Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Democrats, please: Stop trying to persude Ralph Nader to drop out of the race, and stop trying to keep him off state ballots. AP reports that members of the Congressional Black Caucus were doing the former yesterday and Arizona Dems are doing the latter today.

It's not going to work. It's obvious that every effort to talk Nader out of running only makes him dig in his heels a little bit more. And ballot challenges, even if successful in some states, will become a rallying point in other states.

Now that I've said that, let me say this: Ralph, shut the hell up.

Nader is now trying to pick a running mate for Kerry. His choice is Edwards.

It's possible that this is clever strategy -- urge Kerry to pick Edwards so Kerry looks weak and manipulable if he does pick Edwards, or so Kerry will react by refusing to pick Edwards, the running mate likely to do him the most electoral good.

But I think Nader's just doing what he's been doing for years: He's being the nation's political backseat driver. A guy who used to be a respected, feared advocate of change is now nothing more than a noodge -- he hasn't influenced the debate on any issue in America in years, but he can show up every four years and pester people (well, Democrats).

Nader could still be a player, and I'd welcome that -- I wish he'd logged as many miles opposing the Iraq war or the tax cuts as he does every four years trying to get 5% of the vote. But Nader doesn't even try to make change anymore. He'd rather be a pest. A couple of months ago he was telling Kerry to loosen up, and now it's this.

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