It’s like, how much more lame could this be? And the answer is none. None more lame.Comments
You can’t blame Saint Ralph for envying the stench of desperation coming from his Republican allies; at least it would be a sign of life. But I think this is overdoing it a bit:
These days, a primary Nader campaign fundraising tactic involves an aide or supporter soliciting donations from the audience at a speech, even when the crowd is stocked with broke college students. Different speakers use the same stock line in their pitch — “There is nothing more liberating than giving Ralph Nader more money than you can afford to give” — and audience members who pledge $50 or more get a signed copy of Nader’s 2002 book, “Crashing the Party.” These pledge drives do not always produce their desired results, however.
In Durham, I watched as Greg Kafoury, a Portland, Ore., lawyer and longtime Nader backer, asked the students for money. The pitch unfolded this way:
Kafoury: “So let me ask: Is there anybody here who can contribute, anybody who is well off enough to contribute a thousand dollars to this campaign? Think about it. It’s a lot. You can put it on your credit card. Pay for it over time. Is there one person who can do that much? I’ll throw in a book.” [Laughter.]
“Not just any book. This is ‘Crashing the Party,’ Ralph Nader’s journal of the last campaign. And it is a, it’s the best book about a campaign, a real insider’s story. He talks about everything in it. He’ll sign your name in it, and you’ll read it and learn from it, and leave it in your will. Is there anybody who can do as much as that? How about $500? Think about it. Fifty dollars a month for 10 months. It’s a lot of money. It’s for a great cause. Is there one person who can do that much?” [Pause.]
“You know what, I got to tell you, from the bottom of my heart, there is nothing more liberating in this world than giving Ralph Nader more money than you can afford to give. Is there one person who can do that much? Tough crowd. $250? Who can do $250?”
Student: [Raises hand.] “I can give you $3. That’s all I have in my wallet.” [More laughter.]
Eventually Kafoury settled for two $100 contributions. It was hard to feel sympathy, though. Just before Nader’s talk, as the candidate was entering the auditorium, I watched Kafoury stride over to five pro-Kerry students silently holding anti-Nader signs near the door and start pointing, yelling and unleashing what the University of New Hampshire student newspaper later called a “tirade of ‘F-bombs'” at the undergraduates. Call it voter outreach, Nader 2004-style.
Yep, nothing says “uncompromising leftism” to me like begging penniless college students to take on yet more usurious debt in order to assist in the effort of re-electing the most reactionary president since Coolidge and the most incompetent since…well, I don’t want to slander Hoover and Harding by comparing them to Bush.
Trying to build a progressive coalition consisting almost entirely of white college students seemed like such a brilliant idea, but frankly I can see a downside to it.