February 20, 2004
Ralph may run again

Yawn. Ralph Nader may run for President again this year.

After weeks of postponing his decision, Nader will appear on NBC's "Meet the Press" to make the announcement, said Linda Schade, a spokeswoman for Nader's presidential exploratory committee.

"He's going to be discussing his role in the presidential election," Schade said of the man whose run for president in 2000 is blamed by many Democrats for tilting a close election in favor of George W. Bush. "He's felt there is a role for an independent candidate to play."

Schade declined to speculate on what the decision would be, but she said Nader would be available for interviews following the television appearance and planned to hold a press conference Monday morning to discuss his communications with the Democratic and Republican parties.

Nader, who turns 70 next week, has said he would base his decision, in part, on whether Democratic and Republican officials respond to his agenda, which includes the need for universal health insurance, a more progressive wage policy and making dramatic reforms to the criminal justice system.

Nader decided in December not to seek the nomination of the Green Party, the insurgent political group he represented in 2000. Green Party officials said at the time they doubted Nader, running as an independent, would get on many state ballots without a party organization and so late in the political season.

Schade said Nader has not begun the process of getting his name on state ballots, which requires garnering thousands of signatures.

In spite of being described by some as a spoiler, Nader for months has been gauging support for another run through an Internet site and exploratory committee. On Thursday, he sent Web site subscribers an e-mail asking them for their thoughts on whether he should seek the presidency.

Whatever. He's just in it for the attention anyway - when all is said and done, he'll probably have spent more time dithering about his decision to run than he will have spent actually running. Frankly, anyone who's gonna vote for Nader this time around wasn't gonna vote for the Democrat anyway, so there's no point in wasting energy on him. Without the support of the Green Party, he probably won't get on as many ballots, and he probably won't get as much attention from the media. So do whatever you want, Ralph. I've stopped caring, and you've stopped mattering.

(Note: Whatever one may say about Ralph Nader, don't take it out on Public Citizen. Their legacy and relevance are untarnished even if his isn't.)

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 20, 2004 to The making of the President | TrackBack

Then let Public Citizen publically burn all bridges to Naders little domains. And BTW, it is time to stop donating anything to Nader's groups. Four years past time.

Posted by: Josh Halpern on February 20, 2004 11:10 PM

particularly if what was posted at Atrios today about Nader's union-bashing (it's in a comments thread via a link) is true.

Posted by: The Other Sarah on February 21, 2004 12:14 AM

I cant find the story, but Public Citizen is going to take him off their letterhead if he runs.

Posted by: julia on February 21, 2004 8:15 AM

Methinks Nader will be on the ballot in around 30 states; IIRC, that's the number of states with Republican governors...

Also-- he will be well-financed by his political allies (usually thought of as his natural ideological opponents, but the enemy of my enemy is my friend, right St. Ralph?).

St. Ralph is a demagogue who doesn't care how much suffering his actions cause, and I really can't say enough bad things about him (btw, the Corvair had one of GM's BEST safety records at that time...)

Posted by: the talking dog on February 21, 2004 5:01 PM

My fear is that Nader will again end up unwittingly handing the Presidency to Dubya, but then again, I can only hope that those who voted for Nader in 2000 are smart enough to recognize what they are responsible for. If you're going to vote for Nader again, why not just register as Republicans? The net effect is the same.

Posted by: Jack Cluth on February 22, 2004 12:50 PM

NOTE: What follows is my own personal opinion and in no way reflects the opinions of either Public Citizen or anyone else.

From Josh Halpern:

"Then let Public Citizen publically burn all bridges to Naders little domains. And BTW, it is time to stop donating anything to Nader's groups. Four years past time."

Uhm, Josh, I don't know if you've noticed, but Ralph hasn't been the President of Public Citizen for almost 24 years (since 1980), nor has he served on its board during that time. Would you have PC forget that he was the founder? Or that he inspired many of us to do the sort of work we do?

Ralph doesn't live here anymore. He's founded other organizations and has worked there, but recently hasn't lived there much, either. The vision that he has and the activism which made his reputation made him important. His ego and desire to be out front has made him unimportant. I agree with Chuck on that. But the work either remains important or never was important.

But it all comes down to the work. If PC is not doing the work you think worthwhile, than you ought not be donating. But if you think the issues PC works on are important, but you think you need to penalize Ralph somehow by withholding your support, then you're falling into the same cult of personality that Ralph has. He's simply not worth that. Nobody is.

I, too, wish he hadn't decided to run. I believe that, paradoxically, in his zeal to raise the profile on the issues that matter to him, he has ensured that he will not be heard by many, myself included, who think he's lost the forest for the trees. I think he could have done more for the issues he cares about in many other ways. But I've still got work to do on those issues, with or without him.

I hope you do, too, Josh.

Posted by: Ron Zucker on February 23, 2004 11:40 AM