Wednesday, September 24

You know, I really like this person...

...except, of course, for the "Ralph Nader" part.

If there was no Nader part, and she was just giving the rest of this speech, how would you respond? I'd really like to hear from my readers on this. [and obviously, this speech was given before the whole "gimme 700 billion or the world goes up in smoke!" highway robbery effort in DC]


  1. The audience were astonishingly quiet through her speech; I was unsure anyone was even in the room until the clapping at the end.

    She does have a point (valid for the UK too, where the Labour candidate in my constituency wins points simply for not being Conservative and the Lib Dems fail to attract voters in a vicious cycle of voters not believing that the "third party" can ever win). I've not read enough of Nader's policies to know whether her rejection of the mainstream has necessarily found a good home in his campaign.
    And while I think her speech deserves an airing to remind us all of the ideals and principles that we were born with, the fact remains that the world we live in *demands* compromise, and I'd rather have Obama (or Brown) making those compromises than Bush or McCain or Cameron.

  2. I know Ashley personally. She's a fantastic speaker and writer.

    As for compromise, you don't get anywhere when it's all you do. We're obviously in a worse place than we were 8 years ago, and contrary to the scapegoating that Nader still receives, the fault is to be shared between the Neocons and the majority of Democrats who didn't insist that their representatives take a stand to stop them. We can't compromise on illegal wars, offshore drilling, torture, wiretapping, or any other issue the Democrats have allowed to pass. There comes a point when compromise turns into surrender. The Democrats are actively working against liberal principles now and Democratic voters have compromised their own principles enough to actually support them.

  3. If we could expand this country to include third parties it would be to our advantage. The problem with many of them is that they cater to a very small audience and not only that, when they do hold some sway with the American voter, their token issues are summarily incorporated into the party platforms of either the Democrats or Republicans, and they evaporate.

    I agree with much of what she says, but I'd like to know more how to implement what she advocates. That's where it gets tripped up.

  4. "The problem with many of them is that they cater to a very small audience..."

    Simply not true. Perhaps you could say that about parties backing abolition or women's suffrage, but today third parties champion issues which have majority support. The majority of Americans are for single-payer, ending the war, establishing a palestinian state, and cutting the military budget.

    "...their token issues are summarily incorporated into the party platforms of either the Democrats or Republicans"

    This is also untrue. Harry Truman suggested single-payer health care in 1945 and it had 3/4 public support even then. Special interests kept the Democrats from accepting it then, and they keep Democrats from accepting it now. The same is true for the military industrial complex, war on drugs, and corporate welfare. Neither party will ever do anything about these issues as long as we keep supporting them. That's not pessimism, it's history.

    "I'd like to know more how to implement what she advocates."

    Hold your vote as leverage. Politicians don't get your vote unless they earn it and the ones in office need to be pressured. Democrats need to display backbone, and not just when it's convenient. Barack and Hillary know we we're going to play chicken on issues like single-payer during the primaries, but that we'll fold come the general election.

  5. I really like her too. The most fucked-up reason to vote for a candidate is "they can win".
    If we are going to let them tell us who can and can't win before the election, what is the point of voting? I know that this is one major reason for our low voter turnouts, but more importantly Karl Rove and the Neocon Nematodes know this and use it against us.
    Ashley pointed out in her speech that politics is about human beings, and that is the truth. The mechanism by which our political system operates is the winning of elections. Elections were supposed to be a statement of the will of the electorate, but have devolved into massively expensive contests of power between huge public relations organizations who by definition don't give a rat's ass about anything but winning.
    It's hard to compete against the crude psychology they use, and if you try to fight back against it, it's harder still to avoid feeling like you have become something you detest. This is how they rob us of our political identities: we care about the kind of people we are or appear to be and they don't.
    But there I go saying "we" and "they" again when I know full well that it is more complicated than that. Also saying we and they is precisely the reaction that wins elections for the organizations that have been winning for all these fucked-up years: divided we fall again and again.
    So this is what I am getting from the speech, Blue Gal:
    It's easy to condemn, hard to create, and maybe even harder to agree enough to get anything done while still serving the truth.

    -Doug in Oakland

  6. Anonymous7:10 PM

    I think she's terrific. And I agree with just about everything she has to say here.

    And I'm still going to vote Democrat, a straight ticket.

    And I am not going to vote for Ralph Nader ever again.

    Yes, I do understand what is at stake, and no, I am not happy with my choices. Until the third parties we have in this country - like my friends the Greens - get organized, get serious, and get down to real business, they will remain on the fringe, which is where they are whether we like it or not. Politics should be about human beings, but right now, it has to become more about battling against the entrenched powers that be. That means we have to figure out a way to wrest control of the electorial process at the state and local levels away from the two major parties, for things like ballot access, etc. That needs to be the next big battle.

    Not blogging, not making signs, but doing real politics.

    I am not going to "hold my vote." I am going to use it. And I refuse to throw it away.

    Four years of Obama/Biden won't be great.

    Four years of McCain/Palin means the end of this country. That's how I see it.

    If saying that makes me naive or simple, oh well.

  7. Anonymous7:19 PM

    The last time we stood on principal the Right Wing drove over us in a Hummer.

    We are worse off that we were 8 years ago and no amount of logic can change that.

    Vote Dem, Vote early, Vote often


  8. Anonymous7:32 PM

    That was a great speech, I agreed with everything she said.

    And the Nader thing doesn't bother me in the slightest.



  9. I think the biggest challenge will be getting past a "winner takes all" political system that makes it next to impossible for an alternative party to get a foot hold.

    It's not in the best interest of the Republicans or the Democrats to change things, but I think it is exactly the change we need.

    Even getting on a ballot can be a challenge for a candidate who is not part of our two party system.

    The other challenge is funding. Unless we have publicly funded campaigns, minority party candidates are going to have problems getting heard -- unless they are independently wealthy.

    Incumbent candidates get something like 70% of all PAC contributions. I wish we could simply do away with all PAC's and have campaigns funded only by individual contributors. And, set a limit of how much and individual could give -- say $10,000.


  10. Truth be told, white liberals never fail to disappoint me. No Democrat has offered any good reason why I should support their candidate. Only intellectually bankrupt or outright dishonest reasons why I can't afford NOT to support him.

    For three election cycles all Democrats have done is tell us how horrible it will be to have Republicans in office. For a party so centered on "hope", that sure seems like fear-based politics to me. Real liberals fight for liberty. They are not intimidated into abandoning their values under these boogieman threats.

  11. MR - and there are now an additional 700 billion reasons why.


  12. @BAC

    Exactly. An economic bailout no one could have ever predicted unless they had knowledge of economic systems guided by experience rather than ideology.

    The Democratic candidate is unwilling to examine the deregulation which actually lead us down this road. Nader warned us far in advance, but so-called liberals were too preoccupied dragging him through the mud at the request of their corporate party leaders to actually act upon his advice.


I really look forward to hearing what you have to say. I do moderate comments, but non-spam comments will take less than 24 hours to appear... Thanks!