Monday, February 25, 2008

Love Him or Hate Him, Nader is Back

"If the Democrats cannot landlide this time they ought to just wrap up, close down emerge in a different form."

Now, I do not totally support Nader's run and I am a big Obama supporter, but if we think the democrats platform speak to what he is saying we are living in la la land.


Paul Newell said...

Ralph Nader is an arrogant, irrelevant, out-of-touch old man who no longer understands our country
This is not to oppose third party candidacies. Nor to demean his legacy. Nor do I blame him for Florida 2000. Nor am I concerned that he will harm Obama this year.

The question is ”Why Ralph Nader in 2008?” To this there is no good answer. The Democrats have the most dynamic candidate they have had over 40 years. He is building a governing majority, and moving forward on healthcare, diplomacy, trade and more. Progressivism is on the march. Progressive challengers are succeeding in Democratic primaries around the country. Donna Edwards just beat a corporate Democrat in Maryland. Paul Newell is challenging the corrupt Democratic machine in Lower Manhattan. (Sorry, couldn’t resist).

The Green Party already has a qualified candidate, Cynthia McKinney. Interesting to note, both Obama and McKinney are black. Does Ralph Nader want to sabotage not one but two black contenders? Are there not enough old white men around this year for him? Oh, and speaking of old white men, Ron Paul is likely to run and has the money and organization to begin a third party movement. He may be crazy, but he is clearly a people-powered candidate who is speaking more effectively than Nader ever could to dissatisfaction with the 2-party system. If Nader is really trying to challenge the 2 party system, why doesn’t he do the yeoman’s work between presidential elections? Why does he announce every February for 4 cycles running? Does he like spending 9 months every 4 years getting his ego stroked? This is no way to build a movement.

The only legitimate explanation for Nader’s run in 2008 is his own vanity. As Hillary said, it is a free country. But IMHO (OK, not so humble), he is not only damaging the progressive values to which he has given his life’s work, but he is destroying the very idea of third party campaigns, at least by progressives. After getting 0.37% in 2004, I think it’s time for Nader to go back to consumer advocacy. Or maybe, you know, retire?

Paul Newell said...

Correction: In my list of insults at the top of the previous comment, I left out intellectually rigid".

Anonymous said...

Ok, I would just like to first say Ralph Nader is not the anti-christ. I mean, really. He is a genuine American hero. That is not easy to say these days. He is one; plain and simple and there are not many people walking in American society who even compare.

I will not go point by point with you because for the most part I agree. I do not support him this year, though if full disclosure is in order I voted for him in 1996 and 2000. Not to mention leaning that way if Hillary gets the nod. She will have to earn my vote this year because as of right now she doesn't have it. I support Barack Obama enthusiastically and will do so right until November working hard for his candidacy.

But one area (the most important) that no one talks about that is the central idea to a Nader campaign is corporate power and the privatization of our planet. And I don't mean cutting tax breaks and closing loop holes I mean genuine corporate power that controls our system.

From Dennis Kucinich being kicked out of the debate this year by MSNBC - by a corporation to the same thing happening to Nader in 2000 our election system is run by corporations. That is just the beginning unfortunately.

For example, the coal industry has funded the last few debates. Have you heard one question about global warming lately? They are funding the democratic debates (sponsoring I should say) and are preventing a discussion on probably the most important issues facing our world today. Has Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton spoken up?

The lala land fact that Barack Obama's campaign is funded by people like "you and I" is ridiculous. 68% of his fundraising comes from corporations, not people. That may have changed over the last quarter, I don't know, but he is funded by corporations just like Hillary, McCain and everyone.

Is he different? I think so...

but from the privatization of water, not only in India and China, but Sacramento and Michigan to the new Iraq oil law that is the real reason we went into Iraq, so that Shell and Exxon can have Iraq's oil to the privatization of FEMA and the tragedy that struck our nation in Louisiana and Mississippi to the globalization around the world that is benefiting corporations and not people, I say Ralph Nader matters. He has been my hero since I could read and he ALWAYS will be.

Intellectually rigid? Only if you judge that our system with a middle of the road democrat to a far right Republican is all we need to do is elect Barack Obama and the world will change. I have a bridge in Brooklyn (not far from Paul Newell's prospective district) to sell if you are interested.

"Katrina was not unforseeable. It was the result of a political structure that subcontracts its responsibility to private contractors and abdicates its responsibilities."

Read the fucking Shock Doctrine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Naomi Klein. Is Ralph egotistical? Probably. But, it has nothing to do with the REAL issues the our world is facing. Let him be. Just my opinion.

Paul Newell said...

1 – The Brooklyn Bridge is in the 64th Assembly District.

2 – Barack Obama has taken $86,000 from people employed by lobbyists. He has raised $32 million in January alone and will raise over $35 million in February. His donor list includes 1 million American citizens. This is hardly an indictment.

3. - Yes, Nader has done great things. You do not answer the question as to why Ralph Nader should run in 2008. Being a “hero” does not mean one should run for President. One should run for office because one hopes to improve to world by doing so. There is no question that a Nader candidacy is useless at best.

I am not saying no progressive 3rd party in 2008. I am asking why Ralph Nader. Cynthia McKinney is a solid candidate who has not spent the last 8 years alienating her core constituency. She will not have my support, no matter how the Democratic primary turns out. But she is a better voice for these issues than Nader. Why run a progressive 3rd party candidate whom most progressives in the country hate? It is counter-productive, and intellectually rigid. The world had changed. It's time Ralph realized it.

Nader is rigid because he fails to understand our current political climate. He fails to understand George Bush's impact on the American political landscape. Ralph Nader as a presidential candidate does not make sense from any perspective at all. That's all I'm saying. He is the worst possible messenger for this message. Maybe that's not his fault, maybe it is. Either way, it is so and he knows it. Therefiore, his candidacy is vanity and nothing more.

Anonymous said...

You fail to understand my point, PN. Ralph Nader could care less about the political swing of the nation. That is true, like it or not he doesn't care. He is not about Republican or Democrat.

And yes, Barack Obama has raised a lot of money from regular American citizens, but he also raises a lot of money from the oil and gas, the insurance companies, and the rest of big some research and you will find out that I am right. Don't listen to me or to his campaign - do the research. You can start by looking at the SG. This link provides you with a start.

This problem is not going away with an Obama or Clinton candidacy. And the Green Party is not the party of Nader. He was their candidate in 2000 and that was it. He did not agree totally with their platform because he feels it does not go far enough. Mainly in corporate power and wall street globalization.

And what I said I don't care about his candidacy, I won't vote for him most likely, nor will I throw away my vote to Cynthia McKinney (who by the way has problems of her own). But, the Nader candidacy addresses the corporate greed and power that is taking hold across this nation and across the globe.

Clinton and Obama are window dressing...though an obvious step up from what we have...but their candidacies fail to address this supreme issue.

Do I think Nader's candidacy will do anything for that cause? I don't know.

The world has changed? In what way? In the fact that the United States instead of leaning far right is leaning center? If that is your measure I guess that is true. But, if your measure is that true power to the people comes from stripping the corporate stranglehold upon our system then I say it hasn't changed at all.

Anonymous said...

Another good source for Obama's contributions.

LadyLiberal said...

Way to go, Paul. You really crytallized exactly what I have been thinking about Nader's recent announcement.

Kid, you stated: "The lala land fact that Barack Obama's campaign is funded by people like "you and I" is ridiculous. 68% of his fundraising comes from corporations, not people." This is false and I'm not really sure where you are getting your statistics. Barack Obama has just exceed 1 million donors to his campaign - 900,000 of which are small donors, like "you and I" - leaving only 100,000 big donors. That is a fact, stated by Barack at the debate on Tuesday night and verified by the Federal Elections Commission. Therefore, it is not, how you say, a "lala land fact" - it is real. It is, however, a lala land fact that Barack Obama gets 68% of his campaign funds from corporations, especially in light of these numbers.

So the question remains: why has Ralph Nader entered the race? I'm not denying the fact that he's an American hero - he very well could be. But that's not the point. The point is that this country is being genuinely moved and inspired to take this country back from corporations and lobbyists and they are being moved and inspired to do so by someone who is already in the race and doing a damn good job expressing the will of the people. There is absolutely no good reason for Nader to be in this thing except for his own selfish attempt to stay relevant.

Anonymous said...


If you want to live in "lala land" go ahead, that is your choice. But, if you read the article I gave you in fact, it stated exactly what I said: 68% of his money comes from corporations. Look it up! That was the first quarter, it has swayed a bit to now 50% because he has done such a good job, but your numbers are correct, but not the whole story.

And your statistic on the blog is wrong. Yes, 900,000 donors give small donations that is true. so, 10% are large donors, also true. But 50% of his money (in total) comes from large donations of at least $1,000 or more. That is the truth, because you are parroting something does not make it so! Here is a discussion of it. Read it. It is one of the most liberal blogs that supports Obama. They are just not reading or just listening to parroted info. They are doing their own work.

I am a little irritated I have to say. I love Barack Obama, I will vote for him and have done lots of work for him, given lots of money and wrote letters to the editor and am going to Rhode Island most likely this weekend to get out the vote for him. But, if you just listen to what people say (or read the information I sent you) you would know that I am not lying or fabricating. I am just realistic and know it is going to take a lot more than just saying we will cut loop holes to corporations and that is going to change everything. Because it is not. We have a long road to hoe before anything will get done. Electing Barack Obama is the beginning, it is not the answer.

And EVERYTHING Nader says is the truth, including his criticism of Obama on Meet the Press. When I first learned of Barack in 2003 he was adamantly Pro Palestine, now he is not. Do I think Barack is a true progressive? Yes, I do. But, I also think he got to where he is with a little help. Because he cannot explain away the energy bill he voted for (the Cheney Energy Bill) which was a giveaway to big oil. There are things there that concern me.

But, mostly what I am irritated about is why can I not justifiably criticize someone and still truly believe in them? I am open minded and willing to listen to all opinions and that includes Ralph Nader and Naomi Klein for that matter, two geniuses who I would still walk through fire for.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, the discussion is here:

Anonymous said...

I have to question your position here Kid. We all agree that the issues Nader cares about are important. Environmental causes, campaign finance reform, a humble foreign policy etc.

The question we are asking is what does his run for President do to help advance those causes? We have to consider the possibility that his candidacy will, in fact, hurt those causes.

I would argue each one of those important causes has been hurt by the past 8 years of Bush. To the extent that Nader's candidacies helped Bush, Nader has hurt those causes.

Clearly an Obama Presidency would do more to advance those causes than a McCain presidency. Nader's involvement in a Presidential race merely provides support to those who argue that both parties are the same! They are not the same..everyone in the country knows that besides Nader.

Wouldn't he use his time better creating a movement to fight for campaign finance reform or the environment? I would support him %100.

He should have spent the last 10 years fighting to help the PIRGs. Instead those organizations, which he founded, have had to distance themselves from him in order to keep their donors. Nothing he has done has helped in the causes we are all trying to see become a reality in this country.

Nader can sit around with his %.04 of the voters and bitch about corporations and how corrupt Obama is till he is blue in the face. Meanwhile Obama is actually creating a powerful progressive coalition that will attempt to actually advance environmental causes, election reform, etc. To the extent that Nader hurts Obama's run, he is hurting the advancement of his own cause! Its a shame.

LadyLiberal said...


First of all, I must say that you are being very condescending in this discussion. First with the "parroting" description and then with the "lala land" argument. You're acting as if what you have to say is the be all and end all and because I have a different perspective, I of course must be wrong, a parrot, or in lala land. Do you realize how patronizing you sound?

I'm not parroting what I've heard - I've heard a lot of things from a lot of different sources (not just liberal media outlets) and I have taken those things and formed my own opinion. I did read what you sent me earlier in the week, but the article is old and the figures are outdated. I also just read the posting from - and I already heard that info - from MSNBC!! Obama is definitely taking corporate money - no viable presidential candidate, besides Bloomberg, who is personally as wealthy as a fortune 500 company, could run a campaign without it.

What is important is that Obama has enticed so many individuals to get involved! When 900,000 people like "you and I" contribute to a campaign, that says something! Whether you want to believe it or not, Obama has included so many more people into this process than EVER BEFORE and he has certainly included more people than Nader ever could! Barack is actually DOING what Nader just talks about - creating a majority coalition of progressives, moderates and independents working to take back the country from the lobbyists and the special interest groups - big difference!

And you can justifiably criticize someone and still believe in them - I've never said you can't. But why can't you understand that just because you criticize someone that doesn't mean that I can't respond to your criticism? I, unlike you, read and listen to not only the liberal media but also the mainstream media in order to get a more well-rounded and balanced view of what everyone is saying, not just what people I agree with are saying. I could say that you're being a parrot and turning a blind eye to what is happening in this country, too, but I have more respect for you than that.

I'm not denying that you support Barack - that's not the issue here. The issue is, and you still haven't answered it sufficiently, why is ralph nader running in 2008?

Anonymous said...

If you think Nader, not Gore or the corporate democratic party had more to do with Bush winning the White House (not to mention a Rogue S.Ct. then you are in "lala land!"

And just because you don't hear about Nader in the MSM doesn't mean he is doing anything...ever hear of Public Citizen? Common Cause? and his new org. The Center for the Study of Responsive Law.

Just to Name A few:

American Antitrust Institute
Appleseed Foundation
Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest
Aviation Consumer Action Project
Capitol Hill News Service
Center for Auto Safety
Center for Insurance Research
Center for Justice and Democracy
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Center for Study of Responsive Law
Center for Women Policy Studies
Citizen Advocacy Center
Citizen Utility Boards
Citizen Works
Clean Water Action Project
Congress Project
Connecticut Citizen Action Group
Corporate Accountability Research Group
Democracy Rising
Disability Rights Center
Equal Justice Foundation
Essential Information
FANS (Fight to Advance the Nation's Sports)
Foundation for Taxpayers and Consumer Rights
Freedom of Information Clearinghouse
Georgia Legal Watch
Multinational Monitor
National Citizen's Coalition for Nursing Home Reform
National Coalition for Universities in the Public Interest
National Insurance Consumer Organization
Ohio Public Interest Action Group
Organization for Competitive Markets
Pension Rights Center
Princeton Project 55
PROD - truck safety
Public Citizen
Buyers Up
Citizen Action Group
Critical Mass Energy Project
Congress Watch
Global Trade Watch
Health Research Group
Litigation Group
Tax Reform Research Group
The Visitor's Center
Retired Professionals Action Group
Shafeek Nader Trust for the Community Interest
Student Public Interest Research Groups nationwide
Telecommunications Research and Action Center
Trial Lawyers for Public Justice

He is ALWAYS doing something. Just because you don't hear about on Meet the Press doesn't mean it doesn't exist. And I agree as I have said everytime I wrote a post, that I don't think he should be running, but it is not my choice. It is his...And yes, Public Citizen has distanced itself from him, but he has continued to be a stalwart for justice and he will be until the day he dies.

Phil and Greta said...

A few points:

As interesting as it is to see the non-profits that Nader is involved with, or WAS involved with, I don't see one accomplishment to his credit in the past eight years. I'd say his last accomplishment would be sometime around 1988.

Its kind of a stretch to site to an organization like Public Citizen as a Nader accomplishment. Public Citizen can speak for itself on this one. They wrote a letter to their supporters that read "Although Ralph Nader was our founder, he has not held an official position in the organization since 1980 and does not serve on the board. Public Citizen—and the other groups that Mr. Nader founded–act independently."

I also would venture a guess and say that every one of those organizaitons is now trying to pretend they never knew Nader, which does nothing to help those organizations or their causes.

What does Common Cause have to do with Nader? It was founded by John Gardner and they would not be happy to see you associated them with Ralph Nader. It would kill their fundraising.

Its a lot like Bush and Iraq. Its a failed policy on which you keep doubling down. Similarly, Nader failed dramatically in 2000, to some extent helping Bush, and instead of changing course continues to double down. Its sad.

Phil and Greta said...

Oh and what is "new" about the Center for the Study of Responsive Law? According to Nader's website:

"In 1969, he helped found the Center for Study of Responsive Law (CSRL), a non-profit organization staffed mostly by college, graduate and law students. Those students became known as “Nader's Raiders” and studied and issued reports on a variety of consumer issues."

Anonymous said...

So, phil now you are comparing Nader to Bush? Sound a little familiar? Hillary comparing Obama to Bush. This vitriol to a genuine American hero I find utterly ridiculous.

If you really believe Ralph Nader has been sitting on his ass just scheming on how he can upset you and the democrats personally, then i guess you are right...I concede the point. He spent his life trying to break the corporate system and became angrier and angrier with the democrats with the trend toward are right it is all because he wants to destroy the democrats. Satan!

Is the new Jeremy Scahill article on Obama a bunch of bullshit too?

Anonymous said...

The comparison of Nader to Bush is about stubbornness. Its about not recognizing when you are actually hurting your own cause. That is what has happened to Nader.

I cite to you the facts about his accomplishments and their really is no response. He was once a great progressive and has not made a contribution to progressivism in over 10 years, and in fact, probably set us back another 10 years. It is a fact that Gore would have won, but for Nader. Since that time, he has done nothing except marganilize himself from the very organizations he started.

Im not arguing Obama is perfect. I am arguing that he can: (1) actually get elected; and (2) advance the cause of progressivism. Despite Nader trying to undermine him. (perhaps to help his buddy McCain?)

Anonymous said...

First of all, if you want me to cite to you what he has done I can...and I will...if you like...of course it will take time because he is ignored not only by the MSM, but by people like you and Lady liberal who falsely blame him for losing the election in 2000. That is an outright falsehood and Paul Newell concedes this point. Paul Newell who started this basically said Ralph is intelecutally rigid and irrelevant, etc. which I disagree with and the argument was over...

You all are blaming him for the Iraq war and everything else...give me a break! First of all, I was a Nader voter and I would not have voted for Gore. Never! One has to earn your vote in this country. Just like black voters progressive voters have been ignored in this country since the 80's because of the corporate turn by the democrats. That is indisputable. Which it is still happening. Neither you or Ladyliberal has answered that claim. That is the main argument...

And the Iraq war did not just happen because bush wanted the Democrats did too...and we as progressives have legitimate gripes against them. As does Ralph Nader which he has done more to push the party toward progessivism than almost anyone...Kucinich and Wellstone as well.

And of course the Iraq war was supposed to end when Democrats took power, care to guess how many people have died senselessly since then? Oh, that's right now we need 60 votes in the Senate. It used to be 51 when the Republicans had the majority, now all of a sudden it is 60. Nope, not the democrats fault.

Utterly senseless. And one last thing and you will forgive my tone. I will put my record up against any on this blog about my record working for Barack Obama...I have worked hard for him, getting out the word, writing letters, phone banking, election challenging, etc. until he is elected. And I will do so until November.

Just like a true blue progressive does. That doesn't mean that the truth that comes out of Ralph Nader's mouth is absolute. You can ignore it, call him irrellevant, useless, old, but saying it does not make it so.

I liken him to Tom Paine. Everyone knows Thomas Paine, everyone. The Crisis, Common Sense, the Rights of Man. But, after writing the Age of Reason he lost every friend he had. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson abandoned him as did almost everyone. A person who gave up the cause for freedom and citizens around the world threw him to the wolves. There were four people at his funeral. But, we are left with some of the most beautiful words that still inspire us today.

Ralph Nader is the modern day Thomas Paine. And you are one of the many throwing him to the wolves because you define progress by presidential elections. Ridiculous.

Now, what about Barack and Blackwater? You still haven't answered that.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

This is pretty much how I feel.

Dems Should Thank Nader, Not Trash Him
by Heath Haussamen

Hillary Clinton blamed Ralph Nader this weekend for Al Gore’s 2000 loss to George W. Bush. She’s hardly the first to make such a statement, but the comment reveals the patronizing attitudes that still pervade her party.

Barack Obama wasn’t much nicer, saying Nader “did not know what he was talking about” when he claimed there was no difference between Bush and Gore.

But it’s Clinton’s comments that really got to me: She said categorically that Nader “is responsible for George W. Bush.” She’s wrong. You know who is “responsible” for Bush being elected? Gore. The Democratic Party. The American public.
I first became aware of Nader as a high-school senior in 1996. I didn’t get to vote that year - the election was held about five weeks before I turned 18 - but I would have voted for him.

I’ll be honest: I was completely ignorant at the time about what Nader believed. I was part of a group of people in my class at St. Michael’s High School in Santa Fe who, when we were assigned to participate in a mock presidential election, decided Bill Clinton and Bob Dole were unacceptable choices and began looking for another option.
We discovered Nader.

We decided to try a political experiment: We wouldn’t engage in any debate on the issues. We wouldn’t even really educate ourselves on what Nader believed. We would simply try to make voting for him cool, and see if we could win the school’s mock election that way.

For many of us, it wasn’t about the issues. It was about protesting the two-party system that has been dominated by white men and corrupted by money.

A few weeks before the election, a poll of students confirmed what we suspected: Nader was way ahead of Dole and right on the heels of Clinton in our mock election. We called the Nader campaign. He was going to be in Denver the following week, and his campaign was excited enough about our news that Nader scheduled a visit to Santa Fe to meet with us and speak publicly at the Roundhouse.

So in 1996, Nader held a press conference at the Roundhouse, with me and another student by his side, and talked about his presidential campaign and the importance of the next generation, using us as the example. Before the news conference began, he pulled us aside and talked with us for several minutes about the importance of being involved.

linton won the mock election at St. Mike’s. Nader finished a close second, and Dole’s finish was pathetic.

The point is this: Nader has taken the time during his presidential runs to foster excitement in independents and young people, and he had some success in 2000. That scared Democrats. But instead of looking inward and considering why they were failing to bring Nader supporters into the Democratic Party, they blamed Nader for Bush.

That’s like saying the car manufacturer is responsible when a drunken driver crashes its automobile into a crowd of people. Or like saying the gun maker is responsible when a psychopath goes on a rampage on a college campus. Nader didn’t force people to vote for him. They made that choice.

As proof that Nader wasn’t to blame for Gore’s loss, an equally uninspiring John Kerry lost four years later without Nader garnering any significant support. The problem wasn’t Nader. It was the Democratic Party.

This year, people are turning out in record numbers to see Clinton and Obama. To some degree, the party has changed. It has figured out that it needs more than white, male candidates. It’s decided to pay more attention to Hispanics. Obama, and to a lesser degree Clinton, have learned that if they speak to the issues of young people, some young people will pay attention and get involved.

I give Nader some of the credit for the Democratic Party’s awakening. The support he gained in 2000 forced the party to begin a serious examination of its own problems. It took another devastating loss in 2004 for the party to really take those problems seriously, and in 2008 we’ve seen a slate of Democratic presidential candidates much different than any in this nation’s history.

Clinton and Obama can trash Nader all they want, but his 2000 run helped pave the way for them to be where they are today. They should thank him, and realize that his insistence on continuing to pester the Democratic Party by running for president again this year is helping keep Democrats honest.

I wish the Republican Party had a similar thorn in its side.