Monday, February 05, 2007

Least surprising news of the day: Ralph Nader's thinking about running again in '08, and he hates Hillary.

Here's what he said yesterday to CNN's Wolf Blitzer:

BLITZER: Let's talk first of all about the presidency. Do you have any plans to run for president in 2008?

NADER: It's really too early to say. I don't like long campaigns. But I'm committed to trying to give more voices and choices to the American people on the ballot. That means more third parties, independent candidates and to break up this two-party elected dictatorship that is becoming more and more like a dial for the same corporate dollars.

Oh, he's in. He's definitely in.

Here he is talking about Hillary Clinton, from Reuters -- he seems fixated on her:

"I don't think she has the fortitude. Actually she's really a panderer and a flatterer. As she goes around the country, you'll see more of that," Nader said.

On whether he would be encouraged to run if Clinton gets the Democratic nomination, Nader said, "It would make it more important that that be the case."

Now, this is the part that's off the wall:

He added that Clinton may face a challenge in her own state from wealthy Republican New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"I think her main problem may well be right in New York City, Michael Bloomberg. They're talking in the Bloomberg camp of a possible run. I'm saying he'll give more diversity, for sure, and he'll focus on urban problems. But I might say, he's got the money to do it," Nader said.

Oh, that's lovely -- he kind of digs Mike Bloomberg. On CNN, Wolf Blitzer quoted a Web posting in which Nader denounced Hillary as "a corporate Democrat who opposes us on the war in Iraq" -- and now Nader's licking his lips at the prospect of a run by Bloomberg, a corporate-billionaire ex-Democrat who writes six-figure checks to the RNC and let Joe Lieberman borrow a significant portion of his staff for the '06 general election? Oh, and Bloomberg will "focus on urban problems"? You mean, the guy whose police force frisks blacks five times more than whites?

I think I know what's going on. Did you ever have an aging grandmother with advancing dementia who looked at you and called you by your uncle's name, because she's confusing you with him thirty years ago? I think Nader's got Bloomberg confused with John Lindsay.

Look, he has a point about Hillary. But the number-one issue in this country is the war, as it will be in 2008 -- and all of the Democrats running, even Hillary, are overwhelmingly superior to everyone in, or likely to be in, the race on the Republican side (with the exception of Hagel, who absolutely has no chance in his party).

I'm worried that -- '06 notwithstanding -- it's going to be very, very tough to beat the GOP nominee for president in '08, especially if it's one of the two media darlings, Saint John or Saint Rudy, and/or if the Democratic nominee is Hillary Clinton or Al Gore. I'm worried that Nader will do better than he did in '04 if Hillary's the Democratic nominee (or Gore, for that matter), and it may be '00 all over again.

Here's a newsflash: In 2008, after the primaries and the conventions, the number of people on the ballot for president who will actually be able to win will be very, very small. I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark and say the number will be two. Maybe that sucks, but it's reality. It will be imperative to vote for the least wingnutty of these people, in order to minimize the number of horrible, stupid things that will happen in the ensuing four years, especially in foreign policy. And that least wingnutty person might well be Hillary.

Ralph, if you're tired of corporate domination of our elections, if you think there are too many restrictions on ballot access, if you're genuinely upset about the war and about possible equally ill-conceived future wars, why don't you take your mailing list and your name recognition and your access to the media and use them to try to do something -- between elections? That would be much better than floating a fantasy every four years that you can someday ride into D.C. on a white horse and make everything all better with a wave of your hand.

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