Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Nader Redux

Nader is in the race. This causes me a host of philosophical and practical problems. I’m not quite ready to jump ship yet, but I have been carefully considering Obama’s stance on a variety of issues and find them wanting. Granted, he is probably the most progressive candidate one can expect, but this isn’t such a great allocade when one considers the sorry state of progressive politics in America. On the issues, Ralph and I have no disagreement. Ralph Nader takes these stands: 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 to legitimate third party candidates. Adopt a carbon pollution tax. Reverse U.S. policy in the Middle East. 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. Obama supports, well, none of those things.

What does it mean to be a progressive? What does it mean to be a leftist? These are not simply meaningless philosophical questions. Obama is probably the best we can expect from the Democrats. He’s no JFK, but even Nader himself called Obama "a person of substance" and "the first liberal evangelist in a long time". Unfortunately, when you look at his positions, he stands for, at best, incremental change. I feel like that isn’t enough. It only took the Republicans seven years to destroy the economy, eviscerate the constitution and trash America’s reputation in the world. They certainly weren’t holding back on their agenda for the sake of political expediency. I don’t know. Maybe I am so disenchanted with the inherent corruption of the political system that I cannot get beyond the fact that these great media driven personality contests that are trotted out for public consumption every four years have very little to do with things that concern average Americans. Presidential elections aren’t about issues; they are about money and personality. Issues tend to bore the media. Plus, well, we know who controls the media. Corporations are perfectly happy to allow us to wallow in ignorance as long as we are spending money to buy their products. Some days I feel like a human ATM. But I have questions. I want to know why are we the only western democracy without government sponsored universal healthcare? Why is no one running for president talking about that? How come the war in Iraq isn’t being debated? Why isn’t Obama demanding the repeal of the Patriot Act and coming out strongly against warrantless wiretapping?


Anonymous said...

I have heard a lot of people kinda pissed off that he is running again, not because he will be a spoiler or anything, but because they are like, "come on this guy is played out," sorta like he is a joke. And many pundits have said he is ruining his career by running. But is this Politics or pop culture? Nader was yesterdays cool guy, is that it? This I think is a shame. I mean, look at Norman Mattoon Thomas. He ran six times. I don't think it in any way diminished his good works or made him laughable. I guess US Weekly should be the news magazine voters should turn to help them decide who will run their country.

Mark said...

Exactly the point. The mainstream media simply parrots what is coming out of the candidates organization and does no exploration of the issues. If I were CNN I'd think the real story here is that Nader is proposing a single-payer healthcare system while Clinton is the candidate who has taken THE MOST MONEY from health insurance companies for her campaign. Moer than any other candidate, Republican or Democrat. But just look at the advertisers at CNN; all HMOs and drug companies. Americans are so willfully ignorant. I shake my head every time any third-party candidate is referred to as a "spoiler". This is the democracy we are exporting to the rest of the world at the point of a gun?