I'm torn about this.
On the one hand, we all know what Nader did in 2000, and the high price we have paid for it -- today more than ever.
On the other hand, Ian Murphy's phone call to Scott Walker was the catalyst that enabled the entire workers' movement to evolve, from a little-known uprising that was interesting mainly to those of us who live in either Wisconsin or Left Blogistan, to what it has become today: a new nationwide consciousness that may be on the verge of doing what we never thought we could do -- overcoming the RW media influence and demonstrating to many 'Baggers who their REAL enemies are.
Murphy is running as the Green Party candidate for the NY-26 seat recently vacated by Craigslist bottom-crawler Chris Lee (R). There will be a special election May 24th.
Ian Murphy is a hero. He gets a lot of slack from me. If he wants to Naderize a Congressional race, there's nobody in the country (except maybe Jon Erpenbach) I'd rather support in that effort. In general, I have nothing but anger at those who do anything to increase the chance of a Republican, any Republican, being elected to office. But there are several reasons why in this race, at this moment in time, I think supporting Murphy could possibly be a good thing.
I mean, think about it.
First, it's not like it this race will tip the balance of power in the House one way or the other. It was formerly R, and the Rs have so many seats right now that one less won't really help much.
Second, who knows? If Alan Grayson was able to win (just the once) in Florida on the Obama and anti-Bush coattails, maybe Murphy can pull himself up by his own coattails and ride the national anti-Scott Walker hatred, which Murphy personally did much to engender, to win in NY.
OK, long shot. I know. Grayson was the Dem nominee; Murphy is running as a Green. Not the same. But third, the siphoning of votes would seem to be bipartisan in this race: Tea Party candidate Jack Davis is also in the mix.
Fourth and most important, whether he wins or loses, Murphy is bound to make headlines. That is a double-edged sword that could cut both ways. It's possible that having Murphy in the race will do a lot to help in the process of spreading the Wisconsin message nationwide. But the downside is that I think part of the reason the Wisconsin message has done so well nationally is that it sounds so . . . reasonable. So traditional. So middle-class. The people carrying that message are your neighbors: teachers, cops, secretaries at City Hall. They are safe, they are familiar, they are friendly. Salt of the earth types.
Ian Murphy, on the other hand, is anything but safe, familiar and friendly. The essence of his platform is that he is angry. He's a snarky, iconoclastic guy who looks and sounds like the cliche of the blogger working from his parents' basement.
I admit, the events of the past couple of years have also made me more angry, snarky and icnoclastic, Still, I worry that that isn't the brand that appeals to middle America and wakes up the sleeping giant of populism.
Thus, as I said at the outset, I'm torn. I'd love to hear more from Ian Murphy in the newsbites than I hear from that &^%$#@! Eric Cantor. But I wonder if that would be a good thing in the bigger picture.
Whatever your feelings on Murphy running, I encourage you to check out his campaign website (linked above). It's a hoot. If nothing else, it's worth checking just for the url alone.