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Ralph Nader and Cornel West, among others, are banding together to put forward a primary challenge to Obama:


Mr. Nader said the intent is not to defeat Mr. Obama but to make him focus on issues that might get lost in a purely Obama-versus-GOP discussion. Defeating an incumbent in a primary is a tall order, but opponents can expose weaknesses, as Patrick J. Buchanan did in 1992 to the first President Bush and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy did in 1980 to President Carter. 

In its recruitment letter, the group faulted the administration's handling of the Wall Street bailouts, the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the U.S. involvement in the military effort in Libya. They also criticized Mr. Obama's decision to extend the Bush-era tax cuts and the recent deal he struck with Republicans over cutting spending to raise the debt ceiling. 

"We need to put strong Democratic pressure on President Obama in the name of poor and working people" said Cornel West, an author and professor at Princeton University. "His administration has tilted too much toward Wall Street, we need policies that empower Main Street."

As ABL notes, there are some unfortunate consistencies here. Nader began the Obama presidency by wondering if Obama would be an "Uncle Tom for the corporations.." He now joins forces with West who derides his "dear brother Barack Obama" as a "black mascot for Wall Street interests" with a "fear of free black men."  Perhaps Michael Moore shall join them and we can hear these three explain to us why Obama is actually a white president.

Despite the claims of working on behalf of the poor, I'm forced to wonder if any of this would be happening had Obama returned a few phone-calls and put in some face-time. The presidential fetish on exhibition here, paired with a non-critique of Congress, the non-recognition of the need to build a more left-leaning electorate is amazing and anti-democratic. Nothing better evidences that than seeing Nader, a man who evidently believes Obama an "Uncle Tom for the corporations," turn around and praise Sarah Palin for her "conservative populism."

This isn't progressive. It's personal. And it's reactionary.

Fallows has more on Nader.

H/T Balloon-Juice on Sarah Palin.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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