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Only Nader Is Right on the Issues

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Posted on Nov 3, 2008
AP photo / Jose Luis Magana

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader speaks during a news conference outside of the Nuclear Energy Institute in Washington.

By Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist who has covered many wars around the world. His column appears Mondays on Truthdig.

Tomorrow I will go to a polling station in Princeton, N.J., and vote for Ralph Nader. I know the tired arguments against a Nader vote. He can’t win. A vote for Nader is a vote for McCain. He threw the election to George W. Bush in 2000. He is an egomaniac. 

There is little disagreement among liberals and progressives about the Nader and Obama campaign issues. Nader would win among us in a landslide if this was based on issues. Sen. Barack Obama’s vote to renew the Patriot Act, his votes to continue to fund the Iraq war, his backing of the FISA Reform Act, his craven courting of the Israeli lobby, his support of the death penalty, his refusal to champion universal, single-payer not-for-profit health care for all Americans, his call to increase troop levels and expand the war in Afghanistan, his failure to call for a reduction in the bloated and wasteful defense spending and his lobbying for the huge taxpayer swindle known as the bailout are repugnant to most of us on the left. Nader stands on the other side of all those issues. 

So if the argument is not about issues what is it about?

Those on the left who back Obama, although they disagree with much of what he promotes, believe they are choosing the practical over the moral. They see themselves as political realists. They fear John McCain and the Republicans. They believe Obama is better for the country. They are right. Obama is better. He is not John McCain. There will be under Obama marginal improvements for some Americans although the corporate state, as Obama knows, will remain our shadow government and the working class will continue to descend into poverty. Democratic administrations have, at least until Bill Clinton, been more receptive to social programs that provide benefits, better working conditions and higher wages. An Obama presidency, however, will make no difference to those in the Middle East.

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I can’t join the practical. I spent two decades of my life witnessing the suffering of those on the receiving end of American power. I have stood over the rows of bodies, including women and children, butchered by Ronald Reagan’s Contra forces in Nicaragua. I have inspected the mutilated corpses dumped in pits outside San Salvador by the death squads. I have crouched in a concrete hovel as American-made F-16 fighter jets, piloted by Israelis, dropped 500- and 1,000-pound iron-fragmentation bombs on Gaza City. 

I can’t join the practical because I do not see myself exclusively as an American.  The narrow, provincial and national lines that divide cultures and races blurred and evaporated during the years I spent in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the Balkans. I built friendships around a shared morality, not a common language, religion, history or tradition. I cannot support any candidate who does not call for immediate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan and an end to Israeli abuse of Palestinians. We have no moral or legal right to debate the terms of the occupation. And we will recover our sanity as a nation only when our troops have left Iraq and our president flies to Baghdad, kneels before a monument to the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi war dead and asks for forgiveness. 

We dismiss the suffering of others because it is not our suffering. There are between 600,000 and perhaps a million dead in Iraq. They died because we invaded and occupied their country. At least three Afghan civilians have died at the hands of the occupation forces for every foreign soldier killed this year. The dead Afghans include the 95 people, 60 of them children, killed by an air assault in Azizabad in August and the 47 wedding guests butchered in July during a bombardment in Nangarhar. The Palestinians are forgotten. Obama and McCain, courting the Israeli lobby, do not mention them. The 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza live in a vast open-air prison. Supplies and food dribble through the Israeli blockade. Ninety-five percent of local industries have shut down. Unemployment is rampant. Childhood malnutrition has skyrocketed. A staggering 80 percent of families in Gaza are dependent on international food aid to survive.

It is bad enough that I pay taxes, although I will stop paying taxes if we go to war with Iran. It is bad enough that I have retreated into a safe, privileged corner of the globe, a product of industrialized wealth and militarism. These are enough moral concessions, indeed moral failings. I will not accept that the unlawful use of American military power be politely debated among us like the subtle pros and cons of tort law. 

George Bush has shredded, violated or absented America from its obligations under international law. He has refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol, backed out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, tried to kill the International Criminal Court, walked out on negotiations on chemical and biological weapons and defied the Geneva Conventions and human rights law in the treatment of detainees in our offshore penal colonies. Most egregiously, he launched an illegal war in Iraq based on fabricated evidence we now know had been discredited even before it was made public. The president is guilty, in short, of what in legal circles is known as the “crime of aggression.”


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By RichJ, November 3, 2008 at 9:05 pm Link to this comment

This is my sentiment exactly, and why I will be voting Nader tomorrow morning… and wishing Obama well.

I am hopeful.

Not having the experience of Chris Hedges, I don’t, therefore, come from his perspective, but I totally agree with him that Nader is far better on more of the issues than Obama. Nader has unquestionable depth of experience at precisely the kind of change this nation has required for a long time, and never more than now after so many years of political and economical devastation created by the corrupt “Republican Revolution” and the criminal Bush/Cheney administration. Now is the time to really listen to Nader for this is a crucial point in the history of the evolution of civilization. Nader knows how to clean house!

Obama’s advantage is his charisma (including his unique racial and cultural background) in persuading and leading the people if only he doesn’t compromise too much on the issues, listen to the wrong advisors, or fall prey to the corruption of power and money. Obama needs Nader as his advisor on modesty and the issues.

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By Alexander Lesher, November 3, 2008 at 8:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you, Chris hedges!  I plan to vote for Nader IN A SWING STATE tomorrow because Obama/McCain/Barr/Baldwin do not represent my views as well as Nader/Gonzalez.  Thank you, Hedges, Nader.

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By cann4ing, November 3, 2008 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment

By Ingela Hakansson, November 3 at 7:27 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

A vote for Nader is a vote for all the principles the Democrats abandoned in a mad dash to act like Republicans.
________________

A vote for Nader is a reckless exercise in futility, period, full stop!

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By niloroth, November 3, 2008 at 8:29 pm Link to this comment

I seriously hope that all of you that are voting for nader are not in swing states.  If you are in swing states, i hope you don’t actually make it to the polls tomorrow, so that at the very least, you cease to feed his megalomaniac delusions that he can carry more than 0.38% of the popular vote.  He is a washed up fringe hack, and you do both the progressive movement, and him, a disservice in feeding his delusion.

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By Ingela Hakansson, November 3, 2008 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A vote for Nader is a vote for all the principles the Democrats abandoned in a mad dash to act like Republicans.

Lest we forget it was the Clinton/Gore administration that bombed Somalian milk plants, engaged in nation building in the former Yugslavian Republic (often with significant miliary involvement)and avoided taking a stance on ecological issues.

Bush actually ran against nation building and foreign involvement! He did not run on a war in iraq platform.

Gore lost his own state of Tenessee.

Don’t forget it was Gore that picked Joe Lieberman as his vp running mate. Loserman supports McCain in this election!

Nader gives us OUR voice.

OBOMBA give us more of the same as he takes the same Wall Street and Oil money that the Republicans take

This year Obomba took more of it than McCain. Do you think he did so in because he believes in good government?

Obomba stands for nothing other than hollow slogans like “change and hope”
Here is a sensible article on why to vote for nader
http://nosuppertonight.com/2008/11/02/nader-for-president/

Here are two videos that show how alike McCain and Obomba are
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5WiE6MnmCM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZoxgZLX8JU
I too am voting Nader tomorrow.

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By cann4ing, November 3, 2008 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment

By niloroth, November 3 at 5:19 pm #

@ Inherit The Wind:

You just about nailed it.  hedges can vote for nader all he wants, the fact is that nader represents a very very small portion of the population.
______________________

Actually, when it comes to matters of policy, Nader’s views are closer to those of the vast majority of Americans.  But, as long as the corporate media controls both 95% of what we see, hear and read, as long as American candidates are packaged by the PR industry and as long as Nader and McKinney insist on self-marginalization by aiming to high from a third party platform rather than working, as Obama did, to capture the Democratic Party while creating a mass following through, dare I say, “community organization,” Nader, McKinney and the rest of the third party ideologues will remain the perennial footnote to an American political discourse.

When it comes to substance, Ralph Nader is an intellectual giant.  Yet, when it comes to tactics, Nader has been on a fools errand, and, judging from some of the barbs from ideologues like DocReality, he has taken a number of fools along with him in his exercise in futility.

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By elizabethe, November 3, 2008 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment

I am voting for NADER tomorrow and I say HE CAN WIN, SHOULD WIN, and MAY WIN.  I believe my vote counts, NOT for few but for the MANY.  Nader does not represent either party, a vote for Nader is not for either a Democrat or a Republican, it is indeed for NADER.  President NADER can be found in the proper hands of the affirmative majority rule ballot power in our people for people and people’s government, the ballot is for usurping power, and the many may decide NADER tomorrow.  We have 100 million OUTSIDE registered non-partisan nationally across the country.  NADER is on 45 ballots.  Independents are a majority.  Independents can WIN by a majority IF they want NADER for President.  62 million are in the two corrupt parties, combined.  Tomorrow the overturning of corruption and putting credibility with proper leadership on track, can happen.  President Nader can happen, by the majority, one vote at a time, to the tune of 100 million.  I am aiming for it to happen.  This country is basically in the tiny 1-3% minor parties, 62% in the non-partisan best is the winner, and 37% in the COMBINED two parties.  36 million Democrats and 26 Republicans will not defeat the independents if they vote NADER by the majority across the nation.

An “idiot” tried to tell me the vote for Nader was for McCain in Massachusetts, AFTER I told him Massachusetts is 49% independent and 36% Democrat and 12% Republican, he said, “I am for Obama!”  I answered “I am for NADER!” He said “Nader can’t win it will tip it to McCain.” I screamed at him, to drown out his idiocy, there is not a 50/50 in Massachusetts, a vote for Nader is a winning vote, it is only between Nader and Obama, there are only 12% Republicans.  NADER is for PRESIDENT NADER.  He backed off furious I did not let him re"rule” the facts and statistics, and obviously did not want Nader to WIN!  He wanted Obama, and he obviously heard me, and knew it is a minority for the Republicans, in the extreme.  There is no chance of 50/50.  Massachusetts has 49% independents, if they vote NADER, they win over the 36%, obviously.  McCain is indeed nothing but a factor, and the numbers are not 50/50 either in MA between independents and Obama, nor Nationally.  A MAJORITY is independent and OH YES WE CAN VOTE NADER AND WIN A MAJORITY.  The guy backed away offended his 50/50 dupoly claim was being overshouted, with facts.  He didn’t want the facts.  I like the facts, I am aiming for President Nader to happen, for the Nation to realize the two parties are intentionally trying to prevent NADER from winning, and they are very in our faces, intentionally malicious.  Obviously.  I also told the Harvard Square passerby’s who likely heard me, Pennyslvania is the worst case of the Democrats attempt take votes an insist you cannot vote your choice, a Judge James Gardner Colins belongs in jail.  I know he does.  Fraud?  The Democrats.  To bad for the claim of 50/50 in MA. It is not so.  We have 4 million and 49% are independents.  IF voters want NADER they can vote N
ADER.  The two parties and the media have tried to stop the proper BEST can win.  It is a MAJORITY OUTSIDE, IT IS ONLY THE MEDIA THAT HAS PREVENTED THE PUBLIC FROM KNOWING THE TRUTH.  NADER CAN PULL A MAJORITY FROM THE MAJORITY.  THEY ARE INDEPENDENT NATIONALLY AT 62%-100 MILLION.  24 STATES DO NOT REGISTER PARTY.  THE BEST IS SUPPOSED TO NET THE MAJORITY.

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By cann4ing, November 3, 2008 at 8:11 pm Link to this comment

By d. beemon, November 3 at 6:25 pm #

I realize that Barack is cut from the same cloth as George Bush and John McCain.
____________________________

I realize that you intend to vote for Barack Obama.  But honestly, your own post belies the assertion that Barack is even remotely like George Bush, John McCain or the rest of the radical right.  The Naderite assertion that there is no difference reflects both an ideological blind spot and a dangerous form of propaganda.

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By Nancy Brown, November 3, 2008 at 8:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m a Chris Hedges fan, media reform activist, Green Party activist, and appreciate Hedges’ brave break with established wisdom, but I’d like to challenge his conclusion.

If you want to vote on behalf of the people slain by the US worldwide, ask the people now in our crosshairs who they’d have you vote for. Tell them Obama and McCain, though very similar, are not the same. McCain (and especially Palin and all the neocons the ticket represents) mean MORE death and destruction than Obama would. (Yes, that’s the sad choice we’re faced with.) Explain that you could vote for a third party candidate who represented a different possibility, but that it may tip the election to the worse of the two evils.

The problem is they don’t have the luxury of living in possibilities. They live in reality, and a very dangerous one. The argument you’re making is that, in the long run, a third-party (“protest”) vote will result in the system being dismantled. If that’s true, that’s compelling. But neither Hedges, nor anyone else I’ve heard, actually explains how the action leads to the result.

Imagine that the difference between an Obama and McCain presidency were just one life saved.

You’d have to be convinced that it was “worth it” to lose that life to achieve the long-term change.

But many of us have vote for third parties every four years for decades WITH NO APPARENT EFFECT. So if there were one life, or many lives, on the line, what’s the moral choice?

If you can make the case, and it has to be a good, solid case, that voting for third party will ultimately result in the change we want to see, let me know. Exactly how will that vote, along with the vote of a small minority of others who reliably make the same choice, eventually create this change? Let me know because I’d like to vote third party with a clear conscience.

The opportunity to dismantle the system doesn’t come on November 4. It’s a long, slow, continous battle to wrench democracy free from capitalism, which is slowly swallowing it whole. Get the money out of campaigns, democratize the media, and more. We need to change the choices were faced with on election day and take back our government, and in the mean time, use the token power we’re still allowed on election day to minimize the harms that our government will continue to mete out around the world, on our behalfs.

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By kath cantarella, November 3, 2008 at 8:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nader is right, but he can’t make it happen.

Every vote for Nader is yet another pyrrhic victory for idealism.

But at least you won’t have to feel guilty whenever clay-footed Obama stuffs up next year.

Congratulations.

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By d. beemon, November 3, 2008 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Look. it sounds nice to vote for Ralph Nader. I had the same philosophy eight years ago and it led to disaster. I realize that Barack is cut from the same cloth as George Bush and John McCain, but there is something a little different about the style. There is an age difference. Ralph is old. He’s becoming frumpy. He doesn’t inspire like he once did. His ideas are great. but he is old hat.

Barack has in him the intellect and the heart and the desire to change all this, even though he looks like a sham. He’s trying to win an election! In this great country of ours you can’t win an election anymore by being honest and truthful. Give him a chance. Nader has no chance. Obama could be good. He’s the only chance we have. Why shun him for wearing a suit? He might take the suit off. He could be one of us. Everyman.

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By MikeSchoch, November 3, 2008 at 6:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well Chris, it looks like you got a rise out of the blogosphere on this one.

But your thesis rings true, as does the simplicity of voting for your values, instead of platitudes and words that sound like values.

Change does not look like: a $1,000 tax break, or clean coal, or a larger military, or kneeling to AIPAC!

Everyone needs to put aside fear for one day. And vote your conscience. Not the Democratic “lesser of two evils”. Not a strategic vote for the “lesser of two evils”. Not a hopeful vote for what may happen despite copious evidence to the contrary.

Our vote is about who we are. Are you a triangulating weasel? Are you a fearful serf? Are you a helpless victim? Then don’t vote like one.

Vote Ralph Nader/ Matt Gonzalez and become part of the change we need. Besides, then you won’t have to make excuses for the next 4 years.

To Alastair, and others of his painfully hopeless ilk: do something besides whining for a change. And prepare to fight for your values. The ones you have been given by America.

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By DocReality, November 3, 2008 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment

Obama has the sheeple mesmerized with the Jedi mind trick. All the leftist shills and ‘progressives’ will walk down prozac lane and vote for thei leader the great Obama Mama Ding Dong. For he is the chosen one to bring change they all heartily agree.
They know nothing about this guy or where he comes from. He has voted for every draconian piece of legislature but he is the ‘chosen one’.
Well I got news for you, I will happily and PROUDLY walk in and vote for Cynthia McKinney, a real human.

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By Jeanne Lafferty, November 3, 2008 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you, Chris Hedges for writing this. Life is not about making life a little more comfortable for the people in your own pond. Mr. Obama will not even manage to do that much if he pursues the wars he’s been promising us throughout the campaign. I’m with Ralph Nader and Chris Hedges
Jeanne

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By niloroth, November 3, 2008 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment

@ Inherit The Wind:

You just about nailed it.  hedges can vote for nader all he wants, the fact is that nader represents a very very small portion of the population.  Much like ron paul does.  Those who support them can feel free to claim some level of blissful allegiance to the fringe their candidate represents, but when the rest of us vote tomorrow, (especially those of us in swing states) we will be casting votes that matter, and not working to relive 2000 all over again.

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By jersey girl, November 3, 2008 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment

Ummmm no Obama has taken millions in bundled contributions from wall street. You know the guys..lehman bros, goldman sachs and also the nuclear power & big pharma industries.

Why are you so proud to announce that Obama spent millions of dollars on a campaign when the country is this close to a depression ? Why are you so happy to cheer on a man who supported the fascist takeover of your country and the stripping of your civil liberties?  Mark my words, he will keep those dictatorial powers that bush amassed for himself.

If I were you inherit, I’d keep my koolaid drinking mouth shut until you see what your man does as president.  So far, he’s proven to be one helluva a republican.  But then. you think he’s just foolin everyone to get elected.. right?

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By Inherit The Wind, November 3, 2008 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment

“Boo-hoo! We want Nader!”  Boo-hoo!  If you want Nader so bad you should have helped him build a machine like Obama’s.

“But Obama’s got all the money! Boo-Hoo!”  Obama raised most of it on the Internet in small amounts.  It’s how he beat Hillary Clinton: She had big donors who gave all they could.  Obama had thousands of little donors who could give and give without reaching $2300 each.  Nader could have done the same thing.

“But Nader couldn’t get all those donors! Boo-Hoo!”  Yeah, well maybe that tells you something: People aren’t interested in Ralph Nader. 

THEY DON’T WANT A ADVOCATE IDEOLOGUE FOR PRESIDENT.

Don’t you get it? Nader can’t win because Nader doesn’t have what it takes to win!

You don’t like it? Boo-hoo to you!

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, November 3, 2008 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment

It seems to me that what Chris Hedges doesn’t take into consideration is the huge “realignment” of the aristocracy in consort with the demise of the neocons.  It’s no longer business as usual in America. 

Furthermore, as far as I’m concerned, Nader could have had his third party had he run as the democratic nominee, just as Obama has done.  He had to go and get angry, bitter and resentful and alienate 95% of the electorate. He’s a smart man, for sure, but pretty stupid.  What the hell was he thinking?   

Obama will see to it that we have a People’s Party in this country, although it will be called the Democratic Party.  It’ll be pro-middle class and it will be green and it will be progressive.

Of more interest will be what the Republicans will become.  Whatever it was they imagined they had to conserve is now comletely gone, like the treasure of the Sierra Madre. I doubt they have the imagination to come up with a new platform.  If Obama and the Democrats use the same intelligence they used in this campaign while in office, they’ll have no trouble maintaining control of government for many years to come.  Then many if not all of Nader’s ideas will become reality.

If John McCain is a Maverick, then what the Hell is Nader?  So much for the voters use for a Maverick.

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By loveinatub, November 3, 2008 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment

Chris,

I’m glad you’ve come around to support Ralph Nader and actually voting for him. I voted for Nader back in 1996 and again in 2000.

In my view, you’re a little late in coming around to the Nader bandwagon. Better than late than never, of course.

I wish you’d had the vision back in 1996 to speak about Nader the way you do today. Maybe we’d be living in a different world.

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By jersey girl, November 3, 2008 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment

It’s amazing to me how people always point out the fact that Nader can’t win.  Why can’t he win? Because progressives who should ALL be voting for him don’t because they believe the media spin that he can’t win. It’s the exact same convoluted reasoning they used to not vote for Dennis Kucinich, congressional equivalent of Ralph Nader. Progressives that are voting for Obama are a bunch of brainwashed fools.

Let’s get down to the REAL reason a Kucinich or Nader or McKinney can’t win. It’s plain and simple.  Wall street doesn’t own them.  They own Obama. As does big pharma & the nuke power industry and corporate america in general.  Why do you think he rose to the top so quickly out of nowhere?  Sure wasn’t because the shadow government sees him as a champion for the little guy.  Think about it.

Hedges nailed it. Obama is no liberal.  He’s a guy willing to play ball with the big boys to achieve his goals.  My vote for Nader is already in by way of absentee ballot. I’m not voting for the shill my party says I should vote for when he’s done nothing but betray progressive values. His war hawking, voting with bush in favor of constitution shredding, pandering to AIPAC and the religious right and his approval of the bailout which basically signaled in the new fascist america proves that in spades.

Never fear folks.  Obama will win. The powers that be have already decided.

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By Joanna, November 3, 2008 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I cast my vote two weeks ago after a long period of agonizing over doing the right thing.  I ended up doing the only thing I could live with and for exactly the same reasons Chris Hedges expressed so eloquently.  I take my vote very seriously—cast my first one for Franklin Roosevelt at age 21—and have never missed a major election since and very few locals.  Now at age 85 I am very aware this may be my last. I have been very supportive of friends and relatives who are voting for Obama.  He is definitely the better of the two choices the parties permitted us, but my own unapoligetic vote went to Ralph Nader.

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By philip918, November 3, 2008 at 5:26 pm Link to this comment

Nader should run for Congress, a scenario much more likely to get the Green Party into the US legislative system, and in the long run would provide more exposure to the party given he proved an effective legislator.

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By Erich, November 3, 2008 at 5:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

KDelphi,

I did not use the word “compromise”.  The act of Negotiation was my request—as in the effort to engage in real negotiation.  Mr. Nader makes no effort whatsoever to negotiate with adversaries (those he/we on the left disagree with).  Senator Obama has made efforts, painful as they may be, to engage with those that disagree with him, and negotiate, discuss, and debate…that is, Obama engages in politics of the real, in order to be president of the *entire* US, not just parts of the US.  Mr. Nader is interested in presenting a transcendental politics that unfortunately does not actually confront, nor even speak to, a very large reality of individuals who make up the US.  Some, as in Mr. Hedges, may claim this to be morally just, I believe it is a self-deceiving puritanism.

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By Tom Paine, November 3, 2008 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment

Gmonst said: “Obama is not perfect, but he is better than Nader because he has a chance to win.”

How many people have that same mantra? Who invented that mantra if not the Democratic marketeers. Now if we repeated that mantra times 10 million people we might get close to a number that could have swung the election to Nader. Remember in a 3 way race 34% gets the majority of votes—something that the electoral college system can’t deal with anyway.

So are you just repeating the mantra that your guru gave you? If so what about a new mantra, I vote in confidence for man who best represents my values and agenda! Because that is too much to ask for most modern Democrats, they should not wonder why they are not regarded as people with integrity.

I’m giving it to you straight. I suggest that compromised people do not have integrity, by definition. You have a choice Tuesday.

Tom

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By KDelphi, November 3, 2008 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment

canning—I AM talking “strategy ” or “pragmatism”.

I am a Socialist or a Socialist Democrat. I am voting for my party’s candidate, Moore/Alexander, unless the polls look tight in Ohio—then, Obama.

Just because we have to choose between two centrists does not mean we have to abandon ideology. Some things are right or moral . Some things are simply not. SOME things are outright illegal and unconstitutional!

I wish Obama was FDR—but his stated policies just dont say that. The $1000 tax cut to the Middle class (never the poor), is a waste-, like the first one. (Was anyone pulled out of poverty? Did it stimulate the economy?)-we could do “like FDR” and spend it on social programs, stuff for New Orleans, like the Tenn Valley Authority was for parts of Appalachia. etc. We coudl implement the rollback of the Bush tax cuts immediatley. We coudl prosecute Wall St thugs.

FDR was called, by the rich, a “class traitor”—I do not hear Wall St caling Obama that—he just took too much money from them for that!I HOPE that he turns out to be their worst enemy! They deserve it!

But, I am not most people. It seems that alot of people like it just the way it is. I honestly fail to see why—but, there it is.

I hope that you are corerct. I really do!

    “The people can have anything they want, the only problem is they do not want anything.”

Eugene Debs

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By cann4ing, November 3, 2008 at 4:48 pm Link to this comment

Obama’s grandmother has passed—one day short of seeing her grandson elected POTUS.

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By Tom Paine, November 3, 2008 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment

Oh Gosh.

This is hard to beleive if not impossible.

“I ask of you what’s been asked of Americans throughout our history.  I ask you to believe, not just in my ability to bring about change, but in yours.” Barack Obama. “

listen carefully to “reality” and question these faith based systems that you are imposing upon it. Giving Wall St a $700 billion “bail out” is notclose to the New Deal. I urge you to take a realistic look at Obama’s actual stands on the issues and his votes regarding the war, the economy, the environment, energy, and civil liberties, not a leap of faith.

In 2006 despite egregious activities on teh part of the Republicans the Democrats still didn’t really capture a majority in the Senate (unless you want to call Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman) “democrats”. Something is dysfunctional with the continued tendency to believe in such denial. 

Tom

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By Freelance Minion, November 3, 2008 at 4:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you want your vote to be one of ideology and deeply held belief, why don’t you vote for building a PARTY instead of propping up a cranky old man’s ego.  Nader did some great things… in the past.  He even stands for some great things now.  But it can’t just be hero worship of Ralph, he’s a human with negatives, and the best thing he could have done for the beyond Democrats Left in 2004 and this year would be to find a younger voice he could support and BUILD the movement.

See, he used to be about building towards the perfect, but in the last decade he has only been about destroying the pretty good. 

I understand all your arguments about liking truly-left Nader better than the watered-down left of the Dems.  But even so, that should have led you to a different conclusion.  Voting for an out of Iraq now candidate rather than a slow down on it Dem.  But don’t those things describe the Green party candidate too?  Why Nader when he had a hell of a time even FINDING a progressive party that would take him?

Instead of 20th Century John McCain I plan to vote for 21st Century Obama.  Instead of 20th Century Nader, why don’t you vote for the 21st Century Green party?

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By Gmonst, November 3, 2008 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

The choice seems really simple to me.  Nader is right on the issues.  He has a great platform, and I would like to see it implemented ASAP. Nader doesn’t have the popular or political support to gain the power needed to implement his platform.  To me that makes his views on the issues as meaningless as my view on the issues.  Lots of us are right on the issues.  Being right on the issues and being able to achieve the presidency are very different things. 

Obama the so-called most liberal member of the senate has weathered almost two years of the best storms they could throw at him.  He has risen and actually given us a chance to implement some policies that go in the direction I would like to see, that Nader would like to see.  Yes, he is not perfect.  Yes, he will not completely turn things around.  Yes, Nader’s platform represents a more complete vision of what I would like to see for the USA.  To me that vision means nothing without any chance to implement it.  Obama is not perfect, but he is better than Nader because he has a chance to win.  There are light years of difference between McCain and Obama.  Obama has walked the road to potential victory, something no one else has been able to do.  If he ran like Kucinich, or Nader he never would have gotten in the door.  Now he is almost there and some are crying he’s not progressive enough?  It seems to me the perpetual nay sayers will keep saying Nay and pass on the chance for the most progressive president in at least the last 30 years.  Why wouldn’t you want to try and make that happen?  Nobody, Nader, Kucinich, Mckinney, Paul, or Barr would be able to completely eliminate the corporate state in one fell swoop.  Its pie in the sky dreaming to think like that.  There is real practical hard work ahead, and we have the chance to vote for someone who will at least work in a positive direction.  Obama is not a war-mongering capitalist elite looking to make all his corporate buddies rich.  He is not another spoiled rich kid.  If you look at his life its clear he really does want positive change.  He is pragmatic and know how to get there.  I am not going to quibble over votes I may disagree with because I can see the larger picture of what he is trying to do.  I do think he cares and realizes what he had to do to really make change.  GET ELECTED!

The way I see it the USA is an old run down car.

McCain wants to keep driving it like it is, saying its as good as ever.

Nader wishes it was a completely different car.

Obama wants to start fixing the car up from the inside out, realizing that a different car starts with the first repairs.

From my perspective a vote for Obama is a vote to start actually fixing this country by addressing the problems we face in a practical way, a vote for Nader is a vote for the fantasy of instant change without practical work.

I voted for Obama

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By cann4ing, November 3, 2008 at 4:15 pm Link to this comment

What I see in Barack Obama is the next FDR.  The New Deal wasn’t designed to bring socialism to the U.S.  It merely reined in the excesses of unrestrained free-markets to keep the capitalist beast from devouring itself.  Did the New Deal go far enough?  Obviously not or we would not be in the fix we find ourselves today, but it did a whole lot of good for a whole lot of people.

“Obamanomics” by UCLA economist John R. Talbott sets for an analysis of Obama’s economic philosophy, finding at its core a commitment to bottom up economics based on economic justice.  It is a philosophy grounded in a belief that the economy functions best when there is a level playing field providing equal opportunity.

Obama’s advancement of “co-responsibility” is a refreshing recognition of what has long been lost at least since the election of Ronald Reagan, a sense of oneness and the responsibilities we have toward one another and to the planet on which we live.

“I ask of you what’s been asked of Americans throughout our history.  I ask you to believe, not just in my ability to bring about change, but in yours.” Barack Obama.

http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/nov4

It is time progressives abandoned insistence on ideological purity.  The “only” pragmatic choice tomorrow is Obama or McCain.  Vote like the future depends upon it, because it does.

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By KDelphi, November 3, 2008 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

diamond—Well, at least you admit that Obama is a centrist—dont you?

This country has been EXTREME RIGHT for so long, it would take 8 yrs of Che to make us just plain centirst again! WHY is it so “extreme” to want justice for what has been done to our country and our people? You guys hate GOP (at least McCain, right?) (so do I) , but you preach “bi-partisanship”—Left ALWAYS gets screwed! I predict that if Obama tries to make too many “bargains” with the Right, he wil lose support. To pretend that we can just “move on” from this is not rational.

Social democracy is NOT “extreme”—do you think that Sweden is ? Germany? How can we have justice and equilibrium if we just let the policies Bush put on the books stand?

“Extremes of both”—when did we have an exteme left president? Never.

If there was ever a time for a “true leftists” , it should be now. The “
problem” with the “centrism” is that it has gotten us just where we are. The Congress has capitulated and capitulated. Even if you are a centrist—alot of this stuff is just plain illegal! The rest of it is immoral.

OK—so the country is “centrist”, but, Obama is a “leftist”, you think that “centrism” is good, so you are voting for Obama—what am I missing here?

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By tdbach, November 3, 2008 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment

Jackpine Savage has is EXACTLY right. The problem with Nader isn’t that he’s not electable (though that is true enough), it’s that for him to do a fraction of what he advocates, he would have to throw out the constitution, disband congress, and declare himself king.

Is THAT what you want?

The problem with idealists like Hedges - even if I agree with the majority of his ideals - is that they are distrustful of democratic institutions. They would rather insert a benevolent, likeminded dictator (Nader for Hedges, Bush himself for himself) then endure the slow, faltering pace of democratic processes. It’s a very dangerous mindset - far more dangerous than the half measures of a really, truly elected president Obama.

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By Leisure Suit Larry, November 3, 2008 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“McCain represents more of the same imperialist foreign policies and laizzes-faire economics while while Obama represents a change in direction toward internationalism and social democracy. I guess he is just too depressed from all the horrible things he has seen over the last 40 years to recognize a change for the better”

Obama would rather war with Pakistan than Iraq.
Obama voted to reauthorize the Patriot act.
Obama represents no change at all. It’s just a buzz word for him, and like most snake-oil salespeople he has his lines down.

There are indeed going to be a bunch of broken hearts over the next four years   But not mine.

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By barrett newhall, November 3, 2008 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This article will be sent out to many people I know who, like me, have voted “the lesser of two evils” for the last eight years. It hasn’t worked!  I’m 74 years old and sick and tired of not voting for the man I admire and respect;a man who has done more for the people of this country then all the criminals in the White House and the spineless Democrats in the Senate and House. (And I’m not speaking about Dennis Kucinich, Russ Feingold, and Bernie Saunders.)  I am voting for Ralph Nader, for this time my principles and ethical standards come first.  I cannot in good conscience vote for men who believe in killing innocent people, who will not end the this senseless occupation, and who now want to go into Afghanistan and do the same thing.  Obama had voted the wrong way so often that I wonder if he remembers saying he was for the Palestinian cause?  And this is just one of the many reversals he’s made in order to garner more votes. He’s a corporate politician, just like McCain.  Chris, you are a remarkable man, I admire and respect you for speaking out.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

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By diamond, November 3, 2008 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment

ScottK, the centre is where most people who vote are. The majority always finds themselves caught between the minority extreme right and extreme left -and they don’t trust either of them. They’re right not to trust them,as history proves. Parties who leave the centre and head for the extreme right or left are doomed to irrelevance. The Republicans had to start a ‘war on terror’ to scare people into thinking their extreme right wing policies were sensible and necessary. The extreme left has done stupid and terrifying things too. Moderation is a positive not a negative quality but the thrills of the extreme position are too much for some people to resist, usually with disastrous consequences for the people they govern. Chris Hedges is not being brave, he’s being foolish and self-indulgent. As some people say of sport, ‘It’s not a matter of life and death: it’s more important than that.’ America has had eight years of extremist policies that have almost destroyed its military and economy and without the fig leaf of the war on terror they could never have gotten away with it. At this point the centre is the place to be, since to veer from the far right to the far left would only cause more de-stabilization.

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By Frank, November 3, 2008 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges, the Republican National Committee would like to thank you for your article.  If only there were more progressives like you voting for Nader, the GOP would be able to hold on to the White House for another four years.

Sadly for Republicans, most progressives are slightly more pragmatic, and….well, more intelligent than you. But the GOP loves you anyway.

Cheers.

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By Tom Paine, November 3, 2008 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment

I am tired of self styled liberals “explaining” why they don’t vote for the person who best upholds their values and agenda. Think about it. To put it short, they are simply justifying the new Democratic ideology of compromised cowardice (read guilt) – why they can’t support progressive ACTIONS. Why people act against their own true self interests makes interesting reading. I am sure that the Afghan, Iraqi,  Palestinian, Vietnamese, Iranian, and South American people would like to understand that. If you call the dysfunction of the liberal left the past 40 years, “practical”, then I it seems like plain denial to me. 

Let’s be absolutely, frank, if those so called liberals who are voting for a hawkish candidate, who supports Israel unquestionably “regardless”, who supports the nuclear power industry, the myth of clean coal,  who does not support a single payer universal health care system, campaign/election reform, who supported the $700 billion rip off by Wall Street, who opposed the impeachment of Cheney/Bush . . .  (that list is much longer, check out http://www.votenader.org), all in with the mantra of “practical politics”.

You can hope (like Michael Moore says) that Obama simply lied to teh American people just in order to get elected, then he will magically become the environmental working class president that we hope for, simply encourages people to vote for liars and their own destruction. I think Clinton proved that Democrats can’t be trusted anymore. The only reason that Pelosi and her faithful followers became elected was that they were the lesser of two evils. 

If enough people were convinced that “practical” meant dysfunction, then I’d be convinced that these liberals are more nuts than the rightists. By stating categorically that “a vote for Nader is a wasted vote” repeats a mantra that your handlers want you to repeat. If enough people repeat that a vote for John Doe” is a wasted vote, then in a democracy, it would be. If you have settled for a liar or a hope of a liar, instead of an honest person, a man of integrity, justice, or a real democracy, then no wonder such people have a need to defend themselves. You can attempt to defend the $10 trillion debt and ecological destruction to your great grandchildren (not that I think it would be believed), but it’s not necessary to do to Nader supporters, pathetic as it may seem.

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By KDelphi, November 3, 2008 at 3:33 pm Link to this comment

Right—Austen Goolsbee, of the Chicago School—the very picture of “progresasive economics”.

It is neo-liberalism and thatt is all there is to it.

Yeah, all kinds of Robin Hoods come out of the Chicago School..

Maybe he will take all of PDAs money and give it to the poor!

Sorry, folks, I wish people would just say they are voting for the lesser of two evils…

Better than McCain’s heatlh care—well, duh! Even Bush’s is better than McCain’s, which would make things alot worse.

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By cann4ing, November 3, 2008 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment

By Folktruther, November 3 at 1:00 pm #

Cann4ing, you Educated prig.  Leftists can count much better than those who can only count up to 2 political parties.  Hedges is championing the moral over immediate trivial political gains and it is precisely the moral that must be introduced into the American power process.
__________________

Oops!  Looks like I struck a nerve with another anti-intellectual.

Educated progressives who support the Obama candidacy recognize that he is no Messiah.  But then, who is?  The critical feature of U.S. electoral politics is to capture power “within” the system rather than impotently pissing and moaning about how terrible things are from without.  That is why people like Norman Solomon have advocated expanding the progressive base inside Congress through the PDA.

Take Obama’s health care plan.  While it is far better than McCain’s, it falls well short of the ideal—a single-payer system that would eliminate the parasitic middle-men (for-profit carriers & HMOs) which account for 31% of the costs and which evade authorizing necessary care through the utilization review process.  (Obama would at least eliminate pre-existing conditions as an excuse to deny authorization). 

There are 97 members of the House who already support single-payer.  If significant pressure were applied, including lobbying from the AMA, which now supports single-payer, and if Congress could be persuaded to pass single payer, I seriously doubt a President Obama would veto it.  I “know” a President McCain would veto it.

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By cvd, November 3, 2008 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

when you mean Oligarchy and vice versa
Voting unreasonably does not translate “J’accuse” into working language - not in this lil’ ol’ empire ... and although you know well enough that Aemrica is the problem ...
America is and has been an anti democracy for some time and Milosevic is very small potatoes compared to what this leaky Leviathan has wrought - Bush is America no matter how unpopular he is - America is neither politics nor culture but a way of life - and this way of life is pure death - it privileges death, idealizes it and sells it at every turn - however in poltics there is another logic at work that must be bracketed away from the logic of your arguments, arguments as old as truth itself - Hobbes and Schoepenhauer are far more pertinent to poltics - power is not about morality and vice versa - however, this is not a human universe, and human beings are not representative of something higher - we have to arrest the power of the machine before we can turn it off - and start up something new - this was the hope of the FMLN and others in El Salvador and the rest of Central America - remember those dinosaur years? ... not so long ago - however, since we cannot arrest the machine, stop it in its tracks - we must vote for some reform ... please be REASONABLE ... (it’s a very unamerican trait!)

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By nestoffour, November 3, 2008 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

Thank you, Chris Hedges, for yet another amazing piece of journalism literature.

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By Jody, November 3, 2008 at 2:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

KDelphi said: “Zinn says to vote Nader in safe states. Chomsky and others “support “ Obama , feebly.”

Not a single thing Noam Chomsky has ever said can be construed as support for Obama. I’d encourage you, and Chris Hedges, to re-read what Chomsky said.  Chris Hedges made the most ridiculous of false statements, on national television (during the Nader/Baldwin debate) by saying that “both Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky have said they will be voting for Obama.” Can someone please point me to where Hedges has retracted this false statement. Chomsky lives in Massachusetts, hardly a swing state. Hedges should’ve known better.

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By diamond, November 3, 2008 at 2:09 pm Link to this comment

Jesus was right too but he never achieved high political office and wouldn’t have wanted it if he had. Voting for him would have been a wasted vote and voting for Nader is too. Those who ask how peace will come to Afghanistan and what America and NATO should do with Afghanistan should remember that Afghanistan does not belong to America or anyone else. It belongs to the people of Afghanistan and since there were no Afghanis on the allegedly hi-jacked planes on 9/11 I’m quite sure they weren’t invaded because of 9/11. There were other matters behind it like the poppy crop which the Taliban had burned and the possibility of the Taliban making billions out of an oil pipeline Enron was planning to build in partnership with the said Taliban. The pipeline has now been built, but the Taliban won’t make a dime: the corporates will. But that’s another story. Something about chickens and how they come home to roost. Or maybe that one about lying down with dogs and getting up with fleas. Or the one about he who pays the piper calls the tune. The truth is Afghanistan was invaded for the same geo-political, oil crime, secret service reasons Iraq was. The Republicans have plundered America to fund their ruinous fantasies of world domination and control of the world’s oil supplies and Afghanistan has been trampled into the dust by pirates in business suits. Not a single foreign soldier in Afghanistan has a genuine understanding of why they’re there.

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By Anarcissie, November 3, 2008 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie:
‘If Nader were right on the issues I would think he would be trying to mitigate or abolish the presidency, not run for it.  The imperial presidency is probably the worst structural feature of our politics.’

cann4ing:
‘What, you think progressive objectives can be accomplished by a new Constitutional Convention?  You need to climb down out of the ideological clouds and deal with the here and now.’

If I climb down out of the ideological clouds and deal with the here and now the first thing I’m going to observe is that the Nader candidacy will do nothing to advance or retard progressive or any other large-scale practical objectives in the present or near future.  The most the Nader candidacy can do is send a message, and the message it sends is that parties don’t matter and local organizing doesn’t matter—only the imperial presidency matters.  I think that’s a bad message.  At least in voting for McKinney (Green Party) or Barr (Libertarian) one is voting for a party with local candidates, not an isolated monarch-wannabe.

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By Folktruther, November 3, 2008 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

Cann4ing, you Educated prig.  Leftists can count much better than those who can only count up to 2 political parties.  Hedges is championing the moral over immediate trivial political gains and it is precisely the moral that must be introduced into the American power process.  Humanity will not progess, indeed, will not survive, until power is constrainted by political morality.

As I’ve said before, there are two reasons for progressives voting for Obiden; it legiitmates African-Americans in positions of responsiblity, and 2. we really do not need an unstable fighter pilot as president, especially when he will be succeeded by an airhead moose hunter.

However this does not mean anything will be positively accomplished by the election; what we will get is more class inequality, more war, and a bipartisan police state.

Therefore it is essential to look past tomorrow to how we can successfully mobilize the population against the incumbant, whoever he is.  And Hedges, despite his ideological limitations, helps to do so.

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By Natascha, November 3, 2008 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges mentions only some of Obama’s votes for bills that belie his supposed liberal, leftist ideology. I know of two more, both of which passed into law, and another blogger here has mentioned yet another which I didn’t know about.  The two I’d like to bring to everyone’s attention are: 1) the 2005 “Class Action Fairness Act” which, despite its title, was a bill backed by lobbyists for the banking industry and extremely wealthy law firms on Wall Street, which makes it more difficult for people to bring class action lawsuits (Senator Patrick Leahy called it “blocking the courthouse door”) and 2) the 2005 energy bill, which was laden with pork for the oil companies.  Both Hillary Clinton and (gasp!) even John McCain voted against that bill.

Another issue is Obama’s support for the nuclear power industry. He has spoken out of both sides of his mouth about that, but he certainly has received lots of money from nuclear power companies!  Exelon, the largest nuclear power company in the United States, donated a lot of money to his campaign.  Obama was cowed into not acting to protect his constituents from a radiation leak from an Illinois nuclear power plant, because the nuclear power lobbyists put the screws on him when he feebly attempted to help his constituents.  He betrayed his Illinois constituents under pressure from the industry. 

I don’t doubt that if some enterprising, tireless journalist were to study every single vote that Obama ever took in the Senate they would find still more like these, in which Obama voted with the Republicans.  You may say he did so to be accepted by the hidden powers that control our government, and then you naively hope that once in the White House he will suddenly act as the progressive you would like him to be.  In my mind, this is the most absurd fantasy!  There is absolutely no reason to believe that he would suddenly act differently.  He really is not even a Democrat.  Barack Obama is actually a closet Republican.  Shame on everyone who has fallen for his breathtaking charisma and his soaring yet empty rhetoric.

I am very proudly voting for Ralph Nader tomorrow!  It will be the proudest vote I will have ever cast in all my years.  I have voted in every presidential election since I was eligible to vote, and am now in my early fifties. 

I want to express my deep appreciation to the eloquent, profound, and brilliant Chris Hedges for his work as a journalist and author.  Read his 2006 book, titled American Fascists.

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By pattyneuf, November 3, 2008 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

I’m sorry, none of us can afford the luxury of taking our personal high road. We simply cannot risk allowing McCain to win this election because any of us voted for Ralph Nader. Obama is our only hope. Please do the right thing tomorrow, and vote for the less than perfect, left-leaning McCain/Palin candidate who can actually win.

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By joseph barbato, November 3, 2008 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I voted for Nader in 2000 and got eight years of George Bush. I’ll make that mistake once.

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By RdV, November 3, 2008 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

How nice for you.
Look at how long Obama has been under the gun—-do you really think, with these political influences that Nader could survive the nasty mainstream in this country? Just look at how the DLC Clintonistas managed to pin Gore’s loss solely on Nader. Where did you say you were voting again? Princeton NJ? Guess you don’t have to worry in those priviliged neighborhoods about that nasty McCain winning—thereby affording you the luxury of not dirtying yourself by a compromised vote to keep the wolf from the door.

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By Michael, November 3, 2008 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The reasoning behind Hedges supporting Nader is deeply flawed.  Just because someone agrees with you on a plethora of issues does not necessarily make that person a good president.  As others have noted, if Nader were truly concerned with implementing his policies or creating any sort of real third party movement, he could run for Congress, State Senate, etc.  Instead, he willingly runs campaigns not to win, but to make his points heard.  That’s great and all, but given the problems this country has been subjected to over the past 8 years (and beyond), I feel a “pragmatic” vote is both more principled and valuable voting one’s conscious. 

I do happen to believe that Obama is not like every other politician beholden to the two party system.  He’s playing the game, quite well I should note, and actually allowing himself to have a chance to impact the country, our policies, etc. in significant ways.  Will he be perfect? Of course not.  Will he have to “sell out” his convictions to appease special interests, in all likelihood, yes.  Unfortunately, I suppose, we live in a country where 40% of the population is diametrically oppposed to what Obama and myself believe in.  Other people’s opinions must be accomidated.  Nader has never had any interest in the actual responsibility of governing.  There is nothing wrong with a “rabble-rouser” to bring up issues, and for that I appreciate and commend Nader. 

That being said, a vote for Nader is a vote for McCain in any real, pragmatic sense.  A vote for Nader in 2008 is cowardly, short-sighted, and in my opinion immorally wrong.  What will your vote for Nader bring you or anyone else?  There is no movement behind him, no end game.  Whether he gets 2 percent or 5 percent, nothing changes.  To call Obama “the lesser of two evils” is to mitigate his real qualities.  But even if he were simply the lesser of two evils, when confronted with such a choice, I’d rather choose less evil for my country and our world, rather than abdicating all responsibility and allowing a greater evil to continue its reign for at least 4 more years.

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By Tony Wicher, November 3, 2008 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment

By KDelphi, November 3 at 10:51 am #


Tony—You are indeed the optimist, and, I hope you are right.

Two people can read/hear the exact same speech/article ansd seem to take something different from it.

I am pretty sure that Obama has said that it wil take “a decade” to implement the return to the tax policies of Clinton.  He is calling for $1000 tax cut for the middle class. He sets “rich” at $250,000 a year. The median income in US is $48,000.

His heatlh care plan is entirely market based, and he does not believe in single payer—he has specifically said so. It is based on “tax rebates”—those that do not make enough to pay income taxes wil not be helped at all.

He is talking about increasing troop strength in Afghanistan and uping the military budget.Now, one can agree or disagree with this.

But, I am sure youve heard these arguments—and more—before. I guess we shall have to wait and see.
—————————————————————————-
KDelph1,

Obama’s health care program is not “entirely market based”. On the contrary, it is based on the idea of making private health insurance companies compete with a government-based insurance company. Obama has said that anyone who does not have insurance or who is not happy with their private insurance can buy the same insurance policy that Obama or any member of Congress has, that cost will be based on ability to pay so that the poor and indigent who cannot afford to buy medical insurance will be subsidized. Private insurance companies really hate this policy because it will force them to compete with the government. If they cannot supply equally good care at a comparable price, everybody will get the public insurance program, private companies will go out of business and we will have arrived at single payer. McCain’s program, on the other hand, is a trillion-dollar giveaway to private insurance companies which does anything but control costs. 

Bush has so bankrupted the country that it may take ten years to get back to the balanced budget we had under Clinton, but I will bet that we will see all the Bush tax cuts for the rich rolled back in the first few months of an Obama administration.

As to increasing troop strength in Afghanistan, do take a look at the Brzezinski statement of Oct. 16.  http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,3715692,00.html

“We cannot try to create a modern, centralized, democratic state in Afghanistan from the top down using essentially foreign troops to impose such a solution. This collides with the sense of ethnic identity and religious sensitivity in a country that is very resistant to foreign intrusions. We need an altogether different approach. Some additional troops in the short run may be necessary, but the main emphasis has to be on decentralized political accommodation with the different elements which are collectively described as the Taliban but in fact representing a much more diversified group.

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By Bob, November 3, 2008 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nader is like a fresh flower in the stagnant pond of our failed 2 party system.
It’s not as complicated as some make it seem.
The more votes he gets, the further in the right direction we move.
The more votes he gets, the more media attention he will receive.
You have to start somewhere. 
We are lucky to even have his name on our ballots.
I will vote for him with a clearer conscience than I’ve had in many, many years.
Enough said.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 3, 2008 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment

True radical reorganization of priorities in this country is impossible, and even serious “reform” is unlikely. The resulting desperation breeds more desperation. Remember the ‘68 presidential campaign? Some of my colleagues on the left actually encouraged voting for Nixon over Humphrey because they thought the Contradictions of the Captalistfascist Establishment would thereby be exposed and the People would rise up and overthrow their oppressors, etc.

Wow, that worked out so well.
************************************
Yeah, kinda the “dense-pack” of politics….

You see, I don’t really believe in the “pendulum” concept of politics. I see that people vote one way until that way screws up so bad, so long they go the other way.  Therefore, if Obama is a wise president and can rain in “goats in the cabbage patch” Democrats (The GOP has them, too—like Ted Stevens) he may be able to lay down a wise plane of government that can go longer than 8 years.  The last time we has such a plane was the 20 years from Roosevelt’s election to Ike’s—1932 to 1952.  The country wasn’t stable, but sound, stable effective government eventually ruled the day.

We are in a really rough time, that’s going to get much, much worse.  Obama won’t bring us back to the Clinton Golden Years.  But, if he’s a wise leader, he’ll be clearing out the crap and re-instituting Good Government and sound economic policies that will allow our economy and country to heal, and, hopefully, once again, become the industrial and scientific standard bearer it was for so long.

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By bowwowboy, November 3, 2008 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree with everything Chris Hedges says but ultimately must come down on the side of vulgar pragmatism. I supported Kucinich in ‘04 and again this year until it became clear that he wasn’t corporate-friendly enough to garner the necessary votes in the primaries. So I decided to the opt for the lesser-of-two-evils route, since Ralph can’t win and an Obama victory is by no means a lock.

Cynical sell-out or disenchanted realist? To do good and still be effective, how many deals with the devil do you need to make? Changes in the structure of the American political system, and the ways that those in power protect that system, would require a revolution beyond the will or imagination of Obama and his gradualist advisors (currently brushing up on their FDR history books for rhetorical, if not substantive, pointers on the Hope/Change agenda).

True radical reorganization of priorities in this country is impossible, and even serious “reform” is unlikely. The resulting desperation breeds more desperation. Remember the ‘68 presidential campaign? Some of my colleagues on the left actually encouraged voting for Nixon over Humphrey because they thought the Contradictions of the Captalistfascist Establishment would thereby be exposed and the People would rise up and overthrow their oppressors, etc.

Wow, that worked out so well.

And there were those in 2000 who insisted that a Gore presidency would be no different from a Bush presidency, since both were in the death grip of the corporations and their lobbyists. In retrospect, I think most would agree that there might have been a nuance or two to distinguish Gore as POTUS from his court-appointed counterpart.

Obviously, Hedges doesn’t support McCain, and I think he would agree that Obama, despite his appalling record on FISA, etc., would be a marginally better choice than McCrazy. But in the ugly, dirty world of American politics, margins matter, and treating electoral politics solely as an occasion for demonstrating your own moral superiority while the body counts here and abroad continue to mount is like the hero in Ibsen’s Wild Duck who sought to free the Ekdal family from their “life lies” and ended up destroying them in the process. Moral Phyrric victories help no one. The ideal of American democracy is, in practice, largely a lie, but it’s a lie that most of us would want to see dismantled very carefully.

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By mud, November 3, 2008 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment

Thanks to Truthdig for having the balls to mention Nader and show us his sorry looking mug.

Nader’s value may be to remind us all what dumb asses we have been. Then we can despise Nader even more for his pointing out how we allowed ourselves to be swindled out of our wealth and freedom.

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By Terry Kenny, November 3, 2008 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve admired much of what Hedges has written, but I’m reminded of a Woody Allen line, “meanwhile, back on planet Earth…”

I may not get everything I hope for this country, but I’m going to get some of it.  I’ll be working for change every way I can, rather than whining and considering myself intellectually and morally above it all.

With all due respect, a vote for Nader is a wasted vote.

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By KDelphi, November 3, 2008 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

Tony—I just looked over the post again-I DO agree that Obama is better than McCain. I DO agree that he would probably be a shift away from laissez-faire capitalism.

I guess that that is the most we can hope for.

There is really no point in arguing these issues anymore. I hope things will change as much as some people think.

And I’m not going to check the box to get answers, because I’ve made up my mind, and, it seems that when I discuss the issues with Obanma supporters ( the rabid ones—not you Tony), I start to feel less good about probably voting Obama. When I have to think about his real stance on the ISSUES—what I interpret them to be—-I have more trouble backing him.

I am going to vote Moore (SP-USA) if the polls are not close, and Obama if they are.

I mean, people arent really arguing whether Obama is better than McCain anymore, are they?

Thanks

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By TheRealFish, November 3, 2008 at 11:55 am Link to this comment

I know I am guilty of going off on long-winded rants (just because my passions are so high in this crucial time, this “cusp” state in which we live today and especially tomorrow).

I will keep this very brief, because someone else did my long-winded rant for me, and a rant that is posted elsewhere through TD: John Dean.

If you have yet to read the article, I provide the link to his complete FindLaw post below.

My own preamble: There is only one issue facing us now. Elect Obama and we may rescue our country from descending into a complete dictatorship. Do anything that elects McCain and that outcome becomes more certain.

Dean Pull-Quote: “Frankly, the fact that the pre-election polls are close - after eight years of authoritarian leadership from Bush and Cheney, and given its disastrous results - shows that many Americans either do not realize where a McCain/Palin presidency might take us, or they are happy to go there. Frankly, it scares the hell out of me, for there is only one way to deal with these conservative zealots: Keep them out of power.”

Voting for Nader on principle, just because of the numbers game that is reality, *is* a vote for McCain. That being so, what does it really say about those righteously nihilistic principles?

Maybe we have to “suffer” through a John Adams-style presidency before we find our Jefferson, but Adams saved our very young asses from becoming a dependent of France while being vilified for not being liberal enough.

Dean’s complete article: http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dean/20081031.html

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By P Robbert, November 3, 2008 at 11:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris:

We support you and so do a lot of others here in Michigan.  Our state has been devastated by the two-party fascist duopoly in Washington and outraged voters are turning to third-party candidates with Nader polling at 10%.  We need a viable third party in this country if we are ever going to have any meaningful change. This time I am voting my conscience and hope that others will too!

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By mugs, November 3, 2008 at 11:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When you go into the voting booth, will you make a wager or cast a vote?

Throughout the unending campaign season, media commentary is suggestive more of a horse race than a democratic election.  But is any of it actually relevant to issues of constitutional governance?  We do vote with the Constitution as our basis and governance as our objective, don’t we?  Is democracy to be accepted only as a system for back-room dealing?  It’s not.  Voting for the ‘winner’ - in contrast to voting as a means to inject your well-considered positions into the polity - reinforces the notions of democracy as back-room dealing and gambling on the odds-on favorite. 

The giggling and sniping and hot-air blowing in our presidential campaigns is an utter disgrace when juxtaposed with the real consequences of American imperialism.  Mister Hedges is, simply, serenely right.  Choirgirl, I’m a Pennsylvanian.  And I will vote for Ralph Nader again - because his voice is honest, and his record is REAL AND CONSISTENT.  The point is not whether the U.S. would be in Iraq today or whether the climate would be in a less precarious state today if Al Gore ‘had won’ in 2000.  Rather, is Barack Obama any more willing to lead this country beginning in 2009 than Al Gore was willing to lead a challenge to the presidential election result in 2000 (when he steadfastly denied dozens of appeals for review from sitting Congressional representatives and abetted a coup d’etat while thumbing his nose at 50 million voters who had voted for him)?

Cast your vote, and let statistics validate the race.  In other words, validate your own position, and let democracy work.

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By KDelphi, November 3, 2008 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

Tony—You are indeed the optimist, and, I hope you are right.

Two people can read/hear the exact same speech/article ansd seem to take something different from it.

I am pretty sure that Obama has said that it wil take “a decade” to implement the return to the tax policies of Clinton.  He is calling for $1000 tax cut for the middle class. He sets “rich” at $250,000 a year. The median income in US is $48,000.

His heatlh care plan is entirely market based, and he does not believe in single payer—he has specifically said so. It is based on “tax rebates”—those that do not make enough to pay income taxes wil not be helped at all.

He is talking about increasing troop strength in Afghanistan and uping the military budget.Now, one can agree or disagree with this.

But, I am sure youve heard these arguments—and more—before. I guess we shall have to wait and see.

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By vigdor, November 3, 2008 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

The morality of winning is Opportunism.  In an interdependent planet we need Principle.  Lacking principle we engage in war to settle differences.  This is stupid, barbaric, ever so wasteful.  There is no courage in dying for no good reason.  Principle is the absoluetly indispensable` need, to assure a life Sustaining Planet Earth.  The most practical purpose is one that sustains life.  To be principled is not easy.  It takes strength, most people are weak.  In our technological civilization, which has terrific killing ability, they will all be dead soon enough, like the economics of opportunism.  Do you get it?

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By One Little Victory, November 3, 2008 at 11:41 am Link to this comment

Sorry for the typo.

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By KDelphi, November 3, 2008 at 11:39 am Link to this comment

I think that this hatred of Nader is better spent on the corporate govt we have.

It is no minority party’s fault that the Dems offer the working clases almost nothing. Dont say he couldnt have won by offering some of teh things that Nader and Socialist candiate Moore would offer. The polls dont show it. The “Socialist” label just isnt being swallowed by most. (And if the polls get closer, I am probalby voting Obama! Whom do you think you are convincing by screaming in letters? Gawd, grow up!)

The duopoply is just too bought out to go up against corporate America.

The Dems who are so far ahead, still screaming at people who might vote another party, or do a trade—what in hell are such sore winners for? You are angry when you are ahead, angry when you are behind, angry all the time at anyone who disagrees with anything about Obama..it is becoming absurd.

I’m sure that once Obama is president, he will just wait for progressives to call and direct him. Right.

As Lewis Black said, “Where coudl one find a drug that could make one so delusional?” It would brighten my “Bye to Bush Party of almost no one” which will be crappy because I cant afford anything for the “party”.

We are NOT your enemy. HOw would seeing us as such make things better for you??

This was obviously a story about Nader—if he upsets you that much—just dont read it. There are TONS of “Obama will save us all” articles.

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By One Little Victory, November 3, 2008 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

It is time for Hedges to give it a rest.

Yes, Nader is right on the issues. He is also unelectable. A step (perhaps a huge step) in the right direction is better than a step (again, perhaps a huge one) in the wrong direction.

We have to reclaim our nation one step at a time. Obama can given from the center and begin to move the center to the left. Nader is ill-equipped to bring people together the way Obama can.

VOTE OBAMA!

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By Tony Wicher, November 3, 2008 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

By KDelphi, November 3 at 9:56 am #


Tony-My browser will not open page 2 (maybe it is busy??) It is an old pc.

Please tell me what policies Obama embraces that indicate to you tha he would support a “shift towards Social Democracy”?

Thanks.
—————————————————————————
KDelphi,

All Obama’s policies involve a shift away from laissez- faire capitalism and toward social democracy. That is what his whole slogan of “change” means; that’s why this is called a “watershed election”. Obama is going to start by restoring the tax structure to what it was under Clinton. The Bush tax cuts for the rich will be rescinded. The estate tax will also be restored. Obama will also get the troops out of Iraq. That will save 10 billion a month. He won’t be spending the money on Afghanistan, either. If you want to take a look at his real policy on Afghanistan, check out Brzezinski’s comments of Oct. 16.

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,3715692,00.html

The revenue gathered by this change in the tax structure and by ending foreign military adventures be used to pay for entitlements and government services, for publicly subsidized medical care, public education, investment in energy independence, and so forth. That is social democracy. This election is a clear choice between social democracy and corporate fascism.

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By sophrosyne, November 3, 2008 at 11:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

hedges is of course right on the issues.  But we have to vote Obama and work to influence his adminstration.  We cannot afford to have another disasterous president with blood on his hands and disgrace in his flagitious heart. Hedges is also right that Obama has the same paymasters as MCPain. I just pray he has a cleaner heart and can be persuaded to restore American ideals.

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By KDelphi, November 3, 2008 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

Erich—There are some things that should be compromised on and some things that should not!

The “bi-partisan” efforts always seem to involve capitulation by the Left. If the GOP is so much worse (and I think that it is) then, why for the love of gawd, wil the Dems not prosecute or impeach them—or , at the very least, sensure??

Things that should not be “compromised on” include: Illegal wars and the death of millions; more and more USAans living in p0verty everyday, while the suopoly voters to bailout Wall St; people dying because they have to choose medicine or food; (giving these peopel “tax rebates” will do absolutely nothing); not cutting the ridiculous military budget; 

The US NEEDS to bring in some REVENUE—in lieu of MORE tax cuts! (This “tax cuts fix everything has to stop!)Whether the president has a right to spy on, detain , and , even torture to death, other human beings.

Compromise on which? Who gets to decide who lives and dies?

C

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By Mike de Martino, November 3, 2008 at 11:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ralph gives us a template to work from.

Obama gives a chance to implement it.

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By odintao, November 3, 2008 at 11:12 am Link to this comment

Although Mr. Hedges makes an impassioned and sincere argument for a vote for Ralph Nadar ultimately I find it misguided for three reasons.

I voted for Nadar in 2000 despite seeing Gore as reasonable moderate because at that time, Nadar was championing the people more than his own ambitions. Now Nadar (who heroically belies concern for his own image) has lost site of a vision for change. In a democratic republic, or what’s left of it, power resides in Congress. Nadar would be far more effective running for Congress than the presidency and would in effect, as others have pointed out, avoid further focus on a monarchy presidency.

Secondly, I believe that despite his connections to corporate elite and political insiders, Obama has a real background in grassroots organization and middle-class upbringing that could serve as a constant reminder to him, if he begins to sway. If he were to lose site of this, it is our duty as citizens to remind him. I give greater credance to the potential for Obama to listen than McCain, given McCain’s background and his willingness to sell out to anyone who will support him.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, I voted for Obama over McKinney or Nadar because of the threat of a Palin presidency. Sarah Palin makes W appear moderate and the likelihood of McCain failing to complete his term as president is too high to ignore. I firmly believe if Palin were to ascend to the presidency, with all the executive power W has provided the office we could seriously face a real threat of a third world war. That’s more than reason enough for me to vote pragmatically as opposed to ethically. In so doing, I believe I am actually making a foresighted ethical decision as well.

Let’s encourage Nadar to press on the corporate elite and do what he’s been doing well for 40 years which is far more effective than any Nadar presidency ever would be.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 3, 2008 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

Hulk’s got it right:
Chris Hedge’s will “bravely” cast his “vote of conscience” in Princeton, NJ.  Big f***in’ deal, Chris! That’s a nice, safe vote…NJ is solidly going to go for Obama tomorrow and all the votes for Nader won’t change that one bit.  You’ll be able to sleep easily tomorrow smug in you knowledge that you voted “for” someone and not “against” something.

I hope NOBODY in Indiana (hi, Hulk), Florida, North Carolina, Nevada, Virginia, Missouri, or Arizona listens to you—and all the moralist Nader voters cast their votes of conscience in solid sure-thing Blue or Red states.  Then they’ll be able to boast at cocktail parties how THEY remained pure and didn’t give in to fear.

Hell, as little as I think of Kucinich, I’d give DK the nod in a New York minute over Nader.  At least DK has experience in government, as an elected official.  Not sure what he’s done with it, but he’s got it.  What’s Nader got?  Ideas.  Great. I have ideas.  Maybe I should be President, too! Ya think????  (nah…...)

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By BlueEagle, November 3, 2008 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

Good job Hedges! Way to vote for someone you believe in rather than vote for the lesser of two evils. Yes, the lesser of two evils is still evil and I too will no longer vote for evil. I’m still between a Ron “The Good Doctor” Paul write-in or Chuck “End the NWO”  Baldwin.

BTW, I think JohannG has some great points. JohannG spells it out and still riding the Hope Train. I know many like him/her.

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By bernadette garcia, November 3, 2008 at 10:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I to like Chris will cast my vote for the candidate that speaks to my values.  I will vote for someone not aganist someone.  I will cast my vote for Ralph Nader.  someone wanted to know how Nader would put all his programs thru well u can ask the same question of the other 2 that are running because neither have said how they plan to carry out their agendas.  Both parties gave away our money to investment companies without asking for regulations as to how the money should be used.  Both parties have been bought and paid for both pander to whom ever needs it at the time.  I have never heard Nader pander to any one group.  We need to speak out and make changes and our voice is our vote.  Take a stand and let your voice be heard.  We do not like the 2 party system that is owned by coporations and does nothing for we the people…. that is my reason for voting for Nader

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By KDelphi, November 3, 2008 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

Tony-My browser will not open page 2 (maybe it is busy??) It is an old pc.

Please tell me what policies Obama embraces that indicate to you tha he would support a “shift towards Social Democracy”?

Thanks.

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By Erich, November 3, 2008 at 10:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Mr. Hedges,

Your points are eloquent and just.  However, it is also an unfortunate over-simplification and kind of puritanism to declare that you will vote for a candidate solely because you agree with them on issues.  What about a candidate who negotiates with one’s adversaries on issues?  Not negotiating with one’s adversaries (with those we vehemently disagree with), pretending that one can have it all their way, seems in step with the Bush administration. 

Why does Mr. Nader not run for a state or local election and build an elected platform, as opposed to showing up every four years to run for president of the entire USA?

I would like for individuals such as yourself to consider the psychology of the individual more in regards to politics, as opposed to constantly mapping-out the systems that impose and shift power around.  The military industrial complex is really terrifying not because it is some entrenched multi-trillion dollar machine, but rather because it is owned, argued for and operated by human beings like you and I.  Solidarity with one’s adversary or enemy is the most difficult thing.  When we reach that point when we are truly in confrontation with our ‘other’, will we be able to negotiate and be generous?  I think Obama has had to work a great deal to even be in that position of true political confrontation, as opposed to being involved in politics as a place for like minded people to gather and agree with each other on most every policy issue.

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By malcolm martin, November 3, 2008 at 10:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is a current in the liberal/progressive intelligentsia to express disappointment with Barack Obama’s unwillingness to be a failed candidate or a dead hero for them. How could he vote for the FISA bill, how could he cave on offshore drilling, how could he…? Among other things, these folks are out of touch with their own racism which blinds them to an election dynamic that Ralph Nader could never provide.

Early on in this process Obama was ambushed in a nationally televised debate by GE’s mouthpiece, the late Tim Russert, and challenged to reject and condemn Minister Louis Farrakhan. Minister Farrakhan had dared to say about Barak Obama, “This young man is the hope of the entire world that America will change and be made better.”

The dying Republican party’s apparatus then took it to another level. Rush Limbaugh, one of the most vicious and dangerous racists in human history, ranted that Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., the minister who married Obama and his wife Michelle, the iconic leader of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago since 1972, is a “race-baiter and a hatemonger.” A national Limbaugh-led mob howled that this holy man must be denounced and renounced, and again for the sake of his chances to be president, Obama knelt before them again and called Rev. Wright’s profound truth telling “inflammatory and appalling.”

Have no illusions about Barak Obama. He is auditioning with the ruling class in this campaign for president, and judging by pats on the head from Rupert Murdoch and Warren Buffet, he is giving a credible performance. The candidate is trying mightily to convince them an Obama Administration would be business as usual, his empty rhetoric about change notwithstanding.

This goes beyond Obama the candidate for president. Something the ruling class will never willingly permit must happen before any Black man is elected to the highest office in the land. Obama will win 95-plus% of a record turnout of Black voters. But he will win the presidency only with a substantial number of white working class votes. This would constitute a dangerous level of working class unity like we have never witnessed in US electoral history.

Such unity would shake this county’s ever constricting capitalist bourgeois democracy to its foundation. One of the main engines of that capitalist economy is racism. For the sake of profits racial divisions and the super exploitation of workers of color must be kept intact—at all costs.

The reason that chattel slavery came into existence in the semi-feudal agrarian US economy of the time was that it was very profitable for the masters of that economy.

The reason that racism is so pervasive in the United States today with its developed industrial, albeit collapsing, capitalist economy is that it is very profitable for the masters of that economy.

It took the bloodiest war in US history and hundreds of thousands of white workers willing to fight to the death to end chattel slavery. No election and no candidate for office will end racism in this country. As long as capitalism exists elections will only produce racist results.

The least important thing about Barak Obama is his empty rhetoric about change. The ruling class chuckles over such nonsense. What they are stricken over is the possibility that working-class whites might make their first halting steps toward an effective political relationship with their brothers and sisters of color. They know their history. They know that was the dynamic that brought down the slave economy. They know that would be the beginning of the end for them.

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By Doubtom, November 3, 2008 at 10:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It appears from the tone and intent of most of the individuals commenting here that the campaign of fear is alive and well.  What is more pathetic than a group of fearful voters actually citing Obama’s weaknesses, yet voting for him anyway in the “hope” that he will change his ways?
What’s wrong with taking the position that you will NOT compromise your integrity and will vote for whomever presents the best platform?  What’s wrong with that?  Not enough fear factor for you? 
You people who are voting for Obama out of fear are a pathetic lot and you desecrate the voting process.  You are being manipulated and are not bright enough to realize it. 
For god’s sake, or whoever else you pray to, take a moment and realize that you ARE NOT voting for your favorite.  You are being led once again down the primrose path of promises and propaganda.
There is only one person worthy of your vote and you KNOW who he is; you know him by his reputation and his well developed platform; what you lack is the courage of your convictions. 
The more we have of people like you, the longer any real change will be in coming.  Look nowhere but in the mirror for the one to blame!

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By Tony Wicher, November 3, 2008 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

By cann4ing, November 3 at 8:44 am #


The American Left has always been right on the issues but seriously deficient in its ability to count.

If Ralph Nader had wanted to effectuate meaningful change that directly challenged corporate control of our lives; that directly confronted imperialism, the corporate global project and the military-industrial complex, he would have long ago sought first to wrest control of the Democratic Party, perhaps initially running for the Senate, before running for President.  His “message” prospects would have been greatly enhanced, certainly getting more play during a primary than Kucinich.

What good is it, Mr. Hedges, for progressives to be right if they are always on the outside looking in?
—————————————————————————-
Cann4ing,

Unlike Nader, Howard Dean does know how to count, and after the 2004 elsection where he pioneered the use of the internet in political campaigning, he did wrest control of the Democratic party by runnning for chairman and winning. He proceeded to institute his 50-state strategy, the fruits of which we are about to see in a landslide Democratic party.

I agree with practically everything Hedges says on page 2 of the article about the Bush Administration, and so does Obama. I don’t see how anything Hedges says prevents one who deplores all it has done from seeing that McCain represents more of the same imperialist foreign policies and laizzes-faire economics while while Obama represents a change in direction toward internationalism and social democracy. I guess he is just too depressed from all the horrible things he has seen over the last 40 years to recognize a change for the better when it comes. Cheer up, Chris!

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By KDelphi, November 3, 2008 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

Thanks, Hedges. I know that most will brush it off, but bear with me.Thanks ro Zinn, Chonmsky, and Nader.

I am in Ohio, and am doing vote trading. I belong to a minor third party (its not minor anywhere else in teh “free” world!), and have a right to vote for whomever I wish. Obama’s supporters’ heavy-handedness in this, has not helped win anyone over. Drop it.Go work to get Harper out.

Lets say Dems win all three branches. And they do pretty much what they always do. Woudl they lose your support then? I fear not.

This is merely the changing of the guard, and much ado about nothing.

leone44—“All be unhappy about something”?? What are you talking about? (Well off neo-liberals will be enraptured no matter what his policies are) The slickness and intelligence of this campaign (not to mention that alot of first time voters only know Bush, and possibly, Clinton!!)has caused NOT “unhappines” in run of the mill Dems. but out right self righteous ecstasy! It is “serious strange” in people who are normally level headed. Sure I want rid of Bush. Obama is better than the GOP(Hedges says so, as did the others you mentioned).

Canada—Zinn says to vote Nader in safe states. Chomsky and others “support ” Obama , feebly. I am in a swing state and going to do “trading”. If you are so crazy about Obama—then live under his policies! (I will go to canada!). Drop your single payer health care. Trump up that military budget, even as the working classes starve. Trump up that that “war on terror”! Allow your govt to spy on you and lock you up for no reason. If you fall, without a social safety net, you wil just end up on the streets. Bail out the theives in your economy, on teh backs of the working poor.

Dont like the idea? Neither do I! I honestly wouldnt wish it on anyone! I just cant sell my fricking house now!

Kucinich, Kaptur, Sherman and Sanders al had better bailout plans. Pelosi and Reid wouldnt even allow a vote on them.

Most of Obama’s enraptured supporters (the neo-liberal ones , who have nothing to worry about)will be fine. The 20,000 (maybe 18,000 now?? Probably the same)who die from a lack of heatlh care. The disproportionate number of minorities and poor wil remian locked up in prison.

This country needs change that the duopoly just wil not provide. And, you can be sure that the Bailout will be used as an excuse to NOT enact any of the lame social programs that the Dems have talked about. They dont really want to do them anyway.

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By Ryan Ripley, November 3, 2008 at 10:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I see a lot of people assuming that Obama can be “pushed” by the progressives, or that he will “change” once in office.  These are dangerous assumptions to make.  His own party cannot control him.  Obama has infuriated the democrats by not helping with congressional races.  There is also no evidence to believe that Obama will reverse the 700 billion dollar bailout that HE VOTED FOR!  Nor is there any reason to think that the Patriot Act/FISA will be revoked any time soon either.  How about NAFTA and WTO?  Obama has no plan to back of these either.  Our civil liberties will continued to be trampled.  As the title says, be prepared to be very disappointed with Obama.  I’ve already voted for Ralph Nader and my conscience is clear.  Finally, Obama is going to landslide McCain.  The polls are very clear about this.  Voting your conscience this year regardless of the state you are in will not lead to a McCain victory.

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By troublesum, November 3, 2008 at 10:22 am Link to this comment

Young black people have a great deal of pride in what Obama has accomplished, so I think that is one good reason to vote or him.  I think his election will have far reaching consequences for young black people especially, and minorities in general.  JFK’s election had a profound affect on the youth of his day which went far beyond anything his policies accomplished.  Perception is everything, and the perception is that Obama stands for hope and change and getting involved.

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By writeon, November 3, 2008 at 10:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Let’s hope that this time things will be different. We haven’t got that much time left. The window of opportunity to correct the slide towards chaos, totalitarianism and barbarism is closing. There’s also the terrible question of how we can stop the rampant destruction of the environment and the holocaust directed at the species we share this planet with. Then there’s the spectre of dramatic and uncontrolable climate change to consider, resource depletion, collosal population growth and our dire position regarding our runaway consumption of fossil fuels.

And on top of all that, what a list, who would want to take that lot on? we have the prospect of an economic slump the like of which hasn’t been seen for eighty years, the mother of all Depressions, an L-shaped recession.

So we’ve got enough work to do and at a time when money to deal with them is going to be very short. This will necessarily dampen the scale of the reforms which are so badly needed. Will Obama really have the money to do all the things people expect him to do? Even after the election, the rich will still be the rich, they will still be in charge of the economy won’t they? He’ll be a newly minted monarch with a mandate for change from the people, but do they really matter that much in the current system? The people have the vote, but do they really have any power the day after the election?

Is Obama really a radical reformer? I think he reminds me of Jimmy Carter - a lot. Though he is younger and has outstanding rhetorical gifts, yet is that enough in the real world once the electoral ritual is over?

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By cann4ing, November 3, 2008 at 10:11 am Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, November 3 at 8:54 am #

If Nader were right on the issues I would think he would be trying to mitigate or abolish the presidency, not run for it.  The imperial presidency is probably the worst structural feature of our politics.

________________________

What, you think progressive objectives can be accomplished by a new Constitutional Convention?  You need to climb down out of the ideological clouds and deal with the here and now.

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By Victor, November 3, 2008 at 10:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

From the land of Neverlearn. Have fun with that warm, fuzzy feeling.

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By Hulk2008, November 3, 2008 at 10:06 am Link to this comment
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To echo a prior commentor, voting for Nader in a “safe” state is a good safe thing to do.  But voting for ANYbody but a Republican here in Indiana takes an act of Congress.  There were only 4 slots on our county ballot that permitted us to vote for anyone other than a Republican - page after page of unopposed Republicans made up the ballot.  We did get to vote for two Libertarians - but voting for one of them negated voting for a Democrat lady for Governor. 
  If McCain prevails in the overall election, I can feel “safe” that at least I tried to stem the tide in one RED state.  I may have to move away when he adds to the fascist military hold on our country - but at least I tried.  NOTE:  We stood in queue 3 1/2 hours to vote - the line when we left at 3:30PM was as long as when we first joined it -  is that encouraging?  I did decide NOT to drive my 87 year-old stepmother to the polls - she said she was against that arab terrorist with the 17-year-old pregnant daughter (.... obviously one of the “informed electorate” here).

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By Da Bronx, November 3, 2008 at 10:06 am Link to this comment
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Please tell me how one can vote “Obama” with his list of undisputed Bushian votes.

Since I am a male, and won’t need an abortion, how am I to believe Barak the O will be good for me?  Everlast is gone from the Bronx after 100 years, The Fisher Body works is gone from North Tarrytown, Duvernoy Bakers is gone from White Plains, and the list continues, but ‘Bama says he’s a free trader. Free to whom?

When I was a boy (long time ago) The USA made RCA Zenith, Philco, DeWald, and Magnavox Televisions and radios right here in the USA. We made Hudsons, Nashs, Kaisers, Studebakers, Packards, Frasiers, Willy’s,

Every little town from Gardiner Mass (We make chairs)to Bend Oregon (Home of the Jiffy pancake flipper) had a manufacturing business, and the people who worked there were generally proud of their product.

Now all this stuff is made in China. This is due to a long succession of “free traders” in the White House.

The Democrats decided after losing 7 out of ten presidential contests (4 by landslides) that they would become more like Republicans (guess they didn’t have any ideas of their own) Now we’re stuck with two political parties which are as different as Plymouth and Dodge…. Oops, Plymouth is gone… That might be a lesson for Democrats.

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By Tom Semioli, November 3, 2008 at 9:55 am Link to this comment
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Lemme afford my Dem pallies a little history lesson: The 2000 Election was stolen. If Ralph had never been born, Bush would have still be given the office of president. And cars would still be unsafe at any speed.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 3, 2008 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

If Nader were right on the issues I would think he would be trying to mitigate or abolish the presidency, not run for it.  The imperial presidency is probably the worst structural feature of our politics.

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By samosamo, November 3, 2008 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

By leone44, November 3 at 8:04 am

Until you or someone shows how being beholding(read as doing THEIR bidding) to corporate interests, izreali lobbyists, spending our money on worthless wars, military bullshit or anything that is not for the american publics good and the support of the americans I will continue to see both democrats and republicans as being pretty much the same, and I give you nancy pelosi who had the position and power to hold w & dick responsible and she had the house for instituting oversight into the many many questionable things or just down right criminal things our government has done since the 2006 election and all she did was ‘nothing’. That denotes a hell of lot of complicity of each party for each party and money is the bait. And I will NEVER EVER forget her little speach about the $700,000,000,000.00 bailout where she promised the taxpayer would NOT be paying for it and there would be accountability and that bailout was killed even though she voted for it from what I read. But the second vote for that bailout breezed through and not only was there NO accountability, the people responsible be they irresponsible or criminally responsible are now enjoying some pretty hefty pay outs for their personal benefits and we the taxpayer will have to cough up the money to pay for it, basically everything she said that would not be.
And I don’t think you have much to worry with because I would think that a lot of people will watch to see if they MUST vote obama to prevent mccain from winning or IF it is a landslide for obama, vote something other for their true feelings of a government gone out of control.
And as important as this presidential election is, YOU had better not forget the equally if not more important part of it, the senate and house seats that are up for grabs. This is where we need a lot of change over and this is something that the republicans are trying keep from losing much of in both chambers. Try this article out about the congressional seats:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27511737/

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By stemstan, November 3, 2008 at 9:44 am Link to this comment
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Thank you, Chris for your sobering description of the political disappointments of Obama’s career.  You awaken me from my euphoric giddy-ness in anticipation his historic election.  I still have the audacity (or naivete) to hope that he can be a transformational leader even within our corrupt power system. 
My enthusiasm however is tempered in realizing that my vote for him can only be, at best, for the lesser of two evils.  Yet I still have to make the practical choice because while Nader is correct on so many issues, he fails to generate the makings of a movement.  He is a prophet, not a president.

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By cann4ing, November 3, 2008 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

The American Left has always been right on the issues but seriously deficient in its ability to count.

If Ralph Nader had wanted to effectuate meaningful change that directly challenged corporate control of our lives; that directly confronted imperialism, the corporate global project and the military-industrial complex, he would have long ago sought first to wrest control of the Democratic Party, perhaps initially running for the Senate, before running for President.  His “message” prospects would have been greatly enhanced, certainly getting more play during a primary than Kucinich.

Nader’s positions on issues are superior to those of Senator Obama’s.  But Nader is not alone.  Cynthia McKinney’s positions are similar, as are those advanced by Dennis Kucinich.  What is missing from both Nader & McKinney is a realistic assessment; a pragmatic approach that recognizes that, under the current structure, third party politics is an exercise in futility.

What good is it, Mr. Hedges, for progressives to be right if they are always on the outside looking in?

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By dick, November 3, 2008 at 9:39 am Link to this comment
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The War Party, better called the power elite, will win, as usual. They control and run the country, having bought and paid for all the candidates and members of Congress of both major factions. No change will take place unless and until the masses get organized,energized, and activated. My vote for Nader is a protest and a vote for the best of the candidates.

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By Janigurl, November 3, 2008 at 9:13 am Link to this comment
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President Palin.

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By TAO Walker, November 3, 2008 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

In a day or two the rattle-trap machinery-of-government will get another “designated driver.”  Whether either probable “successor” will ever actually get behind the wheel will remain an open question right up to the “moment-of-truth” in January….assuming some “national emergency” doesn’t render it moot before-hand. 

It is dead-certain John McCain will be eagerly obedient to the dictates of his corporate sponsors.  It seems at least remotely possible that Barack Obama could be swept-up into some kind of genuine wave of enthusiasm among a subject/citizenry encourged by his populist rhetoric, bringing on what would’ve otherwise been the McCain/Palin program anyway….maybe a bit later, but harder, faster, and and with-a-vengeance.  In any case, whatever his own valid credentials as a social “crusader,” Ralph Nader would surely never be allowed even to take the SUV-of-State out for a test-drive.

No doubt many of theamericanpeople will once again defy experience and common-sense and go to the polls believing there is still some way to “vote” themselves out of their growing troubles.  It seems like something they have to do, if only to have the utter futility of the exercise thrown once again right back into their faces by the same “agents-of-change” in whom they’ve misplaced their trust and on whom they’ve thrown-away their own hopes and those of their grandchildren.

The only viable option here/now is to bail-out of the infernal contraption and get back on our feet, and together return to the Tiyoshpaye Way.  There are of course some “risks” involved….but there is at least some chance of surviving a fall to The Ground.  There will be no chance whatsoever of escaping from the wreckage alive.  Nor will it be at all long before it becomes painfully obvious that its rush to oblivion hasn’t slowed-down a bit.

Chris Hedges “vote of conscience” may contribute somehow to his own personal “redemption,” but it will ultimately be as otherwise meaningless as votes for either of the other agents of “CHANGE!”  Change is coming in any event.  It is elemental, and not susceptible to Human “management.”  What we can do is choose to meet it all together, with the integrity of our organic form and function intact….freeing one another from the fear which so rules the half-lives of “All the lonely (“individuated”) people….”

HokaHey!

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By leone44, November 3, 2008 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

Some of us just refuse to accept that to change the entrenched power structure in this country, we have to form alliances with millions of Americans from different backgrounds and communities.  That REQUIRES compromise.  That requires all of us to be unhappy with something.  Here’s an idea for you.  Have you ever heard about the idea of consolidating your power?  What if progressive s organized together to support Obama and then used that power to keep him on track? 

The power structure is currently so corrupt, and immoral, and non-spiritual that we have to fight and keep fighting.  Especially in this election, in this point of history, a vote of conscience that is placed anywhere other than the Obama/Biden ticket is just plain giving up on the fight.  Conceding.  Do what you want, I’M NOT GIVING UP.  I’d feel the same way if Hillary won the candidacy.

And please, next time someone says the two parties are just the same, I’m going to scream.  Would you threaten your intellectual integrity to assert that a Gore administration would bring us to this point in eight years?  Get real.  Not every Democrat is a Leiberman.

To change the direction that this country is going we have to start first with the Democratic Party.  It all takes time and persistence.  I’m not giving up.

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By First, November 3, 2008 at 9:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris is courageous in telling the Truth. Nader is courageous in giving Truth flesh and bones and voice and a chnace to win the Presidency.

Should Obama or McCain win the presidency, that will be the end of Constitutional Democracy and the rule of law as we once knew it in the United States. A dark night of lawlessness shall descend upon our nation that has an undetermined end.

under either an Obama/McCain Presidency, the Bush/Cheney administration and its associates Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, John Ashcroft, John Yu, and others will evade justice, admit no wrong, retire with full benefits at taxpayers expense for ruining our nation, and be hailed as “heros of liberty to an ingrateful nation” from the neocon bunkers hermetically sealed against truth, reason and justice. 

Obama who vigorously opposed impeachment of Bush, signed away our Constitutional Rights to privacy through the retroactive immunity bill, voted against the right to a fair trial through the suspension of habeas corpus in the Patriot Act, voted to fund the Iraq war, and conceded the Bush principles of preemptive war and unitary executive power in his statements about bombing Pakistan w/o Congressional authority will fulfill Bush’s 3rd term. Saying anything to be elected yet being defacto Republican apologists and facilitators is the governing philosophy of the Democratic Party.

McCain-“The Maverick” who voted with Bush’s policies 90%+ of the time and gave his blessing to the corporate bailout of Wall Street at taxpayer expense and the billions in extra taxpayer dollars is promising tax cuts to all. Isn’t that nice? No math training required. McCain like Obama will continue a Bush “legacy” term and perhaps launch an attack on Iran just for the thrill of it. Perpetual war and eternal violence funded though fear and taxpayer money is the philosophy of the Republican Party. 

Electing Status Quo Parties to office only guarantees Status Quo Results. All is not lost yet. Nader/Gonzalez in 2008 is an option on 45 states and if elected would reestablish the rule of law and restore our nation to a citizen’s democracy of freedom and justice.

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By Howard Mandel, November 3, 2008 at 9:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Issues! Issues! Issues!

Ralph Nader has let down the American people, because he let his own ambition trump getting the issues solved. By promoting the fantasy of a third party candicacy Nader has allowed his considerable clout, respect and insight to be completely marginalized, if not ridiculed. The issues he so cares about need an advocate, not a Don Quixote.

Write books, have symposiums, organize groups and civil disobedience. Just don’t expect that working within our election system’s little “free speech areas” is going to accomplish anything. Only disobedience leads to real change. Ralph has got to stop being such a good little boy.

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By samosamo, November 3, 2008 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

Thanks Chris. That I had your experiences and talent to articulate; for me to call a spade a spade and that is exactly what the two nominees basically are, willing and compliant to the corporate and outside interests. And I mention this because it has begun to occur to me that ‘what about our military’? The pentagon appears to be beholding to the corporate agenda more and more and less so to the people, and I site the absence of ‘questioning of authority’ by the generals and other high ranking officers. Does this mean that our military is about to become a completely separate and unaccountable entity unto itself? There needs drastic oversight and civilian control of the pentagon on everything from wars to outrageous ‘new weapons’ spending that has no place in this world. I still smell rumsfeld’s meddling in our military, a true war criminal.
But tomorrow, I will as you go into the poll to vote a 3rd party candidate, maybe Nader, unless I see mccain neck and neck, but I would prefer to vote my conscience.

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By Nara, November 3, 2008 at 8:47 am Link to this comment
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Democrats don’t like it when the Republicans resort to fear mongering.  However, they are quick to resort to the same tactics to browbeat the progressives into line.  If we allow them to do this, the Democrats will try to move all of us more and more to the right.  A vote for Nader is not a vote for McCain, it is a vote to make the Democrats think twice before acting like a Republican.  Just think about it, these Democrats are afraid of the conservatives in their districts than the progressives.  If we can make the difference between winning or losing we won’t be taken for granted.

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By Joe Frisina, November 3, 2008 at 8:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you Chris, for your support of Ralph Nader and his issues platform. Your courage to publish your convictions on war from first hand experience is very moving, and I must say after reading your article; the horror of war overwhelms me once again. As the great historian Howard Zinn, who has recently endorsed Mr. Nader has put it, “with WWI, war has become indiscriminate killing.” The root cause of much of our current war dilemma, and our current economic crisis if fully ensconsed in the practised ideology of Milton Friedman economics by the powers of the purse, ie. the central banks, IMF, WTO, and governments throughout most of the world. Both corporate controlled candidates are surrounded by these ideologues, and most of the electorate does not understand that since 1973, to the present, the John Maynard Keynes’ New Deal economics that served us so well was substitiuted for the destructive market theory of Friedman. For years now, I have shoved copies of Smedley Butler’s short book “War is a Racket” into the hands of young, budding, enlistees; hoping it would be a greater deterrent than my speech, however, it is only a rarity that anyone has came back and thanked me for changing their thoughts, and actions. I love America, and I have a patriotic zeal that goes very deep, but I must repudiate what has become a government by corporate fascism, and not of “We the people…”
Joe Frisina, Nader petitioner, and contributor in North Central, PA

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