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Nader: Will Obama Be an 'Uncle Tom for the Giant Corporations'?

Not entirely sure how to unpack what exactly is going on in this startling exchange between Fox News’ Shepard Smith and third-party avenger Ralph Nader, but here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling.

It’s from election night, and an indignant (!) Smith appears to be attempting to school Nader (?!) on the unseemliness of invoking racially charged literary allusions when referring to America’s first black president-elect — especially, Smith suggests, when Nader is about to fade into obscurity.

Nader, meanwhile, maintains that it was perfectly valid for him to question, as he had earlier, whether Obama will be “Uncle Sam for the people of his country, or Uncle Tom for the giant corporations.” Just as Nader is about to further elaborate, Smith makes it clear that he has entered a nuance-free zone, and thus Nader’s final attempt to explain his statement is cut short.

Nader thinks Smith is a bully. Smith thinks Nader is kaput. We think it’s weird to bring race into a discussion about politicians capitulating to big corporations (and people’s potential reactions to the term Uncle Tom in particular may make it difficult to take in the bigger argument here). After all, history would suggest that elected officials from a wide array of backgrounds are perfectly capable of that sort of thing.

Editor’s note: Modified for clarification.

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