Focus on special-interest leadership

Ralph Nader has accomplished a great deal during his life in private service to the United States. His interest in safety and consumerism has sparked a great deal of consumer and manufacturer evolution in the United States and abroad. His dedication to his principles has made a difference in our great global community. But I am concerned he is not presidential material.

His failure in the last election foretells impending failure this November. Comments such as “Our supremely elected leadership” in an interview with Tim Russert of “Face the Nation” speak too candidly of his inability to constructively address problems with leaders who differ from his political ideology and method. His practice of shooting from the hip is dramatically dysfunctional. I am concerned he would not adequately form coalitions, oversee his Cabinet or maintain other significant relationships pertinent to forming policy and managing government employees at all levels.

It is great that a man with so much going for him in areas outside politics is eager to take on the world, but I wonder about his common sense. Yes, it is important to have people with various points of view leading our nation, but the United States is much larger than European countries such as Italy and Austria, which operate with several different political parties. In a nation as large as the United States, two large parties, with smaller coalitions, appear to be a better alternative.

Regionalism would more likely satisfy the needs of Nader’s quest for diverse political parties to serve within the presidency. These situations, which might be ideal for Nader, do not exist in the United States. Perhaps our state jurisdiction system is the closest thing the United States has to the types of government that would best work for Nader’s desire to serve a political body. As leader of a large special interest group serving our nation, Nader would have the best of both worlds.

Nader should work within the existing framework and contribute to the well-being of the United States as a powerful special-interest leader; he has many options to consider. But vying for the presidency is not his best choice.

Should one of the Democrats win this November, it is likely Nader’s ideas will be taken seriously. It is unlikely Bush’s administration will work with Nader constructively, just as it is unlikely Nader will work well with Republicans, even if he wins the election.

While useful opportunities would be open to him if he accepted his unlikely win with grace, common sense and practical insight, his opportunities as a contributor to government leadership would significantly diminish should he continue along a path that is now arguably egotistical and, as it will be, ineffectual. His philosophy of how to guide foreign trade and other foreign affairs continues to be worthy of concern.

Nader’s greatest sacrifice and gift to our nation would be recognizing that our president has brought our nation from a budgetary surplus of $236 billion to a deficit of $521 billion, a spending spree of $757 billion with desires to continue supporting war in Iraq (which will directly affect the U.S. oil industry) and to send astronauts to Mars.

While I have always been intrigued with our space program, we now need a president who is not a spendthrift – one who operates with common sense and policies that even his fiscally conservative constituency can trust, and a better alternative to Bush. For this, Kerry is the better choice. Independents who would like to see Nader’s continued influence on our nation and the rest of the world should opt for a candidate more likely to win the presidency away from the Republican Party’s only contender.

Barry N. Peterson is a University alumnus with a Bachelor of Arts in modern European history. He welcomes comments at [email protected]