Ralph Nader Officially No Longer Coherent

Picture: Don LaVange (CC)

In a new interview with Politico, one time people’s champion and present liberal embarassment Ralph Nader, is used to great effect by the Horse-race central mouthpiece of the Washington DC chattering class to tar the entirety of leftwing politics with his incoherent brush:

Nader called Obama “below average because he raised expectation levels. What expectation level did George W. Bush raise?… He’s below average because he’s above average in his intellect and his knowledge of legality, which is violating with abandon.”[sic]
“I don’t know whether George W. Bush ever read the Constitution,” said Nader. “This man taught the Constitution, and this is what we got.”

In other words Obama is really really bad because he’s so very very not good. Thanks, Ralph. Anybody who came away from Obama’s 2008 campaign with the impression he was ideologically anything other than a ever-so-slightly left of center pro-capitalist technocrat and foreign policy realist was not paying attention. Nader is apparently among their number.

This of course points to the deeper problem within the left whereby it’s most incoherent voices are the ones regularly sounding the loudest in public discourse. For example, merely making a vague proclamation, as Nader does in this interview, that the US drone program is responsible for “war crimes” because of concerns over “national sovereignty” completely misses anything actually pertinent to a reasoned critique of the US drone program. The problem with the drone program doesn’t have anything to do with sovereignty. Everywhere the drones are operating in a military capacity (as opposed to those operating in an espionage capacity, where drones have now taken the place of previous spy plane programs like the U2 and SR-71) they are doing so with at least the tacit approval of the local governments in whose airspace they are operating, and in most cases are doing so with the explicit cooperation of the local government. You can’t breach a nations sovereignty if you’re paying them to let you use their airspace and they are agreeing to take the money.

Whatever you think of the drone program, that it violates national sovereignty is not a criticism that can be made about it. The real criticism, with real teeth,, of the drone strike program is that it causes too much collateral damage in nations that are too far outside the geographic locales of the “War on Terror” and that too many militant groups are being associated with Al Qaeda to the point that the War on Terror has become something of a global hydra constantly sprouting new heads of potential conflict. Another, less toothy but at least cogent critique, is that the President and CIA have exceeded their authority in using the AUMF and NDAA laws to operate in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia when really Congress has failed to pass a legitimate declaration of war that justifies any of the military action. But that criticism, to the extent that it’s valid, is true of every military action the US has engaged in since the “Police Action” currently stalemated against North Korea, was joined by the United States in earnest in 1950. It’s a little late in the game to be reviving the Robert Byrd Objection. That dog ain’t gonna hunt without dramatic political change from the electorate, who are currently much too worried about other people’s food stamps and Snooki’s baby to give a damn about dead Pashtuns littering the Khyber Pass.

What’s so sad about this particular interview, however, is that Ralph Nader used to know how to run an effective political messaging operation and he used to be very sharp on how to actually get things done in was that actually made things better for people. Without him, we wouldn’t have mandatory seat-belts and airbags in all of our cars, after all. Nader and his Raiders got us safer cars, however, not by making vaguely hyperbolic statements about leaders of industry, but by doing the groundwork and presenting irrefutable facts about basic realities that forced a reassessment of existing safety policies.

And that, as Saul Alinsky would tell you, is precisely the sort of work that the left needs to go about doing. Because, as this Politico article makes clear, if all the left does is incoherently blather about nonsense, the establishment media will more than happily use that incoherence to comfort the conscience of the powerful and the complacent because that’s what sells ads. Nader’s engagement in the circus of the incoherent makes him just another shill selling out his ideological cohort in order to boost his own profile and narcissistically keep his name in the papers. And that’s a damn shame.

, , , , ,

  • Jin The Ninja

    what nader said, was not incoherent, i understood his meaning, and i’m sure most other (left) people would as well.

  • rusH1023

    I understand perfectly his point(s). That’s not to say I agree or disagree, but I think the title of this is ridiculous.

  • Andrew

    This post is a Democratic Party psyop.

  • Nunzio X

    Nader remains the only presidential candidate whose platform I agreed almost 100% with.

  • bobbiethejean

    Ralph Nader is a very smart man and from what I can tell, a better one than most. Also, what he said was perfectly coherent to me. Just because you’re too stupid to understand something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense.

    • Vitamin

      Agreed. There is nothing incoherent about claiming that Bush was an unconscious instrument of established power while Obama appears to be a fully conscious instrument of same. The former qualifies as a de facto puppet; the latter as an active perpetrator.

      • bobbiethejean

        Very well said. I’m sorry to admit I originally bought the Obama Kool-aid but I’ve definitely seen the light….. I’m sad to say. The overwhelming body of evidence has led me to believe that he very likely is a corporatist shill, happily acquiescent to the bidding of those with money and power. I could be wrong, I admit that, but presently I don’t think I am.

      • bobbiethejean

        Very well said. I’m sorry to admit I originally bought the Obama Kool-aid but I’ve definitely seen the light….. I’m sad to say. The overwhelming body of evidence has led me to believe that he very likely is a corporatist shill, happily acquiescent to the bidding of those with money and power. I could be wrong, I admit that, but presently I don’t think I am.

  • Born After 1980

    Who is Ralph Nader?

  • Nixtab

    You are full of shit- and by the way, I don’t see you doing anything, especially within the scope of the article to curb any liberal blather besides gossip. Get a job.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    I think this may be a bit of pardonable hyperbole for rhetorical effect.

    Best I can tell, the author’s bottom line here is that Nader is making the weakest case possible–a highly debatable and legalistic one based on dry abstraction.  That drone policy should be opposed on moral grounds is not only more concrete and directly to the point, but also pragmatically more effective.

    It is hard to understand why a man of Nader’s reputation would have chosen the argument he did here, but it seems a little early to call him insane.  Maybe just stupid or unwise, in this particular instance.  Though to go to that extremity so early, without a more comprehensive review of his public record on the topic doesn’t seem quite fair, either.

    I’ll cop to being unfair towards Nader myself.  He’s just so g0ddamned awkward in himself that I can’t bear to look too closely.  He could be a lot smarter than he lets on, but he seems lost at sea viz-a-viz the pragmatic dimension of his presentation.  That’s not just fluffy B*S*, it says something about the way a guy thinks.  It is possible to come to an essentially correct conclusion through faulty premises.  That is dangerous, too.

    • http://twitter.com/jfqbsh Jason F Quackenbush

      for the record, I didn’t call him insane, I called him incoherent. But otherwise, you read me correctly.

      • WalkWithTrust

        Please go away. Stop posting here. You are an ass.

  • NotRetardJQB

    How does this retarded shit get on DisInfo?  Get some mature posters or mods who can filter out the crap.

  • krbbagel

     When J.F. Quackenbush quoted: “below average because he raised expectation levels. What expectation
    level did George W. Bush raise?… He’s below average because he’s above
    average in his intellect and his knowledge of legality, which is
    violating with abandon.”[sic]  He was only 1/2 right.  If you listen to the interview Nader does say “which he is violating with abandon” and his point is very clear.

    It is unnecessarily deceptive (I mean some deception is needed yes, but this level…) to print [sic] since there IS a transcription error, although the fault technically lies with Politico’s transcription and not Quackenbush.

  • Brian McKeever

     “foreign policy realist”

    Oh, so THAT’S what we are calling war criminals who butcher innocent civilians with drone missiles while wiping their ass on the Nobel Peace Prize these days.  This article is an absolute crock.

  • Jazzpiano

    J.F. is pimping for Saul Alinsky? Pathetic.

  • Jazzpiano

    J.F. is pimping for Saul Alinsky? Pathetic.

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    until wee the sheeple get beyond the right & left psyop
    and throw the Military-Industrial-Bankster Complex in jail
    vote out all the politicos and reign-in the corporations
    it’s doesn’t matter what anyone says 
    not even a QuackintheBush

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    Quackenbush, I have to hand it to you.

    Best troll I’ve seen on here in weeks.

    I award you one Trollface.

    http://alltheragefaces.com/img/faces/large/troll-troll-face-l.png

  • citizen_watch

    Ralph Nader is officially no longer coherent??  WTF??  Making good sense from the view here.  What’s next?  Maybe, Chris Hedges lives a double life as a used car salesman??  Much of the left today reminds me of the saying…”with friends like these, who needs enemies.”

    Obama is really really bad because he takes political bullshitting to such an exquisite level.  Besides that, let’s start with his signing of the NDAA, specifically section 1021(b)(2).

    I agree with BuzzCoastin’s left/right psyops.  It’s like a threesome and we’re the one with our ass in the air.

  • Simiantongue

    “You can’t breach a nations sovereignty if you’re paying them to let you
    use their airspace and they are agreeing to take the money.’

    Ha ha ha. You almost sound like Stephan Molyneux with his voluntarism pitch. Sure, they agree to take money and what happens if they don’t?

    It’s not exactly a consensual relationship is it? They can voluntarily take the money that allows the US to fly drones or reap the consequences if they don’t. Some choice.

    If morality worked like that it would be okay to offer a woman some money if you intended to rape her. I mean, it’s strictly up to her if she wants to make this a bad situation between you, rather than a mutually beneficial transaction. Right?

  • Apathesis

    Whoever posted this story is no longer coherent.  Nader called Obama out on election night in 2008, asking whether he would be an Uncle Tom for the corporations or an Uncle Sam for the people.

    You know who is incoherent? Mayor Menino of Boston. What a moron.

  • Apathesis

    Whoever posted this story is no longer coherent.  Nader called Obama out on election night in 2008, asking whether he would be an Uncle Tom for the corporations or an Uncle Sam for the people.

    You know who is incoherent? Mayor Menino of Boston. What a moron.

  • http://twitter.com/TEcostigan ThomasEamonCostigan

    Who ever the hell wrote this shit is incoherentnot not Nader he’s a good guy,he fights for the public good not you dipshits!!!

  • Aram Jahn

    I’ve read Nader and – referring to Quackenbush’s other recent attacks on Assange and Glenn Greenwald – and wonder: why has Disinfo become so Third Rate, suddenly?

    Quackenbush’s prose alone suffers; we all suffer. There’s a way to be angry and iconoclastic with style; “J.F. Quackenbush”‘s doesn’t make it for me. You mileage may vary, as we used to say…

    This tirade about Nader: was this supposed to be another wry exercise in imitation of Ed Anger of The Weekly World News?

  • WalkWithTrust

    Word to the wise at Disinfo: Get rid of this ‘quakenbush’ fucker right now. This is the 3rd fucktarded post I’ve seen by him just scrolling through. A new low, disinfo.

  • WalkWithTrust

    Word to the wise at Disinfo: Get rid of this ‘quakenbush’ fucker right now. This is the 3rd fucktarded post I’ve seen by him just scrolling through. A new low, disinfo.

21
More in Drones, Espionage, Nader, Obama, Presidential Politics
Former Project Bluebook Spokesman: Government Covering up UFO Details

Ironies upon ironies: During a public appearance at the National Atomic Testing Museum retired Air Force Col. Charles Halt, a former spokesman for the Air Force's now defunct UFO "investigation"...

Close