Ralph Nader on continuing the themes of "The Good Fight"
Ralph Nader - relentless activist, brilliant visionary - may also be the most honest man we've got left in politics. And yet from the moment Nader declared his presidential candidacy on Meet the Press, he's faced relentless opposition, mainly from Democrats fearing that competition from an inspiring independent could dent their voting block "as it did in 2000." - Codys Books
Chapters 01: Introduction 02: Grassroots Social Justice 03: Iraq War Problems 04: Hearing From The People 05: Engagement of Personal Risk 06: Corporate Power 07: "Freedom is Participation in Power" 08: Corporate Crime, Fraud and Abuse 09: Q&A 10: Q1 - 9/11 Prevention 11: Q2 - Israeli Conflict 12: Q3 - Convergence of Parties 13: Q4 - Medicare Problems 14: Q5 - Ralph Nader and the Senate 15: Q6 - Waste in Military Budgets 16: Q7 - Impeachment off the Table 17: Q8 - "Why We Fight" 18: Q9 - Attacking Iran 19: Q10 - Helen Caldicott 20: Q11 - Protesting 21: Q12 - Civics Texts 22: Q13 - Modes of Demonstration
Consumer champion Ralph Nader announced Sunday a fresh tilt at the White House, eight years after earning the acid hatred of Democrats for dividing the anti-Republican camp in a razor-thin vote.
Denying that he was running as a "spoiler" who could hand the presidency to Republican John McCain, Nader accused both the main parties of shutting out the US public and handing the nation over to corporate interests.
"Dissent is the mother of assent, and in that context I have decided to run for president," Nader, who turns 74 on Wednesday, said on the NBC program "Meet the Press."
As Nader railed against the "political bigotry" of Democrats still smarting from their 2000 loss to Bush, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton girded for a March 4 battle that could decide the former first lady's political fate.
Pundits had detected a hint of farewell in Clinton's closing remarks at a debate with Obama Thursday. But the New York senator came out firing Saturday, declaring "shame" on her rival for attacking her healthcare and trade policies.
A spate of reports said Clinton's advisors were eyeing the potential end of her White House campaign after the March 4 clashes in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont. Her campaign dismissed that as "nonsense."
"I believe that we are going to do well in Ohio and Texas. I'm not even thinking about other alternatives," Clinton's communications chief Howard Wolfson said.
Amid the Democratic infighting, Nader declared: "If the Democrats can't landslide the election this year, they ought to just wrap up, close down."
But Nader, who rose to prominence by campaigning for auto safety in the 1960s, said he still had a message to offer for those "locked out" by the perennial Republican-Democratic duel.
Whether it was the war in Iraq, the Palestinian issue, environmental threats or the power of Wall Street, "you have to ask yourself as a citizen, should we elaborate the issues the two are not talking about?"
McCain was "the candidate for perpetual war," Nader added, calling for the impeachment of the "criminal recidivist regime of George Bush and (Vice President) Dick Cheney."
Standing as a Green party candidate in 2000, Nader took more than 97,000 votes in Florida, outraging Democrats who said he had siphoned off enough support from former vice president Al Gore to hand victory to George W. Bush.
But he won just 0.3 percent of the national vote as an independent in 2004, when he appeared on the presidential ballot in only 34 states.
Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, an Obama supporter, was derisory about Nader's latest intervention.
"I mean, when you get into running for your third or fourth time, I don't think people will pay that much attention to it, and I wouldn't see it having any effect on the race," he said on Fox News.
New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, a Clinton backer, agreed about Nader but said the billionaire mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, could have a "major impact" on the main parties if he runs.
Bloomberg has denied he is planning a White House bid but his protests have done little to silence the media buzz surrounding the former media mogul.
Obama, who is bidding to knock Clinton out of the race on March 4, said anybody had the right to run for president if they qualified.
"And I think the job of the Democratic Party is to be so compelling that a few percentage of the vote going to another candidate is not going to make any difference," he told reporters Saturday.
McCain meanwhile has enjoyed a bounce in support from hardline conservatives after The New York Times last week insinuated an improper relationship between the maverick Republican front-runner and a female lobbyist eight years ago.
McCain received another boost Sunday with reports that Puerto Rico Republicans had awarded their 20 delegates to the Arizona senator, in an overwhelming defeat for former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.
Huckabee, still in the Republican race despite trailing badly to McCain, said Nader's entry would hurt the Democrats.
"So naturally Republicans would welcome his entry into the race and hope that maybe a few more will join in," he told CNN.