A minor effect of Obama’s win is that the country will have the first Princetonian first lady, Michelle Obama, class of 1985. As a Princetonian I’m very proud of that, and I do think the very presence of Michelle, Sasha and Malia Obama in the White House will have an enormous impact on the country and its image in the world.
But I’m also ashamed of Ralph Nader, Princeton class of 1955. When I was at Princeton in the ’70s, Nader was probably the most admired Princeton alumnus for me and my friends. He had, after all, largely created the consumer movement, and had made corporations and government far more accountable than they had any desire to be. His role in the 2000 election was disastrous, and I thought so at the time. Now he has descended further into the muck with his post-election comments this year questioning whether president-elect Obama will be Uncle Sam or Uncle Tom. What a disgrace.