"I think she's a lot smarter than most people credit her," says the left-wing crusader
Ralph Nader hearts Sarah Palin?
We decided to call the longtime left crusader about a speech Palin gave in Iowa earlier this month, one which seemed to mark the transformation of Palin from a standard-issue movement conservative to something more independent and more reformist. And Nader told us he liked what he heard.
“I think she’s a lot smarter than most people credit her,” says Nader. “Judging by her comments, she is squarely in the camp of conservative populism, opposed to corporatism and its corporate state.”
Palin delivered the speech in question in Indianola, Iowa, on Sept. 3. As Anand Giridharadas later observed in the Times, the media responded primarily by “ignoring the ideas she unfurled and dwelling almost entirely on the will-she-won’t-she question of her presidential ambitions.”
Some of the rhetoric was familiar. Palin slammed the “far left,” praised the Tea Party, and denounced the idea of more government spending.
But there was also some refreshingly new material. She described a “permanent political class,” one that is hypocritical and devoted to personally profiting off of government. (“Seven of the 10 wealthiest counties are suburbs of Washington, D.C.,” she noted.) She spoke of “the collusion of big government and big business and big finance.” And she took aim at both parties for governing in service of their big campaign contributors.
This sounded to us like Nader. And Nader agreed.
“When she was governor of Alaska she really did take on the oil industry, and [she also] approved a statewide referendum that resulted in the first state in the Union to regulate cruise lines and their pollution offshore,” he says. “So there is a precursor to these remarks.”
(For more on Palin’s history tangling with the oil industry, read this lengthy treatment by Joshua Green.)
The two don’t agree on everything, of course. Nader notes, for example, that he still views Palin as a “militarist” who supports America’s foreign wars and the bloated military budget.
If Palin continues down the conservative populist path — and that’s a big “if”; let’s face it, she’s not exactly known for ideological consistency — Nader thinks the message will be a political winner.
“It’s endlessly elaborative. She could elaborate it with all kinds of newsworthy examples — abuses, prosecutions, convictions,” he says.
That will apply especially if she jumps into the current “corporatist” GOP presidential field, Nader says. “She’ll really draw a line between herself and the others, who will never encroach on this.”
More Related Stories
- Is the Environmental Defense Fund ruining environmentalism?
- Top 5 investigative videos of the week: "Winning" Afghanistan
- Jester clowns Westboro Baptist Church
- GOP: Party of crybabies
- Developers evict historic women's shelter to build luxury hotel
- Guantánamo prisoner on hunger strike cries for help on Twitter
- 3 possible solutions to international tax avoidance
- “I just want the U.S. to send my father home”
- Army weapons engineer tied to white nationalist organizations
- Ted Cruz against the world
- David Vitter's hypocritical, punitive, horrible new amendment
- Louie Gohmert: Women should be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies to term
- Could hackers destroy the U.S. power grid?
- Democrats may be even worse than Republicans at regulating Wall Street
- Eric Holder versus journalism
- A progressive defense of drones
- There's no substitute for government disaster relief
- Holder signed off on search warrant for reporter
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Mike Judge: "Bowling for Columbine" made me pro-gun
- Closing Gitmo is not enough
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11