By Ralph Nader
Years ago, Elizabeth Brennan Moynihan told me about her disgust with the Democratic Party’s outside consultants. These consultants were not competent. They were arrogant, costly, and looking out first for their interests, not the candidates they were supposed to advance. She threw them out and personally took over her husband, Senator Daniel P. Moynihan’s successful re-election campaign.
Bill Curry, former counselor to President Bill Clinton and later a cogent critic of the “Arkansas sweet talker” said these consultants stay hired even after losing election after election. They blame the candidates, not themselves, nor the way they misshape the strategies and insipid television ads (from which they take a 15% cut).
Curry said these repeat offenders, whom he noted, make much of their money from corporate clients, have a clear conflict of interest, and are an ongoing menace to the Party.
I was reminded of their observations when I received two fundraising letters from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Elected politicians long ago stopped writing their own appeals for campaign dollars. This chore is farmed out to well-paid and wealthy consultants flaunting their supposed smooth expertise. They must have scoured their brilliant insights to come up with this doozy on the envelope – “R.Nader, I Won’t Back Down. Are You With Me?” I wonder how much the consultant was paid to think that defensive and vague message would tempt voters to tear open their mail and lunge for the return envelope to send the dough.
Bear in mind, this is the age of a Trumpian criminal enterprise and a destructive, rampant lawlessness, a hyper-corrupt Trump regime stiff-arming the people daily on the behalf of the giant corporate supremacists. And Nancy tells us she’s not backing down. Wow – what political ambition it takes to defend expensive Obamacare (that still left 30 million people uninsured and more than double that number underinsured), instead of bucking up to support full Medicare for All. The Medicare for All Act, (H.R.1384) would create a system that is more efficient and lifesaving with free choice of doctors and hospitals.
Playing defense embeds itself in Nancy’s survey included in the fundraising appeal. We are asked to rank the following:
(1) Defending choice (without adding maternal, neonate, and childcare).
(2) Stopping voter suppression (without expanding known ways to surge voter turnout).
(3) Protecting social security (instead of also expanding this lone barrier to severe elderly poverty and repealing the huge Trump tax cut for the rich and corporations. Note that both were pressed for by the ignored Bernie Sanders campaign).
(4) “Fighting climate change and opposing Trump’s weakening environmental laws” (instead of displacing fossil fuels and recognizing the objectives of the Green New Deal advanced by Democratic Party Progressives).
No mention of law and order for corporate crime and runaway costly corporate welfare, and no mention of telling bungling, dangerous Trump to step aside to let pandemic scientists, doctors, and managers run the federal effort to suppress the spreading Covid-19 disaster.
Of course, a letter can only contain a few top defensive issues. So, the House Speaker gives us a line titled “other”, “to hear from” us as, she adds, our “opinions are important.”
Fair enough Nancy, see the four letters by me and constitutional law specialists with important opinions that were not even acknowledged much less responded to by your office.
I believe our proposals – available to all incumbents and challengers – will help citizens and Congress take America closer to the just rule of law and constitutional observance which will enable a better life for the people and the environment of our country.
Granted your letter was very focused on winning elections. But winning elections without enabling basic mandates that translate into good livelihoods can leave voters with that familiar empty post-election letdown malady. May we hear from you?