Tuesday, May 18, 2004

The label confusion 

Bill Kauffman offers a brave new analysis of the American political spectrum in "The Australian":

"Bush stands at antipodes from the best traditions of American conservatism. So does Kerry, whose differences with Bush on foreign policy are so minor as to be detectable only by, perhaps, the Hubble Space Telescope. In the 2004 presidential race, Nader is the conservative candidate, if by conservative we mean a defender of human-scale communities, traditional liberties and a prudential and peaceful foreign policy.

"Bush is the candidate of the military-industrial complex, Kerry is the choice of Hollywood, and both are raising millions on Wall Street. Nader, by contrast, speaks for Main Street USA."
The "best traditions of American conservatism" that according to Kauffman are now embodied in Nader's candidacy are actually called "populism", a small-town ideology which has traditionally used soft-right rhetoric to defend soft-left objectives. Kauffman would also be well advised to distinguish "conservatism" as an ideology from "conservatism" as a temperament or inclination.

And judging by the polling, Nader doesn't represent Main Street, USA, so much as a Minor Lane, USA.


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