The answer is, of course, that he doesn't. While he has not told this to me personally, of course, I have no doubt that he loves America. Perhaps he loves America too much.
More from Wisconsin after the jump...
The Madison Capital Times reports this afternoon that Nader supporters are busy gathering signatures to place Mr. Nader on the presidential ballot in Wisconsin this November. 2000 signatures by September 2 is all it will take to add the one-time consumer advocate and current political pain-in-the-ass to have a chance to win it this time for sure. Supporter Briana Nestler hopes to have 4000 signatures by the deadline, the Cap Times quotes her as saying. This makes me think that perhaps Briana Nestler is the one who hates America.
A McCain supporter helps explain why I think that...
James Twine of Madison was among those who signed the petition. He says he's a supporter of Republican John McCain and wants Nader on the ballot to drain votes from Democrat Barack Obama. [emphasis mine]
Make no mistake; I think the ability to vote for one's personal choice is important, and the two parties that currently own our political system don't always offer up the best options. I can recall candidates like John Anderson and George Wallace mounting legitimate campaigns that offered real platforms that differed from what the Republicans and Democrats were selling at the time. I also seem to remember some recent presidential elections that were "won" by razor thin margins. Alleged vote suppression and other dirty tricks aside, one can make the case (and many have) that Ralph Nader and his ne'er do well supporters put George Bush in office by siphoning votes from his opponents. Many who voted for Nader proudly said they did so as a sort of protest to the two-party system. Some of them probably wanted Nader to become president too.
If Nader had been in Wisconsin this year, campaigning and explaining why he should be president... sharing his platform of ideas... then maybe he would have a reason to be on the 2008 ballot that is better than because Briana Nestler collected more than the requisite 2000 signatures. But he hasn't been here. His continued playing of the gadfly role is frankly tiring. I take nothing away from the great things he has done for the people of the world in terms of consumer safety and other areas of advocacy and service. But today, this man is analogous to that uncle who shows up at every family holiday, drinks too much, and makes no apologies after the fact for the disruption he created. At first, Uncle Ralph was the life of the party, the family bad boy who made you think twice about every day convention. But over the years, the family grew tired of Uncle Ralph's shtick, because that's what it became: shtick.
As for supporters like Briana Nestler, there is a family analogy for her too. She's the once idealistic but now self-righteous (and perhaps petulant) child who insists on having it her way. At one time, she was coddled for thinking outside the box and approaching things from a different and even valid perspective. But, like Uncle Ralph's one-note song, eventually this gets tiring. What was idealistic is now destructive.
There was a time not so long ago when I would have taken issue with the statement that voting for Nader was throwing one's vote away. Everyone gets to vote however they wish, and so who am I to say someone else's choice is a wasted opportunity? But today, I no longer see it that way when it comes to Ralph Nader. Uncle Ralph had his time, and made his impact. Now, all he is doing is fucking things up for both major party candidates and, thus, for the American people. I do believe Ralph Nader loves the United States of America. I only wish he loved it as much as he appears to love himself and the media attention his antics give him.
cross-posted on Kerfuffle