Ralph Nader Douses New American Hero with Verbal Vinegar

Ralph Nader loves to turn a phrase or evoke a parable, but there’s a lot of reaction to this latest word play. In this clip, he catches some heat from the Fox TV host when he describes the governing choices of the President-Elect Obama as either to be that of Uncle Sam or Uncle Tom. This kind of hyperbole lends Nader to criticism by many who do not follow his deliberate prose. The show’s host scolds him for not having some kind of reverence for this day. For Nader, it’s just another day of protest.

In general, the two Progressive Presidential candidates, Nader and McKinney, responded to Obama’s win with enthusiasm and recognition that this is a big day for people of color. Both crafted the motivating messages for their followers, that the job is not done and that they must apply continued pressure on politicians. However, where Nader applies vinegar, McKinney applies honey. Both are useful antiseptics with different purposes.

For some interesting reflections on the Nader comment, follow these threads:
Truthdig
The Daily Beast
SFGate

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One thought on “Ralph Nader Douses New American Hero with Verbal Vinegar

  1. Let’s disect this event further…

    The problem with the center for some of us is that it exists on somebody else’s definition of the continuum of political spectrum.

    Many progressives wanted to give Obama a hundred or so days of grace before laying in on him. Some did not. The latter falls in the Ralph territory.

    While you can question Nader’s loaded word choice (he’s oft given to literary suggestions – remember “Tweedle-De and Tweedle-Dumb” which became popular years later amongst pundits?), his point remains that Obama has displayed deference to the status quo of corporate influence in politics. He used the phrase Uncle Tom or Uncle Sam early on his campaign, btw – it’s not new.

    It is remarkably ironic that it’s Fox playing this entrapment game. The conservative talk show are trying to hoist Obama up as an example of socialism. LOL. While Nader may appear bitter, the host displays even greater acrimony in his shut-up “gotcha” wink media style.

    To suggest that race is NOT an issue in this election or in this country, is naive. Members of the black left have been asking themselves the same Uncle Tom question about Obama since the campaign began.

    Nader knows this is his last chance to catch some media this election cycle and it’s unlikely that he will be a minor candidate in four years, so he has to inflict his medicine on the newly anointed while he can still attract the media. As he says, the only time people pay attention to these issues is during the election.

    Obama has said he knows that there are those who do not agree with him, that he will listen to them. Pelosi has already said that Obama will rule from the center. And the right is already calling him a socialist. Clearly, he’s not going to be listening to the progressive left. Again removed from the conversation, this real left will have to wait patiently while the self-interested battle with the less self-interested.

    Socialists exist here in the United States and while socialism is decried as a slippery slope to communism, the proof of this inevitability is as evident as capitalism leading to reagality. Countries such as Sweden are the leading technological innovations because they offer their children a complete and diverse education through their socialist-capitalist system. They aren’t afraid of mixing terms or understanding nuance.

    As much as our country found its early spirit in rugged individualism, it also found its survival in community, even while we spat in its face.
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