Ralph Nader can always be counted on for a blistering critique of Democrats and the Democratic Party from its left. The latest case in point would be his “The Serial Ineptitude of the Democrats” post at Counterpunch. And as usual, he makes some good points, among them:
Victory in politics often goes to those who have the most energy and decisiveness, however wrongheaded. The Republicans have won these races for years. To paraphrase author and lapsed Republican, Kevin Phillips, the Republicans go for the jugular, while the Democrats go for the capillaries.
The Democrats are tortured daily by Republican leaders, Speaker John Boehner and Eric Cantor but they do not go into these politicians’ backyards in Virginia and Ohio to expose the unpopular agendas pitched by these Wall Street puppets.
One would think that politicians who side with big corporations would be politically vulnerable for endangering both America and the American people. These corrupt politicians promote corporate tax loopholes and side with insurance and drug companies on costly health care proposals. They defend the corporate polluters on their unsafe workplaces, dirty air, water and contaminated food, push for more deficit spending in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, neglect Main Street based public works-repair-America-jobs programs, support high-interest student loans, cover for oil industry greed at the pump, and are hell-bent on taking the federal cops off the corporate crime beats.
…The Democrats should be landsliding the worst Republican Party in history. Talk about extremists. There are virtually no moderate or liberal Republicans left in Congress after being driven out by their own party hard-liners. So this Republican Party, united over their extremism, should be very easy to challenge.
Those are some of the nicer things Nader has to say about Democrats in his Counterpunch post. He takes Dems to task for their limp support of a needed minimum wage hike and their failures to “Get tough on Wall Street and corporate crime, protect pensions, end the wars, tax the corporate and wealthy tax-escapees, launch community-based public works programs, provide full Medicare for all, expand health and safety programs, to name a few.”
There’s no danger, however, that Republicans will leverage Nader’s critique, since they are much worse than Democrats on all of the issues he touches on. Some might argue that, in a way, Nader’s critique positions Democrats at the political center, where they need to be. In any event, it wouldn’t hurt Dems if they toughened up their populist creds a little along the lines Nader has suggested.
I’ve never blamed Nader for Gore’s loss in 2000, as have some of my Democratic friends (Looks to me like it was stolen by voter suppression). But I do wish Nader had run in Democratic presidential primaries over the years, which he might have won or, at least pushed the intra-party debate to the left. Nader hates the Democratic party so much, it seems as if he would rather see it replaced than fixed.
Nader will likely never challenge for the Democratic presidential nomination in future elections. But I hope that someday, some equally-eloquent challenger with similarly fierce populist instincts will enter the fray and put some of Nader’s legitimate concerns on the actual agenda.