Nader’s Newfound Love for Palin Based on Misconceptions

COMMENTARY | Ralph Nader’s sudden respect for Sarah Palin can only be understood by concluding Nader has only a superficial understanding of Palin’s disdain for corporations that use connections with government to get unfair advantage.

Nader just sees Palin attacking corporations and, as an anti-capitalist crusader for the past five decades, gets a warm feeling in his heart. Mind, he still hates her aggressive foreign policy stance, but he really likes her taking on those big, evil oil companies.

The problem is, as Nader will no doubt shortly discover, while his approach to anti-corporatism stems from a socialistic perspective, Palin’s comes from a libertarian point of view. Nader would like to curb corporate power by clamping down more rules and regulations, and even in some cases having the government take over corporations entirely.

Palin, on the other hand, would draw a bright line between business and state. Businesses would be able to make as much money as possible, under a sensible set of regulations and a low tax system, but would not be able to game the system for special advantages or get bailouts to cover for bad decisions.

Even so, the spectacle of Nader, former presidential candidate of the Green Party, giving praise to Palin, the heroine of the tea party, is something that nearly sends one to bizarro world. Doubtless Nader is not aware of Palin’s very enthusiastic views on oil drilling and other forms of resource exploitation. Otherwise he might have to alter his perspective on the lady from Wasilla just a little bit.

Even so, as The New York Times observed recently, Palin’s views do have some crossover appeal, attractive to bother anti-big government conservatives and libertarians and anti-big corporation liberals. Indeed, liberals who once set store on hope and change in voting for Obama only to be bitterly disappointed by his friendly relations with some captains of industry, might find Palin to be surprisingly attractive as a candidate.

Pro-Palin liberals might like the idea of using markets rather than government regulation to curb corporate power, but many people do not vote on details of policy positions over gut feeling. That is how Obama won the presidency in 2008. It may be how Palin will win it, if she wants to, in 2012.

Source: Ralph Nader praises Sarah Palin, Justin Elliot, Salon, Sept, 19, 2011

Some of Sarah Palin’s Ideas Cross the Political Divide, Anand Giridharadas, New York Times, Sept 9, 2011

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