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Spending on the Enemy


From Tacitus on Ralph Nader:

Apropos of the efforts of some Republicans to secure a ballot slot for Ralph Nader, let me say that it’s a moderately understandable tactical move and a terrible strategic one. Obviously a Nader presence is going to siphon off lefty votes that would otherwise have gone to Democrats (his bizarre protestations that he’s an equal-opportunity spoiler notwithstanding), and so in that narrow sense it’s sensible to secure a Nader ballot presence in as many swing states as possible. Just one question to those Republicans exerting themselves on Nader’s behalf: Can I fairly assume that no actual Republican had any use for this effort and money you’re putting forth? None? Just asking.

Tacitus suggests that Republicans are being too clever by half in their support of Ralph Nader. In the short term, it might help win an election. In the long term, it could help keep Nader’s movement alive, which is a bad thing for conservatives.

Timothy Noah tried, with a wink and nudge, to encourage the candidacy of Roy Moore, the guy who was removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for failing to follow the law. Nonetheless, I can’t imagine anyone on the left actually spending money to support Moore or his ilk, or trying that hard to get him on the ballot. Maybe people on the left understand that right-wing extremists somehow DO find themselves in power, and thus that encouraging them could backfire in pretty nasty ways.

On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine Nader being anything but a boil on the ass of the Democratic Party for the foreseeable future. Helping him out is probably the right strategic move for the Republicans. Although Nader seems to believe that some great lost constituency is waiting for him, there’s no way he’ll ever make serious enough inroads into American politics to threaten the Republicans. Energizing his followers over the long term would simply take 5% away from the Dems, which can’t hurt the Republicans. I suppose that a stronger Nader could move the Dems left, but a farther left Democratic party would be less of a threat to the Republicans, not more.

Unless, of course, Tacitus is assuming that a second Bush administration will be a disaster, leaving the economy and foreign policy of the country in ruins, and producing an electorate angry enough to toss aside the dessicated husk of the Republican Party in favor of just about anyone. But then, if he believes that (as it seems sometimes he does), why is he voting Republican?

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