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Ralph's Nadir

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Message Gabby Hayes
What troubles me about Ralph Nader's argument that he had no effect on the 2000 and 2004 elections is that if an industry spokesman presented to Nader arguments as thin as the ones he uses to justify his presence in the race, he would shred those arguments to molecules. He has to know he is deluded--and that is a contradiction in terms. If you know you are deluded, then you aren't deluded. The only way I could believe that he believes what he is saying is if he suffered some sort of organic injury--a stroke or korsakoff's syndrome or organic brain syndrome. But these things would have spectacular effects on other areas--he'd slur his speech or be aphasic or claim to be Napoleon returned from Trafalmadore on a UFO. Serious brain injury wouldn't limit itself to a single line of argument about a single event, and his arguments wouldn't be so artful, either.

Therefore, something or someone is motivating him to argue not only speciously and self-destructively and in such a naked way that anyone of good sense can see through it. (I have to believe that if Nader truly wanted to fool us, he could do so in such a way that it would convince us.) So his line of argument may actually be a cry for help. Like a hostage trying to send a message without his captor guessing that he's being revealed, Nader is saying nonsensical things in order to make us realize that something is wrong, that he is speaking under duress.

Are you old enough to remember that General Motors hired private detectives in an attempt to discover any embarrassing secrets that could be used to shut him up about car safety in general and the Corvair in particular? It was a huge scandal at the time and (if memory serves me well) I recall that GM at first denied it, then apologized for it. But they never said they didn't find anything on him.

He's still single, I believe. Even in the early 60s it seemed suspicious that he had no known intimate relationships. Most of us who drew the rational conclusion shrugged. What difference would it possibly make if he were gay? Would that make the Corvair safe? Would that make safety belts useless or airbags a silly expense?

But now I wonder--would Nader have drawn that conclusion? It might make a big difference to him. And it might be being used against him. Possibly there are other issues in play--maybe he isn't gay but has some more embarrassing predilection. I wouldn't care,  but a man who's kept it a secret for over half a century would probably care.

I have read that during the 2004 campaign, Nader's campaign coffers were swelled with Republican money. So we can draw the conclusion that there is a direct connection between his presidential aspirations and the GOP. He couldn't have been ignorant that he was being supported by the GOP. I simply reject any scenario that uses that as a supporting argument. Following the money is Nader's main skill.

It is interesting is that the GOP has cash to put into a desperation play like this in 2008. Nader's candidacy might actually do more harm to the GOP than to the Democratic Party by bleeding it of necessary funds. Nader's appeal dropped significantly between 2000 and 2004 and I suspect that there will be a powerful backlash against his run this year, resulting in Nader's having an insignificant dent in the vote. I suspect that by summer, he'll be an asterisk and his name may only be on the ballots in a handful of states.

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Adherent to the cowboy way, eschewer of four-letter words and dental care, founder of the hippie movement, and failed prospector, Gabby Hayes can be counted upon to point and say, "They went thataway," and to develop plans to cut them off at the (more...)
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