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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ralph Nader Accuses Barack Obama of 'Talking White'

Ralph Nader has been resented by many in the Democratic party since the year 2000 and since announcing that he would run for the presidency as an Independent this year, he has been critical of Barack Obama. Monday He charges Obama with "talking white".
Ralph Nader has run for the office of President of the United States four times prior to 2008. He ran in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004.

In 1996 and 2000 he ran for the Green Party, in 2004 he ran as an Independent and was endorsed by the Reform Party and this year he is running as an Independent and when he announced his intention to run again, any in the Democratic party cringed because many Democrats blame Nader to cutting into Al Gore's votes in key states and costing Gore the 2000 election.

Nader rejects these claims insisting that the Democrats "scapegoated" him and they ignored the other factors that led to Gore's loss.

In recent days Ralph Nader has stepped up his criticisms of Barack Obama and in his latest interview with the Rocky Mountain News he accuses Obama of trying to "talk white" playing to "white guilt" and downplaying poverty issues.

When Nader was asked if Obama's pledge to reject campaign contributions from registered lobbyists made him different than Democrats he has criticized in the past, Nader responded with, "There's only one thing different about Barack Obama when it comes to being a Democratic presidential candidate. He's half African-American." He continued that answer by saying, "Whether that will make any difference, I don't know. I haven't heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What's keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn't want to appear like Jesse Jackson? We'll see all that play out in the next few months and if he gets elected afterwards."

Asked to clarify whether he thought Obama does try to "talk white," Nader said: "Of course.

"I mean, first of all, the number one thing that a black American politician aspiring to the presidency should be is to candidly describe the plight of the poor, especially in the inner cities and the rural areas, and have a very detailed platform about how the poor is going to be defended by the law, is going to be protected by the law, and is going to be liberated by the law," Nader said. "Haven't heard a thing."

Nader also says that Obama does not campaign enough in low income, minority communities where there is what he calls a shocking amount of economic exploitation. He goes on to point specifically at predatory lending, shortages of health care, municipal resources and environmental issues.

Nader concludes the interview with "He wants to show that he is not a threatening . . . another politically threatening African-American politician. He wants to appeal to white guilt. You appeal to white guilt not by coming on as black is beautiful, black is powerful. Basically he's coming on as someone who is not going to threaten the white power structure, whether it's corporate or whether it's simply oligarchic. And they love it. Whites just eat it up."

The Obama campaign, via campaign spokeswoman Shannon Gilson, responded to Nader's criticisms by issuing a short statement saying, "We are obviously disappointed with these very backward-looking remarks."

These criticisms come at a time when members of the Democratic party are speaking up and criticizing Obama on a variety of issues.


Muslims are saying they feel Barack Obama have snubbed them, which has some in the far left progressive blogosphere expressing some extreme anger.

One example of that answer is from a site called Balloon Juice:

This is utter bullshit, and it is the first time I remember having hot flashes of anger when discussing the Obama campaign. I understand the desire to maintain message discipline, and I understand that the email campaigns have been damaging to the Obama campaign and that many Americans still believe Obama is muslim, and I understand that every campaign needs to tack to the right for the general, but this is just pathetic. It is weak, it is timid, and it is cowardice, and I am extremely disappointed. It is the antithesis of how his campaign has run and everything I like about Barack Obama.

That is representative of what some others are saying as well.


After the U.S. Congress approved a compromise FISA bill with the controversial issue of providing telecommunications companies immunity from lawsuits for helping the administration, Obama came out with a statement saying that he would try to work with the Senate to strip that immunity from the bill, but he would support the compromised bill which House negotiators worked months to put together.

The portion of that statement that brought about major criticism from Democratic supporters is the following:

"It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives - and the liberty - of the American people."

That sent the liberal blogosphere into a frenzy of criticism with Atrios over at Eschaton naming Obama "wanker of the day", Digby at Hullabaloo calling it a "colossal failure of leadership" and Wall Street Journal reports that Matt Stoller, a liberal activist and co-founder of the blog, stated at an Internet politics conference in New York, that, "There's an element of distrust now."

He makes it clear that Obama's stance on FISA, via his statement, would not alienate the majority of supporters, but that the issue gives activists, "a strong reason not to trust him or give him the benefit of the doubt."


Another issue that Obama is being criticized on, this time by editorials from a large variety of major newspapers, was his recent decision to opt out of the public financing system for the general election campaign.

The editorials started with McClatchy Newspapers stating that Obama decision to opt out of public financing would hurt his efforts to "paint himself as a reformer."

New York Times declared that Obama came up short of his vow to depart from self-interested politics, Wall Street Journal called it a flip flop. The USA Today and many other news papers weighed in with the same theme.

Nader jumped in when Obama made his announcement, immediately calling him a flip flopper.

John McCain created an ad to which Democratic Clinton supporters started showing on their websites, pointing to Obama's public statements on public financing and then his announcement to opt out of it.

On a variety of issues Barack Obama is taking hits from all sides, but it is the hits he is taking from his liberal base which is the most worrisome as he switches his campaign strategy from running a primary campaign against Clinton, where he needed the members of the far left, to running a general election campaign strategy where he will need the Independents and Moderates, even if it risks angering his most liberal base.