| In the Dash to Election Day,
See You Later Nader
This has been the strangest presidential campaign in many a moon. We've talked to people who view this election like the selection of a fraternity house president. Or a Saturday night guest for dinner.
To these voters, the choice between Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush is an intensely personal selection rather than a choice between governing systems that are fundamentally opposite.
'Who do we want to look at every evening after work?' some of them seem to be asking. In our view, this is an attitude of people who believe that they have more power over their own lives than they actually do. (We blame this on the Internet and cell phones.) To our way of thinking, there has been far too much attention paid to personality in this election and too little to the monumental stakes on the table.
Those stakes include:
- The pending selection by the next president of three or more Supreme Court justices who will determine our rights and freedoms for a generation;
- A difference of opinion about tax cuts, who should receive them and how we distribute our wealth;
- Starkly different views between the candidates in attitudes toward environmental protection.
Then there's Ralph Nader, the Green Party Candidate, who has emerged as a player in this election. In this space we have tried to be charitable toward third parties. (And fourth and fifth.) We think Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan has something to say, as does the Libertarians' standard-bearer Harry Browne.
We may be in a minority, but we were disappointed that presidential debates were two-party affairs that, in effect, censored the views of other aspirants and thus foreclosed options of Americans.
But given the stakes on the table Tuesday, Nader is testing our resolve. We have enjoyed watching him irritate the establishment. (He calls Bush "a corporation disguised as a human being," and he's just slightly more friendly toward Gore.)
Elsewhere in the paper, columnist Bill Burton makes some good points in support of Nader. When you vote for the lesser of two evils, Bill observes, you still end up with evil.
But what do you end up with if he deprives Gore of winning seven or eight states, which polls say is possible?
Two things: you end up with President George W. Bush and, in Nader, another Ross Perot with normal-sized ears and millions, instead of billions, in the bank.