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The Hypocrites of TheNaderbasher.com

by SHAUN JOSEPH

 

The Democratic Party’s Nader bashers sunk to a new low with a television ad attacking Republican financial support for Ralph Nader’s presidential campaign–which ends with the Bush-Cheney campaign logo altered to read “Bush-Nader.” The ad was paid for by TheNaderFactor.com, one of several groups connected to the Democrats that has frantically attacked Nader for daring to offer a left-wing alternative to John Kerry’s Republican Lite campaign.

“[Nader] is now at a point where his entire legacy may come down to him helping Bush stay in office for another four years, and him cooperating with the right-wing groups that he’s opposed,” Chris Kofnis, an adviser to the group, snarled to the New York Times. Neither Kofnis nor the Times bothered to mention that campaign contributions from known Bush supporters constitute less than 5 percent of the $1 million that the Nader campaign has raised.

Still, given their sanctimonious tone, you’d think that the Nader bashers would at least set a squeaky-clean example. But you’d be wrong.

Seems TheNaderFactor.com needs to listen to that old saying about stones and glass houses.

TheNaderFactor.com is the main project of the National Progress Fund, one of the so-called “527 organizations” that emerged after the passage of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law to ensure that campaign financing was not actually reformed.

The official purpose of the National Progress Fund is “[t]o engage in election-related activity for the purpose of supporting progressive issues.” To date, the only “progressive issue” associated with the organization is the claim that Nader–after four decades of liberal opposition to corporate power and political corruption–is conspiring with right-wing Republicans to help Bush keep the White House.

Does the National Progress Fund live up to the standards it demands of Nader?

Not so much.

According to reports filed with the Internal Revenue Service (the IRS, rather than the Federal Election Commission is responsible for monitoring 527 groups), the organization’s largest donation from an individual is $25,000, from Robert “Bobby” Savoie. Savoie was head of Science and Engineering Associates, which recently merged to become Apogen Technologies, where Savoie is vice chairman.

Savoie’s company is a major federal contractor, providing all manner of services to the Department of Energy, the IRS and the Pentagon. Currently, Apogen is doing an especially brisk business with the Department of Homeland Security–designing databases to track the movements of foreign visitors to the U.S.

Does it seem odd that someone who has done well by Bush’s “war on terror” would help the Democrats? Actually, Savoie has a long record of keeping his bread buttered on both sides.

About a month before his donation to the National Progress Fund, he handed over $25,000 to the Republican National Committee–and a month before that, he gave $2,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee. His wife, Lori, by happy coincidence, gave equal amounts to the same organizations on precisely the same days.

According to the New York Times, TheNaderFactor.com’s anti-Nader television ad cost $5,000 to produce and $20,000 to run a dozen times in New Mexico and Wisconsin at the end of August. Precisely the amount that Savoie gave to the Nader bashers–and to the Republican National Committee the month before.

Savoie isn’t an exception. Like plenty of other rich, politically connected executives, he keeps thousands flowing to both major parties, so that millions flow back to them, no matter who wins. The idea of a genuinely independent alternative raised by Nader’s campaign is naturally terrifying–so Savoie joined right in with the liberal attack on Nader.

The Democrats and Republicans share the same corporate backers, and they share the same manual of dirty tricks for political campaigns. We expect slander and hypocrisy from the two parties of the Washington status quo. But progressives who say they want to win real change ought to know better.

SHAUN JOSEPH writes for the Socialist Worker.

 

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