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*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations

**Crashing the Party

How To Tell the Truth and Still Run For President

by Ralph Nader

Reviewed January 31, 2002.
Thomas Dunne Books, 2002.  383 pages.

I confess, there’s a part of me that likes any book that points out faults in both of the two major political parties, without pretending that one of them has all the answers.

I didn’t really know what the Green Party stood for before I read this book.  Indeed, Ralph Nader expresses disgust that when he got media coverage, the main focus tended to be on how he would affect the race between Bush and Gore, not where he stood on the issues.

In the past, I used to think that if Republicans and Democrats can agree on an issue, it must be good.  However, Ralph Nader brought up many legitimate issues that neither major party is addressing.  It’s refreshing to hear another voice.

One of his major arguments is that Republicans and Democrats get their funding from corporations, and they are no longer governing for the people, but for those corporations.  I never used to like the idea of public funding for election campaigns, but I begin to see the advantage to having our elected officials not owe favors to corporations.  In a way, Ralph Nader’s presidential campaign was a simple extension of his career as a consumer advocate.  He’s still working for ordinary people, and I respect that.

I didn’t think the book was particularly well-written.  It was often repetitive, and far too detailed.  I don’t really care where Ralph Nader was on each day of his campaign!  Perhaps that’s a simple outgrowth of the egotism a person has to have in order to run for President.

However, despite that, he had some great things to say, and some fresh ideas.  I was impressed enough that, if this had come out before the election, I may well have voted for him, if only to send the message that some of these ideas are worth considering.  As it is, I will watch the Green Party with interest.  It would be great if some of these ideas for election reform would be put into place before the next Circus we call a Campaign.


Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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