Once upon a time, Ralph Nader contributed greatly to this country's well-being, and God love him for it. I don't blame him for his 2000 presidential run, but he has obscured all the causes he stands for by running again in '04 and '08. I won't call him a meglomaniac; I just don't think he understands social dynamics anymore, and doesn't realize the damage he's doing to his causes. Today's Washington Post story about the man makes me wonder even more. First, there's this:
His basic themes, even some catchphrases, echo those of his four previous campaigns: ...Democrats are as beholden to big business and their contributions as Republicans are. Washington is "corporate-occupied territory" administered by a "two-party elected dictatorship." Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama are but the major parties' latest "corporate candidates."
Even close associates were surprised in 2000 when Nader filed financial disclosure forms revealing that he conservatively estimated his net worth at $3.9 million, thanks primarily to savvy investments in tech stocks. He also disclosed that he had made $512,000 in speaking fees during the preceding 16 months.
Which reminded me of this, from Time Magazine.
Barack Obama is the child of a single mother raised in part by his grandparents who went to school on a scholarship and was a community organizer making $12,000 a year before becoming a law professor, lawyer and state senator. Five years ago he was still paying off student loans.
Is it just me, or is there a touch of hypocrisy there? On the one hand, we have an author worth $4 million thanks to the tech industry. On the other hand, we have a guy who's just finished paying off his student loans. Tell me, which biography sounds like the real corporate candidate to you?
I generally agree with what Nader has to say. Corporations are too powerful. The income gap is crippling our economy, and is the farthest possible thing from justice. Allowing the purchasing power of the minimum wage to weaken with time is immoral and counterproductive. But when it comes to this "the major parties are the same" crap, I have to think the man's become a bit of a broken record. The Republicans could nominate Rat and the Democrats could throw up Zippy the Pinhead, and Nader would still claim it's a corporate campaign desperate for his presence. Oye vey, just go away.
Update: Minutes after finishing this post, I came across this from NBC's First Read (emphasis added):
"Asked to clarify whether he thought Obama does try to 'talk white,' Nader said: 'Of course. ... I mean, first of all, the number one thing that a black American politician aspiring to the presidency should be is to candidly describe the plight of the poor, especially in the inner cities and the rural areas, and have a very detailed platform about how the poor is going to be defended by the law, is going to be protected by the law, and is going to be liberated by the law,' Nader said. 'Haven't heard a thing... He wants to appeal to white guilt.'" ...
Oh my God.... I agree that there is a "white power structure" and that poverty is perhaps the most important issue facing this country today, but for the white Ralph Nader to presume it his place to tell black people what the color of their skin requires them to say and do? And to specifically tell it to a man who speaks of urban organizing, Katrina recovery, and black fatherhood? I can't believe he would say such a thing! The arrogance! The nerve! THE RACISM! I'll say what I've always refused to say before: Ralph Nader has lost every single one of his marbles and become a stain on progressive causes everywhere!