It’s all about Bush

Ralph Nader has been publicly complaining because the overwhelming majority of those of us whom he asked to be his formal endorsers in 2000 have united this year to support John Kerry in swing states. A list of the seventy-five Nader 2000 Citizens Committee members now urging support for Kerry is online at our website [1]. It includes Barbara Ehrenreich, Phil Donahue, Jim Hightower, Susan Sarandon, Noam Chomsky, Ben Cohen, Peter Coyote, Granny D, Manning Marable, Bonnie Raitt, Tim Robbins, Studs Terkel, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Eddie Vedder, Cornel West and Howard Zinn.

In an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now Nader dismissed us as having suffered "a total loss of nerve." In the past he’s called us "scared liberals." Sorry Ralph, but the reality is that this election is a referendum on George Bush. In the real world the only way to dump Bush is to mobilize voters for Kerry in swing states, and that is our goal. Other than John Kerry, Ralph Nader could do the most to defeat Bush if he were willing to help lead a united front against him, but he is not.

We who were the Nader 2000 Citizens Committee obviously have huge disagreements with Kerry on Iraq and other issues. But this election is not about Ralph Nader or John Kerry, it’s about getting rid of George Bush and ending the far-right domination of all branches of the federal government.

The world changed after 9/11 when the Bush administration exploited that horrific attack for political and ideological purposes, using it as an opportunity to launch an unjustified and frankly stupid first-strike war against Iraq. Sheldon Rampton and I have documented in our books " Banana Republicans" and " Weapons of Mass Deception" how the Bush administration has set a tone and enacted measures undermining our liberties. Bush and Cheney are pursuing a reckless and deadly foreign policy of war and empire that has turned the world’s outpouring of sympathy after 9/11 into a deep fear and loathing of America.

Much of the leadership of the Democratic Party –¹ including Kerry and Edwards –¹ rubber stamped the actions of the Republicans in going to war in Iraq and in undermining civil liberties. Led by the right-wing media echo chamber at Fox TV and on talk radio, the mainstream corporate media became cheerleaders for Bush’s war on Iraq. The Republicans brilliantly used their march to war to win control of both houses of the Congress in 2002. For the first time since 1932 the Republicans now control the Supreme Court, the Congress, the Senate and the White House. They also control most governorships and state legislatures.

Those of us who were Ralph Nader’s official endorsers in 2000 have no illusions about John Kerry, the Democratic Party, or our need to mobilize and organize for fundamental social and political change here in the United States. We believe that the first step to progressive change is uniting to defeat George Bush and Dick Cheney. On November 2nd we Americans will have our only opportunity to remove Bush from office. If we fail to stop Bush, we will send a loud message around the world that the American people support and ratify what the Bush regime has done. November 2nd is people’s impeachment day in America and the choice is simple. The only vote that will work to remove George Bush is a vote for John Kerry in battleground states.

Ralph Nader made a strategic mistake in running this year for president. To date he has primarily divided green voters and spent most of his time and energy attacking Democrats or his former allies. I spoke with Ralph a year ago and asked him not to run but rather to lead a movement to defeat Bush and end Republican domination by supporting the Democratic nominee. He replied, "If I did that, they would ignore me. I would get no attention."

Ralph Nader denies that his candidacy helps Bush, but Republicans, Democrats and most political analysts agree that it does. The October 4, 2004 Zogby poll concluded "there is little doubt that Ralph Nader is hurting Kerry." It is true that Democratic party leaders are conducting a widespread and often unethical campaign to keep Nader off state ballots. This ham-fisted effort led by former Monsanto executive and lobbyist Toby Moffett has gained the Nader candidacy sympathy in the press and bolstered the resolve of Nader supporters to vote for Ralph.

The situation will no doubt get uglier as the election nears and Ralph Nader and the Green Party candidate David Cobb stump for votes in swing states. It is important that we keep one goal in sight, rejecting George Bush. I urge everyone who like me lives in a battleground state to help defeat George Bush by pulling the lever for John Kerry.