Ralph Nader announced his candidacy for President this morning. I, for one, wasn’t particularly surprised.
The past couple of months have seen abundant hand-wringing over the possibility of a Nader candidacy on the part of Democrats both left and center. If they’d take some time off from the vilification and listen to the man, maybe they still have a chance to redeem themselves.
My own feeling in 2000 was that Al Gore made an incredibly stupid mistake when he didn’t insist that Nader be allowed to participate in the debates. Nader is far more articulate than either Gore or George W. Bush. And while Gore’s not the most flexible person in the world, he would have performed far better under the attacks Nader would doubless have sent his way than Bush — who was already notorious for getting flustered in non-scripted situations — would have.
Fast-forward to 2004. However much energy the Democratic Party spends excoriating Nader for daring to run, it’s just going to take away from the monumental task of battling the Bush campaign war chest.
Moreover, unless Nader’s claims that the Republicans and Democrats are essentially the same party are true, all the eventual Democratic candidate need do is point out where Nader’s analysis is incorrect. Blaming Nader for the party’s own failures four years ago is pointless. Tell the American people why the Democratic vision is a better one. Don’t get into a debate with Bush and say you agree with him. Run against Bush, not Nader.