Memo To Professional Stop Nader
Attack the Corporate Parties, Not Fellow Progressives
- by Carl Mayer
Over the last several months a cottage industry has developed of progressives who, in concert with the corporate Democratic Party, spend an inordinate amount of time attacking the Nader for President campaign. They have become professional Stop Nader Liberals.
The ringleaders of this effort have been Norman Solomon, Jeff Cohen, and to a lesser extent, Micah Sifry.
These gentlemen might better spend their time defending democracy and the one candidate in the race who has fought his entire career for democracy and for the progressive issues they profess to believe in: ending the war, stopping trade deals and opposing the Patriot Act. Ralph Nader is on the right side of all these issues; Kerry and Bush are not.
Most importantly, Cohen, Solomon, et. al. should defend Nader's right to be in the debates and on the ballot, even if, for strategic reasons, they disagree with his run.
When is one of the gentlemen going to stand up for basic democratic rights that they claim to champion?
What they ought not to do is make inaccurate assertions regarding the Nader campaign.
An example of this distortion is Jeff Cohen's piece in Common Dreams of July 20, 2004: "Nader's 'Grassroots' Campaign …Courtesy of GOP."
Cohen claims "the Nader campaign has created none of the grassroots thunder of 2000. Indeed, it's been a hollow enterprise-attracting a few leftwing sects and polemicists. "
I am neither a sect member nor polemicist and there in fact are many progressives working for the Nader campaign. There are no "sects" of any kind working on the campaign and Cohen knows better than to make an assertion without a factual foundation. One has only to go to www.votenader.org and explore the volunteer profiles and sections to see the vibrancy of a campaign with over 12,000 volunteers and millions of followers.
Cohen continues: "Nader has complained-correctly in at least one state-of covert Democratic efforts to keep him off ballots. But in Michigan, he has no such excuse."
Cohen simply has his facts wrong. The Democrats have used dirty tricks to attempt to keep Nader off the ballot in every state, including Michigan. In Michigan it was revealed that Democrats-not having enough volunteers - have hired a firm that out sources to India an operation that scrutinizes Nader's signatures for technicalities. Based on this low-wage labor product, the Democrats have filed another merit less lawsuit in an attempt to keep Nader from the Michigan ballot.
Here is what the CEO of the firm doing the outsourcing had to say: "This really is work that you can't do in the U.S. because it just doesn't make economic sense," he said of the work he sends to India. "I can't hire people to do some things here."
The revelation that Democrats are outsourcing their dirty tricks came on the same day that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry released new ads pledging his economic plan would begin by "putting an end to tax incentives that are encouraging American companies to ship jobs overseas."
I am sure there are many union families who would like to ask Cohen and Kerry why Democrats cannot at least pledge to keep the money they spend on campaigns in the United States.
Cohen and other progressives also incorrectly assert that Nader "accepted" Republican signatures in Michigan. In fact, the signatures were filed with the Secretary of State and nobody can prevent whoever filed them from doing so. Furthermore, the Nader campaign stopped collecting signatures after it believed it had the Reform line in Michigan. Suddenly, a split developed in the Reform Party. Do Cohen, Solomon, Sifry et. al wants to assure progressives that the Democratic party had nothing to do with either the Reform party split or the Green Party split? I don't think so, and there is evidence the Democrats - aided and abetted by their newfound gagged progressive friends -- are monkeying around with any operation that will assist Nader.
Another false claim - used, not surprisingly, by Cohen, Solomon and the Democratic Party - says that Nader has weak grassroots support because he narrowly missed getting 1,000 petitions at a convention in Oregon. What they don't tell readers is that Howard Dean spent days in Oregon on the radio and TV urging people not to attend Nader conventions in those states. Then, publicly, Democratic operatives swelled the numbers at the convention and refused to sign the petitions. More Democratic dirty tricks.
Another false claim offered by the professional Stop Nader Liberals is the following: "Nader's campaign hasn't submitted names from the second [Oregon] convention to state officials, apparently embarrassed at how many will be shown to be registered Republicans." There is no evidence for this. In fact, only a small percentage of citizens who attended were Republicans.
The PSNLers (Professional Stop Nader Liberals) have even gone so far as to claim - falsely-that Republicans are funding Nader's campaign citing a news article that says: "1 of 10 big Nader donors had also donated to Bush and the Republicans." This is misleading because Nader doesn't have many big donors.
Since newspapers have only been able to identify about $50,000 from Republicans from a campaign that has raised over $1 million, it appears any Republican support is miniscule. And a recent study showed that only 4% of Nader money comes from Republicans, including several longstanding friends and allies of the candidate who worked with him on public issues.
Jeff Cohen's outrageous conclusion that "a vote for Nader in these swing states is a vote for Bush's money, his organization, his rightwing activists" is also unsupported by any evidence.
As members of Fairness and Accuracy in the Media, Cohen and Solomon knows better than to engage in falsehoods and personal attacks.
Cohen, Solomon and a whole raft of professional Stop Nader Liberals ought to reconsider spending their days on the "Ralph Don't Run" initiative which features, among other things, a "Simpsons" cartoon defaming Nader as a front for Republicans: this is hardly a contribution to democratic discourse.
The tone that Cohen, Norman Solomon and a few other progressives have taken in this campaign in attacking Nader does not become them.
Never have so many given up so much for so little. These progressives have sold out their principles for the dim hope that the hawkish, corporate-financed, trade-deal supporting Kerry will somehow change his stripes in the White House.
The issues at stake are too important to count on it.
Carl Mayer, a lawyer and the author of Shakedown and Public Domain, Private Dominion, is an advisor to the Nader campaign.