On April 17, 2012, Brian Montpoli, a CBS News political reporter, interviewed former Presidential candidate and consumer advocate champion, Ralph Nader. At 78 years of age, Ralph Nader is as intelligent and eloquent as ever, and, in my humble opinion, more ready than ever to lead our nation from its morass of problems than ever before.
Ralph Nader has recently published another book that we should all run out, buy, read, and follow: “Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win”.
When asked by Brian whether it matters who wins the election next fall — Obama versus Romney — Ralph answered that essentially it only matters on certain social issues: that Obama holds more liberal social positions than Romney; however, on our country’s militaristic and economic policies, Nader argues that the difference is minimal between the two candidates:
I think that they are pretty similar in reality toward Wall Street and corporate power, but they are different in terms of social services. Obama is more protective of social security and medicare than Mitt Romney would be.
Brian Montpoli: So you would prefer Barack Obama but on a lot of issues you see essentially the same candidate.
Ralph Nader: Far too little difference. We deserve more choices in this country.
Ralph suggests, like so many progressives — dating back to Gore Vidal’s essays on the “State of the Union” published in 1976 — that the property class, the elite, the 1%, the majority shareholders of Corporate America, control the two major parties since they are entirely dependent upon their political contributions; consequently, the only permissable difference allowed between the two parties are policies not in conflict with their financial interests. And war is big business: it accounts for 20% of our federal budget. The stock values of defense contractors would fall into an abyss if a dovish government prevailed.
Ralph Nader is backing Rocky Anderson for President because Rocky had “a very, very progressive record” when Mayor of Salt Lake City and because he was a constitutional lawyer, a civil rights lawyer, a candidate of conscience for voters of conscience:
It’s good to have someone on the ballot who focuses on many redirections that most people in this country would want and who doesn’t have marbles in his mouth. And people need, as voters, to have more choice than the increasingly corporate indentured Democrat and Republican parties.
Nader believes that Rocky Anderson has a good message. He wants to raise the minimum wage to $10.00/hour, putting tens of billions of dollars into the hard-pressed budgets of thirty million workers in our country. He’s very good on cracking down on corporate crime. He’s very meticulous and specific in adhering to the Constitution when it comes to not having wars of aggression undeclared by the Congress by the Presidency abroad. And he’s very keen to paying attention to the cities and to advancing the kinds of public works programs to create all kinds of jobs to repair America–its schools, its public transit, its community health clinics, its underground infrastructure–good paying jobs that stay at home and are not exportable to China.
He adds that Rocky is very critical of the Citizens United case, that opens up the unlimited political contributions to candidates to corporations. Nader asserts that Rocky is for public financing and free air time on the major networks.
Ralph Nader points out that the Occupy Wall Street movement succeeded in putting on the national agenda the inequality between the top 1% of wealth and power and the 99% and the rest of the American people. And because of their actions and media attention, Nader observes that now people are talking about this inequality, where the head of Walmart makes $11,000 per hour plus enviable benefits and over a million workers at Walmart make only $7.25/hour, $8.00/hour, $9.00/hour, often without much benefits. And that, in his opinion, is just simply insupportable, and that has resonated with the American people.
Nader also sees the expansion of the Occupy movement to assisting people in foreclosures, etc., and proposes to the Occupiers to endorse the $10.00/hour minimum wage that is largely supported by the American people.
Ralph Nader believes that the majority of American people support his proposals and that of his organizations; some of them are the following:
- Minimum wage of $10.00/hour
- Universal health insurance
- Cracking down on corporate crime
- Reversing a regressive war that a majority of the people are against in Afghanistan
- Cutting the bloated military budget that Ron Paul and Barney Frank have combined to do something about in the Pentagon
- Changing the fine print in all of those consumer contracts that strip people of their rights and access to courts
- And many other “redirections”
Ralph fervently believes that polls of Americans on these issues support his positions, rather than those held by Democratic and Republican politicians because people want safe medicines, cars that are not defective, clean air, clean water, a fair shake in the marketplace, the prosecution and conviction and imprisonment of corporate criminals: in essence, Nader concludes, what people want is an overall sense of fairness.
Because of the corporate advertisers and the corporatization of the media today, Nader aruges, that the media does not allow a lot of citizens groups to have an effective voice through them.
Nader sums up the essence of what he was advocating during the interview with a quote from Senator Daniel Webster: “The great work of human beings on earth is justice.” And, Nader notes, that’s what we should all strive for no matter how we specialize in life.
Ralph, you were the candidate that should have become President in 2000, 2004, and 2008. Oh, what a lovely world America would be now if you had….