Aris Anagnos of Los Angeles claims he will not support Wisconsin
Sen. Russ Feingold for president in 2004 because Feingold voted
to confirm John Ashcroft (Letters,
March 19). In Wisconsin, we are almost accustomed to Feingold surprising
us with positions based on principles rather than politics. We may
not always agree, but we understand this reliance on principle is
also what led Feingold to to oppose the Anti-Terrorism Act because
it expanded the federal death penalty. If what you want is a different
kind of politician, then you must expect him to act differently.
Frankly, I was disappointed that David Moberg's piece "Labor's
Critical Condition" (March 5) failed to mention the most
inhibiting factor to union growth of the past 30-plus years. Workers
can't go on strike for union recognition and contract bargaining
and be reinstated, so the employer can intimidate and even destroy
the workers' initiative. In my opinion, every candidate for House
or Senate should be litmus-tested on this issue in the next several
elections行and union voters should be prepared to work only for
supportive candidates. About 10 years ago, striker reinstatement
legislation came close to passage. Labor needs to revive this movement
if it is to survive its truly critical condition.
Stanley G. House
Wilmington, North Carolina
We were disheartened, then soon disgusted, as we experienced James
Weinstein's gathering of timbers and nails yet again to crucify
Nader enthusiasts ("Let's
Crash the Party," February 19). Do we really need to hear
that "the fiasco was brought about last November by Ralph Nader"?
It's this kind of browbeating of the more idealistic readers that
makes us realize how easy it is for people to compromise into supporting
someone like Al Gore.
Glazed-eyed participation in lesser-of-two-evils strategies has
ratcheted the nation ever farther to the right. Don't listen to
us-- read history. And don't ask us to compromise. We would rather
be "marginalized" in our real convictions than co-opted
by the compromised New Democrats. As for "human need above
corporate profitability," the Democrats we've been watching
don't hesitate to jump through corporate hoops.
Jan and Patrick Pesek-Herriges
Doug Ireland suggests that Ralph Nader may have "missed the
moment," so to speak, and I will admit that I was wondering
why he wasn't right in the middle of the Florida recount fiasco
making a stink ("Looking
for Mr. Nader," March 5). But that's not his style. If
you check the IndyMedia D.C.
Web site, you'll see that Nader was talking with the folks who were
rocking the inaugural boat and spreading the word on how this is
yet just another fine example of what has happened to electoral
politics. He is doing what he has always done, speaking truth to
power and inspiring others to do likewise.
The congressional Democrats are in the process of proving that
they are spoiled rotten, spineless and basically useless in fighting
the Bushies. As Nader often said during the campaign, he's not looking
to be a leader, he's looking to inspire others to lead. I like that,
and so do a lot of other folks. Mine was not a "protest"
vote. It was a vote of liberation from the quagmire of Rebublicrat
politics. Don't worry about the Naderites. We are here, there and
everywhere--now and in the future. We ain't going back.
While Doug Ireland poses some reasonable educated guesses about
why Ralph Nader has stayed out of the spotlight, he has neglected
the most obvious possible reason. Perhaps Nader has kept a low profile
because he finally realizes the damage he has wrought. A Green Party
nominee whose candidacy is directly responsible for Gail Norton,
John Ashcroft, Christie Todd Whitman and other nightmares should
be ashamed, and should stay out of the spotlight.
Fascinating how Doug Ireland minimizes the election dispute in
Florida to a "squabbling over the vote count." That's
the usual pie-in-the-sky Naderite ignorance of reality. Counting
all votes is the essence of democracy. As to both Nader and the
Greens: Wake up and bury the dead. The Green Party is dead衞nly
in part because it is out-of-touch, far-left and focused on few
(if any) issues. And Nader as a candidate is dead. Grow up, dump
both fantasies, and learn the real differences between pro-environment
Democrats and anti-environment Republicans. And stop lying about
the reality: Nader took 90,000 votes in Florida行enough to make
it possible for Bush to steal the election. Stupid is as stupid
does. And then it compounds itself by lying to avoid the issue.
I understand how a misguided but principled fellow might have mistakenly
supported Nader in the election, but how can he then turn around
and express outrage at Democratic senators for only "token"
opposition to the appointments of John Ashcroft, Gale Norton and
Christie Todd Whitman? Doesn't Doug Ireland see the connection between
his own actions and those appointments? There was unintended, knife-twisting
irony in Ireland's closing comment about Nader failing to understand
"the hard-nosed real world of electoral politics." Ouch.
Wake up, guy.
Charleston, South Carolina
My friends, family and I supported Nader and took heat for it from
local pols. While leafleting at an el stop, my daughter got yelled
at by Jan Schakowsky行our Democratic House rep, and not a bad one
either行whom we voted for anyway. This is in the way of bona fides:
I'm not speaking from the sidelines.
All of us think Nader should have gone public行at least on his
own Web site行during the Florida preliminaries to what turned out
to be the real contest, Shrub's elevation (not election) by the
U.S. Supreme Court. Especially at the risk, if not guarantee, of
Republican opprobrium, Nader should have insisted that each vote
be counted, or sought a revote. This would have redounded to his
credit within his base and among his supporters who had been scared
into voting for Gore. Absent that struggle, he should at least have
surfaced to thank his supporters and explain why--in light of Bush's
extra-electoral selection--Nader's two and a half percent had not
wasted their efforts, their hopes and their votes, not to mention
their next four years.
All of which leads me to conclude, for now, that since his defeat,
Nader has not shown the skills, perseverance or imagination--or
maybe just the commitment (one doesn't say character)--to be the
oppositional leader of a national movement in the United States.
Electoral mobilization is not enough to sustain momentum行let alone
hope行with only one national election every two years. So either
Nader adds extra-parliamentary means to his lobbying and running
for office, or he's history行probably a footnote.