Nader Bad

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I’m sorry Ralph Nader is going to run for president. I hope no one wastes his or her votes on him or on any other third- or fourth-party candidates. Nader knows he can’t win, so he must be in it just for the ego and the media attention.

Let’s look at reality. One, and only one, of two men will occupy the White House for the next four years. Those two men are George Bush and John Kerry. Like it or not, that’s going to be our choice, barring any fatal mishaps — God forbid — between now and Inauguration Day.

If you plan to vote for anyone else, you might just as well stay home, as your vote will be meaningless. Progressives should certainly have learned from their last experience that voting for Nader put Bush in the White House. In earlier elections, disgruntled conservatives voted for Ross Perot and ended up with Bill Clinton.

Voting is not intended to be a way to send a message. If that’s what you want to do, use Western Union or e-mail. Voting is intended to select political leaders, and as far as the presidency is concerned, we will have the choice of either Kerry or Bush.

Which of those you choose is your business. My only suggestion is that it is always a good idea to vote against incumbents. Certainly the Congress (all of the House and a third of the Senate will be up for re-election) could stand a good stable cleaning. Congress is so encrusted with special interests it’s a wonder any of them can breathe for the stink.

You can hardly go wrong voting against an incumbent.

Karl Rove and the cabal of neoconservatives who are the puppeteers who make Bush’s lips move will try to frighten you into returning him to office. Like Saddam Hussein’s mythical weapons of mass destruction, this crowd will yap about terrorists out to "destroy" the United States.

Listen, dearly beloved, not all the terrorists in the world have any chance in hell or heaven of destroying the United States. They are hunting an elephant with a BB gun. Terrorism is about frustration and anger stemming from impotence. If terrorism could destroy a nation, Israel wouldn’t exist and Northern Ireland would be free from British rule.

I sent one of Fox News’ fear-mongers into a raving rant just by pointing out that those homegrown criminals of ours killed three times more Americans than Osama bin Laden did in 2001. Heck, five times as many Americans died from falls as from those terrorists’ attacks. Every year about 90,000 Americans die in accidents.

The reason the terrorist attack got our attention, aside from the usual media hysteria, was that it shook us out of our false sense of security. Most Americans had long since believed that we, here in the continental United States, were immune to attack. We never were, but when bin Laden proved it, it shook up a whole lot of us. All of a sudden the death and destruction wasn’t someplace else. It was here at home.

Hopefully the hysteria has subsided and people can now look more calmly and rationally at the problem and thus not allow the Bush campaign and its media lapdogs to scare them into re-electing Bush. After all, the terrorist attack occurred on his watch.

But whether you prefer Bush or Kerry, just remember that Nader and all the other oddballs that might get on some ballots are completely irrelevant. You might as well stare at your navel as vote for them.

It wouldn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to deduce that I’m not going to vote for Bush, though I’m far from pleased as punch about the choice. Nevertheless, it is important that every American turn out this year and vote for either the Republican or the Democrat. Who runs this country in these shaky times is important. And it’s not going to be Nader.

Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years, reporting on everything from sports to politics. From 1969—71, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001. He now writes a syndicated column which is carried on Reese served two years active duty in the U.S. Army as a tank gunner. Write to Charley Reese at P.O. Box 2446, Orlando, FL 32802.

© 2004 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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