The return of Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader is running for President because the two contenders for the nomination of the Democratic Party aren't far enough to the Left for his tastes. Here's a video announcing Nader's candidacy.
In particular, Nader is afraid Obama won't be tough enough on Israel. Red State has a transcript of Nader's recent accusation that Obama has 'sold out' to the Israelis.
I give you the example, the Palestinian-Israeli issue, which is a real off the table issue for the candidates. So don't touch that, even though it's central to our security and to, to the situation in the Middle East. He was pro-Palestinian when he was in Illinois before he ran for the state Senate, during he ran--during the state Senate. Now he's, he's supporting the Israeli destruction of the tiny section called Gaza with a million and a half people. He doesn't have any sympathy for a civilian death ratio of about 300-to-1; 300 Palestinians to one Israeli. He's not taking a leadership position in supporting the Israeli peace movement, which represents former Cabinet ministers, people in the Knesset, former generals, former security officials, in addition to mayors and leading intellectuals. One would think he would at least say, "Let's have a hearing for the Israeli peace movement in the Congress," so we don't just have a monotone support of the Israeli government's attitude toward the Palestinians and their illegal occupation of Palestine.
There is always room to the Left in Democratic Party policy debate, always an open flank in a way that resembled the German-Allied race to the sea at the outset of the Great War. The only thing that stopped the extension of the front in 1915 was the English Channel. There is no English Channel in politics so the drift Left simply goes to the asymptote. The other striking thing about Democratic politics is how large a role personality plays. Politics in the Left is characterized by the extreme longevity of its personalities; Nader has been around almost as long as Castro.
Mainstream politics is the handmaiden of ordinary life. And the wheeling-and-dealing that people like Nader find so distasteful is really the consequence of ordinary politics being about jobs, family, security, living and dying. About it being rooted upon the earth. But ideological politics is about ideas; fine definitions; intensity of vision. It is about alternative paths to paradise. And that's why fringe politics generates factions in ways that mainstream politics never does. There is only one earth but there are many heavens. A guy like Ralph Nader will always be looking to turn the corner to recover the perfect vision he once glimpsed. No one described the dogged pursuit of illusion better than F. Scott Fitzgerald in his character of Gatsby. Nothing, not even the reality of Daisy would ever fill Gatsby's hunger for what was once glimpsed and lost.
He talked a lot about the past, and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was. ...
One autumn night, five years before, they had been walking down the street when the leaves were falling, and they came to a place where there were no trees and the sidewalk was white with moonlight. They stopped here and turned toward each other. Now it was a cool night with that mysterious excitement in it which comes at the two changes of the year. The quiet lights in the houses were humming out into the darkness and there was a stir and bustle among the stars. Out of the corner of his eye Gatsby saw that the blocks of the sidewalks really formed a ladder and mounted to a secret place above the trees—he could climb to it, if he climbed alone, and once there he could suck on the pap of life, gulp down the incomparable milk of wonder.
His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.
Cults are dangerous things, the more so because they are driven by real visions. But in time they become less about visions then obsessions. Ralph Nader isn't running for President. He's looking for his Sailor from Gibraltar.