Ed Note: Defamer readers: The Christina Applegate and Ben Affleck story is right here
Offer Nader the Attorney General Position
The Corsair would like to offer this free advice to The Democratic Party, now meeting in Boston, solemnly, to coalesce its scattered forces for the final November War: Offer Ralph Nader the Attorney General position.
You know that this crotchety old man covets this position, mouth watering, eyes agog with lust. He savors this tasty little morsel; one can almost imagine Nader praying lyrically to dark ancient gods -- intoning softly, rhythmically, intensely -- all this after being named the Attorney General of the United States, targeting multinationals at will. Nader has spent his entire life -- from his graduation from Harvard Law School to the authorship of Unsafe at Any Speed, to his creation of the "Nader's Raiders," to the endless Public Interest Research Groups (PIRG's) -- all this after a position of leverage in The Law. Nader translates his monastic disdain of romantic love into the single purpose of corporate scrutiny.
All of these inventions, all of this groping around in the ethical gray areas of the mechanisms of American capitalism, all this in the search of an Archimedian point on which to stand and remake the world into his image, a world where corporations are as hard on themselves as the conscientious Lord Ralph is, perhaps, on himself. That, true believr, at least in theory.
Nader is a threat to John Kerry, to be sure. He is a spoiler twice, a gadfly from the far flung left, and a harvester of radical youth discontent with roughly three percent of the electorate in his thrall. Nader is in the red-bronze twilight of a somewhat useful career as a consumer advocate. He knows this is his last hurrah, his last chance to the dance, and, secretly, I believe, he was tickled in a perverse way by his role as a spoiler in 2000. Nader was tickled, I believe, as an obscene poster in a chat room might be, or a graffiti artist having at a virginal, clean wall might be (uhm, or so I hear ...)
For the first time in his lonely and bitter struggle against Tha Man, the CEO's, the Masters of the Universe, he made a difference, he was a blip on the national radar, rather than some slightly unsavory B-Lister on the Georgetown social set. He was not irrelevant. History would remember him, if only as an asterisk. Ivy League political science theses would herald him as a legitimate force.
At the beginning of the 21st century, it should be noted, Attorney generals -- like urban mayors in the mid 90s, in the wake of Federalism -- are the new black. Eliot Spitzer has made the position hugely relevant. The CEO, as a sociological curiosity, is getting close scrutiny; they are no longer viewed as untouchable, invincible. Business journalism is all the rage. Public outcry is against the excesses of business -- think: Martha, Kenny Lay, and all the rest. An Attorney General of any state can make a difference -- how much greater the Attorney General of the United States?
How could Nader refuse this opportunity -- if presented reverently by, say, Howard Dean -- to be useful to the consumer on such a massive scale. Nader's psychology demands this validation. His ego, properly massaged, would allow him to step down gracefully, giving an extra convention bounce. As pollster Mark Mellman writes in The Hill:
"Going into the 1992 Democratic convention, Bill Clinton was running third and Ross Perot was in second place, garnering 30 percent of the vote. During the convention, Perot dropped out, temporarily increasing Clintons margin by 28 points. Clintons gain had less to do with the convention and lots to do with Perot"
So, what's the worst that could happen? The cantankerous Nader has as much a chance of surviving a Senate confirmation hearing for the AG position as Howard Stern has of getting inducted into the National Organization of Women. But if you won't say anything neither will I.