[Marxism] Syracuse Newspaper Column on Nader, 7/29/04
mikedf at mail.amnh.org
Sun Aug 1 09:46:45 MDT 2004
Nader wishes for a Kerry speech tonight taking on corporate interests
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Ralph Nader has a few predictions about what John Kerry won't say tonight
in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.
Nader doubts the Democratic nominee for president will ask why corporate
taxes account for "a piddling" 7 percent of the federal revenue stream.
He doubts we'll hear Kerry talk about the need for better fuel efficiency
from Detroit at a time when we're supposed to be reducing our dependence on
He doubts we'll hear Kerry take a truly anti-war position by saying the
invasion of Iraq was a mistake - and that we should get our troops and
corporate interests out as quickly as possible. "They hate to mention
anything that might deal with corporate power," Nader said.
Nader's critics warn that the nation faces a distinct choice between major
parties and that his run for the White House will only help re-elect
President Bush. But Nader said the Democrats lack the courage to confront
what they've become: "I want to demonstrate again that this is a party
afraid of raising the penetrating issues of concentrated corporate power
over our government, our elections and over the daily lives of the American
people," said Nader, speaking from Washington, D.C.
As for the convention, Nader wishes the Democrats had let him in.
"I wanted to see the corporate jamboree," Nader said, referring to the
multitude of receptions hosted by big companies. "I wanted to watch the
wild parties with wine and whiskey, song and temptation, (given to the
Democrats) in return for marinating themselves with corporate money."
Terry McAuliffe, national Democratic chair, confirmed this week that Nader
sought access to convention events - and was turned down.
"Why would I do that?" asked McAuliffe, in disbelief, when Post-Standard
reporter John Mariani inquired about Nader getting in.
Indeed, at a convention where company slogans are pasted everywhere, where
even journalists wear lanyards bearing corporate logos around their necks,
the last person many Democrats want to see is Ralph Nader, consumer
advocate, in worn shoes and rumpled shirt.
While Nader admits to liking Kerry as a human being, he said, "Likability
doesn't mean anything."
If Kerry truly wanted to emerge as a great leader, Nader said, he would
stand up tonight and promise to make wealthy corporations pay real taxes.
Kerry, Nader said, should also remind the American people that the average
Iraqi might be troubled by the idea of more than a dozen permanent American
military bases in that nation and that the war has become "a corporate
occupation." Nader remembered meeting with Kerry in April, when the two men
discussed whether some of their themes might overlap. "I asked Kerry back
then . . . if the Republicans are as bad as the Democrats say they are, why
haven't you been landsliding them?" Nader recalled.
"He says, 'They've got so much money. They cloud all the issues.' "
To Nader, Kerry accidentally summed up his own problem. The Democrats,
obsessed with raising cash, are afraid of offending anyone with lots of it.
And that runs contrary to their traditional mission as defenders of the
working poor. Closer to home, here's a surprise: Nader speaks knowledgeably
about Upstate New York. He knows about the companies that fouled lakes and
neighborhoods. He knows about the growth of the casino industry, which he
sees as evidence of regional despair.
He also knows about the slow decline of bridges, roads and schools in
Upstate cities, and he endorses this solution: How about rolling back the
Republican tax cuts and using the money for a massive public works program
that would provide hundreds of thousands of jobs while rebuilding the
cities that crumble at our feet?
He sounds more worried about ideas than he is about winning. "What I'm
trying to do," Nader said, "is basically to get the Democrats to stand up
for the people of this country, instead of kneeling before the big
Sean Kirst is a columnist with The Post-Standard. His columns appear
regularly in The Post-Standard. Call him at 470-6015 or e-mail him at
citynews at syracuse.com.
© 2004 The Post-Standard. Used with permission.
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