The River

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Obama, you don't need to move to the center

Doing so is a travesty and a tragedy

"First of all, what's clear is Ralph Nader hasn't been paying attention to my speeches," Obama said. "Ralph Nader is trying to get attention. ... It's a shame, because if you look at his legacy in terms of consumer protection, it's an extraordinary one. But at this point, he's somebody who's trying to get attention."

-- USA Today

Damned straight Nader is trying to get attention. Isn't that the name of the game? Exercising free speech is trying to get attention. It's what democracy is founded on. You're beginning to sound like Bill O'Reilly when someone gets his goat: shut up! shut up!

Let's look at what Nader has focused on:

Adopt single payer national health insurance
Cut the huge, bloated, wasteful military budget
No to nuclear power, solar energy first
Aggressive crackdown on corporate crime
and corporate welfare
Open up the Presidential debates
Adopt a carbon pollution tax
Reverse U.S. policy in the Middle East
Impeach Bush/Cheney
Repeal the Taft-Hartley anti-union law
Adopt a Wall Street securities speculation tax
Put an end to ballot access obstructionism
Work to end corporate personhood

Please spare us the "Nader is just an egoist" cannard. It's insulting. Nader is trying to get attention to issues you have ignored so that you can market a soothing image. These issues are not frivolous and ego-centered (your charge looks like projection; it's weak). They come from a love for the country and a distaste for politicians who facilitate its rape by an unaccountable financial and corporate elite.

If they want war, they get it, or at least line up for the spoils once the bombs start falling on civillians. If they want a new bubble -- the current one is oil trading -- they get it, nevermind the damage to the financially vulnerable.

It's easy if there is no accountability, and yet you have not stood up for accountability.

It's pretty simple. If we keep supporting politicians such as yourself who will not stand up for us (i.e. the majority of everyday working Americans) against an ever-increasing right-wing/corporatist/authoritarian government, then we are, as Glenn Reynolds opines, fundamentally unserious. Or perhaps, completely cowed by the right. I find either charge distasteful.

The upshot is a charade of an election in which you ride revulsion of the Republicans into office so you can hold it for a short period of time in order to keep the lid on.

If you tell me you can't do anything now, then when? Nothing has been done in my lifetime to stop the slide and I fail to see some mythical near future when things "change." Your governing style looks like a repeat of Bill Clinton, and while he did some decent things for the economy, his presidency led directly to where we are now.

So far, you are proving to be another fighter who leaves himself open to the right, not seeming to care that so many have put money on you. If you diss Ralph Nader and you fail to back up your rhetoric, then you are at some level the elitist (read: con artist) Karl Rove says you are, you are the empty speechmaker the right claims you are, and you are fundamentally unserious in holding out hope to your constituency.

hey there--obviously I don't feel quite the same way about this, but generally agree that he *might* win without moving right. I do understand why he's doing it, see the benefits, and can't blame him given recent electoral history. And specifically, he should either not talk about Nader whatsoever or compliment him for his ideas, go big-tent and invite his input.

The country, I can blame. It's filled with spoiled, larcenous dimwits who love to kill things. At least there are things the rich and poor can agree on! This one time at a bar in Cambridge, I challenged a conservative lawyer to tell me one far-reaching success that conservatism had in the 20th century, just one. He really pondered it, thought for about 20 seconds, and emphatically replied, "Vietnam!"

I mean, what the fuck can you do with an answer like that? It's hopeless. And this guy was making probably a mill a year for his legal wisdom. I should've just kicked him in the balls. People like that in this country take people like Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich, Ralph Nader and Paul Wellstone and lampoon, marginalize, shred or kill them. Whatever's necessary to stop the party poopers from harshing the ongoing festivities that are now held in about 7 places in the US.

One person is not going to eliminate this backdrop, although parts of the canvas can be changed, which the Clintons temporarily did. Glenn Greenwald had a recent Salon piece that compared DC to Versailles. It's like, "Where the fuck have you been hiding, Glenn?"

Nader is like a well-known Jesuit priest who takes in lepers and harasses the carriages of the rich in Paris. Obama's dumping on Nader really worries me, as does making nice with the Clintons. As a courtier, peaceful coexistence with the Clintons is necessary, but ridiculing Nader is not, and doing so is also a tactical error.

He should be using Nader to open up space for him and for some of the items on that Perfect List. Obama NEEDS big voices on the left of him making points just like Nader's. My household is pretty close to the per-person contribution limit for Obama, and I will make this very known with his staff.
Hey Marc, I'm on vacation this week and shouldn't even be hitting my usual depressing sites (this includes my own of course), so just going to say "thanks" for this, your blog and your friendship.
You're most welcome, thank you, and many returns. Stay away from the web entirely for a few days, time may be turned back to the early 90's. You never know. Enjoy!
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