Sunday, February 24, 2008

Butt Out, You Bum

Look, I can understand that if you were once famous and influential, it must be tough to accept that the next significant story about you will be your obituary. I'm sure the bigger you were, the harder it is being a washed-up, dried-out, over-the-hill has-been.

But that doesn't make it appropriate for you to screw up the presidential race. It doesn't mean you should run a race that does nothing but feed your mountainous ego and that can't do any good while having every chance of doing harm.

There's no doubt about it: Ralph Nader put George W. Bush in the White House. Of course he's not the sole cause. Gore's lame campaign bears a lot of responsibility too. But Nader is what we lawyers call a "but-for" cause of the Bush presidency. If Nader hadn't been running, Gore would have won. It's that simple.

Moreover, this was entirely predictable. Maybe when Nader started his quixotic quest, he could have legitimately imagined that it wouldn't cause any harm. But as election day 2000 approached, it was all too clear that the election was going to be a squeaker, and that Nader's candidacy could make all the difference. He had plenty of time to see this and to ask his supporters to vote for Gore. But he didn't. He stuck it out, screwed up Florida, and handed the election to Bush. To satisfy the ego of some aging 60s leftover, we all have to put up with eight years of government favoring the rich, five years of the Iraq war, and a lifetime of Justices Roberts and Alito.

I used to respect Ralph Nader. Back in his day he took courageous stands, employed impressive organizational skill, and actually achieved things.

But now and forever, I will think of him solely as the man who put Bush in the White House because he was too sanctimonious to support someone who was only very liberal, not super-liberal.

Get lost, you stinking bum. You're not going to accomplish anything good and you might just screw up the election again. You're just proving what we all think about you now -- that you don't give a damn about the country; all you care about is yourself.

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