Walter Cronkite: Kerry should promise to make Nader "Secretary of the Environment"

The August 2/9, 2004 issue of The Nation includes a multi-contributor forum on “A People’s Democratic Platform” – – ideas about making the Democratic platform more progressive. Here’s Walter Cronkite’s contribution:

I think creating a Department of the Environment (which I suppose would simply be the EPA elevated to Cabinet-level status) is an excellent idea – but offering the secretariat to Nader would be unprecedented. I have never heard of a presidential candidate promising any particular post to any individual during the campaign. Can anyone prove me wrong?

Personally, I think if Nader gets a Cabinet post, it should be Attorney General! He could spend four years hunting down corporate malefactors and nailing their heads to his wall! :smiley:

Making Nader part of the Kerry campaign would be disastrous. Kerry has a good chance of drawing moderate conservatives like myself but Nader is such a devisive figure such voters would stay away in droves.

If Nader were to be a part of Kerry’s cabinet, I wouldn’t vote. I want Bush out, but I couldn’t in good conscience vote for someone that would have that lunatic on his team.

Walter Cronkite is senile.

On the other hand, if you wanted to defuse the third party division Nader brings to the table, getting him to drop out of the presidental race and accept a cabinet post poses more benefits than liabilities. He still has a lot pull in many environmental circles and its a more effective and productive use of him than running for an office he cannot ever win.

Really, Lamar! Nader might be an egomaniac, but he’s no lunatic! I’ve heard him speak, and what he says makes even more sense than what Kerry says. I’d vote for him if I thought he had a snowball’s chance of winning – he would make a much better president than Kerry will.

I doubt it. If he gets X% of voters as a presidential candidate who might vote for Kerry if he weren’t running, he’d scare away more than X% if he were part of Kerry’s team.

I think Kerry should appoint Nader Minister for Not Listening to People

I forgot to add: Americans are not particularly fond of redundant government activities either. The whole idea is unnecessary.

Based on what experience? When has he ever served in an organization where he had to collaborate, compromise, or reach agreement with anyone but himself? Folks that have worked for him in past claim he has all the leadership abilities of an unhousebroken dictatorial gorilla .

Based on his goals. Nader really cares about breaking the disproportionate political power of the superrich and the corporations. I’m not convinced Kerry does, or that we can even expect him to try.

Lincoln (or at least his people…there’s some debate whether he knew about it) promised to make Simon Cameron Secretary of War in exchange for Cameron’s delegates during the nominating convention.

It also happened in 1824 (although, technically, the election was over), where Henry Clay threw his support behind J.Q. Adams to become Secretary of State.

Assuming for the moment that there is a need for this to be done, how exactly would Nader, as president, do it?

Create a Consumer Protection department (non-cabinet) and have Nader head it. After all, consumers drive this economy. There, everyone’s happy.

Create a Consumer Protection Department (non-cabinet) and have Nader head it. After all, consumers drive this economy. There, everyone’s happy.

All his issue positions are discussed at Some excerpts:

It’s not what you would call a revolution, but it’s a few steps in the right direction.

Oh, and since this thread is about the idea to make Nader “Secretary of the Environment,” here’s his positions on that:

So there. :slight_smile:

It’s for sure that those damn Republicans would never do it.

I note from your first link that Congressman Boehlert’s bill to elevate the EPA to the Department of Environmental Protection was introduced in 2001 but, apparently, has not yet been acted upon. Your second link shows that the Director of EPA (Michael O. Leavitt) is considered a “Cabinet Rank Member” (like the V.P., President’s Chief of Staff, U.S. Trade Representative, etc.) but not an actual member of the Cabinet. So Cronkite isn’t merely whistling in the wind – this is a step that has not yet been taken.

All those things have to make it thru Congress. Too many of Nader’s ideas are far outside the mainstream, and would be DOA. I think a lot of people forget how little power the president actually has. Bush would never have been able to get his agenda off the ground without a Republcan majority in Congress.

But at least he would try, John. Check out Kerry’s campaign website (, and you’ll find his policy positions are rather, well, bland by comparison. He’ll be an improvement over Bush, but so would John Gotti. (And I mean Gotti as he is now, to wit, dead.)

Of course, Nader will never be president, he should live so long. But, as I said in the OP, in light of his stated agenda, Nader would make a kickass Attorney General! Just exactly what we need at the head of DOJ!

Can’t speak about Nader, but is this the same Walter Cronkite who made an ad protesting plans to build a wind farm near his home in Cape Cod?

(of course, in his defense, he late changed his tune)