[Katha Pollitt sent me several responses to Michael Moore's
> some her own, some the forwarded comments of others. -
> KP: >yes, this is the line of all the boys now . . .
All of these criticisms missed the point, IMO. The case for Ralph does not depend on a judgement that Gore and Bush are the same. We could concede that Gore is marginally better than Bush* in some dimensions, and worse in none. But that ignores the larger dynamic-- namely that the choice gets worse continuously as the 'center' moves to the right. Supporting the lesser evil does not change the larger drift. The question is whether anything else does. My proposition is that talking up Nader elevates a message that has the effect of shifting the 'center' in a left-ward direction. Nader's history is not unflawed, and the Green Party is not quite prepared to govern the nation, but to me the sharpness of Nader's message goes a long way.
It should be acknowledged that there is a potential price to pay -- if you abandon the marginally better, you can end up with the marginally worse. There has to be some political payoff to justify this. Reagan and Bush routinely ignored the demands of social conservatives in terms of big policy emphasis, but there has been an erosion that has had the effects on things like access to abortion that some of the critics of Moore point out.
I will offer two respects in which Gore may be positively worse than Bush. I've been looking over their fiscal platforms over the past few days. It's not clear that Gore is more expansionist, or less anti-expansionist, than Bush as far as spending goes. Some of Bush's tax cuts help ordinary people (like doubling the child credit). On the surface, a preliminary look suggests that Gore is much more tight-fisted, all for the glory of paying off public debt. I'll be looking at this and have more to say, for those interested, in early fall.
The other is the treachery factor. By taking stands in support of illiberal positions, liberals can do more to advance these positions than conservatives. The key one for Clinton/Gore, other than debt paydown, is missile defense.
one of the boyz,