Barred from Presidential Debates

As you know, Nader/Gonzalez is being blocked from the Presidential debates.

The corporate controlled, so-called Commission on Presidential Debates will not let any independent candidate in unless they show 15 percent in a series of polls in September.

That’s no surprise.

What is surprising is the failure of other debates to fill the vacuum.

Part of this is due to Senator Obama’s reluctance to engage his opponents.

On May 4, Obama told Tim Russert on Meet the Press that he was willing to debate with “any of my opponents about what this country means, what makes it great.”

But earlier this month, Obama’s campaign manager backed off, saying that Obama would debate only Senator McCain, and only in the three rigged debates sponsored by the two parties and paid for by major corporations.

Senator Obama has also refused to participate in a number of other debates — including the Google debate in New Orleans, the Ft. Hood, Texas debate that is being organized by veterans groups, and the series of ten town hall meetings proposed by Senator McCain.

Senator Obama’s refusal to participate is a mistake and is costing him in the polls.

Just yesterday, the Gallup tracking polls put McCain and Obama tied at 44 percent each.

If Obama doesn’t agree to more debates, he could end up at the end of a sentence that starts with Mondale, Dukakis, Gore and Kerry.

With only McCain and Obama on the stage, there will be no debate of key issues and re-directions important to the majority of the American people.

Just go down the partial list:

Single payer Medicare for all health care — supported by the majority of the American people, the majority of doctors and nurses, and just recently, unanimously, by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Obama says no. McCain says no.

Reversing U.S. policy in the Middle East — Obama says no. McCain says no.

Cut the bloated, wasteful, redundant military budget — Obama says no, McCain says no. They want a bigger military budget.

Empty the prisons of drug possessors and fill them up with corporate criminals — Obama says no, McCain says no.

Nader/Gonzalez says yes — to each.

The only way to change this systemic exclusion is for millions of Americans to become engaged now.

Ralph Nader is a leading consumer advocate, the author of The Rebellious CEO: 12 Leaders Who Did It Right, among many other books, and a four-time candidate for US President. Read other articles by Ralph, or visit Ralph's website.

9 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Blatz said on August 17th, 2008 at 7:03am #

    One can’t pick and choose which debates they want to do when they are running for the highest office in the land. It seems Obama is doing just that. He needs to be challenged on that.
    How is he able to pick and choose what debates he will or will not participate in? He can’t have his cake and eat it too but then again when you are a media darling anything is possible.
    His free ride in the media has gone on too long.

  2. Donald Hawkins said on August 17th, 2008 at 7:06am #

    Morpheus: I imagine that right now, you’re feeling a bit like Alice. Hmm? Tumbling down the rabbit hole?
    Neo: You could say that.
    Morpheus: I see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, that’s not far from the truth. Do you believe in fate, Neo?
    Neo: No.
    Morpheus: Why not?
    Neo: Because I don’t like the idea that I’m not in control of my life.
    Morpheus: I know *exactly* what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?
    Neo: The Matrix.
    Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is?
    Neo: Yes.
    Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
    Neo: What truth?
    Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.

    Now what Robert Jensen just wrote that many will find startling.

    The delusional revolution is my term for the development of sophisticated propaganda techniques in the 20th century (especially a highly emotive, image-based advertising system) that have produced in the bulk of the population (especially in First World societies) a distinctly delusional state of being. Even those of us who try to resist it often can’t help but be drawn into parts of the delusion. As a culture, we collectively end up acting as if unsustainable systems can be sustained because we want them to be. Much of the culture’s story-telling — particularly through the dominant story-telling institutions, the mass media — remains committed to maintaining this delusional state. In such a culture, it becomes hard to extract oneself from that story. Robert Jensen

    So Ralph, I imagine that right now, you’re feeling a bit like Alice. Hmm? Tumbling down the rabbit hole?

    Well those sophisticated propaganda techniques keep people in a box with walls made of bullshit and all it takes is a thought to teardown those walls because they are not that sophisticated bullshit never is.

  3. Rich Griffin said on August 17th, 2008 at 11:06am #

    Ralph, I agree that you and Cynthia McKinney and anyone else who is on enough ballots to win the necessary electoral college votes should be included in the debates. Two things: I think you should debate the other independent/non-Rep.-Dem. candidates; and that we should organize MASSIVE protests (bus ’em in, carp0ol, trains, whatever – recruit tens of thousands – IT CAN BE DONE, it just would take work!) at each of the debates.

    These debates I mentioned will at the very least be televised on C-Span. I know it’s not enough but the system is SO corrupt. I want Obama AND McCain to both lose! I’ve voted for you 3 times, but this time I’m leaning towards Cynthia McKinney and the Green party, despite it’s internal problems (caused by lack of $$ and lack of access).

  4. steve conn said on August 17th, 2008 at 11:34am #

    If Obama does not take on the issues raised by Ralph Nader, issues
    which his backers fear, he will lose. The real question is whether
    his corporate supporters care more about who wins or who loses or whether Nader’s issues are censored in the debate?

  5. bozhidar balkas said on August 17th, 2008 at 11:59am #

    what!? uncle sam give up his tw0century-old dream to possess the planet?
    no, not in one thousand yrs. that means once again no presidential debates but showbiz as always before.
    both candidates have a script embedded in their heads.
    of course, nader’s also has a script. he wrote it himself. and it is scary.
    nader’s participation in the debates wld have signified onset of democratization process in US.
    the funni uncle fears more democratization of US than even communism.
    actually the uncle welcomes communism in korea and cuba.
    that’s why cuba is still communist.

  6. Joseph Danison said on August 18th, 2008 at 8:18pm #

    And if millions of Americans become engaged now, what will happen, Ralph? A bit of discomfort in the duopoly, maybe, because it would be such a surprise, but it could be managed and the programmed spectacle of antidemocracy would proceed to its predetermined conclusion. Obummer will make history as the first black president and nothing will change.

    I’m voting for you, Ralph, as opposed to not voting at all, just to say that I didn’t vote for either of the empty vessels that have been selected for the electorate. We have been offered a choice between two approaches to the soft issues, a pseudo conservative and a pseudo liberal. We are not being asked for our opinion on empire, militarism, financial regulation, unconstitutional legislation, impeachment and/or prosecution of government criminals, or anything else of moment.

    As clients of the state we are simply being queried about the service provided.It is not even a performance review of our corporate/state provider. How to satisfy consumer needs is the only contention. Health care of some kind. Are you being served?

    Obummer said something amusing when asked what justices he wouldn’t have nominated for the big court. Thomas and Scalia he didn’t like. He wanted justices who would support the separation of powers. This would lead some to believe that he’s not in favor of the imperial presidency and that he’s going to downsize the presidency to something less autocratic. Uh huh. I’ve never heard him criticize the Patriot Act, the MilComm Act, the John Warner Fuck America up the Ass Act, and so on. McCain’s response to the same question was to eliminate every Liberal member of the court in the name of the correct construction of the constitution, which the fool has never read. Neither had the viewers in the televangelist’s big tent.

    There’ ll be more of this Q & A as this farce goes forward and the electorate will choose the “liberal” or the “conservative”, which is to say, corporate money with a vague & ill-defined moral concern, or corporate money with no moral concern. The results will be tallied in such a way that Obummer wins simply because the state is aware that service has fallen off and consumers need to be served a bit better. A general dissatisfaction is building in the herd. This decision was made long ago.

    I’m voting for you, Ralph. Somewhere in a parallel universe, you do actually win.

  7. r jackowski said on August 19th, 2008 at 5:42am #

    If the other candidates were Statesmen, instead of self-serving politicians, they would refuse to participate in any debate which did not include ALL candidates.
    VOTE NADER, please!

  8. Beverly said on August 19th, 2008 at 6:32pm #

    So now Obama gets to pick and choose whom/when/where he will debate. Who died and made made him king? Shouldn’t non-partisan entities have a say in organizing debate forums?

    I also saw the un-air conditioned, detention center gulag Denver will use for protesters at the Demowitic convention. Shouldn’t some so-called progressive/liberal/democracy cheerleaders, including Change Man Obama, demand protesters be allowed at the venues and anywhere else to exercise their right to protest in this here so-called land of the free/freedom of speech loving USA?

    I guess not. So much for “democracy.” Vote Nader or McKinney or just stay home.

  9. Beverly said on August 19th, 2008 at 6:38pm #

    Example #1001 of how the Democrats are as crappy as the Republicans: Obama gets to select whom, when, where he will debate as opposed to there being a non-partisan entity to organize debates.

    Example #1002: The gulag holding center (sans air conditioning) that Denver officials will use to contain protesters. Where are the Democrats (including Mr. Change Agent Obama) to demand protesters be allowed to protest at venues and exercise their right to protest and free speech?

    So much for democray. Vote Nader or McKinney.