Monday, July 09, 2007

Nader Chimes In On 2008 Presidential Candidates

You either love him, hate him or think he is a raving lunatic, but regardless it is always interesting to listen to Ralph Nader being interviewed. Earlier today Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! sat down with Nader for an hour long interview and asked him what he thought about the current 2008 presidential candidates:

Hillary Rodham Clinton:
“Hillary Rodham Clinton is a corporatist… to be kind to her, one can summarize as saying, she is severely lacking in political fortitude. She knows she’s the frontrunner, and therefore she’s going around the country pandering to powerful interest groups and flattering the people. Now, maybe they’ll get tired of it after a while. Maybe they’ll say enough is enough. Do we want eight more years of the Clintons? And, you know, you get a twofer.”

Al Gore:
“Gore has been environmentally reborn. He is experiencing an important redemption. And that’s really the description of his present state. It’s quite the testimony. When he had real power, he couldn’t deploy it.”

Barrack Obama:
“Great capacity. He knows the score… and so, the question is whether he’s going to mobilize the people or he’s going to parade in front of the people. And if he does that, he’s not going to be a distinguished winner if he wins.”

John Edwards:
“Edwards is making a good point on poverty. That was a no-no with Democratic [inaudible]. You look at Clinton’s speeches. It’s all middle class. He never would say “poverty.” He’d never talk about 50 million Americans in real poverty and tens of millions of more Americans in a state called -- a category called “near poverty.” And, but, you know he’s got to become much more populist in a much more specific way. He should become the solar energy candidate. He should become the free communications candidate. He should become the affordable housing. More specific, not just, you know, the two Americas. And above all, he should become the law enforcement candidate against the corporate outlaws, the corporate exploiters. And he knows how to do that, but, you know, he has to raise money, too… And I might add, he’s not good on foreign policy.”

Rudolph Giuliani:
“Rudy Giuliani is the one-note candidate. No one has ever made more political capital out of what might be called “9/11 showupmanship.” I mean, what did he really do? He showed up… He’s also an authoritarian candidate. Don’t bet your civil liberties on Giuliani. He thinks the PATRIOT Act is weak. So there’s a real authoritarian language. If you look at the language that he’s conveying around the country, it’s frightening.”

John McCain:
“He’s good on auto safety. He tries to do something on campaign finance reform, although he plays the game and has to raise it from the K Street lobbyists. He’s terrible on the war. I don’t know what got into this mind of his. I mean, he had great authority to be as good as Senator Chuck Hagel on it and to say it was the wrong war. He could have opposed it. But he stuck, and that’s why he’s going to have trouble even getting the nomination. And if he gets it, he’s not going to get elected. The American people will not elect a Republican in 2008, but they will definitely not elect a Republican who is for continuing the war in Iraq.”

Michael Bloomberg:
“Bloomberg is the wildcard. He could easily turn it into a three-way race if he runs as an Independent. There’s talk of a Bloomberg-Senator Hagel ticket, and that could not just be another Perot rerun, it could really be a winning ticket. You know, Bloomberg is a surprise to most people. He’s got a Republican label. He’s a former registered Democrat. I don’t think he’s good on corporate welfare. But he’s got a way where he could really appeal to people who call themselves Republicans, Independents, Democrats. He is big business, so he’s not afraid to talk turkey to them if he wants to. Nobody can say he didn’t meet a payroll. But we’re still waiting to see whether the inside Bloomberg office talk about running is actually going to materialize.”

Ralph Nader?:
“Too early to say. It’s too early to say. If I was going to run -- and I have not decided at all -- the biggest problem is getting on the ballot. The Democrats filed twenty-one phony suits against us. We won most of them, but it was very draining. In Pennsylvania, they got a Democratic judge, using a Republican law firm, Reed Smith, to assess me and Peter Camejo $81,000 in transcription costs and handwriting expert fees for defending our right to be on the ballot, which they got us off through all kinds of shenanigans. First people in American legal history who had to pay court costs for defending their right to be on the ballot. So ballot access obstructions is the political bigotry of American politics. It’s very hard to get liberals who love civil rights and civil liberties and who are Democrats to be at all excited about the systemic obstruction of fifty state laws at one level or another that can be used by either Democrat or Republicans against third-party candidates.”

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