AMY GOODMAN Ralph Nader, welcome. Your thoughts on this election?
RALPH NADER: Thank you, Amy. Well, obviously we all congratulate Barack Obama. We wish him well. But the precursor to his election has not been very encouraging, and he has repeatedly taken up the positions of the corporate supremacists, not just his latest vote for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, but a whole string of votes and policy positions. He opposes single-payer health insurance. Well, the HMOs and the insurance companies do, too. He wants a bigger military budget. So does the military-industrial complex. His idea of a living wage on his website is $9.50 an hour by 2011. That would make it less than it was in 1968, adjusted for inflation.
He matched McCain in the third debate, belligerent—belligerency for belligerency, toward Russia, toward Iran, more soldiers in Afghanistan, supporting the Israeli military repression and occupation and blockade of Gaza and the West Bank. And virtually nothing about 100 million poor people in this country. That’s why I really fault him, that he played the Clinton linguistic game by talking constantly about the middle class and not mentioning the word “poor.”
And we expect more of him. And I don’t think he has a public philosophy of where corporations must operate in this country. How? Under what rule of law? Under what regulation? Under what vulnerability to litigation in the courts? He’s proud of tort reform, supports the nuclear industry, supports the coal industry. So we’re really talking about just more of the same, in terms of the corporate domination of Washington.
I detected no concern, no quaking of concern, among the drug industry, oil, gas industry, nuclear, coal industry, Wall Street, over his probable election in the last few weeks. Usually, when they’re really worried about a politician, they will issue warnings. But Barack Obama has raised far more money than John McCain from Wall Street interests, corporate interests and, above all, corporate lawyers. And the question to be asked is, why are they investing so much in Barack Obama? Because they believe he’s their man. So, prepare to be disappointed, but keep your hope up.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, Ralph Nader, you go now from being a presidential candidate to what you have always been, and that is a citizen activist. What are you going to do about it?
RALPH NADER: Well, first of all, we’ve got a website called november5.org, which is designed to test whether there’s support in this country to build strong Congress action groups in every congressional district. Certainly, we know the outlines of it. We take the many long overdue future directions in our country, that are on our website, votenader.org—just go to the “issues” page—and, of course, it’s many of the familiar ones: living wage, full Medicare for all, solar energy, energy efficiency, peace advocacy, reduce the bloated military budget, put in a whole public works program, transform the tax system to tax what we like the least or dislike the most, like securities speculation. All of these and others can be a package of reform and redirection, spearheaded by laser-like Congress action groups with full-time staffs in each congressional district. That’s a tall order, but we have to try to aspire to it, because Congress is the pivot institution now. If you can turn Congress around, which is the most powerful branch of the federal government under the Constitution, you can turn the federal government around. So if you’re interested in a preliminary examination of this effort, just log into november5.org.
November 5. 2008 from Tarek Milleron on Vimeo.
The November 5th Movement