The problem: You're Ralph Nader. Nobody's paying attention to you. Nobody, frankly, likes you. Sure, you're getting the occasional pity profile from The Washington Post, but it's chock-a-block with the usual groans and bleats from Eric "responsible liberal" Alterman and Todd "I was in SDS!" Gitlin.
What do you do? Try this:
There's only one thing different about Barack Obama when it comes to being a Democratic presidential candidate. He's half African-American. Whether that will make any difference, I don't know. I haven't heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What's keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn't want to appear like Jesse Jackson?
Here's a little more evidence of why Nader isn't taking off this year: He doesn't pay attention. Obama has talked about capping interest rates and "driving unscrupulous lenders" out of business. Ironically, he's bragged about removing asbestos from Chicago housing projects (got to milk those community organizer days!) to such a degree that some of his old allies think he's hogging credit. Hell, he did a town hall/PR performance about this stuff in Chicago two weeks ago.
Nader made this same critique in February, actually, but it didn't get attention, so he added the "talk white" stuff hoping that idiots like me would talk about it. Why pay any attention? Because Barack Obama talked to Rolling Stone about his iPod playlist.
Stevie Wonder shares room on Obama's iPod with "everything from Howlin' Wolf to Yo-Yo Ma to Sheryl Crow," he says. "And I have probably 30 Dylan songs on my iPod." Though he's partial to 1975's Blood on the Tracks, "Maggie's Farm" is "one of my favorites during the political season," says Obama. "It speaks to me as I listen to some of the political rhetoric."
This blows the "talk white" issue wide open. For Obama's sake, I hope he doesn't have U2's cover of "Maggie's Farm." Ninety percent of Jeremiah Wright's rage could be justified by this song.