Shutting Out Ralph Nader

by DC LARSON

Those relatively few and routinely ignored ‘progressive Democrats’ who robotically urge that the donkey be rallied ’round in times of balloting (‘We’re changing the party from the inside,’ they perenially insist — a job that somehow never generates issue) are pointing to the soon-to-be-chaired hearings on Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s presidential impeachment call as exemplary of the decency inclination amongst their corporatized fellows.

An email recently sent out by online activism coordinator The Pen hailed the upcoming proceedings. “But will they be real hearings..,” it asked, “or just a fly by with action on impeachment itself still expressly off the table?”

Actually, those hearings will prove instead that venerable, powerful liberals in the Democrat-led Congress are as unconcerned about political justice as is any neo-con in Rupert Murdoch’s Rolodex.

The most damning bit at hand is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s notorious declaration that “impeachment is off the table.” There can be no reasonable hope of conviction when the High Judge so pre-emptively rules.

Given that decree, it can reasonably be predicted that despite any fiery rhetoric, condemnatory assertions or camera-friendly cavortings the impeachment hearings will likely produce, absolutely nothing substantive will come from them.

Comes now the sad tale of Congressman John Conyers.

In a July 23 letter to Conyers, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader noted that while several witnesses were set to appear during the hearings — including former congressman, now-Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr — Nader himself was not on the list.

Nader reminded Conyers that they had had “several conversations and two meetings” focusing on impeachment. And that he had previously drafted a letter to the Chairman laying out options available to him.

“This is not the first time that I have been excluded from testifying on subjects both of us have been concerned about and have discussed,” Nader wrote Conyers in the most recent letter. “Remember your invitation to testify at your unofficial public hearing right after the 2004 elections regarding ‘irregularities’ in Ohio? Within two days, your chief of staff, Perry Applebaum, persuaded you to disinvite me.

“Applebaum has been a problem with my appearing before a Committee Chairman whom I have known, admired and worked with for nearly forty years. He has performed his exclusionary behavior on other occasions…”

The phenomenon of Nader’s being shut out of hearings to which his knowledge and decades of experience might well contribute consequentially, perceived not illogically as Democrat “payback” for daring to exercise his constitutional right to seek elective office, is not a new one.

A 6/25/08 Washington Post article (“Miles to go”) noted that, “Since 2000, Nader has been shut out of places that used to welcome him. Once a familiar figure on the Hill, he is shunned by Democrats when he offers to testify at congressional hearings, even on matters such as auto safety.”

Nader himself observed to the Post that Delaware Senator Joe Biden, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and Judiciary Committee member, had once said of him, “[Nader] better not come up to Capitol Hill.”

Judiciary Committee Chairman Conyers has over decades of senate service earned a reputation as a champion of the public interest. When pressed by independent progressives, Democrats frequently cite him as ‘one of the best.’

But in 2008 and with elections looming, all that deserved renown seems to mean little to Conyers, himself. His presumably willful participation in this uber partisan stuntery — at the expense of the public interest and with high crimes unpunished being the likely result — illustrates to what depths even ‘venerable, powerful’ liberals will dive when the donkey demands.

DC LARSON, of Iowa, is CD Review Editor for Rockabilly Magazine. Among his freelance credits are Goldmine, Blue Suede News, No Depression and Rock & Rap Confidential. This piece originally ran on his blog, http://www.dclarson.blogspot.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
September 01, 2015
Mike Whitney
Return to Crisis: Things Keep Getting Worse
Michael Schwalbe
The Moral Hazards of Capitalism
Eric Mann
Inside the Civil Rights Movement: a Conversation With Julian Bond
Pam Martens
How Wall Street Parasites Have Devoured Their Hosts, Your Retirement Plan and the U.S. Economy
Jonathan Latham
Growing Doubt: a Scientist’s Experience of GMOs
Fran Shor
Occupy Wall Street and the Sanders Campaign: a Case of Historical Amnesia?
Joe Paff
The Big Trees: Cockburn, Marx and Shostakovich
Randy Blazak
University Administrators Allow Fraternities to Turn Colleges Into Rape Factories
Robert Hunziker
The IPCC Caught in a Pressure Cooker
Robert Koehler
Sending Your Children Off to Safe Spaces in College
Jesse Jackson
Season of the Insurgents: From Trump to Sanders
August 31, 2015
Michael Hudson
Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece
Conn Hallinan
Europe’s New Barbarians
Lawrence Ware
George Bush (Still) Doesn’t Care About Black People
Joseph Natoli
Plutocracy, Gentrification and Racial Violence
Franklin Spinney
One Presidential Debate You Won’t Hear: Why It is Time to Adopt a Sensible Grand Strategy
Dave Lindorff
What’s Wrong with Police in America
Louis Proyect
Jacobin and “The War on Syria”
Lawrence Wittner
Militarism Run Amok: How Russians and Americans are Preparing Their Children for War
Binoy Kampmark
Tales of Darkness: Europe’s Refugee Woes
Ralph Nader
Lo, the Poor Enlightened Billionaire!
Peter Koenig
Greece: a New Beginning? A New Hope?
Dean Baker
America Needs an “Idiot-Proof” Retirement System
Vijay Prashad
Why the Iran Deal is Essential
Tom Clifford
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident: a History That Continues to Resonate
Peter Belmont
The Salaita Affair: a Scandal That Never Should Have Happened
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal
Bill Yousman
The Fire This Time: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”