Ralph Nader issues statement on Obama’s first 100 Days

Text of a Ralph Nader e-mail announce message dated April 24, 2009:

“No more fine print; no more confusing terms and conditions.”  This is what Barack Obama told a White House gathering of leading credit card issuers this week.

Right afterward, President Obama told the press that “there has to be strong and reliable protections for consumers, protections that ban unfair rate increases and forbid abusive fees and penalties.”

This soaring rhetoric places a heavy burden on Mr. Obama to stand up to the giant power of the credit card bosses and their monetized allies on Capitol Hill.  Yet he has shown little interest in re-instating a Presidential consumer advisor as did Lyndon Johnson with the formidable Betty Furness and as did Jimmy Carter with the legendary Esther Peterson.

Deep recession times are tough for the nation’s over 200 million consumers.  Still, no consumer voice in the White House, though consumer groups asked Mr. Obama to move promptly on this tiny advocacy office months ago.

The corporate chieftains have easy access to the White House and the new President, whether these bosses come on missions demanding power or missions of beggary for bailouts.  When will he meet with the leading heads of consumer protection groups with millions of dues-paying members who could give him the base to hold accountable and regulate the democracy-denying, economy-wrecking corporate supremacists?

“Where’s the Backbone?” asked Ruth Marcus, the usually-restrained lawyer-columnist for The Washington Post.  On April 15, 2009 she wrote: “When will President Obama fight, and when will he fold?  That’s not entirely clear—and I’m beginning to worry that there may be a little too much presidential inclination to crumple.”  Ms. Marcus asserts that “for all the chest-thumping about making hard choices and taking on entrenched interests, there has been disturbingly little evidence of the new president’s willingness to do that.”  This is the case even with his allies in Congress, never mind his adversaries.

Just four days later, The New York Times weighed in with a page one news article that said President Obama “is well known for bold proposals that have raised expectations, but his administration has shown a tendency for compromise and caution, and even a willingness to capitulate on some early initiatives. …His early willingness to deal or fold has left commentators, and some loyal Democrats, wondering: ‘Where’s the fight?’”  Like the Post, the Times gave examples.

It is not as if Mr. Obama is lacking in public opinion support.  Overall he has a 65% approval rating.  People know he inherited a terrible situation here and abroad from the Bush regime and they want action.  Large majorities believe America is declining, that there is too much corporate control over their lives, and that the two parties have been failing the American people.

But the President’s personality is not one to challenge concentrated power.  A Zogby poll reports that only six percent of the public supports the financial bailouts for Wall Street.  The vast majority of people do not think the bailouts are fair.

The upcoming 100 day mark for the Obama administration is a customary time for evaluations by the politicos, the pundits, and the civic community.  While his supporters can point to the pay-equity law for women, more health insurance for poor children, and a $787 billion economic stimulus enactment, the general appraisal by the liberal-progressive intelligentsia is decidedly mixed and gentle with undiluted hope.

Mr. Obama nourishes these mixed feelings.  He showed some courage when he agreed, as part of an ongoing court case, to release the four torture memos written by Bush’s Justice Department.  Graphic photos of prisoner treatment in Iraq and Afghanistan are to be released next week.  Yet Obama came out against a Truth Commission regarding the alleged crimes of the Bush regime and said he would “look forward and not look back.”  For Obama that means immunity for anyone from the Bush Administration who may have violated the criminal laws of the land.

It is remarkable to read those oft-repeated words by lawyer Obama.  Law enforcement is about looking back into the past.  Investigation and prosecution obviously deals with crimes that have already occurred.  That’s the constitutional duty of the President.

After 100 days it is far too early to render many judgments about Obama.  One can, however, evaluate his major appointments—heavily Clintonite and corporate.  One can also look at what he hasn’t gotten underway at all—such as labor law reform, a living wage, and citizen empowerment.

Next Monday, the Institute for Policy Studies (www.ips-dc.org) releases a detailed report card on Obama’s first 100 days titled “Thirsting for a Change.”  While The Nation held a panel discussion on April 22 in Washington, D.C., the panelists largely gave Obama the benefit of the doubt so far, and declared that only grassroots mobilizing will move him forward on such matters as “single-payer” health care, corporate abuse, and the demilitarization of our foreign policy and our federal budget.

Panelist William Grieder coined the phrase “independent formulations” to describe the citizen action needed.

It is important to note that a transforming President has to ask for and encourage this pressure from the citizenry, much as Franklin Delano Roosevelt did in the 1930s.

24 thoughts on “Ralph Nader issues statement on Obama’s first 100 Days

  1. Catholic Trotskyist

    I am working on an epic poem attacking and denouncing Ralph Nader, in the style of combined Renaissance, romantic and victorian poetry. I will post it here and on my website eventually.

  2. Liz Arnone

    As usual Ralph’s analysis and comments are right on the money, as always. If the country had paid more attention, or voted their conscience, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

    What does it take for Americans to wake up to what goes on in our government? And how corporations are ruining the planet and lives around the globe?

    I wouldn’t hold my breath in hopes that Obama will pull us out of this mess. He’s too embedded with the people who got us in this mess. His hands are tied, but not ours. We’re the only hope there is. And I would put my money on Ralph and his efforts every time.


  3. Michael Cavlan


    Well how the hell are you?

    You sound like the same old Ralph Nader groupie as always.
    That is what those old Greenie Meanies called you.

    For the record folks, Liz Arnone is a former c0-chair of the GP

  4. sebi

    America is resistant to Ralph Nader in the way they are resistant to getting off their butts on the couch and doing something about having a voice in government

  5. bill

    give them hell ;Ralph, from an independent who adores truth and common sense, not speedy mcgreedies high on their pedestal. KEEP GOING!

  6. Lou

    Ralph, you amaze me. Thank you for continuing to speak the truth. Until there is a strong third party, there is no hope for the American people. Please don’t stop telling it as it is. More than ever you are needed to observe and comment and perhaps one day the American people will wake up to what is happening to their government. Would that you could be cloned many times over!

  7. Green Ferret

    “Ralph, you amaze me. Thank you for continuing to speak the truth. Until there is a strong third party, there is no hope for the American people.”

    Seconded. I wish Ralph would direct his energies into party-building, instead of spearheading strong presidential runs that sputter out after election day.

    If there are any Connecticut Greens out there, please make an effort to draft Nader to run for Senate against AIG bribe-taker Chris Dodd. I know he’s got his eye on the oval office, but this is a seat he could win, and a senate campaign would still be a bully pulpit for the national issues that he cares about.

  8. Gary

    You idiots deserve what you get for a) being liberal phonies-loonies and b) listening to someone as deluded as Ralph Nader. Go, Great Depression, go!

  9. Crystal Wheeler

    Paleo Pat, please name me one other politician that has done more good and organized more pro-citizen organizations than Ralph has. You won’t find any. Thanks is due to Ralph and all those that support him in his ideas and efforts to make this country a better place for it’s citizens, not for it’s government!

  10. Michael Cavlan

    Not to mention that Ralph Nader has done more than anyone else in modern history to try and open up the political process for all Americans.

    Especially relevant for those of us involved in breaking past the two party duopoly.

    However, do not expect idiots such as Gary or Paleo Pat to have the common political sense to understand that.

    There are two kinds of people involved in working past the two party system. Visionaries and crackpots.

    Gary, Catholic Trotskyist and Paleo Pat belong firmly in the crackpot side of the ledger.

  11. Levon Helm

    According to Open Secrets.org
    Nader raised about $4 million in 2009.

    If he could raise $4 million for U.S. Senate race in Conn…That might make it a race.

    What to the Conn opinion polls say about a Nader(G) /Dodd(D)/and (R)other party race?

    Dodd does appear to have worn out his welcome.

  12. Michael Cavlan

    There is no mention of Ralph Nader on the Connecticut Green Party website from the last presidential election.

    Do you folks trying to encourage Nader (or his supporters) to run as a Green in the US Senate race there just not comprehend the level of disenfranchisment from former Greens who have left the GP over this?

    I am assuming not. Not that you all seemed to care in the least in the last election cycle.

  13. VAGreen

    “There is no mention of Ralph Nader on the Connecticut Green Party website from the last presidential election.”

    He wasn’t the Green Party’s Presidential candidate. That pretty much explains it.

    I’d like to see Ralph Nader run as a Green for Senate against Dodd in 2010, but even more so against Sore Loserman in 2012.

  14. Green Ferret

    Yeah, Ralph should have taken out Lieberman in 2006, but think of how a Nader-Dodd race would be seen…

    Chris Dodd is now known as the Democrat who took hundreds of thousands from AIG, then put in a loophole that let them use taxpayer money for executive bonuses. He’s become the personification of what Nader calls the “corporate occupation of our federal government”, and a high-profile Green run against him could make people finally get the difference between Greens and the corporate duopoly.

  15. Crystal Wheeler

    “There are two kinds of people involved in working past the two party system. Visionaries and crackpots.”

    I appreciate your tenacity. I don’t think most of America realizes they have more options than they are lead to believe. All it takes is a small amount of research. Have you seen the Ralph Nader documentary, “An Unreasonable Man”? It’s very good.

    I suggest those that don’t have much of an understanding of Ralph Nader should take a look at it. It would do you a world of good.

  16. Michael Cavlan


    An Unreasonable Man was an excellent documentary.

    Ralph Nader running against Dod for US Senate is a fantastic idea.

    As an Independent, not as a Green.

    The answer to the question I put out about disenfranchised Nader supporters former Greens is not, has not and frankly never will be addressed by the GP.

    All of us former Greens are not coming back. We tried to fix things after the 2004 election (I was fooled by David Cobb and was a Delegate in Milwaukee) and will not be fooled again.

    Fool me once, shame on you
    Fool me twice, shame on me
    Fool me again and I am not being fooled at all

    THAT has been our lesson..

  17. Green Ferret

    Well, ultimately it’s up to Nader what he wants to run for, and with whom. My suggestion was that the CT Greens organize an effort to draft him to run against Dodd.

    Connecticut has some public financing, but it’s given out on a discriminatory basis, so it may be easier to run as an independent than as a Green. Then again, that might be what convinces Nader to run on the Green line, so he can gain standing for a legal challenge to Connecticut’s separate-but-equal public financing law. The man has put up a valiant fight against anti-democracy laws in recent years.

  18. VAGreen

    “The answer to the question I put out about disenfranchised Nader supporters former Greens is not, has not and frankly never will be addressed by the GP.”

    This really isn’t about Nader supporters. Cavlan was peddling his “You Were Warned” shtick months before Nader declared.

    “All of us former Greens are not coming back. We tried to fix things after the 2004 election (I was fooled by David Cobb and was a Delegate in Milwaukee) and will not be fooled again.”

    Let’s see…the National Committee formally repudiated “safe states”, passed proportional representation of delegates in our Presidential primaries and caucuses, and reformed the NC’s own delegate apportionment system. The vote on the apportionment was a cliffhanger, and I personally made phone calls to delegates that helped put it over the top.

    We came out of the Green Party’s Annual National Meeting in 2007 with a sense of unity and purpose that I had not seen in years. Greens were looking forward to building our state parties and picking up a lot more ballot lines in 2008.

    Out of the blue, Cavlan launched an attack on Phil Huckelberry, who was the most popular of the newly elected Steering Committee members. Among others things, Cavlan accused him of being soft on the Democrats for several reasons, one of which was that he got into a two-way race with a Republican.

    Huckelberry was too busy to recruit a Democrat to run against himself that year because he was running the Illinois Greens statewide petition drive. His state party collected 39,400 signatures in 90 days, and defeated the frivolous Democratic party challenge to their petition. Rich Whitney, who was the Green candidate for Governor, went on to get 10% of the vote, securing the Greens’ ballot line until 2010.

    Thanks in large part to Huckelberry, the Greens had their first Presidential primary in Illinois in 2008 and ran many more candidates than they otherwise would have.

    Unfortunately, Cavlan and his pals were just getting started. For months, the National Committee was under siege by one manufactured “controversy” after another. Huckelberry drew up plans for state parties to help each other get on the ballot. Liz Arnone, who was Cavlan’s favorite Steering Committee member, panned the idea on the grounds that both the national and state parties lacked the resources to help (even though her party needed only 800 signatures to get on the ballot!). She was too busy with her witch hunts for “Demogreens”

    Cavlan and his pals were fond of attacking the other SC members, but they never presented an alternative program for the party. Instead of helping to build smaller state parties, they spent their time attacking them as “paper states”.

    Most of the Destructo-Greens are gone now, but they really did a number on our party before they left. So many good Greens have been driven out of the party over the years by their antics.

    It’s really telling that Cavlan continues to hijack every thread related to progressive third parties to attack the Greens. Typical sectarian leftism, spending 99% of his time attacking others on the left.

  19. X-Obama fans

    the 100 days says everything you will ever need to know about Obama and let’s not forget the 1st hr at Inauguration with Rick Warren and Rahm Immanuel. Multiply me x 1000 and the word on the street is Obama is president of the Corporation of the Unites States not the President of America.

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