Andrew Levine on the Huffington Post says ‘A New Nader’ is ‘Needed’

From the Huffington Post:

That’s the main reason why I think Nader shouldn’t run again in 2012; it would only get liberals riled up, impeding the more important task of making the Obama presidency less dreadful. Also, Nader has been there and done that; he’s fought the good fight and he deserves a hero’s rest. But his 2000 strategy, unwise then, is timely now. Obama can’t be nudged and Democrats, left to their own devices, are useless. But they along with Obama probably can be dragged kicking and screaming. That can only happen, however, if they are challenged electorally in a way they can’t ignore; a way that will hurt. The time is past for a safe states strategy.

I will continue to vote Green when I can, and even to give them a little money now and then, but it’s clear now, as it wasn’t a decade ago, that the Green Party is a lost cause. And there’s no other barely acceptable “third party” on the horizon. Thus an independent candidacy is all there can be. This is what Nader did in practice, if not in theory, every time he ran, even in 2000. I think he was wrong not to put party building first back then. But that’s not an issue now.

If not Nader, then who? Alexander Cockburn argued in The Nation (November 29) — a venue open to some of the most rabid Nader-baiters, Eric Alterman, for example — that Russ Feingold should run. Having followed Feingold from a perch in the state he represented, I have my doubts. He is hardly a man of the Left. But I could be persuaded, especially if, as 2011 unfolds, it looks like a commonsense “maverick” approach on campaign finance and banking regulation and the like is more viable among former Obama voters than reliably progressive stances.

23 thoughts on “Andrew Levine on the Huffington Post says ‘A New Nader’ is ‘Needed’

  1. jumbo

    But his 2000 strategy, unwise then, is timely now. Obama can’t be nudged and Democrats, left to their own devices, are useless. But they along with Obama probably can be dragged kicking and screaming. That can only happen, however, if they are challenged electorally in a way they can’t ignore; a way that will hurt. The time is past for a safe states strategy.

    The writer errs in thinking that the time was ever correct for a safe states strategy, or that Gore would have been substantially different from Obama in this respect.

    If the “next Nader,” or Nader himself, is rightly or wrongly blamed for causing, say, Palin to unseat Obama, the same people howling then will howl even louder now.

    And if Nader had in fact caused Gore to lose (an oft-repeated falsehood), it would have been squarely Gore’s fault, not Nader’s.

  2. Thane Eichenauer

    If my name was Bill Clinton I would tell this guy “I feel your pain.” He isn’t happy with anybody. He isn’t happy with Barack Obama. He isn’t happy with Ralph Nader as he was in the year 2000. He isn’t happy with Russ Feingold. He isn’t happy with the Green party and yet he will send money to that “lost cause”.

    If Cynthia McKinney isn’t the new Ralph Nader who is?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynthia_McKinney

  3. Ross

    By “his strategy,” the author means that Nader didn’t focus on getting to the 5% mark for public funding and building the party.

    I lean toward agreeing with the author, too, even though I do see the other side of it. However, the idea of running candidates is to be successful in that, no? The Greens can and should participate in non-electoral politics, as well, but when they compete in elections they should do it in a way that influences government, not just politics – that is, getting people elected.

  4. Carey Campbell

    Thanks for the post. Interesting. Enjoyed the ready. Jumbo’s post was also amusing.
    Mr. Levine’s bio…
    Andrew Levine’s recent books include Political Keywords (2007), The American Ideology (2004), A Future for Marxism? (2003) and Engaging Political Philosophy: Hobbes to Rawls (2001). He taught philosophy for many years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was, more recently, a Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is currently a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C.

    …He’s article reminds one of what the Green Party Mayor of Freiburg described in his doctorate work “Green Party Theory, Gray Realty”.

    Mr Levine appears to have never run for office himself. His article reads as if he has no real understanding of the very difficult job of getting on the ballot in 50 states.

    I believe a larger more inclusive national Green party with Independents, Independence and Green Parties combined are the solution.

    With, of course, Michael Bloomberg leading this new, expanded Independence/Green Party.

  5. Not a TSA employee

    With, of course, Michael Bloomberg leading this new, expanded Independence/Green Party.

    What’shis stance on the TSA grope and gawk gate rape? We know he’s big on “homeland security” and police cameras all over the place (but against allowing citizens to carry videocameras of their own), and that he endorsed Bush in 2004.

    And we know that under Mayor Bloomberg, the NYPD has continued its own policy of frequent “enhanced patdowns,” especially among Caucasian-challenged communities, that accelerated under Mayor Giuliani. Much of this due to the “war on drugs.” Mayor Mike admits he has smoked the cheeba, and inhaled and enjoyed, but he opposes ending prohibition.

    That doesn’t sound very Green to me. Does it to you?

  6. Richard Winger

    I don’t know why anyone thinks Senator Feingold would be a good choice. This year he introduced a bill to make it ten times more difficult for a presidential candidate to qualify for primary season matching funds. Earlier in this decade he co-sponsored by McCain-Feingold Act, which, if it had been in existence in 1995, would have prevented Ross Perot from financing the new Reform Party. Senator Feingold is the worst enemy in the (old) U.S. Senate for people and groups interested in electoral activity outside of the two major parties.

  7. Dennis

    I don’t see any third party candidate having a showing as strong as Nader 2000 during the 2012 presidential campaign. There will be some great third party candidates, but I doubt they will nab more than 1%.

    And McKinney lacks Nader’s class, as well as his sanity.

  8. Catholic Trotskyist

    Sanity is overrated. The problem with Nader is that he has an insane strategy (stealing elections from Democrats to help Republicans and pretending it’s the Democrats fault when they still got 24 times more votes than he did), but trying to act like he’s the voice of reason. When really he’s an organized criminal mastermind.
    The only hope for third parties is changing the electoral system. That’s why the Catholic Trotskyist Party is joining the USA Parliament project.

  9. Deran

    “That’s why the Catholic Trotskyist Party is joining the USA Parliament project.”

    Lol. How abt all you set up your own blog or some such where you can prattle at great length and no one will have to read it? Instead of you, Milnes, Oogle and Campbell wasting 0s and 1s here or on BAN?

  10. Brian

    McKinney is fine but she has next to zero name recognition outside of Georgia. Nader was and is able to have an impact because he has been a well known public figure for decades. I think Bill Moyers should run.

  11. Robert Milnes

    CT @10, sanity is overrated. Agreed.
    BTW, USAPP. WTF?
    BTP>PLAS, that is the correct strategy.
    Unless the fool radicals fail to nominate a fusion ticket.
    Then Independent>PLAS.

  12. Catholic Trotskyist

    Robert Milnes, the USA Parliament has been discussed on other threads; a website by James Ogle, who comments here

    http://www.usparliament.org

    BTP is near death. I think PLAS will have to be independent.

    Deran, it is important that we continue to spread our message here at IPR. But I am branching out now, to take a more public role in the USA Parliament.

    Bryan, McKinney is well-known outside of Georgia, at least in left-wing liberal and socialist circles.

  13. Robert Milnes

    CT, I know about USPP. I was wondering why you are having anything to do with it.
    You shouldn’t deliberately mix reactionaries(dems & reps) with progressives & libertarians. Esp.asshole Ron Paul.
    Won’t work. Not happening.
    Don’t worry about BTP. As soon as I recruit a radical woman libertarian & they see a fusion ticket can win, they will liven up.

  14. Vote police

    stealing elections from Democrats to help Republicans

    Smaller votes and independents don’t steal votes. Democrats and Republicans are the ones who rig elections and steal votes.

  15. Other Mr. T

    Pathetic. This jerk is just warming up the ole’ “anyone, but Nader” op-ed template for legions of professional Nader-haters of the The Nation magazine. I can’t stand these people. Somebody, please DSA huffpo, nation and counterpunch websites!

  16. pete healey

    Richard Winger is right about Feingold. His so- called campaign finance reform is a dead letter. I remember when it first came to the floor of the Senate the first thing that got taken out was free air time on the electronic media. If we don’t get that, we don’t get nothing. I supported Nader back in 2000, when I believed that the Green Party wasn’t just another “left of center” party, and Nader wasn’t just another blue-green Social Democrat. I no longer believe either of these things.

  17. Erik G.

    Also, it’s sad that people even buy into the ‘wasted vote’ phenomenon. How many advanced countries only have two parties in office? Even in countries with plurality voting? Seriously? I’m not sure there is one.

  18. VAGreen

    There is no “Independence/Green Party”, nor will there be one. You’re either in the Independence Party or the Green Party. I’m getting tired of this “foot in both camps” garbage.

  19. Carey Campbell

    Audrey Clement/aka VA Green,

    You do dedicated work for the Green Party of Virginia. Keep at it.

    To call the work we choose to do “Garbage” is unworthy of the work you have done. As we have done so much more, for so much longer.

    Grow Green. Focus on the opposition in the two larger parties..

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