Monday, February 25, 2008

Time to hang 'em up

In every man's life, there comes a time when he must realize that he's more or less outlived his practical, day-to-day usefulness, that's he's grown past his youth and prime, and that it's time to transition gracefully from middle age to elder status. And there's nothing wrong or bad about being older. In an ideal society, these men become senior partners in law firms, sage judges, and simply wise old men. They have a wealth of information, experience, and advice, and should be listened to.

But not every man can make that transitition gracefully. I think of Scotty from the TNG episode "Relics." In short, the story picks up with the new Enterprise crew answering a distress call. They find an old transport ship stuck on a giant sphere. Ol' Scotty somehow saved himself using a transporter, but he's out of place in the future. He can't adjust to the fact that he doesn't have practical skills to save the day anymore. Luckily, after a good, soul-searching drunk, he finds a way to save the new Enterprise, and everyone goes home happy (which is the eternal downfall of the Star Trek series).

Our modern day example is Mr. Ralph Nader. Mr. Nader has announced he's running for President again. Like Scotty, Mr. Nader can't accept that he's no longer relevant or useful. Yes, as a consumer advocate he's done a lot of good, and he has (a couple, maybe) valid points to make about corporate influence, our lack of care for the environment, and the course our democracy has taken. But, really, Mr. Nader, you're far, far past your time. You, as much as anyone, are responsible for the 7+ years of misery we've lived through under this President. Your place in history is a footnote: the guy who took votes away from Al Gore, the guy who screwed this country just as hard as our Supreme Court back in 2000. And the crazy thing is that Mr. Nader is unapologetic. His role in history is plain as day, but he can't or won't acknowledge it. Instead, he's back to trying to play savior in a world that's moved past him.

Just like our old Mr. Scott.


SayHey Kid said...

Interesting comparison between the 2. I was talking with co-workers earlier about this and how dissapointed I am about Nadar. There is no question, he did alot more harm in 2000 than all the good he did in his lifetime. At least thats what I believe.

If Nadar takes even 5% of the vote this year, a Repub could be our next president....again.

Dews said...

I know I'm going to be in the minority here, but I don't fault Ralph Nader at all for Gore losing.

Gore ran a god-awful campaign, didn't remind us just how well-off we were under his and Billy's watch, and allowed misconceptions about his record and his appearance go unchallenged.

If you want someone to blame for Bush, go blame Bob Shrum and Company for continuing to ride on Clinton's coattails and assuming they were going to win...

Dewey, Cheatem, & Howe said...

You're basically quoting chapter and verse from Nader. However, you can't ignore the fact that but for Nader, Al Gore would be President.

Dews said...

I just don't totally buy that argument though (from someone that voted for Harry Browne in that election I might add).

You have to make a huge assumption that the people Nader attracted to his vote total would have been party loyalists otherwise and have put their vote behind Gore, which I don't think you can do.

It is entirely possible that the people voting for Nader may not have voted had he not been an issue.

I would almost suggest that more Democratic loyalists may have actually voted FOR Gore because of the Nader influence, rather then stay home (assuming that Gore was going to win, because how can you lose to idiot boy king?).

Either way, the democratic party is full of excuses as to why they seemingly always fuck-up gift elections, so I'm not one to let them continue to blame their own screw-ups on someone else.

SayHey Kid said...

I think the numbers speak for themselves. Yes, Gore couldnt even win his own state, but he lost battleground states, such as FL and OH by a handful of votes.......votes that went into Nadars pocket

Dews said...

But again though, you are assuming that those votes were Gore's to lose...

I'm saying that I just don't totally buy that argument. I think its entirely possible that his voter turnout could have even been higher by party loyalists to try to balance out the Nader votes actually.

More candidates in an election is always a good thing. It highlights issues that may not be in the mainstream, or may not cater to the same voting bloc every year. I'm for as many candidates as possible to highlight as many angles and/or issues as they can.

Anytime there are more viewpoints, its a good thing for Democracy afterall.

Dewey, Cheatem, & Howe said...

I really disagree. I think that during the 2000 election some informed folks knew that Bush was going to be an idiot boy king, and that the folks who voted Nader were among those people. I think that without the Nader option, they would've voted for Gore. That doesn't let Gore off the hook for his crushingly hopeless campaign. But you must realize that Nader and his folks are at least partly to blame for Bush.

Dewey, Cheatem, & Howe said...

I agree with the more viewpoints thing, but at some point you have to realize, strategically and as a liberal, that your presence in the race can only hurt the liberal cause just as Ross Perot's candidacy in 1992 cost the elder Bush the election.

And it is entirely plausible that Nader's votes were Gore's to lose. I distinctly recall a Rolling Stone profile of G.W.B. that basically outlined exactly why he should've never been 1999! I understand where you're coming from, but still, without Nader, Gore is the 43rd President of the United States.

Dews said...

My whole problem with blaming Nader though is that it lets the party and those that ran the campaign off the hook as if it should have been that close to begin with.

Gore was a solid candidate that had helped preside over the most successful 8 years of economic growth this country has seen, with a resume that screamed almost "Overqualified". The fact that his handlers could lose while Karl Rove and company were able to spin their candidate in makes Nader irrelevant in my book.

The biggest crime of that election has nothing to do with Nader. He was in the election to highlight issues he felt were not being represented (which I may or may not agree with, but thats also irrelevant). The biggest problem with Gore losing was his own party's ineptitude with a slam-dunk candidate.

Its almost like the Democratic party just can't/won't admit they just got outplayed in that election by a far inferior candidate with a vastly superior organizational and strategic team behind him.

SayHey Kid said...

It also doesnt help that thousands of FL black votes didnt count (Mistook them as criminals, hence no voting rights)

Its ignorant to think that ALL of Nadars votes would have gone to Gore, but a significant amount did. He may have had a poor campaign and sorely under-utilized Clinton, but he did have the popular vote. If Nadar didnt exist, he would have had the electoral to go along with the popular.......Hence, no Dubya.

That, and Terry McCoulagh (sp) is the biggest loser the Democratic Party has ever had. Thank goodness he wasnt in charge in 1992. But who let him back in for 2000 and 2004?