Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pressing The Self-Destruct Button

During the summer I commended Ralph Nader's campaign & policies, noting that they seemed more progressive than those persued & articulated by Barack Obama (http://condensedthoughts.blogspot.com/2008/07/virtue-venality.html ).
Fast forward to a little before 6.00am GMT last Wednesday morning. Obama was shortly to give his victory speech before 200,000 people in Chicago. It was at that point that Nader committed political suicide on, of all stations, Fox News:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibsP6XN2dlo&feature=related .
The credibility & reputation Nader had built up over decades was wiped out, not just by his incredibly insulting "Uncle Tom" remark, but by his truculent, unapologetic demeanour in the brief exchange with his interviewer.
Despite the fact that hardly any Obama supporters would watch Fox, & certainly not at a time like that, word inevitably got round in the days afterwards. Whitney Leigh, an African-American attorney based in San Francisco, but originally from Chicago, penned a dignified & eloquent response on the Huffington Post the following day (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/whitneyleigh/a-long-road-to-walk_b_141790.html ).
There's certainly a case to be made for a left-wing critique of an Obama presidency, as Seumas Milne did in the Guardian a couple of weeks' ago. If that was Nader's aim, it's been lost because of the unbelievably offensive term he used.
By way of a subsidiary point, there's a strong response to a piece on the subject from David T. on Harry's Place (http://www.hurryupharry.org/2008/11/10/uncle-tom-watch/#comments ).
It rightly calls to attention to Nader's comment. Unfortunately, however, it also takes umbrage at Hardy Drew and The Nancy Boys' "There's No One as Irish as Barack Obama".
Lighten up, David. Nader was completely out of order; the Obama song is ironic humour. It would be a pity if this distasteful episode, which surely marks the end of Ralph Nader's role in US politics, obscured us to that.

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