Posted by Pat Nalley on November 01, 2000 at 15:46:15:
Has Ralph Nader, or any of his Green supporters discerned that the President of the U.S. does not operate in a vacuum? Have any of them noticed that the political system in which he must function has three (count-em 1,2,3) branches of government: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial? Have they not noticed that there is a political milieu in this country that is decidedly not coalescing on the far left and that, in order to get anything done in government, the President must be able to work in an environment of compromise and coalition? The only way that Ralph Nader could govern in this country would be if we were to elect him dictator! Have any of these self-righteous purists noticed that the mere discussion of universal health coverage in the early Clinton administration sent the country scurrying to the right to elect a Republican Congress and empower them to take out a Contract On America? Have they noticed that the righteous leftist radicalism of the sixties and seventies sent so many centrist Democrats over to the Republican ranks that even our Democratic leaders have become afraid to be branded with the epithet of "Liberal"?
Do they have any idea of the tremendous seige this Administration has been under from the Right for the past 8 years or the incredible resources they have brought to bear in their attempt to find a way to overturn our duly elected President by any and all means, legal and illegal, within their disposal? Do they have any understanding of how this Administration has blocked some of the Right's most destructive proposals from becoming the law of the land?
As Eric Alterman points out in his Oct. 16 article in the Nation:
"Consider the President's veto power. Had Clinton lost in 1992 or 1996, today the following would most likely be the law of the land:
§ the abolition of all taxes on estates larger than $675,000.
§ the reform of our bankruptcy laws to the detriment of the poor and middle classes on behalf of their corporate creditors.
§ the outlawing of so-called "partial birth" abortions.
§ a Tom DeLay-sponsored moratorium on all new government regulations,
particularly those enforcing clean air, clean water and the rights of both union and nonunion workers.
§ an amendment to the National Labor Relations Act encouraging
corporations to bypass collective bargaining in favor of so-called
"labor-management cooperative efforts."
§ a bill restricting the Secretary of the Interior's power to protect
environmentally sensitive land, including wetlands and other fragile
ecosystems, from destruction by private commercial interests.
§ a $270 billion cut in Medicare funding, coupled with a $240 billion tax windfall to be enjoyed almost exclusively by the wealthiest Americans."
And we can look forward to all these and more being revived under a Bush administration.
What, exactly, do they think we have to gain by further splintering the Democratic Party, other than insuring Republican control of all three branches of government, insuring a Right-wing Supreme Court for the next 40 years, insuring the further disenfranchisement of the middle-class and poor in this country, overturning the gains of women and minorities, making it virtually impossible to ever come as close to having a Green President as we are with Al Gore, dismantling the authority of the EPA, opening up the Arctic Wildlife Reserve to oil drilling and the new Utah National Monument to coal mining, seeing the end of the salmon runs in the Northwest, seeing Roe v.Wade overturned, seeing the renewed assault on abortion clinics and doctors, seeing the gag rule re-imposed in Federal clinics, assisting in the dismantling of the Social Security System, etc., etc. Do they really think there is anything to be gained by throwing away everything we've struggled to achieve over the past 30 years in the areas of the environment, civil rights, women's rights, labor rights and consumer rights.
Of course the Clinton/Gore administration has not done all that we - or they - would have wished. But I believe they have performed heroically in the face of extreme opposition. A Gore/Lieberman Administration can take those gains further - especially if we send just a few more Democrats to Congress.
Who do Nader and the Greens think will stand with them in 2004 after they have turned the country over to those interests that wish to destroy all that we've worked so hard to achieve? They may get their Federal funding, but they have about as much of a chance of creating a sweeping grassroots victory as I do of clicking my heels and waking up in Oz.