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Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader 2008

Yesterday I cringed at the announcement that Ralph Nader is going to run for President as a third party candidate. Here we go again was my first thought. Whenever Mr. Nader runs for the presidency he steals votes from the Democratic candidate. Without any chance of actually winning the presidency Mr. Nader stole enough votes in Florida to keep Al Gore from taking that state in the 2000 presidential race. Had Mr. Nader stayed out of the political fray we all could be in an alternate reality where there is no war, the economy isn’t on the rocks, people aren’t losing their houses, Exxon/Mobile isn’t making a billion dollars a week, the national debt is still on a decline instead of getting ready to top nine trillion dollars, the dollar isn’t plummeting to a point where it has global worth equal to the peso, we wouldn’t have a Supreme Court that tells people the best way to fight racism is to pretend it doesn’t exist, people would have rebuilt their houses a long time ago in New Orleans and elsewhere on the gulf coast, global warming would get the attention it deserves, the Kyoto Accords would be honored by all the countries of the world, and the Untied States would not exist as some pariah of the civilized world. Thank you Mr. Nader!

I just got through listening to Ralph Nader on Talk of the Nation Monday afternoon. I had tuned into the show with preconceived notions filling my head of Mr. Nader being a spoiler and working to undermine the efforts of the Democratic Party in order to hand the presidency to the Republican nominee. The program just ended and those predetermined ideas of Mr. Nader are history. I have to admit that compared to any Democratic or Republican candidate that I have ever heard in my life Mr. Nader’s opinions and thinking most closely match my own.

I wished I had recorded the conversation and the calls the answers to all the calls that were coming in. Unfortunately, the conversation was over before I realized it. Mr. Nader is not running as a spoiler. Mr. Nader is running as a man who is truly concerned about the direction this country is going and the cozy, self serving relationship that powerful corporate interest have with the status quo political machine.

For example, Mr. Nader understands that expanding the Medicaid program that covers many senior citizens so that it covers everybody is the most efficient way to provide universal healthcare to the entire population. One caller called in asking why we would be interested in universal healthcare when people in Canada, which has universal healthcare, have to wait for months for medical services. People go to Canada for medicine and not for medical services. The caller went on to say that the United States has the best medical technology of any country in the world. Mr. Nader explained that nobody in Canada does from a lack of medical care. The medical technology that we enjoy isn’t available to everyone but just the people who are fortunate enough to afford, or to work for entities that can afford the best healthcare that money can buy. People in Canada wait for elective surgeries. People in Canada wait to get nose jobs and liposuction. Nobody waits until they’re dead to be approved for a cancer treatment.

I can’t stand the bow tied bamboozler Tucker Carlson. But Mr. Nader was on his show talking about the power needs of America and the need to take the nuclear option off the table because power producers want guarantees from the government on liabilities in the case of an accident. If these utilities were so serious about safety then why do they need guarantees? In typical American corporation fashion these companies will do the minimum necessary to meet safety standards in order to maximize profits. If my family and I were going to take a taxi ride but the taxi driver wanted guarantees that if he had a collision we wouldn’t hold him liable, chances are very good we’d look for another taxi. In an era of people advocating people taking personal responsibilities utility corporations want guarantees that no one would hold them personally responsible.

Corporations have deep pockets to buy politicians twenty five hours a day for three hundred sixty seven days out of the year. Running for office has become so expensive that people cannot do it without the help of corporate investments. At one point in American history, if you wanted to run for office, all you had to do was ask to have your name printed on the ballot. Now, with primaries and caucuses and federal campaigning laws and the like this animal has grown unwieldy and inflexible as the two party system has pretty much eliminated any outside competition. Mr. Nader is not running as a spoiler for anyone. In fact, Mr. Nader claims that the Democrats and the Republicans have spoiled the system in order to exclude anyone who doesn’t play by their rules from running for the presidency. No matter how many Green Party candidates or other independent parties make a stab at the presidency, more than likely it will be a Democrat or a Republican and regardless of which one you chose it pretty much is business as usual.

Mr. Nader expressed his disappointment with Mr. Gore for not fighting harder for the presidency that was rightfully his. Mr. Nader was disappointed that Mr. Gore didn’t do a better job of exposing George Bush’s history as the chief executive of Texas. People in Texas are much too rigid and inflexible to see the problems Mr. Bush left in his wake as Governor of that state. Houston became the most polluted city in America under Mr. Bush’s watch. Under Mr. Bush’s watch the Texas justice system developed into a machine that puts more people to death than in any other time in the state’s history. The man is reckless. And it is not Mr. Nader’s fault for Mr. Bush being in office.

I have to confess to a newfound appreciation for Ralph Nader. While I seriously doubt that if he could actually get the presidential nomination I have to confess that I wish Mr. Nader luck. No matter what candidate you pick he appears to have a genuine interest in helping people. He understands that poverty is best countered by providing jobs and educational opportunities for everyone. Corporate entities don’t make for good public citizens. Corporations are only looking out for their investors and their upper management. Unfortunately, the Republicans and the Democrats share that selfish characteristic. The American people be damned.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008 - Posted by | Barack Obama, Democrats, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Life, Republicans, Thoughts


  1. Who gives a rat’s ass, it’s not like he has a snowball’s chance in hell of getting any real attention let alone win.

    The Republicians have no voice this time around, it’s hardly an audiable whisper…they screwed the pooch with George W. Bush and that is FACT…at this moment in time the voting public are sick of Republician bullshit.

    The hell with him, let him beat his chest one last time before his other foot hits the grave.

    Comment by Averre | Tuesday, March 18, 2008 | Reply

  2. “Who gives a rat’s ass…”

    Obviously you do. Most people would read it and move on. You care enough to leave your input before moving on. That or you just like beating your own chest.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, March 19, 2008 | Reply

  3. Kudos to you. I always hate the anti-Nader bashing as he somehow cost the slightly liberal elite upper class white male Gore the election and helped the conservative upper class white male Bush win the election. In the movie “An Unreasonable Man” a Harvard professor (sociologist I think) concluded that most of the people in Florida who voted actually would have stayed home and not voted for anyone. Plus, he noted that other third party candidates, such as the libertarian and communist ones, got more votes than the difference between Bush and Gore, yet no one railed against them for stealing votes from Gore.

    Comment by Jack Stephens | Wednesday, March 19, 2008 | Reply

  4. I watched Ralph Nader on “The Tim Russert Show” last year. I was truly impressed by him also. I had heard of him, his consumer advocacy work and previous failed attempts for the presidency, but I didn’t know any concrete details about his life. One of the things I found intersting was that his parents, who were Lebanese, instilled in him and his siblings… by words and example… the notion that it was their DUTY to advocate and assist those who were the most vulnerable in society… and be politically active in this effort! This really gave some insight into why he is the person who he is.

    Nader mentioned that there is a false perception that his run for the presidency stole democratic votes in Florida which caused Gore the victory in 2000. He stated that the official tally was that Gore lost by approximately 70,000 votes, while exit polls showed that about 250,000 registered Florida democratics voted for Bush. Therefore the issue wasn’t his campaign but that there was something about the Gore campaign that didn’t resonate with Florida democratics.

    Nader will get nowhere near winning the presidency which is too bad. He does offer “real” change… not the rhetoric of change we hear from Obama. The American political system and the public at large don’t want change. The two party system is entrenched, powerful and has too much money committed to maintaining the status quo.

    Comment by asabagna | Wednesday, March 19, 2008 | Reply

  5. Open the debates! First one is Friday!

    I’m not a bot, I know you care about the democracy of our government, so we need to get this done. There are 6 Presidential candidates this year all of which are qualified and capable of winning, so why are there only 2 people on the debate! Bigotry, two party bias! Let’s flood the email inbox and the phone lines with: Open the Debates.

    It takes 5 mins. Please help me make a difference . Below is a script but please feel free to appropriately modify it to support your candidate .

    Step one:

    Call Barack Obama at 866-675-2008.
    Hit 6 to speak with a campaign volunteer.
    Once connected, politely deliver the following message:

    Hi, my name is …

    I was wondering if Senator Obama, being a believer in equal opportunity and equal rights, could insist that Ralph Nader and other ballot qualified third party candidates be included in the upcoming Presidential debates?
    After all, Nader is on 45 state ballots.
    And he’s polling well nationwide. And he could help Senator Obama challenge the corporate Republicans.
    True, Ralph would critique Senator Obama for his corporate ties also. But isn’t that what democracy is about? Could you please leave this message for the campaign manager? Thank you.

    Step two:

    E-mail Janet Brown, the executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates.

    Here’s a sample e-mail:

    Dear Janet Brown:

    Greetings. You must be busy. Preparing for the first Presidential debate this Friday. So, I won’t take much of your time. Just wanted to let you know that the American people were not born yesterday. We know the deal. Take that little private corporation that you run. Controlled by the two corporate parties. And funded by big business. For the purpose of excluding independent minded candidates. Friday, two Wall Street candidates are scheduled to be in the ring. Barack Obama and John McCain. The one candidate who represents the American people, Main Street, if you will, will be on the outside looking in. So, here’s a simple request. Drop your exclusionary restrictions. And let Ralph Nader into the debates.
    It will be good for your conscience. Good for the American people. (I believe it was The League of Women Voters that called your corporatized debates “campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity, and honest answers to tough questions.”) And good for democracy. Let the American people have a real debate for once. Main Street vs. Wall Street.

    Thank you.

    your name.

    Comment by johnofsilence | Tuesday, September 23, 2008 | Reply

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