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« Thorazinetime for Hillary | Main | The Hard Work of Realignment -- It's More Than Just Hope »

February 25, 2008



Obama could instantly disarm Nader's candidacy if, rather than assume a combative stance, he were to demonstrate that he and Nader had identical positions on most issues. Of course they don't have identical positions, and so right wing tactics must be employed to distract from this reality. I very much like your characterization of this process as a response to "cognitive dissonance", with relevant analogies to religious fervor to follow naturally.


I am one of the ones who is upset with Nader entering the race. I'm not upset because he weakens the chance of a Democrat winning the White House. In all honesty I don't know which ballots he'll get on, and I don't think he'll even register with voters. No, I'm upset because I feel at this point he will be remembered for his failed political campaigns instead of his truly ground breaking work on behalf of consumers. Ralp Nader has made huge gains for consumer safety in his career as a consumer advocate, but that doesn't seem to have been enough for his now distorted ego.

The only person who loses by Ralph entering the presidential race this time is Ralph Nader. He's turned into a joke, and he has only himself to blame for that.


The problem with Nader, and what makes it impossible to take his candidacy seriously, is that he himself puts forth the image that he just wants attention for being a spoiler rather than a serious candidate. He does this because, in the time between one election and the next, just what exactly does he do that shows he's a serious candidate? We never hear a peep from him; he's not out making headlines in any way (not even in the way we know him best, and that's consumer protection). He's not out there accomplishing anything, he's certainly not inspiring anyone, taking on a cause. If he's doing these things, then he's not drawing any attention to them in the same way he can draw attention to himself simply by announcing that he's yet again running for president. For all the accolades you give him for his progressive views, what good are they if he doesn't even make them known? He does nothing for the progressive cause as far as I can see, and instead works against it with these so-called presidential bids. And maybe that's his real failing, in not being able to gain himself any publicity UNLESS he's making himself a last minute candidate for president. To me, I'm sorry to say, Nader is a gnat, a nuisance, a nut, a fringe resident who this time around will barely be noticed on the radar.


What Julia said!


I'd agree that Nader is a "fringe candidate" who very well may "barely be noticed on the radar" come election day, but to call him "a gnat, a nuisance, a nut" is to imply that a presidential election is no place to discuss single payer health care, or corporate personhood, or the military budget --- issues that the others don't want to engage. No progressive can sincerely mean that, can they?

Doug Rogers

I've grown so disgusted by Democratic Ralph-bashing, either because these individuals don't understand how Nader's pressure to move left is good for progressive politics or they really are not invested in progressive politics, that I really want to find more websites and forums that cater to those who embrace radical thinking. That ubiquitous corporate interests perpetuate the two-party system in order to maintain their power over our lives should be the organizing precept. Where can we all meet to talk about radical change without reactionary Democratic nincompoops stomping all over the field?

Thank you for revealing the hypocrisy.

Single-payer healthcare. He's got my vote.

Thomas Chacko

PM, once you wipe that saliva off your face, perhaps you could name more of these "progressives who opportunistically spit in progressive faces."

Perhaps you mean Bill Clinton, whose administration produced 22 million new jobs; gave us more equitable taxation; increased protection for parklands and forests; expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit; brought us Americorps and the Family/Medical Leave Act; had FEMA running like clockwork; signed the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban; led humanitarian actions in Haiti and Kosovo; brought America a high level of respect at the United Nations and around the world; and left us with a budget surplus that could have been used for important domestic problems.

George W has gleefully spat upon these progressive policies. Could it be his saliva on your face?

True, NAFTA and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" may have been mistakes, but Hillary has already conceded that. And despite the failure of health care reform in 1994, Hillary has not been deterred from playing a leading role in any further attempts.

Is Ralph Nader still going to argue that there was no difference between Al Gore and George W Bush? Does anyone of any sense believe that Gore would have embroiled us in Iraq, brushed aside global warming, tried to privatize Social Security, ignored warnings from Al-Qaida, or pissed away the surplus?

Sure, Gore made mistakes in 2000: distancing himself from Clinton; choosing Lieberman as his running mate; and doing so poorly in that second debate. But whether anyone likes it or not, George W IS part of Nader's legacy.

Now, in the latest leg of his ego-trip, Nader isn't sure whether he wants to even bother with the "Green Party." Had Nader been serious about third-party building, he'd have done so in "red" states, too, rather than just focusing on New Hampshire, Iowa, New Mexico, and yes, Florida, where he knew he could tip the balance. (And he was helped by money alloted to him by the Republican National Committee, not just $10 and $20 donations!)

Oh, speaking of similarities with the GOP, Nader supported the Clinton impeachment drive! How's that for progressivism?

Since the 2000 election, I've been wiping Nader's saliva from my face. In 2004, John Kerry got together with him and tried to work out an agreement; Kerry is still wiping off his face.

If the saliva doesn't hit you in the eye, PM, take a good look at who's doing the spitting!


What's up with this talk about Nadar's "ego"? How about the other candidates?

If The Democrats would offer a real alternative, Nadar would gladly not run


Great post! I completely agree. Funny, but I remember so many on the left really happy that John Edwards was staying in the campaign race as long as he did because he was "keeping the right message alive" or helping to pull Obama and HRC more to the left (I was one of those people). Seems to me those that really get so annoyed by Nader running just don't want to acknowledge that though they believe everything Nader has stood for his entire life, they don't want to be reminded that the candidates they've supported continue to sell out the American public. I listened to Nader this morning on one of the morning shows and was so glad to hear some of those overlooked realities being spoken out loud. Of course, the media still treats him like he's just a crazy old man ... kinda like they did with everything Ron Paul had to say about our military. I wish Obama would immediately come out and say if he wins the presidency, he would enthusiastically put Nader in charge of the EPA or the Justice Dept or some other agency where Nader's skills and courage could really serve Americans.

On another note, the new meme being pushed by the MSM now is about Obama's huge ego ... Oh, how dare this young dude come in and screw up everyone's plans. This same line is being pushed about Nader ... his narcissism is just so out-of-whack. Give me a break! Everyone who runs for president has a huge ego. But, the idea that Obama's or Nader's egos are on a different level than Clinton's is completely ridiculous. She started this campaign knowing that at least 45% of the citizens of this country would NEVER vote for her under any circumstances. She also had to know at least a quarter of her own party was unable to forgive her for her Iraq war vote and other votes she's cast as a senator. Yet, she deluded herself into thinking she had the ability to change the minds of those that would never vote for her and she dismissed the complaints of those of us on the left, believing we would have no other choice but to vote for her. Now, she mocks us? I know I, as a citizen, have had enough of being treated with such disdain and disregard by the current administration and all their sheeple. The reality is that Hillary is not a good politician and does not possess geniune leadership skills. She is the one that needs to recognize "her place" ... her skills and intelligence are much better suited to the Senate or, as one recent blog I read suggested, as a (potential) supreme court justice (which I think is a fantastic idea!). It has nothing to do with gender. People just need to recognize WHO THEY ARE ... what their skills, abilities, and weaknesses are and then find the place in this world where they can do the most good. As much as I would like to see a woman become president, HRC is not the one to get there. For her and her friends and supporters to keep dismissing the rational arguments why she is not the right person for the presidency only reinforces the idea that the ONLY thing that matters is that she is a female and it's way past time for a woman president. Doesn't that just negate everything women's rights advocates have been saying all these years ... that we just want the same opportunities and to be judged on our merits? There's no disputing Hillary has been given the opportunity and, at least for me, I've judged her on the merits.

This is the first comment I've posted online in many years and after briefly reading comments placed here and on other blogs, I'm sure someone will get crappy with me about saying anything against Hillary's candidacy. I try to be reasonable in my thoughts on Hillary. I like her and admire her and think she is so incredibly smart. But, to hedge off the venim I'm sure to get ... know this ... I'm a 40 year old female who has not been to the doctor once since my youngest son was born in 1994. Yep, that's right, NINETEEN NINETY-FOUR! Our two sons, born in 1993 and 1994, have only been to the doctor maybe twice in all that time and those were emergency room visits. My husband has not been to the doctor at all since I met him in 1990. We both followed closely and with optimism Hillary and Bill's attempt at doing something about our health care system. It took us seven years to pay off just the bills from the two-day hospital stays to have our kids, who were both born healthy. SEVEN YEARS of being in debt just to have a child! And, we both work 60-80 hours a week. Clinton supporters can chastise me and everyone else who doesn't blindly follow her, but I can't dismiss the Clintons' failure to do anything about the outrageous cost of simply going to the doctor. I look at my life, as a woman and mother and wife, and know how much we've struggled. Yet, the Clintons have gotten extremely wealthy since they tried and failed to get the health care situation under control. They tried, failed and then, I guess, decided to just hold off until Hillary ran for president to use that issue again? Yah-rah for me and my family during all these years! Trying to make me feel guilty for not supporting Hillary, like she's some Elizabeth Cady Stanton or Susan B. Anthony ... well, you have all set the arguments for equality back quite a bit. Some of us actually feel we have good, solid non-sexist reasons to not be in support of Clinton. Treating us all like we are cult-followers or women-haters has only brought me to the decision that if Clinton does get the nomination, I'm staying home on election day. If it makes you feel better, my husband doesn't think the same way ... he will vote for whichever Dem is on the ticket. Besides, if all of you really wanted something to change for the better for us "little people" - male and female - you would have supported Kucinich from the beginning!

not a dumbass

Go ahead and vote for him. He's a washed up old man with one foot on a banana peel trying to stay relevant.

Shove his ass into the hole and be done with him.


The worst thing about Ralph Nader is that he has become irrelevant. He has done nothing to create a viable political alternative to the GOP and Dems, nor to build support for his positions among the electorate. Anyone could have predicted his position on the war, and nobody cared, because he has no effective base of support. His is simply a vanity campaign --his positions on the issues, no matter how good they sound, are useless because he has done nothing to achieve the power to implement them. After this news cycle he will be ignored, and he will get his usual 1 or 2 percent in the general election. The saddest thing is that, instead of being remembered for his great consumer advocacy, history will recall him as the guy who made the 2000 and 2004 presidential races close enough to steal.


I was very upset when Nader ran for president in 2000. I told all my friends this would lead to a Bush presidency and the most extreme right wing agenda in this nation's history.

I am still concerned about a Nader bid for the presidency in 2008. A McCain victory would certainly lead to the nomination of more extreme Supreme Court justices and a suppression of individual rights and freedoms for generations to come (not to mention more corporate control of our government).

However, this Nader announcement that he is a candidate also directed my anger at Democrats in Congress who caved in to so many far right agendas, while simultaneously taking impeachment off the table when it was imperative to bring members of the Bush administration to justice, that it all but assured Nader's candidacy.

If Democrats in Congress start acting like Democrats, and not enablers of the Republican Party's far right agenda, there would be no need or support for Ralph Nader.


The single overriding factor in this election is stopping the neocon agenda.

Does Nader, entering the contest at this point, help or hinder this? Will gravel support him? Kucinich?

Dit it help or hinder the neocon agenda in 2000?

Rhetorical questions as far as I'm concerned.


I don't blame Nader for Gore's lose in 2000 (I think his choice of Joe "Night-Horse" Liebermann as a running mate had a much bigger negative impact), but clearly, any Naderite who STILL believes that there is no difference between the Democrats and the Republicans has must have been in a coma for the last 7 years.

Clearly, there is a HUGE difference between having a Democratic President and having a Republican President, and, with the SUPREME COURT hanging in the balance, that difference has NEVER been more important.

Secondly, with Democrats turning out at the primaries and caucuses in astronomical numbers, I just don't see the NEED for a Nader candidacy in 2008. In 2000 we were still living in the "post-cold-war, life-is-good" bubble. Today, the Democratic grass roots are energized, and activated, like never before.

WE aren't looking for a candidate that is ideologically "purer than Ceasar's wife." WE want a candidate who can WIN back the White House in November, and who can begin the hard work of rolling back the excesses of Bushism.

Finally, I am not "outraged" by Nader. I feel rather sorry for him, actually. He is about to find that he has gone from being an honored, crusading, consumer advocate in 1999 to a farcical, Pat-Paulson-like irrelvancy in 2008.

I don't think Nader is going to take a statistically significant number of voters from the Democratic nominee. The only impact his handful of supporters are going to have in 2008 is to cancel out the handful of die-hard, ideologically pure, Ron Paul write-in voters on the Republican side.


Ralph Nader has a perfect right to join the race for president. The question belabors us ... what is his strategy for throwing his hat in this time round?

Quite simply Nader is a hypocrite. He made some good money putting down corporate America and Wall St. He invested that $$$ (you guessed it, in the stock market) and has made millions from his corporate stock holdings. He also has big $$$ in Halliburton, hmm. Heck, this hypocrite is one of those "Don't do as I do. Do as I say" kind of freaks.


Thank you Ralph for getting back into the race and bringing the issues that are important to me back into the public sphere. An election with out Ralph would be a repeat of the same old song and dance, a discussion between a strongly conservative and a mildly conservative candidate.
And thank you PM for pointing out the most important and influential issue in the current debate between all the's the war. To simplify, if Hillary had towed the line with Ted K and had voted against the war, she would have already won the nomination and would be picking out drapes today. But she didn't. She did what she thought would be politically to her advantage and helped send us into a war that we will be paying for for generations to come. And because of that, Americans are turning to Obama, the guy against the war. The effect that Nader will have on the election will be minimal. The effect he will have on the debate will be great, and my politics get to be heard. Again Ralph, thanks!

Will B

Has Ralph built a viable third party in the years between elections - you know the down and dirty work of grass-roots? This is a real question, not rhetorical. To be successful as a president, you need a popular base to support your administration. That's the benefit of a widely popular candidate, such as Obama. Most of us "Nuevo-Progressives" are aware of Obama's positions, and more or less agree with him, but not on everything. As much as I’d like see the skies part and angels descend (to borrow a phrase from Hillary), I’m a pretty sober person with middling hopes. But this year we really have to have a landslide victory over the right wing to suppress the infection (yes we’re talking about a viral response here!).

You can’t be liberal and not respond to Ralph’s eloquence, but I agree with “Elfrijole”, he’s simply become a pariah for diluting the presidential election results at a time when our future is on the line. We should not fool ourselves, John McCain, for all his faults, is a strong candidate that could win this year. Just think back three or four months, pundits were reading his political obituary – and it made perfect sense. A month is an eternity in politics and the election is in 9 months!


I'm glad Nader is running. It gives me someone to vote for in November, to show my utter disgust with the Do-Nothing Democrats. They have proven over the last year that a vote for the Democrats is wasted, even if they win.

The sooner we let this donkey die, the sooner a real political party can rise up in its place, one that will actually DO something instead of just talk about it.


It is not possible to tell who is more psychiatrically challenged - Nader or the people who vote for him. Giving Ralph Nader an ego massage is truly a waste of time and progressive talent. It also betrays an ultimate and fatal misunderstanding of the American political system. If this were Europe where minority parties actually can achieve some power by reaching a statistical threshold, it would be appropriate to give Nader his due. But in our system all that his megalomaniacal ego-trip will produce is yet another victory for what every true progressive should loathe. Being a progressive does not mean being profoundly politically stupid. I do not celebrate Nader as simply another progressive voice, but recognize him as the useful idiot of the extreme right wing that he is. If progressives are so politically sense, maybe they don't deserve a place in government.


It is not possible to tell who is more psychiatrically challenged - Nader or the people who vote for him. Giving Ralph Nader an ego massage is truly a waste of time and progressive talent. It also betrays an ultimate and fatal misunderstanding of the American political system. If this were Europe where minority parties actually can achieve some power by reaching a statistical threshold, it would be appropriate to give Nader his due. But in our system all that his megalomaniacal ego-trip will produce is yet another victory for what every true progressive should loathe. Being a progressive does not mean being profoundly politically stupid. I do not celebrate Nader as simply another progressive voice, but recognize him as the useful idiot of the extreme right wing that he is. If progressives are so politically dense, maybe they don't deserve a place in government.


The issue as I see it is Nader's obsessive need to be a candidate.

I would think that his previous campaign attempts would legitimize any commentary he might now be offering about the corruption rife within both major parties and the rise of corporate dominance of the American political process. His joining into the game as it's now configured eliminates his objectivity and weakens all of his arguments.

chris bearde

The perfect ticket.NADER/KEYES.

Ken Duerksen

More registered Democrats voted for Bush in 2000 than voted for Nader; even more didn' vote at all. To blame Nader as the "spoiler" who brought Bush to power is to be childisly credulous of corporate media naratives designed to grease the path of certain annointed candidates who represent easy assignments for our lazy and vapid press.

Try actually listening to Nader when he discusses the salient issues avoided or glossed over by the other candidates (now that Kuscinich is out, at least), rather than listening to George Stephanolpoulos, Tim Russert, and their stables of giggling gad-flies as they simplistically categorize our politics to help themselves avoid the rigor of doing their homework, and to set-up the favored candidates of their corporate masters.

Then get back with me and tell me where Nader is wrong. No "progressive" Nader-hater has ever been able to identify for me any aspect of Nader's platform that they would dispute - they are simply afraid of bucking conventional wisdom.


It's not about Nader's views and policies. It's about his utter lack of strategy and tactics. There are a thousand ways in which, with his prominence, he could inform this presidential debate, besides the divisive one of once again muddying the election waters. Don't think it's divisive? Look above. Nader can only divide progressives, risk the election, and ruin his legacy. If he (or anyone) thinks otherwise, he (and they) is (are) more deluded than I thought. Third and higher parties are a great idea. How do we get there? By electing a Democratic president, give them a Democratic congress, ensure a liberal court. Then we work on it. All this BS about who isn't a perfect candidate is selfish, self-defeating, and dangerous.


Nader lets the republicans pay for his "campaigns". Why?


Glad to hear you're happy about this development PM. But if one actually cares about the GOP NOT being in the White House, then Nader being in the race is indeed a bad thing as he most definitely hurt Gore in 2000. It's too important that we turn the country around to have Nader on another ego trip of a presidential bid.

Ken Duerksen

"Don't think it's divisive? Look above. Nader can only divide progressives, risk the election, and ruin his legacy."

Through the last four year we have endured a media-driven force-feeding of Clinton's inevitability; this narrative has been ceaselessly repeated despite its direct afront to the progressive roots of the Democratic perspective. Why should it be inevitable that the party of responsible defense and civil liberties be lead by a person who has introduced anti-flag desecration legislation, and who voted for - and was highly resistent to criticizing - Bush's invasion of Iraq?.

All this time I have PRAYED for divisiveness from some quarter; because placid unity in politics simply hands our society to those with the will, funds, and technology to facilitate the wholesale shepherding of the whole, cozy flock.


The problem with Ralph Nader is he is either delusional or a bald faced liar. He said in 2000 that there was no real difference between Gore and Bush. Well guess what Ralph, there was, a damn huge difference. I knew it then Ralph, why didn't you. And you know what, there is a huge damn difference between Obama and McCain. I wonder if ol Ralph will still claim there's not.

Ken Duerksen

Nader lets the republicans pay for his "campaigns". Why?

Posted by: Hippocrates | February 25, 2008 at 06:29 PM

Didn't Rupert Murdock stage a fundraiser for Hillary a while back? Why?


ralph who???


Thank you for this article! I've just been reading - in the Huffington Post and other progressive sites, which should know better - a host of antiNader garbage. One of them was a very illogical rant about how "there are more factors than just the Republican machine in Florida" (the defense of many Nader supporters) that put the blame on Nader for the fiasco in 2000.

Of COURSE there are more factors! Like Gore losing his very own state and Arkansas. Like Gore's being one of the most wooden, uncharismatic automatons to grace the field of candidates! He is not like that now, leading one to believe that perhaps, just perhaps, the fault might be placed at the feet of his handlers.


Jozef Hand-Boniakowski

A bash Nader comment. Ching. A contribution to Nader's campaign. Another bash Nader comment Ching. Another contribution. Ageism by progressive Democrats against Nader, Ching. Blaming Nader, Ching. Ching. Ching. Ching...... Ah! The presidency is Democrats to lose, something you have grown very adept at. Ah yes, that and blaming others for your loss. So continue bashing Ralph, the way Hillary bashes Obama, the way Obama AND Hillary ostracizes Kucinich. Make fun of Nader the way you made fun of Mike Gravel. Use expletives and show the electorate your class. Ching. And, that sound you hear is the sound of Obama's campaign crumbling in the footsteps of Hillary's campaign. Ching. Ching. Ching....... Wise up dudes. Don't bite the hand pulls the lever.


folks, get a grip. Ralph Nader never "denied" votes to any dem candidate. because those voters didn't belong to Gore or whoever in the first place. you think i would have voted for Gore if Nader hadn't been on the ballot in 2000? no, i would not have.

Nader gives people a choice. don't like him? then don't vote for him. by the same token, don't begrudge other people their right to the candidate of their choice.

why is it that people who think "choice" is so important when it comes to abortions, are so adamant about denying people a choice in the elections?

i won't be voting for Ralph this time, but i welcome his entrance into the race. long live freedom, long live choice!


Just give one good reason Nader would run for president, knowing d... well he can not win.
The only thing possible is he could receive votes that might make a difference to democrats in the close states.
Nader by running this time should he is a complete a...hole..

Myron Scott

Ralph Nader = Harold Stassen - a party.

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