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How unfortunate that you have chosen to continue the pseudo-liberal smear campaign against Ralph Nader as both a candidate and man in the pages of that stalwart progressive publication The New York Times. I see you were given column space because Thomas Friedman has taken leave to write another awful book in praise of Mammon. I hope you understood the assignment was to write a column in your own words and not in Friedman’s by proxy; having seen the results I can’t tell which your aim was.
Having dutifully done the dirty work of right wing extremists under cover of a lefty rubric in America’s newspaper of record, I can only hope the next time they let you write something for the Op-Ed page you can squeeze in a word for the downtrodden.
How unfortunate also that Nader decided to run for president without consulting you first. If it makes you feel any better, he didn’t consult me either, and I also voted for him in 2000. In looking over the US Constitution, it appears he isn’t actually required to ask permission from either of us.
Nader also failed to ask our permission to co-found four additional progressive and reformist organizations in the past 4 years, including a champion (Democracy Rising) of your apparent candidate of choice, Dennis Kucinich.
I see that Representative Kucinich has predictably failed in his attempt to use his campaign to nudge the Democratic Party platform into inclusion of a withdrawal strategy from Iraq, or even a statement that one is desirable. Shockingly he has also failed to persuade the DNC to include a simple statement – in the midst of an increasingly unpopular war in an election year – that our illegal invasion is an error based upon a series of lies.
The only function of Kucinich now, one in which you seem eager to join, is that of shepherd bringing compliant liberal sheep back into the fold. You do so for the DLC and John Kerry, an entity and man with which your readers and supporters have nothing in common. It’s a sad day when one of the best-known liberals in America shills for a billionaire war hawk. It’s sadder still when she writes a well-regarded book on poverty then turns around to skewer a man fighting for the living wage and universal healthcare on behalf of a man who voted for No Child Left Behind and welfare "reform."
Which of Kerry’s progressive causes energizes you to the extent that you need to mock Nader in a most public forum? Is it his desire to spend a half trillion dollars on Reagan’s lunatic Star Wars plan? Is it his desire to better manage the Bush war in Iraq, for which he voted, and to expand it to include NATO, which Bush has yet been unsuccessful in doing? Are you drawn by the Democratic Party’s failure in the aftermath of the last election to stand up for voting rights of African-Americans, or is it more the attempts of the party to keep anyone from voting for Nader this time around? Perhaps as a self-described feminist you’re drawn to Kerry’s willingness to appoint anti-choice judges to the federal bench? His attacks on welfare mothers? His description of his position on gay marriage being similar to Dick Cheney’s?
After, Dr. Ehrenreich, asking a man to drop out of a race, especially in a mocking fashion, is not to be done lightly. Surely you have some explanation for why John Kerry and his DLC buddies have excited you so, and we here in your book-buying base would love to hear it.
I see you blathered on for a bit about how George W. Bush is a bad man who scares foreign children. It’s worth noting that the party you’re supporting voted unanimously in the Senate to do those naughty things. An honest person also has to take note that civilians were killed in Iraq by a 20:1 ratio by Kerry’s colleagues the Clinton Adminstration over the Bush Administration, not by lack of trying on the part of the latter. What is to be made, then, of Kerry’s advisor and shadow cabinet member Madeleine Albright, infamous in the Arab world for her statement that the precalculated slow murder of hundreds of thousands of children, elderly and infirm was a "price we think is worth it?" Surely she makes foreign tots a bit uneasy, no?
I should also note that civil liberties at home didn’t simply "evaporate," but were voted down, in large part by Democrats. You should ask your new beau John Kerry about that, not simply because authored parts of and voted for the PATRIOT Act, but because he also voted for the wretched 1994 crime bill and 1996 Effective Death Penalty Act. I wish that you spent one eighth the venom in attacking Kerry on that which you do on Nader for having the temerity to oppose the process which produces such enormities.
As for the Reform Party, you may note that they have good, decent and just positions on the WTO, NAFTA, FTAA, corporate welfare as a whole and they also oppose the war in Iraq. If this makes them "paleo-right wingers" – I would say it simply makes them honest conservatives in favor of clean government – what is your term for the Democratic Party which is on the opposite side of the fence on all of those issues?
It’s also worth noting, if you want to trash Nader for not supprting the Greens (which is it, do you want this party running candidates or not?) that Nader appeared at over 30 fundraisers for them in the past 4 years. How many have you done?
I’m sorry, Dr. Ehrenreich, that you can no longer tell the difference between people who fight to help the downtrodden workers you slummed with for a bit and the people who habitually abuse their trust for personal gain. On the whole I’d rather have you retire to the beach than Mr. Nader. Perhaps it’s your turn to crank up the Led Zep, roll yourself some of that reefer you’re so keen on (what are Ralph and John’s positions on THAT one, again?) and leave those of us who still have a sense of what we’re fighting for alone.
US Congress 1st District Pennsylvania