Monday, July 7, 2008

Nader Unsafe At Any Speed

Perennial Presidential candidate Ralph Nader claims Barack Obama has done little or nothing on behalf of minorities and the poor. Nader's Green Party candidacy in 2000 attracted enough votes to account for the narrow loss of Democrat Al Gore for President, resulting in the reign of George Bush, which could hardly be called an achievement on behalf of minorities and the poor. Nader says Obama is trying to "talk white" by avoiding poverty and inner city issues. "He wants to appeal to white guilt," according to Nader. “You appeal to white guilt not by coming on as black is beautiful, black is powerful. Basically, he's coming on as someone who is not going to threaten the white power structure, whether it's corporate or whether it's simply oligarchic. And they love it. Whites just eat it up." Right. Ok. Like, anybody whose trousers are not falling down so fast they have to grab their crotch just to avoid indecent exposure, or anyone who is not flunking out of school, they’re just “trying to act white.” Ralph Nader should know better. He is first Arab-American to run for President of the United States. Son of Lebanese Maronite Catholic immigrants, Nader speaks six languages, including Arabic, the language of his childhood home.

Nader went into politics with no illusions that his brand of straight-talk would ever get him elected to office. His declared goal was to express views not supported by corporate dollars. Nader, now age 74, even older than Sen. McCain, has run in every Presidential election for two decades but made his name attacking corporate practices that disregarded consumer safety and rights. He was probably single-handedly responsible for the removal from the market of the 1960’s sub-compact Chevrolet Corvair, which he labeled “Unsafe at Any Speed.” General Motors retaliated with private investigators, wiretaps, and employing prostitutes to entrap and discredit Nader, thinking him to be only human. They misread the nature of a man who dressed like a missionary off the budget rack at Sears and was a workaholic with blinders. Nader sued GM for invasion of privacy and won, forced it to publicly apologize, and used the $284,000 from his settlement to fight for consumer rights. Nader was probably instrumental in the establishment of the Occupational Safety Hazard Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 1972, NTSA reported the 1960-1963 Corvair no more unsafe than its contemporaries.

Consumer icon of the 1960’s and role model for countless idealistic advocates to poke their noses into the secret places of business and government, Nader’s scrutiny has focused on the Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug Administration, air and water pollution, nursing homes, deforestation, workplace safety, and nuclear power plants. Somehow failing to catch Nader’s eye has been the War in Iraq, drug addiction, AIDS, healthcare, the insurance industry, the oil industry, and of course the fact that George Bush has been President of the United States. In the 2000 election, George W. Bush defeated Al Gore by 537 votes in Florida. Nader as candidate of the Green Party received 97,421 votes. Even Nader admits “exit polls reported that 25 percent of my voters would have voted for Bush, 38 percent would have voted for Gore and the rest would not have voted at all." Nader's votes in New Hampshire as well exceeded the difference in votes between Gore and Bush. Winning either Florida or New Hampshire would have made Gore the President, not Bush. Time Magazine named Nader one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century and one of the "100 most influential Americans" in history, saying “He made the cars we drive safer; thirty years later, he made George W. Bush the President."

Copyright 2008 by William C. Cotter


Tina said...

Nader's talents would be much better used promoting alternative fuels and a greener way of life than running for president. Having "been there, done that" with unfortunate results, seems like he would be pragmatic enough to realize that his cherished causes would be best supported by helping elect a Democrat to the White House. It is indeed sad to see someone of his intelligence and accomplishments teetering on the bring of irrationality.

annette said...

Well, the Inuits knew how to handle this kinda thing. Let's float Nader off on an iceberg before they all melt and before he embarasses himself further.

No spring chicken said...

Nader probably has neer realized that the dog-with-a-bone temperament, lack of self-doubt and tunnel vision worked very well for accomplishing consumer goals, make him unfit for politics. He's not exactly a "people person," and I think the commentators are asking him the wrong questions. They should be asking him things like "Why aren't you wearing a flag pen?" and "Who would be first lady if you were elected?" and "Should we be worried that your parents were from the mideast and you grew up speaking Arabic?"

Glenda said...

Nader is an intelligent individual who offered distinct and organized agendas as an alternative to what has afflicted the U.S. beginning in the '70's, and came into full flower in the Bush years. His voice is necessary.

Nader did not propel Bush into office. Election fraud, pre-programmed voting machines, caging, and the illegal intrusion of the Supreme Court got Bush into office.


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