So last century …

Oops, Nader wants to do it again

Today on Meet the Press, looking gaunt and showing every one of his 73 years, Ralph Nader told Tim Russert that he was going to run for president yet again.  His reason, the two “business parties” (translation:  Republicans and Democrats) should not “own” the voters and he would offer a “choice.”

Eight years after he proclaimed that there was “no difference” between Gore and Bush, he still will not admit that he has been proved wrong about that.  Eight years later after he helped tip the election to GWB, the country faces economic collapse, there is neverending war in Iraq and Afghanistan and ordinary Americans face job insecurity, rising prices on gas and groceries, and a shredded safety net.  But Nader won’t admit that things would have been different under a Gore administration.

Now Ralph wants to do it again — jump into presidential politics and play spoiler as only he can.  He readily admits to taking Republican money in the past and defends that decision as necessary to accomplish his goals.  If you don’t believe me about the Republican support, check out the role of Republican money in support of Nader in Pennsylvania — just google it and see what you find.   In Oregon, Republican party operatives were deeply involved in efforts to get Nader on the 2004 ballot in that state.  So it seems that Nader is against the Republican party, except when he wants their help.  So much for being “independent” and a “man of principle” — Nader will do anything to advance his candidacy and feed his ego-driven campaign for president.

Nader garnered  respect for his consumer advocacy — “Unsafe at Any Speed,” his expose about the Chevrolet Corvair was a groundbreaking publication.  But it is decades since Ralph has broken new ground on consumer protection.  Where was he on the subject of toxic toys?  Where was he in the discussion of acceptable levels of lead and arsenic in children’s drinking water? Where was he on identity theft?  Where was he on rapacious mortgage lenders who have preyed on Americans pursuing the dream of home ownership?  Where has he been on payday loan companies charging 1000% interest?  He just hasn’t been there for consumers lately — others have picked up the torch and are  now in the forefront of these efforts, not the man who pioneered the movement in the late 50’s.

Now Ralph Nader at age 73 just wants to run for President  yet again.  He wants to run against another man from his generation (71 year old John McCain) — and Barack Obama, who is a quarter of a century younger than both of them.

There is general consensus that 2008 is a  “change” election, about the country being hungry from something other than the “same old, same old”.  Neither McCain nor Nader can offer the breath of fresh air that poll after poll have shown that voters crave.

It is time for Ralph Nader to burnish his legacy and make sure that consumer protection survives the onslaught of the Bush administration.  He does not need a presidential run to make that happen. He can resume his role as champion of American consumers and become once again a leading spokesman on those issues.   Running for president yet another time just tarnishes his legacy.

The tide of history has rushed on — Nader’s surge for the presidency crested in 2000 and has ebbed since then.  In the new millennium, Ralph Nader looks, “so last century”, to use the  YouTube generation’s way of dismissing  the past, even iconic figures like Nader.

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One Comment on “So last century …”

  1. Betsy Says:

    Although most pundits don’t think Nader will garner a significant percentage of the vote this time, my fear is that negative campaigning will significantly weaken Independent support for both Clinton and Obama. With Nader in the race, the Democrats are in real danger of self-destructing–yet again.


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