Is Nader Nuts or The Bravest Man In America?

Ralph Nader on Meet The Press Feb. 24, 2008

(Ralph Nader said on “Meet the Press” that he will seek the presidency for a third time in 2008. He plans to announce a running mate later this week.)

IS NADER NUTS? OR THE BRAVEST MAN IN AMERICA?

Let’s face it – to run as an independent candidate in this year’s political climate, you’d have to be either richer than Bloomberg, crazier than Mary Todd Lincoln, or The Bravest Person In America.

Since Ralph Nader’s bank account doesn’t come anywhere close to that of Mayor Bloomberg’s, that pretty much leaves us with the latter two possibilities: he must be nuts or just really, really brave. Which is it? Well…that depends on who you ask, of course.

Ask any “good Democrat” and they’ll likely start sputtering obcenities about how Nader cost them the White House in 2000. Watch the veins pop out of their foreheads as they rant and rave “how dare he run again?” Simply bring up Ralph Nader’s name in their presence, and you’ll start to wonder who really is crazy around here, anyway.

Ask the Republicans, and you’ll get a more polite answer. Naturally. They seem to benefit nicely every time Ralph Nader throws his hat into the ring. Que Sera, Sera, they say with a shrug…whatever will be, will be.

Ask a progressive, and they’ll tell you that Nader is a hero for the common man, a real Democrat in an age of lost liberal principles. They’ll also tell you he’s got balls of steel to take on these corporate-controlled major party candidates. And you know, they’re right.

FEAR AND LOATHING ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

Maybe this is why Nader scares the Democratic party so much. He’s a tireless crusader, unafraid of speaking his mind to anyone. He never played political loyalty games or sat silent on any issue. Whether it was the President of General Motors or the President of the United States (Republican or Democrat), he held them accountable.

The truth of his record over the past 40-plus years cannot be denied. Nader fought for the little guy against big corporate interests and whupped `em time and time again. He was an environmentalist long before it was hip to be green – but never was he yellow. He’s been stabbed in the back by his own Democratic fellows so many times, he could be Swiss cheese with legs.

But that’s not the way it used to be.

Nader was once the Democrats’ Golden Boy in the 1960s; memorably taking the auto industry to task alongside Senator Robert F. Kennedy in nationally televised Senate hearings. He made headlines with his groundbreaking book, Unsafe at Any Speed, exposing those automakers who knowingly put profit above safety. 

Nader became an American folk hero when executives of General Motors hired private detectives to try and entrap him (unsuccessfully) in a sex scandal – they later apologized publicly and admitted they could not dig up even a speck of dirt on the man.

As a consumer advocate, he went on to create an organization of energetic young lawyers and researchers (known as “Nader’s Raiders”) who produced systematic exposés of industrial hazards, pollution, unsafe products, and governmental neglect of consumer safety laws. Nader is widely recognized as the founder of the consumers’ rights movement.

He played a key role in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Freedom of Information Act and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. For the last three decades or more, Nader has continued to work for political reform through his watchdog group Public Citizen.

Ralph Nader testifies before the Senate in 1966

(Nader testifies before the Senate Commerce subcommittee in 1966)

And now, the unyielding consumer advocate who ran for president in 2000 and 2004, says he’s going to make another bid for the White House this year.

“I have decided to run for president,” Nader announced Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press.

Although he isn’t getting any younger (he’ll turn 74 on February 27th), Ralph Nader says he feels a duty to enter the race because the major party candidates aren’t adequately addressing the influence of lobbyists and wasteful spending in government.

In other words, the real issue, the 800-lb. gorilla in America’s living room. The corporate cancer that is eating our country alive. But how can voters expect the two-party candidates to address the issue of corporatism when they themselves rely on corporate money?

“When you see the paralysis of the government, when you see Washington, D.C., be corporate-occupied territory, every department and agency controlled by overwhelming presence of corporate lobbyists, corporate executives in high government positions, turning the government against its own people, one feels an obligation to try and open the doorways,” Nader said.

IT’S A TOUGH JOB, BUT SOMEBODY’S GOTTA DO IT

When Nader formed a committee to consider a White House run last month, he said he believed the current contenders weren’t standing up enough to corporate interests.

“Look at the major areas of injustice, deprivation and solutions that are not being addressed by the major candidates,” Nader said in a Jan. 30 interview with Bloomberg News.

Among other issues, he cited the need for a “practical timed withdrawal” from Iraq, programs to crack down on corporate fraud and a rearrangement of the U.S. tax system.

Nader said last month that he would want to raise $10 million over the course of the campaign. By comparison, Clinton and Obama each have raised more than $120 million in political contributions.

“I offer the prospect of a competitive discourse over major areas of public policy that are being totally ignored or opposed by the major candidates, Obama, Clinton and McCain,” he told Agence-France Presse.

Nader said he expects his candidacy to do better this time around and will work to get his name on the ballot in all 50 states.

“This time we’re ready for them,” said Nader of the Democratic Party lawsuits that kept him off the ballot in some states.

Challenges to his ballot access would not be surprising, he says, given that both political parties typically treat third-party candidates as “second-class citizens.” Nader said he will decide in the coming days whether to run as an independent, Green Party candidate or in some other third party.

Pointing a finger at Republicans, he described McCain as a candidate for “perpetual war” and said he welcomed the support of Republican conservatives “who don’t like the war in Iraq, who don’t like taxpayer dollars wasted, and who don’t like the Patriot Act and who treasure their rights of privacy.”

So if McCain becomes the Republican nominee, expect more Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul Republicans crossing party lines to support Ralph Nader this year. Picking up these populist conservatives will certainly help Nader’s numbers, but will it make any difference against the Democrats in a general election? Even Nader thinks not.

“If the Democrats can’t landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up.”

WILL NADER BE THE RAIDER IN `08?

Nader risks the wrath of Democrats, many of whom blame him for spoiling former Vice President Al Gore’s bid for the presidency in 2000. Nader got 97,488 votes in Florida, the state that decided that election; President George W. Bush ended up winning the state by just 537 votes.

Nader rejected the suggestion that his campaign cost Gore the election.

“If you look at it analytically, Mr. Gore would tell you that if he’d won Tennessee, everything else being equal, he would’ve been president,” Nader said. “It’s his home state.”

Nader won 2.7 percent of the national vote in 2000 when he was the Green Party candidate. In 2004, his independent presidential campaign drew 0.3 percent of the vote nationwide.

Nader dismissed Democratic criticism of his latest bid for the White House.

“For anybody who thinks that the third try is something that should be demeaned, it represents persistence, it represents never giving up the struggle for justice,” Nader said. “The forces of injustice never take a holiday.”

Ralph Nader in 1976

(Ralph Nader at a Public Citizen press conference, 1976)

CANDIDATES RESPOND

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton Sunday called Nader’s decision “unfortunate.”

Senator Clinton said aboard her campaign plane on the way to Rhode Island that Nader’s candidacy is “not helpful to whoever the Democratic nominee is.”

Illinois Senator Barack Obama, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, said that while Nader is “a heroic figure” for his work on behalf of consumers, “Mr. Nader is somebody who, if you don’t listen and adopt all of his policies, thinks you’re not substantive.”

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said on CNN’s “Late Edition” program Sunday that Nader “would probably pull votes away from the Democrats, not Republicans.”

“Actually, Republicans would welcome his entry into the race,” Huckabee said.

Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, a Democrat who supports Obama, said on “Fox News Sunday” that he doesn’t think Nader’s candidacy will affect the presidential race.

Well, that’s not exactly the way they felt eight years ago.

After Democrats lost the 2000 election, the party faithful’s first response was to clobber their old pal Ralph. Even the mainstream media got into the act, blaming Nader for everything from spoiling the election to the invasion of Iraq to the horrors a George Bush presidency has inflicted upon us all. Nader responded with some equally harsh words in a 2000 Village Voice interview, saying:

“By the way, not one of these critics called me to interview me or to get my views. And they’re reporters? They don’t want to have their fixed mindset challenged.

…And Katha Pollitt, I called her. In my view, she was making incorrect assumptions. I mean, I’ve fought for women’s rights since the ’50s. I’ve been a leader in documenting marketplace discrimination against women that jeopardizes their health, safety, and economic rights. Women pay more, whether for dry cleaning or unnecessary operations. This is something we could never get Ms. magazine and Gloria Steinem to take an interest in. She never called me either, and she said false things about me—that I only called her about platform shoes (which, by the way, broke a lot of women’s ankles). But we’ve talked about the WTO, about the plight of African women when they come down with malaria.

Bobby Kennedy Jr. never called me. When they don’t call, you realize there’s something less than authentic at stake.”

So I take it this means a Nader/Kennedy ticket in `08 ain’t gonna happen?

It’s really too bad, you know. If party loyalty weren’t always in the way, these two men should be natural allies. No doubt they would make one hell of a powerful ticket, a force to be reckoned with in November.

Seems that on every substantive issue, RFK Jr. and Ralph Nader are on the same side of the barricades. They’ve fought for the same causes all their lives and share core beliefs. Then there’s that connection to Bobby’s father, dating back more than 40 years.

But that was then, this is now. The party, and indeed it’s principles, have changed drastically over the past four decades – and some might argue, not for the better.

INDEPENDENTS FINALLY HAVE A CANDIDATE

I rather doubt that Nader, at the age of 74, really wanted to run again. He most likely had hoped someone else would do it this time so he wouldn’t have to. But no viable independent or third-party contender came forward. 

No one.

Millions of progressive, independent, Green Party and Libertarian voters cried out for a candidate to represent them – Ralph Nader listened. He took the risk one more time and threw his hat into the ring because…well…no one else would.

Love or hate Nader, you gotta respect the man for standing up again and going to bat for us. He’s doing what no one else dared to do in 2008 – and for that alone he deserves unqualified praise, not ridicule or scorn.

 

For more information about the Ralph Nader for President campaign, visit the official website: VoteNader.org.

 

Copyright RFKin2008.com. 

 

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15 Comments

Filed under climate change, election 2008, environment, global warming, hillary clinton, impeach Bush, media, politics, RFK, RFK Jr., robert f. kennedy, robert kennedy jr., senator robert kennedy, Uncategorized

15 responses to “Is Nader Nuts or The Bravest Man In America?

  1. I think Lou Dobbs would make for a good candidate choice for VP. with Mr. Nader. This election seems as though it was make or break for us all. Lou Dobbs and Ralph Nader (Unplugged) and live… I can only imagine what their presentations would be like… Or how about Dennis Kucinich and Ralph Nader? Like they had nothing to lose, the both of them could get real TRUTHY… and put stuff back on the table that either fell off, was taken off, or was “covered up?”

    Like I said in earlier comments, Our future citizens of the U.S. are going to be looking at our times… They are going to have many things revealed to them… They are going to wonder, just what did we do to bring these crooked people to justice, when we had the chance to expose them and face the realities of what the damage was that they created… I’ll say that I was informed and took the blinders off and wrote blogs and voted my conscience. When un-informed people of either party called me ‘un-Patriotic or un-American’, I’d say put up what you know and let’s talk about facts… I’ve got’em and when the bluff is called they had DOO DOO… That’s what all the hype is all about these days Doo Doo. Because we are tearing each other apart from limb to limb and at the drop of a hat… We are so distracted from all the terror and all the wicked, wicked ‘Liberals… Or the NWO Creeps’… Or those Gays or Right to lifers / Moral Majority or those Muslims… (Insert your hatred HERE)

    The fact of the matter in cold blood is this… We had been attacked, not just anywhere but in downtown NYC, Three buildings of world recognition were dropped at freefall speed, blown literally to smitherines (In broad daylight), bone fragments were collected 1500 feet away measuring 1/4 inch… planes hit two of these buildings, but the third fell too (eight hours later after multiple detonations were recorded from many people). Another building was hit that day, not just any old building, The Pentagon. A 757 whipped into it leaving a perfectly circular hole measuring HALF the actual size of the plane and leaving No DNA? (Sorry no shots of the plane hitting the most secure building in the world). and yes there was yet another plane that was brought to the ground in a battle from passengers onboard with terrorists. (that’s the story anyway) and yes, something strange here too… No DNA and no Motors… A war was already in pre-planning stages before these hellish events took place and we promptly went straight to it… The problem is… every reason that we were told was the reason why we went was.. well… wrong, unfounded, elaborated, trumped up or fabricated. Acts which also aroze as a result of being in dire and desperate times, caused our President and Vice Pres. to circumvent our very Constitution and gave powers unto themselves and their Corporate alliances to RAPE AND PILLAGE OUR GREAT NATION IN THE NAME OF TERRORISM AND PATRIOTISM and security…

    What was Bush’s first order of Business the day he took office? (ANSWER) Gave Enron presidential ‘oversight’ to become a monopoly and they prompltly took the money and ran. 9/11 has fingerprints all over it… to reach ironclad conclusions that no Thermate could disintegrate. We have been HAD AND HAD AND HAD over the last 8 years folks. We need a real kennedy like hero right now to at least keep these issues and real damage control on the front page. RFK, Jr is loud and proud like his dad, he is doing the best he can, Dennis Kucinich is doing his part, Ron Paul is doing his part, Ralph Nader always did his part, now he’s doing it again… I’m doing my part, your grandkids will want to know “Did you do your part?” The same old same old isn’t going to cut it anymore folks… we need someone who will do what they say they will do and who aren’t bought and paid for….

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  3. Douglas

    Lou Dobbs was surprisingly supportive of Ralph nader’s run for the presidency on his show last night.

    Also saw Ralph interviewed on Anderson Cooper 360 and liked everything he had to say. I could support him.

  4. Vicki

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY RALPH NADER

    NADER FOR PRESIDENT

    http://votenader.org

  5. dune23

    Just as in 2000… and we saw who we got then!!!

    A vote for Nader was a vote for Bush.

    And now:
    A vote for Nader is a vote for McCain!

    DON’T VOTE NADER!!!

    If ya’ like going to war in the wrong country for no apparent reason vote McCain.

    Uhhh…lemme see… terrorists from Saudi Arabia flew planes into buildings on the direction of another Saudi in Afghanistan…. soooo….OBVIOUSLY… we should invade Iraq.

    Yep! Lemme have some more of that logic…. Maybe Bush can run as Vice-President…. Is that allowed? Because he and his staff are real geniuses.

    Remember folks, the ONLY reason Bush got the White House was because of Nader. Thus Nader can be blamed for: The Iraq War, The economy, The price of oil, and possibly even 9-11.(one can only guess on that last one) McCain is just as nutty as Bush but smarter which makes him more dangerous.

  6. theradicalmormon

    I’m with you all. Go Nader!

  7. Kenneth Ray

    I guess that I’m one of those “Democrats” who were pissed off at Ralph, back in 2002.

    The reason why I’m not as concerned, this time around, is that Ralph has become little more than a political asterisk.

    Let’s face it, besides his run for President in ’02, Ralph hasn’t been a serious factor on the American scene in almost 30 years. It’s as though he ran out of steam in 1980, and coasted along, somnolent, until ’02, when he woke up and discovered the evil that was the two party system.

    Do I blame Ralph for running? No, but I do blame him for lying. No one, in their right mind, could possibly believe that Al Gore and George Bush were two sides to the same coin. No one in their right mind could believe that they were, indeed, in Ralph’s words, tweedledum and tweedledee.

    If you need proof of that, look no farther than the record of the two men, since the election. George Bush went on to gut American environmental policy; Al Gore won the Nobel Prize.

    This time around, it’s more of the same tripe. Barack Obama is, probably, the most Liberal man in the United States Senate. But, judging by Ralph’s comments, you’d think that he was the reincarnation of Adolph Hitler.

    Fortunately, it’s difficult to fool Americans more than once. Ralph’s share of the popular vote was miniscule, in 2006, and it’s likely to be even less, this year.

    Ralph should just go home, take a nap and have an early dinner at the closest all you can eat buffet restaurant.

    Ken

  8. meredithnclark

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  9. Steve Burton

    For anybody who wants to learn more about Ralph Nader, I would highly recommend the new documentary film “An Unreasonable Man,” produced by IFC films.

    I would especially wish for my fellow Democrats who are still angry with Ralph to watch this film and remember all of the great things he has done (and continues to do) for his country everyday.

    You can buy the DVD at:

    http://anunreasonableman.com

    Or rent it at http://Netflix.com

    Or watch it for FREE on YouTube at:

    Ralph Nader has more years of EXPERIENCE than all of the candidates currently in this race combined. He has done more to influence public policy and bring real CHANGE to our daily lives through getting actual legislation passed than all of the other candidates. Out of the four choices we’ve got now, he is clearly the best qualified to be president.

    Ralph Nader’s message hasn’t changed in 45 years. He’s never flip-flopped on any issue. How many politicians (of either party) can you say that about?

    Ralph nader will never betray you. He will never lie to you. He has proven this over a nearly 50 year career. He serves the public interest – your best interest – and that will not change if you elect him president. Can you really say that about the other candidates?

    How many times has Hillary changed her story? McCain? Oh, about every time the wind blows!
    Barack Obama? We don’t know enough about him yet. Can we trust him to tell us the truth? Will he honor his campaign promises to the people, or forget them once he wins the oval office?

    Ralph Nader will never forget YOU. Remember that when you walk into the voting booth.

    http://VoteNader.org

  10. Jennifer Easton

    I don’t care what anybody in the sour grapes coalition says. Ralph nader is STILL MY HERO and you bet I’ll be voting for him in november!

    I agree with the above poster…Ralph will NEVER lie to the American people. And that is what I want in a President.

    That’s what we ALL should want in a president.

    We need to stop giving politicians a pass…we need to stop forgiving them every time they get caught lying to us. We need to stop rationalizing the lesser of two evils.

    Go Nader!!!!!! I love you, man!!!!

    (Oh, and I love bobby Kennedy Jr., too…altho’ it’s really too bad he’s such a blind Democratic loyalist. When I heard he was supporting Hillary in this race, on top of some of his mean-spirited comments about Ralph Nader, he really lost a lot of my respect.)

  11. Selena R.

    If Bobby Kennedy Sr. were here today, I think he would be doing all that he could to help elect Ralph Nader.

    RFK would have had the good sense to leave the Democratic party 20 years ago….they have not been dedicated to furthering the kind of ideals RFK stood for for a very, very long time.

    If RFK were running for prez in `08, the Demo-rats would have done to him what they did to Dennis Kucinich — and that’s the fact, Jack!

  12. Amy

    One of the above posters here recommended the film about Ralph nader – “An Unreasonable man”. I watched it last night and absolutely was converted.

    I will be supporting this man for president in 2008.

    If you rent this DVD, be sure to also get the Bonus DVD (it’s a 2-part set) which I thought was actually better than the documentary film. On the bonus disc, there are 5 or 6 short films on issues like:

    Nader’s Plan for America
    Debating the role of 3rd parties in the US
    What happened to the democratic party?
    Why is the right better organized than the left?
    Nader on the Iraq war
    A debate on corporate power in america

    this is a very powerful film which reminds us that Ralph nader is one of the *good guys*, contrary to what some bitter democrats may say about him.

  13. I completely support Nader’s right to vote and he’s got mine.

    None of the other 2 major parties speaks to me. Centrist BS to get elected.

  14. I'mForFreedom

    anybody who supports RFK Jr. (and what he stands for) should naturally support Ralph Nader.

    on the issues, anything less represents a total disconnect in logic.

    But what boggles my mind the most is how Bobby Jr., despite all his great talk about throwing the corporate bums out of D.C. can support Hillary Clinton for POTUS.

    If Kennedy has he courage of his convictions, he will shift his support instead to Nader, or run with ventura (that’s the option i like best), or hell, at least support barack Obama if he feels absolutely, positively, chained-and-bound to the Democratic party.

  15. JimBob

    I’m for Nader this year. I was for Nader in 2004 and 2000. I am loyal to Nader because he has stayed loyal to his beliefs for four and a half DECADES!!!!!

    what more do you want in a President? like one of the above posters said. if it’s honesty you want, Ralph Nader is the only one of these candidates who has proven he walks the walk for four and a half DECADES!

    if it’s experience on Capitol Hill (and a president who will bust the corporate trusts like Teddy Roosevelt) you want, Ralph Nader is the only one of these candidates who can and will do it – he’s been doing it for four and ahalf DECADES!

    if you want a president who is not afraid to stand up for the Constitution and stand against wars of aggression, Ralph nader is the only candidate this year who has taken a firm stand on these issues for four and half DECADES!

    if you want a man of peace, a man of integrity, a man unwilling to compromise the safety, freedom and well-being of the American people, Ralph Nader is the only candidate you should vote for this year – because he has shown us over and over again he believes this – for four and a half DECADES!

    respectfully submitted,

    JimBob in Denton, TX

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