Tuesday, January 01, 2008

intellectual honesty at its best--no, that's not sarcasm

It's certainly hard not to respect this move, even if it seems somewhat paradoxical. Earlier on this blog I have said I understood the thinking behind those who voted for Kerry. I understand this thinking even more. Although I don't think Edwards is more than a sliver of an answer to the real causes of poverty, inequality and the corporatocracy, I understand that, for some, a sliver makes a difference. And what both Nader and Edwards say about HClinton is spot-on. Nader doesn't criticize Obama in this speech, though. It would have been simple enough to just say: Edwards supports universal health care. Obama doesn't. At this point in time, that's as good a litmus test for progressives as any. (I put opponents of UHC on the same political plane as environmentalists place global warming deniers...)

By the way, what's with a national progressives conference booing Nader? In my opinion, the myth that "Nader cost Gore the Election" is one of those keep-believing-in-it-for-myriad-reasons-even-though-it's-absurd myths that a person could spend a great deal of time analyzing and refuting and Gorebots and Democrat pansies would just keep repeating anyway...The article at Politico.com similarly, uncritically repeats the assumption.

But enough of that. Like I said, it's hard not to respect, and even kind of smile at, this move:
Nader throws support to Edwards
By: David Paul Kuhn
Dec 31, 2007 08:18 PM EST
MUSCATINE, Iowa — Ralph Nader unleashed on Hillary Rodham Clinton Monday - criticizing her for being soft on defense spending and a chum of big business - and expressed his strong support for John Edwards.
In an 11th hour effort to encourage liberal Iowans to "recognize" Edwards by "giving him a victory," the activist and former presidential contender said in an interview that Clinton will "pander to corporate interest groups" if elected. Nader specifically accused Clinton of failing to challenge military spending because "she is a woman who doesn't want to be labeled as soft on defense and she doesn't want to be shown as taking on big business." As Clinton campaigned through a snowstorm in southeast Iowa, pledging to "bring about the changes we need," Nader accused the Democratic senator from New York of using empty rhetoric. "[Clinton] has not led the way against the avalanche of military contracting, corporate crime, fraud and abuse," he said. "We want to inform the people of Iowa about Hillary Clinton because all the focus is on, do they have the experience and do they have the personal charisma, and can they cross the aisle" Nader said. "The issue is corporate power and who controls our political system and it's not who has experience for six years or two years," he said, alluding to an ongoing debate over experience between Clinton and freshman Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). "She has experience in the Senate, and what that experience has meant is going soft on cracking down on corporate crime, fraud, and abuse, soft on cutting tens of millions in corporate subsidies," he continued. The Clinton campaign declined to comment on Nader's criticism. Nader, a four-time presidential candidate, called Edwards a Democratic "glimmer of hope." He has long criticized Democrats as indistinguishable from Republicans, chiding both parties as slaves to corporate financing and interests. It was Nader who famously - or infamously to many Democrats - siphoned off enough liberal votes from Al Gore in 2000 to hand New Hampshire and Florida, and as a result, the presidency, to George W. Bush. Since 2004, however, Nader has been increasingly controversial within the political left. He was booed at a national conference of progressives earlier this year. But he remains a popular figure among some liberals. Activists are particularly influential in the Iowa caucuses, if only because participation asks hours of voters' time. Only a small portion of Iowa Democrats caucused in 2004. Clinton is currently locked in a heated three-way race with Obama and Edwards in Iowa, the first contest of the presidential primaries.On Monday, Nader also issued a public statement criticizing Clinton as a "corporate Democrat," echoing the exact words Edwards uses to challenge Clinton. Nader said he has watched Edwards from afar and sees his more pugilistic brand of populism as an encouraging sign."It's the only time I've heard a Democrat talk that way in a long time," Nader said, acknowledging what was, for him, a rare moment of praise for a Democratic leader. "Iowa should decide which candidate stands for us," he added. "Edwards is at least highlighting day after day that the issue is who controls our country, big business or the people."


Renegade Eye said...

Many Green Party members supported drafting Nader. It looks like Cynthia McKenney will get the Green Party nomination now.

Nader finally succumbed to Democratic Party pressure.

If I were a Democrat, I would support Edwards.

UHC will not come from any of the Democrats.

If Edwards doesn't win the nomination, would he leave that corporate supporting party?

matt said...

Yes, Nader's move seems to be a surrender to the inevitability of the Democrats as the "only alternative," and Edwards as the best of that bunch (which, among the frontrunners, he is). I, too, would support Edwards if I were a Democrat. I don't see any way he would ever leave the party, though, particularly not to get his fingernails dirty with a third party...

I agree, too, that UHC won't "come from" any of the Dems. UHC will only happen through a focused mass demand for it, impossible to ignore. When that happens, it won't matter which party is in power.

I'll certainly be a faithful rank-and-file marcher when that time comes!