Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tim, Nader and Obama

On Sunday, Tim interviewed Ralph Nader on Meet the Press. This is a clip I found very interesting.

From Meet the Press transcripts.

"SEN. OBAMA: He had called me, and I think reached out to my campaign--it--my sense is that Mr. Nader is somebody who, if you don't listen and adopt all of his policies, things are not substantive. He seems to have a, a pretty high opinion of, of his, his own work. In many ways, he is a heroic figure, and I don't mean to diminish him. But I do think there's a sense now that, you know, if, if somebody's not hewing to the Ralph Nader agenda, then you, you must be lacking in some way.

(End videotape)

MR. NADER: Well, first of all, compare my Web site, votenader.org, and all the issues that Mr. Obama and Senator Clinton and Mr. McCain are not addressing that are supported by a majority of the American people. A majority of the American people support these issues. They want foreign and military policy not to just be an aggressive military situation.

But Senator Obama is a person of substance. He's also the first liberal evangelist in a long time. He's run a brilliant tactical campaign. But his better instincts and his knowledge have been censored by himself. And I give you the example, the Palestinian-Israeli issue, which is a real off the table issue for the candidates. So don't touch that, even though it's central to our security and to, to the situation in the Middle East. He was pro-Palestinian when he was in Illinois before he ran for the state Senate, during he ran--during the state Senate. Now he's, he's supporting the Israeli destruction of the tiny section called Gaza with a million and a half people. He doesn't have any sympathy for a civilian death ratio of about 300-to-1; 300 Palestinians to one Israeli. He's not taking a leadership position in supporting the Israeli peace movement, which represents former Cabinet ministers, people in the Knesset, former generals, former security officials, in addition to mayors and leading intellectuals. One would think he would at least say, "Let's have a hearing for the Israeli peace movement in the Congress," so we don't just have a monotone support of the Israeli government's attitude toward the Palestinians and their illegal occupation of Palestine.

MR. RUSSERT: But would you prefer, as an American citizen, to have Barack Obama or John McCain as president?

MR. NADER: What I prefer as an American citizen?


MR. NADER: You're asking me? I'm running for president, for heaven's sake.

MR. RUSSERT: But as a citizen.

MR. NADER: I would prefer that the American people organize, that whoever is in president--is president, they give that person backbone.

MR. RUSSERT: How would you feel, however, if Ralph Nader's presence on the ballot tilted Florida or Ohio to John McCain and McCain became president, and Barack Obama, the first African-American who had been nominated by the Democratic Party--this is hypothetical--did not become a president and people turned to you and said, "Nader, you've done it again"?

MR. NADER: Not a chance. If the Democrats can't landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up, close down, emerge in a different form. You think the American people are going to vote for a pro-war John McCain who almost gives an indication that he's the candidate of perpetual war, perpetual intervention overseas? You think they're going to vote for a Republican like McCain, who allies himself with the criminal, recidivistic regime of George Bush and Dick Cheney, the most multipliable impeachable presidency in American history? Many leading members of the bar, including the former head of the American Bar Association, Michael Greco, absolutely dismayed over the violations of the Constitution, our federal laws, the criminal, illegal war in Iraq and the occupation? There's no way. That's why we have to take this opportunity to have a much broader debate on the issues that relate to the American people, as, as, as a fellow in Long Island said recently, Mr. Sloane, he said, "These parties aren't speaking to me. They're not speaking to my problems, to my family's problems.""