Nader Ponders Run, Calls Clinton ‘Coward’

Ralph Nader may make yet another run for the presidency in 2008, Roger Simon reports.

Ralph Nader Ponders Run Ralph Nader says he is seriously considering running for president in 2008 because he foresees another Tweedledum-Tweedledee election that offers little real choice to voters. “You know the two parties are still converging — they don’t even debate the military budget anymore,” Nader said in a 30-minute interview. “I really think there needs to be more competition from outside the two parties.”

Even the possible entry of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg into the race as an independent might not dissuade Nader. “He is interesting (but) unpredictable,” Nader said of Bloomberg. “I really like the stand he took against smoking, but he goes along with corporate welfare in New York and tax-funded stadiums. So he is unfinished in that way.”

It’s long been clear that Nader is motivated by ego rather than moving public policy. While there’s no doubt that Nader feels the Democrats are too pro-business and too soft on the environment, it’s manifestly obvious that both Al Gore and John Kerry were more likely to move things in a direction he preferred than George W. Bush and that his entry into the race would make it harder for the Democrats to win. He’d rather be talked about than advance his other agendas, though.

This is interesting as well:

While Nader praised two candidates who have almost no chance of winning their party’s nomination — Republican Ron Paul and Democrat Mike Gravel — he was severe in his criticism of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. “She is a political coward,” Nader said. “She goes around pandering to powerful interest groups on the one hand and flattering general audiences on the other. She doesn’t even have the minimal political fortitude of her husband.”

Chris Lehane, who worked in Bill Clinton’s White House and Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign, said of a possible Nader candidacy: “His entry into the race, even to those who voted for him in 2000, would be just another vainglorious effort to promote himself at the expense of the best interests of the public. Ralph Nader is unsafe in any election.”

Lehane and I agree.

UPDATE: Reason’s Dave Weigel is surprised this story is getting so much attention, since Nader has said these things before. Further, he thinks a Nader candidacy will be, as it was in 2004, a non-factor:

The disgruntled voters on the right and in the middle are going to be looking at Bloomberg or, if the LP or a right-wing third party nominates a real candidate, one of those parties. (Someone who ran on the Constitution ticket with a few million and Pat Buchanan’s message from 2000 could play well with the irate anti-immigration sector of the GOP base.) If Cynthia McKinney actually runs and wins the Green nomination, there’s no doubt she’d get more votes than Nader.

There’s no doubt that, with the race starting this early, there’s plenty of time for niche candidates to emerge to exploit voter dissatisfaction with the major party nominees. Funding and ballot access are the keys there. Bloomberg has the advantage simply because of money an the UnityO8 “party” seems to be getting organized; conceivably, the two could marry up.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Triumph says:

    His entry into the race, even to those who voted for him in 2000, would be just another vainglorious effort to promote himself at the expense of the best interests of the public.

    I wouldn’t support Nader, but I am wondering why, James, you think that his–or anyone’s, for that matter–candidacy would be at “the expense of the best interests of the public.”

    Since Nader’s candidacy cost Gore Florida in 2000, are you saying that Bush’s election was not in “the best interests of the public”?

  2. James Joyner says:

    I am wondering why, James, you think that his–or anyone’s, for that matter–candidacy would be at “the expense of the best interests of the public.”

    The purpose of elections, presumably, is to elect candidates that the people desire. Since the effect of spoiler candidates is often to elect the least preferred candidate of those who voted for said spoiler, it’s not in the best interests of the public.

  3. Andy says:

    Instant run-off voting would solve this problem and allow leftards (I say that as a left-wing liberal) to have their Nader protest vote.

  4. G.A.Phillips says:

    Haha, a Clinton and Gore worker calling someone else vainglorious, hehe……effort to promote himself at the expense of the best interests of the public…hehehehehhahahahahaha…….

  5. Bandit says:

    His entry into the race, even to those who voted for him in 2000, would be just another vainglorious effort to promote himself at the expense of the best interests of the public.

    I think you’ve got things ass backward – unless you implausibly equate the interests of the Dems and GOP to be the best interests of the public. While I’ve got some issues with both Naders personal life and economic positions the two party beauty contest system is not in the best interests of the public and while third party candidates have little chance of winning they do force the major parties to take positions on issues to protect against losing voter segments. 1968, 1992, 1996, 2000 were all decided by less than the margin of the 3rd party candidates.

  6. floyd says:

    Nader is still seeking his Nadir?