Leave it to Ralph Nader to do a Tea Party like slur of President Obama the few times a reporter comes calling. During the presidential campaign a peeved, and unnerved Nader didn't stop at criticizing Obama for what he considered a bought and paid for Beltway insider. He asked rhetorically "Is it because he wants to talk white." Nader got singed for playing the race card (along with a lot of applause from some who should have known better). Now Nader's back and he topped that by calling Obama "a con man" in an interview with The Hill.
He couldn't stop at that slur and had to add "I have no use for him." There are a couple of reasons Nader's still around and still gets an occasional nod in the press. The obvious one is that he can always be depended to take a swipe at Obama when there's a touchy issue at the head of the nation's political table that puts Obama on the spot. The tax cut deal Obama brokered with the GOP that sent liberal Democrats and progressives into orbit was the wedge to squeeze Nader into the press to rap Obama.
The other reason that Nader has some press ink value is because there are many that still like and admire him, and like even more like his anti-corporate, tweaking of the two parties. They fervently believe there is no substantive difference between the Democrats and Republicans. They don't see Obama as a real change guy but rather another deal making Beltway insider who has betrayed his hope and change promise. That's been the constant mantra of left side Democrats and Independents who pound Obama for what they believe are flips, reversals and shifts on crucial policy issues; the tax cut deal being just the latest.
Though Nader has for the most part been the invisible man in the media, he's still doggedly talking up his populist message, and railing at what he calls the Democrats and GOP corporate laden policies.
But Nader is not delusionary. Though he flatly called for someone to oppose Obama in the 2012 Democratic primary, he knows that someone is not him. He's had his moments in the political sun, and the combination of age (he's 76), the still heavy historical cross he'll always bear as the "spoiler" who tipped the election to Bush in 2000, and his virtual disappearance from the media scene except for the occasional pro forma raps of Obama, make him a political anachronism, and to some, even a pariah.
Now his charge that Obama is a "con man" may get a few cheers from the diehard Obama loathers on the left, but it won't do much to make Nader a voice that anyone at the top will listen to and heed. In other words, Nader's biting personal words about Obama "I have no use for him" apply to him as well with those who count.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He hosts nationally broadcast political affairs radio talk shows on Pacifica and KTYM Radio Los Angeles.
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