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Saturday, November 24, 2007


This is as public a forum as I have, but if it will bring you comfort, I too believe I was wrong to vote for Kerry.

I hope I haven't tweaked you too badly with some of what I've written. I'm glad to hear you've had a change of heart on it, though, and thanks for mentioning.

Nope, you haven't. I've been drifting left for a while, and constructive criticism only accelerates the process.

I regret my vote for Kerry too, and in retrospect I don't know why I did it. Nader wasn't on the ballot in my state (Indiana), or I probably would have voted for him. As I recall, when I stepped into the voting booth I felt a creeping horror that Bush would get a landslide, and decided that I would give my vote to Kerry just as a vote against Bush. I had no illusions about Kerry, certainly none about Bush, and none that Indiana's electoral votes wouldn't go to Dubya no matter how I voted. There was no really no alternative save refusing to cast a presidential vote at all, but I should have done that.

I voted for Nader in 1996 and 2000, and have no regrets about that. At the time I wrote this for the student newspaper:


and I still stand by it. The hysteria of liberals since has kept me unrepentant.

Duncan: We've all pulled that "D" lever at one time or another. I voted for Clinton twice, I'm sad to say. There were literally millions of stories like yours in the 2000 election. Nader's poll numbers were running at around 5% just prior to the election, but he only received 2.7% of the vote--which means that nearly half of the people who intended to vote for him, over 2 million of them, got into the voting booth and just couldn't bring themselves to do it. I had progressive friends who did it right here in California, and when I asked why they'd switched--given that Gore had an absolute lock on the state, and that because of the Electoral College their vote couldn't possibly make a difference (all of which they knew full well)--they just said that the fear took over and they felt like they couldn't risk it.

I'm starting to wonder if there aren't a lot more people than we realize out there who regret their 2004 Democratic vote. I wish some of the prominent progressives who threw their support to Kerry in 2004 would recant just as publicly, to help open up the conversation and let people know that they're not alone in feeling that way.

Thanks for the article pointer, BTW; it was a very good read.

I like Alterman, really I do, but that statement is flat out insane.

When I saw the film I thought about how fortunate Nader is in his critics. Really, you couldn't choose a less convincing and more repulsive pair than Alterman and Gitlin. At the time, I thought the filmmakers had stacked the deck, by finding the two most off-putting Nader critics possible, but now I'm not so sure. Who could they have put in place of Alterman/Gitlin that could have done a better job?

And I've had this argument about Nader so many times now that I don't even bother anymore. Fine, I now say, the war's my fault, Alito and Roberts are my fault, the Patriot Act and Guantanamo are my fault. But you know what? The damn Democrats still aren't getting my vote.

Actually they didn't stack the deck--they just couldn't get anyone else to go on record. Here's Amy Goodman interviewing one of the filmmakers:

AMY GOODMAN: And the different reactions you got from people you were interviewing?

HENRIETTE MANTEL: Well, we would have loved to get more reactions of people that were, you know, adamantly spreading rumors about Ralph and everything else, but Eric Alterman and Todd Gitlin, my hat’s off to them, because they would go on camera and voice their opinion opposing Ralph. A lot of people would not go on camera. They just wouldn't. Like, they would talk, you know, to us, but then when we turned on the camera, "Oh, I’m not going to be on camera."

Even so, they gave Alterman more screen time than anyone but Ralph himself. And I think you're right that nobody could have done a better job--because there really are no substantive critiques of Nader that I'm aware of, once you set aside the standard anti-democratic tantrums.

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