Ralph Nader has announced his run for the presidency. Now, before we go on, I should say that, first, I don’t think he had that great an impact on the 2000 election. A lot of people who voted for him would have just stayed home if he wasn’t running. Not all, mind you; Gore might have picked up a few extra votes in places like Oregon and Maine, but probably not in Florida, which is where it counted. In other words, if we want to blame George W. Bush on something, we should probably go with America’s apolitical lethargy and disdain for anything presidential in the wake of Bill Clinton, coupled with Al Gore’s inability to inspire anyone to do anything except nap. Sure, he’s Mr. Cool Guy now and we all wish he’d won, but his 2000 campaign left a lot to be desired. We could also – and should also – blame the archaic electoral college system, the Supreme Court, Katherine Harris, the President’s big bro Jeb, and perhaps even Satan himself, for suckling Karl Rove in the first place.
Having said that, I guess the question is: why? Who told him this was a good idea at all? Most anyone who voted for him out of protest – and 3% of you did – back in 2000 grew to truly despise him in 2004. By that point almost nobody was resorting to the tired old lefty chant so prominent four years previous, the old chorus of “duuuuude, both parties are the saaaame,” because while the Democrats can occasionally be corrupt, capricious, and wishy-washy, they are not in fact doing the work of Lucifer. Nobody fell in love with John Kerry save Theresa, but a lot of us agreed that he’d make a pretty okay President and certainly a better one than the current model. But Ralph ran anyway, on the premise that – guess what – both parties are the saaame, man.
Since then, things have gone from crap to utter crap. Nobody could have stopped Hurricane Katrina from destroying New Orleans – the reserves were in the Middle East, the government had been crippled, infrastructure had been privatized and the climate had been permanently altered too much by that point, so even if Kerry was President it’s not like he could have sprinkled fairy dust and saved everyone. But maybe the economy wouldn’t be heading for a recession. Maybe. I don’t know. It’s hard to say.
The fact remains that, if America wanted Ralph Nader or anyone like him to be President, Dennis Kucinich would be the presumptive nominee. Ralph probably doesn’t want to be President anyway – he’s just in it to raise some issues and prove a point, just like in 2004, just like in 2000. The problem is this: we get it, already. Corporate control is bad. Corruption is bad. Both parties have their share of corruption. Neither party is particularly good at running the country. Yes. We got it the first time. Thank you. Why Mr. Nader feels the need to waste our time and his with a Presidential run when his time could be better spent writing books or otherwise crusading is beyond me. Former Vice-President and Democratic Nominee Al Gore figured that out, and that’s why he isn’t running. And this time, he could have wone it in a landslide.
All Ralph Nader is doing right now is besmirching his own reputation as someone who really cares about the American people. His decision to run is steeped in arrogance and futility and perhaps martyrdom. He’s like Don Quixote without the romanticism, tilting at dragons he must know by now are just windmills.