Maybe Barack Obama was onto something when he warned about race-based attacks in the upcoming general election. However, the first such attack hasn’t come from Obama’s right, but from his left. Ralph Nader accused Obama of attempting to “act white” in his outreach to middle America, and of abandoning his principles for political expediency:
Nader — who launched his 5th presidential campaign in February — says the only thing different about Obama from previous Democratic presidential candidates is his race. “I haven’t heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos,” Nader says. “Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What’s keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn’t want to appear like Jesse Jackson? We’ll see all that play out in the next few months and if he gets elected afterwards.”
Asked if he thinks Obama is trying to “talk white,” Nader said, “of course….The number one thing that a black American politician aspiring to the presidency should be is to candidly describe the plight of the poor, especially in the inner cities and the rural areas, and have a very detailed platform about how the poor is going to be defended by the law, is going to be protected by the law, and is going to be liberated by the law,” Nader said. “Haven’t heard a thing.”
Nader also says Obama wants to show he’s not “another politically threatening African-American politician. He wants to appeal to white guilt. You appeal to white guilt not by coming on as black is beautiful, black is powerful. Basically he’s coming on as someone who is not going to threaten the white power structure, whether it’s corporate or whether it’s simply oligarchic. And they love it. Whites just eat it up.”
“Talk white”? Do people still think this way? Apparently Nader does, and the arrogance here is simply stunning. On what basis does Ralph Nader think that he qualifies to be the arbiter of black authenticity?
Nader doesn’t even bother to go for subtlety or code words here. He doesn’t actually utter the words “Uncle Tom” in this outburst, but the meaning is plain. Nader accuses Obama of selling out the poor and his own constituency in order to ingratiate himself with the “white power structure”.
I’m not here to defend Obama, but this attack is simply despicable. It demands, as the Left often does, that minorities subjugate their own opinion for groupthink, and that they offer no deviation from the Leftist orthodoxy, lest one give up their own ethnic identity and be called a traitor merely for having their own opinions. Whether Obama actually does this or not is not as relevant as the exposure of the Left’s attitudes on racial identity and political individuality.
Obama had no hesitancy to smear John McCain and the Republican Party as bigots with absolutely no provocation whatsoever. Will Obama respond to an actual bigoted attack from a fellow Leftist with as much vigor as he fulminated against Republicans for no reason at all? So far, the only response Team Obama has issued is to declare themselves “obviously disappointed”.
Update: Comments copied from Headlines thread.