(In an effort to ape the tech-savvy tactics of Howard Dean, independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader has started a web log, or "blog," at his official site, www.votenader.org. We've been monitoring the site for a while now, and we've kept a record of Nader's every post -- many of which mysteriously disappeared from the site almost as soon as they went up. Here are a few of the more curious entries we've been able to archive.)
Sunday, Feb. 22, 2004
Full-court Press: Success! Victory! Or as close to it as anything I've ever seen! My announcement to Tim Russert on this morning's "Meet the Press" that I was throwing my hat into the '04 ring was welcomed like the shining gift to democracy that it is. Oh, Russert did his best to shield his enthusiasm -- after all, he's beholden to the great, horned goat-god that is the two-party system, and has to at least look impartial while the cameras are rolling. But even as he fixed his beady little eyes on me and threw out question after question about my balloting strategies and prescription-drug intake, I could tell that he's secretly thrilled Americans will have a real choice at the polling place come November.
That suspicion was borne out during a commercial break, when he leaned over to me and whispered, "What in God's name are you thinking?" -- a clear request for continued, intimate access to the keen mental process driving this year's most spectacular "outsider" campaign. Note to self: Keep friends close, enemies closer, and send Russert a honey-baked ham on the third Thursday of every month. 1:15 p.m.
Rotten eggheads: It's always hard to tell from a show like "MTP" how well your message is going over -- there's no studio audience to burst into spontaneous applause every time you pillory turncoat Democrats and purveyors of child pornography. But when I dropped my boldest new catchphrase -- calling my detractors the "liberal intelligentsia" -- I just knew that households from Bangor to Nantucket were eating up the true meaning of my words: "Suck it, Salon! Sit on a Sno-Cone and do twirls, Todd Gitlin!" Sure enough, the minute I got back to Nader '04 H.Q. and checked the answering machine, it was filled with messages from well-wishers who are sick and tired of the Demopublican stranglehold on public policy. Many of them, it seems, are also working for Sprint in one capacity or another, and can't even place a personal phone call without having to tag on an enforced solicitation for me to change my long-distance carrier. Will the corporate intrusion on our private lives never end? 3:45 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2004
Market forces: If there was any doubt that my message of guilt-free activism is catching on like wildfire, it vanished with a simple visit to my local Piggly Wiggly. There I was, minding my own business in Aisle 12 while checking my shopping cart's superstructure for safety infractions, when I noticed that everyone around me was simply fascinated by my presence. Customers up and down the aisle where whispering to each other in awe, mouthing variations on the phrase "That's the guy" and punctuating their remarks with meaningful hand gestures. Some placed their forefingers near their ears and twirled in a clockwise direction, which I took as a sign that they are just "crazy" about my candidacy. Others used their digits to simulate a blade being slowly drawn across their throat, which can only mean that they expect me to cut through the fat of Washington indifference like a hot knife through butter. Or through a trachea. Or whatever. 7:15 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 26, 2004
Clicking ass: Number of hits to this site since Sunday: 250. Number of hits to my solar plexus: 236. We're on the move! 11:35 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 29, 2004
One Moore time? Only a week has gone by since declaration day, and my celebrity supporters are already out there firing up the electorate. That has to be what they're doing, or surely I would have been able to reach one of them by now. In six separate calls, Michael Moore's wife said he was "too tied up" to come to the phone; with that senile soldier boy Wes Clark out of contention, what other explanation could there be, except that my old pal Mike has come back into the flock? I bet he's out there right now, distributing handbills to migrant farm workers and hosting registration rallies at union halls. I think he's even taken it upon himself to chair the refreshment committee, since I could clearly hear somebody hollering, "Pass the Old El Paso, honey!" in the distance every time I called.
Patti Smith, I think, is being especially pragmatic. None of the numbers she gave me during the '00 campaign is still in service; I had to go through my entire research library of music-industry contacts and other known crime figures before I could reach anyone who would even admit to representing her. She's probably just worried that applying too much of her A-list muscle to the cause might overshadow even a galvanizing figure like me this early in a run. Because I just don't buy her people's explanation that she's now working as a drum roadie for Liz Phair. 2:45 a.m.
Wednesday, March 3, 2004
Early deposit: Say what you will about soft-money contributions -- and God knows I will -- but boy, is it better to have some than not if you're running for president. This week has been a regular windfall for this campaign, with the morning mail bringing fat stacks of checks from donors as diverse as the human rainbow we call America. Rupert Murdoch, Halliburton, Richard Mellon Scaife, the Heritage Foundation, the Walt Disney Company -- the contributions came rolling in, all from folks I never would have imagined to embrace a crusade like ours. And every envelope included a nice handwritten note thanking me in advance for everything I'll be doing this year "to keep the country on track." It's just like I always say: One person really can make a difference, as long as he doesn't let the voices of defeat and dejection drown him out.
P.S. The Disney check bounced. 4:15 p.m.