By Scott Cavanagh
Since his recent announcement that he would run—for a third time—for president, legendary consumer advocate Ralph Nader has taken quite a pounding from most everybody on the left. Although I do concede (despite Nader’s arguments to the contrary) that his 2000 campaign cost Al Gore Florida and that his legacy as the champion of consumers and regular citizens has been somewhat tarnished by his continued quest for an unattainable political prize, I take issue with those that belittle the accomplishments of someone I consider a personal hero.
It is important to understand that Ralph Nader has not just done some good for some people. He is THE reason we have seat belts and air bags in our cars, safety caps on our RX bottles and safe toys for our children. This is a great man—a man that has done more for everyday Americans than the past seven presidents combined, and disrespecting him is shameful.
Has he created some uncomfortable moments for some on the left by pointing out many of the fights they have avoided over past few decades? Of course, but is Nader not correct when he says that the Democrats have virtually BECOME Republicans over the past 30 years?
Is Nader not correct when he points out that the Dems' willingness to abandon all core values in favor of becoming "Republican Light" has eroded their base so badly that Republicans can just treat "liberal" as a dirty word with a majority of the electorate?
Are all realistic progressives not in simple agreement with Ralph that when politicians talk about Social Security solvency and what we must sacrifice in benefits or higher premiums to protect it, they do so knowing that the entire system could easily be made secure by simply cutting loopholes that allow American companies to set up post office boxes in tax-friendly locales to avoid paying billions?
Both Republicans and Democrats let well-established charades like that go on and on. A Nader administration would work to end them immediately, and would call Congress out on them every day. Every single day Nader would use that bully pulpit to fight for us. Is that what Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer have been doing for the past two years? Is that the party you deserve? We deserve better and Ralph knows it.
Would Ralph Nader have supported NAFTA, or GATT, or the Bankruptcy Bill, or the Patriot Act, amnesty for Big Brother or anything to do with war in Iraq? Of course not. He's Ralph Nader. He's not for sale--thank God.
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