.

The monster, criminal-in-chief was going to “win” both of those elections, especially in 2000. It was pre-determined.

He had to get in to make 9/11 happen and everything else after it. He’s fulfilling the New World Order.

Unless we fight it, we are all doomed.

Google videos: 9/11 Press for Truth, Loose Change 2nd Edition, Terror Storm, America: Freedom to Fascism

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By Verne Arnold, October 11, 2007 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment

P.S.
That was no debate; it was Scheer going on and on with Nader getting cut off mid sentence.

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By Verne Arnold, October 11, 2007 at 7:58 pm Link to this comment

Oh boy, we’re really sunk when only two parties have the “right” to run. It is precisely the two party system that has us in the quagmire we’re in.  The two parties are both so beholden to the “powers that are”, that only an independent can break free of this systemic corruption.  Of course, this would take a brave and bold step; one which I fear we are no longer capable of because we are confused and divided by fear and doubt…we no longer are sure of the right thing to do.  Frozen by this fear, we will allow the very real, continuing slide, towards fascism.

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By mark, October 11, 2007 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ralph it’s all perspective. The half million Iraqis looking up from their graves disagree with your ‘no difference’ nonsense. How dare you compare Gore with this fascist idiot.

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By DennisD, October 11, 2007 at 6:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Somebody tell me how someone running for any office in this country that offers a clear direction other than the current one party line can be called a “spoiler”. You can’t “spoil” our already corrupt system of government.

Gore couldn’t even carry his home state, why? - because he offered no change. Unless a continuation of the giveaway of the country under Clinton is considered a good thing.

Hindsight being 20/20 - no one could’ve predicted that Bu$h would be the worst President in the history of this country. When the outcome of the election was predetermined by the courts and or Diebold there’s no such thing as a spoiler.

I voted for Nader and I’d vote for him again. If there are better candidates let them state their case. This voting for the lesser of two evils state of mind has to end because no matter how it turns out you still have one evil to deal with and that’s a continuation of the problem not the solution. Vote for someone you believe offers real change or stay the hell home on election day.

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By hearya, October 11, 2007 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Brilliant discourse.  Scheer is a master interviewer,  wonderful at framing the argument.  And the longtime warrior Nader has walked the trenches of his perspective.  This exchange was altogether provocative respectful and enlightening.  Thank you.

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By Crimes of the State Blog, October 11, 2007 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment

Excuse me while I barf.

...

Okay, I’m back.  You’re still on Ralph Nader for the 2000 selection?

Don’t let the facts get in the way:

1) Gore won the recount, as published in prominent Florida newspapers.

2) Not one Democratic senator would agree to investigate the legitimacy of the quite STOLEN Florida vote, as painfully shown in Fahrenheit 911.

But, what gets me.  The thing never mentioned in these whiny “liberal” discussions is this:

VICE PRESIDENT LIEBERMAN

PRESIDENT LIEBERMAN

I was not going to vote for Al Gore for several reasons, not least of which was his sorry choice of a handler/running mate.

Is that Nader’s fault too?

Was it Nader that caused Skull and Bones Kerry to pussy out when he actually WON in 2004?  When Ohio was clearly stolen, and several other states were as well?

These Democraps voluntarily handed power over to Bushco, probably because they approve of this unconstitutional War of Terror, and want to see how far the obvious fascists can take it, before the closet fascists are finally put back in charge by a shell shocked populace who will take “anyone but Bush.”

Nader’s integrity to speak the truth is commendable and honorable. 

Scheer’s smears ... not so much.

Crimes of the State Blog
http://crimesofthestate.blogspot.com/

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By dice, October 11, 2007 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is a reason you only heard 6’25 of scheer. He stayed away from the issues and instead focused on just berating ralph for running in 00 and 04. 

If he would stop apologizing for democrats and actually speak what he thinks is right it could have been a debate.

Sorry but the Democrats have done nothing but prove ralph right since 200.  Arguing that everything would have been completely different is just nonsense.  They now have the house and senate and not a damn thing has changed or look like it is going to change.  Sure there may be a small victory here or there but so far they have been abysmal.

Bottom line: Scheer can’t get it through his thick skull that a 3rd party doesn’t happen over night. Its going to be a long hard struggle just like womens rights, civil rights, etc.  But if you keep writing it off as being impossible then you have already lost war against the business parties.

“alright ralph I don’t want this to get too personal” Robert Scheer after attacking ralph for the majority of the “debate”  LOL

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By JimM72, October 11, 2007 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you Sequoiabis
He sure did know what he was doing in 2000, but let his ego get in the way of common sense.

Jim

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By Bubba, October 11, 2007 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment

Forgive me if I missed anything important while fast-forwarding most of Nader and much of Scheer, but I was impressed early on with their capacity to repeat themselves. 

If I understood Scheer’s intention, it was to dissuade Nader from running again.  Scheer pointed out that Nader had played a part in blessing us with eight years of Bush the Lesser.  Who didn’t, you might ask?  But how many on the left did so with as much fatuous pizzazz as Ralph? 

Scheer also observed that Nader had accomplished little of much consequence to establish a ~viable~ third party.  Why, Scheer appeared to keep asking, would Nader wish to run again?  To help elect Rudy911 or another of his ilk? 

Unless I’m mistaken, Nader will not be running.  If Scheer’s contribution to such a desirable non-event was even only miniscule, I would like to thank him warmly. 

If Nader and others with third-party aspirations would like to be taken seriously not only as spoilers, I would suggest they do something of greater and more desirable consequence than they have managed so far.

If something is to replace the dullness of today’s Middling World Order, it’s going to take more than some splashes of green, don’t you think?

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By Robert, October 11, 2007 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Robert Scheer says his “breaking point” with the Democratic candidate would come if he/she refuses to end the Iraq war. Well, that’s their position. The top candidates now say they cannot promise to remove our soldiers from Iraq before 2013. Your move, Robert! Will you now break with the Democratic Party?

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By elkbelly, October 11, 2007 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

Well, Mr. Scheer… NONE of the leading candidates in the last democratic debate would commit to bringing the troops home by 2013.  So I guess you’ve reached your own breaking point, haven’t you.  Who will you vote for now? 

The above comment refers to Nader’s most glaringly apparent victory in the debate with Bob Scheer.  But there were others…

Once Bob Scheer finally stopped trying to frame the terms of the debate, and stopped attacking Ralph Nader personally, he offered no solutions to the problem Nader spoke to—a militaristic and imperialistic American foreign policy that receives unchecked bipartisan support.  Everything Scheer claims separates the Democrats from the Republicans occurs only in their respective rhetoric; their actions speak a different story.  A 98-0 confirmation of Justice Scalia is an example of this.  The Iraq War resolution is another.  The Democrats failure to stop Thomas’s appointment, having had the majority in the Senate at the time.  And currently, Democrats continue to be unwilling to pull the funding for the Iraq War, once again revealing they are opposed to it in rhetoric only; that is, only so far as it will get them votes.  The only thing you could possibly admire about the Bush republicans is that they believe in what they’re doing, even when it’s unpopular.  And by having a spine they’ve accomplished mush of their agenda, haven’t they?

Put it this way—- the Al Gore that Mr. Scheer wishes would run today would not exist if not for Ralph Nader.  Or will you not admit, Mr. Scheer, that his tune has changed?

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By felicity, October 11, 2007 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment

If Ralph could just morph into a satirist - maybe a Sahl or a Bruce - he could cast a real, profound shadow on the present sorry state of American politics. 

To quote Bill Mauldin commenting on the sorry state of American politics in the 1950’s. What Mauldin saw as the duty of American cartoonists/satirists, “We must peel back the veneer of hypocracy and deception, stick pins in pompous windbags, puncture inflated egos, comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, in a word carry on the fight for the ‘little guy’ against greedy and vested interests, bigots and fakers, potential Caesears and misguided do-gooders.”

Ralph must know perhaps better than anybody that his power has been and will be what he can do outside of the political arena.  Ghandi, Martin Luther King…these guys moved mountains and they moved them free of the stiltifying miasma of being part of government.

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By walt, October 11, 2007 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Can we please get off this rhetorical merry-go-round of denial and accusation about whether Nader did or did not spoil the elections of 2000 and 2004? You guys have been arguing about this for years.

Ralph Nader has had more impact on American government and society than perhaps anyone of my generation … and he did so without being a member of government.

He faced down corporations, mobilized citizens and changed everything. He is responsible for so much that has transformed our lives and which we regularly take for granted and he achieved it all without holding any public office. He was an “event” in democracy.

But now I think he’s lost his edge - if not his grip on reality. It seems that as smart as he is, he’s not smart enough to realize that inside the system he will be able to accomplish very little. That’s even if he could win, which is unlikely.

Truth is, outside government is where we need him and people like him … occupying his old role as visionary mobilizer and defender of the common man. In government, he’ll just be a target for his seething opponents. He’ll get preoccupied, eventually paranoid and nothing will get done.

The Democratic Party, like the Republican Party has been hijacked by neo-con radicals. We need guys like Nader arming mobs with pitchforks outside the palace walls to energize the population and pull American government and business back to being accountable to Americans. We need a new PIRG to activate cause related politics at the local level and build democratic consciousness - just like he did years ago.

It’s odd to me that Nader and his defenders who hold such animus toward our governement, seem to think that the only way to change it is to become part of it.

Seeking the Presidency is a demented folly. The truth is the “best” he can do, is push this election into narrow margins where voter fraud, cooked machines and a slavish Supreme Court can muck things up.

Lately, he has gotten lost in his own orthodoxy. Is it ego? I don’t know. I don’t much care. As to whether or not he is a spoiler, I can only ask his supporters why has he said the only condition under which he will run this time is if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee? Isn’t he saying by that that he IS a spoiler and will spoil it for her?

I admired him back in the day. He was a great American who had world-wide impact. He contributed something incredibly important.

Now I think he’s nuts. Just plain nuts.

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By M, October 11, 2007 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nader. Clear examples.  Real/Factual information.

Sheer. I love the guy, but I don’t agree with him at all on this front.  His opinion is an old opinion which furthers as establishment that does not work for the people.

I voted Nader.  It was his run for presidency that led to my joining the GREEN PARTY.
I did not vote GORE although I love the guy as well.  But, a lesser evil is not my goal. 

The 2 party system does not work for the people; they work for the corporations. 

Go NADER!

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By Bob Zimmerman, October 11, 2007 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I can appreciate the acadmic discourse about third party candidates being a positive force for change, but emotionally, I am torn by what happened to our country with Nader’s entry in 2000. The last 7 years have been a nightmare under Bush which none of us could have known at the time. I actually believed his “compassionate conservatism” BS for example. I had no idea he was such a neocon. It might have been nice if Gore had pointed that out to us voters. In defense of Nader, Gore ran a lousy campaign, and should at least have taken his own home state. Of course Monica and Bill did Gore no favors either in the critical swing states that don’t swing. I like Nader a lot and think he is a decent man who likewise would not have gotten us into the Iraq debacle. But he had no chance of winning, so what was the point of his running? That said we can only hope that the Dobson-Robertson party fields an anti-choice, pro-war candidate who will immediately invade Iran and start the U.S.A. on the march to a theocracy.

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By Mark A. Goldman, October 11, 2007 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If Democrats would have defended the Constituton as they should have, we wouldn’t be in at war in Iraq, we wouldn’t have Supreme Court Justices that we now have, we wouldn’t have tax laws that make the rich richer and the poor poorer.  So Robert, based on what you say, if a Democratic candidate is selected who will not promise to end the war, you say that is a deal breaker… you won’t vote Democratic.  So who will you vote for?

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By Tom Semioli, October 11, 2007 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment
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Sheer, like the Democrats and Republicans, are part of the problem, not part of the solution. Do we also blame Nader for the Mets losing out to the Phillies? This is such a tired old argument, which, sad to say, shows no signs of abating.

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By thomas billis, October 11, 2007 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment
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Democrats have to be some of the dumbest political animals in captivity.Democratic party no balls,Ralph Nader no party plenty of balls.When are the Democrats going to realize that appealing to their base as Ralph Nader does rather than going after votes they will never get is when they are going to realize big positive victories.The Republicans have been playing base politics and winning with a shitty message.The democrats have got to get over the desire to be loved by everybody and get back to being Democrats.When they let the Republicans define the L word as bad is when the democrats started Losing with a capital L.Republican conservatives waited 40 years to take power and never let the democrats make conservative a bad word.

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By green, October 11, 2007 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment
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Nader had more to say about the issues than Sheer.  Sheer was up there to personally tear Nader down (Why all the Sheer’s disclaimers that he didn’t want to get ‘personal’ during this debate?).

The Democrats are in bed with greedy corporations that have inherent contempt for the electorate.  This is an electorate that should be regulating forcefully any corporate activities that can have a significant impact on our well being.

The Democrats colluded (throug political shortsightedness) to get Bush into power and are banking on the votes that will inevitably come to them because Bush is ONLY simply incompetent and thoroughly corrupt.  They’ll take an easy victory from this ‘opportunity’ but it’ll built on the rubble of what they helped destroy.  They refuse to use the political capital that is gushing their way everyday by the death of the Republican party and this awful administration. 

2 Parties = 50%+1 Politics forever.  Ralph spoke to the issues and Sheer spoke to trying to strategize within the 50%+1 structure.  The democratic leadership should be fearing nothing right now and they are.  Must be their corporate handlers.

Run Ralph Run!

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By Mark A. Goldman, October 11, 2007 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment
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I would also add that Nader gave real arguments and specific examples of why the two parties have failed us.  What kind of crimes would it take for Democrats to acknowledge that Bush and Co. deserve to be impeached?  The Democrats have betrayed us every bit as much as the Repubicans.  The Constitution does not provide for a two party government.  We need real leaders in government… leaders who are not bought and paid for by corporate money… leaders who are more loyal to the Constitution and their oath of office than to their party.  Ralph Nader would have been a better President than either of the other two candidates.  Citizens should have voted for him.  People like Scheer… people who won’t open their minds and defend the Constitution… are the real spoilers.

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By Mark A. Goldman, October 11, 2007 at 11:47 am Link to this comment
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I don’t agree in any way with Robert Scheer.  I believe the system is broken and the Democrats are as responsible for the decline of our democracy and our culture.  The fact that a third party can’t make it is evidence that Democrats are as undemocratic as republicans are.  Our best chance for real change is to vote for independent candidates until they win.  There needs to be real competition.  Nancy Pelosi betrayed her oath of office.  We need people of vision and courage and we have been let down entirely by the Democrats.

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By TOC, October 11, 2007 at 11:14 am Link to this comment
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I find it stunning that anyone on the left would continue to spout the line that Sheer continues to spout. Playing the Least Worst Game, which the Democrats have been playing for years has only played into the hands of the right.

Nader’s call for introspection is the very least that is called for.

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By GDWymer, October 11, 2007 at 11:00 am Link to this comment
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Are we always in this country going to cast the epithet of"spoiler” at anyone who runs a third party ticket? When is the right election to have a third party? Do we wait for the right Dem to run against the right Republican so that any third party candidate can be seen as a true participant and not a threat?

To bemoan the fact the bush was elected over Gore is crying over spilled milk. Look at how many so-called moderate voters actually believed in Bush and voted for him. Their ignorance of the kind of man he is would never have been overcome in the election. And perhaps if more citizens would express at least a little outrage over the many elctoral fraud cases that had occured in that election in Florida, Ohio and other states. Even the press for the most part simply did not investigate those crimes.

We live in imperial America and the republic has been in a state of atrophe for several generations. So few Americans even understand this. And this is partly because of a two-party exclusivity and a system that is dominated by the wealthy and the few.

Sad to say. America got what it deserved in 2000. At least all the Americans who voted for Bush. And how many Democrats voted for war? Nearly all of them. I imagine that all things must become worse and even greater tragedies must unfold in the United States before the public actually calls resoundingly for a third party.

But to think that there is not a ground swell that could be turned into a third force is to ignore the large percentage of voters who went for Perot in the 90’s.  At that time there were no major candidates talking about the immigration issues and trade issues and especially not America’s profligate debt accumulation. Perot introduced those topics into the public forum and the national debt became a fulcrum of executive policy in the Clinton administration. I guess Perot was just another spoiler too.

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By levi civita, October 11, 2007 at 10:49 am Link to this comment
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Gore was the spoiler.

A bunch of them anti-citizens voted for Gore so that AT&T;not Verizon could screw them good. Serves them right, I-Raq Telecom won.

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By Rudi P., October 11, 2007 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

Wow, that is a great debate. And it clearly shows that Nader simply doesn’t get it. I don’t understand why the Left in America thinks that he is an attractive alternative for anything. He cares about car-safety and ignores the war in Iraq. He cares about putting contracts online and forgets about uninsured kids ... I believe that Nader lives in his own bubble reality. He knows that without him, Gore would have won the 2000 election and his defense strategy is pure ignorance.

“No difference between Democrats and Republicans! We need a revolution!”

This is a sure way NOT to win any elections.

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By John Borowski, October 11, 2007 at 10:31 am Link to this comment
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Now that the Republicans (Aka Conservative right-wingers) have castrated the Democratic Party and rigged the elections there is no need for Nader. He no longer has to divide the house. Nader is as antiquated as an ice box. (Only the old timer knows what an ice box is) Nader knows that he and all other political parties other than the Republicans (Aka Conservative right-wingers) totally for capitalism and the Democrats completely for capitalism have no chance of winning anything. All of the other parties have as much chance of winning anything as a snowball in hell. Is there something in the closet that makes Nader pursue this tactic?

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By loveinatub, October 11, 2007 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

I couldn’t disagree more with you, SEQUOIABIS.

You say Ralph Nader has an EGO????  Is it any BIGGER than the egos of George W. Bush or Al Gore? 

And yet you blame Nader for Gore’s loss in 2000. Nader had every RIGHT to run for President. He cannot be criticized for it. If you don’t like democracy, than go live in Sudan!

Nader is an easy scapegoat when you really should be criticizing the American voters who stupidly voted for George W. Bush, not once but TWICE, no less!

Nader was the BRIGHTEST of the bunch and spoke TRUTH to POWER. Gore nor Bush were as “radical” as Nader. Nader has spoken and continues to speak out on behalf of consumers the world over. He should be AWARDED THE NOBEL PRIZE!

Nader didn’t have to instruct his supporters to do anything! Voters can choose whom to vote for, PERIOD!

Nader didn’t abandon any of the American people. It was the American people who showed incredible arrogance, stupidity, and fear in voting for George W. Bush.

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By Shenonymous, October 11, 2007 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

I am amazed at the clarity and articulate post of SEQUOIABIS #106216.  I could not have thought it or said it better.  I listened to the debate between Sheer and Nader.  I’ve always thought Nader was an intelligent man, but feel his ego has caused the snake pit Americans are in at present.  I do not completely agree with Robert Sheer, especially his assessment of Adalai Stevenson, but I do agree with him on everything else.  His evaluation of Democrats and the danger of another Republican administration exactly parallels mine and I am buoyant there exists other folks of similar mind.  Nader and his like are needed to be gadflies and keep in the public’s eyes and ears the criticisms he makes.  But this is whether we like it or not a two-party system and there is definitely significant differences between the two. There is no argument that corporations are planning the political, educational, etc., future.  If so, then Nader and the rest of the progressives of the Democratic party need to force the Democratic politicians to stop them.  There are over 250 issues that need to be dealt with and each and everyone of them need to be looked at with a liberal eye and something done about.

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By Conservative Yankee, October 11, 2007 at 9:07 am Link to this comment
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106216 by SEQUOIABIS on 10/11 at

“I find it difficult to forgive his arrogant, self-serving attitude regarding the spoiler thing.”

As a former Republican (changed my registration yesterday so I could vote Kucinich), who voted Nader in 2000, I want to ask what Nader “spoiled?” 

The typical outlandish left-wing contention that “Nader should have stepped aside” ignores the reality of the classic Nader voter, and that is Nader or no one, not Nader or Gore.

AND

iIn a way Gore and Bush are the same… bought and paid for by the same corporate entities.

Maybe we Nader voters should be asking why Bush and Gore didn’t “step aside”

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By Bill Blackolive, October 11, 2007 at 7:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Long ago either should have publicly said the official 9/11 explanation lacks reality.

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By SEQUOIABIS, October 11, 2007 at 7:29 am Link to this comment

The peoples advocate, Ralph Nader an icon for justice and helping to keep Americans safe.

I have a great deal of admiration for Nader on so many issues but I find it difficult to forgive his arrogant, self-serving attitude regarding the spoiler thing.

He knew there was more than a dimes worth of difference between Gore and Bush but yet he continued to insist that they were both the same.

In many ways I have to blame Nader for helping to put Bush in power. Ralph is an extremely intelligent man and I know he was aware that Bush was a puppet of the corporate polluters and had a disastrous environmental record when governor of Texas but chose to ignore the details.

He could have instructed his supporters in swing states like Florida that the election was just too important to cast a protest vote for a third party candidate.

The peoples advocate Ralph Nader in the final analysis abandoned the people of America and helped give the election to the maniac we now have in the white house.

And now unperturbed and unapologetic for the damage he helped cause, he is actually thinking about being a spoiler again. Amazing what a big useless ego can do to a generally thoughtful rational human being.

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By HC, October 11, 2007 at 6:35 am Link to this comment
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One hour into the interview, and I cannot comprehend the weakness of Scheer’s point and argument, I had expected better, not so as to invalidate Nader’s position, but that he’s so resistant to recognizing it. As Nader illustrated several times, we’ve been abandoned by the Democrats at this turning point that Scheer is so concerned about, so what’s the point of looking to them for salvation?  It is the corporate-state conglomerate that Scheer cannot recognize, nor oppose meaningfully.

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By Verne Arnold, October 11, 2007 at 6:15 am Link to this comment

Well, where is the rest of this interview?  Nader is cut-off mid sentence…crap I say…fix it please!

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By tenstring, October 11, 2007 at 6:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What debate?  I only heard 6’25” of Robert Scheer.

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