Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader was on ABC’s This Week program today. In a wide ranging interview he talked about his disagreements with Barack Obama, John McCain morphing into a Bush clone, and the need for more third parties.
Host George Stephanopoulos said Obama has been working on Nader’s issues, but he hasn’t been listening. “I have been, just look at the positions he has taken that corporate America are very congenial to,” he answered. Nader talked about Obama being opposed to a single payer healthcare system. He criticized Obama for wanting to increase the military budget, “If you want more jobs in the inner city…you’ve got to reduce the bloated wasteful military budget, and he is not doing that, he wants to expand the military budget.”
Nader claimed that Obama talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk. “He has not done it. Look, 97% of the CEOs in the Fortune 500 are white. This is a white power structure… Let me give you an illustration about what is going on here, if he was really serious about lead paint, asthma and asbestos he would propose in Congress a major task force for the inner city. He hasn’t done that. It’s easy just to talk.”
Nader said, “He has backed off on so many things. He has voted for the war, funding for the war, except once, he voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act, he has ducked on the FISA thing for example. He has pandered to AIPAC… He said he against the Iraq War, but his plan would keep 50,000-80,000 troops there and bases.”
Nader was asked if Obama would be better than McCain. He said, “Anybody would be better than the Republicans. John McCain is moving towards becoming a clone of George W. Bush. He used to be seen as a maverick… He stands in front of the corporatists and says I’m your man. Nobody is going to vote for a pro-war Republican in any majority in the next election.” He interestingly pointed out that he seems to talk about Obama more, because nobody asks him about McCain.
He brought up a good point about the need for more competition for the two parties, “I think the two parties are hurting our country and they need more competition. The problem is there is too much political bigotry against small parties and candidates. You see it in these huge ballot access laws. Why do we ration debates? We’re appealing to the people in this country who want more choices on their ballot.” We are excluded from the debates.”
It seems that Ralph Nader’s biggest problem with Obama is that he isn’t liberal enough. Even if Nader does make it on to the ballot in 45 of 50 states, I doubt that he will damage Obama much. The Democratic Party rank and file is mostly happy with Obama, so I don’t believe that there will be a move to Nader. Libertarian candidate Bob Barr is third party candidate that is in position to impact a few states this time.
You can watch the Nader interview here.