Ralph Nader's Irrelevancy

I have an op-ed today over at Pajamas Media -- Will the Real Ralph Nader Please Stand Up?

What a sad decline from the consumer advocate in the 50’s to the man who can’t say no to his decade-long vanity project — running for president. Ralph Nader has become irrelevant, says Jeralyn Merritt.

Yesterday's Blogometer has a good compilation of liberal bloggers' reactions to Nader's announcement.

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    We'll never have a third party (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 04:07:22 PM EST
    If third parties never run for prez because, "you'll spoil our candidate, you can't win!"

    SHUT UP!

    I personally want a third party.  I don't want our politicians to take the base for granted just because they figure we have no place else to go.

    A third party would help to correct that problem.

    Nader is a big part of the reason... (none / 0) (#1)
    by mike in dc on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 01:38:38 PM EST
    ...why public interest advocates are paid starvation wages to lobby Congress.  His self-imposed vow of poverty (which disappeared somewhere along the way, since he's reportedly worth about 3 million now), and underpayment of Public Citizen employees has contributed to the notion that there's something "impure" about being paid well to act in a good cause.  
    Note that lobbyists for big business interests have no such ethical qualms, and are extremely effective at getting their clients' agenda through Congress.  The handful of exceptions on the left side of the aisle include unions, the AARP and some of the environmental groups like the Sierra Club, all of them willing to hire professional lobbyists to get things done for them.
    Dean, Obama, et al have shown that progressives are willing to dig deep in their pockets and are capable of raising tens of millions of dollars to support progressive policy change in government.

    If a fraction of that could be channeled into either upgrading the pay scale for public interest work, or to hiring ethical progressives for a progressive professional lobbying practice, it could go a long way toward countering the current pro-corporate tilt of both Congress and K Street.  

    But I digress.  I am at a loss to come up with a rational explanation for why someone would support his candidacy this time around, given the known stakes involved.

    Impurity (none / 0) (#2)
    by HeadScratcher on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 01:49:07 PM EST
    There is nothing impure about being well for a public cause. What gets people in trouble is being hypocritical. It doesn't matter if you're Jimmy Swaggert and a prostiture, Larry Craig and an alledged bathroom hookup with a male, jetting around the world to speak about global warming, or praising public education while your kids go to private schools.

    It's the stench that causes the problems  


    He was relevant in 2000 (none / 0) (#3)
    by Paladin on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 01:54:18 PM EST
    Took enough votes from Gore to make a difference in some key states.  I don't think the same would happen in 2008, but he would siphon more votes from the dems than the repubs.

    Nader, arrogance, and leave him alone (none / 0) (#4)
    by ctrenta on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:02:24 PM EST

    I've heard from many social justice activists that they find Nader very arrogant upon first meeting him. I've heard that many people leave with a bad impression of Nader as a person and I'm hearing more and more of that from when I talk to people who've met him.

    Nader is irrelevant. He's done great things but after 2000 and his dismal campaign in 2004, I don't think he's going to make an impact in 2008. I say who cares? The more we obsess over Nader, the more he'll get under all of our skins. If we ignore him, he (and the media that covers him) will go away. Move on folks. Stop giving Ralph all this unnecessary attention.

    Still no attempt to (none / 0) (#5)
    by jondee on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:11:19 PM EST
    debate Nader on any of the issues.

    He's the one responsible for the fact that 50 mil people in the U.S are non-reflective enough -- but still ambulatory enough -- to place the fate of the nation in the hands of Shrub, Rove, and Pat Robertson. That's all anyone here seems to know -- and, apparently, needs to know.

    Forget about Gore handling the fratboy-who-would-be-King with velvet gloves and softballs in the debates after going for Perots throat eight years before; forget about Bills open fly problem, that anyone with any knowledge of history knew the Rethugs and the family values crowd would zero in on and never let up on; it's all the fault of one of the few public figures/politicos with anything resembling an ounce of integrity and a capacity for original, creative thought: Ralph Nader.

    BTW (none / 0) (#6)
    by HeadScratcher on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:29:49 PM EST
    It's not Nadar's fault people vote for him. Put the blame (or praise) where it belongs.

    I Don't Think he is entirely irrelevent (none / 0) (#7)
    by kenoshaMarge on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:29:53 PM EST
    I think he gives Liberals who feel they have no place to go, a place to go.

    It looks more and more to me as if Obama will be the Democratic Candidate and I simply will not vote for him. But there is no way on earth I could ever vote for John McCain. So come November I will more than likely vote for the Green Candidate.

    Others, but I suspect not as many as in the past will vote for Nader as their alternative to supporting either National Party candidates.

     Dems are convinced, so I've heard it said, that in the end all the silly little Liberals will fall in line because they have no place else to go.

    Nader is that other place to go. Nader is a safety valve for those that feel betrayed by the Democratic Party.

    I dont suppose it (none / 0) (#9)
    by jondee on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:49:07 PM EST
    would be in any way relevant to profer the opinion that a bigger problem is that a not insignificant percentage of the posters (and Im thinking in particular of certain tent dwellers), would, if given a choice between the two, rather have another eight years of GWB. trickle down and Rapture than ever take a chance with someone like Nader.

    sadly, he is relevant now in one way (none / 0) (#8)
    by desmoinesdem on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:48:06 PM EST
    His entry into the presidential race will create another obstacle for Ed Fallon, the progressive challenging "Bush dog" Leonard Boswell in the Democratic primary to represent Iowa's third Congressional district.

    Fallon supported Nader in 2000, and even though he campaigned for Democrats in 2004 and personally pleaded with Nader not to run that year, Boswell's team is already trying to use the Nader argument to show that the incumbent, not Fallon, is the more loyal Democrat.

    Boswell has betrayed us on Iraq war funding and most recently was one of the House "blue dogs" pushing for retroactive immunity for telecoms in the FISA bill. He has voted for permanent repeal of the estate tax, Bush's horrible 2005 energy bill, and many other bad things.

    I am dismayed that Nader in the news may give the incumbent an edge against Ed Fallon.

    Attempting to look at the bright side, (none / 0) (#11)
    by mg7505 on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 04:14:38 PM EST
    kenoshaMarge was on to something:
    Dems are convinced, so I've heard it said, that in the end all the silly little Liberals will fall in line because they have no place else to go.

    Maybe Nader's candidacy is the best of both worlds this time: he won't get enough votes to destroy Dem's hopes, but he will push hard enough on the issues and Washington hypocrisy to make these candidates earn our respect instead of get it by default.

    Another thought: maybe Nader will go after Obama and thus help Clinton in the primaries? It could happen since Obama is touted by the Media as the frontrunner and the more progressive candidate (he was against the Iraq War from the start!). Nader will rip the myths apart... if only someone listens to him.

    If Democrats believe Nader is irrelevant... (none / 0) (#12)
    by fafnir on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 06:58:29 PM EST
    then they should not oppose his ballot access nor his participation in the general election debates.

    Post-Clinton era Democratic presidential candidates would have a better chance beating Bush-league Republicans if they spend less time whining, complaining and blaming Nader for their own ineptitude, and more time earning the votes of likely Nader voters.

    Nader's not to blame (none / 0) (#13)
    by pmj6 on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 07:21:19 PM EST
    The Dems blew it in 2004 all on their own.

    And Nader's got a point: if, after 8 years of Bush, the election is even remotely close (and it certainly looks like it will be, since McCain already looks to have the whole South and much of the Midwest safely in his column), what the hell is this Democratic Party good for?

    Right on, Fafnir! (none / 0) (#14)
    by pmj6 on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 07:23:46 PM EST
    On the one hand, Nader is dismissed as irrelevant. On the other, he's feared like the Devil Incarnate.

    For all his talk about not returning to politics of the past, Obama is sure to collude with McCain to keep Nader out of the debates.