WASHINGTON – Ralph Nader said Sunday he will run for president as a third-party candidate, criticizing the top White House contenders as too close to big business and pledging to repeat a bid that will “shift the power from the few to the many.”
Nader, 73, said most people are disenchanted with the Democratic and Republican parties due to a prolonged Iraq war and a shaky economy. The consumer advocate also blamed tax and other corporate-friendly policies under the Bush administration that he said have left many lower- and middle-class people in debt.
“You take that framework of people feeling locked out, shut out, marginalized and disrespected,” he said. “You go from Iraq, to Palestine to Israel, from Enron to Wall Street, from Katrina to the bumbling of the Bush administration, to the complicity of the Democrats in not stopping him on the war, stopping him on the tax cuts.”
“In that context, I have decided to run for president,” Nader told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Nader also criticized Republican candidate John McCain and Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton for failing to support full Medicare for all or cracking down on Pentagon waste and a “bloated military budget. He blamed that on corporate lobbyists and special interests, which he said dominate Washington, D.C., and pledged in his third-party campaign to accept donations only from individuals.
“The issue is do they have the moral courage, do they have the fortitude to stand up to corporate powers and get things done for the American people,” Nader said. “We have to shift the power from the few to the many.”
I don’t think this will have much of an effect on the presidential election, primarily because Democrats believe that Nader’s third party run in 2000 cost The Goracle the presidency (well, they believe that and also that the USSC “stole” the election for Bushitler). Nader’s just doing one of the things he does best, and that is stealing a little limelight for himself and creating a few waves, generating a buzz that will (I believe) be shortlived.
In response to the news, Dem frontrunner Barack Obama had this to say:
“Mr. Nader is somebody who, if you don’t listen and adopt all of his policies, thinks you’re not substantive. He seems to have a pretty high opinion of his own work.”
He went on to praise the longtime consumer advocate as a “singular figure” in America who “has done as much as just about anybody on behalf of consumers.”
“I don’t mean to diminish him,” he said. “I do think there is a sense now that if somebody is not hewing to the Ralph Nader agenda, then you must be lacking in some way.”
Hat tip to ST reader Mwalimu Daudi, who said in response:
Oh, really? I mean, Democrats have never themselves done that. Except on issues like the Iraq War, “free” health care, global warming, defense spending, taxes, abortion, “hate crime” laws, earmarks, trade, education, government regulation, etc.
I will remember Obama’s quotes in November when he and others in the Democrat Party are demonizing McCain and the GOP for not agreeing with Democrats 100% of the time.
The Captain believes Obama’s bigger worry could be NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, should he decide to throw his hat into the ring, and that a combination of both Bloomberg and Nader could hurt BO in the general.
The great Thomas Sowell has written about Ralph Nader many times, and has often described how the only person Ralph Nader is interested in “shifting the power to” is himself. In this March 2004 piece, Mr. Sowell noted correctly:
For decades before Ralph Nader came on the scene, automobile fatality rates were declining, despite more cars on the streets and highways, traveling at faster speeds. The automobile fatality rate per miles driven was less than one-third as high when “Unsafe at Any Speed” was published as it was back in the 1920s.
But facts never carry as much weight as a dramatic vision of “corporate greed” sacrificing helpless consumers until they are rescued by “consumer advocates” and federal regulations. For the left, Nader was playing their song and they danced to it.
Although the term “consumer advocate” has acquired a certain halo in the media, there are no qualifications whatever required to be called a consumer advocate. Moreover, Nader was never a consumer advocate in any real sense. He was a Nader advocate then and he is a Nader advocate now, when he runs for office oblivious to his friends and supporters.
In one of his earliest writings, Nader said, “the consumer must be protected at times from his own indiscretion and vanity.” In other words, he wanted the Ralph Naders of the world to be able to dictate to consumers and producers alike. It’s all about him. So is running for president.
The Reuters piece on Nader’s announcement described him as a “consumer advocate,” proving that you can fool some people some of the time, but you can fool the media all the time and they will, in turn, try to fool you, too.
Cross-posted to Right Wing News, where I am helping guestblog for John Hawkins on Sundays.