[sixties-l] Re. Nader & election

From: Ted Morgan (epm2@lehigh.edu)
Date: 10/31/00

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    I've spouted on Nader before and will chime in again soon, but I'm
    passing along this column from a friend with whom I've worked on the
    Nader campaign locally.
    Ted Morgan
    -------- Original Message --------
    >                                            ANOTHER VIEW
    >                                              By Gary Olson
    >                                           Liberals and Nader
    >     The long knives are out. I refer to the liberal  establishment's
    > increasingly savage attacks on Ralph Nader. Although couched in "save us
    > from Bush" rhetoric, it's my sense that these diatribes are motivated by
    > something quite different. Indeed, one wonders what unsavory tactics they
    > would be forced to employ if both major candidates were pro-choice. 
    >   In the recent past, liberal pundits have been circumspect in their
    > tactics but  the gloves are coming off.  For example, in the current issue
    > of The Nation magazine, regular columnist Eric Alterman goes beyond mere
    > Supreme Court baiting and fear peddling to declare, "Ralph Nader's
    > campaign does not deserve a single progressive vote on November 7. Not
    > one."  At least Alterman is honest in that he omits any disingenuous
    > concern for the 5 percent minimum needed to qualify for public financing
    > in four years.
    >     What explains this increasingly shrill, even hysterical reaction from
    > many liberals? For the first time in my memory, liberals are being
    > publicly called out and exposed for what they are -- devout supporters of
    > the Democrats, one of the twin parties of corporate America.  Liberals
    > like to pose (and may even delude themselves) as righteous critics from
    > the left. They like to portray themselves as the legitimate outer limit of
    > progressive politics.  Normally they're allowed to get away with it but
    > Nader's candidacy throws the limits of their position -- and commitment --
    > into sharp relief. 
    >     It's clear that these liberal lap dogs of the establishment  have a
    > serious investment in the status quo and in protecting their privelaged
    > position.  As John R. MacArthur, publisher of Harper's magazine writes,
    > the "...well-off, chattering class liberals are just as fat and happy
    > these days as their conservative counterparts.  Their taste for genuine
    > political argument is in inverse proportion to their taste for imported
    > cars and wine."
    >      A generous intepretation would be that their very identity is being
    > threatened by Nader's candidacy.  For example, they're rapidly
    > losing the respect of young people who intuitively grasp that Nader
    > embodies the spirit of Seattle.  The liberal response?  Barely concealed
    > contempt, combined with scapegoating and an all-out campaign to discredit
    > the messenger -- before more ordinary citizens catch on.  
    >     Academic critics can be marginalized and ignored. But owing to a
    > unique set of circumstances -- and the man himself  -- it has become
    > impossible to ignore Nader's run for the Presidency. And if Nader's
    > structural critique is acknowledged, these pretend populists will be
    > forced to defend who they are and what they're actually doing in public
    > life. 
    >      Could this be something akin to a liberal identity crisis?  Put less
    > charitably, their complicit and cozy relationship with corporate
    > capitalism is now transparent.  Their cover has been blown.  And if that's
    > the case, this will get even uglier, especially should Gore lose.  And
    > even if he wins, things can never be quite the same. 
    >     Finally, American politics is about ordinary working women and men
    > versus the mega-corporations and their indistinguishable two parties.
    > Given that context, it's always instructive to be reminded that the
    > "liberals" are on the other side. 
    >  (Gary Olson,Ph.D.  is  a member of the political science faculty at
    > Moravian College. His e-mail address is olson@moravian.edu)> 
    > > 
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    > > 
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