Ralph Nader, the perennial candidate and outspoken political voice, released a letter insisting that a Democrat should challenge sitting President Barack Obama in a primary election.
The letter was co-signed by Princeton scholar Cornel West and writer Gore Vidal. West especially has been a critic of Obama’s, calling him “another black mascot of Wall Street.”
“In an uncontested Democratic primary, President Obama will never have to justify his decision to bail out Wall Street’s most profitable firms while failing to push for effective prosecution of the criminal behavior that triggered the recession, or his failure to push for real financial reform,” Nader wrote in the letter, sent to about 150 potential sympathizers. “He will not have to defend his decision to extend the Bush era tax cuts nor justify his acquiescence to Republican extortion during the debt ceiling negotiations.”
Though Nader has run for president five times, most recently as an independent in 2008, he told the LA Times that it is “very unlikely” he will run in 2012.
May Democrats remember Nader as a spoiler candidate in 2000, stripping votes from Democratic nominee Al Gore and handing a victory to Republican George W. Bush.
Obama should welcome a primary challenge, Nader told the LAT.
“If [Obama’s] smart, he’ll welcome it, because nothing’s worse than an incumbent president slipping in the polls, being constantly on the defensive, being accused by supporters of having no backbone and running an unenthusiastically received campaign. That’s a prescription for defeat,” Nader said. “If he goes through a one-year presidential campaign with mind-numbing repetition, responding to crazed Republican positions, he is not going to activate his base. He will be put on the defensive, just the way he is now.”
Photo credit: Stephen Webster