This morning’s Meet The Press  featured an interview with Ralph Nader  where he announced that he is running for President. True to form, Tim Russert asked Nader a lot of stupid questions about the 2000 election and Nader’s supposed impact on the outcome of that election, which Nader actually responded to rather adroitly. And of course, Russert couldn’t leave it alone and pressed some more and insinuated that Nader’s goal was only to somehow impact the outcome of the election instead of actually winning. Nader managed to get a few comments in regarding his position on actual issues, but it was disappointing that Russert never really discussed issues with Nader but instead attacked the very idea of him running. Including:
You heard Barack Obama say that in many ways, you’re a heroic figure. You were first on MEET THE PRESS in 1966, you said that you would never run for elective office back then. This is your third run for the presidency. Are you concerned now, when people look back at Ralph Nader, they’ll consider him the Wendell Willkie of his generation, someone who kept running and running for president with no chance of winning, which will diminish the legacy that you tried to carve out as a consumer advocate.
I’m not a fan of Nader as a presidential candidate. However, it’s interesting to hear some of his thoughts on current policy (pretty negative on that), and his assessment of Obama, Clinton and McCain.
Probably the most interesting was this beauty, at the very beginning, when if he was going to run for president:
Let me put it in context, to make it a little more palatable to people who have closed minds.
Great way to influence people… start by telling them they have closed minds. Here’s another:
And the–all, all the candidates–McCain, Obama and Clinton–are against single payer health insurance, full Medicare for all. I’m for it, as well as millions of Americans and 59 percent of physicians in a forthcoming poll this April.
Of course the bulk of physicians want single payer… it makes their lives easier, and the government is a lot easier to cheat than the insurance companies. Oh, by the way, he has the results of a poll that has either not been taken yet or not published yet? Howzat?
…we have to take this opportunity to have a much broader debate on the issues that relate to the American people, as, as, as a fellow in Long Island said recently, Mr. Sloane, he said, “These parties aren’t speaking to me. They’re not speaking to my problems, to my family’s problems.”
This speaks to a very real issue in 2008 politics: the Me Generation is finally impacting politics in a dramatic way. This is a phenomenon that impacted churches across America a decade or so ago, and is finally starting to clear itself up (the selfish consumerism attitude that just walks away from Truth if it doesn’t “speak to me” or “meet my needs”). We’re going to be in for a real mess if we have to have a candidate to reflect every color of the political rainbow. Seriously, if we end up with 4 or 5 viable candidates, we risk throwing the election to Congress and if you think Congress doesn’t cause enough trouble already…
Nader basically threw out a bunch of polling that points to a strong viability for a third party candidate. Mind you, I don’t oppose third parties, and I think it’s a great opportunity to get topics on the table that might not get discussed otherwise (which is part of what Nader says is what sets him apart). That said, I think he’s still not likely to get elected, and I do think his presence on the ballot will impact the final results. But that’s part of what politics is about, and if the election ends up that close that people are pointing at him or any other third party candidate and saying they messed up the election, I’ll have to disagree… that’s a legitimate part of the process. I suspect there are other less publicized reason for some of the results we see, including outright fraud. I’d be more concerned about that.
Hat Tip: memeorandum.