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Where Was Nader When the Firestones Blew?

The Least Qualified Presidential Candidate Since Lyndon LaRouche

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, September 13, 2000.

So, a recap of recent horrendoplastys.

Did anyone see Ralph Nader on Jay Leno last night? This is the guy you want as President? Humorless, stilted, and sounding awfully stupid on occasion, it is the worst performance by a politician since Ross Perot visually and literally biodegraded under the withering fire of Vice President Al Gore some years ago on national television. To those whose throats constrict and eyes well at the thought of Nader, and who roll the floors in religious ecstasy at the thought of the Green Party in power, the fact that Nader is a lousy television performer is neither the point nor relevant. Surely, they say, it is his hard-working competence and the fact that he is NOT a politician or stand-up that knights him for the world's most powerful office. Plus the fact that he would wage war against evil corporations. On paper, it is a worthy position. Provided you do not understand what the President's job is, and clearly most do not.

Unlike any other country in the world of note, or even Cuba, the President of the United States is both head of state and head of government. That is utterly unlike Britain, Russia, China. The President must be party host, gracious recipient of sand-papered apricot pits formed into a likeness of himself presented by groups of addled citizens, war lord, negotiator with both the steel magnates and the arms merchants and the drug dealers and the religious wackos who run the neighborhoods that surround us on the globe. It is not a pointless task. The Royal Family in Britain does little else, and although they are booed for it, they serve a huge function equal to half the President's job plus that of our bald Eagle: they are ambulatory national birds in necklaces and cummerbunds, well paid but devoid of anything to be considered a life. It is not likely that Ralph Nader, hosting his first state dinner, would survive the first course with anybody we would hope to retain as friends. Personal relationships between heads of state, while greatly exaggerated in importance, nevertheless serve as efficient communication tools. Nader, who essentially brags about having no personal life or friends, gives eerie vibes, especially when he tries not to. Imagine Richard Jewell with a law degree, Ted Kazinski as Secretary of State addressing the General Assembly.

And being a social animal is not irrelevant. President Clinton, who is skilled with people, connects all over the world. When he speaks, even when he speaks boilerplate garbage, people nod. Reagan did not have that skill, because his point of connection was solely with this nation via a mythic common frame of reference to fictional movies. Clinton speaks from a well of experience with folks, and this is something that cannot be faked. When Clinton seeks to console, move, or unite us to a goal, he is generally very successful, and this is a great annoyance to his enemies. Can you imagine Nader consoling the families of soldiers, miners, or owners of Firestone Tires?And isn't the Firestone-Ford front of interest? Here are two major corporations who have lied, lied, lied and let relatively innocent citizens around the world die horrible deaths. Because the two corporations could face manslaughter charges at some point, they have turned viciously on each other. Firestone has helpfully pointed out that the Ford Explorer has had numerous safety issues regardless of the tires, and Ford has suddenly discovered that, golly, they had some information about the numerous accidents involving their vehicles, although their interest waned after the fiscal liability memos appeared from the legal department. Where, by the by, was Nader Our Protector through all this?

And Governor Bush, while arguably not dyslexic as a sibling is - but rather stupid - has allowed another minor boo-boo in his campaign to metamorph into a large and smelly animal. The Republicans allowed a foolish ad to run with the word "rats" appearing for a thirtieth of a second, supposedly a partial shot of the word "bureaucrats" and the Democrats screamed subliminal advertising!, which in any case is neither a crime nor scientifically effective. Rather than feigning a slapped forehead and apologizing, Bush and the Republicans have managed to leave the impression it is both a crime and something they did on purpose, which - given the microscopic attention that these ads are - has to be true. It is not helped by Bush being unable to pronounce "subliminal", especially when he chants he wants to talk about education and not these foolish incidents. And Patrick Buchanan, the anti-Semitic crypto-Nazi, has won the hallowed prize of $12.5 million and been dubbed the official nominee of the Reform Party, once an entity of significance, now a national joke and embarrassment. It is true that Buchanan represents little beyond the isolationist element with other Reform members, but he usurped this party because they were amateurs and didn't bother to learn Robert's Rules, which is to say, they were too lazy to learn how to govern themselves, much less the United States. There are many reasons given for the failures of third parties in the history of this country, although a government conspiracy is probably not one, but their stupidity and staggering incompetence are rarely commented upon. Buchanan, a master of minutia and Parliamentary behavior, beat the Perot faction fairly and squarely and deserves the prize. He also deserves to be castigated as the most dangerous candidate for national office in a century, far more dangerous than George Wallace or even Aaron Burr two centuries ago.

His cynical selection of a mentally unstable black woman with a history of lying as his running mate does little to bolster the image.

In all, a most entertaining week, worthy of an Emmy.