Kerry-Nader Redux

Clark's Corner - Memorials

There's nothing like an election year to liven up the summer, though the politicking this year has not been all that entertaining now that Hillary is out of it, thus disallowing one-half of the "it's my turn" candidacies to acrimoniously and entertainingly accuse the other half of not actually having a turn after all…the gender vs. race thing. Anyway, 2004 furnished better entertainment, and the following appeared in this corner in May of 2004, when Ralph Nader, as usual, was in the hunt. It's a fantasy conversation between front-runner John Kerry and Nader.

K: Just so you'll know it didn't come from me, Ralph, or any of my people, except maybe, let's see, no, not any of my people - maybe it was Dean - or maybe ol' Slick, anyway, I didn't say it, that is, I didn't say you're about the screwiest nut in the asylum. Don't get me wrong…I did say that once last year, but then I took it back. I took it back on Larry King Live so that oughtta tell you how serious I am about the whole thing. The whole world knows.

N: That's okay, Senator, we all slip up once in a while. You had every right to vote to give Bush the say-so on that Iraq-war thing and then to say you didn't expect him to do anything without Kofi's permission and Chiraq's blessing and Kim Jong Il's go-ahead and Putin's…

K: That's not exactly the way it happened, Ralph. You need to get the facts straight. What I said was that we shouldn't do anything - not even cut trees in Alaska - without United Nations approval. We live in a global society now, Ralph, just like you keep saying…you know, gotta have clean air, clean dirt, clean and green forests, friendly governments, no enemies…you know, warm-fuzzies…even for people like John Scalia…

N: That's Antonin Scalia, John…

K: Oh yeah, right, whoever heard of an Italian named John…I musta meant John O'Connor…

N: That's Sandra Day O'Connor, Senator, but let's get down to business. What's this meeting all about anyway? I'm in the race to stay, but that should make you feel good because all my people will get out and vote for the very next best thing to me, which is you - right? You oughtta win in a walk, what with those naked prisoners and…

K: Uh…well…my people don't see it that way, naked prisoners notwithstanding. They figure you threw the election to Bush the last time around, and you know…well…anyway…you don't have a Chinaman's chance…

N: Watch it there, John. You just made a racist statement. You do that in one of those silly focus groups in somebody's living-room in Peoria and Bill O'Reilly'll have some mean people in to talk about you, and Larry King won't save your hide from that shark O'Reilly. He munches on liberals like you for just a light lunch. Limbaugh already impersonates you and your French ego…makes you sound like that old Senator Foghorn character.

K: Just a slip of the tongue there, Ralph. You better believe I'm careful when I'm out in the public. And you well know I'm not a racist. I even believe the Chinese oughtta have somebody in Skull and Bones one of these days… although I don't see that happening in the near term. Now, about this campaign of yours, Ralph. Actually, what can it prove? Everybody from the Little Sisters of Hope to the NOW gals know I'm the most liberal hunk - that's what those gals call me - in the U.S. of A. I'm even farther left than Ted Kennedy, Barney Frank, Michael Moore, and you. My closest friends call me "Frenchie" since I'm so far left. That makes my wife happy, too.

N: But you voted for the war, John, when even that republican from Rhode Island didn't do that…so, ya see, to have a clear conscience I have to do what I have to do. Besides, Walter Cronkite wrote that well publicized Dear John letter to the Denver Post and accused you of saying that for you to be branded a liberal was laughable.

K: But I voted against spending money on the war, Ralph…that oughtta tell you something. Besides, I was probably in Tennessee or some other backwater state when I had to say that. Even Al Gore couldn't carry that state, and he and his old man both were senators from that place.

N: Yeah, but you voted for spending that money the first time around and that tells me you have a credibility problem, so I'm gonna help you solve that problem by forcing you far enough left to be a Kucinich type and swear you'll bring all the troops home the day after you're sworn in.

K: Get real, Ralph. Where's your support? The Greens are in low-profile mode right now. All those uncontrolled burns out west have made them look as silly as Clinton was when he made those forests into national monuments and turned them into forest fires.

N: Support? Don't you know I just got the endorsement of the Reform Party. That's pretty strong stuff, John…worth 19 percent of the vote in 1992 and almost another nine in ninety-six. Old Ross Perot gave the election to Slick Willie…that's how much support I have.

K: Which brings me back to the subject at hand, Ralph. If Perot elected Clinton in ninety-two and ninety-six and you elected Bush in 2000, where will that leave me this year? Those stupid Greens of yours added to those idiots like the ones that elected Jesse Ventura, and now this current Reform bunch, whoever they are…

N: Watch it there, Senator. You came close to discriminatory language - maybe even racism again - and I didn't come here to…after all, you didn't look too smart when you threw the ribbons or medals or maybe even your skivvies over the fence that day, but you don't hear me bad-mouthing you over that.

K: Sorry about that, Ralph…just a slip of the tongue…you know, heat of the battle stuff, pre-convention-stress- syndrome. Ventura did okay and you ran a good campaign. Actually, I've asked White House Security if some of my Swifty brothers can use metal detectors and examine that section of fence…you know, good faith effort to find those medals or ribbons - actually I don't remember which I said back then, or even yesterday, for that matter - and let the voters know I'm sorry I did that. But, I definitely did not throw my skivvies over the fence, and I don't appreciate one damn bit your…

N: My turn to apologize, John. Look, why don't we just issue some kind of joint statement…you know, I'll declare that I'm holding your feet to the fire on the war and the economy and the smoking ban even outdoors and out on the high seas to the twelve-mile limit, and you can declare something like…let me see…you can pull an "Eisenhower"…just say you'll visit Iraq and stop the war. That's what he did, and he stopped the war in Korea.

K: Yeah, but he didn't stop it for a few months, and besides, I hear it's too hot in Iraq for a trip, even in November. My wife likes the French Riviera. Why don't I promise to meet some generals from Iraq on the Riviera…you know, where we won't be bothered by all the noise of bombs and that scroungy little imam's thugs and can therefore establish reasoned strategy?