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Termi-Nader 2

Matt Zalaznick

The government, whether controlled by Republicans or Democrats, is crummy, controlled by corporations and at worst, corrupt. What a shock.

But this appears to be the extent of Ralph Nader’s platform in Termi-Nader 2, the sequel to his cult campaign for president in 2000, in which, many Democrats believe, the ego-binging consumer crusader tip-ped the polls against Al Gore just enough to turn the not-yet-ready-for-prime-time vice president into a chad-chaffed Deaniac.

Perhaps it’s a conspiracy. With Howard Dean, the 24-hour news media’s first political Frankenstein, having howled and hoo-hahhed himself out of the primaries, the pundits and screaming heads need another principled, straight-talking insurgent they can dress up as national village idiot. Playing god?

But Nader’s closest friends begged him, his pals in publishing implored him, the Democratic Party leaned on him to join Al (not Sharpton) and Hillary on the sidelines this election. Anything to beat Bush – for the third time.

But Sunday, the Democrats, in horrible echoes from the party’s recall disaster in the California, heard the stock Termi-Nader catch-phrase they were dreading: “I’ll be back.”

Will Nader contort John Kerry’s face even more, can he wipe that teletubby grin off the sweet little Edwards boy’s face in a race that’s more about beating Bush than anything else, including mill workers, gay marriage and Bangalore.

Nader, who thinks everyone else is just beating around the Bush, has apparently gone in for an emotional botox injection, leaving him with a swollen sense of reality. Here comes Tomb Nader and his bubbly band of political yahoos tromping across the political tundra convinced what they’re doing to trump up third-party outsiders is good for the country.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Nader told Tim Russert he didn’t think the country – or the world – would be a whole lot different if Al Gore had been elected.

“Well, it wouldn’t have been any different in terms of military and foreign policy,” Nader told Russert, according to a transcript of the show.

Well, no one tried to assassinate Al Gore’s daddy. And yes, the Clinton administration did advocate regime change in Iraq. But the Gore administration would have been a lot less Rummy with its armed forces and would not have lost its wolf-o-wits with the United Nations.

Al probably wouldn’t have let a negligible lack of WMDs get pre-empted by Halliburton and the swell-dressing Iraqi exile Ahmed Chalabi, whose corporate integrity, according to our allies the Jordanians, is about zilch – even on the Enron meter. Maybe that’s why the Bushies find him so groovy.

And Gore, who probably wouldn’t have been as glibly comfy after the World Trade Center collapsed as Georgie and Rudy, would have maintained the world’s support a little longer after Sept. 11. The grandstander-in-chief frittered away world sentiment, even our allies’ condolences, quicker than it takes a congressman’s son to dodge a war tour by signing up for the National Guard.

But certainly Ralphie’s core values are freedom of speech, civil rights and the environment.

Would the Democrats have snuck the seeds of fascism through Congress while pieces of lower Manhattan were still falling out of the sky? Ralphie should act a little more patriotic than that.

And before Gore stabbed his buddy Joe in the back, hoping to be Howlin’ Howard’s Sancho Panza, he wrote a rather well-received book on the environment. Al, in fact, is even considered somewhat of an expert on all things ecological. Unlike the man Nader helped elect in 2000, Al actually knows the definitions of global warming (it’s happening) and healthy forests – pristine woodlands don’t have timber companies chopping them down.

The Gore administration would probably be fanning up some more wind power to keep America juiced instead of sending Dead-Eye Dick, the honorable Justice “T” and the rest of W.’s court-appointed Sopranos in with their deer rifles to blow Alaskan wildlife – and the balance of power – off the map. Bada-bing!

Speaking of Joe-mentum, it’s hard to imagine that avuncular wonk holding a top secret seance with the world’s most powerful energy peddlers. He’s no undercover brother.

Ralph-malph has been spending too much time with Potsy and Fonzie at Arnold’s diner if he thinks there wouldn’t be much of a difference between W. stumbling around in his Top Gun costume offering America a big fake turkey and sticking gunboat Kerry’s made-for-Mt.-Rushmore mug in the Oval Office. There’s one word to describe that democracy gap: “Ashcroft.”

So let Ralphie run, and hopefully all his ranting will show just how screwy, dangerous and democratically AWOL junior and his handlers have been. Perhaps Nader’s goofball bid will, once and for all, cast some transparency on the regime.

City Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 616, or at mzalaznick@vaildaily.com


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