I don't intend to infuse more into the Democrats v. Nader debate. But I did want to provide some perspective. In particular I want to address the conflicting rhetoric on both sides of the debate.
Anti-Nader Democrats will tell you that 1) Nader's rhetoric that there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats is nonsense enough to discredit him and 2) that voting for Nader is the same thing as voting for Bush.
Nader defenders (myself included) intone that 1) Nader is substantively correct that Democrats are often acting on behalf of the same wealthy corporate interests as Republicans and 2) that voting for Nader is not the same thing as voting for Bush.
Putting aside the full context of Nader's comments and Democratic critiques of Nader, the fact is that neither statement is rhetorically correct. But both statements are substantively significant.
- It is true that there are significant differences between Democrats (in general) and Republicans. However, there have been substantive issues here. It is undeniable that Gore and Bush agreed on many policy issues. There have also been significant problems with the Democratic Party not substantively opposing Republicans on vital issues such as the Iraq war (before Dean's rise of course), Bush's tax cuts (Democrats made that happen), Healthy Forests Initiative (Daschle set the precedent and it passed on the backs of southern Democrats), and many more issues. So there are substantive differences and similarities which are not acurately conveyed by simplistic rhetoric.
- It is not true that a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush. It is simply mathematically inaccurate. If someone elects to vote for Bush over Kerry that is a two vote swing (-1 for Kerry and +1 for Bush). A vote for Nader is a one vote swing (-1 for Kerry and +0 for Bush). However, there is a substantive truth behind the rhetoric. Every one less vote for Kerry makes it easier for Bush to win in 2004. And allowing Bush to win in 2004 is dangerous to the future not just of America but possibly the world.
These substantive truths are why I'm a Green Nader-Supporter for Kerry! You can disagree with me, that is fine. But I have grown tired of the virulent anti-Nader rhetoric here and elsewhere. It turns me off and I know it turns other potential Kerry voters off. This is a time to be unified which is why as a two time Nader voter I wrote and asked Nader not to run in 2004. If Democrats want unity they should disagree with respect, not divisive insults.
I suppose I'm not saying anything new. But I don continue to see these rhetorical statements used in place of the substantive discussion from both sides. Alas! sigh...