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Nader writes: "Putting themselves on the defensive, while dialing business lobbyists for the same campaign dollars as the Republicans, the Obama crowd, of course, could not advance what they promised the American people."

Ralph Nader says the president is 'averse to conflict with corporate power.' (photo: AP)
Ralph Nader says the president is 'averse to conflict with corporate power.' (photo: AP)

Obama and the Art of the Cave-In

Ralph Nader, Reader Supported News

04 January 12


zra Klein, the bright, young, economic policy columnist for the "Washington Post" believes that Obama came out ahead last year in the "administration's bitter, high-stakes negotiations with the Republicans in Congress."

He cites four major negotiations in 2011 with the Republicans that Obama won. Obama won the game of chicken played in February by the House Speaker John Boehner and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell to avoid a government shutdown. He won the battle to raise the customarily supported debt ceiling on government borrowing. He avoided an embarrassment after he had to concur in the formation of a "Supercommittee" on deficit reduction when Congress couldn't come to an agreement. And he won all of a two-month extension of the social security payroll tax cut and extension of unemployment compensation benefits.

If those were "high stakes," I wonder what microscopic instrument would detect any lower stakes. Obama keeps "winning battles" that he could have avoided. But what about taking the offensive on some really significant matters? For example, when he caved in December 2010 to the minority Republicans and agreed to extend the deficit-producing Bush tax cuts on the rich, he didn't demand in return a continuation of the regular bi-partisan approval of lifting the debt limit. So over weeks in 2011, he had to mud-wrestle the Republicans on the debt limit - to the dismay of finance ministers across the world - and won only after conceding the bizarre creation of a Supercommittee to order its own Congress to enact budget cuts. That Supercommittee gridlocked and closed down.

Finally, if he does nothing, the $4 trillion over 10 years that are the Bush tax cuts expire automatically on January 1, 2013 - after the election. On the same day, the spending trigger automatically kicks in which cuts over ten years $500 billion from the bloated Defense budget and another $500 billion from other departments, but not from social security and Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries.

This is an Obama victory? What makes Mr. Klein so sure Obama won't cave again? He has all this year to do so. His own Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has often said that there's no way he would go for any further defense cuts. Also, Obama was ready in 2011 to raise the Medicare eligibility age in return for the deal on debt ceiling. He was saved from this folly only by the stubbornness of Boehner and his clenched-teeth sidekick, Virginian Eric Cantor from the arguably most passive Congressional district in the U.S. Boehner and Cantor wanted more.

Here are some high stakes fights where the Republicans defeated the White House and blocked major substantive advances. They stopped the wide-ranging energy bill, and stifled Uncle Sam's authority to bargain for drug discounts that taxpayers are paying to the gouging drug companies for the drug benefit program for the elderly. They kept the coal industry King Coal on Capitol Hill, preserved crass corporate welfare and tax loophole programs, and blocked the able nominee to head the new agency to protect against consumer finance abuses. They also cut budgets for small but crucial safety programs in food, auto safety, and children's hunger.

Republicans preserved the notorious nuclear power loan guarantee boondoggles, a bevy of Soviet-era weapons systems nestled in the arms of the military-industrial complex and mercilessly beat up on the work and budget of the cancer-preventing, illness-reducing Environmental Protection Agency. That's just for starters.

Obama and the majority Democrats in the Senate dug this hole for themselves when they failed to curtail the filibuster in January 2009 and 2011 by majority vote. They doomed themselves to the numerically impossible hurdle of needing 60 votes to pass any measure and avoid filibusters.

Putting themselves on the defensive, while dialing business lobbyists for the same campaign dollars as the Republicans, the Obama crowd, of course, could not advance what they promised the American people. They went silent on raising the federal minimum wage to $9.50, promised by candidate Obama in 2008 for 2011. At $9.50, it would still have been less than the federal minimum wage in 1968, adjusted for inflation. Hardly a radical proposal.

Obama went silent on the card check, promised unorganized American workers in their losing struggle with multinational corporate employers. While bailing out the criminal gamblers on Wall Street, he could have pressed for a stock transaction sales tax that could have raised big revenue and helped dampen speculation with other peoples' money such as pension funds and mutual fund savings.

He could have pushed seriously for a visible public works program producing domestic jobs in thousands of communities for improved public services. He could have directly challenged the Tea Partiers with cuts in corporate welfare, but he did not, except for ending an ethanol subsidy. He could have made a big deal of cracking down on corporate fraud on Medicare and Medicaid that totals tens of billions of dollars a year. However, once on the defensive from his own self-inflicted weak hand, he was always on the defensive.

Obama may be in a superior tactical position vis-a-vis the Congressional Republicans, as Mr. Klein posits, but is this all there is left of the touted movement for hope and change in 2008?

President Obama is deemed by his fellow Democrats to have won the financial battles, but the Republicans won the rest. How can the expectation levels of this two party duopoly sink any lower?

Let's face it, if today's Republicans are the most craven, greedy, ignorant, anti-worker, anti-patient, anti-consumer, anti-environment and coddlers of corporate crime in the party's history, why aren't the Democrats landsliding them?

For two answers try reading John F. Kennedy's best-selling Profiles of Courage, 1955, or if you favor the ancients, Plutarch's Lives (circa 100 A.D.).

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

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Founder, Reader Supported News

+29 # papabob 2012-01-04 22:51
Both Republicans and Democrats are politicians; you know that of course.

But do you know where the word "politician comes from?

I've heard it said that the word 'politics' is derived from the word 'poly', meaning 'many', and the word 'ticks', meaning 'blood sucking parasites'.

This is an indication of how well the US Congress is representing the people that voted for each of them.

The way to get the representation you vote for is see what he actually does, and don't just listen to the promises he makes.

Been there; done that.
+39 # goodsensecynic 2012-01-05 03:51
You may have heard that politics comes from the word "poly" (which, of course, isn't a word), but that doesn't make it so.

"Poly" derives from the Greek "polys," meaning "several." Politics, on the other hand, comes from "polis," meaning "city" and "politikos" meaning "citizen," or more precisely a citizen who takes part in the affairs of the city.

To the ancient Athenians, there was no higher secular calling that to be a "politician," which is to say someone who dedicated time and energy to public discussion. Modernity, however, has adopted a different approach, reducing citizens to consumers and marginalizing anyone who is serious about promoting the common good.
+39 # Billy Bob 2012-01-04 23:02
I HATED Nader for INTENTIONALLY doing everything he could to undermine Gore's coming victory in 2000. He intentionally went out of his way to campaign in Florida at the last minute knowing full well this would possibly cost Gore (the only viably electable liberal Presidential candidate of the past 40 years) the election.

We can argue and argue about whether Gore won but refused to fight, whether the election would have been stolen from him if he'd earned the few million extra that were taken by Nader, etc.

It's all beside the point.

I hated Nader. Now I don't.

This article puts more succinctly than anything else I've read exactly what the "game" of Presidential politics has become since Obama took office.

Nader, thanks for taking the time and trouble to bother pointing out the truth about the situation we face.
+29 # Phlippinout 2012-01-05 08:07
You seem to forget that Nader was not the reason Bush got in, he was selected by the Supreme court. Besides, people who voted for Nader would not have voted for Gore regardless, Your beef was not with him, but the supreme court and the way they cheated Bush into the white house! Your hate was misplaces, hate the game not the player
+10 # Billy Bob 2012-01-05 09:34
Re-read my post. I discussed that. As I mentioned, it's debatable whether or not the Supreme Court would have stolen the election anyway if, instead of winning the popular vote by 400,000 votes Gore had won by that PLUS the 2.8 MILLION that Nader took away from him intentionally.


Gore ONLY won by 400,000 votes.

If Nader had not intentionally tried to keep him out of office, it's conceivable that he would have won by well over 3 MILLION votes.

The Supremes would NOT have been able to fudge around those numbers - especially when you cosider the fact that Nader WENT OUT OF HIS WAY to campaign in Florida at the last minute for this very purpose. He even lost Michael Moore's support when he did that.

Nader's campaign was much like gingrich's - COMPLETELY DRIVEN BY PERSONAL VANITY and NOT the best interests of American citizens.
+4 # Capn Canard 2012-01-07 11:48
BillyBob, it is a complex situation but the vote was a done deal befgore Nov 2000 as brother Jeb promised Fla to George and this was all made possible by the denying of voting rights to people who were deemed felons despite having no criminal record whatsoever. Why do you all forget to look at the whole picture? Bush allegedly "won" Fla by a mere 327 votes and Gore was still gaining votes before SCOTUS stopped the Fla Supreme Court's ordered recount. So SCOTUS performed a bloodless coup d'etat. Nader wasn't a factor. A complete non issue. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nil. Since they got away with that they've only increased in arrogance and now declare class war is being started by the poorest of poor... These are head games! Pull it out!
0 # Patch 2012-01-06 22:21
Fightback & BillyBob - If Nader had thrown his support to Gore in the final month then the entire issue with Florida and the Supreme Court probably wouldn't have come to pass. I am still angry at Nader for staying in. It was pure vanity and ego and nothing else.
-1 # gdp1 2012-01-05 08:51
...I still hate Nader for that craven calculation in 2000. And, will blame him forever for the collateral damage of the ensuing years...
-1 # Billy Bob 2012-01-05 09:35
I guess I do too, just less than Obama at the moment... and I will still probably be stuck voting for that duplicitous liar.
+23 # mwd870 2012-01-05 10:04
Nader was doing exactly what we have talked about here - offering Americans a third-party candidate who could really make a difference. If you've ever seen the video "Testify," by Rage Against the Machine, you might be more inclined to understand Nader's motives.

Unfortunately, third parties don't work in our political system (yet). It's mind-bending to think how things might have been different without Cheney's influence on Bush. I agree it was the Supreme Court who cheated Bush into the White House and not Ralph Nader.
-1 # Billy Bob 2012-01-05 11:25
Nader's motives were to destroy the system so we can rebuild it from scratch. The only problem with that is that destroying the system will only lead to an eventual improvement over centuries, not decades.

You're right. It's too bad we have a two party system. But, it's a fact. Until we have 2 or 3 three Constitutional amendments passed to change the electoral process, that's the way it is. How often are referendums even tried anymore? There's a reason for that. If you think Utah and Mississippi will give up on the two party system, you're mistaken.
+12 # PGreen 2012-01-05 14:00
I think that Nader, like most of us, wants systemic change, not the illusion of choice. I wouldn't say that we wants to tear the whole system down. He isn't the unibomber.
On the one hand we owe Nader thanks for publicizing that there are no significant differences between the two major political parties. Many people still don't see that the US has a single business party with two heads. Nader may even have contributed to the rise of the OWS movement by strengthening the paradigm of cutting through the partisan BS, and seeking real change.
On the other hand, Obama is preferable to the Republican candidates, and there are presently no realistic alternatives to the major political parties. Those of us who consider Obama better, however slightly, may have to vote for him in a close situation to avoid greater evil. But we shouldn't delude ourselves into believing Obama is trying to protect the civil rights of the American people or the finances of the working/middle class. That notion is demonstrably untrue. Obama places system elites, individuals and institutional structures, before the American people.
Nader wants us to know (appropriately, I feel) that we haven't won anything by getting Obama in office. All we've done is ward off greater disaster. As OWS has so dramatically revealed, we need to focus on real changes to be made on the grassroots level.
0 # Patch 2012-01-06 22:24
BillyBob I'm totally with you on all this. If those who are giving you negative remarks thought about it, they would support you as well.
+1 # jimyoung 2012-01-07 18:06
We need a real third party array in the legislatures, federal, state and local, before we can hope to have an effective third party President.
+1 # jimyoung 2012-01-07 18:24
To my eternal regret, I voted "against" Liebermann for his part in over riding Clinton's veto of the 1995 Private Securities Litigation Reform Act and subsequent extension of the defense of bad actors from state level litigation. They claim to have protected us from frivolous lawsuits by opportunistic lawyers. Who are the opportunistic financial types they left us defenseless against?

As I understand it the SCOTUS decision was that a full recount should be done but said it should be done in the impossibly short period that Florida set up saying it wanted the decision by Dec 16, instead of the previous deadline of January 6. A heck of a trick of not setting a precedent on the actual need for a complete recount, but making it impossible by requiring it to be done in a few hours.

I forever will be trying to make up for having voted for Bush. I've dumped Bank of America, started listening to the OWS people in person, and would happily vote for Nader for Senate or support him in any other position he could be helpful in.
+8 # PGreen 2012-01-05 14:09
It is hard to know what might have happened. I don't fault Nader's motives. He may have helped in some ways. For example, would you rather have had 4+ years of Gore, but no OWS movement-- having instead a Democratic party taking us the same direction as Bush did, only slower? That, after all, is what Obama is showing us with his support of torturers, his renunciation of climate control treaties, his embrace of TARP, etc. We don''t know what a Gore administration would have done, or if it was re-electable.
The lesson is that real change will not come from either the Democratic or Republican Parties. Let's not fool ourselves. It takes some people a Ralph Nader to remind them.
-3 # Billy Bob 2012-01-06 00:35
The thing is that you really can't compare Obama to Gore. Gore wouldn't have taken us down the same route as dumya. Obama (even if he'd been elected in 2000) would have. Gore would have kept the Democratic Party in the liberal camp. Obama is firmly opposed to liberalism.

Nader was funded entirely by the repuglican party for a reason. He gleefully took that money. His "principles" seem to have a limit.
0 # PGreen 2012-01-06 12:45
According to SFGate, 1 in 10 major Nader donors were "loyal Republicans," contributing an amount of $23,000. His running mate thought he should turn it down (I agree) but it is hard to fault Nader for accepting money when it is a common occurrence in political campaigns. Many donors give to both the Democrats and Republicans, though you could argue that this is an attempt to hedge bets, and not to enable a candidate to buy the hanging rope. But Gore, like Carter, became better upon leaving public office. I still remain unsure what we would have seen in his administration.
No use wasting time on might-have-been s. I say Nader is worth listening to (He's earned that much to me), and (like anyone) worth following when he makes sense-- but certainly not blindly.
0 # Tippitc 2012-01-05 19:27
Oops - I meant thumbs DOWN - you hate Nader and will blame him forever - yup, your right, it is all Nader's fault.
0 # lark3650 2012-01-05 21:02
Hate is poison to the hater...
+6 # NIKHILANANDA 2012-01-05 16:27
ALOHA:.... it is good to know that you have finally GROWN UP!!.. what good did you "HATE" do???..... in a free country, EVERYONE has the right to stand for public office... gore ran a poor campaign; losing both his own home state of tennessee but also clinton's arkansas.... nader was and is still one of the few american heroes of the 20th century....
+3 # lark3650 2012-01-05 20:51
Ralph Nader has always been a champion of the people and I've said it before and I'll say it again...if Gore couldn't even carry his own wasn't Ralph Nader that was the cause of his defeat. Ralph is a man of reason and a great thinker.
0 # jimsenter 2012-01-08 19:11
Get off it Billy Bob. The Supreme Court majority in Bush v. Gore stole the election from Gore. And if Gore had made a stronger argtument for his case, like the massive illegal disenfranchisem ent of tens of thousands of voters because they had names vaguely similar to convicted felons, the Court would have had a harder time justiftying their decision.

Nader had nothing to do with it. Put your anger where it belongs.
-22 # bobby t. 2012-01-04 23:49
even the great ralph nader doesn't get it. it is not the drug companies fixing prices. it is the drug stores which are doing it. the prices they pay for the drugs are sometimes hundreds of times less than the prices they charge. the states are supposed to stop price fixing. the drug stores pay to keep on price fixing to their hearts content. sherman was ammended to allow the state governments get the graft. he should know this.
+3 # Todd Williams 2012-01-05 08:09
Why the negatives for Bobby T? He's right about drug store price fixing, but wrong about the big pharmas. So he's scoring 50% on my scale. Nothing is ever black and white, just shades of grey.
+11 # Billy Bob 2012-01-05 09:51
If drug stores are the ones fixing the prices, then why do you pay even more for medication at local mom and pop pharmacies than you do at places like CVS or Wal-Mart? Are you telling me that the mom's and pop's who live in small towns across America are all part of a vast conspiracy and are hiding billions under the corn fields?

This has all the markings of a drug industry created red-herring.
+1 # disgusted American 2012-01-06 20:31
You pay more at local drugstores b/c CVS, Wal-Mart and other big stores can buy more. They have a larger customer base, thus, they can negotiate a better deal.

Where I live the supermarket Price Chopper has better prices in the stores that have a pharmacy than Wal-Mart.

Canada has the best prices although re a few OTC items, the cost has increased. But, still cheaper than America even with shipping charges. has no shipping charges and terrific customer service. You can buy online or by phone but you must have a perscription. This pharmacy plays by the rules.

Canadian pharmacies' customers typically include numerous seniors from America who have reached the donut hole and, of course, the uninsured.

You have to do your homework to survive the American so-called "health care" system which is totally barbaric, and this includes Medicare for seniors who can't afford Parts B or D or can't afford Medicare with supplemental coverage.

Medicare is not cheap if you are on a fixed low-income, it doesn't cover a lot and it is expensive to use. Actually, cost sharing went up for 2012 although Part B premiums decreased for some. So for $15 bucks a month less for Part B, affording to actually use the coverage just got worse.

Paying Medicare tax all these years turns out to be a racket.
+4 # PGreen 2012-01-05 14:54
I haven't seen any news on Drug Stores fixing prices-- though there has been news about Drug Stores suing pharmaceutical companies over price fixing. Do you have a source for your comment?
Pharmacies generally adjust prices to what the local insurance companies-- and medicare/medica id, especially in the poorer and and older regions-- will pay. The prices paid by insurance companies and the federal government through medicare/medica id are set by negotiations with the pharma companies. These companies have bargained with the feds to avoid price controls, and to keep states from undercutting them. A Faustian bargain for the government. In the absence of federal controls, Maine and other states have been looking to cut costs on drugs, threatening to buy from Canada to get cheaper prices.
+11 # cordleycoit 2012-01-04 23:57
Not enough on Obama's dismal rule. An iron fist to suppress the people and a Kerensky like fear of the Tea Party and the little Lenins who took over the Rethugs. What is neat is watching the Neos as they try to prop up this weak war mongering creature of the Daily machine. Lots of time wasted that would be better spent finding a solution to the problem of the collapse of capitalism.
-30 # mblockhart 2012-01-05 00:02
It's sad to see Ralph Nader wasting space attacking the President, when the real target should be the Republicans. He couldn't have gotten done all Obama has with this Congress, and he probably knows that. Still he has to blather on. What a waste of a fine mind.
+12 # Phlippinout 2012-01-05 08:11
Really, a waste of a fine mind? I am or was a life long dem and agree whole heartedly with Ralph. I will never defend Obama, he is a major disappointment and shame on him for being such a PUSS! Sure, we hate republicans, but the whole system stinks with corruption. Bush was bad and so is Obama. They are corporate whores, nothing more.
+11 # Todd Williams 2012-01-05 08:15
Yes, indeed mblockhart. I voted for Nader and still admire the guy. But enough of Obama attacks from the left. We need to get our shit together and DEFEAT Mitt or Santorum or whoever the Rethug creeps they throw at us. And the Left needs to retake the House and solidify the Senate. Liberal Obama haters beware: if we don't stop these bastards in November we will really be screwed. You so-called liberals think Obama is bad? Try on Mitt, Rick, Newt or Paul for size and you'll be shocked.
+3 # disgusted American 2012-01-06 21:01
Todd Williams, you will get more of the same and worse in the very near future whether Obama gets in again or it's one of the Republican sociopaths.

Why would you vote for someone who is also a POS and has shown that he is as willing as Bush to continue and enlarge the fake war on terror, put through austerity measures that only affect the 99 percent while he cuts taxes for the wealthy, who allows Wall St. and the banksters to get away with murder and who also signs a law that allows the detention of Americans willy-nilly? Those are just a few items. Read Nadar's list again.

You can take a stand and keep your self-respect at the same time by voting for Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson. Jill is on the side of the 99 percent. Rocky sounds like he is too, but I don't know as much about him as I do Jill.

Otherwise, you are an enabler and have no right to complain about anything Obama has done to the 99 percent and the rest of the world.
+1 # Saberoff 2012-01-08 13:43
I agree whole-heartedly . But, we need to get Anderson and Jill into position where they can WIN the election. We need to get them into the debates!!!! Hopefully, an informed populace, will do the right thing(?)
+2 # disgusted American 2012-01-06 20:47

You are an Obama apologist. He is getting exactly what he wants, and Ralph Nadar is not attacking him. Nadar has given you the cold, hard facts whereas Ezra Klein has not b/c he is paid to rally the base.

If Klein told the truth, he would lose his seat under the tent. I heard and read Klein ad nauseum regarding Obamacare during the year long dog-and-pony show and was so disgusted by his false talking points on a topic he knew nothing about that I don't read him anymore. Same with Krugman.

As for politicians, both parties play good cop, bad cop while they dine at the same trough. Obama is just another lying politician - certainly not a statesman. I think the latter is extinct.

Nadar has done people a favor by letting them know the truth. Accepting the truth is another story, and only you can be willing (and not afraid) to do that.

If you continue to live in denial, then you will get what you deserve. Unfortunately, we'll all go down with you.
+23 # HeidiStevenson 2012-01-05 00:03
Profiles in Courage is a great book - should be required reading. But in today's America, it's probably considered subversive.
+6 # Billy Bob 2012-01-05 09:59
I think our two most recent Democratic Presidents have read the novelization from an animated Disney version of Profiles in Courage.

It's fun to talk the talk. These people seem to have co-opted the marketing of John F. Kennedy for their own purposes without any of the substance. Lloyd Benson's remark to dan quale could just as easily apply to the Clintons and Obama.
+1 # racetoinfinity 2012-01-05 10:37
For two answers try reading John F. Kennedy's best-selling Profiles of Courage, 1955, or if you favor the ancients, Plutarch's Lives (circa 100 A.D.).

What two (or even one of them) answers are in "Profile In Courage" and/or Plutarch that Ralph is pointing out?
+43 # Dukester 2012-01-05 01:21
Thanks Mr. Nader for your astute analysis. Of course the Corporate-Contr olled Media (including the Washington Post) spin the political story to somehow show the Dems may have won some battles. But the real winners are the 1% folks (banksters/MIC/ Big Oil/Big Pharma) who control the Repug Party and the DINO Party (President Obama loves that Wall Street money). The OWS folks are on the right path and now need to consolidate behind another party (Justice Party or Green Party) and help get money out of politics. The current system is corrupt and broken.
+28 # shortonfaith 2012-01-05 01:37
And as you state here this wins are battles he could have avoided in the first place. Meanwhile two years of foreclosures have past, jobs continue to be transferred overseas to more & more countries, worker who have been here for 20 years still can't become citizens, kids are being thrown in jail for pot & bankers get bonuses & government job offers for doing such a great job destroying America without military assistance. Oh, & now the Military can officially place us in jail forever but, he does say he feels bad about that one. He promised not to use it himself & we'll believe him because he's never lied to us.

We'll just keep throwing stuff out there Ralph & maybe someday, someone will hear.
+7 # Carolyn 2012-01-05 02:07
Rather than bringing clarity, our current government's resolution of issues deepens their uncertainty and confusion. The tendency is toward breakdown -- chaos.
-7 # Timaloha 2012-01-05 07:17
Nader's done more for the Republican party than any former RNC chairman in the last 100 years. And by giving us GWB, more damage to America than any Democrat ever. Is he now resurfacing just to once again selfishly throw another monkey wrench into the machine?
+17 # Phlippinout 2012-01-05 08:15
One more time, Bush was selected by the supreme court, not elected. Stop blaming nader for a corrupt stupid system. Gore won popular vote. Hate the game not the players.
-6 # Billy Bob 2012-01-05 09:42
Nader got 97,000 votes in Florida after campaigning there SPECIFICALLY against Gore right up until the day before the election.

Neither the Supremes, nor Katherine Harris could have fudged 97,000 votes into the bush category.

If Nader's vanity hadn't put his own personal interests before those of the American people, the Florida "re" count would never have reached the Supreme Court in the first place and bush would never have entered office.
+2 # PGreen 2012-01-05 15:06
Not that it matters now, but Nader may have energized far more than the 97,000 voters who turned out for him in Florida. Who knows if they would have even voted without him?
+14 # walt 2012-01-05 07:25
The cold, hard facts do show how badly Obama has failed to take control with many missed opportunities.

As so many are seeing, both parties take from the money powers and thus are committed to them, not the people. That seems to be the bottom line.

Time for change!
+20 # fredboy 2012-01-05 08:26
Ralph raises a beautifully obvious question: why isn't the Obama team clearly and repeatedly reminding the American public that the GOP despises and belittles the working man and woman and has done all in their power to stifle recovery. Put simply, the GOP has intentionally HURT tens of millions of Americans. Is there any sign that the Obama team is smart or ballsy enough to do this? If not, why not?
+10 # mwd870 2012-01-05 09:57
Ralph Nader raises many good questions regarding Obama's weaknesses in his first term. He mentions the failure of the Administration and Democratic majority to address the 60-vote rule, possibly one of their worst mistakes, given the way Republicans mis-used the filibuster.

In the second term, if there is one, Obama would do well to follow Nader's lead and take the offensive on really significant matters. Why the Democrats aren't landsliding the "craven, greedy, ignorant, anti-worker, anti-patient, anti-consumer, anti-environmen t and coddlers of corporate crime in the [Republican] party's history is the one question that has no logical answer.
+7 # Michael Lee Bugg 2012-01-05 13:23
Well said! I have said for years that most of the Democrats usually bring their pillow to a knife fight! I am particularly disturbed everytime I have heard Obama say, "That is a fight I want to have!". The qoute we should have paid attention to is, "Now you have to make me do it"! The root problem is that too many Democrats are Dino's, and too many others are so afraid to anger their wealthy campaign contributors because they think mistakenly that there is a one to one correlation between campaign dollars and votes!
+17 # RMDC 2012-01-05 08:28
I'm not really sure I see it as caving in. Obama is a neo-con and neo-liberal. His appointment show that. But he is the "good cop" neo-con to dick Cheney's "bad cop" neo-con. Basically they agree on the goal of government -- that is, to fight wars and protect the rich. They just do it from different perspectives. This is not what people voted for in Obama. they voted for change and they got the same old things.
+18 # Dukester 2012-01-05 09:42
Yes RMDC, as a life-long active Democrat I can look back and see we were duped by Obama (the Great Orator/Actor like Reagan). He is not caving each time but it is part of the act, the game, whereby Wall Street/Goldman Sachs moves the puppet strings and the government "leaders" flail around doing the bidding of the power elites (the 1%, the sociopaths in control).
The 99% need real representation.
+4 # disgusted American 2012-01-06 21:09
Aye, aye.
+6 # Billy Bob 2012-01-05 09:47
I completely agree with you here.
+6 # PGreen 2012-01-05 15:04
As Chomsky said, you can only be disillusioned with Obama if you had greater expectations of him. Chomsky did not, but many people did. "Caving in" refers to the notion that Obama once genuinely wanted to do the things he promised us. I'm not sure I believe it. If you do believe it, then he "caved in."
-12 # uglysexy 2012-01-05 10:35
Go away Ralphie....You and Dubyah destroyed the Country. Your OCD did more than any temporary cave in by Barack Obama in a game of chicken. You are personally responsible not only for tarnishing your earlier Legacy...but also for leading people, as a pied piper, down a pipe dream path to the Doom of Dubyah's damage to our economy and destabilization of Iranian Contaiment. You have Zero Credibility and Political Capital. GO AWAY
-9 # bugbuster 2012-01-05 11:25
If this guy gets involved in the election again, I think it should be as Sarah Palin's third party running mate.
-11 # uglysexy 2012-01-05 10:43
I will always hate this prick for allowing the fascists to win instead of what he could have done...compromi se gore in the end and maintained his credibility. And my father's law firm had several 'nader raders' in it. Ralph...You have lost all Credibility no matter how well You frame the points. Aim your critique at the republicans. If obama isn't reelected we have NO ChANCE of taking back the supreme court...and he makes good appointments there. GO AWAY RALPH ..You should aim your critiques at YOUR ROLE IN HELPING BUSH. You've helped destroy the country....You know it but You have too much pride and obstinacy to ADMIT IT...and that makes You Immensely dishonest....or the right wing religionists
-2 # bugbuster 2012-01-05 11:17
How come we only hear from this guy in election years?
+13 # bobby t. 2012-01-05 11:29
again catch 22. you want a legit third party candidate, he runs, then you make him a monster as a monday morning quarterback. what the hell did you expect. and bs that gore would not have gotten the nader vote in 2000. maybe not all of them, but it is always the better or two baggage carriers. paul could hurt the republicans if he runs as an independent, and maybe even take votes from obama. the math is messy there. as far as the drug store thing, mom and pop stores always charge more for the same drug. they check the prices and add a little for the convenience. like a seven eleven. to check my facts, find out the price drug companies charge to drug stores, check a few drugs, like generic aricept at major drug stores vs. costco, and generic lipitor, the same or clonasapam. this drug cost me 11 dollars at costco, but was 57 and exact change at every other drug store in south florida. there is no competition for drugs other than costco. all the stores connected to hmos overcharge outrageously. they set prices together. public option does not do that. the government buys the drugs in huge quantities, like canada and mexico. there is the huge rip off taking place. we are talking trillions. the illegal drug cartels have nothing over these "legal" mafiosos.
+2 # bobby t. 2012-01-05 11:30
or go over to europe and find out the prices for the same drugs over there.
-6 # bobby t. 2012-01-05 11:33
being angry at the drug companies is a pure deflection of the real rip off artists in the play. at least they invent stuff that helps us survive and our mortality rate has soared in the last hundred years. bad for social sercurity but good for me...
+4 # PGreen 2012-01-05 18:11
Most of us (not involved in wholesale buying) are used to thinking that everything has a set price, but the reality is that drug companies will charge as much as they can force you to pay. Thus different drug stores pay different amounts. WalMart can command a lower price, as can Costco, because they are large enough to demand this concession. Some of the difference these larger retail outlets will pass on to consumers to undercut the competition; the rest they will keep. If we had federal price controls on drugs-- both wholesale and retail-- then the public will benefit. But don't think it isn't needed at the level of manufacturing and wholesale. Remember that the federal government already subsidizes much of the pharma research. The rationale that drug companies need high prices for R&D is bogus.
+2 # Singletaxer 2012-01-05 12:56
Why dont we get smart and create a politician-proo f economic system- an economic democracy? It is possible. The perfect model for one was laid out over a century ago by the American economist Henry George.
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-01-05 13:45
What is meant by "economic democracy"?
+2 # SenorN 2012-01-05 23:39
Give him sixty-one Democratic senators and see what he does.
+4 # Hina 2012-01-06 17:30
Let's remember that what we're up against is a large entrenched dominant system that has established itself over many years and centuries...we don't totally know what goes on behind the scenes. I suspect mafia style pressure. that said:
-I have appreciated Ralph's courage and pressure from a citizen's interest point of view...tactics and timing could have been better as pointed out
-I appreciate the vision put out by Obama's candidacy that perhaps is part of the spark of the OWS movement here and around the world
-Obama has always said he can't do it alone..he's right..enter OWS
-The OWS movement has the momentum and values to
change the has already changed the conversation
-Pushing the corporate Democrats to the left is much more of a challenge than the Tea Party had pushing the Repubs to the right
-Let's not paint all the Democrats with the same broad brush...there are many progressives... it's a disservice to them and us and our humane efforts
-OWS is expressing the values to change the systems favoring the few at the expense of the many
-Our job is to unify, connect and create the world we want to live in
-Let's be kind to each other and respect maybe even learn from our differences.
-2012 is the opportunity to transform the world as we know it ..the end of polarizing selfishness and greed and the growth of connection and collaboration
-were on our way
+3 # disgusted American 2012-01-06 21:38

In your list you have written: I appreciate the vision put out by Obama's candidacy that perhaps is part of the spark of the OWS movement here and around the world.

The OWS movement has no political affiliation and is not part of any spark put forth by Obama's vision. Obama's only vision is doing what his money masters want him to do which includes starting more wars and trying to stop the OWS by his recent signing of the detention of Americans law.

It appears from articles I have read that the police violence, brutality and arrests of peaceful OWS protestors as well as people sitting on the sidelines was ordered from the top. Who is at the top?

Ordering violence against your own citizens is ugly. Obviously, this is an effort to stop the "occupying" and to discourage people from joining, but it hasn't worked so well.

Obama or any of the politicians on either side of the aisle don't care about the 99 percent. That is blatantly obvious. On Captitol Hill, we have the Party of Wall St. and the Other Party of Wall St.

What Obama has done AGAINST the 99 percent with the help of Democrats, Progressives and Republicans is why the OWS movement was formed.

I suppose you could call that a spark but not in the context you mention.
+2 # bobby t. 2012-01-06 20:47
hina you are wonderful. the answer has always beeen collaboration and cooperation. as a teacher i did as much of that as i could. my black students blossomed when i used that technique. that is the way the fins have changed education in their country. that is also the reason they rank first in the world in reading math and science tests. they believe in equity. every child is worth the same and is entitled to a great education.

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