kim campbell

kim campbell, former prime minister of canada (the first female canadian prime minister), was on bill maher in 2004 which i missed somehow. anyway, in this clip, michael moore and maher are begging perennial pariah ralph nader to not run in '04. he was seen as the spoiler in the 2000 election that handed george w. bush the victory (which i personally don't think is true).
what is interesting about this clip is that campbell makes a very good argument against nader running. she is right when she says that politics isn't an abstract exercise, that there are real lives on the line, and nader isn't helping anything when he does what he does in this particular situation.
i like ralph nader, and i believe in the principle of what he is doing; the problem is that he is dictated by principle and principle alone on this issue, about bringing in a third party as a significant player into u.s. politics. sometimes he gets so riled up in his principles, that all reason and logic and humanity is forgotten. he claimed there was no difference between the two parties, and it didn't matter who you voted for. well, this is true. but who you vote for does matter: george bush proved this point. there can be someone worse. i cannot recall a president more destructive for his own country, as well as the international community. by 2004 people knew he was no good. he had to be removed. nader knew it, but he didn't care.
now i haven't seen any statistics on nader's effect in the 2004 election, but i do want to back kim campbell's point, that nader has influence, and influence can translate to power and the ability to effect change. he could use his influence to aid one side (in this case it would have been kerry). i'm not saying nader would have had any real effect, all i am saying is that sometimes you have to put aside principle when you have a chance to make immediate and effective change. yes, a third party will only arise if there is real movement and voice, and sometimes you have to break a few eggs to succeed. but this is easily said when those eggs aren't yours. it's easy to be principled when regardless of the outcome, you will be fine.
maybe it's because i'm pretty cynical and i don't think a third party will ever be effective in u.s. politics. but campbell makes a great point here, and it pisses me off that maher interrupts her for the sake of a really lame o.j. simpson joke. campbell was making a real political statement on a show about political discussion. but ultimately maher always has to get the last laugh, and it's a shame. i like maher, but sometimes, he just has to shut the fuck up.