Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist: ‘Nader deserves more respect than he gets’

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman offers a mea culpa for his previous Nader-bashing and some great compliments for the man.  Read the full thing here.

For the last decade, Mr. Nader has been portrayed as a pill by the popular press — a humorless, Quixotic figure doomed to eternal political isolation thanks to his uncompromising devotion to principle.

Nation columnist Eric Alterman and filmmaker Michael Moore, a former supporter, have slapped Mr. Nader around for repeatedly playing “spoiler” and risking a repeat of 2000. Glancing over back columns, I’m ashamed to say I did my share of Nader-bashing during the 2004 presidential election, too.

In an Oct. 15, 2004, column, I applauded a Commonwealth Court judge’s decision to knock Mr. Nader off the Pennsylvania ballot.

While conceding that Ralph Nader was the candidate who truly reflected my values on the issues, the headline of my Feb. 24, 2004, column lacked any sense of nuance: “Principled vote for Nader isn’t what this nation needs.”

In retrospect, it was easier to scapegoat Mr. Nader than to question the values of a so-called progressive political party that would nominate candidates as beholden to corporate interests as the incumbent we were desperately trying to unseat.

Mr. Nader says without equivocation what millions of people believe in their hearts but are afraid to vote for when the polls open. Even folks who don’t like him acknowledge his honesty and concede the value of his critique of our thoroughly corrupt political process. It is easier to fault him for occasional lapses in decorum and political correctness than his political positions, which are solid and irrefutable.

29 thoughts on “Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist: ‘Nader deserves more respect than he gets’

  1. Robert Milnes

    lol,LOL,LOL. hA, hA, hA! uMMMMM, JUST PRACTICING MY i TOLD YOU SO LOSERS LAUGH FOR nOV.4.///i FOLLOWED nADER PRETTY CLOSELY IN 2008. He got enough ballot access to win. But as soon as he chose a fellow progressive Matt Gonzales I knew he had no chance to win. Just like TR & all the others, he needed a fusion ticket candidate. & he chose the Independent route. I also plan to pursue the Independent route. If other parties endorse my TICKET, fine. I’m not going to ask.

  2. Pro-Pot Anti-Pot

    Robert, the Progressive Alliance strategy will never work. The only true strategy is the pro-pot anti-pot strategy.

    10% of people support complete marijuana legalization. 40% of people support marijuana. 10% of people support harsh enforcement of marijuana bans.
    10+40+10 = 60

    The pro-pot anti-pot candidate gets 60% of the vote, with Republicans and Democrats getting 20% each.

    Only nerds care about outcomes, so it doesn’t really matter that these groups are diametrically opposed to each other. The key is to get pot to be the number one most important issue. The politicians in power now are apathetic about pot; they only care about stupid boring stuff like the economy.
    Also, since the socialist parties, greens and libertarians will be pro-pot, and the Constitution Party will be anti-pot, all the third parties will be united along with others.

  3. Pro-Pot Anti-Pot

    I meant that 40% of people support medical marijuana. I have no data to back this up, but will find some eventually.

    It is not too late for Chris Daggett to support the strategy. He must invite reporters to a press conference on Haloween night on the George Washington bridge, and educate people about the strategy.

  4. Pro-Pot Anti-Pot

    I doubt that Ralph Nader would support the strategy, ever. That’s because he’s a mastermind agent of the establishment.

  5. Michael Cavlan

    Ralph Nader deserves much more respect than this gibberish on this thread.

    On a more serious note, this article is hilarious.

    Next thing you know, Michael Moore will be coming out and apologizing for his disrespect of Ralph.

    Nahhhhhhh. That would take far too much courage and integrity. Something that MM seems to be seriously lacking in.

    Prime example, making boat loads of money (for himself) on a movie critiquing capitalism.

  6. Robert Milnes

    That’s right, losers. I got my sample ballot today for Camden City/County. The only Libertarian or Green on the whole ballot is Ken Kaplan, John Paff, Libertarian for Governor & Lt. Governor. I’ll vote for them, the losers. Full slate of democrats. No nomination for republican for Camden Mayor or City Council. Can’t imagine why! One Public Question(ballot issue). Involving Green Acres bond issue. I’ll vote knee jerk yes on that.

  7. Robert Milnes

    Michael Cavlan, maybe gibberish is understood here. I’ve tried facts & logic. I’ve even done the arithmetic. By the way, how’s the doomed New American Progressive party movement doing? I personally am waiting to hear Tom Hayden, Progressives for Obama expressing his regrets publicly & profusely.

  8. Robert Milnes

    I’ve got no problem with MM or his making boatloads of money from leftist critique. Maybe he is a closet libertarian. & getting on his knees & begging Ralph not to run on Bill Maher’s show wasn’t dissing Nader, was it?

  9. Robert Milnes

    I’ve looked without finding any statistics on the percentage of the leftist vote. I’ve estimated it at about 27%. But does anybody know of a study like The Libertarian Vote that can demonstrate the percentage of the leftist vote? There has got to be something. Maybe tucked in some dusty shelf in an Ivy League library?

  10. Kimberly Wilder

    Without saying the name…egads, hopefully withough evoking the attention of the attention hog…may I dare say…that the comment someone said above,

    -That’s right, losers.-

    Makes me feel something like a little kid on a fat farm. Only I think the reflection is more on the person who said it, acting like a know-it-all, adult, belittling children in a way that the adult thinks is accomplishing something. And, all along, the adult only selling an ignorant and futile diet method to unsuspecting customers…

    Anyway, Nader doesn’t deserve the laughter and ridicule. It is a shame that those comments were out of the gate first.

    Oh, well…

    Now, I will turn on my ignore button for the flurry of comments/e-mails I may receive from the attention hog…

    I just think that we all deserve better than to experience miles of these comments without a reality check…

  11. Mik Robertson

    It appears Mr. Nader is getting some respect. I think the two lying political machines are continuing to lose respect. Change is coming…

  12. Robert Milnes

    Uhhh, mumble, grumble, pituooie. Where’s my aspirin? Just got up with my usual boner, Trent. Where’s Susan. Oh my, nevermind Susan. Kimberly…I beg your pardon. I do not think I dissed Nader. The LOL’s are for Nov. 4. I just stated some facts-he got enough ballot =e]ess in 2008 to possibly win. etc. & my comments/opinion on his strategy specifically not picking a vp that made a fusion ticket. & by the way, I think I know who pro-pot/anti-pot is as well as Catholic Trotskyist & we have a kind of an ongoing thing going. & pro pot actually is quite knowledgable & also said some interesting comments which were far from gibberish to anyone with an unclosed mind.

  13. Robert Milnes

    Specifically that I have excluded all other third parties from the alliance most notably the counterrevolutionary & potentially a big problem CP. If you look at recent comments my name is not on except maybe above. Maybe since I usually comment late at night & I tend to write some, send then think some more & write another & send it may seem like a lot. But there are many who post a lot more comments than me & I invite an actual count. & I don’t think it is fair of you to allude to The PLAS as a false diet. Implying I’m scamming or selling. I don’t think I’ve gotten a single political contribution $ or donation except one from Tom K. I’m definitely not making money here! & nobody has responded to my urgent need for a motorhome. Or solar panels. Except again Tom with a referral to a website. & you wonder why I DEEPLY resent Ron Paul counterrevolutionary getting 35 million? & the request above for stastical verification of the leftist vote is in response to accusations that The Strategy is not supported by facts & figures. Except The Libertarian Vote/Cato Institute. You disappoint me Kimberly. What with your posting Green stuff on IPR which is largely libertarian & criticism of green statists & old left obstinate types(like Greg Gerritt). If you feel like a child being berated by an adult, maybe it reflects on YOU as much as me. Like I said, as soon as the PLAS gets a fair try & fails, THEN everybody can berate me. Not BEFORE & conveniently discrediting it without trying it.

  14. Dave Schwab

    Nice article. More reflective than your usual political columnist. Gives me hope that if we keep running for office as neither Ds nor Rs, people will stop telling us to go away and start wondering why our system doesn’t allow more citizen participation.
    Another question is – will this columnist pay more attention to third party and independent candidates in the future, and resist the urge to dismiss them as he admits to doing in the past? Will someone write him a letter about how instant runoff voting and proportional representation could open up our political system and make it much more representative and democratic?

  15. Robert Milnes

    Kimberly, upon further reflection. Come on. You & the others here ARE losers! Can’t you face that? & further, you all being losers makes ME a loser too. & I don’t like being a loser. & the situation in the world makes me depressed. So I’d like to see some changes for the better. That would be good medicine for me, not Prozac. Don’t you think I want to get better? Don’t you think I’ve put some thought into this. If I thought going to Washington & TAKING OVER could be done, I’d do it. But no, Plan B is to have a progressive movement & vote out the reactionaries by plurality. THAT could be done. By me & you & the rest of the Crazy Losers Club. So when I don’t see this happening & instead some complaints about my comments & whining, I’m not a happy camper. OK?

  16. Mik Robertson

    @16 I did send Mr. Nathan a note about Pennsylvania election laws and their role in limiting the political debate.

  17. Green Party fan

    Glad to see Mr. Nader and Green Party get some respect.

    Other good Green Party stories floating around the web are:

    Brazil’s incumbent expanding Green tax credits with possible strong Green Party woman candidate ready to run in 2010.

    Lynne Serpe Green Party candidate for City Council in NYC getting lots of respect and donations!!

    Former Canada Green Party Leader, Christopher Bennett, Appointed as Senior Advisor of Greenscape Capital Group

    Asbury Park Press, New Jersey – Bruce Springsteen’s hometown writes and editorial encouraging people to vote Green Party.


    Washington Post applauds Independent Green Party candidate for House of Delegates Col. Jim Leslie USMC, and only native american on ballot in Virginia.

    Praise for Green Party Congressional candidate Cloward in Danville Express

  18. Darcy G Richardson

    Dave Schwab asks a great question (#16), but I think we may already know the answer.

    In Tuesday’s mayoral election, the voters of Pittsburgh will have a choice between Democratic incumbent Luke Ravenstahl, who also captured the Republican nomination by write-in votes, and two of the strongest independent candidates in the city’s history — Franco “Dok” Harris, son of legendary NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris, and Kevin Acklin, a Squirrel Hill businessman who, according to the latest filings covering the period from June 19 to October 19, has actually raised more money than the Democratic mayor.

    Harris and Acklin have both raised substantive issues in their respective campaigns, with the Princeton-educated Harris — a guy who scored 1600 on his SAT’s and later earned a law degree from Pitt and his MBA from Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business — focusing most of his efforts in the city’s poorer neighborhoods and Acklin, who alleges corruption in the mayor’s office, promising to put 200 more police officers on the streets in the city’s crime-ridden neighborhoods.

    Both independent candidates, who are campaigning door-to-door, are also stressing the need for economic development in the city’s badly-neglected neighborhoods — an issue that is beginning to resonate.

    Campaigning vigorously, both men are poised to make relatively strong showings in Tuesday’s otherwise sleepy election.

    Like other smug columnists who think the race is a laugher, Tony Norman has written nary a word about their respective candidacies.

  19. Mik Robertson

    The writer’s email address is at the end of the column. More letters to him would not hurt.

  20. Dennis

    Nader is a hero, and among the last people in politics who is truly trustworthy. I will vote for him in 2012 if he runs, although, I hope he would do so on a party’s ticket.

    His one big mistake in 2004 was ballot fusion.

    Ballot fusion, by the way, is usually more trouble than it’s worth.

    Also, no viable political party will “endorse” a candidate. In 2004, the Reform Party NOMINATED Nader, as did the P&F Party in 2008.

  21. Lou Novak

    I guess there’s nowhere in the comment stream to find an interesting conversation in all the blather.

    Perhaps it’s time for our hosts to reconsider their open policy.

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