My first blog was about Ralph Nader (April 19, 2004). The main point of it was Nader is a secular prophet and saint, a political idiot, and a massive ego burdened by self-righteousness.
I was reminded of this last night when I heard him on the NPR News Hour. He is right on all the issues from my point of view.
He pointed out, for example, that both candidates speak always of the middle class, never of the poor. That simply indicates that a presidential candidacy based on Nader's ideas has a zero chance of success in the prevailing political and cultural climate. This morning on NPR Kevin Phillips repeated some of Nader's themes.
I fervently hope that Barack Obama is elected president. That for me will be a day of great rejoicing. I think he will be as good a president a political reality will allow to be.
The problem is that both parties are ruled, or at least constrained, by the wealthy and the corporate class. They provide the money without which political success is impossible, but it is a corrupt system. Obama is the victim and perpetrator of it. He received in 2008 693 thousand dollars from Goldman Sachs alone and hundreds of thousands more from similar institutions.
The cultural reactionaries, among whom are many Protestants, and the plutocracy have far too much influence.
White Protestants have helped elect Republicans for decades since the era of FDR and the southern embrace of Republicans since the Civil Rights era. White Protestants gave us Nixon, Regan, and two Bushes.
Obama will be less bad, even much better than McCain, but from the perspective of this democratic socialist, he cannot be a good president because the system will not allow him to be even if he wanted to be, and I am not sure of the latter.
Until we have a radical social, political, and cultural transformation, improvements in justice for the poor, the working class, and the middle class will be at the margins. However, as Reinhold Niebuhr pointed out decades ago, even minimal advances toward justice can make a great deal of positive difference in the lives of large numbers of people.
That is why I fervently hope that Obama will be elected president.