What Ralph Nader Is Thinking About the 2012 Election
Continued from previous page
However, that does not preclude voting for them.
Q: So you’re saying to vote for the Green?
A: Or the Justice candidate (Rocky Anderson, former Mayor of Salt Lake City).
Why vote for a war criminal? Why vote for someone who wants to be an even bigger war criminal? Why vote for someone who has betrayed all his promise and hope?
Obama has violated federal statues, international treaties and the constitution –sending drones all over the world, killing people he wants to kill, violating American laws. He still has surveillance without judicial approval. Guantanamo is still going on. And yet people will vote for him because there’s nowhere to go? There comes a point when they’re both so bad. …Obama has done everything Bush has done and worse. He’s sending drones anywhere in the world, killing American citizens. Bush has never done that.
The “least worst” believes they have to vote for Obama. If you don’t have a breaking point, and this is the question that baffles the progressive intelligence, how bad does it have to get before you say No More? So some will just sit out the election. Vote Green, vote Justice Party or write in a vote. I don’t believe in staying home.
Q: You still believe the parties are too much alike?
A: They’re unacceptably similar. These Democrats today are really to the right of yesterday’s Liberal Republicans. They’ve abandoned labor, they’ve abandoned the poor. They’re the same on the trade agreements. They haven’t lifted a finger on raising the minimum wage. They extended Bush’s tax cuts. Obama doesn’t fight for what he believes in.
Q: It’s safe to say that you think this is a failed presidency?
A: Horribly. Tell me one culture in the world where words matter more than deeds. You have a charismatic leader and it doesn’t matter what he does, it matters what he says. Same with Romney. He can say anything and people are not checking his facts. Most voters don’t do their homework. They’re hereditary voters. They’re Republicans because their grandparents were Republicans and their parents were Republicans. They’re very vulnerable to rhetoric—if you don’t know the issues, you’re very vulnerable to rhetoric.
The other day on CNN people were being interviewed about Paul Ryan. One person was asked “Why are you voting for Ryan?” The answer” “His conservative values.” Well, that’s the line that’s out there about Ryan. But Ryan’s a corporatist. Ryan is anything but a conservative. His plan doesn’t balance the budget until 2040.
Q: What’s a corporatist?
A: It’s my word for what they’re calling crony capitalists-- they expand government in the service of corporate interests. It’s the merger of big business with big government where the big government is in the service of big capitalism.
But Ryan’s campaign calls him a conservative and so that’s what he gets called in the press. The press is so bad they can’t ask a question that does not emanate from the campaigns’ own press releases and announcements. They can’t ever expand the agenda any more.
I’ve challenged Ryan to debate his plan. After three tries, they wrote back “thank you very much for your interest but Mr. Ryan is very busy.” I’ve written Obama over 30 letters. I wrote Michele: How can we get through to your husband? Her scheduler wrote back and said: “Thank you very much.”
Voters, democrats, should start making demands. Unions, labor groups, citizen groups--they should make demands and he should pay attention to them. They’ve been told a million times that the least-worst voters are going to vote for you. If they don’t make demands, they lose all bargaining power, they’ll be further mistreated because they’re taken for granted and they won’t provide a counter pull to the corporate ties that are pulling in other directions. Same with African-American and Hispanic groups. African Americans have been completely ignored and except for people like Tavis Smiley and Cornell West, no leader has called him on it. Imagine if hundreds of leaders did what they did--do you think he’d be ignoring them? These are the leaders of the constituency groups, but they have no self respect electorally. They’re basically telling Obama that under no circumstance will we abandon you and under no circumstance will we publicly urge you to do things you promised to do, like raise the federal minimum wage. I could not get groups to sign onto it and I could give you a lot of other examples.