Nader: Determined to Make Himself Irrelevant

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Nader: Determined to Make Himself Irrelevant

Once again, Ralph Nader has gone off the deep end. Nader and Kevin Zeese of Democracy/Rising, have co-written this op-ed in today's Boston Globe:
The impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, should be part of mainstream political discourse.

... It is time for Congress to investigate the illegal Iraq war as we move toward the third year of the endless quagmire that many security experts believe jeopardizes US safety by recruiting and training more terrorists. A Resolution of Impeachment would be a first step.

Based on the mountains of fabrications, deceptions, and lies, it is time to debate the ''I" word.
Nader should examine recent history before he goes off half-cocked and drags progressives' time, resources and money into a dead-end impeachment campaign.

In the late 1990s, Republicans overrreached badly. Instead of simply organizing and mobilizing around the issues on which Clinton Democrats were vulnerable, Republicans poured their energy into an unsuccessful campaign to impeach Bill Clinton. The impeachment push struck most Americans as partisan and mean-spirited (as would Nader's).

The GOP's impeachment campaign cost the party dearly in the off-year elections of 1998. It was the first election in 64 years in which the party of an incumbent president gained seats in the House.

Two years later, the GOP barely recovered and needed late intervention from the Supremes to win the presidency.

Don't Nader and other self-identified progressives have enough to do without taking on an unrealistic task such as impeaching a president?

* There exists no effective counter-weight to the Religious Right -- no well-organized progressive group or groups that can speak to the issues in the language of faith and values.

* Labor unions, which have long anchored the base of the Democrat Party, are shrinking and a major chasm in labor may fracture the AFL-CIO.

* Republicans are using gay marriage to peel off small, yet significant, numbers of Hispanic and black voters.

* Environmental issues are less and less significant to voters each day.

Even if impeachment were realistic (and it isn't), forcing Bush out of office wouldn't successfully address any of the four challenges I cited above. Nor would an impeachment push build a Democratic Party that is more connected to real people than the one we have today.

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