By Joel Hirschhorn
Thomas Paine’s Corner
Because he wants to salvage American democracy and help Americans, Ralph Nader is running for president again. He deserves the support of all Americans that see themselves as progressives, dissidents, independents, and patriots who want to remove the stranglehold of the two-party plutocracy on our political system.
When it comes to being an honest, proven and trustworthy change agent, Nader is the gold standard. So why are so many Democrats going ballistic and spewing hate towards Nader?
They are in denial about both Obama and Clinton. Both owe much to the corporate and business world that Nader has waged war against for decades. Like Clinton, Obama has taken huge amounts of money from several business sectors. Both refuse to advocate a single payer universal health care system that Nader champions; this protects the enormously profitable health insurance industry.
They are crazy-glued to their misplaced blame of Nader for the Bush victory in 2000, even though several other indisputable factors also explain Gore’s loss, including his poor campaign that was unable to deliver his home state of Tennessee, the incompetence of the Democratic Party to stop the Supreme Court’s disgraceful action, and the cowardly behavior of the Democratic Party over many decades that kept them from working to replace the Electoral College with the popular vote. And rather than blame Nader for the Iraq war, the Democrats have only themselves to blame, not only for authorizing the war but for many assaults on the Constitution that Bush has gotten away with.
They fear the public becoming more aware of the many policy positions of Obama and Clinton that are downright asinine, in contrast to Nader’s sound positions. For example, Nader is against nuclear power, while Obama has had a very cozy relationship with powerful people in that industry. And Nader wants a carbon pollution tax to combat global warming, that neither Obama nor Clinton favor. And no surprise, Nader makes the case for impeaching Bush and Cheney that Obama and Clinton are too cowardly to embrace. He also straightforwardly supports total public financing of political campaigns – the only way to rid our political system of corrupt forces.
Meanwhile, Obama is backing away from his written commitment to using public financing for the general election.
They fear Nader siphoning enough votes away from the Democratic nominee to make McCain president, despite Nader having little campaign money compared to the Democratic nominee. What happened to all that yes-we-can confidence? Do the Democrats think that all those people who have gone nuts over Obama will finally see the light and reject their political messiah? This is only plausible if the Democratic bigwigs and pundits really know that Nader’s positions and arguments (certainly not his slick rhetoric or personality) have the capability of breaking through the hope-hysteria of the army of Obamatons.
They fear Nader being persuasive enough to move the Democratic nominee to the left (more populist and progressive) and making it more difficulty in beating McCain and his appeal to independents. Democrats prefer the centrist bait and switch approach to sucker in voters and then surprise them after the election.
They fear the public seeing a truth-telling, independent candidate not driven by a thirst for political power. Nader is not running for president again because of ego or some deep ambition to be president, but rather out of a sense of obligation and responsibility to serve the public and the nation, as he has done for many decades. He is the only credible opponent to corporate special interests. It is not a matter of exercising his constitutional right, it is a matter of being a truer populist and progressive than the Democratic nominee.
The Los Angeles Times editorialized in support of Nader: “The Democrats and Republicans may believe your vote belongs to one or the other of them before it belongs to you, but they are wrong. More choices among candidates mean more opportunities for you to make your views known in an election.” Nader said. “It’s real political bigotry by the two major parties who have locked up the system with these ballot access obstructions against more voices and choices and giving voters a chance to have their free choice of candidates.”
How sad that Democrats show such little respect for a patriotic dissident like Nader, who has always been a troublemaker fighting for ordinary Americans.
In many ways the Nader candidacy is not about him becoming the best president possible, but rather in pushing any Democrat who becomes president to be a far better one by serving the public interest in the noble Nader tradition. A vote for Nader is always a vote for rebooting American democracy. All the nasty talk from Democrats about Nader insults we the people more than Nader.
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