Nader Steal Buchanan's Clothes?
Rockwell's probing comments on the waning Buchanan campaign,
it seems that one further point might be noted. In addition to all
the other factors weighing against Buchanan's candidacy, he is now
undergoing cooptation by another protectionist and pro-labor candidate,
observation seems self-evident even if William Safire also made
it this week in the New York Times. The groups on the Right
that Pat has tried to reach, small businessmen feeling threatened
by larger commercial interests, American companies that complain
against foreign competition, and scorners of the two-party system,
which Nader calls the "duopoly," are part of Nader's natural
given their druthers, most of these folks would be happy to vote
for a self-identified rightwing advocate, but see that Buchanan
is going nowhere, they attach themselves to the Greens.
the same time, Nader is able to reach beyond his predictable base,
composed of Barbara Ehrenreich, Susan Sarandon, the editors of the
Nation, and the rest of the yuppie Left, and present himself
as a credible nationalist alternative to the liberal establishment.
GW, he mocks Gore-Democrats for believing that the Religious Right
has serious influence over American politics. Nader has also observed
that if Roe v. Wade were overturned, the states would be free to
vote on abortion the way they see fit. (Nader-supporter Christopher
Hitchens made the same point on the Chris Matthews program.) And
Nader, unlike Bush and Gore, has vigorously and persistently advocated
tight border controls with Mexico.
Moreover, Nader's Buchanan-like attacks on the "Demorepublicans"
and his call for what the New Republic angrily describes
as "deep democracy," reveal his populist quality. He is
also being attacked from the same quarters as Buchanan: the editorial
in the latest issue of the New Republic reprises the well-worn
invectives that had been turned against Buchanan. And to make sure
that the nasty attacks work, they have been dragged out and put
on the magazine website at least four times. (The Smearbund, as
Murray used to remind us, leaves nothing to chance.)
Buchanan, who is inexplicably never mentioned, Nader is charged
with having written for the "anti-Semitic" American
Mercury, opposed American crusades to spread democracy, and
"minimized" the supposedly vast differences between the
two parties and their standard bearers.
While it is clear that differences persist between the two candidates,
what they represent protectionism, pro-labor welfare, military
isolationism, and reaction against the Washington establishment
is sufficiently similar that one could see frustrated Buchananites
moving to another populist candidate who enjoys broader support
and some media approval.
one point, revulsion for global democratic crusades, it might be
argued that Nader takes a more clear-headed position. Unlike Buchanan,
he does not blame such idiocy on international agencies depriving
the US of its freedom of action. Not the UN nor Nato, but the American
government and certain favored domestic interests, push us into
reconstructing the globe.
Nader comes out of the anti-war Left and has never abandoned his
resistance to American foreign adventures, he is willing to blame
the occupation forces in Washington for such unkind acts as the
bombing of Serbia. Without passing over completely his neo-Marxist
economics, predilection for class-action lawyers, and egregious
Hollywood pals, it is nonetheless possible to see how the feisty
Nader could be identified with another maverick populist claiming
to represent the common man. At least this year, that identification
may be working against the poor Buchanan Brigades.
Gottfried is professor of history at Elizabethtown College and author,
most recently, of the highly recommended After