WASHINGTON - Ralph Nader said Sunday he will run for president as a third-party candidate, criticizing the top White House contenders as too close to big business and pledging to repeat a bid that will "shift the power from the few to the many."This above all is a sad day for Nader. Some on the right are cheering but more reasonable types like Captain Ed are more realistic.
Nader, 73, said most people are disenchanted with the Democratic and Republican parties due to a prolonged Iraq war and a shaky economy. The consumer advocate also blamed tax and other corporate-friendly policies under the Bush administration that he said have left many lower- and middle-class people in debt.
"You take that framework of people feeling locked out, shut out, marginalized and disrespected," he said. "You go from Iraq, to Palestine to Israel, from Enron to Wall Street, from Katrina to the bumbling of the Bush administration, to the complicity of the Democrats in not stopping him on the war, stopping him on the tax cuts."
"In that context, I have decided to run for president," Nader told NBC's "Meet the Press."
How much impact will Nader have this time? Probably none at all. Unless Hillary Clinton pulls off a miracle, the Naderites of 2000 have aligned themselves enthusiastically with Barack Obama. Having Nader attack him from the Left won't hurt Obama's prospects in the middle, where he needs to draw more heavily than John McCain.I see him having even less impact than candidates from the Libertarian and Constitution Parties on the right. That would become considerably less impact if Ron Paul were to change his mind and make a run.
Bottom line - few will buy Ralph's no difference meme this time around.
Mike Allen and Ben Smith at Politico show once again that the DC punditry is clueless and out of touch.
Nader enters in boon to GOP
Not even the Republicans think that Nader will have any significant impact. He received less than .4% of the vote in 2004 and will receive even less this time.
.38% in 2004.
I could get .38%.
As I mentioned above this is above all a sad day for Ralph Nader. To James Fallows it's a personal issue:
Nader was funny, warm, brilliant-seeming, and, yes, caring. He visited my wife in the hospital after our first child was born. For years after that, he never failed to ask about both of our kids (or my wife) whenever I talked with him. I say all this as an indication of why Ralph Nader has so many people who actually are loyal to him -- and who wish they didn't have to face the reality about the choices he has made over the last eight years.We talk about legacies and Ralph could have had a good one but instead he will be remembered as a narcissistic old fool that people laugh at and don't take seriously. No one except the political heavyweights at Politico that is.
That he stayed in the race in 2000 was tragedy. (See: Invasion of Iraq, 2003, and subsequent occupation.) That he came back in 2004 was unfortunate; his entry in 2008 is farce. Farce because it suggests detachment from political reality (the differences between the Republican and Democratic nominees are so faint that we can say, What the hell!) and, worse, narcissism. The fact that it won't make any difference in the outcome actually is sad.
I will always like and respect Ralph Nader and will always admire the wonderful things he has done. But I wish to God that he had not made this decision, or will reverse it soon. (And, I am sorry that saying this will make me an enemy in his eyes.) He is a better man than his recent decisions indicate.