Nader: Officially a relic of the old politics of division

June 25, 2008

(CNN) —Ralph Nader’s presidential candidacy has received little media attention, but his latest critique of Barack Obama has come under fire for it’s seemingly racial overtones.

Speaking with Colorado’s Rocky Mountain News, Nader accused Obama of attempting to both “talk white” and appeal to “white guilt” in his quest to win the White House.

“There’s only one thing different about Barack Obama when it comes to being a Democratic presidential candidate. He’s half African-American,” Nader told the paper in comments published Tuesday. “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.”

Obama’s presidential campaign called those comments disappointing, and his communication’s director, Robert Gibbs, said Tuesday they were “reprehensible and basically delusional.”

“I don’t think he’s spent a lot of time looking at the record of Barack Obama,” Gibbs said on MSNBC.

Nader, the longtime consumer advocate who was blamed by many Democrats for Al Gore’s loss in the 2000 presidential election, said Obama’s top issue should be poverty in America, given his racial heritage.

Watch: Why is Nader running for president

“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,” he said. “Haven’t heard a thing.”

Nader also said Obama is making a concerted effort not to be “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.”

Speaking with CNN Tuesday, Nader defended his comments, saying Obama is not challenging the “white oligarchic structure.” Nader also told CNN Obama should be held to a higher standard when it comes to issues of poverty because of his race.

“Barack Obama because he’s African American should be held to a higher standard — much more graceful, righteous, standard of responsiveness to African Americans and Latinos and others who make up 100 million Americans in the poverty or near poverty category,” he said.

Nader formally entered the presidential race last spring, expressing disappointment with both remaining Democratic candidates at that time.

“They are both enthralled to the corporate powers,” he told CNN of both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. “They’ve completely ignored the presidential pattern of illegality and accountability, they’ve ignored the out of control waste-fraud military expenditures, they hardly ever mention the diversion of hundreds of billions of dollars to corporate subsidies, handouts, and giveaways, and they don’t talk about a living wage.”


~ by J. F. Brenner on June 25, 2008.

One Response to “Nader: Officially a relic of the old politics of division”

  1. Nader apparently expects whoever is running for president to be Superman, regardless of race. Race is just an easy tactic for Ralph to insert himself into the national discussion. A cheap and disgusting tactic, unfortunately. He obviously doesn’t have his head screwed on right anymore. He won’t be a factor in this election, although he’ll do his damndest. Most people, except for the Far Right, wish he’d just go away.

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