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Get Off Nader's Back
Published on Friday, November 3, 2000 in the San Francisco Examiner
Get Off Nader's Back
The Democrats should cease their whining attacks on the Green Party candidate as spoiler of a Gore victory. The sniveling of the well-financed, lavishly staffed Al Gore campaign, over the possibility of Ralph Nader's third-party effort tipping a close election to George W. Bush, must strike Nader as supremely ironic.

Democratic standard-bearer Gore was paired with Republican Bush in the series of three televised debates planned as a decisive high point of the presidential contest. The organizers excluded Nader and his Green Party as too insignificant to be listened to.

Nader protested, and his backers screamed about the unfairness of the big guys. But the legendary consumer advocate was kept outside the tent along with the Reform Party's Pat Buchanan and Libertarian Harry Browne.

Now a cold panic is washing over the Gore camp that, in a close finish with Bush, Nader could corral a damaging number of liberal, pro-environment votes that ordinarily would be in the Democratic column in hard-fought "swing" states. That could give Bush the White House, and hand the reins of power to enemies of both Gore's and Nader's objectives.

Nader has been the target of Democratic calls to repudiate his "spoiler" role and swing his support to Gore.

Such whining is unbecoming of a major party that has wielded national power much of the past century. Gore has adequate resources to present his case and carry out his own quest for votes, as does Bush. Nader has the clear right to pursue his more modest goals, which include showing both major parties often to be allies of corporate America at the public's expense.

Heaping guilt on Nader, over the chance of Republican victory in a squeaker, is not sporting or fair. Let Nader enjoy his relative pittance of electoral support, for which he has worked impressively. Gore and Bush are powerful enough to go after bigger game: the tens of millions of votes needed for actual victory. Whoever loses should not blame Nader.

Copyright 2000 SF Examiner


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