February 2004
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
    Mar »

Day February 20, 2004

Public Plea to Ralph Nader

I sent the following to the Nader Exploratory Committee today.  I hope everyone makes their wishes known as well.  


Mr. Nader,

I write to you, after hearing that you will address America concerning your Presidential candidacy this Sunday, to make a plea:

Please do not run for President in this election.

I respect you greatly.  In many other circumstances, I would have to think carefully about where to place my vote.  But not this time.  Electoral data from the 2000 election demonstrates quite clearly that you split the progressive and Democratic vote with Al Gore, and as a result, allowed George Bush to win the White House.

In 2004, this country is essentially holding a referendum on how this country will move forward.  The person sitting in the Oval Office for the next four years will have an enormous impact on the direction our country takes for the remainder of my lifetime, and our children’s lifetime.    

Somewhere between one and three Supreme Court justices are likely reaching the age where retirement becomes a concern.  The next Administration will likely get to set the direction of the Court for the next twenty years.  And if we examine the Rehnquist Court’s record, with a consistent 5-4 majority, that prospect should frighten all of us – Democrat, Green, or Independent. 

We’ve taken the unprecendented step of going from budget surpluses to record deficits, and record national debt.  With all due respect to the soliders and fallen civilians in Iraq, when the current war is done and the subject of history instead of the nightly news, the trillions
of dollars that have been borrowed and spent by the Bush Administration will still haunt our grandchildren.  That debt will ultimately destroy our ability to provide a social “safety net” to our citizens and continue foreign aid to countries which are trying to become strong, well-governed states.  Including Iraq. 

I ask you to consider the issue of running for President in 2004 not because I don’t think you could handle the issues I raise.  You could. 

I ask you not to run for President because I believe you cannot win, and winning back the White House is the most important thing Democrats, Greens, Progressives, and Independents can do this year.  It’s more important than breaking the “two party” stranglehold on American politics.  It’s more important than electing the “best” possible candidate.  Put simply, it’s the most important thing any
of us will do this year. 

Again, I want you to know that I respect you deeply for your life-long advocacy and public service.  I understand that this might be one of your last opportunities to run for the presidency.  I know it will be a difficult decision not to run.  I understand the sacrifice we’re all asking you to make.

But I ask you anyway:  please do not run for President in this election

You will not win.  And in the process, you run the risk of delivering the country into the hands of George Bush for another
four years. 

Another four years in which Bush will consolidate the Rehnquist agenda on the Supreme Court; another four years during which we’ll approach the world community with arrogance rather than cooperation and honor; another four years of catastrophic fiscal policy for which our grandchildren will still be paying, long after you and I are part of history. 

Please think about it.  Please do the right thing on Sunday morning.

The Bush Administration’s attack on scientific integrity

The Union of Concerned Scientists published a report this week on the Bush Administration’s “misuse” and interference with scientific research.  It’s well worth reading, even if you already understand the main point.  The report has four major findings, and a ton of documentation of the depth and breadth of the Administration’s misuse, interference, and outright obstruction of the use of scientific data in policymaking.  The findings are:

1.       There is a well-established pattern of suppression and distortion of scientific findings by high-ranking Bush administration political appointees across numerous federal agencies.  These actions have consequences for human health, public safety, and community well-being.

2.       There is strong documentation of a wide-ranging effort to manipulate the government’s scientific advisory system to prevent the  appearance of advice that might run counter to the administration’s political agenda.  

3.       There is evidence that the administration often imposes restrictions on what government scientists can say or write about “sensitive” topics.

4.       There is significant evidence that the scope and scale of the manipulation, suppression, and misrepresentation of science by the Bush administration is unprecedented.  

Nader to announce on Sunday

Ralph Nader is going to announce his intentions on Sunday morning (Meet the Press).  If he wasn’t going to run, he didn’t have to appear on TV to say that, so naturally I’m worried.  The numbers in 2000 are clear:  Nader took votes away from Gore, and doomed us to at least four years of Bush.  I’m hoping – possibly foolishly – that Nader will take the opportunity on Sunday to tell everyone that he’s not running because he doesn’t want to fragment progressives, and that defeating Bush is more important to him than making a statement by running.  I hope he says that.