Thursday, December 18, 2003
Andrew Cline has the latest on Ralph Nader’s likely repeat run for the White House. What’s interesting is that he’s put out a 25-page agenda to both parties, both of whom plan to respond.
Could it be that the “substantive reason[ ]” is that the 25-page report is simply back-channel blackmail? Imagine the talks he is engaged in with McAuliffe: “Look, embrace at least a portion of my platform or I’ll tank your canidate again!” This is clearly something the party establishment fears. Nader is most powerful while his intentions are still unknown.
While this seems unlikely with regard to his giving the report to the Republicans (not many swing voters torn between Nader and Bush), it could be that Ralph wants cover for his real strategy (“I’m engaged in a non-partisan airing of my views with both parties blah, blah, blah . . .”)
Like anyone in the Republican or Democratic power structure needs Ralph Nader to tell them what he about. We’ve all know that for a long time. If this report was about anything other blackmail it would have been released publicly.
I’m sure that’s essentially what’s happening. He’s using the possibility of running again to leverage platform changes.
But with Dean as the frontrunner, Nader has no leverage over McAuliffe. Nader may try to leverage Dean but this would be bad for Dean’s inevitable move to the domestic policy center come summer. (Remember, Dean is celebrating his ability to balance Vermont’s budget by imposing a $100 fine for every pound Ben and Jerry were overweight … or something like that.) Since McAuliffe and Dean don’t get along too well, all complicated by Gore’s recent endorsement, this is shaping up to be a better soap opera than “General Hospital” (also known as the Clark campaign)!
With regard to Nader’s leverage, your underlying assumption seems to be that McAuliffe either:
a) Prefers Bush to Dean in 2004 (not entirely implausible given, 1) the threat that Dean’s success could be to McAliffe’s wing of the party; and, 2) the combination of his connection to the Clintons and the Hillary in 2008 scenario) and thinks Dean is a shoe in; or,
b) Has been displaced by Dean and no longer influences the “party” platform.
McAuliffe can’t acknowledge either of these possibilities without doing damage to himself and his wing of the party. For this reason, I don’t think Dean’s front-runner status has an impact on McAuliffeÃ¢Â€Â™s approach to Nader’s overtures.
Given your position, this seems to say more about Nader’s opinion of Dean’s chances than McAuliffe’s actual ability to impact the platform. Personally, I don’t think Dean figures in Nader’s strategy yet. I think he is trying to impact the platform.
“. . . and thinks Dean is a shoe in*”
*For the nomination
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