Cliche Watch: Unsafe at Any Speed

Ralph Nader’s announcement Sunday that he plans to run for president has provided ample opportunities for critics of his decision to take pot-shots.

It has also caused a blizzard of cliches that has us reaching for our umbrellas.

In today’s Los Angeles Times, columnist Robert Scheer characterizes Nader’s decision as an act of pure ego that will harm Democrats. But then he takes the bait: “Sadly, Nader, like the products of those auto companies he did so much to expose, is now unsafe at any speed.”

Brent Israelsen of The Salt Lake Tribune also chimes in, saying that among environmentalists, “who generally back Democrats for president, Nader is unsafe at any speed.” On CBS’ “Early Show” yesterday, political analyst Craig Crawford fell into the trap, saying that “to Democrats, [Nader] is unsafe at any speed.”

And while we’re on the subject, gang, let’s be really strong and also swear off the Nader/Nadir wordplay.


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Susan Q. Stranahan wrote for CJR.