Whenever Ralph Nader comes on the tube, which isn't often enough, it's must-see TV. He's in a class by himself. I don't know of any politician, civic leader or social firebrand who can match him for his unique combination of level-headed insight, deep intelligence, real accomplishment and passionate straight talk.
For instance, in a must-see interview that aired this morning on Democracy Now!, here's what he said about whether our lame-duck president still matters:
Yeah, he matters because he's a national security menace. He's a destroyer of our Constitution, a violator of our statutes, a revoker of our regulations. He's a war monger. He's a war criminal -- clinically a war criminal -- and he's still in charge. And as I said some time ago, he's a giant corporation in the White House masquerading as a human being, although I sometimes wonder about the word "human." I don't think it's possible to see a more obsessively compulsive person with so much contempt for the traditions of our country ...
That's just a snippet of Nader's wide-ranging discussion of health care, corporate government, campaign financing, the current crop of presidential candidates and the general political realities of the BananaRepublic. (You can also read the transcript.)
I voted for him in 1996 but didn't in 2000, because I wanted Al Gore to win. Nor did I vote for Nader in 2004, because I thought it would mean one less vote to unseat the illegitimate BananaRepublican regime. As I noted then,
If the American people want to elect the nasty little shit now in the White House, they should remember they will be indicting themselves as co-conspirators in his administration's criminal misadventures. They will no longer have the excuse that he was an appointed president, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, and not an elected one.
Even so, I still believed Nader had every right to run in 2004. And now I wish he'd run again, because now I'd vote for him again. His assessment of the political realities following the 2006 Congressional elections has so far proved true, unfortunately, right down to the last detail:
[T]o the extent the Democrats gained the majority in the House, it was on the backs of some very rightwing Democrats who won the election against rightwing Republican incumbents. And so, there was no mandate for any progressive agenda. ...
[One] thing that is good, though, is that there's some very good veteran chairmen who are coming in: George Miller, Henry Waxman, Ed Markey and, of course, John Conyers. But to counter that, both John Conyers and Nancy Pelosi have taken the impeachment issue right off the table, before the election, and that means there's going to be no Bush accountability for his war crimes and his inflation of unlawful presidential authority.
... The Democrats will throw a lot of subpoenas at the White House. The White House will, of course, drag it on and on and on. And the public will get fed up with it. The White House has great reserves in dragging it on and on and on. Because Bush can't rely on Republicans as a majority of the Congress, he's going to inflate his presidential power even more extremely and unlawfully, in the opinion of many legal scholars -- to do through the inherent power of the presidency, as Dick Cheney and Bush have talked about, what he can't do through the Congress, which he no longer controls.
That's why the drive to impeach is long past due.