What's It All About, Ralphie?

"He's half African American. Whether that will make any difference, I don't know. I haven't heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. What’s keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white?...I mean, first of all, the number one thing that a black American politician aspiring to the presidency should be is to candidly describe the plight of the poor, especially in the inner cities and the rural areas . . . .He wants to appeal to white guilt. You appeal to white guilt not by coming on as black is beautiful, black is powerful."

Ralph Nader
2008 Presidential Candidate


Roadkill said...

Ralph Nader is always entertaining. He's a walking, talking version of a flower-decaled VW bus lined with with shag carpeting.

Note to Ralph: Barack Obama is half African, not half African-American. His father was Kenyan.

(As an aside, I still chuckle about how Katie Curic was describing black athletes at the 2004 olympics as "African-American" even if they were Africans competing for Kenya or Nigeria. The demands of PC often conflict with reality)

As to Naders main point, he's crazy (as usual). Barack Obama is a legitimate contender for the Presidency, and cannot focus on a small subset of the voterate. Nader baits him only to criticize him as part of the political overclass -- which Nader is neither part of nor wants to be part of.

Advice to Obama: Ignore Nader.

Sunny B. said...


What's your take on Bob Barr running for the Libertarian Party? Do you think he'll drain away substantial core conservative votes from McCain?

Personally, I'd find it strange that staunch conservatives would vote for a libertarian, since libertarians would be in favor of gay rights and pro-choice. But then again philosophical roulette wheel of political misfortune spins an ever-changing political chameleon.

One guy told me today -- a big Bush supporter until recently -- that Barr is his guy but he can't vote for him because it would be a vote for Obama. I prefer to vote my conscience instead blending in with the sheep. I think a strong showing by third party candidates would send a message to the other parties. But who knows...

Some guy, who was trimming his bush the other night, struck up a conversation with me the other night that he turned to politics. He told me there were two kinds of people: capitalists and socialists. He said, if you’re a socialist, you’re a Marxist. He suggested I listen to conservative talk radio to get informed about this. I told him Mark Levine said McCain is to the left of Hillary and, since she a liberal that would make McCain a Marxist.

I'm going to give him my extra copy of "None Dare Call It Treason." It might help him understand that he's preaching an old sermon.

Roadkill said...


A third-party vote is always a wasted vote, and will increase the probability that the candidate you more closely identify with will lose. Look at Humphrey’s loss in 1968, due in large part to the Wallace candidacy. Wallace claimed mostly Democrat voters. Look at how the large Perot vote enabled Bill Clinton to win plurality in 1992; Perot’s “base” was largely comprised of disaffected Republicans. Ditto Gore in 2000, who could have grasped the brass ring if not for the leftish Nader voters that “voted their consciences” in Florida. Such voters may feel good about themselves, but they invariably end up unhappier with the policies of the guy (or gal) they inadvertently helped elect. Better to suck it up an chose the lesser of two evils.

Now look at our current presumptive nominees. One, McCain, is already so far to the middle (e.g. immigration, campaign finance, global warming) that many conservatives mock and disparage him. Then there is Obama, who ran far to the left in the primary but now is tacking hard to the center-right (shunning federal campaign funds, embracing the FISA bill, and talking about “refining” his position on Iraq). For such apostasy, Obama is taking a beating on many left wing blog sites. And deservedly so.

But the fact is that both McCain and Obama are heading to the messy middle ground in search of votes, and at the same time leaving their bases fuming and looking for a purer alternative. Into such a vacuum invariably step such people as Ross Perot or Ralph Nader, or more to the point, Dennis Kucinich or Bob Barr. But like all third party runs, all these guys will do is make a few extremists feel better about their votes while hurting the chances of the party with which they are more closely aligned.

As for “Conservatives” looking to Barr, I don’t think so. Remember, Conservatives promote smaller government, not the abolition of government. Conservatives recognize that society – including business – must have some structure and regulation to promote the general welfare. And Conservatives will always look to the past for example and guidance and direction as they embrace the brightly lit future. As such, true Conservatives are apprehensive about anarchic and value-free Libertarian ideas, which run contrary to much of what Conservatives value most.

Libertarians read Hobbes and Machiavelli, Conservatives Locke and Smith, Liberals Mill and Dewey, and radicals Marx and Marcuse. It’s that middle ground, between Conservative and Liberals – where people like Jefferson, T. Roosevelt, and JFK found success – that will or won’t make the next President. Unless, of course, the “True Believers” abdicate the general cause and vote their consciences. Then the election results crown a winner who does not even command a majority of the vote (electoral or popular), and as such enters office with little confidence in his program an no mandate to get anything done.

Barr-Humbug. Vote for the guy you despise the least. Mark Twain and H.L. Mencken surely would.

Sunny B. said...

RK, I say it's better to vote for a candidate that you loved that lost to vote for a candidate that you don't believe in who wins. Nevertheless, that's my philosophy...

Concerning the pet philosophers for the ideological categories you mention above, what fraction of one percent of the American voting public could correctly connect those philosophers to the political ideological group the embraces them? What fraction of those spewing left wing or right-wing political diatribe do you think have read anything by all those philosophers?

When it comes down to it, everybody embraces some conglomeration of philosophical dogma. Few drink it fundamentally straight and most drink in with varying degrees for concentration.

I believe it was Thomas Reid who preacher the philosophy of "common sense." He pointed out that a caterpillar will crawl over 100 different leaves before he gets to one the fits the temperament of his individual diet. The philosophical outlook of the individual is a wapatuli-sangia drink that appeals to their particular experiential tastes. Most drink it because it's the popular drink of their crowd.

Personally, my outlook doesn't come from some canned philosophical bottle corked by long dead philosophers. Mind comes from a lifetime of sampling and experience that has subconsciously, unconsciously and consciously shaped my worldview. I find it hard to say my way is the correct way and your way is the incorrect way. What fits you skin might not fit mine. Likewise, all those philosophers mentioned above have had parts of their ideas and theories discredited while other parts of said theories remain in tact.

That said, is it wrong to embrace liberal theories and right to embrace the conservative theories or visa versa?