Ralph On

support for Ralph Nader’s candidacy

Bob Herbert’s denuciation of Nader’s candidacy (and single payer health care)

Posted by eggman on February 26, 2008

Bob Herbert offers his opinion this morning, as he is paid to do, in opposition to Nader’s candidacy. While Herbert assumes a less vitriolic tone than most bloggers have in the past 24hrs, the message is the same — Ralph was once a great guy but is now washed up, deluded, and bent on destruction.

I generally like Herbert, so when I don’t agree with his thesis I search carefully to find where my argument diverges from his. I found the following sequence from Herbert’s editorial particularly illustrative of where this divergence occurs.

He is busy expressing his outrage over the ballot-access difficulties of independent candidates, and the iniquities of the Bush administration, which, in Mr. Nader’s view, is “the most impeachable presidency in modern history.”

He wants to talk about a single-payer health plan, “full Medicare for all,” and a national mission to abolish poverty, and the waste, fraud and corruption that has turned the military budget into a world-class destroyer of taxpayer dollars, and corporate crime.

He won’t countenance the idea that there might be something destructive about his candidacy.

Herbert is saying that paving the way for Hillary or Obama is so critically important that he is willing to see a few issues placed aside — issues such as health care, corporate crime, fraud and corrupt military spending.

I am saying that these issues are so critically important that ANY contingency under which they are set aside would “be something destructive”. My anger over the state of our health care has gotten to this level. If journalists of Herbert’s stature are willing to give Obama and Hillary a pass on such crucial issues, then people like myself are left with no one else to turn to but Ralph.

These aren’t just little pet issues that we argue over because it suits some psychological requirement to establish our identity, to feel needed, to have our egos stroked. Thousands of dollars in medical bills issued to people working 50 hrs a week are REAL. Staying away from the doctor’s office for fear of further economic catastrophe is REAL. Maybe it isn’t real for Bob Herbert, but it has been for me and many other Americans. Our anger is REAL. It’s not a mere abstraction upon which to construct arguments that will persuade others to get a good feeling when we talk.

Want to make Ralph obselete? Then make our democratic candidates discuss these issues. When Dennis Kucinich was laughed at, bullied by the press, kicked off the main stage, with very few journalists willing to get his back… that’s when the DNC and press corps made it very clear where they stand on these critical issues. They are a joke to them. What are people like me supposed to do? Laugh along? We’re furious, and Ralph is our only hope —not because he will be elected and change things. I’m not deluded into the thinking that he will. Ralph is our only hope at giving these crucial issues the respect that they deserve.

But to Bob Herbert, bringing these issues up in a presidential campaign is apparently equivalent to being pestered by a pathetic old nattering Lebanese baker, when customers like Herbert just want to enjoy their sweet pastries in peace.

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