Sunday was my daughter’s second birthday party. She’s three. I really need to catch up on things. I learned several things at the party. First, Alan Greenspan impersonators, while inexpensive, are not a big hit with the kids. Second, praying that the little boy who peed on your sneakers will turn into a duck doesn’t always make it happen, even if you pray really, really hard.

As I watched my daughter confusedly blow out both of her birthday candles, I caught a glimpse of Ralph Nader on my television. This was jarring. Even more jarring than the little girl who head-butted me in the groin. Ralph Nader was my second biggest hero growing up. My first was Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, because nothing says “HERO” more than a really stoned bass player.

While other kids my age would go to the ballpark to see their heroes, Johnny Bench, Tom Seaver, and I would go to the ballpark to see Ralph. He was rarely there, not being a ball player and all, but that wouldn’t stop me.

Ralph wrote a great book exposing how unsafe the cars of the day were called, “Unsafe at Any Speed,” followed by his lighter follow-up, “Love’s Burning Fury.” But as both Ralph and I got older, I began to view him with increasing disdain as he became less of a crusader for justice than the cranky old man who screams at kids to “get off his lawn” or the crusty old waitress who was always yelling at me to “pay for my lunch.” I hate people like that.

For me, the 2000 election sealed the deal as Nader clearly cost Gore the election. When I spoke to Nader supporters, they always argued that Gore (and now Kerry) was not “pure” enough. To show how ridiculous this is, I have written a short play about what it would have been like if Nader had run for Chancellor in Germany in the 1930’s. I don’t mean to compare Bush to Hitler, I compare him more to Potsy Weber from “Happy Days,” but I think it makes my point:

Run Ralph Run! (a short play)

Bobo and Heinrich, two German voters, meet on a street corner in 1933:

Hi Heindrich! Are you on your way to Wurst Fest?

Gutan Tag Bobo. I sure am. I haven’t missed a
Wurst Fest since the war. I hope you are voting on

Oh, I am Heinrich. I am voting for NaderShtein

But we are Jewish. Shouldn’t we vote for the liberals
so Hitler doesn’t get in?

Oh no Heinrich, the liberals have sold out. They aren’t
as liberal as they used to be.

But as Jews…?

Especially as Jews. Did you know that the liberals cut
funding for the Jewish Community Centers by 12%?

Well yes. But Hitler’s extermination plans trouble me.
The liberals do not actually promise to exterminate us.

But Heinrich, don’t you see? The liberals didn’t even put
up a Menorah in party headquarters this year.

Well, maybe they should have. But Hitler actually promises
in his pamphlets to…wait, I have one here…ah yes, to “Incinerate
all Jews in really, really hot ovens.”


They underlined the second “really.”

But if you keep voting for the liberals, they will take you for
granted. If Hitler gets in, the liberals will know they have to
earn your vote. They’ll pay more attention to you.

Well that’s good. But I’m having trouble getting past the
“ovens” thing.

Shouldn’t you vote for who you really want to win?

I want the guy who won’t put me in ovens to win.

But you are voting for the lesser of two evils.

Well yes, the much, much lesser. You see, I’ve become pretty
much of a one issue voter. “No” on ovens.

You sell out if you wish! I’m voting for Naderschtein!!

I’ve come to accept that Nader has psychological problems that even Bob Neuhart couldn’t handle. However, his supporters have no excuse. Anyone who supports Nader this time is out of their mind. I will, however, still accept your campaign contributions.

Dutch Larooo
Tomorrow: My wife and I plan our engagement party!